Archive

“An Excess of Rationality Leading to Collective Madness”

The Greek leftists have apparently capitulated once again to German economic demands, including a nearly unprecedented surrender of sovereignty over billions of dollars in public assets. For a time, the crisis of the Eurozone has perhaps been papered over. In this interview, Emmanuel Todd says that Europe is however slowly committing collective suicide under German supervision.

For me, the striking thing is how the Europe we are dealing with today is no longer the Europe of yesterday.

Smile! You’re on Kalashnikov Camera!

Hilarious fake airplane crashes, amusing mock decapitations and comical hijackings: This Ramadan TV season has seen TV viewers around the Arab world subjected to a particularly tasteless and unimaginative crop of hidden camera shows, writes Mustapha Benfodil in Algeria’s El Watan.

The hidden camera show “Hostages” hosted by Sofiane Dani and broadcasted during this Ramadan month on Echourouk TV is clearly missing its mark and turning into a fiasco, to judge from the huge wave of outrage that it has generated among viewers.

In the Republic of Arab Letters, Rule of the Despots

The bleak state of Arab literature in the age of mega-prizes. As Yves Gonzalez-Quijano writes here, the extravagant literary prizes handed out by the despotic lords of the Gulf Arab monarchies have done more than make a few Arab novelists wealthy: they have poisoned the entire confection of Arab literature, shrinking and desiccating the range and style of writing.

The “Arab World” is sinking into a certain amount of chaos once again.

First, They Came for the Islamic Modernists: Book Burning in Cairo

The most curious thing about the list of books burned in an official ceremony organized recently by bureaucrats of Egypt’s Education Ministry is the list of titles: it reads like a syllabus on Islamic Modernism, the Enlightenment-inspired movement that swept Egypt and the Arab world at the end of the 19th century.

Islam and and the Foundations of Governance, by Ali Abdel Raziq. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, the biography by Uthman Amin.

Selfies With Death

For more than a decade now, Death has stared out at Iraqis from every direction, every waking hour. Snapshots from a fatalistic new culture, from Assafir al-Arabi’s Omar al-Jaffal:

For more than a decade now, Death has stared out at Iraqis from every direction, every waking hour. Snapshots from a fatalistic new culture, from Assafir al-Arabi’s Omar al-Jaffal:

Who Needs Toilets Anyway?

Narendra Modi’s Clean India Mission, and his focus on sanitation are central to the new prime minister’s push for a more modern looking India. But as these essays from Hardnews make clear, caste attitudes, gender politics and other peculiarities bring their own obstructions:

To pee is to be. That’s what we are, Hoo Ha India, superpower nuclear India, floating on public spectacles of yellow swimming pools of male piss.

“Piled Like Dead Dogs On the Floor of the Coroner’s Office”

American police are among the most homicidal in the world, killing an average of about a thousand people a year-far more than any other developed country. But Brazil’s militarized police forces put the Americans to shame, killing twice as many people in a country with a much smaller population. Here, a neighborhood in Brazil’s third largest city reels under the impact of a February massacre of a dozen lower class youths-and the local government’s nochalant reaction to it:

The city of Salvador is actually less wet than usual on this late April afternoon.

In Bolivia, Chola Pride as Cultural Ground Shifts

The caste hierarchy that long dominated Bolivian cultural and political life–Spanish-Europeans at the top, Aymara and Quechua native Americans at the bottom—is eroding, with the election of Aymara coca farmer Evo Morales to the presidency only the most visible symptom. In El Pais Semanal, Liliana Colanzi examines the intricate ethnic and gender politics of a changing Bolivia by way of the colorful skirts worn by native Aymara women:

“My son’s father scorned me. He said I was worthless because I wore pants.”

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