Here are a few of the better things I have read online this week.
- The great Robert F. Worth on role reversal in Libya for the NYT. The plot of novel by Elias Khoury combined with the restraint of great reportage http://nyti.ms/KXkpL8.
- (Speaking of which, the wonderful archipelago books has just published an English translation of Khoury's As Though She Were Sleeping -- you can hear Khoury talking about the book here).
- Here is an interesting Dan Diner essay from Mittelweg 36 on Jean Améry's once much-read essay on torture. It contains the following suggestive comment on French history:
"French history is marked by a unique constellation. An West-East historical orientation focuses on events in Europe, on the continent. A North-South perspective foregrounds events in the colonies. In actual fact, the two axes – the horizontal and the vertical – merge with the one another. This has significant consequences both on the plane of reality and in the realm of memory."
- In the week that the Pakistani Parliament (again) demanded that the US stop drone attacks on its soil, here are a few links to recent discussions of drone warfare -- (1) Here is David Cole, reacting to Holder's declaration that the US can indeed "order the killing of US citizens, far from any battlefield, without charges, a trial, or any form of advance judicial approval." Back in March, Jadaliyya hosted a roundtable discussion of targeted killing. Pir Zubair Shah wrote a piece for ForeignPolicy last month, which gave an account of the effects of drone warfare from the ground.
- A suggestive essay by Joshua Cohen on handwriting and singularity, at Triple Canopy.
- The last issue of Words without Borders has a series of essays and some reportage, all from Mexico, all about the drug war, and all written by Mexicans -- a novelty in the American press. Here is Carmen Boullosa on the changes to Mexico's waking dreams, and here is Magali Tercero tracing the way violence effects language.
- Slavenka Drakulic finds Europe perched between the tourist fantasy of Venice, and a vibrant Bari, entry point to the ageing continent for thousands of refugees, and gives a good definition of the process by which European culture (if it exists) will rejuvenate itself: "...newcomers from other cultures will not necessarily completely adapt to our dominant culture, which is what they are expected to do, but will try to adapt the culture they encounter, in all its elements, to their own."
- A perceptive essay on Quarterly Conversation by Jan Steyn, on Ivan Vladislavic, a writer I have long admired.
- George Prévélakis gives us (or at least me) some much-needed background on Greek politics in Esprit.