Berfrois

Aalooran Rahman Bora Meets Jessica Sequeira

Aalooran Rahman Bora Meets Jessica Sequeira

Those few lovely hours – of talking books, selecting books, buying books – consisted our brief encounter.

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‘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...

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‘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.

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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‘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...

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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,...

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‘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...

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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,...

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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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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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David Beer
David Beer: Make Happy, Happy, Happy

As I read through William Davies’ engaging new book, I can’t help but wonder what Mad Men’s Don Draper would have made of John...

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Russell Bennetts: Coffee for 8 More

I might be the last person you should ask about St. Paul coffee in general. On an ordinary day I make do with drip...

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Emeline Edgewood
In X the Promise

X seems to want to be both the equivalent of The Giant and of Laura Palmer’s mother in Twin Peaks.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Municipal

Although there are also some independent candidates who may take a few votes here and there, the general opinion of the Tirana public and...

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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...

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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...

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Oscillation

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

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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...

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Jeremy Fernando: Pink

An offering that might well remain in its being offered.

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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.

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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...

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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...

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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...

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