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The Bastard

Coming of age is a fist in the face for Karim Miske. Filmmaker, detective novelist, son of a Mauritanian diplomat and a French communist mother, Miske both inhabits and illuminates in his work a world of shifting and uncertain French identities. In this excerpt from the first chapter of his memoir, Unbelonging (N’Appartenir), the moment when the fine drapery of a middle class upbringing in Paris began to fray, exposing the rot behind:

In the beginning there is the shame. It circles around inside you, elusive and toxic.

‘You’ll Wish He Had Died’: How Not to Teach Sensitivity

The promise of a series of children’s books claiming to teach compassion toward disabled people is immediately broken for Rawan Baybars as she leafs through its brightly illustrated pages. In the Jordanian books-financed by the Dutch embassy and international NGOs-she finds an appalling and insensitive view that fixates on the misery that the intellectually disabled supposedly inflict on their families.

I recently came across an illustrated children’s book series on the ‘handicapped’ in one of Amman’s shopping malls.

Lula, The Rhetoric of the Image, Past and Present

Besieged, Lula has plunged back into embrace of the crowds he loves. For Brazil’s left, the corruption indictment of ‘Lula’ da Silva is a nightmare, and massive street protests both for and against the former president have followed. In this essay from Piaui, filmmaker Joao Moreira Salles studies the visual record of Lula’s public life.

Those who have followed the terrible events of Friday, maybe noticed a man wearing a dark jacket, a black beard and hair in need of a trim who never left Lula’s side.

The Bloodstained Footprints of Progress

The bloodstained footprints of Progress, the bigotry and arrogance of petty elites. In the detective novels of Costa Rica’s Daniel Quiros, the black heart of the ‘Switzerland of Central America.’

Daniel Quiros is a Costa Rican academic writer born in 1979. He is also a harsh critic of “Central America’s Switzerland”. In his latest two novels, detective stories– Red Summer and Northern Rain — he presents a Costa Rica that is distant from development and progress, a Costa Ric

“An Excess of Rationality Leading to Collective Madness”

The Greek leftists have apparently capitulated once again to German economic demands, including a nearly unprecedented surrender of sovereignty over billions of dollars in public assets. For a time, the crisis of the Eurozone has perhaps been papered over. In this interview, Emmanuel Todd says that Europe is however slowly committing collective suicide under German supervision.

For me, the striking thing is how the Europe we are dealing with today is no longer the Europe of yesterday.

In the Republic of Arab Letters, Rule of the Despots

The bleak state of Arab literature in the age of mega-prizes. As Yves Gonzalez-Quijano writes here, the extravagant literary prizes handed out by the despotic lords of the Gulf Arab monarchies have done more than make a few Arab novelists wealthy: they have poisoned the entire confection of Arab literature, shrinking and desiccating the range and style of writing.

The “Arab World” is sinking into a certain amount of chaos once again.

No, We Are Not All Kamel Daoud

In spite of a savage civil war in the 1990s in which jihadi groups killed over a hundred journalists as well as numerous musicians and writers, Algeria today is home to a thriving literary culture. The biggest star of the day is Kamel Daoud, whose literary repartee to Camus’s The Stranger made a splash in France last year and will soon be published in English translation. Daoud’s prominence and cantankerousness recently won him a death fatwa from a prominent local islamist.

A solicitation for murder. A solicitation for murder published, signed and acknowledged-proudly and publicly-by its author, a certain oddball called Hamadache.

In Tragedy of Migrant Deaths in Sahara, Signals of a Renewed Integration

Malian immigrants dancing at a concert in Tamanrasset, Algeria. Photo: Arnaud Contreras.

Algerian sociologist Ali Bensaad says that the interventions of the modern states that have developed on both sides of the Sahara, building artificial cities in the desert to define and control the boundaries there, have paradoxically made the borders more porous and increased the flow of migration.

Forty-six Nigerien migrants died trying to cross the Algerian desert a couple of days ago.

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