For When Internet Jok 7

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. Here’s a compilation of some of the things that made me look twice and think a while, mostly about Kyrgyzstan, international development, foreign policy, feminism, and language. Enjoy.


Typecast as a Terrorist: “Apart from a Chinese family and a South American pilot battling the indignity with his spotless uniform, the holding pen was filled with 20 slight variations of my own face, all staring at me – kind of like a Bollywood remake of Being John Malkovich. It was a reminder: you are a type, whose face says things before your mouth opens; you are a signifier before you are a person; you are back at stage one.” (PS I’m obsessed with the show The Night Of, which I started watching after reading this.)

America’s Melting Pot is Under Assault – from the left as much as the right: “Many on the far left seem to prefer a vision of pluralism in which different cultures never borrow from one another, regardless of intentions. In this view, white people who wear braids, buy turquoise jewelry, don saris or sing along with rap lyrics are exhibiting both bad taste and bad faith.”

In Syria and Bosnia, women are quietly changing the world: “In Bosnia, the peace agreement was drawn up by a foreign power and signed by the warlords. It has not worked. After two decades of women striving for change, providing services where there are none but being ignored as a political voice, we looked at that peace agreement from a feminist perspective, bringing in feminist academics on militarism, political economy, law and policy with the experience of the Bosnians activists, to devise a way of transitioning from institutionalised conflict, using intelligent economic policies, human rights and international institutions to achieve it.”

The rest of the story: Black women and the War on Drugs: “Once the public has been convinced that culture and choices, not structures or policies, are to blame for bad outcomes, solutions coalesce around individual punishments rather than systemic change. Let’s lock up the bad guys instead of changing the bad laws. The prison population exploded and the effects of that explosion were not gender-neutral. The war on drugs was especially pernicious for black women.”

Kyrgyz Film About Mass Killings In Limbo Amid Russian Visit: “Kyrgyzstan has been talking for almost a year about the Urkun tragedy and what sufferings it brought to the Kyrgyz people — that is exactly why we decided to shoot the film,” Atanliev said. “So many archives have been opened, many books and articles have been written [and] they are all available in the newspapers and broadcast on radio stations. Our film probably shows just 5 percent of what has been written about the tragedy — I do not understand why it is a big deal to issue the permission.”

Kyrgyzstan: Government Notices It Doesn’t Even Have Constitution: So Nicolas Cage maaaaaybe pulled some National Treasure hijinks and stole the Kyrgyz constitution. But actually, no one can find the original copy of the document. Officials are trying to figure out how big of a deal this is, given that there are several amendments to the constitution up for reform soon. “As confounding as it might seem, this means that none of the arguing parties in the constitutional debate can quite agree on what it is that is being subjected to amendment.”

Democratization and the paradoxes of history: “For example, the boundaries and borders, that were in place hundred or hundred fifty years ago and disappeared a long time ago, are showing up unexpectedly in the electoral geography. Those old borders somehow have influenced the ways in which preferences are shaped today. To give you a couple of examples, in Poland when one looks at the number of NGOs in the countryside, one clearly sees that in the old Russian partition, there are significantly fewer NGOs in the countryside than there are in the Austro-Hungarian or in the Prussian partitions. So you can see that the borders between Poland’s partitions still have an impact.”

Stocking Up on Character, or a Multi-Purpose Russian Word: “To sum up: Складывается впечатление, что в складе хранитсясклад идей для людей одного склада ума (You get the sense that in the storehouse there is a store of ideas for people of the same mindset.)”


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