Berfrois

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Bitter Albania, Bitter Greece

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Bitter Albania, Bitter Greece

During the last few weeks, the overall silence, or, at most, one-sided coverage of the Albanian media vis-à-vis the national economic situation in relation to Greece's was contrasted by an echo chamber of "regular" EU media chastising Greece's "bad behavior" and empty calls to "get your act together."

Read More

‘Frustration among Saudis has deep roots’

‘Frustration among Saudis has deep roots’

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia From Boston Review: About two weeks after the failed mass protests, Chas Freeman, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, gave a lecture at the Asia Business Forum in Riyadh. He unequivocally asserted that there is no great power other than the United States capable...

Read More

Effective Bureaucratic Order

Effective Bureaucratic Order

Vladimir Putin’s one great achievement is the restoration of bureaucratic order after its near destruction by Gorbachev and privatisation by Yeltsin. Yet the end game is fast approaching, and the longer Putin clings on, the more likely he will be instead remembered for letting greedy friends and bureaucrats run...

Read More

London is the city and the city and the city and the city…

London is the city and the city and the city and the city…

Eric Rimmington by Laurie Penny In some ways it was the first place I ever knew. Seventeen, sick and living in a box-room belonging to an octogenarian friend of the family, every day once I was just about well enough not to have to sleep in hospital overnight I...

Read More

Andrea Teti: Egypt One Year On

Andrea Teti: Egypt One Year On

One year after the ousting of Hosni Mubarak, it is difficult to conclude that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military junta which took over from the former President, are anything but the hard core of Mubarak’s regime, fighting for its own survival.

Read More

France as Tourist Brothel

France as Tourist Brothel

Bercy Village, Paris, described by locals as “faux French village in the heart of Paris.”  by James Warner A prophet-provacateur faithful to French traditions of lucidity, sensuality, and alienation, Houellebecq believes we are all doomed. The Map and the Territory continues his great project of exposing the limits of individualism....

Read More

One Called Tiananmen

One Called Tiananmen

Factory workers in Shenzhen, China. Photograph by Douglas Johnson From New Left Review: Marx blamed California—the Gold Rush and its resultant monetary stimulus to world trade—for prematurely ending the revolutionary cycle of the 1840s. In the immediate aftermath of 2008, so-called brics became the new California. Airship Wall Street...

Read More

Hilal Khashan on Syria

Hilal Khashan on Syria

Dictators, be they benevolent or malevolent, are incapable of compromise, and because of their constitutional makeup they see the world as black or white. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is not an exception to the rule. He is not receptive to engagement in serious political reforms to placate his country’s...

Read More

Katrien Jacobs: Breast Lovers of China, Unite!

Katrien Jacobs: Breast Lovers of China, Unite!

Sora Aoi by Katrien Jacobs Since its establishment in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has upheld a nationwide ban on pornography, imposing harsh punishments on those caught purchasing, producing or distributing materials deemed a violation of public morality. Meanwhile, a well-developed yet illegal internet pornography industry, DIY pornography...

Read More

Cuba’s agroecological achievements are remarkable, yet still they import food…

Cuba’s agroecological achievements are remarkable, yet still they import food…

A city farm in Cuba. Photograph by Tardigrade From Monthly Review: When Cuba faced the shock of lost trade relations with the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, food production initially collapsed due to the loss of imported fertilizers, pesticides, tractors, parts, and petroleum. The situation was so bad...

Read More

Junko Kitanaka: Depressed Nation

Junko Kitanaka: Depressed Nation

An advertisement for an all purpose pill called Wakyōgan sold in premodern Japan (Wakyōgan Hikifuda, Courtesy of Nichibunken) by Junko Kitanaka In Japan, in the 1980s, the term “kar­ôshi”, or “death from overwork”, was coined to describe cases where people have essentially worked themselves to death. In the late...

Read More

John Beverley: Latin America’s Pink Tide

John Beverley: Latin America’s Pink Tide

    by John Beverley Let me begin by recalling a famous passage in his lectures on The Philosophy of History, where Hegel, writing in 1822, anticipates the future of the United States:   Had the forests of Germany still been in existence, the French Revolution would not have...

Read More

Gib

‘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
En Liang Khong: Full Bloom

The cross-dressing Qiu Jin was emblematic of a revolutionary feminist current at the end of the Qing era, writing urgently on women’s emancipation: “While...

Read More
Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei
Very Much Like a Whale by Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei

They had obviously taken the pictures of the whale, and the group of people carrying it, out of curiosity. But still the images failed...

Read More
Oscillation

We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

Read More
Menachem Feuer: Body

While Sarah Silverman jokingly tells us that her Jewish identity has more to do with her body than with the “responsibilities and limitations” that...

Read More
Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

Read More
Rosie Clarke Chats to Amelia Gray

I get the impulse to look to the canon, but I think we should try and challenge and squash the canon, too.

Read More
Mario Carpo: Voice, Words, Memory

It all started with cellphones, a long time ago. No student, and few teachers, would make voice calls from class, but in the early...

Read More
Remembrance of Translations Past

Although Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff’s translation of À la recherche du temps perdu is considered by many journalists and writers to be the best...

Read More
Colin Dickey: Time’s Resistless Stream

By now, we are all of us more or less apocalyptic. Our calendar is itself based on the apocalyptic return of Jesus Christ, counting...

Read More
Mark Mordue: Curate. Content. Click.

Not that ‘the critic’ has ever been a greatly appreciated or understood figure. Some fat toad with a feather in his hat who thinks...

Read More
Russell Bennetts
Street Fighter: Berfrois Interviews Tariq Ali

The extreme centre is a form of government that arose out of neoliberal economics and exists today in virtually the whole of Europe, North...

Read More
John Crutchfield: Go West

Perhaps this is what finally draws me back to the Western. It is a fundamentally serious genre. It deals with serious questions, and it...

Read More
Joel Gn on Henri Lefebvre

How may we speak of that which goes off the record in an age of digital colonisation?

Read More
Volker M. Welter on Michael Graves

The designer Michael Graves, who passed away at the age of 80 on March 12th, was widely considered to be one of the founding...

Read More