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Field Notes

Waking Up from Anesthesia: Decline and Violence in France

In May 2021, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, in a sign of full support of “his troops,” participated in a protest organized by French police unions. Gathered outside the National Assembly, they accused the justice system of failing them, of being too lenient towards rising criminality. Yet French prisons are severely overpopulated and the numbers of those incarcerated have never been as high as today.

Letter from Warsaw

I’m writing to you from the corner of the world which I imagine in your mind lies somewhere at the dusty crossroads of the Iron Curtain and Auschwitz, south of the Baltic Sea and oblivion.

Two Friends

I have two friends. One is named Petro. Without warning, he left Paris and his job as a construction worker to return to his native Ukraine. This was a few days before Putin's “special operation.” He went just like that, to be with his family, in case they needed him. The other friend is named Oleg. An older student in his spare time, he earns his living as a waiter in a Russian restaurant in Paris. I learned from him that Petro had left. Worried, he wanted to know if I had heard from Petro. I didn't have any news. I had put Oleg and Petro in contact with each other a few years ago.

Intellectuals and Activism

There were people running, falling over each other through the dusty street. The Pakistani police, embodying the lessons passed on by their British overlords, swung their lathis as they rushed ahead. Some aimed their pistols while running, yelling, pulling the trigger at every other step. The screaming never stopped.


The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2022

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