30 March 2009

Nice Jewish Girl Falls in Love with Indian Dentist, Leads South American Country

After a long life committed to social justice, Janet Jagan has passed.

From the NYT:

Born Janet Rosenberg in 1920, she was a student nurse at Cook County Hospital when she met Cheddi Jagan, a dentistry student at Northwestern University and the eldest of 11 children of an Indo-Guyanese family of sugar cane workers. His grandparents had arrived in British Guiana from India as indentured laborers.

They married, despite the fierce opposition of her parents, who were Jewish, and in 1943 they moved to British Guiana, where he established a dental practice and they both became involved in radical politics. In 1950, they founded the People’s Progressive Party, and in 1953, in elections under a new Constitution providing greater home rule, Dr. Jagan became chief minister. But the Jagans’ Marxist ideas aroused the suspicions of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who sent warships and troops to topple the new government. The Jagans were jailed.


After her husband died in 1997, she ran for president and won. At campaign rallies, her followers respectfully called her “bhowji,” a Hindi term meaning “elder brother’s wife.” But her government was plagued by street protests and tension with the opposition People’s National Congress.

After a mild heart attack in 1999, Mrs. Jagan stepped down, opening the way for her Moscow-educated finance minister, Bharrat Jagdeo, to become president, a position he still holds.
In that part where there is an ellipsis above is a complete simplification and mess-up-ification of Guyanese history. I imagine that someone (not it!) should write a spirited letter to the editor at the NYT.

(For a quick slice of Guyana and Cold War history, check out the Jagans back in the day in the footage here. To really get to know more, you might start with the book reviewed here and move on to things like this and this.)

Now back to my renewal efforts. This blog is still, technically, on pause.


Renegade Eye said...

Really interesting post.

Anonymous said...

I do not know whether you've seen it but one of the tv companies has just shot the report about the life of black people in Russia.



Though i would disagree with their interpretation of Stalin era and repeated claim that Russia defeated fascism (few people there mean ideology when they say it.In my opinion there has never been any fight let alone victory against ideology-fascism) it nevertheless provides good account on evryday life of Africans in Russia.

Buster said...

Thanks to you, anonymous.