Although I’m often amazed at how great telecommunications work in this country, there are still stretches of time when Internet jok — there’s no internet. In anticipation of those long hours, days, weekends, I like to load up on reading material while at work or cafes. Much of what I read gets only a quick skim, but I thought I’d compile some of the things that made me look twice and think a while. Given where I am and what I’m doing, most of these articles (and any I post in the future) are about Kyrgyzstan or, more broadly, Central Asia, international development, foreign policy, feminism, and language. Enjoy.
“Not drink shots. Gun. Bang. He cassez tri bottles, one shot. Then Russian man: ‘you think you cassez three bottles, one shot? I faire l’amour with tri women, one time.” He pauses for effect. “Chernobyl.” He wanders off, convulsing with laughter, the cup still in his hand.” It’s Better in Uzbek
“Many people don’t want to sit with a village leader in a tent and eat with their hands,” Stewart said by phone from Cambridge, Mass., where he is the director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. “It’s much easier to announce an initiative to ‘stabilize Afghanistan.’ There’s a lack of realism.” Still ‘Ugly’ After All These Years
“Home is where all the silence and the shame and all the taboos fester,” she says. “But what makes me optimistic is it’s also the home where all those women who went out and marched and fought side by side and were hurt and were detained and were violated: they went home with the men and looked at the men and on many levels have said you know: You’re just like the guy that I just tried to overthrow. So taking the revolution home, it might seem like it’s a very quiet process, it might need much more time. But that Mubarak at home knows that his time will come and that we will have a reckoning.” Muslim Feminists Rewrite Boundaries On The Street And At Home
“For the traveller, the great uniting joy of all the countries of the former Soviet Union is, I have always thought, their taxis and their taxi drivers. Central Asia is no exception: a short trip in an Uzbek cab contains the same mix of lurching acceleration, cheesy music, lax safety regulations and good-natured skeeziness that holiday-makers usually go looking for in end-of-pier amusement parks.” Go forth and multiply: Notes from an accidental fertility tour of Central Asia
“There are several key take-aways. The first is that efforts to influence group identity in positive ways — such as programs that engineer cross-border contact — may not work the way we think they do. The second is that “community” at the international level may not be so important after all. Although treated students did not come back with a stronger “we-feeling,” they did show a lessened tendency to view “the other” as threatening. Cross-border contact may still be a strong force for peace, even if community is not the underlying mechanism.” The surprising effects of study abroad
“People self-report that they feel like a different person when using their different languages and that expressing certain emotions carries different emotional resonance depending on the language they are using.” How the language you speak changes your view of the world
“But if even I can sometimes forget what war felt like, I know how hard it can be to “feel” something you’ve never experienced as a policy maker in Washington. With future generations of the Middle East being shaped by the atrocities of war, it has never been more important to find ways to connect, to listen to different voices, and to understand the long-term implications of festering conflicts in this region.” Departing Washington. Next Stop: Reality