Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sneak Peek: Spare Changes News 12/4 - 12/17/08

Yes He Can
By Zachary Ochieng (The Big Issue, Scotland)

When Barack Obama was declared leader of the free world, the streets of Kenya were filled with a new spirit of optimism. Zachary Ochieng from The Big Issue in Kenya traveled to Obama's ancestral village to witness the celebration.

While America threw a ticker-tape parade for freshly minted president-elect Barack Obama, in Kenya we showed our love in a different way.

As the streets erupt in singing, dancing and wild ululations of joy, a bull is slaughtered in Nyango'ma Kogelo village and a feast is declared in honor of the man decreed leader of the free world -- whose economist father was born right here.

Katrina Victims Face Homelessness (Again) While Feds Stand By Idly
By Jeremy Weir Alderson

In a matter of weeks, thousands of people who survived Hurricane Katrina and, in some cases, the formaldehyde-contaminated FEMA trailers, will be evicted from their housing and made homeless again. These are primarily elderly and disabled people as well as single parent families with young children. This isn't being perpetrated by cruel landlords but by government on all levels.

Not Promising the Earth, Ethical Banks Win Custom
By Ingrid Melander & Lorraine Tturner (Reuters)

As the financial crisis hit a climax in Belgium with the split-up of its largest bank Fortis in October, new clients were rushing to a small, "ecologically correct" bank. Triodos - investing not in derivatives but in tangible products such as wind turbines, which the general public can understand and even applaud - was not the only alternative institution to benefit Europe.

Voices from the Streets: A Loving Touch
By Edward J. Portella, Sr.

On a fall Tuesday morning I stood inside Wendy's on Massachusetts Avenue, waiting to get a cup of coffee. As I sat and sipped the warm, caffeinated liquid, I watched Central Square, the morning hustle and bustle, the usual hectic pace. People of various ethnic backgrounds and walks of life rushed around endlessly with expectations of completing their individual, daily plans, toward an accomplished end by the evening, only to join the traveling madness again on their trip home.

Preview: Spare Change News 11/20 - 12/3/08

Swan Song for Sammy
By Alexia V. Hauk

"And the world tastes good cause the candyman thinks it should."

Some say the phantasmal wisps of subway steam on Tremont are ghosts. It's easy to believe if you wander onto the red line platform of the Park Street Station, where the supernatural presence of Sammy Davis Jr. still plays to a packed house.

When I met Eric McIntyre, "The Showman," he was bellowing Davis's hit cover of "Candyman" from the 1971 Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Commuters like me waited for their train, arms folded, cautiously forming a circle around the 66-year-old artist. With his slight frame, sturdy jaw line and unmistakable 'stache, McIntyre is a dead ring-a-ding-dinger for the Rat Pack alumnus, a fact he found irritating until it became a way of life.

Greece a "Prison" for Migrants Amid EU Policy Mess
By Daniel Flynn (Reuters)

The West's war against the Taliban drove Khalid Mohamed from his home. But his search for asylum in Europe has left him trapped in a shantytown in Greece, ignored by the government and abused by police.

Greece's western port of Patras has become a frontier for Europe's unwanted migrants. Hundreds of Afghans live crammed into dirty shacks in a slum overlooked by plush apartment blocks, hoping to stow away aboard a ferry bound for Italy, where asylum conditions are easier.

For Mohamed, who fled central Afghanistan last year after losing friends and family in the war, it is a prison camp. He is caught in a limbo without papers or rights: forbidden to stay in Greece but prevented from leaving.

Movie Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

By Jenny Halper

Ignore the British accents. And the improbable ignorance of a Nazi commandant's wife. And the fact that two eight-year-old boys -- one Jewish, one German -- would and could never meet when the camp that separated them was Auschwitz. Although The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, adapted b Mark Herman (Little Voice) from John Boyne's novel of the same name, tells the credulity-straining story of a friendship between Bruno (Asa Butterfield), the always-dreaming son of a ranking Nazi officer, and Shmuel (Jack Scanlon), a little boy imprisoned in a concentration camp run by Bruno's father, the emotions are honest, the message is important, and the film is made with tact and imagination.

Voices from the Streets: Elysian Fields (excerpts from a formerly homeless woman's novel)
By Julie Scanga

I was close to my friends -- if I was thirsty or hungry they would help me. If I needed cigarettes, they would help me. They shared the newspapers, a joke once in a while, and when my friend got beat up, I took it upon myself to stick up for her -- once her enemy and I pulled apart, she apologized to my friend for giving her a bloody eye. Susan, the woman I fought, agreed to be friends. We were over with fighting.

There were many things I learned in my spring and summer at the Boston Common. Eventually I called the Boston Common "Elysian Fields" because it was a spiritual and magical place to spend so much time. So much went on among us who had survived the chaos that hits each of us who find dreams of one type or another upon leaving the streets.