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Note from the Editor
by Olga Stein

The world convulsed violently in 1968 as students from Berkeley to Charles University took to the streets. That year, during the Olympic Games in Mexico City, 10,000 students gathered in a residential area called Tlatelolco to peacefully protest their nation's one-party government and lack of political freedom. In response, the police and military shot and bayoneted to death an estimated 325 unarmed Mexican youth. In response to that cold-blooded action, Elena Poniatowska, acknowledged as the most accomplished woman writer in Mexico, penned an extraordinarily brave book, Massacre in Mexico. She called this book a "collage" of "voices bearing historical witness", and the enormous impact and success it has had since its publication have cemented Poniatowska's international reputation as both a courageous humanitarian and one of the world's finest journalists. As part of our Great Authors series, we have the privilege to present Maria Elena de Valdés' interview with Poniatowska that was conducted in Mexico City around the thirtieth anniversary of the massacre.

This issue of Books in Canada is devoted to global issues. There is an interview with Irish poet Michael Longley who, among other things, talks about the relationship between contemporary poetry and the cultural and political complexities of Northern Ireland. Closer to home several reviews explore Canada's historical landscape, in particular, what Norman Ravvin calls, "the deeper, largely forgotten entanglement between black America and Canada". Robert Kinloch Massie's Lionel Gelber prizewinning book about the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa and America is featured. Robin Collins discusses Canada's leading role in establishing a Convention banning anti-personnel landmines, a treaty that will be brought into effect on March 1st, 1999. And in an acknowledgment of the fundamental issue of who has the right to speak for whom, young Craig Kielburger's book on children's rights is reviewed by one of his own peers, highschool student Kimberley Mok.

Finally, we introduce a new section on significant cultural and intellectual projects undertaken in Canada: here, the latest bi-lingual edition of Canadian poetry (by P.K. Page) published on the initiative of Francesca Valente of the Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto.

Diana Kuprel


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