Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXIII Number 7, July 2015

JULY AND AUGUST.  Meetings will resume 
on September 24.
  Tuesday, August 11, 7:30 PM. Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena. In the summer we 
meet outdoors at the "Rath al Fresco," on the 
lawn behind the building. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty.
  Sunday, August 16, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
group. This month we read the novel "A 
Treacherous Paradise" by Henning Mankell.


Hello everyone,
{Kathy is on vacation. She'll be back to write next 
month's column.]

Save the Date. The Amnesty West Regional 
Conference will be held the weekend of Nov. 20 
in Los Angeles at the Sheraton Hotel near LAX. 
What with one thing and another, it's been two 
years since any Group 22 members attended an 
AIUSA conference, so we're eagerly looking 
forward to this one. We'll post more details 
when they are available.

New case, new case coordinator. Our group has 
begun the process of adopting a new Prisoner of 
Conscience. Alexi will be our new Case File 
Coordinator. She is in contact with the AIUSA 
Individuals At Risk program, which is 
responsible for assigning cases to Local Groups 
who wish to make long-term commitments. 

Best wishes to group members Ido and Niki, 
who are settling into their new home in 
Portland, Oregon. We miss you!

Cheers, Joyce and Stevi

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, August 16, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena
A Treacherous Paradise
By Henning Mankell

[The New York Times Sunday Book Review]
JULY 19, 2013

We forget, in these postcolonial times, that until 
comparatively recently the world was replete 
with empires. I was born in a corner of the 
British Empire, in West Africa, in a colony 
known as the Gold Coast, and the Africa of 
those days (the early 1950s) was divided among 
several empires: British, French, Belgian, 
Spanish and Portuguese (the Germans having 
been expelled in World War I and their colonies 

The Portuguese had been there longest, since the 
15th century, and their colonies - Mozambique, 
Angola and Guinea - were surprisingly 
integrated compared with others. The 
Portuguese had abolished slavery by the end of 
the 19th century, the death penalty had been 
rescinded (apart from cases of treason), and 
intermarriage between the settler class and the 
local Africans was tolerated, thereby earning the 
Portuguese colonies a louche reputation for 
decadence and immorality, particularly from the 
point of view of the British. A chapter of my 
second novel, "An Ice-Cream War," was set in 
Portuguese East Africa (as Mozambique was 
then known) during World War I, and as I did 
my research this attitude of prurient revulsion 
on the part of its British colonial neighbors was 
particularly striking.

Henning Mankell's fascinating new novel, "A 
Treacherous Paradise," is largely set in 
Mozambique during the early years of the 20th 
century. But the story starts in Sweden. A young 
girl, Hanna Renstrom, is sent away from her 
isolated rural home because her family, 
confronting a famine, can no longer feed all its 
members. Assisted by a fur-wearing, sleigh-
driving businessman, Hanna secures a place as a 
cook on a Swedish steamship bound for 
Australia, hauling a cargo of timber. On the first 
leg of the journey she marries the third mate, 
who promptly dies of fever off the coast of 
Africa. Eyeing the shoreline and the Portuguese 
city of Louren¨o Marques as the steamer takes 
on supplies, Hanna, a very young widow, only 
18, spontaneously decides to jump ship and 
make a new life on the African continent. Now 
her adventures really begin.

Mankell, as it happens, divides his time between 
Sweden and Mozambique and has great 
familiarity with both countries. His 
juxtaposition of the two - cold north versus hot 
south, Swedish temperament combining with 
African license - gives the novel its unusual 
flavor. It often reads like a fable or a folk tale, as 
this young Swedish girl encounters the cruel 
realities of African colonial life. Having fled her 
ship, she checks in to a hotel, only to discover 
that it's Louren¨o Marques's most prestigious 
brothel. After just a few weeks the brothel 
keeper, a man called Vaz, asks her to marry him, 
which she does. Then he also dies, and Hanna 
finds herself running the business in his place - 
with considerable aplomb and success.

The brothel, called O Paraiso ("The Paradise," 
giving the novel's title one of its nuances), is a 
curious, surreal place. Vaz's pet chimpanzee, 
Carlos, who wears clothes and serves 
refreshments to clients from a tray, becomes 
attached to Hanna and is a constant presence. 
Hanna also develops strong relationships with 
her "girls" and some of her clients, and the 
narrative reflects the bizarre, anecdotal, 
meandering nature of the brothel keeper's life.

 Increasingly wealthy and becoming a person of 
some local stature and influence, Hanna 
discovers that paradise can be treacherous. One 
young black woman who has killed her white 
brute of a husband is found dead, hideously 
mutilated, in her jail cell, despite Hanna's efforts 
to save her. With her strange paradise well and 
truly besmirched, Hanna finds some comfort in 
the arms of the victim's brother. Soon she leaves 
Louren¨o Marques and travels north to Beira, 
Portuguese East Africa's second city, and there, 
in the Africa Hotel, she hides the diary she's 
been keeping and disappears. She is never heard 
of again until, almost a hundred years later, her 
diary is discovered.

