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Geography Archives: Nigeria

Je Suis Charlie — But I Have Other Names as Well!

Monday evening I had planned to write about the PEGIDA movement in Germany.  Although in Dresden, their city of origin, the number of bitter marchers protesting the “Islamization” of the West had increased stubbornly to 18,000, I began to report happily that everywhere else in Germany they had been greatly outnumbered.  In Berlin, only 300 […]

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Death Is Preferable to Life at Obama’s Guantanamo

More than 100 of the 166 detainees at Guantanamo are starving themselves to death.  Twenty-three of them are being force-fed.  “They strap you to a chair, tie up your wrists, your legs, your forehead and tightly around the waist,” Fayiz Al-Kandari told his lawyer, Lt. Col. Barry Wingard.  Al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti held at Guantanamo for […]

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For Whom Do the FAO and Its Director-General Work?

For farmers small and large?  For the tens of millions of food-consuming households, poor or just getting by?  For the governments and bureaucracies of small countries who want to import less and grow more?  For the organic cultivators on their small densely bio-diverse plots?  Or for the world’s large food production, trading, and retail corporations, […]

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The New Scramble for Africa

  Is current U.S. foreign policy in Africa following a blueprint drawn up almost eight years ago by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, one of the most conservative think tanks in the world?  Although it seems odd that a Democratic administration would have anything in common with the extremists at Heritage, the convergence in policy and […]

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Merkel, Muslims, and Multi-Kulti

Merkel, Muslims, and Multi-Kulti

It’s those foreigners again!  In June and July, during the World Cup, Germans cheered their soccer team’s every skilled pass, every goal — and seemed proud that so many of its players had immigrant backgrounds, from Tunisia, Nigeria, Brazil, Spain, Yugoslavia, Ghana, Poland, and Turkey.  Hurrah! But now it’s October.  The leaves have changed color […]

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The Dollar Question: Where Are We?

  The global crisis has led some to question the dollar’s place as the dominant currency.  This column discusses three camps in the literature: those advocating a new synthetic global currency, those arguing that a new reserve currency will emerge, and those suggesting a return to sharing the role.  It concludes that talk of the […]

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Clinton Strikes Out in Brazil: A Security Council Divided on Iran Sanctions

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton traveled to Brasilia to mount a full court press on the Brazilian government to support a United Nations Security Council resolution imposing tougher sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.  (Brazil is presently one of the Council’s ten non-permanent members.)  And, as accumulating media reports indicate, she was politely but […]

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Hollywood’s Predatory Altruism

The unusually lengthy list of nominees for this year’s Best Picture Oscar features a slew of do-gooder films about the suffering of others.  Most are about people who’re at a considerable cultural distance from the white, middle-class Americans who are the primary consumers of these films. Lee Daniel’s Precious transports us to Harlem, to the […]

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The WTO as Barrier to Financial Regulation

In most parts of the world today (except perhaps in India, where optimism about the benefits of unregulated financial markets still seems to dominate over the undisputable evidence of their many fragilities) most policy makers talk about imposing regulations on the financial sector.  Of course, the events of the past two years in the world […]

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Off the Straight Path: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo

Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Islam

  Elyse Semerdjian.  Off the Straight Path: Illicit Sex, Law, and Community in Ottoman Aleppo.  Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2008.  xxxviii + 247 pp.  $29.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-8156-3173-6. The content of Off the Straight Path is less juicy than its title suggests.  The reader with an appetite for stories of sexual scandals and dangerous liaisons […]

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Dennis Vincent Brutus, 1924-2009

World-renowned political organizer and one of Africa’s most celebrated poets, Dennis Brutus, died early on December 26 in Cape Town, in his sleep, aged 85. Even in his last days, Brutus was fully engaged, advocating social protest against those responsible for climate change, and promoting reparations to black South Africans from corporations that benefited from […]

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The Politics of Freedom: Geopolitics, Minority Rights, and Gender

  The Sixth Annual Helen Pond McIntyre ’48 Lecture, Barnard College, 5 November 2009 The right to religious freedom is widely regarded as a crowning achievement of secular liberal democracies, one that guarantees the peaceful coexistence of religiously diverse populations.  Enshrined in national constitutions and international laws and treaties, the right to religious liberty promises […]

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The State in Africa

Vernacular Politics in Africa

  1 The republication of Jean-François Bayart’s classic book-length essay, The State in Africa: The Politics of the Belly, is an opportunity to reflect on the hypotheses he raises and their application to Sudan and especially Darfur.  Bayart’s book mentions Sudan only in passing but the scope of his ambition is certainly relevant to Sudan […]

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Out of Place

Out of Place, Out of Print: On the Censorship of the First Queerness/Raciality Collection in Britain

  In their article “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’” (2008), Jin Haritaworn, Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem critique white gay discourses in Germany and Britain that trade in Islamophobic constructions of a gay-friendly, sexually liberated ‘West’ and a homophobic, sexually oppressive ‘Islam’ as the West’s Other.  They argue that […]

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