Berfrois

Taran N. Khan on Kabul

Taran N. Khan on Kabul

This spring, I spent some time watching these films from Kabul in a small room deep in the depths of the ICRC building, a room located inside a network of corridors and sliding doors. It was a silent, small room, a room with space for the past, filled up with the tools of bearing witness, from U-Matic to Beta players.

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Markha Valenta on the Utøya island shooting

Markha Valenta on the Utøya island shooting

AUF Summer Camp on Utøya, 2010, photograph by Arbeidernes Ungdomsfylking (AUF)  by Markha Valenta However nuanced, it is striking how little extant interpretations attend to the fact that Breivik’s most grotesque violence was not directed at Muslims or immigrants as such but at the youth members of the Norwegian...

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Elazar Barkan: Minority Repatriation

Elazar Barkan: Minority Repatriation

A refugee girl holds her doll as she arrives with her family in Travnik, during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, photograph by Mikhail Evstafiev, 1993 by Elazar Barkan The Dayton Peace agreement following the Bosnian war emphatically declared that the ethnic cleansing would be reversed and that the refugees repatriated. ...

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‘Politically Turkey has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous eighty’

‘Politically Turkey has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous eighty’

Triumphant Turkey? | by Stephen Kinzer

The New York Review of Books

Against the backdrop of bloody upheaval in the Arab world, Turkey’s national election in June seemed a triumph of democracy. Candidates for parliament were secular and religious, pro-military and anti-military,...

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“Sir, don’t call off the fast”

“Sir, don’t call off the fast”

Arvind Kejriwal, photograph by Joe Athialy From Caravan: Shortly after Anna Hazare broke his fast-unto-death on 9 April, a group of young people encircled a small man with a black moustache at Jantar Mantar and began shouting the famous pre-independence slogan: Inquilab Zindabad! (Long Live Revolution!). He continued walking...

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Gordon Mathews hangs out at Chungking Mansions

Gordon Mathews hangs out at Chungking Mansions

Kent Wang by Gordon Mathews Chungking Mansions is a dilapidated 17-story structure full of cheap guesthouses, restaurants, and shops of all kinds located in the heart of Hong Kong’s tourist district, which encompasses some of the most expensive real estate on earth. Chungking Mansions has been famous in recent...

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Charles Rearick dreams of every Paris

Charles Rearick dreams of every Paris

A panoramic view of the big city from the hillside Parc de Belleville. Far from the picturesque quais of the Seine and the chic quarters to the west, a  neighborhood of small, deteriorating houses was destroyed to create this park in 1988, but some semblance of aneighborly “village” lives...

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‘Over fifty species of primates practice pica; it seems difficult to argue that humans should be exempted’

‘Over fifty species of primates practice pica; it seems difficult to argue that humans should be exempted’

Orinoco River From Lapham’s Quarterly: On June 6, 1800, nearly a year into his scientific journey through South America, Alexander von Humboldt arrived at a mission on the Orinoco River called La Concepción de Uruana. It was a stunning site. The village sat at the foot of granite mountains,...

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“The language of all the English-speaking peoples is moving in the direction of New Zealand English”

“The language of all the English-speaking peoples is moving in the direction of New Zealand English”

Quintessentially No. 8 | by David Elworthy

Landfall Review

Within a decade or two of their first arrival in New Zealand, English-speaking settlers began to note the changes wrought upon their native tongue by their experiences in a new environment – and their...

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Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly 6 million inhabitants…

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has lost nearly 6 million inhabitants…

Tver, Russia, Inna Gluschenko From Le Monde Diplomatique: There is no need to travel to remote areas of Russia to find evidence of the country’s demographic crisis. Tver and its region (known as Kalinin from 1931 to 1990) are only a few hours from Moscow, but have recorded more...

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China’s Jasmine Revolution drew small crowds and little energy…

China’s Jasmine Revolution drew small crowds and little energy…

China’s Other Revolution | by Edward S. Steinfeld

Boston Review

Ai may be the most recognizable name globally, but other detainees have included rights activists, lawyers, bloggers, journalists, and academics. Some have been formally charged with “creating a disturbance” or “inciting...

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Teju Cole: Fait Divers in Lagos

Teju Cole: Fait Divers in Lagos

by Teju Cole I am at work on a book about Lagos, a non-fictional narrative. Why Lagos? It is the biggest city in Africa, and the fastest growing in the world. And it was my home for seventeen years, from infancy until I finished high-school. But the most important...

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Four Interactions

Four Interactions

Bhubaneshwar, India by Satyabrata Mitra Interaction I: Worker in Atos Origin India Pvt Ltd. The following is the reflection of a worker (software developer) in Atos Origin India Private Limited (Mumbai), a part of Atos Origin Global, an European MNC. The worker desired to share certain things with other...

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Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

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Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

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Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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