Berfrois

Junko Kitanaka: Depressed Nation

Junko Kitanaka: Depressed Nation

An advertisement for an all purpose pill called Wakyōgan sold in premodern Japan (Wakyōgan Hikifuda, Courtesy of Nichibunken) by Junko Kitanaka In Japan, in the 1980s, the term “kar­ôshi”, or “death from overwork”, was coined to describe cases where people have essentially worked themselves to death. In the late...

Read More

John Beverley: Latin America’s Pink Tide

John Beverley: Latin America’s Pink Tide

by John Beverley Let me begin by recalling a famous passage in his lectures on The Philosophy of History, where Hegel, writing in 1822, anticipates the future of the United States: Had the forests of Germany still been in existence, the French Revolution would not have occurred. North America will...

Read More

Gib

‘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...

Read More

‘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.

Read More

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

‘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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

‘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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More