Born to be a guide dog

By Miguel Macarro Stewart

I was born to be a guide dog. I had great fun with my brothers and sisters.
When I was two months, I left my dog family.

I went to a human family to learn many things.

First I was afraid. There were many noises in my new home. They put something around my neck, and took me to the streets, with big things making noise and moving around.

My human family showed me how to be clean, obedient and behave well.

On my first birthday, I had to go back to the guide dog school. To learn how to be a guide dog.

Today I am the eyes of my blind friend. I guide my friend through life. Every day he tells me I´m his best car.

TDR Photography: Anna Indalecio’s ‘The Kiss’

Photography and text by Anna Indalecio

November 20th, 2011, general elections were held in Spain.

A month earlier, the 15th of October, the streets of Madrid and other Spanish cities were filled with thousands of citizens expressing their opinion, their point of view, exercising their duty as citizens, giving a real meaning to the term democracy.

It is now considered a mere euphemism, a word that has lost its meaning due to this current crisis, which is not only economic, but also, even more alarmingly, ethical and moral.

There is no need to wait for 4 years, to wait to be heard. There is no need to fulfil the bureaucratic requirements for the voting age to participate actively in our own society.

So, no matter what your age or your condition is, just go outside, fight for your rights, participate, shout, kiss, express your opinion fearlessly, and demand a better society. A society that would have to be fair, equal, and above all democratic.

Nowadays, our society has become conformist, visionless and has no critical opinion, just because our system has made us believe that there is no alternative, converting us into a herd. This is what we are trying to change.

People of the world… Rise up!

TDR Poetry: Activ-isms

by Imran Garda

 

Sorry to buck the trend

My activist friend

But your activ-isms have created schisms in my land

Reminds us of days gone by

As your ancestor’s ships arrived on our shores with the good book in hand

We are not obliged to match the size of the garments you cast upon us

We are not designed to conform to your fetishes

S&M

We don’t intend to bite the hand that feeds us

But forgive us

We may have lost our appetite a long time ago

You enter my dry windless summer

A land for you of infinite drama

Intervening, hunting for the killer in the wood

Strange that you should have such swings of mood

Forgive me for the bitterness swirling in my spleen

Your cash flows like our tranquil streams

Fulfilling the wildest dreams

Of our real tormentors

Our Kings and Queens

Send in the troops

In endless postcolonial loops

Like Black Hawk Dawn and Apocalypse Now

Let’s shoot some hoops in HD and together vow

Death to poverty, death to crime

Time to change the world one RT at a time

You raise awareness

But what of fairness?

Read, watch, click, send

In an over-saturated online wasteland

Millions and millions more informed

What if your history was deformed?

Yet still, my continent, to you a country

Welcomes you

Let the internet set the bounty

From ABC to ICC

Only because you love me

But if you love me, why don’t you ask me what I think?

Or do you fear that I, from the fountain, shall too deeply drink?

Sorry to buck the trend

My activist friend

But your activ-isms have created schisms in my land

Forgive me my beloved rebellious bird

Your voice, unshackled, deserves to be heard

But while you explore our forbidden fruits

Take me as an equal, from the leaves to the branch, to the trunk, to the roots.

 

About the author

Born in Johannesburg, Imran Garda has over a decade of experience as a journalist, writer and TV personality. He currently lives in Washington, DC and hosts The Stream on Al Jazeera.

 

Book Review: ‘Selfishness’

By Richard Fitzpatrick, Irish Examiner

‘Selfishness’ does something rare for a humorous novel – it manages to render madcap antics with a cool, light touch. And the carry-on is completely preposterous…

Young Colombian Marisol is 10 days from her wedding. She invites a homeless Iraqi psychologist (who gives fine foot-massages) into the home she shares in Madrid with her fiancé, Hugo, a Norwegian speechwriter for ultra right-wing interest groups with an irrational fear of terrorist attacks and a wandering eye for any skirt that passes into his orbit, a weakness that propels his fiancée into stripping on the metro in retaliation.

Mo, the couple’s resident shrink, and the assortment of characters that end up dossing in their apartment, do nothing good for the state of their relationship.

The plot of Selfishness keeps veering in unexpected directions. Madrid, “the city without a sea”, comes vividly to life, although the novel’s greatest strength is its philosophical digressions and meditations on love, for Selfishness is ultimately an unlikely love story, with some wonderful clashes of culture and perspectives for background colour.

