Archive

The Immortal Bazaar

The eternal marketplace, Argentina’s La Salada grows and multiplies its thousands of stalls, emerging from the industrial warehouses that housed its beginnings, crawling along the polluted banks of the Riachuelo river and the surrounding streets, meter by meter, bringing with it cheap counterfeit clothing and violent struggles for control of tiny territories until, every few years, the forces of order arrive to smash and destroy and beat back this unstoppable force, for a little while at least. From Anfibia, a profile of the largest textile hub in the western hemisphere:

Once again bulldozers have demolished part of La Salada.

The Woman Who Bore the River on Her Back

Chief of a tribal confederation which has fought the destruction of its little corner of the Amazon rainforest with remarkable success; survivor of Peru’s savage civil war with the mad revolutionaries of the Shining Path: in Joseph Zarate’s remarkable portrait of Peruvian native environmental activist Ruth Buendia, the attitude of her fellow Ashaninka tribesmen toward their leader is careful, unidealistic in spite of all her achievements.

The first time they tried to bribe her, the Ashaninka activist Ruth Buendia responded to the timber trafficker’s offer with four words.

In Iraq’s Sectarian War, First There Had To Be Sects

Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Bremer told Americans that the Iraq they had invaded was a country divided by sects, religious and ethnic: Shi’ite and Sunni, Arab and Kurd. But as Harith Hassan Al Qarawee points out in this striking essay from Al Safir Al Arabi, the Sunnis of Iraq in 2003 did not think of themselves as belonging to a sect at all.

It is a commonplace to note that throughout its modern history, up until the American invasion of 2003, Iraq was ruled by Sunni Arab elites.

The Islamic State: Saudi Arabia’s Dark Twin

The Islamic State-known to Arabs as DAESH-is essentially a product of Saudi Arabian politics and financing, writes Jamal Mohammed Taqi in al-Safir al-Arabi. But has the Saudi state’s strange offspring really become its dark twin, its Nemesis?

Waging jihad against those it considers apostate Muslims is the central religious doctrine of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [DAESH or ISIS]. The principle of jihad against apostates is also the central religious doctrine of the followers of the Wahhabi school of religious jurisprudence.

The Radical Vegetarians Are Coming For Your Steak Knives

The growth of militant Hinduism in India, which this year swept the BJP nationalists to power, is expressed in numerous and occasionally unexpected ways. In Open Magazine, Lhendup G Bhutia writes that militant vegetarianism is on the rise around the country.

Vegetarian activism in India, unlike the West, is not limited to spot-shaming celebrities wearing fur or the token protest over a dinner table.

‘The Elites Despise the City For Its Democratic Qualities’

Demonstrations and strikes are the way a city talks to itself; ripping universities out of the urban fabric and transplanting them into the suburbs amputate part of the city’s soul: an interview with one of Brazil’s greatest living architects, from El Pais Brasil:

Paulo Mendes da Rocha, the 86 year old Brazilian architect, today occupies a place reserved for very few individuals. In 2006 he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The Man Who Chose the Forest, and Died For It

One day, Peruvian electrician Edwin Chota abruptly abandoned the life of the city, and the various children he had failed to raise, for the jungle and for an indigenous tribe whom he adopted as his own. For over a decade he lived under death threats for denouncing illegal logging on his lands. His pleas for protection were ignored. In the end, the timber traffickers murdered him.

Those who knew him said that Edwin Chota had a wide, exaggerated and contagious smile, with a prominent gap where a front tooth was missing.

‘Russians Are Volcanoes With Snow-Covered Slopes’

For more than a decade one of the finest foreign correspondents in Russia, El Mundo’s Daniel Utrilla last year quit his job and went native. Here, excerpts from a much longer interview he gave to Spain’s Jot Down magazine: observations by a Russophile in an increasingly Russophobic world:

I was having dinner the other day with a friend, and she said this sentence that struck me; for me it perfectly defines the Russian soul. She said, “We’ll go back to eating potatoes if we have to, but we’ll still be with Putin.”

Fearing Police Violence in Sao Paulo, a Neighborhood Empties

As in the United States, police in Brazil routinely shoot poor (and largely black) suspects with legal impunity. El Pais’s Gil Alessi here profiles a neighborhood in the south of Sao Paulo where a spate of police violence is forcing residents to flee.

Carrying her four year old daughter Emanoele, Aparecida Lima da Silva, 38, is walking along Carlos Lacerda Avenue in the south Sao Paulo neighborhood of Campo Lindo.

Across France, a Witch Hunt Among the Children

After the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the French justice system rounded them up by the dozens across the country: drunkards and madmen and children, all charged with a new and strange crime, ‘justifying’ an act of terrorism.

In Saudi Arabia, they sentence bloggers to a thousand lashes and ten years in prison for “insulting Islam.” In France under the Socialists, they arrest children and throw them in jail, charging them with ‘advocating terrorism.’

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