Moad Rayan, a twenty-five-year-old Arab citizen of Israel, had planned to study engineering in England—but it was not to be. On February 1, 2009, he drove with a friend to his local supermarket in Kafr Bara, a town about fifteen miles east of Tel Aviv, and as he waited in the car outside, another car pulled up and two masked men got out, drawing their guns. They sprayed him with bullets and drove off. “Until today, no one knows why,” his father, Kamel, told me recently. Since Moad’s murder, the police have not found any suspects. “It’s not just my son,” said Kamel.… Seguir leyendo »
The New York Review of Books
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados a partir del 1 de diciembre de 2008.
In mid-November, when protests against Lebanon’s venal, incompetent, and bankrupt government had already been taking place for three weeks, President Michel Aoun dismissed the demonstrators: if they weren’t satisfied with the country’s political leadership, they should “emigrate.” But young Lebanese have been doing just that, by the thousands, for decades. The country runs, to a large extent, on the money they send home. In 2018, the remittances of the huge Lebanese diaspora accounted for about 13 percent of the country’s GDP.
Until recently, there were three options for young people in Lebanon, a friend told me when I visited the country last month: you could join one of the country’s sectarian factions, trading loyalty for patronage; “go into internal exile, smoking pot with your ten friends”; or get out.… Seguir leyendo »
A small Turkish flag was standing on the desk of the offices of the Turkish-backed faction in a residential area of Şanlıurfa, in southern Turkey. The men in the room, most of them veteran fighters from eastern Syria, were expecting me and did their best to locate a Syrian revolutionary flag in time for our meeting in the summer of 2019. They could not find one. Everything about the meeting, its location, décor, and content, indicated to me that the men in the room were not the ones in charge. They hoped soon to launch an offensive on northeastern Syria, but had no idea when the real decision-makers, Turkish officials, would give them their marching orders.… Seguir leyendo »
For nearly six months, people around the world have watched the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong with one question in the back of their minds: When will Beijing lose patience and the repression begin? Journalists expecting to cover Tiananmen II flew in for the most promising global story of the year, its allure bolstered by the protesters’ ability to speak English and the easily digestible narrative of David vs. Goliath, democracy vs. authoritarianism, right vs. might.
This perspective was reflected in coverage of this past weekend’s district council elections. Although these usually hinge on intensely local issues, they were pegged as a chance for voters to give a verdict on the protests.… Seguir leyendo »
On the night of Evo Morales’s 2006 inauguration as president of Bolivia, the streets of La Paz, the country’s capital, were electric. A man who had once fed on discarded orange peels as a boy was becoming his nation’s leader. For the first time in the country’s history, the indigenous majority would look to the national palace and see one of their own, a president who came from among them and knew their lives firsthand. The streets were filled with both the humble and an assortment of Latin America’s glitterati: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez zipped by in a tinted-window SUV; the aging Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano prepared to deliver an address.… Seguir leyendo »
The lower bowels of the Hidroituango hydroelectric dam, four hours outside of Medellín, Colombia, are generally reached through tunnels saturated with stale petrichor and air that grows thicker with every step downward. Tunnel walls shift from gray to mud-colored on the descent, and warm drops of water fall from the craggy roof. For eight months, these tunnels and chambers were the conduit for Colombia’s second largest river, the Cauca, and when I visited in October, the scars of the river’s visitation were evident in concave sections of the walls where eddies of water had abraded hollows. Workers were busy clearing sections where debris had collected during the water’s course.… Seguir leyendo »
The politics of identity—national and personal—have taken us along unexpected paths in the past few years. On a Sunday morning in mid-October, they took me a mile across a city on the south coast of England, to a community center where I cast my votes for Polish parliamentary candidates standing in Warsaw. Marking the “x” on each paper and dropping them into the ballot box, ambitiously large and symbolically transparent, I achieved a goal that had crystallized as I looked for answers to two questions that the 2016 Brexit referendum had thrust upon me: what it means to be European, and what it means to be part of a nation, however divided its people are.… Seguir leyendo »
Qamishli, Syria—When my mom called to ask me where I was, I lied to her. Sometimes I do not want to worry her, as I’m often reporting on stories from places that aren’t safe. When she said, “Get ready to move,” I realized something was wrong. Qamishli was under attack. “Can’t you hear the shelling?” she screamed. She lives in Rimelan, a city an hour away, but she was here to visit my brother. The Turks were targeting my neighborhood, she said.
