Literary events

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Re: Literary events

Postby Richard » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:05 pm

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy traditionally strongly backed by the United States.
The uprisings that have spread through the Middle East and North Africa since early 2011 also spilled over to Saudi Arabia, though at a much more limited scale than elsewhere in the region. Most protests have been organised in its Eastern Province. This region is home to the country’s major oil fields and to most of Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority population. Shia Muslims adhere to the same Islamic branch as the majority of the Iranian population and are therefore perceived as a potential threat by Saudi Arabia’s Sunni rulers. Historical marginalisation explains their dissatisfaction with the Saudi regime.
Most Sunni Saudis do not identify themselves with the demands of the Shia minority, also the demonstrations are successfully suppressed by the country’s repressive security apparatus which together curtail spillovers of public anger, witnessed in the Eastern Province, to other parts of the country. Moreover, a boost in public spending, financed with huge oil income, has helped to contain protests.
The Saudi finances are in very good order with huge foreign asset reserves, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency is among the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds. and their oil and gas fields are thought to be able to last for another 60-80 years respectively.
However youth unemployment remains worryingly large and in the longer term, successfully creating sufficient employment opportunities for young people, who are becoming increasingly educated and politically aware, will be an important driver of domestic stability.
Sunni Saudis fear the rise of Iran and especially its nuclear capability, perhaps President Trump is now moving against the nuclear threat from Iran in order to appease its long-term Saudi allies.

Turning to Africa, many countries there have no democracy or a poor one, where the man in the street almost worships the man at the top for corruptly grabbing all the money he can get his hands on, probably because, in any case, he or she is powerless to do anything about corruption at the top.
Countless billions have been poured in over the decades, western 'Aid' to help poor countries there, only to have it intercepted by politicians or rulers who squander it all on their own life-styles.
Democracy imposed on a country that simply flouts the rules may not be the best answer if the ordinary people are still unable to make any real difference to corruption at the top.

Is the Russia currently ruled over by Putin, who imprisons any challengers to his position and has reversed many of the advances introduced under previous democratically elected leaders and tries to spread propaganda and threatens to disrupt communications and energy-supplies to countries all over the globe, an example of true democracy?

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Re: Literary events

Postby Richard » Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:45 pm

Public drama / theatre were very popular in ancient Greece.
So, what was the origin and purpose of the drama and theatre (plays) of the ancient Greeks?
Firstly, this form of entertainment / enlightenment could not have happened at all without the rise of democracy, initially in Athens.
In those days the ancient Greeks took their entertainment very seriously and used drama as a way of investigating the world they lived in.
The three genres of drama were comedy, satyr plays, and most important of all, tragedy.
The first comedies were mainly satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness, often performed under the very noses of the officials themselves sitting in amongst the audience.
The first master of comedy was the playwright Aristophanes. Much later Menander wrote comedies about ordinary people and made his plays more like sit-coms.

Tragedy first flowered in Athens (532 BC) and dealt with the big themes of love, loss, pride, the abuse of power and the fraught relationships between men and gods. Typically the main protagonist of a tragedy commits some terrible crime without realizing how foolish and arrogant he has been. Then, as he slowly realizes his error, the world crumbles around him. The three great playwrights of tragedy were Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides.
Satyr Plays: These short plays were performed between the acts of tragedies and made fun of the plight of the tragedy's characters.
Actors in tragedy and satyr play (and comedy) wore masks and costumes all the time.
By putting on the mask the actor declared that he was not just narrating the story but was doing the story.
It was a device permitting licence to perform on another level, as well as allowing a striking visual reference for the audience to follow more easily.
In modern plays reality often hides behind the mask, the mask and costume "veil" the true self. However, in the Greek theatre the truth only became possible once the mask and costume had been put on.

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