Caught in The Headlines

 

Brick Lane Film Saga Crosses the Atlantic

Monica Ali, best-selling British authorWhile contemplating the small Portuguese village she's visiting, a character in London writer Monica Ali's new novel, Alentejo Blue, thinks to herself, "I could run away and be here." Given the events that have unfolded for Ali in the past month, the line must be resonating with the author, who has a very good reason to remain holed up in the vacation home in Portugal, where she wrote much of the novel: Back in London, the filming of a movie adaptation of her best-selling first novel, Brick Lane, has caused a major ruckus. In the real East London Bangladeshi neighbourhood of Brick Lane, which was to star as itself in the movie, community activists succeeded in forcing Ruby Films to halt filming. They disapprove of the tale of a young woman who arrives in London's Muslim Bangladeshi community via an arranged marriage, and eventually starts an affair with a young Islamic radical.

 

 

 

Community leader Abdus Salique said last month, "[Ali] has imagined ideas about us in her head. She is not one of us, she has not lived with us, she knows nothing about us, but she has insulted us."

A very public debate rolled on earlier this week, with a high-profile dual in the press between Germaine Greer, who wrote in favour of the protesters, and Salman Rushdie, who called Greer's piece "pro-censorship twaddle."

"I am British and I am Asian and those are very fine things to be and there's no reason to get away from that. "

 Political sensitivities will be all the more raw in the wake of this week's news that British police thwarted a suicide-bombing plot to blow up several airplanes about to take off from Heathrow Airport - and announced the arrest of two dozen young men, most of whom came from Pakistani families in a poor but respectable neighbourhood in East London.

No wonder authors like Ali - who was born to a Bengali father and white British mother in what is now Pakistan, and who grew up in England - feel like they're on the hot seat. And no wonder one of the first questions Ali faces these days while promoting Alentejo Blue is whether, in changing settings, she was fleeing the moniker of "British-Asian writer."

"I found that amusing and a bit bemusing," she said in an interview in Toronto in late June. "I am British and I am Asian and those are very fine things to be and there's no reason to get away from that. But there's no reason why I shouldn't choose my subject matter any more than a white writer chooses their subject matter. A white writer doesn't get accused of trying to escape from being white."

"There are many issues I explore of identity and belonging and the radicalization of Muslim youth - the events following 9/11, the riots in the North of England."

Although it is unlikely to incite the same kind of rage in Portugal that Brick Lane has caused in London, Ali says Alentejo Blue isn't as dissimilar to Brick Lane as it may first appear. It explores identity, place and belonging among its motley crew of characters, woven, short-story-like, together.

"You can't get away from your interests," she said. "There are many issues I explore of identity and belonging and the radicalization of Muslim youth - the events following 9/11, the riots in the North of England. I'm very interested in the world around me and what's happening and the way identities are morphing and changing."

For instance, when she was growing up, Ali says the main soccer leagues had no black players. "The common currency was that they weren't team players. Now a lot of British players are black. Prejudices die hard, but they do die."

That's the more nuanced reality first-time author Gautam Malkani aims to capture in Londonstani, a bold mash-up of South Asian street slang and text messaging telling the story of a crew of middle-class Sikh rudeboys. In the context of this week's arrests, last year's London subway bombings, and the arrest of several alleged young terrorists in Toronto this summer, Londonstani will likely be tapped for its insights, by those trying to get their heads around the idea of Western homegrown terrorism: It's about masculinity, not race or ethnicity, suggested Malkani in a telephone interview from London last month. And the audience he hopes most reads Londonstani is a young male one.

"A lot of kids want to walk a little taller," he said. "The ideological stuff is just props. I'm not excusing Islamic fundamentalist kids. But in the novel, the characters haven't got a problem with Christianity. They haven't got a problem with the Royal Family, and they haven't got a problem with the British democratic way of life. Their only problem is they don't feel manly enough to stand as tall as they'd like to. This identity and subculture helps them do that."

Full article in Toronto's Globe and Mail

Earlier on Netribution: THE BATTLE OF BRICK LANE

                                          Brick Land Filmmakers Cancel Filming

 

Print

Comments   

0 # Guest 2006-08-13 14:35
Legal Note on the item:
Campaign Against the Defamation of the Community in the East End of London (CDCEEL)

The following statement has been written at 2130 hrs GMT in london on sunday 13 august 2006 for publication as a comment on the website.


No part of this must be published by any other party or entity. all rights are reserved. cdceel and the rightsholder/s alone reserve the right to publish the material in full or in part at their discretion on any other site or in any mode or format they decide fits their purpose of telling the truth on behalf of the CDCEEL campaign.


We are spelling out all these facts including the fact of how the guardian created a phantom in order to suppress the rational, civilised, peaceful analytical, informed, contemporary, up-to-date, comprehensive and socially responsible response to the attacks on the community that have been perpetrated by using monica ali as the tool that she had been designed to be.

NOT One sentence so far printed or published by the Guardian [or by their web sites Guardian Unlimited] as news or views has reflected the truth on the ground [other than only the parts of the two pieces written so far and by-lined to Germaine with whom we have had no contact whatever either before or since she pout forward her own comments, some of which have in effect reflected parts of our position].

The Guardian?s misbehaviour in creating a phantom scenario including the double-alleged launch of the ?same campaign? allegedly by the Guardian?s own source/s has EXCEEDED anything that some of the other peddlers of the freespeech-linked racist slogan-wagon the East End had perpetrated.

