Archive

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’

Bahrain: Innovation in The Political Technology Of Repression

Are the monarchies of the Arab Gulf nations at all, in any meaningful sense?
Huge populations of guest workers who vastly outnumber native citizens. States that are closed oligarchies of blood-related ‘princes’. And as Lebanon’s Al-Safir reveals, for even the native-born, citizenship in these countries is seen as a privilege to be handed out or stripped away by the king or emir based on personal loyalty and religious sectarian allegiance.

Arab regimes are nothing if not creative; they are sources of constant innovation in certain policy areas.

A Freedom Fighter at Rest, and At Ease With Her Own Contradictions

Are a country’s traditional cultural practices a lodestar for a post-colonial people, or a historical burden that holds back progress? In this interview with Mozambiquan novelist and writer Paulina Chiziane, onetime activist with the anti-colonial leftists of FRELIMO, both beliefs are on display.

On a warm November afternoon, Aldino Languana, a Mozambican painter and documentary filmmaker, drove us to Paulina’s house

Sometimes They Come Back

Their daughters and sons, young leftist activists from high schools and colleges across Argentina, were tortured and murdered by the military dictatorship of the 1970s, their bodies usually thrown out of airplanes into the Atlantic. The mothers and grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo stood in silent vigil for decades in memory of their disappeared children. This summer, the original Grandmother of the Plaza found her grandson, stolen from his mother’s arms on the night of her murder.

The longest trip of Estela Barnes de Carlotto’s life started that winter afternoon, in August of 1978, with a summons to go to the Isidro Casanova police station.

Palestine, Wounded and Proud

The latest round in Israel’s eternal war against Palestinian civilians seems to have ended in the usual fashion, with many dead, and with both sides enjoying new heights of public support. Lost as usual among the photographs of death and columns of smoke, writes Francoise Feugas, was a sense of the humanity of the people beneath the bombs. For that, she says, few photographers can match the lifelong work of Joss Dray. Images of the Palestinians, from Orient XXI:

Gaza is once more being bombarded. But the image that we are assailed with today, of a civilian population under siege, terrorized and at the mercy of violent Israeli military attacks, is not the one we find in the archives of Joss Dray.

A Field Trip to the Favela

Raised on the border between Brazil’s slums-poor and black and despised-and its private-school elite-white and wealthy and comfortable-Fred di Giacomo writes in Gluck of the country’s class divisions and violence against the poor.

When I was in middle school, they once took us on a field trip: we students were going to “learn about the reality and the poverty of Brazil”.

The Night Nineveh Fell

An official Iraq that refuses to come to grips with the fall of the country’s Sunni regions into the hands of the so-called Caliphate. The media in the country’s wealthy Gulf Arab neighbors implicitly backs the jihadis, while official Iraqi media oafishly sloganeers. Omar al-Jaffal on Iraq’s ISIS dilemma:

It was as if angels and demons descended on the city of Nineveh together. The sky on the night of June 10 was cloaked with a worrying gloom. And within a few hours, the city had spectacularly fallen into the hands of the gunmen of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Bring a Picnic, Watch the Show: Enjoying Gaza Assault In a Lawn Chair

Seven times in eight years, Israel has assaulted the Gaza Strip. For many in southern Israel, the massive airstrikes shattering the cities of their Palestinian neighbors in the latest attack make for a gratifying show and a nice day out for a picnic, writes Nissim Behar in France’s Liberation.

“Wait, who threw their egg sandwich in the fruit salad?” someone asks.

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