Archive | September 2012

Have the media stopped “loving” J.K.Rowling?

So much has been said and written about this phenomenonal woman. Most of it though, concentrates on her wealth, the rugs to riches side of her story and the record-breaking sales of her books.

The conditional nature of the media’s love towards this magnificent writer is beginning to show ever so blatantly with the release of her latest novel for adults titled “Casual Vacancy”. Released only today the 27th of September, it has already managed to attract the critics’ attention. It’s not even been out for a day and Casual Vacancy has been called, “dull”, “angrily political”, “definitely not a book for children”, (the author has time and again declared it is an adult book, why it is so hard for people to get over with this, is beyond me). In short, “too dull, too political, ” too angry, too close to reality?

Could it be that the media are up to no good? Could it be that trashing a mega-successful writer is easier and more attention-grabbing rather than actually delving deeper to get the meaning of their story?

A writer like J.K. Rowling who became a universal household name, because of her ability to create a believable parallell world, and one that our children are safe in, surely deserves more.

Allow me to use a couple of excerpts to prove my point:

1st: The Times UK 27/09/2012

“Perhaps it’s no bad thing to be reminded that novels might, once again, do more than simply entertain us.”

2nd: The Times UK April 2010:

“Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say “it’s not the money, it’s the message”. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money. If Mr Cameron’s only practical advice to women living in poverty, the sole carers of their children, is “get married, and we’ll give you £150″, he reveals himself to be completely ignorant of their true situation. How many prospective husbands did I ever meet, when I was the single mother of a baby, unable to work, stuck inside my flat, night after night, with barely enough money for life’s necessities? Should I have proposed to the youth who broke in through my kitchen window at 3 am? Half a billion pounds, to send a message – would it not be more cost-effective, more personal, to send all the lower-income married people flowers.”

So, Ms. Allison Pearson of the Daily Telegraph, when my kids ask me in the future what I make of J.K. Rowling and whether they should read the “Casual Vacancy”, I’ll quote to them her statement above. Like I’ve quoted to everyone who matters to me. It won’t be difficult to find an answer for my kids. And if I did my job right, they’ll read the Casual Vacancy when they’re supposed to. And they’ll draw the right conclusions.

What is utterly annoying is how easily and quickly people tend to forget. This woman created a reality that was often harsh, cruel but one which our children could understand and relate to. I don’t believe there was any sugar-coating as to how Harry Potter was brought up. I also don’t seem to remember there being a magical wand to save Harry Potter from his destiny. Perhaps, in the end it is the adults who have trouble accepting the reality.

We need strong political messages in our literature to shake us from the numbness of over-consumerism and individuality. We need smacks of social awakening to remind us that we can make more of this life rather than earn more. We need to regain purpose in the way we lead our lives. In the way we work. We need the people who have the knowledge, the capacity, the talent to urge us to do so.

Surely, a woman with means like Ms. Rowling has better things to do than urge people to live their lives better. Surely. Yet she insists. That’s admirable.

And that is why I LOVE J.K.Rowling.

Bella Nars.

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Typical question to a lawyer: Would you represent a murderer?

If you’ve never met a lawyer before, then this question may sound strange to you. Then again, with so much crime going on in the world, you may have taken a second to think about the quality of the people who represent murderers in court. How do they do it?

I’ve been a lawyer for some time now, having passed all sorts of legal exams over the years. It still strikes me as odd when I get this question even though, if I had a penny for the times people have asked me whether I’d represent a murderer in court, I’d have a lot more Louis Vuitton handbags by now.

There is a longstanding and sacred rule of law stating that every defendant is entitled to a fair trial. And another one which states that every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. But any idealistic facet of the law falls short of the reality. That in fact, people (lawyers definitely included) are by definition human beings, and as such they have their limits and weaknesses. How is this relevant? Well, it is when we consider that it is people, mere human beings, who are trained to interpret and apply the rule of the law. Mere humans decide whether to charge defendants with offences and mere humans decide whether these defendands are innocent or guilty of those offences.

Wise men centuries ago realised that in order for there to be a rule of law, there must be safeguards.  So, to protect the rule of the law, there is a code of conduct which guides and binds all practicing lawyers offering through its provisions solutions to difficult situations.

Where a defendant confesses his guilt to his lawyer, the code of conduct provides a solution.

Can he refuse to represent a guilty client?

