Berfrois

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Mantua Blue

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Mantua Blue

Edi Rama, Blue Lunetta, public intervention, Mantua, Italy (2016). by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei Albania and Mantua, the latter a provincial city in northern Italy, the former a country still somehow pretending to be EU-worthy. No one would ever think that these two geographical entities would have any meaningful relation with each other. Yet…

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Democracy is more powerful than all those false Gods like Lenin, Stalin, Reagan…

Democracy is more powerful than all those false Gods like Lenin, Stalin, Reagan…

October 1st saw once again that liberalism does not equal democracy. The great and very skillful neoliberal autocrat Mikheil Saakashvili lost democratic elections to the opposition. This vote in Georgia was not so much a victory for the opposition, but a verdict to Georgian electoral autocracy.

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Mare Nostrum

Mare Nostrum

The Sea Battle of Navarino, Louis Ambroise Garneray, 1831 From Eurozine: A supranational construct of Europe that imposes boundaries but also makes them negotiable has contradiction built into its genetic code. Looking at maps of Europe at various times since antiquity, this hardly seems new – Europe’s external borders...

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Turkey and the Arab Spring

Turkey and the Arab Spring

The political upheavals of the Arab Spring and electoral victories of Islamist parties have brought a resurgence of talk about the ‘Turkish model’—a template that ‘effectively integrates Islam, democracy and vibrant economics’, according to a gushing New York Times article last year, which hailed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as ‘perhaps...

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The Taj Mahal has a hundred untold stories…

The Taj Mahal has a hundred untold stories…

From Harvard Magazine: Mehrotra was one of the authors of the 1995 historic preservation act that protects that part of Mumbai, the first such law in India. From 1996 until 2005, even after the move to Michigan, he directed Mumbai’s Urban Design Research Institute, advising the city and developers...

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J-1s

J-1s

Brighton Beach, New York. Photograph by Robert Coles From London Review of Books: Out on the dance floor the guests were in high spirits, dancing the twist to Michael Jackson songs performed with a Russian accent by a local singer. The men had taken their jackets off and their...

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‘Hawaiians have been surfing for more than a thousand years’

‘Hawaiians have been surfing for more than a thousand years’

From The Believer: Eddie Aikau was born in 1946, and grew up with his five siblings in a Chinese graveyard in Pauoa Valley, on Oahu. Hawaiians of Chinese ancestry have lived in Hawaii for more than two hundred years, though most showed up in the mid-to-late nineteenth century to...

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What is Northern Ireland for?

What is Northern Ireland for?

Hands Across the Divide, Derry From Dublin Review of Books: For Clifford it was precisely because Northern Ireland was neither a state, nor included in the workings of British democracy (due to an act of “supreme sacrifice” by Ulster unionists in 1920), that the Troubles happened. The British state’s...

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Krok

Krok

The wood cabin’s kitchen is dark and cramped. At the table sits Witch with a bowl in front of her. In her hand she holds a wet sponge with which she is wiping the phosphorus off matchboxes. Dark red droplets drip into the bowl.

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The impeachment of Lugo was a very Paraguayan affair…

The impeachment of Lugo was a very Paraguayan affair…

Fernando Lugo by Peter Lambert On Thursday, 21 June 2012 the Paraguayan Chamber of Deputies voted 76-1 to impeach President Fernando Lugo on the grounds of poor performance of functions. The following day, following a brief debate, the Paraguayan Senate voted 39-4 to confirm the decision, thus bringing to...

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Wendy Cheng and Laura Barraclough: LA, What Can We Say?

Wendy Cheng and Laura Barraclough: LA, What Can We Say?

Los Angeles is well known as a place anchored by Hollywood and home to celebrities, beach culture and endless sunshine. There are also the dystopic representations of the city as intellectually vacuous, absent of any redeeming culture and rife with traffic jams, suburban sprawl, environmental noxiousness and racial conflict.

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‘FEMEN’s images and actions became increasingly daring and innovative’

‘FEMEN’s images and actions became increasingly daring and innovative’

Any emergent social movement will faces obstacles, will proceed unevenly and with difficulty as it undermines people's resistance toward cultural change. In Ukraine, the decades ahead will present ever greater challenges to the formation of a consensus on women's rights, even as people's awareness of the patterns of anti-woman...

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Francisco de Miranda actually lived in the foothills of the Acropolis…

Francisco de Miranda actually lived in the foothills of the Acropolis…

Cartagena, Colombia. Photograph by Fernando Zuleta by Gregory Jusdanis Literature seems to be everywhere in Cartagena and not just because Gabriel García Márquez still has a house there. I was prepared to find a literary city as I had recently read Ilan Stavans’ biography of García Márquez. But as...

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Orgasmatronic

Orgasmatronic

Grass Mud Horse, Ai Weiwei From The Chronicle Review: Katrien Jacobs, a conference speaker from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, studies what she calls porn activism. In People’s Pornography: Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet (Intellect, 2012), she discusses the recent flourishing of that culture’s pent-up desire...

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‘Antiquity-continuity; diversity-unity; massivity-democracy; multiconfessionality-secularity’

‘Antiquity-continuity; diversity-unity; massivity-democracy; multiconfessionality-secularity’

Delhi, August 1947 From London Review of Books: ‘Astonishing thought: that any culture or civilisation should have this continuity for five or six thousand years or more; and not in a static or unchanging sense, for India was changing and progressing all the time,’ marvelled the country’s future ruler...

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Dream and Talent

Dream and Talent

Sandro Girgvliani by Irakli Zurab Kakabadze It is already 20 years since the breakup of the Soviet Union. We were the generation who was filled with hope in 1989, who expected great transformation of the world after the demise of the totalitarian state. We expected so much. This generation...

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