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.

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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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Jeremy Fernando on Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

Jeremy Fernando on Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew

There is a famous maxim that one must always kill your idols. That the only way to become your own person, as it were, is to free yourself from the shadow of the one you admire, look up to. Singapore has clearly taken this to heart: and has murdered...

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Francis Ghilès on Nahda’s Tunisia

Francis Ghilès on Nahda’s Tunisia

by Francis Ghilès Tunisia remains very dependent on international good will: despite receiving aid and loans worth $1.5bn last year, the growing current account deficit has reduced hard currency reserves to the equivalent of three and a half months cover of imports. The Minister of Human Rights and Transitional...

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Is Bangladesh a country of secular Bengalis or Muslim Bangladeshis?

Is Bangladesh a country of secular Bengalis or Muslim Bangladeshis?

Photograph by Michael Gumtau by Lailufar Yasmin Secularism was one of the cornerstones of Bengali nationalism, but its spirit was enforced only by pen and paper. How can demands to ban religion from politics be satisfied? The United Nations categorizes Bangladesh as a moderate Muslim democracy. Meanwhile, the current...

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Project Circus

Project Circus

From The New York Review of Books: For nearly two decades after the 1950 Chinese takeover of Tibet, the CIA ran a covert operation designed to train Tibetan insurgents and gather intelligence about the Chinese, as part of its efforts to contain the spread of communism around the world....

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Oliver Farry in Albania

Oliver Farry in Albania

I went to Albania to try and get back with an ex-girlfriend, though that is only half the story. The trip had been planned in advance; Anna, a Swedish girl I had been seeing for about eighteen months, gave me as a birthday present a plane ticket to Tirana...

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Russian philanthropists have heeded the cautionary tale of Mikhail Khodorkovsky…

Russian philanthropists have heeded the cautionary tale of Mikhail Khodorkovsky…

The Sinyavsky–Daniel trial, February 1966 From The Nation: American writers are familiar with the manifest injustices of the literary marketplace. They are also accustomed to feeling outrage on behalf of censored writers abroad, signing petitions from Amnesty International or PEN. But Sinyavsky’s story addresses some of the aspects of...

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Russia’s ’68?

Russia’s ’68?

From Voina to Bykov, Pussy Riot to Moscow hipsterism, culture seems to be playing a very political game in Russia. How can we explain this? Is this something that Russia has seen before? Are we witnessing this Russia’s ‘1968’ moment? And if so, is accompanied by the same kind...

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‘A visit to Hebron eats into one’s soul’

‘A visit to Hebron eats into one’s soul’

Hebron, West Bank. Photograph by Synne Tonidas From The New York Review of Books: On March 16, I joined some twenty-five children, aged about eight to thirteen, who had gathered with Palestinian peace activists in a house in Hebron city to write letters to President Obama on the eve...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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....

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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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