What We’re Reading
Elizabeth Allen “Lessons from Zimbabwe,” by Mahmood Mamdani in the London Review of Books. In this refreshing and all too timely exploration of post-colonial Zimbabwean politics, Mamdani worries that Western commentators are often too preoccupied with Robert Mugabe’s character to sufficiently understand the local, national, and international dynamics that helped bring Zimbabwe to the brink ...
“Lessons from Zimbabwe,” by Mahmood Mamdani in the London Review of Books. In this refreshing and all too timely exploration of post-colonial Zimbabwean politics, Mamdani worries that Western commentators are often too preoccupied with Robert Mugabe’s character to sufficiently understand the local, national, and international dynamics that helped bring Zimbabwe to the brink of political death.
Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery, by Siddharth Kara. Women and children are being raped and brutalized every day as sex slaves. Kara, a former investment banker, provides a rare business analysis of the industry, complete with demand curves, with the aim of attacking the economics of the sex-trafficking industry and eradicating it.
Gaza is a crisis in all senses of the word — moral above all others. The New Republic has brought some clarity to the debate over proportionality and responsibility in light of over 900 civilian casualties, numbers still mounting. TNR‘s op-eds on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis (here and here) proved handy during my talk with UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-wha Kang.
“Dictatorship for Dummies.” Aside from this Wall Street Journal op-ed’s great lead-in line — “Learn how to quash dissent Chávez-style” –this piece reviews how and why, with “popular discontent” and oil prices on the rise, Venezuela’s president has yet to meet his “Waterloo.”
Watchmen. I’m not normally a comic book (excuse me, graphic novel) reader, but the upcoming film based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s original “masterpiece” has me intrigued. Plus, now seems like the perfect time for some doomsday reading. I just hope the movie version finds a scarier bogeyman than Reagan-era arch-villain Moammar al-Qaddafi.
The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century. Steve Coll’s great book is as much about the making of modern Saudi Arabia as it is an origin story for Mohammed bin Laden’s most infamous son.
The Financial Times features a piece on a U.S. businessman, backed by an investment company which contains former CIA and State department officials on its board, has leased 400,000 hectares of land in southern Sudan. Philippe Heilberg says that he plans to take advantage of rising food prices to develop the land for agricultural purposes.
In his Atlantic article, “The Founders’ Great Mistake” law professor Garret Epps, discusses the evolution of the executive branch and finds that “while Bush may have been a particularly bad driver, the presidency itself is an unreliable vehicle.” Epps blames the Founding Fathers for being too nebulous and for leaving the door to interpretating the limits of the president’s powers wide open.
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