Friday, 25 August 1995 – “Bosun – topside!” The Captain’s command over the intercom aroused me from a deep sleep. Henri, jumping from his cot, rushed out to film the action on deck. Soon the muffled rattling of the anchor chain reverberated throughout the ship: we were dropping anchor. Slowly, I got up. Fleetingly, ever so fleetingly, a wave of revulsion suffused my body, and I tried not to think about what was outside: a fog-shrouded, ice-cold sea and a huge, empty island. I glanced at my watch: 7:15 a.m. Through the porthole I could see a calm sea, light blue under a low, grey sky. If this was Ivanov Bay, the grave search party would go ashore. If it wasn’t, only the Captain might know where on earth we may be. I got dressed and hurried outside. In the light, drizzly mist that engulfed the ship, Jerzy and Bas were siphoning gasoline into lemonade bottles from a big, rusty fuel barrel on the foredeck, using a rubber hose. Inside, the breakfast table had been set, but there was no time to eat. The landing of the grave-searchers was busily being prepared, as Boyarsky was threatening that the sea might soon get rough again. Only George, with aristocratic unconcern, sat sipping a cup of tea in the otherwise empty mess room. The corridors teemed with foot traffic. The hum of electric motors resonated through the steel vessel as the deck crane deposited a huge stack of wooden beams and planks from the hold into the landing craft. For protection against bears, the Ivanov Bay group would be constructing a hut for their stay. On deck, the atmosphere was frenzied and tension was palpable, with good-byes adding to the din of cargo handling.
In the life of each organization, situations arise that are completely new to the history of the organization. These situations are complex, surprising, urgent, inspiring, threatening and sometimes enduring. Leadership is forced to bring the organization into uncharted territory. Facing these situations, and often after a period of muddling through in a business-as-usual way, leadership has to recognize that a breakthrough response will only emerge from a previously unexplored (and, for this organization, a revolutionary) strategy process. Think about the bewilderment in a high-tech company when an emerging technology from a competitor threatens the whole existence of their organization.
The California energy crisis in 2002 is another example: by initially oversimplifying the problem and failing to identify and evaluate major alternatives, the state found itself in a crisis of its own making. If there had been proper communication about this complex system among all interested parties (e.g. suppliers, regulatory agencies, distributors, and consumers), it is unlikely that the decisions made would have proven so unsatisfactory. Yet another instance is the dilemma faced by a nationalized railway or postal service – is deregulation an opportunity or a threat? Should they lobby against adoption of a new deregulation law, or pursue it as a great opportunity?
The Constitution, Negotiation and Representation of Immigrant Student Identities in South African Schools
The easing of legal and unauthorized entry to South Africa has made the country a new destination for Black immigrants. As this population continues to grow, its children have begun to experience South African schools in an array of uniquely challenging ways. For these immigrant youth, forging a sense of identity may be their single greatest challenge. Accordingly, this study asks how do immigrant students construct, negotiate, and represent their identities within the South African schooling context. Findings were multifold in nature.
First, although immigrant students’ ease of assimilation into the chosen reference group was to some degree sanctioned by their phenotypic racial features, their attempt at ‘psychosocial passing’ was politically motivated. Second, immigrant students did not readily classify themselves according to skin pigmentocracy. Third, the majority of immigrant students heightened their ethnic self-awareness in forming their identity, but also assumed hyphenated identities. Fourth, immigrant students were not seen as having an identity, but rather as being ‘plugged into a category with associated characteristics or features’. Fifth, immigrant students forged a ‘continental identity’. And sixth, the selfagency of immigrant students was twofold in nature; not only did they want to improve their own condition, but there seemed to be an inherent drive to improve the human condition of others.