What the Guardian has done on this issue has merely reinforced the very long record of that outfit as the pioneer poisonous racist propaganda outlet in all of the UK.

Under the guise of liberalist journalism, the Guardian has been the most insidious poisonous promoter of racist bigotry, misinformation and phantomisation in all of the English speaking ?quality? media field in all of the ?civilised West? for ALL of its history.

We are holding the first seminar on the defamation of the community on Sunday 20 august 2006 and we shall publish extensively on all our demands and analysis. those who think that racism has been \'defeated\' will have to review their conclusion once they know the facts and extents of the agenda that has been active behind, around and for the promotion of the tool under the covers of \'monica ali\' \'book\' \'brick lane\'.

We never said anything that the lying guardian attributed to its phantom in the name of the east end and we never would have stated anything at all like the guardian attributed to its own fundamentalist phantom. it is not just in that misconduct that the guardian ahs been established on its records as the more effective racist propaganda weapon than the daily mail but also ion the day to day \'news\' and editorial conduct that the guardian ahs established especially over the last 60 years which show where the GUARDIAN gets its core propaganda and propagatory ideas and on whose say so it decides what editorial and propaganda line, bent, bend, leaning, slant, bias and invention to take on what issue, when and under what pretext and on any issue under the sun.

We do not propose to allow the lying guardian to get away with lying any more and we do not propose to allow the records of the guardian phantom to sully the name of our community that is made up of so many different ethical strands and moral components.

We are far more civilised, ethical and moral than the combined contents of the Guardian\'s assailants against our community would be able to constitute. We owe it our own community and we owe it to the public at large to show just how lethal and racist the guardian has been in its inventions and how untruthful it has been in its ?journalism?, exacerbation and the promotion of a phantom fanatic in the name of the East End community concerned when the Guardian has also deliberately suppressed the truth of our very responsible, timely, rational, reasoned moderate and modest but overdue criticism of the monica ali project.

ENDS CDCEEL comment to ?www.netribution.co.uk?
0 # CORRECTIONS to four words that got in wiGuest 2006-08-13 14:41
corrections to the comment piece submitted by the Campaign Against the Defamation of the Community in the East End of London (CDCEEL) timed at 2130 Hrs GMT Sunday 13 August 2006

\'ahs\' should read ?has?, \'ion\' should read \'on\' and \'pout\' should read \'put\'.

Also, Germaine should read \'Germaine Greer\'
0 # Guest 2006-08-14 07:09
It will be interesting to see what the courts make of your allegations about The Guardian when you take your concerns there.

The Guardian though, will surely want to deny the assertion you publish here, that;

\"Under the guise of liberalist journalism, the Guardian has been the most insidious poisonous promoter of racist bigotry, misinformation and phantomisation in all of the English speaking ?quality? media field in all of the ?civilised West? for ALL of its history.\"

For the record, I\'m afraid I failed to recognise the Guardian that I read quite regularly in your description...

Yours Aye

James MacGregor
News Editor, Netribution
0 # Campaign against defamation replying toGuest 2006-08-14 08:47
Briefly and factually to respond to Retribution?s own editorial comment on our posts:

The Guardian is the subject of a formal complaint by ourselves on the veyr facts that we have asserted they misrepresented and lied about. It is open to them to deny the statements we have been making against their falsifying conduct. Also, as you may know, the guardian\'s editor Alan Rusbridger has been on the record as claiming to uphold the very standards about accuracy and truthfulness that we have identified in their actual behaviour on this matter. We have identified the Guardian ahs having wantonly deliberately and unnecessarily lied about our community and we have identified the Guardian as having created a phantom as an alleged campaigner on behalf of our community.

The Guardian?s invented phantom does not represent the community?s opposition at any level whether to the defamatory assault that has been going on against our community over the past three years and especially under the pretext of the so-called Monica Ali work of fiction.


We are holding the seminar which we announced almost as soon as the Guardian?s agenda became clear ? they were intent on using the community?s opposition to the defamation under the covers of ?monica ali book film? project to mount a maligning onslaught on our community.

Decades of actual records of the Guardian\'s editorial practice will be referred to in our action against that outfit.

All the web-based publications in the ideological West [that is the mainly European-based territories including Canada and Australia] have carried false items that were not initiated by any of their own reporters but were derived from what the lying guardian published on 17-18 July 2006 and subsequently.

We had been the first and only source for any media to know anything at all about ANY campaigning action anywhere over that alleged film.

We told the Guardian?s relevant staff in all the relevant sections including the so-called reader section [which has been from the very start, a typically Guardian-liberally-dressed outlet for covering up serious pernicious lies by the Guardian] to publish the accurate facts and to retract the leis.

They have failed.

This is why we know that they have had an agenda to create a phantom and to suppress the truth.



Yours faithfully
The Campaign Against the Defamation of the Community in the East End of London
[CDCEEL]
14 August 2006
0 # arseGuest 2006-11-29 10:21
What a load of poppycock...The vast majority of REAL creative talent that i am aware of...innovative types..y\'know...wouldn\'t have any reason to gather round this part of the east end.Most of it holds the pseudo sheep tribe fraternity and too many of us are aware of it\'s appalling social,networking,timewasting qualities, where sooo little of worth /inspirational lovliness is done..Your vile directed at the Guardian newspaper is, in a way a good result...your display of anger,passion and revenge....are perhaps qualities that lack in your creative community...I like the Guardian..and i think im preety cool..well..people check me out in Shoreditch at least!