Berfrois

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 hitherto unknown signs of autonomy. One of the reasons journalists keep being killed off, and Peña Nieto places so much emphasis on image-management, is that many bravely still insist on trying to do their jobs.

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Youssef Rakha on Egypt

Youssef Rakha on Egypt

Two and a half years after the January 25, 2011 uprising, I’m with my friend Aboulliel in the room I still have at my parents’ house. We’re slurping Turkish coffee and dragging on Marlboros, absorbed in conversation, when suddenly it feels as if we’ve been on the same topic...

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Just Keep Driving

Just Keep Driving

Photograph by Krisztina Tordai From The American Scholar: The road was two-laned, the landscape dour, as gray as the skies. Belgrade was sophisticated, dense with promenaders, and large enough to confuse a driver. We had no idea where we were, and it was difficult to ask directions because of...

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John Crutchfield in Leipzig

John Crutchfield in Leipzig

The first time I visited Leipzig, Germany was late in the winter of 1992, not long after the much-hyped reunification. The East was still very much “The East,” and though money was pouring in from the federal government, no one really seemed to know what the rules were. Prices...

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Hilal Khashan on Geneva II

Hilal Khashan on Geneva II

Events have shown that the Obama Administration never wanted to get directly involved in the Syrian armed conflict. Its publicity stunt about hurling a few tomahawk missiles to punish the Syrian regime revealed President Barack Obama’s embarrassment about drawing a red line in the sand regarding using chemical weapons...

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Gandhi and Ahmedabad

Gandhi and Ahmedabad

The field of South Asian urban history has a rich history of examining India’s major urban centers. Numerous astute studies of Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta, for example, have contributed to our understanding of not only the rapid urbanization (and later suburbanization, as explored in the remarkable collection of essays...

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The bulk of the middle class implicitly accept the graduated political system that the ANC has created…

The bulk of the middle class implicitly accept the graduated political system that the ANC has created…

Abahlali Assembly, Foreman Road Settlement by Richard Pithouse Cities have emerged as a key site of popular struggle in post-apartheid South Africa. But with the ANC responding to independent organisation in an increasingly violent and repressive manner the future of these struggles is deeply uncertain. On the 26th of...

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Wyjks

Wyjks

by Justin E. H. Smith The far-right National-Democratic Party of Germany has put up campaign signs in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern with the slogan ‘Ausländer raus’. In case you don’t believe me, I’ve provided photographic proof. On closer inspection, the signs in fact read ‘Kriminelle Ausländer raus’, but this is more a...

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A San Juan Connection

A San Juan Connection

Jacinta lives with her husband and six children in San Juan, a tiny and remote hamlet in the mountains of northern Argentina. My sons, Adrian, and Alexander, our guide, Facundo, and I had just arrived, after a long day of hiking. Because San Juan is off the grid, Facundo...

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Now See Here by Thomas Heise

Now See Here by Thomas Heise

Of the half million international tourists visiting Brazil for World Cup in 2014, several thousand will take the new gondolas, purchased from German company Doppelmayr, to Sugarloaf Mountain, and on the ride up and down will have a sweeping view of Rio de Janeiro’s notorious favelas. Laid out before...

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Eli Evans: PP OMG

Eli Evans: PP OMG

Keeping tabs on the so-called Bárcenas affair, Spain’s ongoing corruption scandal, has been a bit like watching the slow-motion replay of a calamity. We already knew what happened, more or less: the country’s real estate bubble was produced through a toxic combination of the large-scale reclassification of “rural” land...

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Francis Ghilès: Frontiers

Francis Ghilès: Frontiers

Democratic imperialism has long been the favourite foreign policy vision of American neoconservatives: foreign powers had the moral obligation to impose democratic institutions on people who, subject to authoritarian rule were in no position to determine their fate. The U.S., and many in France and the UK, argued they...

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Hilal Khashan on Bashar al-Assad

Hilal Khashan on Bashar al-Assad

The Syrian regime continues to celebrate its recent achievement in al-Qusayr, which it describes as a game-changing twist that will eventually awe the opposition into submission. Officials in Damascus wasted no time in announcing the beginning of the Northern Storm Operation to restore government control of Aleppo, Syria’s industrial...

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Who’s Gezi?

Who’s Gezi?

Turkey is living through remarkable days which will be long remembered. Many thousands of people have taken to the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and other big cities, braving the teargas liberally sprayed by riot-police. Their cause: the future of Turkish politics and society.

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Keith Doubt on Elizabeth Dauphinee

Keith Doubt on Elizabeth Dauphinee

Impressions from Serbia, Dragan Papić - Dr. Agan by Keith Doubt The Politics of Exile, by Elizabeth Dauphinee, Routledge, 224 pp. The subject of Elizabeth Dauphinee’s The Politics of Exile is a man who committed a war crime in Bosnia. Being a war criminal does not define who the man is, but...

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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...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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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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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

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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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Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

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Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

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Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

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Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

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Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

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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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