Berfrois

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 very important to someone.

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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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Cristóbal Kaltwasser: Chávez

Cristóbal Kaltwasser: Chávez

With the death of Hugo Chávez last week, the battle for the interpretation of his legacy has begun. On the one hand, his followers will spare no effort in depicting him not only as a saviour of the nation, but also as a role model for the left in...

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Her Own Anti-Modern World

Her Own Anti-Modern World

by Irakli Zurab Kakabadze Nino Chubinishvili has created her own Alter-Modern world in Tbilisi. She is not a self-described adherent of Deleuzian Multiplicities or Hardt and Negri’s Multitude. She has just created her own world. Sometimes this happens at her own studio in Arts Academy, in some cases in...

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At the heart of M5S remains television, the mother of all Italian populisms…

At the heart of M5S remains television, the mother of all Italian populisms…

Beppe Grillo addresses a crowd in Trieste, February 2013. Photograph by Triesteprima.it by Jamie Mackay Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement has often been called a shake-up for Italian politics. But what if ‘M5S’ really obeyed an established paradigm that is far from the revolutionary ideas it claims to convey?...

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An Adventure in Spanish

An Adventure in Spanish

‘Ernest Hemingway’, illustrated by Ralph Barton, from Vanity Fair, c.1927 by Gregory Jusdanis My adventure in Spanish started a couple of years ago with a promise I threw out to the audience at the Universidad de Cartagena. Feeling elated that so many students had come to my talk, I...

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Silencing Irish

Silencing Irish

Galway bay. Photograph by Bhalash. by Patricia Palmer Anyone familiar with the story of language in Elizabethan Ireland can only feel impatience – if not despair – at the latter-day triumphalism of works like Melvyn Bragg’s best-selling The Adventure of English. I One late-September night, I was having a...

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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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Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

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Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

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Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

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Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

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John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

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Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

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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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Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

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Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

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A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

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Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

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