|Wednesday 02nd of October 2019
Asif Kapadia's Maradona documentary slices through the myth to show us the man @guardian
Diego Armando Maradona’s life is a cliché, a rags to riches tragedy.
He started as a poor boy with no filter, one whose ruthless drive and
innate skill took him to greatness, before a sudden fall.
Had he been watching, Andy Warhol would have been enthralled.
Asif Kapadia, who won an Oscar for Amy, another documentary about a
scintillating talent who came crashing to earth, is the man behind a
new film about Maradona.
In the film, titled Maradona, Kapadia slices through the persisting
myth of D10S, attempting to free Diego the man from Maradona the
After a limited theatrical release, HBO brings the film to US
audiences this week.
America missed his legend, catching him at perhaps his lowest low,
when he flamed out of the 1994 World Cup after a failed drugs test. In
the US, he was a hero to only a few – and I was one of them.
As a teenage Argentinian immigrant in the United States in the early
2000s, struggling to reconcile my cultural identity with my new
country, I clung to Maradona.
He was Platonic Argentinianess, and I found in his legend the answers
I sought. His was a greatness to strive for and a perseverance to
mimic. His legend held what the teenage me saw as answers about
masculinity (be brash, work hard and be a leader) and sportsmanship
(forget about it).
Sure, lessons can be found in any world-class athlete, but with
Maradona they all came wrapped in an albiceleste bow of patriotism.
His success was Argentina’s and by extension mine, decades and
thousands of miles away from his heyday.
His brilliant goals, his breathtaking skills, his trophies, his
literal single-handed demolition of England in 1986 – they were mine
He validated my reverence for a culture that I was separated from and
gave me a love I could share with the only other Argentinian teenager
in a neighborhood that was mostly Venezuelan and Colombian.
As a kid, I looked past his drug addiction and involvement with the
mafia. Now, the reality of Maradona’s past, which Kapadia skilfuly
peels back, is undeniable. Maradona’s present raises even more
Now, after a decade-long absence, Diego (or is it Maradona?) is back
in Argentina, to start another chapter. He has taken a job as the
manager of embattled Gimnasia y Esgrima, a club languishing near the
bottom of the Argentinian Superliga.
For Gimnasia supporters, the excitement is real. But despite his
insistence that he’s back in Argentina to work (“I am no magician”, he
told supporters at his presentation) the motives behind Maradona’s
return are opaque.
Some argue that it is no coincidence that Maradona is using his fame
to bring attention to the club, following the Argentinian tradition of
using football as a distraction in times of political instability.
Giselle Fernandez, the current vice-presidential candidate for
Argentina’s opposition party Frente Para Todos, and sister of former
president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner gifted Maradona a rosary
carrying a locket.
Inside, was a picture of her mother. Maradona is an avowed Kirchnerist
and Fernandez is an ardent Gimnasia supporter.
It’s unclear how much business the Fernandez family have tied up in
the club – if any – but Noticias, an Argentinian weekly magazine,
reported that the club expects to make $3m from sponsorship this
In the 10 days after the announcement, the club sold 6m pesos
($105,000) worth of jerseys.
The footballer who helped me love my country may be a willing pawn to
distract Argentina’s citizens in the critical upcoming elections. Or,
perhaps it’s just a club taking the risky bet that he can harvest the
same success he had as a player.
Kapadia shows us a frightened Maradona. A man who allowed his legend
to consume his life, ultimately destroying him. Is Maradona falling
into another loop in which he attaches himself to power to feed his
need to be loved, leading to his own demise? Does he even realise he
is doing this?
Still, there are some lessons from Maradona I hold dear – his
perseverance and drive. Other, more negative ones, I’ve cast aside.
As time passes Maradona’s myth will continue to change.
The only certainty is that the image we have of Maradona is the same
as that of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis or any other subject of Warhol’s
diptychs: a fiction. We can take the lessons we we want – or leave
The Warrior is a 2001 film by British filmmaker Asif Kapadia.
It stars Irrfan Khan as Lafcadia, a warrior in feudal Rajasthan who
attempts to give up the sword. The film is in Hindi and was filmed in
Kapadia started work on the 2001 film within a year of graduating from
the Royal College of Art. Even though this was his first feature
film, The Warrior was produced by companies from the UK, Germany
At the BAFTA Awards it won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British
Film. It was also one of the films, short-listed for UK's official
entry for the Academy Awards but was ultimately dropped on grounds
that the language was not indigenous to Britain.
