Respect is Two-Way Traffic

Hassan Odawa Abdi

It was early in the morning on Sunday. The weather was rather cold. I was in a weekend location when an old aged mother entered and asked for assistance. The mother was carrying a young little boy who was almost emaciated by malnutrition and lack of nutrients. The woman herself was very thin. I could not imagine that she came from a habitat of human beings. She was dressed like a mad person who had applied mud himself, she was wearing cracked shoes which were made of tires of a car.

However, I just monologue to myself: is this a mad person of just normal really I wondered to her, chased away with her child by not thinking what will happen later.

My mother just arrived when the woman was cursing me and crying with painful words that I had said to her. My mum just apologized to the woman by nourishing her.

Mother told me not to do it again by saying “Respect is two-way traffic.”

Happening Now

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

  • The poetic documentary Songs Still Sung: Voices from the Tsunami Shores, written and co-produced by Takako ARAI and creatively subtitled into English by a class of UI students of Japanese, will be screened at the prestigious Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, on-line 10/7-14/2021.

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