In the matter of genders, we are a region that can be said to be both progressive as well as backwards. But lets look at it from the point of view of being a progressive first. Let me also make it clear that when I use the word “region” I refer to the Eastern side of the globe, especially within the context of South Asia.
The many women that have made their name because of their Political Leadership
The East can very proudly claim to have the first woman Prime Minister, Sirimavo Bandaranaike (April 17 1916 – October 10th 2000) of Sri Lanka. Not only was she the first female head of the Sri Lankan Government, but was also the world’s first female head of any Government. She served three terms as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Ceylon, these being from 1960-65, 1970-77 and 1994-2000.
She was followed by Indira Gandhi from India (1966 ,1980) – this was long before the West was going to elect Golda Meir (1969) or Margaret Thatcher (1979). From the Far Eastern side of the globe, that is Philippines, you had Corazon Aquino (1986) – a symbol for love and peace, who was swept into the office after her bloodless “People Revolution” led to the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos. Continue reading
Alex Haley - The man behind the genius "Roots"
If it weren’t for the fact that it’s a true story, Roots might well be the Great American Novel. In the months since its publication, it has been compared to both Moby Dick and War and Peace, and at least one reviewer called it “among the most important books of the century.” Doubleday, its publisher, ordered the largest print run ever for a hardcover book (200,000), which sold out in a matter of weeks, and there are indications it may become the first book in history to sell over 1,000,000 copies in hardback — even before Dell brings out the paperback version.
Its author, Alex Haley, will undoubtedly become a household name later this month, when ABC-TV broadcasts the first episode of a 12-hour series based on Roots, making it the longest and most expensive ($6,000,000) dramatic television production ever aired.
We at Playboy take a special pleasure in featuring Haley as our holiday interview subject. In 1962, when he was a free-lance writer and journalist, we assigned him to conduct a long question-and-answer session with Miles Davis, which became the first “Playboy Interview.” Besides interviewing a number of personalities for Playboy, ranging from American Nazi George Lincoln Rockwell to entertainer Johnny Carson, Haley conducted our interviews with the two most significant black leaders of the Sixties — Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. (One result of the “Playboy Interview” with Malcolm X was the bestselling Autobiography, which Haley wrote.) It seems especially fitting to us that Haley be on the other side of the tape recorder this month, since he seems destined to be one of the most significant black figures of the Seventies. Continue reading