Hearts, Minds, and Stomachs: Gastrodiplomacy and the Potential of National Cuisine in Changing Public Perception of National Image
2014 World Press Photo of the year: Signal by John Stanmayer
African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia—a tenuous link to relatives abroad. Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants in transit from such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East.
Full 2014 World Press Photo Contest winners gallery
… identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within the narratives of the past. — Stuart Hall
One night in Rio I spoke to a group of young men who said they’d joined a lot of the protests at the time of the Confederations Cup. They said they felt ‘torn in half’ by the World Cup. On the one hand, they were ferociously excited about the idea of having the world’s greatest players in their country. They couldn’t wait for the buzz, the matches, the ‘month long carnival’, and the celebrations which would follow the inevitable Brazilian victory. At the same time, however, they were furious that billions would be poured into projects that would have little discernible benefit for them. They were tired of the two-hour commutes and of the poor quality of schools that their little brothers and sisters were studying at. They questioned the benefit of building a 71,000 capacity stadium in a city (Brasilia) without any kind of decent football team or of a 44,000 capacity stadium deep in the Amazon rainforest where crowds are counted in the hundreds rather than the thousands (Manaus). They felt they had ‘no chance’ of getting a ticket and they wondered how much of the billions would be squandered away on corruption.
(Source: notaqueensphotoblog, via notaqueensphotoblog)
these are the albums i liked the most in 2013… the year i completed dos mas insane semesters of grad school alongside full time ir work, 5 pointz got tragically erased, i managed to not break anything while still playing soccer in the best ‘amateur’ league in the country at a rather advanced age, lebanon and the wider middle east fell deeper into the abyss, i got published in my first academic and literary journals, sir alex bowed out in glory (glory), and i got engaged to a brilliant/hilarious/beautiful brazilian tropical fruit zealot in colombia.
(in no particular order)
Bombino - Nomad
Pusha T - My Name is My Name
“In a way the civil war of 1975-1990 liberated our memory. …The question is what to forget and what to remember.”
“Only by understanding that special mix of geography generally and landscape in particular with historical memory and, as I said, an arresting form of invention can we begin to grasp the persistence of conflict and the difficulty of resolving it.”
The families and loved ones of the more than 17,000 forcibly disappeared and/or missing during the Lebanese civil war continue to demand their right to the truth.
From 1975 until 1990, Lebanon’s brutal civil war, fought by a plethora of local actors alongside the backing of a variety of regional and international powers, resulted in 150,000 fatalities, widespread displacement, and wanton war crimes.
As state institutions crumbled and divided, sectarian militia rule and foreign occupation flourished in large swaths of the country and a dark legacy of enforced disappearances terrorized much of the local population. Indeed, today, nearly 25 years after the Taif Agreement stitched together a much needed, but oft-tested peace accord, more than 17,000 individuals remain missing, many as a result of civil war-era forced disappearances.
After the civil war, the “magic formula of la ghalib la maghlub (‘no victor, no vanquished’)” alongside “amnesty and amnesia” became the rationale for the transitional period from war to peace. This benefited the perpetrators of the crimes of the era, but not the victims.
Indeed, Amnesty Law 84/91 “declared a general amnesty for all political crimes, including abductions, committed by armed groups during the civil war, while remaining silent about the victims and their families.”
The fate of the missing during this period in Lebanon has yet to be holistically and meaningfully addressed and this has had continual repercussions on Lebanon’s national memory, prolonging the reconciliation process.
In this context, and as Lebanon now dangerously hovers on the precipice of a new civil war stemming from sectarian spillover from the Syrian conflict, the application of a meaningful truth and memory instrument is more important than ever.
The country’s political amnesia surrounding the missing and the forced disappearances of the civil war years is hindering its ability to move forward towards a more sustainable era of national reconciliation. The bullet-riddled buildings in West Beirut have largely been replaced by gleaming Gulf-financed high-rises; the wounds inflicted on the families of the disappeared, however, remain.
The unresolved fate of those disappeared or missing is a particularly egregious crime against humanity that is felt by the victims’ families not only at the time it occurred, but years and decades after the fact, as Lebanon’s example clearly shows. These crimes primarily capitalize on fear—the fear that it could happen again to someone else; the fear of the unknown; the fear of never finding resolution. It also is an attack on memory and an assault on nostalgia, in the individual and collective sense, both of which are integral to the formulation and maintenance of identity.
These crimes have also had profound psychological and emotional impacts, beyond the political and social ones. Psychologically, families of the missing are commonly afflicted with anxiety and depression, anger, guilt, helplessness, emotional disengagement, obsessiveness, mental confusion, and lack of motivation.
Furthermore, such crimes have disproportionately affected Lebanese women, coping with the unresolved loss of their loved ones in a state of “frozen grief.” They live like “de facto widows, but not legally recognized as such, and therefore unable to assume any caretaker role for their children, benefit from inheritances, or even remarry.”
It is important to note that “the needs of families of the missing are largely described by the following: truth, human remains, resources, justice, support.” A strong, focused truth commission in Lebanon, in tandem with other transitional justice tools and with these elements in mind, would go a long way towards addressing the aforementioned needs of the over 17,000 long-suffering Lebanese and Palestinian families of those missing or disappeared during the civil war.
Children are not the face of New York’s homeless. They rarely figure among the panhandlers and bag ladies, war vets and untreated schizophrenics who have long been stock characters in this city of contrasts. Their homelessness is hidden. They spend their days in school, their nights in shelters. They are seen only in glimpses — pulling overstuffed suitcases in the shadow of a tired parent, passing for tourists rather than residents without a home.
Their numbers have risen above anything in the city’s modern history, to a staggering 22,091 this month. If all of the city’s homeless children were to file into Madison Square Garden for a hockey game, more than 4,800 would not have a seat.
This series is incredibly important and amazingly reported. I would be shocked if it didn’t win a Pulitzer.
Three Myths about Mandela Worth Busting
Colombia is seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the folkloric music genre of vallenato as cultural heritage, President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday.
The president did so in Valledupar, the capital of the northern Cesar state considered the country’s capital of the music genre.
“Vallenato recently was included as immaterial cultural heritage by the nation … and we are seeking that UNESCO also recognizes it as cultural heritage of humanity,” Santos said.
… Vallenato — much like cumbia and porro — is one of a number folkloric music genres originating from the Caribbean coast. The music, characterized by the use of the accordion, is particularly popular along the northern coastline.