The Idea of Europe

Back in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of East-Central Europe all had a common vision. They wanted to join the Europe Community. Some wanted to join immediately; others wanted to join eventually. After half a century yoked to the Soviet Union, the people of this region saw membership in the common European home as a guarantee of democratic governance, economic prosperity,...
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What’s Not at the Museum of Broken Relationships

You can find a Newsweek cover depicting President Barack Obama with the caption, “I really wanted it to work out.” There is also a portrait of Ivo Sanader, the former Croatian prime minister. The accompanying note from Kasum Cana, the president of the Croatian Roma Forum, explains that his “emotional relationship” with Sanader failed because of the latter’s broken promises. The Museum...
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Reading Del Ponte in Croatia

Carla del Ponte’s memoir of her time as the chief prosecutor of the two major international tribunals – on Yugoslavia and Rwanda – is basically a tedious book. It can be summed up in a single sentence: she fought tooth and nail against stubborn national leaders, indifferent UN bureaucrats, and elusive war criminals, and although they all put up their “rubber wall” (muro di gomma), she...
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From Pacific Pivot to Green Revolution

Written with Emanuel Pastreich The low rolling hills of the Dalateqi region of Inner Mongolia spread out gently behind a delightful painted farmhouse. Goats and cows graze peacefully on the surrounding fields. But walk due west just 100 meters from the farmhouse and you’ll confront a far less pastoral reality: endless waves of sand, absent any sign of life, that stretch as far as the eye can...
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On the Margins in Serbia

All eyes were on Serbia again this last week with the multiple controversies over the events of Gay Pride week. First came Ecce Homo, the exhibition of Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin, which depicted Jesus integrated into the gay community. Christ cross-dresses at the Last Supper; he ministers to a flock of leather-clad men. The Orthodox Church called for a ban, which the Islamic community...
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