Not all violence is hot. There’s cold violence too, which takes its time and finally gets its way. Children going to school and coming home are exposed to it. Fathers and mothers listen to politicians on television calling for their extermination. Grandmothers have no expectation that even their aged bodies are safe: any young man may lay a hand on them with no consequence. The police could arrive at night and drag a family out into the street. Putting a people into deep uncertainty about the fundamentals of life, over years and decades, is a form of cold violence. Through an accumulation of laws rather than by military means, a particular misery is intensified and entrenched. This slow violence, this cold violence, no less than the other kind, ought to be looked at and understood.
Yemen is short of many things, but weapons is not one of them. Yemenis own between 40 and 60 million guns, according to a report by UN experts published earlier this year. This should be enough for Yemen’s 26 million people, although the experts note that demand for grenades that used to cost $5, handguns ($150) and AK-47s ($150) has increased eightfold. Whatever else happens, the war in Yemen is not going to end because any of the participants are short of weaponry.
Now how do you top this as a geopolitical entrance? Eight JF-17 Thunder fighter jets escorting Chinese President Xi Jinping on board an Air China Boeing as he enters Pakistani air space. And these JF-17s are built as a China-Pakistan joint project.Silk Road? Better yet; silk skyway.Just to drive the point home – and into everyone’s homes – a little further, Xi penned a column widely distributed to Pakistani media before his first overseas trip in 2015.He stressed, “We need to form a ‘1+4′ cooperation structure with the Economic Corridor at the center and the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.”
On January 22, 2014 a twenty-year-old Santhal woman reported that thirteen men had gang-raped her on the orders of her village council in remote Subalpur in West Bengal. She was punished, she said, for having an affair with a Muslim man. In “13 Men”, Sonia Faleiro travels to West Bengal, where she meets the woman at the centre of this shocking crime and the people who claim that she was a pawn of powerful forces.
On January 24, 2014 The New York Times ran a colour photo of the thirteen suspects alongside a report titled Village Council in India Accused of Ordering Rape. In the image, the police had bound the thirteen suspects much as the suspects had bound Baby Tudu and Khaleque Sheikh just days earlier. A piece of rope had been twisted and turned to fit their waists, and a grim-faced policeman tugged at the rope as if the men were cattle.
NEW YORK – The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are poised to hold their annual meetings, but the big news in global economic governance will not be made in Washington DC in the coming days. Indeed, that news was made last month, when the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy joined more than 30 other countries as founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The $50 billion AIIB, launched by China, will help meet Asia’s enormous infrastructure needs, which are well beyond the capacity of today’s institutional arrangements to finance.
Here’s a popular joke doing the rounds in my country at the moment. Three Bulgarian men, dressed in traditional Japanese costume and armed with swords, are walking down a street in Sofia. One of the passersby asks them who they are and what they want.“We are the seven samurai and we want to make this country a better place,” say the men.“Why are there only three of you then?”“The other four are all working abroad.”
Less than two weeks before the centennial of the Armenian genocide, the leader of the world’s billion Catholics made remarks that shocked the Turkish government and gave a dramatic boost to those who believe genocide was committed in 1915.
The face-to-face conversation between President Obama and his Cuban counterpart, Raul Castro, marked the most significant thaw in the two countries’ relationship in decades. The meeting, held Saturday at the Summit for the Americas, signaled that the normalization of relations with Cuba, which President Obama announced last December, is proceeding. In the coming days, the U.S. State Department is expected to mark another tangible sign of progress: removing Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
Driving through Naypyidaw, the purpose-built capital of Burma, it could be easy to forget that you’re in the middle of one of south-east Asia’s poorest countries. On either side of the street, a seemingly endless series of giant detached buildings, villa-style hotels and shopping malls look like they have fallen from the sky, all painted in soft pastel colours: light pink, baby blue, beige. The roads are newly paved and lined with flowers and carefully pruned shrubbery. Meticulously landscaped roundabouts boast large sculptures of flowers.
The scale of this surreal city is difficult to describe: it extends an estimated 4,800 square kilometres, six times the size of New York City. Everything looks super-sized. The streets – clearly designed for cars and motorcades, not pedestrians nor leisurely strolls – have up to 20 lanes and stretch as far as the eye can see (the rumour is these grandiose boulevards were built to enable aircraft to land on them in the event of anti-government protests or other “disturbances”). There is a safari park, a zoo complete with air-conditioned penguin habitat, and at least four golf courses. Unlike in much of the country, there is reliable electricity here. Many of the restaurants have free, fast Wi-Fi.
I first heard about the writer Kamel Daoud a few years ago, when an Algerian friend of mine told me I should read him if I wanted to understand how her country had changed in recent years. “If Algeria can produce a Kamel Daoud,” she said, “I still have hope for Algeria.” Reading his columns in Le Quotidien d’Oran, a French-language newspaper, I saw what she meant. Daoud had an original, epigrammatic style: playful, lyrical, brash. I could also see why he’d been accused of racism, even “self-hatred.” After Sept. 11, for example, he wrote that the Arabs had been “crashing” for centuries and that they would continue crashing so long as they were better known for hijacking planes than for making them. But this struck me as the glib provocation of an otherwise intelligent writer carried away by his metaphors.