Il corpo martoriato di Noemi Durini, la sedicenne lapidata – è questa la parola giusta, evidentemente presente non solo nel vocabolario del fondamentalismo islamico – dal suo ragazzo diciassettenne in provincia di Lecce, interrompe come un lampo nella notte il delirio di un’opinione pubblica che da settimane si intrattiene sugli stupri, “indigeni” e “stranieri”, come una platea voyeur davanti a un film pornografico. Ci ricorda, quel corpo, che la violenza più violenta, e sovente più definitiva, arriva sulle donne molto più frequentemente da uomini prossimi, per primi quelli che dicono di amarle, che da uomini lontani per razza, religione o cultura. Un fatto, non una fake, che sta scritto in tutte le statistiche, nonché nell’esperienza quotidiana di centinaia di centri antiviolenza sparsi per il paese. Ma si sa che i numeri, nonché l’esperienza, nulla possono sulle psicosi. E dunque il femminicidio di Lecce non placa il delirio dei giornali e degli onniscienti ospiti dei talk che con un occhio piangono sul cadavere di Noemi e con l’altro ridono soddisfatti perché l’archiviazione dello ius soli ci preserverà dall’invasione di interi popoli di stupratori.
Tag Archives: Society
Pankaj Mishra reviews ‘The Retreat of Western Liberalism’ by Edward Luce, ‘The Fate of the West’ by Bill Emmott, ‘The Road to Somewhere’ by David Goodhart, ‘The Once and Future Liberal’ by Mark Lilla and ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ by Douglas Murray · L
Is it finally closing time in the gardens of the West? The wails that have rent the air since the Brexit vote and Trump’s victory rise from the same parts of Anglo-America that hosted, post-1989, the noisiest celebrations of liberalism, democracy, free markets and globalisation. Bill Emmott, the former editor of the Economist, writes that ‘the fear now is of being present at the destruction’ of the ‘West’, the ‘world’s most successful political idea’. Edward Luce, for example, a Financial Times columnist based in Washington DC, isn’t sure ‘whether the Western way of life, and our liberal democratic systems, can survive’. Donald Trump has also chimed in, asking ‘whether the West has the will to survive’. These apocalyptic Westernists long to turn things around, to make their shattered world whole again. David Goodhart, the founding editor of Prospect, told the New York Times just before the general election that he believed Theresa May could dominate British politics for a generation. Mark Lilla, a professor at Columbia and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, wants the Democratic Party, which under Bill Clinton captured ‘Americans’ imaginations about our shared destiny’, to abandon identity politics and help liberalism become once more a ‘unifying force’ for the ‘common good’. Douglas Murray, associate editor of the Spectator, thinks that Trump might just save Western civilisation.The ideas and commitments of the new prophets of decline do not emerge from any personal experience of it, let alone adversity of the kind suffered by many voters of Brexit and Trump. These men were ideologically formed during the reign of Reagan and Thatcher, and their influence and prestige have grown in step with the expansion of Anglo-America’s intellectual and cultural capital. Lilla, a self-declared ‘centrist liberal’, arrived at his present position by way of working-class Detroit, evangelical Christianity and an early flirtation with neoconservatism. The British writers belong to a traditional elite; shared privilege transcends ideological discrepancies between centrist liberalism and nativism, the Financial Times and the Spectator. Murray and Goodhart were educated at Eton; the fathers of both Luce and Goodhart were Conservative MPs. Inhabitants of a transatlantic ecosystem of corporate philanthropy, think-tanks and high-altitude conclaves, they can also be found backslapping in the review pages and on Twitter: Murray calls Goodhart’s writing ‘superb’ and Luce’s ‘beautiful’; Emmott thanks Murray for his ‘nice’ review in the Times.
Source: Pankaj Mishra reviews ‘The Retreat of Western Liberalism’ by Edward Luce, ‘The Fate of the West’ by Bill Emmott, ‘The Road to Somewhere’ by David Goodhart, ‘The Once and Future Liberal’ by Mark Lilla and ‘The Strange Death of Europe’ by Douglas Murray · L
It was close to midnight on the coast of Libya, a few miles west of Tripoli. At the water’s edge, armed Libyan smugglers pumped air into thirty-foot rubber dinghies. Some three thousand refugees and migrants, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, silent and barefoot, stood nearby in rows of ten. Oil platforms glowed in the Mediterranean.
The Libyans ordered male migrants to carry the inflated boats into the water, thirty on each side. They waded in and held the boats steady as a smuggler directed other migrants to board, packing them as tightly as possible. People in the center would suffer chemical burns if the fuel leaked and mixed with water. Those straddling the sides could easily fall into the sea. Officially, at least five thousand and ninety-eight migrants died in the Mediterranean last year, but Libya’s coastline is more than a thousand miles long, and nobody knows how many boats sink without ever being seen. Several of the migrants had written phone numbers on their clothes, so that someone could call their families if their bodies washed ashore.
The smugglers knelt in the sand and prayed, then stood up and ordered the migrants to push off. One pointed to the sky. “Look at this star!” he said. “Follow it.” Each boat left with only enough fuel to reach international waters.
