Author - John Coyne

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PCVs in Colombian Film–But Not Our Story (Colombia)
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PC/HQ Celebrates Black History Month—But Where’s Franklin Williams?
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A Writer Writes “Dervishes” by Steve Horowitz (Iran)
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Washington Post review and comments on Larry Leamer’s (Nepal) book MAR-A-LAGO
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RSVP Harris Wofford Memorial
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Harris Wofford Memorials (Ethiopia)
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Review — YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)
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The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea)
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“A Game in the Sun” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)
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Former Peace Corps trainee sentenced in case of video voyeurism

PCVs in Colombian Film–But Not Our Story (Colombia)

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from Bob Arias (Colombia 1964-66) Review: “Birds of Passage,” the Tragic Story of an Indigenous Colombian Family’s Involvement in the Drug War By Richard Brody New Yorker February 11, 2019 The cultural richness of “Birds of Passage” is overwhelming, its sense of detail piercingly perceptive, and its sense of drama rigorously yet organically integrated with its documentary elements. Photograph Courtesy The Orchard The Colombian film “Birds of Passage,” directed by Cristina Gallego and Ciro Guerra, is an ethnographic thriller—a drama set in rural northern Colombia, centered on one indigenous group, the Wayuu, and based on the true story of a drug war that, from the late nineteen-sixties through the early nineteen-eighties, inflamed the region and engulfed a Wayuu family. It’s a movie involving a wide spectrum of experience, but its elements are nonetheless profoundly integrated. It’s not a thriller with some local color adorning the action or . . .

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PC/HQ Celebrates Black History Month—But Where’s Franklin Williams?

WASHINGTON– In honor of Black History Month, today the Peace Corps recognizes the important contributions African-American Volunteers and staff have made to the agency’s mission and promoting cross-cultural understanding around the globe with a Press Release. The news release published today, February 11, 2019, honors African-American Volunteers and a number of noted staff members, including, of course, Carolyn R. Payton, the first female Director of Peace Corps, as well as the first African-American Director, and writes about a few other African-American staff members. (By the way, the Peace Corps Press Release  has a type with Carolyn’s first name under her photograph.) However, the Press Release never mentions the most recognized African-Americans on the first Peace Corps staff, Franklin Williams, who began his ‘international’ career at the Peace Corps in 1961, and was at HQ as Chief of the Division of Private Organizations, and then head of the African Region. In 1965 . . .

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A Writer Writes “Dervishes” by Steve Horowitz (Iran)

DERVISHES By Steve Horowitz  (Iran 1968-71) It was a long walk from the Workman’s house to this other part of town, where the monthly meetings and rituals took place.  Early evening but already dark , through the maze of winding high-walled alleys; few people were outside and all the mud walls seemed to look the same. Three of us -John, myself and Mustapha, John’s friend who had set everything up for us- made our way slowly with Mustapha following the directions someone had provided him. What they did at these ritual gatherings was private, secretive and pretty bizarre to outsiders, so there was no interest in encouraging visitors- especially foreigners- to attend, but if there was an intermediary to make contact and the patience to wait for permission to be granted, it could be arranged John and his wife were English teachers in this Kurdish city not far from the . . .

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Washington Post review and comments on Larry Leamer’s (Nepal) book MAR-A-LAGO

    Thanks to the ‘heads up’ from Dick Lipez (Ethiopia 1962-64) Article and review of Laurence Leamer’s (Nepal 1965-67) Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace. • How Mar-a-Lago’s denizens nurtured Donald Trump’s ego By Robin Givhan Washington Post February 7   Palm Beach is a horrible place. According to Laurence Leamer “Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace,” the Florida enclave is populated by snooty old-timers and egotistical arrivistes, social climbers and brown-nosers — all of whom are willing to tolerate and even reward the most egregious behavior if it means basking in the nuclear glow of the latest buzzy power player. It’s a town where wealthy husbands fight petty battles in court and middle-aged wives fight wrinkles and weight gain as if their marriages depend on it, because they so often do. It’s a wretched village filled with grotesque anti-Semitism . . .

