Sunday, January 02, 2005

Best of The Guardian 2004

Two collections of best articles from the Guardian last year - one chosen by readers (including Why I love ... the noise of ducks landing and Jonathan Freedland's article, Tony Blair's survival is an affront to our constitution) and another selection made by Martin Wollacott, editor of Guardian Year 2004.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Susan Sontag dies

Susan Sontag

Susan Sontag died on December 28. This year I read On Photography and Regarding the Pain of Others.

Sontag aroused controversy for remarks in The New Yorker (September 24, 2001) about the immediate aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. She wrote:

"Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a 'cowardly' attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions...[I]f the word "cowardly" is to be used, it might be more aptly applied to those who kill from beyond the range of retaliation, high in the sky, than to those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): Whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday's slaughter, they were not cowards."

In the 1990s Sontag travelled to the then Yugoslavia, calling for international action against the growing civil war. She visited the besieged Bosnian capital Sarajevo in 1993, where she staged a production of the play Waiting for Godot. Two days after her death, the mayor of Sarajevo announced the city would name a street after her, calling her an "author and a humanist who actively participated in the creation of the history of Sarajevo and Bosnia."