In an afterword, Mankell explains the origins of 
the novel: in fact there was a Swedish woman 
who ran a brothel in Louren¨o Marques at the 
beginning of the 20th century, a woman who 
dutifully paid her taxes (hence the documentary 
evidence of her existence) but about whom 
nothing more is known. From this starting point, 
Mankell has constructed his fantastical 

He has, on the whole, been well served by his 
translator, Laurie Thompson, who renders 
Mankell's Swedish into a simple and enchanting 
English: "Somebody called Elin ought to be slim 
and delicately formed, with hands like milk and 
fair hair hanging down over her back. But . . . 
Elin Renstrom . . . was powerfully built with 
lank reddish-brown hair, a large nose and teeth 
that were not quite regular. They gave the 
impression of wanting to jump out of her mouth 
and run away. Elin Renstrom was certainly not a 
beautiful woman. And she knew it."

Occasionally there's a slip into colloquial 
anachronism (did Swedish people say "O.K." in 
1905?), and there are instances of other lapses 
and cliches: "He wasn't messing her about"; "If 
the bottom line was that there was no way in 
which she could help the imprisoned woman. . . 
. " But over all, the novel's tone - reminiscent 
of Latin American magic realism, transplanted 
to Africa - makes it work. Carlos the chimp 
might have come out of a Garcia Marquez novel, 
and the richly colored details of brothel life 
could be from a sprawling Jorge Amado tale.

The translator's task is always a fraught and 
personal one: fidelity to the original or fidelity to 
a linguistic fluency in the new language? For the 
reader who isn't familiar with Swedish, and 
who, upon opening "A Treacherous Paradise," 
is unable to make comparisons between the 
languages, the latter inclination is, I believe, 
always preferable. Translated novels must read 
well, above all, without sacrificing accuracy. We 
need literature in translation: it's a great boon to 
our various cultures, as the sensuous, beguiling 
tapestry of "A Treacherous Paradise" makes 
abundantly clear.

Henning Mankell was born in Stockholm 1948. 
When he was two years old the family moved to 
Sveg where the father worked as a court judge. 
The family lived in the court house in Sveg and 
young Henning much enjoyed listening to the 
grown-ups discussions on crime and 
punishment. At age 16 Henning Mankell 
dropped out of school in order to work as a 
merchant seaman for two years before settling in 
Paris. After a year and a half in the French 
capital, Henning returned to Sweden and got a 
job as a stagehand in a Stockholm theatre.

"Although my father passed away before my first novel 
was published I knew he believed in me and was confident 
that I would have success as a writer."

In 1973, Mankell released his debut novel, 
Bergsprangaren (The Rock Blast). In the same 
year, he went to Africa for the first time. Ever 
since he has divided his time between Africa 
and Sweden and since 1986 he is the artistic 
leader of Teatro Avenida in Maputo, 

In 1991, the first novel in the Wallander series, 
Faceless killers, was published. Since, Henning 
Mankell has written nine more novels in the 
series, including the novel Before the Frost, 
about Kurt Wallander's daughter Linda. Next to 
the Wallander novels, Mankell has also written 
more than twenty novels and a dozen children's 
and youth books. In addition, he is also one of 
Sweden's most frequently performed 

In 2013 Henning Mankell participated in World 
Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He is 
currently working on a new novel. Henning 
Mankell's latest novel, A Treacherous Paradise, 
was published in Sweden in August 2011 and 
will be translated into English in 2013.


by Robert Adams

AIUSA released the following press release on July 1, 

UK surveillance Tribunal reveals the 
government spied on Amnesty International

In a shocking revelation, the UK's Investigatory 
Powers Tribunal (IPT) today notified Amnesty 
International that UK government agencies had 
spied on the organization by intercepting, 
accessing and storing its communications.
In an email sent today, the Tribunal informed 
Amnesty International its 22 June ruling had 
mistakenly identified one of two NGOs which it 
found had been subjected to unlawful 
surveillance by the UK government. Today's 
communication makes clear that it was actually 
Amnesty International Ltd, and not the 
Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) 
that was spied on in addition to the Legal 
Resources Centre in South Africa. 
The NGOs were among 10 organizations that 
launched a legal challenge against suspected 
unlawful mass surveillance of their work by the 
UK's spy agencies.

 "After 18 months of litigation and all the 
denials and subterfuge that entailed, we now 
have confirmation that we were in fact subjected 
to UK government mass surveillance. It's 
outrageous that what has been often presented 
as being the domain of despotic rulers has been 
occurring on British soil, by the British 
government," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty 
International's Secretary General. 

