Mali

The Brazen Bibliophiles of Timbuktu

How a team of sneaky librarians duped Al Qaeda

How a team of sneaky librarians duped Al Qaeda

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Winning the War, Losing the Peace in Mali

After the fighting, Mali's ethnic tensions continue to fester

The fighting may soon be over in Mali. But ethnic tensions continue to fester.

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Mali Burns, Malians Shrug

The fighting hits Timbuktu, but soccer's still on television.

The fighting hits Timbuktu, but soccer's still on television.

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The French public has recently been more inclined to a sense of decline, malaise, paralysis and crisis. And it is at least partially justified. 

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Is the terror group dead or alive? It's complicated.

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In Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the struggle for gender equality is the campaign against totalitarianism.

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Until a few weeks ago, Al Farouk, the patron djinn of Timbuktu, protected the ancient city in northern Mali. For centuries, from astride a winged horse in center of the city, the stone genie kept watch over the houses so that children didn’t sneak out at night. Legend had it that if Al Farouk caught you getting up to anything naughty, he’d warn you the first two times. If he nabbed you a third time, you’d disappear forever. Now Al Farouk has disappeared.

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The Thought Police

Silenced: How Apostasy and Blasphemy Codes Are Choking Freedom WorldwideBy Paul Marshall and Nina Shea (Oxford University Press, 448 pp., $35) I. In spite of its slightly agitated title, this book is mostly a cool and even-tempered human rights report, and its findings go a long way toward explaining one of the mysteries of our time, namely, the ever-expanding success of political movements with overtly Islamic doctrines and radical programs.Some people may suppose that Islam itself, the ancient religion, mandates theocracy. Seen in this light, the vigor of theocratically tinged political movements right now ought to seem normal to us, and maybe even commendable—a fitting renaissance of cultural authenticity in places around the world that, having left behind the indignities of colonial domination and the awkwardness of the post-colonial era, have entered at last into the post-post-colonial age of the return to self. Movements that carry such labels as “Islamism” or “radical Islam” or “political Islam,” judged in this way, could perfectly well drop their suffixes and adjectives and simply adopt the name of Islam itself—an Islam that has exited the mosque in order to fulfill still more sacred obligations in the public square. But Paul Marshall and Nina Shea take a different view. And in order to confer an august authority upon their contrary estimation, they have padded their human-rights report, or perhaps armored it, with learned commentaries by three Islamic scholars, two of whom are recently deceased but all of whom are distinguished.

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Benghazi, Libya—Earlier this week, a delegation from the African Union (AU), composed of 53 African states, shuttled between the Libyan capital of Tripoli and the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, seeking to end the fighting that has been peppered with airstrikes by the NATO against Muammar Qaddafi’s forces.

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Read parts one, two, three, four, and five of Zeke Emanuel's Africa diaries. Six boys sit on green plastic classroom chairs in gowns with their clothes neatly folded on a side table. Cloth booties cover their feet and lower leg. They smile nervously. They are waiting to be called for a medical circumcision. Eduardo says he is 16 years old, as is his friend sitting next to him. Why are they getting a circumcision? “For hygiene, and for HIV,” they tell us. And their classmates are getting one too. This is the Military Hospital in Maputo, Mozambique.

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