That was Wednesday afternoon, October 9, the first day of Turkey’s attack on Rojava, Western Kurdistan, as we call it in Kurdish.… Seguir leyendo »
The Irish have long been said to have a way with words—and there has been no shortage of them expended in the argument over the possibility of a Brexit-induced reinstatement of a border partitioning the island of Ireland. Since the 2016 referendum, numerous books have been published on the subject; thousands of newspaper articles have been written; famous Irish actors have taken to reciting poems to plea on the border’s behalf; and the border itself has a popular Twitter account, providing daily commentary—sometimes wry, sometimes raging—on the debate about its future.
More than three years into the Brexit mess, it would seem that our war of words may have finally gotten through to the British prime minister.… Seguir leyendo »
Guy Verhofstadt, ex-prime minister of Belgium and former leader of the liberal group in the European Parliament, is now chairing that body’s Brexit steering group. The committee’s remit was meant to be mainly advisory, but thanks to Verhofstadt’s strong personality, it has arguably been a more visible presence on the EU side of the long-drawn-out Brexit process than the European Commission’s Article 50 Task Force, which is headed by Michel Barnier (whom I interviewed for the Daily earlier this year) and which is, in fact, responsible for running the negotiations.
As Britain’s Independent newspaper noted in 2016, “he [Verhofstadt] is the last person the Leave camp could have hoped to be appointed as lead Brexit negotiator of the European Parliament.” Nigel Farage, an anti-European MEP for south-east England and leader of the recently formed Brexit Party, went further, saying that the EU had “declared war” on Britain in appointing him.… Seguir leyendo »
A classified State Department assessment concluded in 2018 that Ukraine’s former Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko—who is at the center of the impeachment inquiry of President Trump—had allowed a vital potential witness for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Konstantin Kilimnik, to escape from Ukraine to Russia, beyond the reach of the United States, after a federal grand jury in the US charged Kilimnik with obstruction of justice.
Had Kilimnik been extradited to the United States, he had the potential to provide invaluable information to investigators that might have shed light on one of the most consequential unresolved questions that the American people deserve an answer to: whether the former chairman to President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, and perhaps other aides to then presidential candidate Trump, conspired with Russia to aid Russia’s covert operations to intervene in the election to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Trump.… Seguir leyendo »
It all started so promisingly. It’s hard to forget the bright, warm day in early November 2015, when Justin Trudeau, in a perfectly fitted suit and with perfectly tousled hair, strolled with his new cabinet members to the steps of Rideau Hall, opened to the public to witness the swearing-in ceremony of Canada’s new Liberal Party prime minister. Onlookers took in the equal number of male and female ministers, the first gender-balanced federal cabinet in Canadian history. “Because it’s 2015,” Trudeau explained, a line soon celebrated in the columns of newspapers across the world.
His cabinet of outdoor enthusiasts promised to “give to our children and grandchildren a country even more beautiful, sustainable, and prosperous than the one we have now.” His speeches were peppered with empathetic nods to the struggles of Canadians with inequality, precariousness, and poverty.… Seguir leyendo »
The effort by President Trump to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son had its origins in an earlier endeavor to obtain information that might provide a pretext and political cover for the president to pardon his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to previously undisclosed records.
These records indicate that attorneys representing Trump and Manafort respectively had at least nine conversations relating to this effort, beginning in the early days of the Trump administration, and lasting until as recently as May of this year. Through these deliberations carried on by his attorneys, Manafort exhorted the White House to press Ukrainian officials to investigate and discredit individuals, both in the US and in Ukraine, who he believed had published damning information about his political consulting work in the Ukraine.… Seguir leyendo »
After forty years of war, it can be hard to remember who all your enemies were and why. Fawzia Koofi, a former deputy speaker of the Afghan parliament who has struggled through the tides of rising and falling regimes, recalled the day when her father’s body was brought back to her village. Her father, Abdul Rahman, had also been a member of parliament, and after Afghanistan’s first Communist coup in 1978, led a delegation from his village into the mountains to meet with leaders of the budding armed resistance, the Mujahideen.
