Around 8 a.m. on February 22, Syrian security forces attempting to prop up the Bashar al Assad regime shelled a makeshift media center in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, killing the American war reporter Marie Colvin and the French photographer Remi Ochlik. Four other journalists who survived the blast, including Colvin’s Irish photographer, Paul Conroy, and French Le Figaro journalist Edith Bouvier, were transported to a nearby hospital and treated for serious shrapnel wounds.
Before 2013 begins, catch up on the best of 2012. From now until the New Year, we will be re-posting some of The New Republic’s most thought-provoking pieces of the year. Enjoy. For any number of pundits, policymakers, and scholars, the new next hot thing, in countries developed and developing, is The City—or, more expansively and more precisely, the megalopolis and its little brother, the metropolis.
Kathmandu—After four prime ministers in four years, Nepal might finally be entering a period of stability. On November 1, Nepalese politicians reached a deal on demobilizing nearly 20,000 Maoist fighters who have been in limbo since a 2006 peace agreement ended the ten year insurgency.
Zero Bridge The Film Desk Artists Public Domain Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives Strand Releasing The city of Srinagar, in Kashmir, is the setting of Zero Bridge. Its maker, Tariq Tapa, American-born and -educated, has a Kashmiri father who often took him to spend summers in Kashmir. Now the son’s first feature, for which he did everything—screenplay, directing, shooting, and sound—is the result of sharp-eyed infatuation with the place. It opens literally on Zero Bridge, which crosses a river that runs through the city.
Dharamsala, India—Flying from Delhi to Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India, takes about 90 minutes. The plane lands in the valley below the Dhauladar range of the Himalayas, a massive barrier between India and Tibet. From the airport, the road leads up to the former British hill station that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made available in 1960 to the Dalai Lama, who had escaped from Chinese-occupied Tibet the year before.
Debates about the costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions usually get conducted along very narrow lines. First you add up the amount people will have to pay in higher energy bills and then compare that with the benefits of avoiding big temperature increases. Et, voila. Except the problem with this approach is that it ignores many of the indirect benefits (and, yes, indirect costs) of shifting to cleaner forms of energy.
--Martin Amis on Nabokov --Ian Buruma on diarists in Occupation-era France --Stefan Collini on the journals of T.S. Eliot --Tripti Lahiri on poverty and class warfare in Delhi --And The Onion asks some average Americans about the Swiss minaret controversy
Ornamentalism by David Cannadine Oxford University Press, 240 pp., $25) When Hitler wished to relax after a hard day at the office, he liked to watch films in his private screening room. Nazi propaganda movies were not his favorite entertainment; they felt too much like work. Hitler liked swashbuckling Hollywood films, and one picture in particular: Lives of a Bengal Lancer, starring Gary Cooper and C.