Xi Jinping Is the Life and Soul of the Party @ForeignPolicy
Law & Politics
Xi Jinping Is the Life and Soul of the Party @ForeignPolicy #國慶節 #国庆节
Xi is much like the prince in the classic Sicilian novel The Leopard,
who says the only way to maintain his family’s power is to upend the
existing power structures. “Everything needs to change,” the prince
says, in the book’s most famous line, “so everything can stay the
Take foreign policy. Under Xi, China has built massive new islands in
the South China Sea and flexed his naval muscle by challenging any
foreign ships which sail nearby. Xi also unilaterally declared a new
Chinese air defense zone near Japan and South Korea.
By 2012, the WTO had proved a good bet for China, with the economy
exploding from $1.4 trillion in 2002 to $8.5 trillion. That economic
strength was immediately translated into bigger defense spending.
Between 2002 and 2012, China’s official annual military budget
increased fivefold, from $22 billion to around $110 billion.
Some of the Xi-era slogans are short and simple, in the manner of
Western advertising, such as the “Chinese Dream,” the catchphrase
embodying the party’s aim to become a global power by 2049, the 100th
anniversary of the founding of the People Republic of China.
In a way, this is also nothing new. But Xi has taken the propagation
of ideology and the cult of personality to extremes not seen since the
days of Chairman Mao.
But as in Hong Kong, when the economy unravels, or at least hope of a
better life disappears, the ideology that had been marketed as
underpinning prosperity starts to look threadbare as well.
.@HassanRouhani Refused Call With Trump in New York @realDonaldTrump @haaretzcom
Law & Politics
According to the report, Macron paid Rohani an unannounced visit at
the Millennium Hilton Hotel near the UN headquarters in New York last
Tuesday night, having had technicians set up a secure line with Trump
in a meeting room on Rohani's floor.
But Rohani refused to emerge from his room, leaving Macron and Trump
hanging, the outlet reported.
Macron's failed efforts followed Trump's UN speech, in which he said
Tehran had "bloodlust" and directly blamed Iran for a recent attack on
a Saudi Arabian oil plant.
16-SEP-2019 :: Drones Strikes Deep Inside the Kingdom.
Law & Politics
now the overwhelming geopolitical question is around the longevity of
the House of Saud and its Crown Prince who is of course the Proud
Owner of Leonardo Da Vinci's Salvatori Mundi which means Saviour of
the World and according to Robert Baer has so. many enemies that he
sleeps on his $500m yacht the Serene off Jeddah. The much commented on
Orb is of no help now
Saudi Arabia Under Siege: Is the Kingdom Quietly Crumbling? @TheNatlInterest
Law & Politics
Something is rotten in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Prince Mohammad
bin Salman, also known as MbS, was once the promising young face of
the Arab monarchy. Now he’s racking up foreign-policy defeats
abroad—and facing disturbing murmurs at home
Over the weekend, Houthi rebels took down a Saudi-mechanized column
along the border with Yemen, capturing hundreds of soldiers. Then, the
mysterious murder of a royal bodyguard set off alarm bells inside the
MbS began his reign with an ambitious foreign policy. He pushed
President Donald Trump to escalate against Iran, ramped up the
Saudi-led war in Yemen, and launched a dramatic blockade against his
rivals in Qatar. Now, his policies are blowing up in his face.
“Some reports say that these are Pakistani mercenaries hired by the
Saudis. I hear these are Yemeni soldiers who are part of the coalition
forces. And the Houthis’ record on truth is pretty disputable, and
pretty miserable,” claimed Randa Slim, founding director of the
Initiative for Track II Dialogues at the Middle East Institute.
On Sunday, royal bodyguard Gen. Abdulazziz al-Faghm was shot and
killed in Jeddah. Saudi-run media blamed the murder on a “personal
dispute” with a friend named Mamdouh al-Ali. According to a police
spokesman, al-Ali murdered the general during a “heated discussion,”
and then died in a shootout with local police.