Instead of opening a dialogue, Rahman was kidnapped and murdered by the rebels as an alleged agent of the new regime.… Seguir leyendo »
On October 1, 2004, Bruce Springsteen played Philadelphia in a cavernous arena, then called the Wachovia Center. Bright Eyes, John Fogerty, and R.E.M. made up the rest of the bill, part of the “Vote For Change” tour designed to encourage people to register to vote in an election that ultimately saw Democrat John Kerry fail to become president.
Springsteen closed the sold-out show—and blew everyone else away, as he had years before on the similar multi-artist Amnesty International tour that also featured Sting, Peter Gabriel, Tracy Chapman, and Youssou N’Dour (which I saw in London in 1988). It takes all sorts, so this doesn’t reflect badly on the other performers (R.E.M.… Seguir leyendo »
Lebanon is both the center of the world and a dead end. The broken little village of a planet that is sick. Chaotic, polluted, and corrupt beyond belief, this is a country where beauty and human warmth constantly find ways to break through. It is impossible to name that feeling of being assaulted and charmed at the same time. You are in the city center, you stroll down a sidewalk eighteen inches wide, assailed from all sides by the confusion of buildings and traffic, torn between the appeal of the sea and the stench of garbage, and suddenly your gaze is soothed by the play of light on a stone wall, by bougainvilleas cascading from an ancient balcony, by the balcony itself.… Seguir leyendo »
There is one place in the world where Tony Blair, the former British prime minister, is not vilified for his part in the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a West African country where, less than three years earlier, his government’s intervention helped to end one of the most vicious conflicts in recent history. In Sierra Leone, where he is a hero, the “Blair Doctrine” was a rare case of an overseas military operation not for strategic or commercial interest, but for humanitarian purposes and in the name of an ethical foreign policy. Blair would later write in his autobiography that the episode was one of his proudest moments in office.… Seguir leyendo »
The performance of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) in last month’s Spanish general election, in which the party won a plurality of seats in the lower house of parliament and a majority in the upper house, was not just a remarkable recovery in fortunes for Spanish Socialists. By limiting the gains of Vox, a far-right party whose opposition to immigration, feminism, and LGBT rights echoes the values that prevailed during the Franco dictatorship, the PSOE’s victory has also lifted the spirits of social-democratic parties across Europe as they battle rising nationalism, secessionism, and skepticism about European integration.
By far the most enthusiastic response has come from neighboring France, where the Socialist Party has been in complete disarray since the end of François Hollande’s administration in 2017.… Seguir leyendo »
Like many sinister plots, this one started within a family. Tarek Khayat, an Australian originally from Lebanon, had been living in Raqqa as a dutiful soldier of ISIS before he texted his brother Khaled back in Sydney with an urgent request. It was April 2017. Mosul, the de facto capital of ISIS’s three-year-old “caliphate,” which had been inaugurated in that city, was falling to a hodgepodge consortium of Iraqi forces and Kurdish forces variously backed by the United States or Iran. Tarek’s message to his brother had heightened urgency. Khaled should wage an attack against their adoptive country, a member-state of the broad coalition committed to the caliphate’s annihilation.… Seguir leyendo »
Seven years ago, Julian Assange seemed at the height of his powers—a superstar information warrior behind the biggest leak in history—when he faced his first major legal blow. He had lost a long fight against extradition to Sweden, where two women had accused him of rape. The possibilities for the rootless WikiLeaks founder, who was used to working from other people’s sofas and hotel rooms around world, narrowed rapidly.
Fearing that the Swedish investigation could lead to his extradition to the United States, in June 2012 Assange walked into the London embassy of Ecuador and claimed sanctuary. The country’s larger-than-life president who had an ego to match, Rafael Correa, was only too happy to oblige.… Seguir leyendo »