Howard French’s new book, “Born in Blackness: Africa, Africans, and the Making of the Modern World, 1471 to the Second World War”, serves as a kind of elegy for the cataclysmic effect that contact with Europeans had on African societies, many of whose monarchs were enthusiastic participants in the slave trade before the Europeans arrived but with considerable differences to how it later became known.
Christie’s association with Egypt lives on long after the golden ages of detective fiction and Egyptomania. The SS Sudan, which still cruises the Nile, has cabins named after Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot. The proprietors of both the Old Cataract Hotel and the Winter Palace claim them to be the site where “Death on the Nile” was written. At Luxor and Aswan, the tour guides’ references to the Queen of Crime are met with nods of recognition.
The fact that it was the condemnation of Western intellectuals that silenced Daoud and not the Fatwa issued against him by an Islamist cleric in 2015 should give those intellectuals pause.
The closest Prince Turki al-Faisal comes to expressing regret is when he writes that he and his American counterparts might have been too focused on the immediate aim of winning the war in Afghanistan, rather than the potential long-term consequences of their actions.
In the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire is gone but not forgotten. Many of the citizens of republics in southeastern Europe long for the past to return, a nostalgia that has not gone unnoticed in Turkey. For years, politicians have sought to mobilize this post-imperial memory for their own purposes.
Ultimately, all the devil and his top demon want is to make a meaningful human connection. They feel tormented at the possibility that they may be incapable of such a thing after having spent eons in hell. And who could blame them?
In a new book, “God 99,” the Iraqi writer Hassan Blasim takes readers on a disorienting journey beyond the boundaries of realism and through the dark consequences, the absurd moments and the grotesque truths of war.