I accidentally ate all of my 3G data plan (a post on telecommunications contracts in Kyrgyzstan to come soon, inshallah) by watching Drake dance too many times… so this week – I’m living the Internet jok life. Here’s some stuff I’ve been reading and plan to read, with topics ranging from debate and education to international development to a profile on Russia’s most recent Nobel laureate. Enjoy!
“So perhaps the question is not why we study language, but rather, whom and what does language education serve? What gets taught is not agenda-free nor politically neutral. The way we learn Arabic reveals more about our own, American political climate than about Arab culture.” The politicization of learning Arabic
““If we win, it’s going to make a lot of people question what goes on in here,” said Alex Hall,a 31-year-old from Manhattan convicted of manslaughter. “We might not be as naturally rhetorically gifted, but we work really hard.”” Prison vs. Harvard in an Unlikely Debate
“What exactly does the word “sustainable” mean when it comes to development goals? “You really hit upon the million dollar question,” says Casey Dunning, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Global Development. “Ask any given analyst and you would get a different definition on any given day.”” What, Really, Does ‘Sustainable’ Mean?
“Advertising is part of political campaigns. There are a variety of ways to advertise: television, radio, billboards, posters, banners, leaflets, and so on. Kyrgyzstan is conducting parliamentary elections on October 4, and all these means of party promotion are present. But in southern Kyrgyzstan, political parties are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to attract voters’ attention.” On Kyrgyzstan’s Campaign Trail: The Political Battle On The Hillsides (Elections in Kyrgyzstan are over, but the hillside stone-letter billboards will stay for a while)
“But cities have been burying garbage for thousands of years, and it’s still the easiest and cheapest solution for trash. The recycling movement is floundering, and its survival depends on continual subsidies, sermons and policing.” The Reign of Recycling (Much of the guilt of burning or burying water bottles and my trash in Kyrgyzstan – poof, gone)
“Economist Peter Edward argues that instead of pushing poorer countries to “catch up” with rich ones, we should be thinking of ways to get rich countries to “catch down” to more appropriate levels of development. We should look at societies where people live long and happy lives at relatively low levels of income and consumption not as basket cases that need to be developed towards western models, but as exemplars of efficient living.” Forget ‘developing’ poor countries, it’s time to ‘de-develop’ rich countries
“A surprising number of people speak to rocks here in Bishkek, the capital of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan, which lies along heroin smuggling routes from Afghanistan into Russia and deeper into Europe. Rocks have become an integral element in a treatment method for heroin addiction called lithotherapy.” Addicts in Kyrgyzstan Fight to Break Heroin’s Grip, Armed With Stones
“When she started gathering material for her first book, she told me, she looked for women who had stories similar to those she remembered from her childhood and asked them “about the things I wanted to know.” She spoke to women who had been in the military. “I had no interest in how many people they had killed or how; I wanted to know how a woman feels.” She added, “I was young, so they told me stories as older women do to a younger one.”” The Memory Keeper: The oral histories of Russia’s new Nobel laureate.