Monthly Archives: April 2024

Iran. Ayatollahs, bombs & Barbies.

Democratic states are all alike; every autocratic state is autocratic in its own way.  Democracies are alike in featuring universal suffrage, striving for a body of robust accountable institutions and political practice, and sustaining a vibrant civil society.  Autocracies, however, have strikingly distinctive features. Take Iran and China.  Despite common features for example, Iran like…

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Chinese Energy Expansion in Central Asia.

China is investing more and more in Central Asia, especially because of Russia’s weakened position, as the region’s historic economic partner. Beijing is realizing commercial projects in various strategic sectors, primarily in the energy sector with investments in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. In recent years, China has increasingly deepened trade relations with Central Asia, carrying out…

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Music. The Tinariwen. Beyond fear.

The music of the Malian group has the traits of blues, rock, world and traditional Tuareg music. Amatssou sings about exile, suffering and the pride of a people. Inspired by Amatssou, Tinariwen’s latest album, the video by Swiss photographer Benoît Peverelli (viewable from the end of October on YouTube) shows Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Abdallah Ag…

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The voices of young people. Some leave and some remain.

Leaving the Church does not mean abandoning the faith; moving away from the faith does not mean giving up one’s spirituality. Even though they are leaving the Christian community, many young people continue to feel like believers. Robert, a young university student, says: “On a personal level I don’t feel that I have lost my…

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Nigeria. The open wound of kidnapping priests.

Kidnapping for ransom has long become a real industry in Nigeria. Priests and religious are the target. It is a sunny and hot Sunday morning. Father Steven is getting ready to go to celebrate mass in one of the parish chapels where today the community is celebrating the first communions. The previous evening, he had…

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The EU and the “-stan” countries.

Central Asia plays a crucial role in the geopolitical agenda of many countries, including those of the European Union. The region is rich in mineral resources and fossil fuels, as well as being a crossroads for trade routes with the rest of Asia. Central Asia includes a group of five states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan…

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The Spider, the Elephant and The Hippo.

Because there was a famine in the land, the spider and his family grew thinner and thinner and hungrier and hungrier. In his desperation, the spider said to his wife: “Here we are, starving, while the elephant and hippo have stored away much grain for these lean times. The big ones have, the little ones…

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Egypt. Pigeons, what a passion.

In the shade of the pyramids and minarets of Cairo, the tradition of pigeon and homing pigeon breeders has been handed down. Cairo is a chaotic, immense and difficult city. The streets are always too crowded and the continuous cacophony of horns denies concentration and quickly exhausts one’s energy. But raise your eyes and you…

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Nike, ambassador of contemporary Nigerian art.

Recycled material reigns supreme in Nike’s modern art galleries in Lagos and Abuja. It brings together, on crowded walls, sculptures, textiles, jewellery, amulets and paintings that lay claim to another Nigeria. It’s not easy to keep up with Nike Okundaye, founder of the Nike Art Gallery art centres in Lagos, Abuja, Òsogbo and Ogídi-Ìjúmi. Known…

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Vietnam, new-found hope.

In a historic step, the Hanoi government has invited Pope Francis to visit the country. We talk with Mons. Nguyen Anh Tuan, bishop of Ha Tinh “New climate, trusting us more.” The Catholic community in Vietnam makes up one of the most vibrant Churches in Asia today, with 7 million faithful in a country of…

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History. Ancient Urbanisation.

Although colonization contributed to its urban development, Africa had already experienced the flourishing of cities from ancient times. Let us look back at some of these cities through what the continent’s first chroniclers said about them. The African shore of the Mediterranean is the region in which the most ancient urbanization developed through the work…

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Yemen. The Houthis and their Own “Brand”.

By opening the Red Sea front, the Houthis have taken the lead of the Palestinian cause and of anti-Americanism in the region. They address now an Islamic audience broader than the axis led by Iran. Doing so, the Houthis are capitalizing on traditional anti-Israel and anti-US slogans and symbols of the Iranian galaxy but this…

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South Africa. Nonhle Mbuthuma and Sinegugu Zukulu.

Activists Nonhle Mbuthuma and Sinegugu Zukulu have stopped destructive seismic testing for oil and gas off South Africa’s Eastern Cape, in an area known as…

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Beautiful Kaya.

Kaya was the most beautiful girl in the village. All the boys courted her, each bringing her small gifts. There were so many invitations from her…

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Youth & Mission

Tunisia. The future in the hands of young people.

While the country is in the grip of a serious economic crisis, in the oasis city of Tozeur, the OxyJeunes youth Centre focuses on schooling and…

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