We’ve Kept You Posted

Yearly Recall Takes
a Blurry 2015 Picture

It was a year of record refugee waves, with boatloads of heartbreaking stories landing en masse on European shores. Greeting them, equal parts of compassion and vile political pettiness, and a stunned world reacting as it usually does: with violence.
As usual too, there were plenty of staggering deaths – massive, laser-focused, or undiscriminated – due to terrorism, war strikes, stampedes, and in the U.S., racism and too many guns. And, of course, a fair share of encouraging news about climate change, for instance.
This post hardly covers them all, though. For these Colltales stories we’ve picked are more of a counterpoint to what was going on then. Rather than rehashing what was on everyone’s devices in 2015, they run a parallel track of commentary, criticism, and even comic relief.
Just as global temperatures kept rising, our pulse on the year’s events was better reflected on the weekly editorial Newsletter/Curtain Raiser. So we were free to report another kind of news, neither Pollyanna nor downright depressing. You know, the Colltalers preferable way. Enjoy.

The terrorist attack that killed nine journalists at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo, on Jan. 7, was arguably the biggest news of the first three months of 2015. But the following day, we featured Elvis Presley‘s 80th birthday. And never looked back.
Stories about crows, unemployment, that old fave Voynich Manuscript, and a quirky take on Valentine Day followed. A personal darling was the 450th anniversary of Rio, our city of birth. Bandit Maria Bonita, cats, caturally, and life after death, online, completed the bunch.

By then, the biggest refugee crisis of our era was already creeping in, but within the U.S., an old scourge was robbing the headlines: racism. Our own second quarter, though, was deep into Continue reading

Curtain Raiser

The Casualties of Paris, Colltalers

Some news can’t go unreported. Even for those of us, let’s say, not graced with the audience of millions, but still speaking to many people in all continents, it’s virtually impossible to find a subject other than the one glaring on every world headline.
Which doesn’t make it any easier finding an angle that hasn’t already been so thoroughly dissected to be sucked it out dried of any meaning. Or to avoid falling into the trap of taking sides, for that matter, the ultimate capitulation to the ‘us against them’ quagmire.
Consider the events that unfolded in Paris this past week, with the murder of several cartoonists, a Muslim cop (more on that later), a few hostages, and three of the alleged accused of having invaded the Charlie Hebdo magazine with intent to kill.
The particularly bloody attack left us with a few options: either to dutifully line up what’s known from a distant point, as an unqualified but no less involved bystander, taking the ethical precaution of consulting more than a few sources at every step of the way. Or to go on a diatribe against everything we see that’s so blatantly clear about what’s wrong with the times we live in.
Good luck with either one, you may say. Both ways seem utterly irrelevant: neither one more recapitulation of the events that gripped, or rather, grabbed the world by its throat will shed more light on what’s going on, nor will simply complaining about it.
But the three million who marched across France, in solidarity to those massacred, did have something meaningful to say. And so had the many Muslims, Jewish, Catholics, and members of pretty much all walks of the French society, who condemned the brutal killings, and that now have a gargantuan task of toning down their own indignation with necessary calls for temperance.
To the world at large, which includes the mentioned ‘involved bystanders,’ the battle is equally challenging, as the intelligence agencies, which failed to prevent the attack, now go on the offensive, asking for more security, surveillance, and funds for going after their perceived enemies. Never mind that billions of dollars spent spying on common citizens just proved once again useless.
Fear that, no matter how much money governments spend on gathering information Continue reading