Slurry Wall at the 9/11 Memorial ©  Tim Truong | Flickr
EssaysMedia & PublicsThe Psyche

How Not to Remember 9/11

There are two memorials for 9/11 at the site of the World Trade Center (“Ground Zero”). The first, the Memorial proper, is a park of around eight acres, consisting of paved space, rows of trees (swamp oaks) and grass, and concrete benches. Within this space are two large square pits (“pools,” “voids”), each of which has water cascading down its walls, disappearing into a smaller square hole in the center. Surrounding …

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Quartz crystal © Macroscopic Solutions | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysThe Left

Seven Steps toward Enlightenment: The Case of the French Killings

When a crystal breaks, it breaks along lines of pre-existing weakness. Thus traumatic assaults, like the one in Paris, can serve as X-rays into the body politic that endures them. Certainly, the US invasion of Iraq, a response to 9/11, serves as a paradigm case of how a terroristic attack can provoke the blind aggressivity otherwise obscured and disguised in the self-professed guarantor of world peace. By examining the range of responses to the massacre at Hebdo, we can learn something more about ourselves, and perhaps correct our mistaken stance. In my view there are seven levels of response to these attacks, each a mixture of ideology and truth, progressing closer and closer to something comprehensive and just, albeit also elegiac and incomplete. …

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A Parisian Muslim looks over the city, 2010 © Francisco Osorio | Flickr
Essays

When the Far Enemy becomes Near

Reflections on the Charlie Hebdo killings

The heinous killing of 12 journalists and staff from Charlie Hebdo needs to be interpreted with at least two different focal lenses. There is a French (or French-European) dimension, but there is also an international dimension of these killings, one that connects the spread of ISIS with the strategy of the two killers.

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Afghanistan presidential election workers count and organize election ballots at a local school in the Nawa District © U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. William Greeson | Wikimedia Commons
EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The Old Patterns of the New Afghan Democracy

The Ghani-Abdullah Agreement and national and international stability in historical perspective

After a long electoral process, on September 27, 2014, Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as the Afghan president. The arrangements to grant him that office, which was earned in a controversial election, were not easy, because it forced a generous conciliation with Abdullah Abdullah, Ghani’s chief rival. Abdullah was granted the role of chief executive of the government, a sort of Afghan Prime Minister.

As Michael Keating points out, this is a blow to the trustworthiness of the electoral process, which serves precisely to avoid this sort of agreement among elites. …

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