By Matthew Russell Lee, Book
Patreon - BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras
UN GATE / SDNY Court, Nov 27 – As Burkina Faso continues its shut down of the Internet to try to block protests to the ruler, the United Nations of equally censoring Antonio Guterres is entirely silent. Guterres just throwns critical Press out, and bans it from entry, ordering hapless spokespeople like Paulina Kubiak to not answer basic questions about transparency.
– What is a novel? How long should it be? How corrupt is the United Nations? What is the line between real world injustice and fiction, black comedy?
A just published novella, "Belt and Roadkill," raises these questions.
The corruption of the UN, its documented domination by China as evidenced by two recent real-world bribery prosecutions in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, are the soil or message of the text. But the meta questions about what is a novel(la) is raised by its form and length. (It is available, first on Kindle, here).
Earlier this month Parul Sehgal in The New Yorker bemoaned the democratization of literature, or content, by Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing. But who are the gatekeepers? Who should they be?
The author of Belt and Roadkill, years ago, was on the threshold of elite / elitist publishing, summoned to a venerable firm on Union Square in Manhattan and told that if only the actual names of Citigroup's predatory lenders could be dropped, it might be possible to move forward.
But aren't public figures open to satire, without danger of libel lawsuits?
Aren't those Predatory Benders who foreclose on thousands of homes just targets, like those at the UN who cover up hundreds of rapes by peacekeepers, and ten thousand Haitians killed by cholera, as only two examples?
Belt and Roadkill does not mention Haiti, even once. It does, however, name-check Cameroon and Western Sahara, Huawei and the January 6, 2021 insurrection, breach or protest, whatever your politics.
Let a hundred flowers bloom, as Mao said before moving to cut them down. There will be more.
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