Techniques for Post-Mortem Punishment: an Israeli Guidebook

Israeli soldiers have shot to death dozens of young Palestinians in the occupied cities of the West Bank and Jerusalem in recent months, many of them after they tried to attack soldiers or settlers with knives. After they are killed, Majd Kayyal writes, the punishment continues for their families; the bodies are kept in Israeli freezers for ambiguous and unexplained months, until they are abruptly delivered: frozen, blackened blocks of ice, after midnight, often to graveyards far from home.

More than 200 Palestinians have been martyred since Oct 1 of last year, a quarter of them children not even in their teens.

In North Africa’s Forested Hills, Smugglers Rule

Smuggling is woven deeply into the social and economic fabric of the mountainous border region between Algeria and Tunisia, a reporter from El Watan finds as he accompanies local bootleggers on their treks. Bouzid Ichalalene travels back and forth across the border with a startling variety of people, from hip young men who buy and sell illegal assault rifles, to veiled women in taxicabs smuggling clothing; leaning out of pickup truck windows to greet peasant shepherds who are paid lookouts and urbane gendarmes on the take.

More than fifty pickup trucks are already parked here.

Traders in Tales of Woe

Among the worst enemies of Iraq’s Sunni people are the community’s own self-appointed leadership, and its media defenders around the Arab world. That is the assessment of Harith Hasan al-Qarawee, who writes that simplistic explanations for the rise of ISIS are dangerously accepted in Iraq and in the centers of power abroad.

Sunni victimhood: this is the narrative that we hear now, the story of how it all boils down to Iraq’s Sunni Arab population being oppressed.

11.2 Million Pages Later, a Novelist Finds the Fame He Sought

Fifteen years ago a prominent Panama lawyer sat down for lunch around a huge lobster with an Argentine writer and critic. Behind the veneer of a rich and successful financial lawyer, Ramon Fonseca had an uninspired and second rate novelist sleeping inside him, a novelist who yearned to one day become “Garcia Marquez,” as Christian Kupchick found. From Anfibia, Ramon Fonseca long before the Panama Papers leak made him famous:

In its infinite ebb and flow, reality never ceases to amaze.

Poetry and Pestilence

How do you avoid plagues of burrowing parasitic mites in an overcrowded prison cell? How do you avoid catching them while you sleep, in the most contaminated wards of Egypt prisons: the “political prisoners” blocks? How do you deal with the itching and with the shame of the itching? With songs, with a mixture of euphemism and bluntness, and with endless endurance, writes poet and novelist Omar Hazek, who walked out of prison in Alexandria recently.

Scratch, Scratch, try just once to quit!

In the Ashes of American Dreams

Standing in clusters on urban street corners waiting for a pickup truck and a boss and a day’s work and a few dollars, or gathered at the edge of the Home Depot parking lot beneath the sun and their broad-brimmed hats, day laborers are the almost-invisible floating labor force at the bottom of the American economy. Salvadoran journalist Oscar Martinez traveled to Los Angeles last year to see for himself where they have ended up, his countrymen whose dreams have died waiting in line for a steady paycheck that never came.

The day laborers are celebrating a birthday here at the Centro Laboral in Pasadena, California.

Bilingual, Bipolar, and Deeply Schizophrenic: Diagnosing Pakistan’s Press

The language Pakistani newspapers are published in dictates the very way reporters and columnists look at facts, writes C.M. Naim in Tanqeed. It’s a cynical calculation: even when two newspapers are published by the same tycoon, or, absurdly, two columns by the same writer, the “posture of moderation” in the English papers is matched by the unabashedly extremist opinions of the Urdu papers.

An editorial—‘Into the Open’—in the Express-Tribune of December 16, 2014, begins:

On the Island of Anomie

In his speech in Havana today, president Barack Obama praised the ingenuity and hopefulness of the Cuban people. But in the Cuba where Juan Orlando Perez lives, half a century of rule by an unlimited and all-powerful ‘revolutionary’ state has emptied the island’s people of common purpose and hope; the empty slogans have replaced the nation they claim to represent.

Cuba is a failed nation. It is not a failed state, like Iraq or Syria or Haiti or other unfortunate former-countries.

Lula, The Rhetoric of the Image, Past and Present

Besieged, Lula has plunged back into embrace of the crowds he loves. For Brazil’s left, the corruption indictment of ‘Lula’ da Silva is a nightmare, and massive street protests both for and against the former president have followed. In this essay from Piaui, filmmaker Joao Moreira Salles studies the visual record of Lula’s public life.

Those who have followed the terrible events of Friday, maybe noticed a man wearing a dark jacket, a black beard and hair in need of a trim who never left Lula’s side.

Lula: ‘They Can Take Their Indictment and Shove It’

Lula, indicted? Brazil’s popular former president has been indicted in the same broad-ranging corruption case that has been slowly engulfing the administration of his successor. Here, El Pais’s Talita Bedinelli studies the strange and occasionally strained wording of the document in which prosecutors demanded that Lula be not only indicted but-very unusual for Brazil-arrested immediately. A request still being studied by judges:

‘Lula is no overman; he is not above the law.

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