At its best, Krug’s writing brings to mind John Kennedy Toole or the rich, giddy language and outlandish characters of Gary Shteyngart’s novels.

Read him and weep with laughter.

 

Author Biography

Richard Fitzpatrick lives in Barcelona. He works as a freelance journalist, covering sport and features, for the Irish Times and Irish Examiner newspapers and also as a correspondent for Irish national radio. He previously worked in Dublin, San Francisco and Toronto as a features writer. His other credits include The New York Times, Sunday Times and The Herald in Scotland plus other publications around the world.

‘Selfishness’ by Matthias Krug is available at:
http://www.amazon.com/Selfishness-ebook/dp/B005KN8388/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332160841&sr=8-1

Berlin

By Lucia Guijarro Hernando

Dear diary

It is Christmas, and everybody seems to be so happy. There are Christmas lights in every single tree, laughter mixes with the modest and short live concerts that some unluckily talented musicians play for a little amount of money. Although it is cold, there are plenty of smiling faces passing by.

The lightful and shiny shops attract consumers with their colorful posters that pray ‘sale’ each 20 cm of the shop window. Costumers are only searching for the perfect gift, and in most cases that will be impossible.

This is, though, such a beautiful city, But that isn’t enough when you miss something. Christmas doesn’t transmit me any happiness or even hope. I have been living here since October, and I wish I could be home right now.
It is hard to start a new life living abroad, although I thought in the beginning that it wouldn’t. I feel lonely, unprotected and a little bit scared. This is probably the most difficult decision that I have ever taken.

Anyway, it is true that there are a lot of colleagues that are helping me, but I don’t feel comfortable yet.

All I want for Christmas is a plane ticket that could take me back to London.

People are always asking me why I have moved abroad being so young; I know I’m a liar, because my answer may be: ‘adventure’. The truth is that I don’t want to be the broke girl that I was called in high school. Actually, I am helping my family a lot by sending them my money.

Well, it over for today, it’s my cleaning turn time, and if I’m late they will discount it from my salary.

Till tomorrow,

Melanie.

Confessions of a teenager

By Laura Díez Álava

There’s a moment in your life when, apart from “Hi! How are you?”, one of the phrases you hear the most is:

“And you, what do you want to be when you grow up?”.

Me?

I´m not going to answer something like: “A psychologist”, “a doctor”, “an attorney”, “an architect, like my dad”…

No.

Sincerely, I am glad for these people that have their ideas so clear but in my opinion beautiful, special and perfect things don’t need to be planned. And yes, I also have some clear ideas and I know perfectly how to answer that question, of course I do. It´s not too complicated, or maybe I don´t over-complicate it as I should.

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Easy: HAPPY. Yes, happy. That´s all. I don´t look forward to something really complicated. I just want a reason to smile every day, feel proud of myself, look at the mirror and smile, not accept “no” as an answer, make everyone that used to say “you´ll never reach it” see that they were mistaken, be able to say “that was a dream I had since I was very small… and now I fulfilled it”, make sure that people who I love never forget me.

But, over all that, I want to be happy.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is just a question; “happy” is more than an answer.

Creative fanaticism

Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, talking in Madrid on May 4th 2011:

“It was very touching for me to return after so many years to a place which, in many ways, symbolizes the years of my youth” .

Furthermore, when asked about religious fanaticism with regards to the death of Osama Bin Laden some days before the event, Vargas Llosa turned his reply into a celebration of what he called ‘creative fanaticism’:

“If you take the case of a writer like Flaubert, you can only talk about fanaticism to describe the manner in which he dedicated himself to his vocation, and how he decided to be a genius. It’s really a wonderful case. It helped me a lot when I began to write; the case of a writer who began as such a bad writer, but who had such an enormous will power to be a great writer that he succeeded, based on discipline, perseverance, a fanaticism which doesn’t harm anyone. He was able to overcome the enormous limitations of his youth, when he began writing.

I think behind geniuses like Flaubert you find attitudes which you can describe as being fanatical; musicians, painters, architects, all moved by the idea of achieving something which hasn’t been done before. So fanaticism has two faces. The destructive, religious, intolerant fanaticism, and this type of creative fanaticism which we have to admire.”

