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Issue 4 — May 2004

May 2004

New books published

Lilly Kovatcheva, Shakir Pashov. Apostle of the Roma in Bulgaria (1898-1981); bilingual: Romani and Bulgarian, Kxam-Sluntze Foundation, Sofia, 2003, supported by Romani Publications Project.

The author Lilly Kovatcheva narrates the life of Shakir Pashov - one of the most charismatic figures in the history of the Roma community in Bulgaria. Known as the Apostle of the Roma people, he founded in the 20s and 30s the first Roma Educational Organization and the first Romani newspaper. He was also the first Roma representative at the National Assembly. Describing Pashov as a pioneer of the Roma particularly in their education, the author sets out to establish him as an example for his contemporaries as well as for the modern reader. The book is a touching documentary which provoked great interest even before publication. The Ministry of Education has distributed copies to schools with Roma students; CARE – Bulgaria plans to buy and distribute around 300 copies to teachers of Roma folklore and traditions in Bulgaria; 100 copies have been sold in Slovakia; and a number of copies have been donated to partnering NGOs in Serbia and Montenegro.

The book was presented to the public on the 8th of April, 2004, the International Day of the Roma. The presentation was made by Dr Jossif Nouneff – an expert at the Ministry of Education and Science, and the author of several books on Roma folklore. Reviews of the book describe it as pioneering and opening a new page in the consciousness of young Roma generations.

The promotional event inspired several participants to embark on a series of biographies of prominent Roma leaders and activists from Bulgaria.

Malise Ruthven, Islam in the World (Oxford University Press, 2000), published in Armenia by Areg Publishers, 2004, supported by Islam and Politics Translation Project.

The Armenian translation of this valuable introductory guide to the history of Islam is a rich and lively narrative. It examines the faith in its historical, geographic and social contexts and is far more than a parochial product of Armenian publishing. The author is Malise Ruthven, a former editor of the BBC Arab Service and a visiting professor at the University of California in San Diego. He has also worked as a correspondent for “The Guardian”, commenting on the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and later publishing a book - A Fury for God:The Islamist Attack on America. In that book he interprets the suicide attackers not as medieval fanatics, but as the products of Jihad ideology, spiced with European extremist leftism, fascism, and anarchism, who suffer not from naive faith, but from “Nietzschean despair”.

His more recent work, ‘’Islam In The World’’, is of great relevance in a country with 24 ethnic minorities. What Armenians will make of it is of significant interest. Given the current state of the distribution infrastructure, will it remain available only in the capital? With 34000 Muslims living in Armenia, it is to be hoped that as wide a readership as possible will be reached, which will open a debate outside the narrow bounds of academia.

‘’Citizens as Partners’’ OECD Handbook of Information, Consultation and Public Participation in Policy-Making, published on-line in Croatian by OKSIMORON, 2004, supported by Translating Current Debates Project. This handbook of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) offers practical assistance in strengthening relations between government and citizens. It includes definitions of basic concepts, concrete examples of successful practice, presentations of new information and communication technologies, etc. The translation is freely downloadable on-line, making it serviceable and virtually available for each potential client. Ministries of the Economy, Finance, Foreign Affairs and European Integration are the most likely customers. This publication can assist them in the public administration reform currently underway in Croatia.

The Arc Anthology of New Poetry from East and Central Europe, 2004, Arc Publications, UK, edited by Jean Boase-Beier, Fiona Sampson and Alexandra Buchler

The publication of the Anthology is part of the long-term commitment of the Literature across Frontiers project in the promotion of literatures in lesser-used languages (www.lit-across-frontiers.org). The anthology, with a preface by Vaclav Havel, presents new poetic talent from ten East European countries. The launch of the publication took place on 9th of May, at the Monmartre Cafe in Prague. The anthology was presented by some of the translators – Alexandra Buchler and Justin Quinn, and by the Czech poets Petr Borkovec and Katerina Rudcenkova, who gave a reading.

Next Page Foundation is one of the international partners of the Literature Across Frontiers project.