India

With the second anniversary of Iran’s Green Movement earlier this week, it’s worth keeping track of the cruel litany of bloodshed and oppression that the regime continues to carry out against its own people. Just in the last few days, when democracy advocates in Tehran tried to commemorate the remarkable street protests that followed the fraudulent elections of 2009, the regime once again responded with a massive show of force. Beginning the night before, regime thugs and police took over the streets where the demonstrations were planned to be held.

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Poetry and Reason

The Essential Tagore By Rabindranath Tagore Edited by Fakrul Alam and Radha Chakravarty (Harvard University Press, 819 pp., $39.95) In his book Raga Mala, Ravi Shankar, the great musician, argues that had Rabindranath Tagore “been born in the West he would now be [as] revered as Shakespeare and Goethe.” This is a strong claim, and it calls attention to some greatness in this quintessentially Bengali writer—identified by a fellow Bengali—that might not be readily echoed in the wider world today, especially in the West.

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“A spectacle like nothing else … their lifestyle will blow your mind,” proclaims the commercial for TLC’s newest show, “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding,” which debuted in a “sneak peek” Sunday night. (The official premiere is June 3.) A re-broadcast of the British Channel 4 show of the same name that has attracted millions of viewers and widespread media attention, the series documents the lavish weddings, as well as engagements, first communions, and other milestone events, of Irish Traveller and Roma communities.

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Yesterday, health officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, confirmed the existence of a small measles outbreak in the area. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Health Department says that an area woman who contracted the disease in India has passed it along to at least two people, and more may have been exposed. This is the first measles outbreak in the Charlottesville area in over twenty years. More worryingly, this outbreak brings the number of cases in the US so far this year to more than 120.

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Left Behind

When I was an undergraduate at Oxford University my tutor—a deeply eccentric but profoundly decent man who claimed to both “loathe this century” and be surprised by the fact that he had lived to see it—had a map on his wall. The map showed the world. The continents were outlined in black on a white field. Shaded red were all of Britain’s former overseas possessions, from India to swathes of Africa to North America.

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As the revolt that started this past winter in Tunisia spread to Egypt, Libya, and beyond, dissidents the world over were looking to the Middle East for inspiration. In China, online activists inspired by the Arab Spring called for a “jasmine revolution.” In Singapore, one of the quietest countries in the world, opposition members called for an “orchid evolution” in the run-up to this month’s national elections. Perhaps as a result, those watching from the West have been positively triumphalist in their predictions.

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Enemy of the State

In the stash of hard drives, thumb drives, and personal papers discovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound, one especially revealing find was his personal diary. According to an analyst privy to the frequent updates of translated material being posted to the intelligence community’s classified internet, the late Al Qaeda leader periodically recorded his amusement that U.S. drones were searching for him in the mountainous border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan while he was living comfortably less than a quarter of a mile from a Pakistani military academy.

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Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India By Joseph Lelyveld (Alfred A. Knopf, 410 pp., $27.95) In 1914, the Tamil activist and editor P.S. Aiyar took to the pages of his South African newspaper to appraise Mohandas Gandhi. “Mr.

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Ahmed Rashid reviews Pakistan: A Hard Country, Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America, and the Future of the Global Jihad, Pakistan: Terro

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The Throwback

In 2001, Amr Moussa, the current Egyptian Secretary-General of the Arab League, briefly achieved pop-icon status. Serving at the time as Hosni Mubarak’s foreign minister, Moussa’s frequent anti-Israel pronouncements caught the attention of Egyptian pop singer Shaaban Abdel Rahim, who released a song with the line, “I hate Israel and I love Amr Moussa.” The song became a tremendous hit. Shortly thereafter, Mubarak, who had come to regard Moussa as a serious political rival, exiled him to the Arab League. Ten years later, however, Moussa is back in the public eye.

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