In one dinghy, carrying a hundred and fifty people, a Nigerian teen-ager named Blessing started to cry. She had travelled six months to get to this point, and her face was gaunt and her ribs were showing. She wondered if God had visited her mother in dreams and shown her that she was alive. The boat hit swells and people started vomiting. By dawn, Blessing had fainted. The boat was taking on water.
Hurricane Irma will happen again – so we need the answers to some difficult questions about global politics
Reading and watching reports on the devastating effect of Hurricane Irma this week, I was reminded of Trisolaris, a strange planet from The Three-Body Problem, Liu Cixin’s sci-fi masterpiece.
A scientist is drawn into a virtual reality game called “Three Body” in which players find themselves on the alien planet Trisolaris whose three suns rise and set at strange and unpredictable intervals: sometimes far too far away and horribly cold, sometimes far too close and destructively hot, and sometimes not seen for long periods of time.
Life is a constant struggle against apparently unpredictable elements. Despite that, players slowly find ways to build civilisations and attempt to predict the strange cycles of heat and cold.
In real life, nobody has the decency to realize that they’re the bad guy until it’s too late. The worst thing about the historical record is that it is usually written after the fact. Just think, if we could only get our hands on advance copies of tomorrow’s historical bestsellers, we could work out once and for all how we fit into this cruel and anxious age we’re living through, and get a sneak peek at the ending to see who ends up dead, decked out with medals, or living incognito in South America. Sadly, that would hardly help those of us who are most dangerously confused. The people who most urgently need to consider which side of the moral ledger their story will be written on tend to read few books in which they are not the hero.It’s hard realizing that you’re the bad guy, because then you have to do something about it. That’s why the most aggressive players on the gory stage of political melodrama act in such bad faith, hanging on to their own sense of persecution, mouthing the plagiarized playbook of an oppression they don’t comprehend because they don’t care to. These people have a way of fumbling through their self-set roles till the bloody final act, but if we can flip the script, we might yet stop the show.
Look out for the quiet kids who hide in the school library. They’re looking for answers — and if you’re not careful, they might find some. My school had a huge old library full of recesses where an enterprising reader could stay out of sight of the big kids. That’s where I went to work out my mad moods in the best tradition of pretentious teenagers everywhere. Like any fretful pubescent who ever had an anxiety disorder and more black eyeliners than friends, I felt alienated, ashamed — and utterly convinced that nobody in the history of the human race had felt quite the same way. Until I found the books that told me otherwise.There’s sorcery in that sudden sense of kinship when you discover a piece of art or writing by a stranger from a different time who nonetheless knows exactly how you feel, especially when you’re at the age of accelerating into adulthood with the rickety thrill of a rollercoaster you can’t get off.
Terrorist attacks, and the emotions they spawn, almost always prompt calls for fundamental legal rights to be curtailed in the name of preventing future attacks. The formula by now is routine: The victims of the horrific violence are held up as proof that there must be restrictions on advocating whatever ideology motivated the killer to act.In 2006, after a series of attacks carried out by Muslims, Republican Newt Gingrich called for “a serious debate about the First Amendment” so that “those who would fight outside the rules of law, those who would use weapons of mass destruction, and those who would target civilians are, in fact, subject to a totally different set of rules.”
Recently, thanks to multiple studies, the old consensus that “a tidy desk equals a tidy mind” has been shouldered aside by its opposite. These days, mess is a sign of creativity. Frankly, as a neat-freak, I consider this offensive, though I confess there’s a solid argument for it, stated most cogently in Tim Harford’s 2016 book Messy. Learning to embrace disarray, he argues, helps disrupt our tendency to think along the same pre-ploughed furrows, and permits the fresh associations that allow new ideas to form. Fair enough. But don’t expect me to stop arranging my notebooks and pens in a perfect line on my desktop. And don’t give me all that stuff about how this is an external manifestation of a desperate quest to retain a sense of control in the face of a meaningless cosmos. I’m just not a slob. OK?
San Francisco in the middle sixties was a very special time and place to be a part of. Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run – but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world….There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. — Hunter S. ThompsonEffective altruism is the movement devoted to finding the highest-impact ways to help other people and the world. Philosopher William MacAskill described it as “doing for the pursuit of good what the Scientific Revolution did for the pursuit of truth”. They have an annual global conference to touch base and discuss strategy. This year it was in the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, and I got a chance to check it out.
By the end of last year, anyone who had been paying even passing attention to the news headlines was highly likely to conclude that everything was terrible, and that the only attitude that made sense was one of profound pessimism – tempered, perhaps, by cynical humour, on the principle that if the world is going to hell in a handbasket, one may as well try to enjoy the ride. Naturally, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump loomed largest for many. But you didn’t need to be a remainer or a critic of Trump’s to feel depressed by the carnage in Syria; by the deaths of thousands of migrants in the Mediterranean; by North Korean missile tests, the spread of the zika virus, or terror attacks in Nice, Belgium, Florida, Pakistan and elsewhere – nor by the spectre of catastrophic climate change, lurking behind everything else. (And all that’s before even considering the string of deaths of beloved celebrities that seemed like a calculated attempt, on 2016’s part, to rub salt in the wound: in the space of a few months, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Carrie Fisher and George Michael, to name only a handful, were all gone.) And few of the headlines so far in 2017 – Grenfell tower, the Manchester and London attacks, Brexit chaos, and 24/7 Trump – provide any reason to take a sunnier view.