Berfrois

Sex Please, We’re Russian

Sex Please, We’re Russian

Final of Miss Russia 2010. In Soviet times, beauty contests were unknown. Ideologists considered such public displays of the female body as decadent bourgeois behavior. by Elena Fanailova A couple of years ago I was part of a group of young female writers on an Oxford University course called...

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Heather Sharkey on Southern Sudan

Heather Sharkey on Southern Sudan

  by Heather J. Sharkey Civil wars ravaged Sudan in the mid-to-late twentieth century.  Most fighting occurred between government armies and southern “rebel” forces during two stretches of conflict, often called the “first civil war”, waged between 1955 and 1971, and the “second civil war”, waged after 1983.   Southern...

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Freedom, Brooms and Rollers

Freedom, Brooms and Rollers

From The New York Review of Books: For hours, I wandered the downtown streets with friends, watched young men and women dance on boats moored on the banks of the Nile, chatting with strangers, taking pictures of soldiers and officers who were speaking to crowds around them about how...

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Cannibalism became commonplace…

Cannibalism became commonplace…

From Words Without Borders: “The Story of Serafima Andreyevna”, by Igort (translated by Jamie Richards), Words Without Borders

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Potemkin Productions was a far cry from Soho…

Potemkin Productions was a far cry from Soho…

Vladimir Potanin in Кандидат or Kandidat by Peter Pomerantsev In 2006 I was invited to take part in one of the great adventures of modern broadcasting – conquering the booming Russian television market. The company I was hired by, Potemkin Productions, had been founded by Tim, a British executive...

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A little cinnamon with it

A little cinnamon with it

Vaclav Havel’s Leaving, performed at The Wilma Theatre, Philadephlia, 2010 From World Affairs: No matter how moral, humble, and immune to the temptations of power you are, once you’ve had it, it’s impossible to ever be free of it. It comes to define you as much in its absence...

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“Sicilian is like English: sharp, short, the less said the better”

“Sicilian is like English: sharp, short, the less said the better”

From Deutsche Welle: Deutsche Welle: “There’s Nothing Wrong with Lucy” is based on the true story of a man you defended, who was accused of sexually abusing one of his daughters… I wonder if your career as a lawyer, which has always been in your second language, made it...

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With sources like these

With sources like these

From Sign and Sight: When “The Coming Insurrection” (here in English) was published anonymously in France the state authorities came down hard on its presumed authors. Based on the theories of the Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, the manifesto calls for political violence and fulminates against democracy and the rule...

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Pankaj Mishra on Mao and the Maoists

Pankaj Mishra on Mao and the Maoists

From The New Yorker: Just five years after his death, the C.C.P. officially blamed the “mistaken leadership of Mao Zedong” for the “serious disaster and turmoil” of the Cultural Revolution, and the garishly consumerist and inegalitarian China of today seems to mock Mao’s fantasies of a Communist paradise. Nevertheless,...

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‘Les Halles was more central to the idea of Paris in the minds of its own citizens than any tower or monument could ever be’

‘Les Halles was more central to the idea of Paris in the minds of its own citizens than any tower or monument could ever be’

In Search of Lost Paris | by  Luc Sante

The New York Review of Books

It was often called the “soul” of Paris as well as its “stomach,” and it was destroyed impersonally...

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‘The foreigners were gone, at last…’

‘The foreigners were gone, at last…’

From The New Statesman: As the rain sheeted down, time washed away. I looked down from the rooftop in Saigon where, more than a generation ago, in the wake of the longest war of modern times, I had watched silent, sullen streets awash. The foreigners were gone, at last....

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Very comfortable in its excess

Very comfortable in its excess

From Washington Monthly: The furniture is, in reality, all very cheap, Yang confides. He bought it from a relative who is in the furniture resale business. Though it may seem a tad gaudy to Western sensibilities, it feels very comfortable to him in its excess. When I and another...

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