Ed Mynott

Still a runner

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I think Colin Wilson was a little too harsh in his review of The Kite Runner (Culture, Socialist Review, January 2008).

Colin wrote that the first half of the film - the nostalgic depiction of boyhood - "is pretty satisfying" but it is "a disgraceful omission" that the film fails to address the politics of why Afghanistan has been at war for 30 years.

It is true that the cartoon-like depiction of the Taliban is the film's weakest point and that the film does not really address Afghan politics. Had it managed to weave such a political narrative into the story, it would have been a stunning (not to say miraculous) addition to the pantheon of film.

Two Sides of the Story

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I was interested to read the review by Diana Swingler of Jane Jordan's biography of Josephine Butler (February SR).

The Contagious Diseases Acts have rightly become notorious for the regime of harassment and abuse which they introduced in the mid-19th century, not only for women working as prostitutes but for working class women in general. Certainly Josephine Butler was the key figure in the cross-class campaign which eventually led to their repeal. I wonder, however, whether Jane Jordan's biography has anything to say about what happened after their repeal?

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