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Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Chronicle of a journalism untold | Colombia

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“It was as if God had decided to put to the test every capacity for surprise and was keeping the inhabitants of Macondo in a permanent alternation between excitement and disappointment, doubt and revelation, to such an extreme that no one knew for certain where the limits of reality lay. It was an intricate stew of truths and mirages that convulsed the ghost of Jose Arcadio Buendia with impatience and made him wander all through the house even in broad daylight.” – One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Marquez

Were the ghost of Gabriel Garcia Marquez to come back for a one-off special appearance, he would have plenty to work with.

Imagine a bloated autocrat with a penchant for bathing in oranges, floating in the air; the inhabitants of a small country surrounded by water and drowning in amnesia; an army captain from an Amazonian country who rises to power after sending a swarm of WhatsApp messages to gain followers.

We live in strange times when it comes to truth and fiction, so The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro thought a closer look at a writer who straddled both would be interesting.

In the 1960s, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ novels elevated the literary genre of magical realism and turned it into a Latin American export.

His novels wove history together with myth, reality with fantasy – mixed literary modernism with the oral traditions of his native Colombia and produced stories of social realities, political upheaval, the search for Latin American identity, landing him the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982.




Garcia Marquez used to say that the journalist should be like a mosquito, which is there to irritate those in power, buzzing incessantly.

Juanita Leon, director, La Silla Vacia

Garcia Marquez is mostly known for his literature, but he always considered himself a journalist.

The son of the telegraph operator of his home town, Aracataca, Garcia Marquez was just 12 years of age he launched his first newspaper: “El Comprimido” – a reference to those small pieces of paper crammed full of condensed facts that students use to cheat in exams.

The newspaper lasted just six days; his journalistic career spanned decades. He began as a reporter in the early 1950s in a period known as La Violencia (“The Violence”) which led to a period of civil conflict in Colombia that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives.

He went on to narrate the story of a continent that underwent military coups, dictatorships, guerrilla insurgencies and drug wars, with perspective typically silenced by official accounts.

His dream of owning a paper materialised on several occasions, launching news magazines like El Alternativo, El Otro and a newspaper, Cambio as well as a TV news channel – QAP – which lasted until its licence was not renewed: a thinly veiled move by authorities in a country where power bristles at anything that fails to tow the political line.

“Garcia Marquez used to say that the journalist should be like a mosquito, which is there to irritate those in power, buzzing incessantly,” says Juanita Leon, director at La Silla Vacia, one of the few independent news outlets in Colombia that operate outside the auspices of big private media organisations.

Leon studied at the Journalism Foundation School (Fundacion Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano) set up by Garcia Marquez and whose journalism was heavily influenced by the writer’s insistence on celebrating the Latin American literary tradition, “La Cronica”.

“‘The Chronicles of the Indies’ is the genre from which much of Latin American journalism was born, they were the first stories written about America after the conquest, where the Spanish started to describe America (which they thought was India – hence the name),” according to Leon.

“They were super-detailed, full of life and anecdotes about what was going on in this new world that they had just started discovering. Garcia Marquez wanted us to use that genre to narrate our continent.”

Journalist Maria Jimena Duzan elaborates, “the ‘cronica’ is the cousin of reportage. Latin Americans aren’t like Anglo Saxons, who have very fixed categories about things are. A chronicle has colour, has flavour, has feeling. It’s a story told with embellishments. And Gabo knew how to tell them.”

Duzan has spent decades covering the conflict in Colombia and was the first journalist to gain the trust of The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

At a time when facts have become precarious commodities in the market of information, and have become all the more reified by the traditional news outlets, it may seem out of key to spotlight the work of a man who was often caught out for embellishment and exaggeration. But to concentrate on empiricism is to miss the point.

“Garcia Marquez’s journalism distanced itself from the positivist gaze – that need for the dry fact, for precision,” says Leon. “I was once at a workshop organised by his school, it took place in Mexico City and Rychard Kapuchinski was there with Gabo and we were talking about some elements they’d put in their stories which really had nothing to do with reality.”

“And for some of us, we were around 25-years old, we thought it was a bit shocking. But Garcia Marquez had this great expression, which was that ‘if to speak the truth you need to put one tear more in, then what’s the problem?’ Clearly, we shouldn’t be making facts up, but there is something important we can learn from these writers.”

Contributors

Juanita Leon – Director, La Silla Vacia
Jaime Abello – Director, New Ibero-American Journalism Foundation
Maria Jimena Duzan – Journalist, Semana

Source: Al Jazeera

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Tiger-Cats claim victory against the Argos to maintain home record on Labour Day

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats were at their devastating best against the Toronto Argonauts when the two locked horns on Labour Day at the Tim Hortons Field.

Just like with previous Labour Day fixtures, the Ticats produced a stellar performance with Dane Evans throwing two touchdown passes while Frankie Williams scored on a 67-yard punt return as they claimed a 32-19 victory on Monday. With this vital win, the Ticats extended their Labour Day home record to 7-0.

For players and fans of the Tiger-Cats, games on Labour Day are a lot more special and losing is something the Ticats aren’t used to.

“We know the fans are going to be behind us, we know Toronto is going to be chippy, we know it’s going to be sunny; we know it’s going to be windy. Everything that happened (Monday) we prepared for. There is something extremely special about Tim Hortons Field on Labour Day . . . you can feel it in the air, I can’t put it into words,” said Evans.

After the COVID-19 induced hiatus, the CFL is back in full action and fans can now bet on their favourite teams and just like with online slots Canada, real money can be won. Hamilton (2-2) recorded its second straight win to move into a tie atop the CFL East Division standings with Montreal Alouettes (2-2). Also, the Ticats lead the overall Labour Day series with Toronto 36-13-1.