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RSVP Harris Wofford Memorial

Harris Wofford Memorial Please join us to celebrate the remarkable life of Harris Wofford. Saturday, March 2, 2019 2:00pm Cramton Auditorium – Howard University 2455 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20059   RSVP at: https://voicesforservice.org/rsvp-harris-wofford-memorial/

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Harris Wofford Memorials (Ethiopia)

Please join family and friends to celebrate the remarkable life of Harris Wofford on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 2:00 pm. The service will be held at Cramton Auditorium, Howard University (2455 6th Street NW, Washington, DC 20059). If you plan to attend, please email rsvp@voicesforservice.org. We also invite you to share a story or anecdote of how Harris Wofford impacted your life. In particular, we are interested in personal stories of when you met Harris and how that shaped or transformed your life or career. Submit your story here.

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Review — YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS by Kristen Roupenian (Kenya)

  You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Stories By Kristen Roupenian (Kenya 2003-05) Scout Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster 225 pages $24.99 (hardcover), $12.99 (Kindle), $23.19 (Audio CD)   Reviewed by Marnie Mueller (Ecuador 1963-65) • Let me begin by saying I’m not the best person to be reviewing Kristen Roupenian’s debut book, You Know You Want This: “Cat Person” and Other Short Stories. One would think I would be because I’m a Second Wave radical feminist who agitated for equal rights for women, especially equal erotic rights. As a writer I’ve felt the pinch over the years of the publishing industry’s spoken and unspoken bias toward “likable” women characters. And I have my own bias in favor of difficult, edgy writing, whether by men or women.  This said, I’ve now come up against the adage of, “beware of what you ask for.” When I first . . .

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The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea)

  The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang (Korea 1976-77) Braddock Avenue Books Publisher May 2019 $16.95 available for pre-order now (at a discount)   Synopsis: The Alexanders have farmed the land in Turtle Valley for generations, and their family and its history is tied to this mountainous region of Virginia in ways few others can claim. When Gulf War veteran Aiken Alexander brings home a young and pregnant South Korean bride, he hopes at long last to claim his own place in that complicated history—coming out from behind the shadow of his tragically killed older brother and taking up a new place in his father’s affections. However, things do not go according to plan. While he loves his young son, his wife, Soon-hee, can’t—or won’t—adjust to life in America. Her behavior growing stranger and stranger to Aiken’s eyes every day until the marriage reaches a breaking point. When Soon-hee disappears . . .

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“A Game in the Sun” by John Coyne (Ethiopia)

    This collection of stories is drawn from various decades of my life, starting back when I was a high school student. It has recently been published by Cemetery Press and is available now at Amazon.com. I wrote stories and published them in high school, college and graduate school publications, but my first sale didn’t happen until I was 33 years old. In 1972, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine bought “A Game in the Sun” for $150 — the first money I ever earned from writing fiction. My apprenticeship as a novelist was even longer; I wrote seven before I finally got one published, in 1979. That was an occult-horror novel, The Piercing. I followed it up with half a dozen similar books, some of which made best seller lists. I have also written golf novels, love stories, non-fiction and one family saga. In this collection I’ve compiled 13 stories and entitled them A . . .

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Former Peace Corps trainee sentenced in case of video voyeurism

Thanks for the ‘heads up’ from James Sheahan (Sierra Leone 1961-63) Peace Corps Press Release Former Peace Corps trainee sentenced in case of video voyeurism 01/29/2019 WASHINGTON – On January 24, 2019, former Peace Corps trainee Matthew Walker, 31, was sentenced by a federal magistrate judge to 3 years of probation and 30 days of intermittent confinement for committing acts of video voyeurism. He was sentenced at the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Florida in Pensacola, Florida. On November 13, 2018, Walker pled guilty to three counts of video voyeurism stemming from conduct he engaged in while a Peace Corps trainee in Zambia in 2016. Walker admitted to using his GoPro camera on three occasions to record a fellow trainee, without consent, while the fellow trainee was naked and changing in areas where the fellow trainee had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Inspector General Kathy A. Buller . . .

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