 "How can we be expected to carry out our 
crucial work around the world if human rights 
defenders and victims of abuses can now 
credibly believe their confidential 
correspondence with us is likely to end up in the 
hands of governments? The revelation that the 
UK government has been spying on Amnesty 
International highlights the gross inadequacies 
in the UK's surveillance legislation. If they 
hadn't stored our communications for longer 
than they were allowed to, we would never even 
have known. What's worse, this would have 
been considered perfectly lawful." 

Today's IPT email made no mention of when or 
why Amnesty International was spied on, or 
what was done with the information obtained.

This shows the urgent need for significant legal 
reform, including proper pre-judicial 
authorization and meaningful oversight of the 
use of surveillance powers by the UK security 
services, and an independent inquiry into how 
and why a UK intelligence agency has been 
spying on human rights organizations. It also 
underlines Amnesty International's call for an 
end to mass communications surveillance by 

Earlier this year Amnesty International 
launched #UnfollowMe, a global campaign 
against indiscriminate mass surveillance, to 
challenge governments that want to invade 
privacy and restrict freedoms on an industrial 
scale. The organization has also initiated legal 
challenges against the targeted mass 
surveillance practices of both the US and UK 

By Stevi Carroll

Glenn Ford:  October 22, 1949 - June 29, 2015

After spending almost 30 years on death row for 
a murder he did not commit, Glenn Ford was 
released only to find a new executioner awaited 
him: cancer.  As he died, people who cared 
about him were near and he listened to a song 
he loved.

According to Sr Helen Prejean, Mr. Ford 
requested any remembrances be donations 
made in his name to Resurrection After 
Exoneration, the organization that provided him 
housing and support after his release from 
prison. (

Midazolam gets the A-OK Nod from the 
Supremes - 5 to 4

The end of June saw the Supremes singing 
joyous songs of the Affordable Care Act and 
Marriage Equality, but not so much for 
rendering Midazolam ineffective in 
anesthetizing people strapped to a gurney, 
ready for the next two drugs in the three-drug 
protocol for lethal injection.

The ruling was 5-4 with Justice Samuel Alito 
writing for the majority:

"First, the prisoners failed to identify a known 
and available alternative method of execution 
that entails a lesser risk of pain, a requirement of 
all Eighth Amendment method-of execution 
claims. ... Second, the District Court did not 
commit clear error when it found that the 
prisoners failed to establish that Oklahoma's use 
of a massive dose of midazolam in its execution 
protocol entails a substantial risk of severe 

The silver lining in this cloud of State-
sanctioned murder would be Justices Stephen 
Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg who used this 
ruling as an opportunity to say the court should 
consider whether the death penalty itself is 
constitutional.  Justice Breyer wants someone to 
bring a case that would allow the Court to 
reconsider capital punishment for the first time 
since 1977, and he wrote, "I believe it highly 
likely that the death penalty violates the Eighth 
Amendment." To which Justice Antonin Scalia 
responded that Justice Breyer's arguments were 
full of "internal contradictions" and "gobbledy-
gook." I am sure the latter is a well-respected 
judicial term with which I am not familiar. 

Following the Supreme Court's decision, Steven 
W. Hawkins, executive director of AIUSA, 
"This decision does not change the fact that 
regardless of the method of execution, the death 
penalty is broken beyond repair. The death 
penalty is the ultimate violation of human 
rights. The Court's decision today will not 
resolve the death penalty's fundamental flaws, 
including the risk of executing a wrongfully 
convicted person. The only discussion should be 
how to put an end to this cruel, inhuman and 
degrading punishment once and for all."

In a very real way, this decision impacts the 
lives of the remaining three people who were 
plaintiffs in this case - Richard Glossip, John 
Grant, and Benjamin Cole. The Oklahoma Court 
of Criminal Appeals made haste to set their 
execution dates.
Richard Glossip - September 16 
Benjamin Cole - October 7
John Grant - October 28

90 Million Strong Campaign

In a 1997 survery, 78% of our brothers and 
sisters favored the death penalty with only 18% 
opposed.  In a new Pew Research Center survey, 
that number dropped to 56% with 38% opposed 
it.  So, what can we do?

One option is the 90 Million Strong Campaign.  
To get involved with this, the organizers have a 
few suggestions: sign-up; speak out; stay 
informed; spread the message.  For more 
information (and maybe to sign up!), go to

Stays of Execution
15	Alva Campbell	        OH
15	Warren K. Henness	OH
16	Clifton Williams	TX

18	David Miller		TN

14	David Zink		MO	
   Lethal Injection 1-drug (pentobarbital)

UAs                        25
Total                      25
To add your letters to the total contact 

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125

Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on 
preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, 
freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the 
context of its work to promote all human rights.