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The small picture

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I WAS interested in revolutions, " says Glen Jordan, with a chuckle. "The revolution was happening in Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, so that was where I wanted to go."

Instead, he went to Cardiff, Wales.

That's a long story. He tells it.

There is a radicalised youth in California, his father descended from East Texan slaves, his mother descended from Cherokee Indians.

Aged nine, he starts a lone protest against the daily pledge of allegiance. In high school, he leads a school boycott that succeeds in getting black history and literature on the syllabus. There is a liberal arts degree, black power activism, anti-Vietnam war activism, and a mentoring with a leading black anthropologist. Then there is illness, nearly causing him to drop out of his studies. So he doesn't get to go to Angola, despite his Portuguese classes.

He goes to Cardiff, to do research on the Butetown docklands community, multiethnic long before anyone had conceived of the term.

He's an anthropologist. They go places, ask questions, and then go home and write about them. If they're good, they get jobs in nice places like Harvard and Princeton. But Jordan doesn't go home. And he doesn't really write about the people. "Mostly I facilitate them writing about themselves."

He helps set up the Butetown History and Arts Centre (www. bhac. org), and settles down to a life mixing academia with community activism. He turns down a job in Princeton. "I wouldn't want to work at any place where I couldn't do exhibitions, where I couldn't build a community archive." Then he gets into photography. He shoots big, beautiful portraits and hangs them at eye level in public spaces "so you as a viewer encounter it directly. . . You walk among the images."

You can walk amongst his images at the moment, on the ground floor of the Civic Offices on Wood Quay in Dublin.

These are some of a series of portraits of mothers and daughters, Asians, Africans, Polish, Greeks, Iranians, Irishf but Welsh also.

At the opening of an exhibition in Dublin, Jordan was approached by some Irish Sikhs. "I know nothing about Sikhs, " he says, but that didn't bother them. His next project is photographing them. "I'm interested in people who wear Sikh turbans and Nike jumpers. How they negotiate culture in complex ways."

Jordan calls it "humanist photography. Because we're all human beings, we're more alike than we're different. I'm interested in helping to enable people, " says the white-bearded, gravely voiced old-timer. Princeton doesn't know what they're missing.

IF THE firing of Judith Regan as head of her own book publishing imprint by the top brass at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation nearly a year ago was nasty, the revenge she is seeking to exact today by way of a sweeping defamation lawsuit promises to be at least the equal of it.

It is not just the assertions in the suit that News Corp sought to smear her. More startling . . . and potentially more damaging . . . is her contention that company executives urged her to lie to federal officials about a former New York police chief, Bernard Kerik, with whom she had had an affair.

ReganBooks, a unit within HarperCollins, was disbanded last year when Regan was fired following the controversy sparked by her attempts to release a book by O J Simpson. In If I Did It, Simpson speculates about how he would have killed his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, were he in fact guilty. It was a spectacular fall to earth for Regan, who for more than a decade had delivered one money-making title after another for Murdoch, including memoirs by the porn star Jenna Jameson.

The 70-page lawsuit seeks damages totalling $100m ( 68.32m) and accuses News Corp and some of its executives of trying to make her a scapegoat for the Simpson debacle.

Specifically, she charges them with falsely suggesting that she had made anti-Semitic remarks in an argument with a company lawyer.

The suit also contends that executives were bent on undermining her reputation for fear of the damage she might inflict on Kerik, and by extension his former mentor, Rudy Giuliani, once New York's mayor and now running to be the Republican Party's nominee for president. "Because of the damaging information that defendants believed Regan possessed, defendants knew they would be protecting Giuliani if they could pre-emptively discredit her, " the lawsuit says.

While the passages about Kerik make up only a small part of the suit, they will get all the media attention.

They imply a bias within News Corp, the owner of Fox News, in favour of Giuliani. They also threaten to embarrass Giuliani as he strives to distance himself from Kerik, who last week was hit with charges of tax fraud, conspiracy and lying to the White House.

President George Bush nominated Kerik as head of Homeland Security in 2004 on the urging of Giuliani.

Kerik withdrew within days, however, when ethical problems surfaced.

Among stories that appeared was one that the married Kerik had trysts with his lover, Regan, in a flat near Ground Zero that was meant as a retreat for exhausted rescue workers.

Regan claims executives at News Corp became nervous about what she might tell federal investigators about her former boyfriend if they asked.

One executive, the suit says, told her to lie if necessary. Another told her "not to produce clearly relevant documents in connection with the government's investigation of Kerik".

"Defendants were well aware that Regan had a personal relationship with Kerik, " the lawsuit says. "In fact, a senior executive in the News Corporation organisation told Regan that he believed she had information about Kerik that, if disclosed, would harm Giuliani's presidential campaign. This executive advised Regan to lie to, and to withhold information from, investigators concerning Kerik."

A spokesman for News Corp said the claims were "preposterous".


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Back To Top >> 18/11/2007





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