Berfrois

Nadav Samin on New York and Saudi Arabia

Nadav Samin on New York and Saudi Arabia

I wrote a book, Of Sand or Soil, on genealogy and social contestation in modern Saudi Arabia. It rests on two apparent falsehoods, both of which concern that “least sexy” discipline, philology.

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Very Much Like a Whale by 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 to produce any satisfactory explanation. Now we only knew how it had entered, but still not why.

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Amanda Gray: Beyond Good Coffee

Amanda Gray: Beyond Good Coffee

In countries like Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia, the coworking spaces aren’t simply jumping on a trend, but are rather looking at public space and sharing economies as a tool to administer community and social change.

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Don’t Mention the Dawn

Don’t Mention the Dawn

I had never seen a neo-Nazi before. On a cloudless Sunday morning in January, the day of the Greek elections, I was making my way through people holding cups of coffee and pushing strollers in a polling station.

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Meatloaf

Meatloaf

The waitress came over. I had made up my mind to try meatloaf, which sounded very American to my ears, and a pale lager.

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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.

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Edifices and Narratives

Edifices and Narratives

In the beginning there was not the city, but the resistant shard; not the organic community, but more or less the cumbersome fragments.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Urban Politics

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Urban Politics

an important part of the image that the Rama government is intent on creating for Albania is based on his former accomplishments in urban development as Mayor of Tirana.

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London is in in danger of hitting a cultural dead-end…

London is in in danger of hitting a cultural dead-end…

Money, money, money. The city London ought to be – turbulent, chaotic, fantastically creative, brimming with a sense of freedom – is under threat.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Prison in Albania

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Prison in Albania

The Albanian justice system is unable – for a variety of well-known and very human reasons – to process the fact that four innocent people were shot in broad daylight by the Republic Guards.

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The Hackney Hole

The Hackney Hole

They dig and the earth is sweet. The Hackney Hole is eight square metres, straight down through the lawn of a decommissioned rectory. This secret garden is separated from St Augustine’s Tower by a high wall of darkly weathered brick.

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As China has embraced a type of capitalism, original editions of the Little Red Book have become a scarce commodity…

As China has embraced a type of capitalism, original editions of the Little Red Book have become a scarce commodity…

In West Germany in the late 1960s, the Little Red Book “resembled simultaneously an accessory of the classical workers’ movement and a modish commodity of the educated elite”.

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Anthemic Molossia

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Anthemic Molossia

That Albania occupies a curious part of the global (or at least, American) pop-cultural imagination has been observed in this magazine and elsewhere, but sometimes I am still surprised at how this country and its history have certain transformational characteristics that very few other nations seem to have.

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Thomas Rath: Mexican Democracy

Thomas Rath: Mexican Democracy

I don't think Iguala means we should jettison the narrative of democratization entirely, at least if we want to understand how and why Mexico has changed in the last fifty years. Elections are contested by more parties than they used to be, and the Supreme Court has recently shown...

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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Albanian Poppies

Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: Albanian Poppies

Recently, historian Bernd Fischer claimed that in fact the last German left on December 4, which was in turn heavily contested by Paskal Milo, etcetera. Why the fact of the last German leaving ought to determine the symbolic date of national liberation is beyond me, but I'm sure it's...

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

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 the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Tirana, very few cared to analyze the rather remarkable speech of PM Edi Rama at the 6th Annual...

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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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Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei: LGBT Struggles in Albania

This morning I woke up to a rather surprising headline: "first gay marriage in Tirana." The article referred to the marriage ceremony recently held...

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Feroz Rather in Srinagar

Though the war was still going on, it was not a terribly sad time in my life; at least, I had the consolation of...

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Foucault’s Politics of Truth by Stuart Elden

The key figures are Cardinal Richelieu and Chancellor Séguier, and Foucault thinks it is important that he can discern the “first great deployment of...

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Menachem Feuer on Sarah Silverman and Lena Dunham

Elle called Silverman’s image of her wearing a shirt with several naked Lena Dunhams a “beautiful tribute.” Dunham, the article tells us, “seemed to...

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Mediamacro are very good at pretending…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with David Cameron. Well, almost - we were at the same restaurant but on tables at...

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Tammy Ho Lai-Ming: One Little Room

A room with graffitied walls. Inside this room the dogs bark. A room cluttered with porcelain figurines. A room decorated with binary numbers.

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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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