Berfrois

Communist Party, pamphlet, patriot, protest, Chinese, CCTV, mountains, freedom, education…

Communist Party, pamphlet, patriot, protest, Chinese, CCTV, mountains, freedom, education…

I meet Golog Jigme again in his large empty room at the Tibetan Refugee Reception Center. He serves me Chinese green tea from golden foil packets, pouring hot water over the leaves until I have a dark forest in the bottom of my cup.

Read More

‘Modern’ Tibet

‘Modern’ Tibet

The Qinghai-Tibet Highway From Guardian: For some years now, Tibet has been part of the world’s fastest-growing and globalising economy – indeed Tibet, helped by government investments and subsidies, has enjoyed higher GDP growth than all of China. There has been a general rise in living standards. Many Tibetan...

Read More

‘Shiaphobia is nothing new for Saudi Arabia’

‘Shiaphobia is nothing new for Saudi Arabia’

In 2004, anticipating the victory of the Shiite parties in the Iraqi parliamentary elections, King Abdullah of Jordan warned of a “Shiite crescent” stretching from Iran into Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon that would be dominated by Iran with its large majority of Shias and Shiite clerical leadership.

Read More

Eugenia Herbert: India’s Colonial Gardens

Eugenia Herbert: India’s Colonial Gardens

Researching an earlier book on the culture of late colonialism in the Upper Zambezi Valley of what was then Northern Rhodesia, I read a great many colonial memoirs, letters and reports, and interviewed ex-colonial officials. There were two things that surprised me: one was the importance of Worcestorshire sauce,...

Read More

How could the Kremlin have made such a mistake?

How could the Kremlin have made such a mistake?

Vladimir Putin believes he will be able to hold on to his power and avoid a repeat of Brezhnevite political and social stagnation. His critics are afraid that the future consequences of such a belief will be dramatic (photo: premier.gov.ru) by Daniil Kotsyubinsky The catcalls that greeted Vladimir Putin...

Read More

Eli Evans: Rajoy’s Inheritance

Eli Evans: Rajoy’s Inheritance

by Eli S. Evans Mariano Rajoy’s date with the Spanish presidency has arrived some eight years late. In 2004, as the handpicked successor to José María Aznar, Rajoy’s electoral victory was all but guaranteed. The years of rapid growth over which Aznar had presided, as the ruling Partido Popular’s...

Read More

Rebel Governance by Zachariah Cherian Mampilly

Rebel Governance by Zachariah Cherian Mampilly

German Stamp featuring Amilcar Cabral, January 1978 by Zachariah Cherian Mampilly During the liberation struggle against Portuguese colonialism in Guinea-Bissau, Amilcar Cabral and his PAIGC rebellion successfully convinced over sixty countries to recognize the nascent rebel government. Within the territory it successfully liberated from Portuguese control, the PAIGC built...

Read More

‘What they fear most about China is the absence of a genuine autocrat’

‘What they fear most about China is the absence of a genuine autocrat’

From The Nation: Ever since the Communist Party came to power in 1949, forceful, unifying figures have dominated the political arena and the PLA. The first was Mao Zedong, who used his unparalleled charisma and political genius to pit rivals against one another, to create a cult of personality...

Read More

The political agency of Delhi’s slum women is not an endowment from nature, it is an achievement…

The political agency of Delhi’s slum women is not an endowment from nature, it is an achievement…

Delhi, Mani Babbar From Scope: A city of nearly 17 million inhabitants, Delhi is not a single entity, but contains a multitude of distinct and overlapping spaces and enclaves. With its layering of history from the medieval to the modern, it is a palimpsest. As the capital of India,...

Read More

‘Istanbul was like a gingerbread house’

‘Istanbul was like a gingerbread house’

Topaki Palace kitchens From Lapham’s Quarterly: Twenty years ago, I walked across Eastern Europe to Istanbul. The food, on the whole, was plain, but from Bulgaria we walked through a gathering rush of portents—strong coffee and orthodox domes, bright prints and the eastern rhythm of gypsy music—until we reached...

Read More

This Little Potala

This Little Potala

China’s Tibetan Theme Park | by Richard Bernstein

The New York Review of Books

In the international press, China’s tensions with Tibet are often traced to the Chinese invasion of 1950 and Tibet’s failed uprising of 1959. But for the Chinese themselves,...

Read More

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...

Read More

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. ...

Read More

‘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,...

Read More

“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...

Read More
Jerry Moore: Feverish Rivers

I learned that Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff had been a Nazi when I was in a Santa Marta supermarket. I had just stepped into the Exito...

Read More
Lauren Berlant
Lauren Berlant flies

Most of the writing we do is actually a performance of stuckness. It is a record of where we got stuck on a question...

Read More
Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to...

Read More
Michael Munro on Spinoza

Immanence is not philosophy, nor philosophy immanence. But there is in the passage from one to the other a modification of sense that is...

Read More
David Beer
David Beer: Broadcastwerk

Writing at sometime around 1930 or 1931, Walter Benjamin suggested that the voice on the radio is a like a visitor in the home,...

Read More
Rose Barnsley: Young, Gifted and Žižekian

At nineteen, it is easy to think that all you're missing is the right movement. But there is something about the young left wing...

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Rama’s And

While local journalists were once again busy regurgitating worn-down, coma inducing positions about yet another spectral appearance of Enver Hoxha at the celebration of...

Read More
Playing the Percentages: Berfrois Interviews Danny Dorling

The portrait of the 1% in your book is one of sociopathic, power-hungry narcissists with a striking lack of empathy. This may seem antagonistic,...

Read More
Joseph Spece
Joseph Spece: When Gamers Attack

Like many ugly controversies, the beginnings of #gamergate are linked to the end of love — well, the end of a relationship, at least....

Read More
Lauren Berlant performs by clicking

Today I introduced Facebook to someone older than me and had a long conversation about what the point of networking amongst “friends” is. The...

Read More
Tinder Times by Bibi Deitz

I am in bed with a man. He has to go home. He is not staying the night. So he pulls out his iPhone...

Read More
Jenny Diski keeps up

Some things are best met with silence. If I were to proceed with this month’s column in an honest way, it would be a...

Read More
From Fashion by Tracy O’Neill

The man who brought us a disembodied protagonist alluringly voiced by Scarlett Johansson has now issued a drama — starring apparel. Recently, Opening Ceremony...

Read More
Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

Read More