Monthly Archives: February 2016

Putin’s Patriotism Playbook

Foreign Affairs – In his latest piece on Russian politics, author and past ICWA Fellow Gregory Feifer examines Vladimir Putin’s push for nationalism and Russia’s search for a unifying identity.  Understanding this concept is essential to the West because, as Feifer explains, “assessing the Kremlin’s potential for cooperation …

The Presence of Clouds

Forecasting the weather is difficult in Oman. While it’s warm and sunny almost every day, problems arise when it does rain, so people tend to keep one eye on the sky. Muscat averages just a couple inches of rain per year that come in brief downpours of a few minutes. When these outbursts happen, an unwelcome but familiar series of events unfold: roads …

A Season in Hell

21 January, 2016 Ahmed Naji is a 30-year-old journalist and novelist. When we meet for dinner in mid-December, he faces a lawsuit for “infringing on public decency” that might land him in prison for two years. State prosecutors are throwing the book at him for a sexually charged chapter of his Cairo novel Using Life, which was republished in …

Adama du Jardin

YAMOUSSOUKRO, Côte d’Ivoire — In 1984, in an essay for The New Yorker, the writer V.S. Naipaul described Yamoussoukro, a town in central Côte d’Ivoire, as a place that “awaited full use.”[i] He meant this in the most fundamental way. The previous year, President Félix Houphouët-Boigny had established the town, his birthplace, as the country’s …

Remembrance of Things Past

The Cairo Review of Global Affairs – In his review of Riad Sattouf’s graphic memoir, The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984, Fellow Jonathan Guyer delves into the growing legitimacy of comics as art and “the power of alternative modes of history.” The Arab of the Future is the first in what will …

At Both the Center and the Edge

The beguiling rhythms of the tide have drawn Omanis seaward for millennia, and ancient routes and industries have continued into the present day. Oman’s biggest centers of population are former ports of importance, and their residents live at the mercy of the ocean, drawing their livelihood from fishing and seaborne trade. Nowhere is this more evident …

Taste, Scent, Trade

January 19, 2016 LAGOS, Nigeria—In early December, Christmas materialized across Lagos. Office buildings transformed into gleaming beacons of the season, bedecked in detailed patterns or whole sheets of twinkle lights. Street vendors hawked Santa hats. Parties proliferated. Crime spiked. Urban transplants worried how they would finance a flamboyant …