The Black Herald

Was there a better chronicler of the pitiless cruelty of Guatemala’s urban society than the artist Anibal Lopez? A profile of a provocateur, of the artist as thug and transgressor, by Sebastian Escalon:

Piglets are plentiful, on hog farms. But a piglet with a name, ‘Hugo,’ dressed up with a beautiful blue bow is something special; a pet, almost a person, a character like one of the three pigs who vanquished the wolf, or like the cartoon Porky Pig. Anibal Lopez, the controversial Guatemalan art

Emergency Medical Marriage

Saudi Arabia’s strange gender relations produce endless challenges and contortions for situations that are elsewhere straightforward. Here, for example, Al Safir Al Arabi ponders the question of how ambulances and paramedics must deal with female patients in medical emergencies. If they have no male relative nearby, should they be rescued at all? The answer turns out to be generally, no.

A woman was recently arrested for driving a car in Safwa City, in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif province. According to newspaper reports, [Aaliya al-Farid] had been driving herself to a hospital during an attack of a chronic illness she suffers from.

The War of Bicycles and Thumbtacks

New bicycle lanes bearing vast tides of lower and middle class bike commuters sweep through the wealthy neighborhoods of Sao Paulo. Thumbtacks and twitter rants from elite residents who want to keep the roads for their Mercedes and BMWs only. In Brazil, class warfare over a painted line on the asphalt:

Over the past few days, Brazilian social media has buzzed with complaints from cyclists about thumbtacks being scattered on the new [Sao Paulo] bike lanes by those who oppose their creation.

The Women Behind the Block the Boat Movement

American media are remaining predictably silent on an important new front in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. But the repeated blockades of cargo ships from Israel’s Zim line, which began with a four-day action in August during the heated aftermath of Israel’s latest armed assault on Gaza appear to be doing damage to the firm as well as giving new energy to the BDS movement, writes Daikha Dridi in Al-Huffington Post Algeria.

Behind the success of the California-based Block the Boat campaign are a multitude of activists, and two exceptional women in particular.

Evo’s Highway in the Sky

From its perch on Bolivia’s arid altiplano highlands, the vast metropolis of El Alto gazes down on the country’s administrative capital La Paz, in a valley thousands of feet below. No longer a distant mirage, thanks to the lines of the new Teleferico aerial cable cars that snake up the slopes, writes Javier Lafuente in El Pais:

With great difficulty, taking tiny steps and leaning on her granddaughter, Doris succeeds in getting into one of the gondola pods at the Ajayuni station. She sits down on a bench and puts her hands on her black dress.

Bedtime Stories for Little Cosmopolitans

From the virtual border between Buenos Aires and Barcelona, Orsai magazine shone very brightly for 16 dazzling issues. Until this year, when its editor Hernan Casciari suddenly extinguished it to open -of all things-a children’s magazine. There is a real flowering of narrative journalism in Latin America at the moment: dozens of new publications with a flair for literary, beautifully written reporting have sprung up from Mexico City to Santiago; here, one of the form’s most brilliant exponents tells Buensalvaje’s Luis Pacora about his unusual effort to extend the medium to children:

It is 3 am in the peaceful village of Barcelona.

An Engine of War Called National Reconciliation

How the concept of “national reconciliation” in Iraq was transformed into a bureaucratic machine of sectarian war. From Iraq’s Omar Al Jaffal, Iraq’s non-state-building project under Prime Minister al-Maliki.

The fall of Iraq’s largest province into the hands of armed groups has show very clearly the depth of the rifts in the country. Unreligious, and even atheist writers have abruptly rushed back into the sectarian trenches to wave the flag of religious hatred that was hibernating inside so many Iraqi

On the Margins of Aleppo, a New and Brutal City

Where human beings ground down by poverty and war are regarded as mere surplus weight; where the state’s only presence is via its army of snitches; where street boys sniff glue and dream of Messi and Ronaldo, and where the street names no longer bother with the romantic antiquity of this 4,000 year old city. A new Aleppo is emerging beyond the margins of the margins of the ancient city, and it is not pretty. An elegy for Aleppo by Syrian writer Aziz Tebsi.

No one really knows how the neighborhood ended up with such a name. It is an extension of the slum that crawls out from the edge of the Sheikh Maqsud district in the northwest of Aleppo.

Drones Above, Knives Below

In the Pashtun regions of the northwest, writes Asad Hashim in Tanqeed, the Pakistani state rules like an occupying imperial force. Collective punishment, limited rights to legal defense, rule by appointed ‘political agent’: a system almost unchanged from colonial Britain’s 19th century Murderous Outrages Regulations. Life among the Pashtun in Bannu, Pakistan:

The history of Bannu, a sleepy little town of about a million inhabitants in the south of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province and adjacent to the Tribal Areas, is long and littered with conquests, banditry and more than its fair share of violence.

Kuwait: Going to Bed a Citizen and Waking Up an Alien

The end of Kuwaiti exceptionalism? In this essay Abdel Hadi Khalaf argues that Kuwait’s political system is founded on the myth that its emirs rule by the consent of the governed; it has always been less autocratic than its Gulf neighbors. But Kuwait has never dealt with the vast disenfranchisement that accompanied the country’s modern founding, and now its rulers have begun the grim and familiar process of stripping citizenship from its opponents en masse.

One of the founding myths on which the Kuwaiti royal family bases its historical legitimacy is the agreement between the Al Sabah family and the ‘people of Kuwait’

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