Leo’s Lover

By Matthias Krug

Leo, lavish lover, light in my blindness, leaver in my coming; L. You call me B. I call you L.
They say I stick to you. To your feet; mainly to your left one. To your chest, on that memorable trip to Arabia. To your head, your hair, on that sensual other night in Rome. We meet in different locations, but the outcome is always the same.

We embrace.

Never do we merely stick.

How little they know.

All I know is that you always want to be with me. You never let me go. Except when you have to, when there is so much density, beauty, feeling in our perpetual embrace, that the only thing you can do is push me away for a while; only for me to return desperately to your feet, begging to be touched again in that way. The way in which no one else can ever touch me.

You never kick me. You stroke me. You never hit me. You caress my firm body. You never shoot me. You propel me forwards. When you release me it is just to celebrate (life). But there is always the return to you.

Will it last forever? No, because nothing does. But while it lasts, it is the most eternal thing that there is.

Our passion makes men question their preferences. Wives question husbands. Husbands question wives. Wives questions wives. And so forth. Everything becomes questionable. Limits are tossed aside. Arms fly skywards. Heads shake in awe. Not possible? You make it possible.

Leo, lover, L. You call me B. I call you L.

There is no one like you. To me you are not the best. You are the only. Size matters not. In this it is not a matter of size. You are not the biggest. Others may be more beautiful. But others are not you.

Last night in Madrid you were wonderful; wondrous; mesmerizing; how little mere words seem in comparison to you. I am always looking up to you, blindly. Never do we speak. You who are not one of words anyhow.

There we were. Embracing in front of thousands of people. In private it is a pleasure, but with these masses of people chanting so passionately for us to be apart, there is something touching in the balmy night air. Ours becomes a forbidden love.
When you touched me there, for once, with your hand, it was punishable. They only want you to touch me with your feet. No matter, I prefer it that way.

Towards the end of our seeing each other, you lay me down. Then you touch me. Briefly. Delicately. Understandingly. Dashingly. And so rapidly. Is it legal?

 

 

Yes.

From that angle, it is impossible for me to enter. Seemingly impossible. The watching journalist in the stands looks down for an instant, and when he looks up I am already inside. He’s missed the moment.

You are celebrating. The journalist thinks it must have been X who touched me. From that angle it must have been X, the other little genius at understanding me, whose right foot I enjoy so much.

But it was you.

You who have known me since you were so small. When I was not this perfect yet either. We who have only ever had each other. Seen each other mature. Will you ever get bored of me? As we grow older? You’d think so.

Yet you always need me. You come looking for me. Running to me. And then after we have played, you leave me there, wanting more. Only rarely do you take me home, whisking me past the flashing cameras and the waiting reporters.

If only not so many eyes were always placed on you.

Some fall in sight. Others in smell. Lacking these senses, I fell in touch.

They all want to keep us apart. You are always running away. From them. With me by your side. Ours is a romance on the run. We are constantly under pressure. Results. Trophies. Records. What do they all mean to me?

Nothing.

There is one question only on my mind; can there be another, whom you touch like this? I don’t think so. You were made just for me. And yet this weekend, you will not touch me. You will watch from the stands. Others will. You have been kept apart from me for a weekend. So I will be stroked by I, by X, by the new boy C.

But don’t let any of that fool you. I was made for you. One stitch at a time.

Will we survive without the other? No, that is another rhetorical question; a circle coming back upon itself. What I really want to know is this, even if I may sound a little obsessive as a result;

What will our baby look like?

 

About the author
Matthias Krug (www.mkrug.com) is a Doha-born writer, novelist and journalist.

 

Awaiting a creative March

After coming to life in a happening month of February, The Doha Review awaits another moving and creative month of March.

The increasing number of readers of this new fiction and arts magazine have already had the chance to read two outstanding pieces of writing by our first two featured writers, Catarina Antunes and Imran Garda. Their international origins and outlooks have enriched the content and given us a new perspective on the new year, as well as a vivid take on an existing problem within Western media reporting.

From the innate wit of Garda and the flowing density of Antunes we move this month to further exciting pieces of art; expect an outstanding artwork by a Madrid-based artist, an article this weekend on the beauty of football, and many more words that sparkle and take on a life of their own.

And always in the background there is the trademark kettle of The Doha Review, bringing you the very best of creativity in this melting pot of cultures.

Here’s to more moving ideas in March.

The Editor
Matthias Krug