By Maria Behan — SPOTLIGHT

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In my first column for the inaugural edition of The Wild Word, I opined that Donald Trump’s bid to win the upcoming 2016 election was so unlikely, it was almost laughable. Almost.

Skeptical as I was, I raised a chilling specter in that column: the prospect of Trump’s hand shooting up from the grave of his shambolic presidential campaign, a stubby-fingered version of the one that pops out at the end of the movie Carrie. …


By Irena Ioannou — GAZE

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2020 was not only the year of COVID-19 and depressive news. Though it is difficult to think of anything outside the all-pervading virus, scientific research continued to proliferate in the background. Hard work has been rewarded, and discoveries changed the way with which we can view our future. Here are some breakthroughs that can potentially change the life of millions of people.

Human livers can be preserved for a week

A breath-taking discovery for organ donation was the creation of a new machine developed by researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich. The old organ-preserving techniques allowed livers to be preserved for up to twenty-four hours, limiting the available time for their transfer and the subsequent surgery. The new machine simulates the movements of the human body, such as pumping blood, inserting hormones and nutrients to the organ, and oxygenating it, thus prolonging the organs’ viability. …


By Mike Hembury — SOAPBOX

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Take a deep breath, America.

You made it by the skin of your teeth.

All that gut-wrenching worry. All the fears about a potential coup. All Trump’s challenges to the legitimacy of the electoral process, all the court cases, all the hate-mongering. So far it’s come to nothing.

So breathe a sigh of relief, and take a moment to celebrate, and enjoy the sight of the worst president in the history of the USA being forced to leave the White House.

Just don’t get too worked up about the resilience of US democracy, because not only is it seriously compromised in lots of ways, but the challenges to it also look set to get worse. …


By Tim Clark — HEAD ABOVE WATER

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Several years ago I took Taekwondo. It was a well-lit, brightly colored studio, the whole floor was covered in blue and yellow padded matting and the southern wall was covered in mirrors. Loud, uptempo music echoed off the white walls, and most of the time the whole thing seemed more like a wildly progressive modern fitness class than a serious study of an ancient, patterned, precise fighting style.

After several months, though, I found myself in some surprising situations.

As a child I was overweight, inflexible and too tall for my meager athletic ability. Things other children did as a matter of course I found impossible. Turning cartwheels, for example. Children all over were rolling along from their feet to their hands back to their feet in a slow, graceful ballet of youthful joy. …


By Irena Ioannou — GAZE

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In a discussion with Swedish friends recently, they confided in me that they were facing serious problems finding a job in their country. They are highly-educated locals, and, even after years of studies, they are unable to get any kind of employment outside of waiting tables or looking after toddlers.

Sweden, it seems, is not the exception. Employment opportunities-for young and old people alike-are equally scarce in many so-called rich European countries, and the coronavirus is not to blame. This had been happening long before Covid-19 hit the economy.

Though troubling, this should not be a surprise. These times during which prominent tabloid and rightwing media outlets dedicate most of their time to Trump’s, or Giuliani’s, hair dye and deniers of Covid-19 pose as a useful distraction which governments use to pass bills about flexible employment forms and to dismantle state support for those in need. …


By Ryan M. Moser — FROM THE INSIDE

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It feels like I’ve spent my entire life waiting for time to pass, especially now that I’m in prison.

The concept of Time never even occurred to me until I was in elementary school and the countdown to summer began. My friends and I would start talking about summer vacation in March, months before our escape from confining classrooms with world flags draped above the chalkboard and grating pencil sharpeners. This rabid eagerness for school to end started around the third grade, when the novelty of something stimulating (going to class) collided with the revelation of something prosaic (homework is boring); that catalyst brought with it a feeling I hadn’t had before — a keen awareness of needing time to elapse. I watched the clock, wishing away each dull weekday while blowing the seedy tops from inert dandelions in the recess yard. I willed each meatball lunch in the cafeteria to be my last. This wasn’t the same excitement as the Twelve Days Before Christmas, peeling stickers from a holiday calendar with the hopes of getting closer to our presents; that was just childish anticipation. …


By Mike Hembury — SOAPBOX

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As 2020 slouches fitfully from Halloween to the US presidential election, I think it’s safe to say that there are a bunch of pretty scary scenarios lined up for us. Us being the planet’s inhabitants-at-large, but more specifically those who live in the good old US of A.

Cue the grisly sounds emanating from the White House, along with the mad ghoulish cackle of Il Douchebag himself.

“The fools, the fools!” he is heard to say. “They think they can take the presidency away from me. But it’s mine you hear me, all mine!”

Exit Trump stage right, bearing a grudge. …


By Maria Behan — SPOTLIGHT

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Donald Trump began his presidency by lying about the size of his inauguration crowd. He’s finishing it (I hope) by lying about the pandemic that has left America with the highest number of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the world.

Trump’s improbable ascent to power in 2016 may have been difficult to predict, but once the Electoral College shoehorned him into America’s highest office, it was easier to foresee that his tenure there would escalate from farce to tragedy. …


By Ryan M. Moser — FROM THE INSIDE

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

If you stare at the same spot on the wall for an hour, then you’re probably bored or daydreaming. If you intermittently stare at that same spot on the wall for 120 days in a row, you’ve probably lost your mind.

I don’t regret receiving a discipline report (DR) that cool winter day in 2006. In fact, given the opportunity, I’d do it all over again. I was serving time in state prison for theft, and on my way to “the hole” for fighting: sixty days in solitary confinement for assaulting another inmate, and sixty days for lying about it (which I didn’t, but I’ll get to trumped-up charges). I’m not violent by nature, nor do I bully men, but after overhearing a pedophile brag about dating his twelve-year-old stepdaughter, I couldn’t remain silent. …


By Irena Ioannou — GAZE

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Witch hunts, for some, sound like an amusing, albeit creepy, fairytale. Fairytales, though, have a way of persisting and imitating life. Or, turning the argument around, life and history tend to repeat themselves and feed the fairytales.

In the north-eastern part of Sweden, in the Torsaker parish, for instance, in 1675, the biggest mass murder in the history of the country, in peace time, took place. Seventy-one people convicted of witchcraft received their last communion before they were forced to walk the path up to Häxberget (Witch mountain) where they were beheaded and burned in three large fires. Three hundred years later, a memorial stone was erected at the execution site. The inscription on the stone translates to: ‘ In 1675 witches’ pyres burnt here. Women died, men passed judgment. The faith of time overtakes man.’ …

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The Wild Word magazine

Arts/culture/politics online magazine www.thewildword.com

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