Then, another bad omen: a new $7.3 billion train station in Jeddah
suddenly burst into flames on Sunday afternoon. Thick, black smoke
covered the sky. Parsi said that there has been speculation about an
“internal job” by anti-MbS elements.
Slim emphasized that a variety of “wild cards” could speed up—or
torpedo—negotiations with Iran. But one thing is for sure: MbS will
not be able to count on a bailout from the United States if his Hail
23-SEP-2019 :: And by the way, my conclusion remains we are at a Peacock Throne Moment for the House of Saud
Law & Politics
And by the way, my conclusion remains we are at a Peacock Throne
Moment for the House of Saud and that markets and folks tend to miss
inflection points and therefore I have a supreme conviction around the
Oil markets and am conducting my own operations and only on a need to
The Shah of Shahs ended up in Panama all on his lonesome looking out
to sea and there is another fellow not unlike the fictional Dean
Jocelin with a $500m Yacht called the Serene who will most likely be
looking out to Sea in the not too distant future.
The consensual hallucination here continues. This is a distressed asset in free fall that is inarguably worth less than zero. Because all we have here is an entity burning $700 million a quarter. @WeWork @NYMag @profgalloway
As long as the charade continues, they were willing to go along with
it. You’re right, his hard partying and yoga babble were seen as
features, not bugs, until the market threw up on it.
He has 15,000 people right now who are stuck cleaning up. They feel
like circus clowns shoveling the shit behind the elephant of Adam
Neumann. He has taken $750 million and left a toxic-waste cleanup.
If you tell a 30-year-old male he’s Jesus Christ, he’s inclined to believe you.
The bigger story here is SoftBank. WeWork is the opportunistic
infection that is going to kill the Vision One Fund. It’s beyond
In terms of human toll, this is where the real damage starts. This has
been a really interesting and romantic story about the fall of Adam
Neumann and SoftBank.
They’ve got it wrong. Adam Neumann came in, smoked his own supply, and
walked out with three-quarters of a billion dollars about the time
that people in hazmat suits showed up.
It’s like the guy at Chernobyl who refused to believe what was going
on was given three-quarters of a billion dollars to leave before shit
The notion that Adam Neumann was fired? My God, he got on the last
helicopter out of Saigon.
Zimbabwe's president @edmnangagwa pleads for patience in bringing economy back from "dead" @ReutersAfrica
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday pleaded for time
and patience to bring the economy back from the “dead”, as his
government faces blame for surging inflation evoking dark days under
Hopes that the economy would quickly rebound under Mnangagwa, who took
over after Mugabe was deposed in a coup in November 2017, have faded
fast with Zimbabweans grappling with acute shortages of fuel and
electricity and soaring prices.
In a state of the nation address in parliament, boycotted by the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) which disputes his
election, Mnangagwa acknowledged the economic crisis as well as the
need for reforms.
“I’m aware of the pain being experienced by the poor and the
marginalised. Getting the economy working again from being dead will
require time, patience, unity of purpose and perseverance,” Mnangagwa
Zimbabwe has suspended the publication of official annual inflation
data since August 1. In its last official figures, inflation hit more
than 175% in June, its highest level since hyperinflation under Mugabe
wiped out the economy in 2009.
Mnangagwa’s opponents accuse him of lacking commitment to political
reforms and using his predecessor’s heavy-handed tactics to stifle
The International Monetary Fund said last week that Zimbabwe needed to
intensify reform efforts and meaningfully improve transparency to
boost economic growth.
Mnangagwa and senior officials say they are doing their best to lay
the foundations for future growth and blame Western sanctions for
hampering recovery and deterring investment.
A United Nations human rights envoy said on Friday that Zimbabwe’s
political and economic environment was deteriorating, causing anxiety
as hopes fade for a long-awaited improvement in people’s living
In his address on Tuesday, Mnangagwa repeated his commitment to
implement recommendations made by election observer missions to
Zimbabwe’s 2018 election, as well as a commission of enquiry led by
former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe.
The observers and the commission had called for broad security,
political and electoral reforms.
Mnangagwa, whose election last year remains disputed by the MDC, once
again invited the opposition party to dialogue.
The MDC, led by Nelson Chamisa, has refused to take part in a dialogue
forum convened by Mnangagwa, insisting on talks led by a neutral