In the sun-drenched gathering of 15,000—the maximum allowed under Ontario government COVID-19 protocols—the fans loved every minute of this feisty game. After all, this was the Ticats first home game in 659 days, since their 36-16 East Division final win over Edmonton in November 2019.

The contest between the Ticats and Argos was certainly not bereft of emotions, typical of a Labour Day fixture, as it ended with an on-field melee. But the Argos often found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions with several penalty calls and most of the game’s explosive plays.

Hamilton quarterback Evans completed 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and the two touchdowns while Toronto’s make-shift quarterback Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 attempts for 207 yards. Arbuckle also made a touchdown and two interceptions before eventually being substituted by McLeod Bethel-Thompson.

Bethel-Thompson made an eight-yard TD pass to wide receiver Eric Rogers late in the final quarter of the game.

“They got after us a bit . . . we didn’t block, or pass protect well,” said Ryan Dinwiddie, rookie head coach of the Argos in a post-match interview. “They just kicked our butts; we’ve got to come back and be a better team next week.”

The Labour Day contest was the first of four fixtures this year between Toronto and Hamilton. The two teams would face off again on Friday at BMO Field. Afterwards, the Tim Hortons Field will play host to the Argonauts again on Oct. 11 with the regular-season finale scheduled for Nov. 12 in Toronto.

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Roughriders looking to bounce back after Labor Day defeat

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In what an unusual feeling for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, they would now need to dust themselves up after a 23-8 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in what was a Labor Day Classic showdown in front of a full capacity crowd at Mosaic stadium.

Craig Dickenson, head coach of the Riders, witnessed his team with an unbeaten record get utterly dominated by a more superior team from Winnipeg. Now, he has got a lot of work on his hands getting his team back to winning ways as they visit the Banjo Bowl next.

“We’re going to see what we’re made of now…the jury’s out,” said Dickenson.

Dan Clark, who played centre for the Riders expressed his disappointment in losing what was “the biggest game of the year”.

 “If you lose every other game, you don’t want to lose that one. We’ve just got to take the next step,” said Clark in a report. “There are 12 steps to the Grey Cup left and it’s just about taking that next step and focusing on what Saturday will bring.”

With their first defeat to Winnipeg, the Riders (3-1) now rank second place in the CFL’s West Division, trailing the Bombers by one victory (4-1). However, the Riders will have the chance to even the season series during their trip to Winnipeg this Saturday. With the CFL heating up, fans can now enjoy online sports betting Canada as they look forward to their team’s victory.

The Rider’s offensive line will once again have a busy time dealing with the Blue Bombers’ defence.

Quarterback Cody Fajardo, who played one of the best games of his career two weeks earlier, had quite a stinker against the Bombers in the Labour Day Classic—which is the most anticipated game for Rider fans.

Fajardo had a 59 per cent completion percentage which wasn’t quite indicative of what the actual figure was considering he was at 50 per cent before going on a late drive in the final quarter with the Bombers already becoming laid back just to protect the win.

Fajardo also registered a personal worst when he threw three interceptions, but in all fairness, he was always swarmed by the Bomber’s defence.

While Fajardo has claimed responsibility for the loss and letting his teammates down, many would be curious to see how the team fares in their next game and with less than a week of preparation.

Dickenson is confident that his team would improve during their rematch in the 17th edition of the Banjo Bowl in Winnipeg. The only challenge now would be the loss of home advantage and dealing with the noisy home crowd, he added.

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Canadian report reveals spike in food-related litter during pandemic

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TORONTO — Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country, a new report says.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) is an annual program in which volunteers are encouraged to clean up green spaces and other natural areas.

Last year, single-use food and beverage containers made up 26.6 per cent of waste collected through the program – nearly twice as high a percentage as in 2019, before the pandemic.

“We suspect the change may be one of the many implications of COVID-19, including more people ordering restaurant takeaway and consuming more individually packaged foods,” GCSC spokesperson Julia Wakeling said in a press release.

While food- and beverage-related litter accounted for a greater percentage of waste uncovered by GCSC than in the past, it wasn’t the single largest category of items picked up through the program last year.

That dubious honour goes to cigarette butts and other smoking-related paraphernalia, which comprised nearly 29 per cent of all items collected. There were more than 83,000 cigarette butts among the 42,000 kilograms of waste found and clean up last year.

So-called “tiny trash” – little pieces of plastic and foam – also accounted for a sizeable share of the waste, making up 26.8 per cent of the total haul.

In addition to smoking-related items and tiny trash, the main pieces of litter removed by GCSC volunteers last year included nearly 22,000 food wrappers, more than 17,500 pieces of paper, more than 13,000 bottle caps and more than 10,000 beverage cans.

Discarded face masks and other forms of personal protective equipment were also detected and cleaned up, although not tallied in their own category.  PPE waste has been repeatedly cited as a concern by environmental advocates during the pandemic; a robin in Chilliwack, B.C. is the earliest known example of an animal that died due to coronavirus-related litter.

The GCSC is an annual program organized by Ocean Wise and the World Wildlife Fund Canada. Its operations were disrupted by the pandemic as well; only 15,000 volunteers took part in the program last year, versus 85,000 in 2019, due to delays and public health restrictions making large group clean-ups impossible.

Still, there was GCSC participation from every province and the Northwest Territories in 2020. Nearly half of the volunteers who took part were based in B.C., where the program began in 1994.

Data from past GCSC reports was used as part of the research backing Canada’s ban on certain single-use plastic items, which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2021.

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