Warring over citizenship
Over the past two decades, notions of citizenship and civil society have come to occupy a prominent place in Latin American political discourse. All kinds of activities have been attributed to civil society, including preventing a military solution to the Chiapas conflict in 1994. We also hear a great deal about “organized civil society,” “social movements of civil society” and “global civil society,” terms that have entered everyday political discourse and become incorporated into common sense, though this does not mean that everyone understands the same message when using these terms. Quite to the contrary, incorporation into common language may well be facilitated by a lack of specificity. Such fluidity suggests, above all, that citizenship and civil society are contested categories subject to “wars of interpretation” (Slater, 1998:385). This approach to such questions implies admitting that we cannot know exactly what citizenship and civil society “are” and recognizing that they are notions forged through political discourse and practice.
There is no such thing as society, there are individual men and women. — Margaret Thatcher, 19931
Do you find it difficult to understand why the European Central Bank is restricted in its assistance to EU countries which have difficulty borrowing from financial markets? And do you find it interesting to learn what the tools are of the ECB, compared to the Federal Reserve System, and why the monetary part of the Economic and Monetary Union is so much more successful than its economic leg? These questions are answered in the book The Making of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks, which first appeared as a dissertation in 2004. It describes the economic, political and legal discussions behind every article of the statute of the ESCB, which rules its behaviour and which restrict the options for politicians to intervene in the policy of the ECB. After you have read this, you will find it much easier to understand and predict the behaviour of important actors, like the decision-making body of the ECB and politicians, and the tensions between them.
Checks and balances
The phrase ‘checks and balances’ is most known for its use as a description of the American system of government. The essential feature is that the departments (branches) of government are not just separate from each other (i.e. having their own functional jurisdiction and the absence of personal unions), but also exert limited control over each other, to the extent necessary for preventing departments (branches) from assuming authority in areas for which other branches are responsible. This philosophy was based on the experience that especially the legislature if left to itself could expand its powers in the field of the executive and in extreme cases even taking on judicial powers.
Op 2 december 2002 maakte ik mijn opwachting bij Yvonne Raveles-Resida, aan de Van Rooseveltkade 34 in Paramaribo, om met haar te bespreken of in januari 2003 aan de biografie kon worden begonnen. Op 8 januari – een voor mij belangrijke dag – zou ik een aanvang maken met het doorspitten van de persoonlijke archieven van Robin Raveles. De trap naar boven leidde naar zijn studeerkamer aan de voorzijde van het huis met een balkon uitkijkend op de Nederlandse ambassade. De hoeveelheid verzamelde kranten, epistels, paperassen die uit de dozen te voorschijn kwam, zag er overweldigend uit. Zittend aan Dobru’s schrijftafel bestudeerde ik dag na dag de documenten. Zou het lukken om in de komende twee maanden van mijn verblijf in Suriname een goede eerste screening te maken? Selectie van de meest relevante en interessante stukken zou een van de grootste problemen worden.
Welke criteria zou je moeten hanteren om tot een uiteindelijke selectie te komen? Eddy Bruma, oud-voorzitter van de PNR, had gelijk toen hij zei dat Dobru de beste verzamelaar is geweest die hij had gekend. In de studeerkamer bevonden zich, naast zijn eigen publicaties, ook rijen boeken, gesigneerd door collega-schrijvers uit het Caraïbisch gebied en Latijns-Amerika onder wie Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Ernesto Cardenal, Jan Carew, Martin Carter, Selwyn Cudjoe, Nicolás Guillén, Earl Lovelace, George Lamming, Andrew Salkey en A.J. Seymour. Oude anthologieën maakten ook deel uit van de collectie, onder andere Caribbean Voices. An Anthology of West Indian Poetry (1968) en A Treasury of Guyanese Poetry (1980). Ook de Surinaamse schrijvers Trefossa, Slory, Shrinivási, Ooft, Doelwijt, Verlooghen en vele anderen waren goed vertegenwoordigd. Voorts waren er talloze losse vellen met aan hem toegestuurde gedichten en een groot aantal boeken aan Dobru opgedragen van auteurs die hij tot schrijven had aangemoedigd.