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The Alchemy of Identities

Tell us what’s more important to you, being an Indian, or being a Muslim? If you had to decide between one or the other, which one would you choose?

Docs In Sight

Partition Woes: SARAH SINGH with Williams Cole

In the so-called “post-9/11 world,” the stability of India and especially Pakistan have become of paramount geopolitical importance. Yet the vast history of this region—and especially the creation of the Pakistan-India border—is a subject woefully underexamined in American media.

The Strangers’ Book

Many years ago, a prominent Adelaide family invited me for dinner at the Adelaide club. It was like one of those exclusive, private London clubs for the powerful and rich.

Something About Writing Like Pinter Or George W. Bush

"The search for truth can never stop. It cannot be adjourned, it cannot be postponed. It has to be faced, right there, on the spot.”—Harold Pinter in his Nobel Lecture

The World is Still Round

The last few years have seen such rhapsodic support for India’s touted entrée into the economic big leagues, from Thomas L. Friedman’s paean to Bangalore in The World is Flat to the Obama administration’s unconditional patronage of “the world’s biggest democracy,” that one might feel a bit disoriented upon opening Arundhati Roy’s unsparing indictment of the rise of fascism in modern-day India in Field Notes on Democracy.

Go East, Young Man

The quality of a traveler’s observations often depend on his pace, so Nicolas Bouvier never denied himself the luxury of going slow. In June 1953, 24 years-old and just out of school, he left his native Geneva in a small Fiat Topolino to join his friend Thierry Vernet in Yugoslavia; from Belgrade, “with the top down, the accelerator only just pulled out, perching on the backs of our seats and guiding the steering wheel with our feet,” they headed east for India at twelve miles an hour.

Expanding the Circle

The 2004 Presidential election was an emotional race—certainly the most emotional one that I’ve lived through. In the aftermath of the 2000 Florida debacle, September 11th and the invasion of Iraq, there seemed to be a lot on the line.

A Modernist Temperament

For someone who so ferociously champions the onward rush of change and innovation—whether he’s writing about Chinese poetry, anthropological photography, or New Yorker darling E.B. White—it may seem ironic that so many of internationally lauded essayist Eliot Weinberger’s literary subjects have been, until now, quietly buried in the past.

To Do is to Be

In the overgrown field of books that aim to define a critical failing of modern society (and set us on the path to fixing it), very few deliver. Usually these books spend most of their time listing evidence for familiar problems (global warming, broken trade policy, the decline of morals, what have you) that are already over-discussed.

A Tribute to Ilse Mattick (1919–2009)

Ilse Mattick died Wednesday, August 26th at Grace Cottage Hospital in Townsend, Vermont. She was born Ilse Hamm in Berlin, 1919, to an upper class Jewish family. Always notably independent, going against her family’s wishes she participated in anarchist actions against the Nazis as a teenager, until, upon graduating from college in 1939, officials revoked her diploma.

A Reply to Nasinine T.

Although I am an art historian by métier, I never quite remember dates. But I do remember signal encounters.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2009

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