 In English law he may not be able to refuse to represent a client because of the ‘cab rank’ rule which says that a practicing barrister must accept any work presented to him (save for some exceptions). Yet there is a solution:

The notion of estoppel , provides that a lawyer may represent a guilty defendant, by leading a defence as a shield and not a sword. What this beautiful phrase means is that the lawyer should not go as far as to prove the defendant’s innocence but only so far as to adequately represent his client in the criminal proceedings.

The fact that there is a legally accepted solution to this problem does not make it a panacea. Some grim examples of gross miscarriage of justice in the UK (Birmingham 6, the Guildford 4 etc.) prove that the justice system can get it terribly wrong at times. Does this mean that it is entirely flawed? Following the above said miscarriages of justice there was an overhaul of the system (thankfully) acknowledging the shortcomings of a jury consisting of only middle class, middle aged, middle minded people.

Apart from the legal dimension to the problem of representing a guilty defendant the lawyer may also have to face the psychological dimension on the lawyer’s morale when he knowingly represents a guilty client. Arguably, legal training should equip lawyers to deal with less than ordinary situations. But Is the lawyer practicing in an ideal world? Hardly. Then perhaps the legal profession should aim to enhance the lawyers’ knowledge, skills and information, enabling them to practice within the boundaries of the ethos provided for by the rule of law but taking into consideration the socio-economic challenges of this world.

When the murderer represented in court is a previously law-abiding citizen whose family was murdered by the victim, the meaning of all legal terms is looked at in an entirely new context.

Does the rule of law afford any flexibility in its application especially when hideous crimes have taken place? Should it?

An excerpt from THE CLOSING: Food for thought

Love comes in various shapes and sizes. But there can only be ONE GREAT LOVE. Read all about it below and in THE CLOSING.

“I take a couple of steps forward, as if under a spell.  I want to hear this voice again and again; I need to. My head is light, and well, my self-protective resolution is down the drain. Any thoughts I had of self-protection vaporise. This is his voice. I am positive of that. I would recognise it even if it came from the core of the earth. I ooze out of my cover magnetised like a bee drawn to a lily in the break of spring. The thought that I may be actually walking towards my own death passes through my mind but it is as tiny as the tip of a needle. There’s no stopping me now. This is the end of the line for me.

“Dima?” I see him only two feet away from me held by two black-clad commandos on each arm. He looks ghastly.

 “My God, Dima, what did they do to you?” He turns his head away. Shit. I must have embarrassed him.

“It…it’s OK. Oh my God, your face… Are you…?”

“Yes, I am OK,” I jump in to answer. My eyes can’t help but wander all around his face, his once beautiful face that is now badly bruised. My stomach turns from the sight of blood dripping from his nose, his slashed arms, and his ears.

“We’re not exactly…ehm… the same as last time we were together, right?”

His smile is bitter as he struggles to speak. I nod in agreement.

The Closing by Stella K. Armida Publications.

10 reasons to read THE CLOSING

THE CLOSING by Stella K is the book I proudly star in. Here’s 10 reasons (out of plenty) why it is a must-read:

1. It’s fresh.

2. It talks about love.

3. It’s action packed yet witty.

4. It’s honest and raw.

5. Extensive readership would make the author very happy indeed!

6. It has a soul. And like every living being, it is waiting to be discovered.

7. It’s thought-provoking yet entertaining.

8. The characters have been known to stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.

9. It’s FREE to download on KINDLE Wednesday the 12th and Friday the 14th  of September.

10. The paperback has a velvety, leathery feel to it.

Now, how many other books can offer this sort of attributes?

Bella Nars.

P.S If you’re a sceptic and don’t want to take my word for it, check out the reviews on www.amazon.com and www.amazon.co.uk which may be more convincing. And those reviews are definitely NOT mine.

The meaning of Autumn

Oxford defines autumn as” the third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May.”

But autumn is so much more, isn’t it?

‘Tis the season when students go back to school. Armed with their new (and used these days) school gear, they march into the classrooms to take the seats they will occupy the new academic year.

‘Tis the season of Halloween, of carved pumpkins and Yorkshire Parkin cake (form of gingerbread with glaze) and ghosts of loves past.

‘Tis the season when the air smells of moist earth, winds tell secrets and the rain drops bring the grass (and our souls) back to life.

‘Tis the season of corporate restructurings, of due diligence procedures and legal opinions over complex legal matters.

‘Tis the season runner up to Christmas for which we need to prepare spiritually, physically and financially (think outfits for Christmas parties etc.).

In any event, autumn is my favourite season.

Bella Nars.