essays

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Death by White Chocolate

On white privilege in China – by Sophie Haas

THIS ESSAY FIRST APPEARED AT LORELI

 

The realization struck on my very first day in China, when I was 17: during the 14-hour plane trip from New York, I had somehow become a tourist attraction. I’d landed in Beijing the night before, and my host family had decided the way to welcome me to China was a sunrise trip to Tiananmen Square to watch the raising of the flag.

Apart from eating a cucumber and drinking overly sweet green tea from a bottle, I hardly remember anything about that day or Tiananmen itself. But one memory has always stood out as clearly as if it happened yesterday: many, many people wanted either to take my picture or to have their picture taken with me. At first I tried to refuse, but soon I started to get into it, putting a friendly arm around someone’s daughter or copying the peace sign that everyone else seemed to be making in pictures. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t flattered, or that I really minded the picture taking. I’d never been considered exotic in my life and that day I began to understand what it was to feel like a model.

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A Chinese spring?

Thoughts on revolution and reform by a Chinese student in Cairo

 

Ongoing uprisings in Arab countries have led policymakers, journalists and investors to speculate about China’s potential for instability. They try to identify indicators for the country’s elusive future and reach conclusions that waver between two extremes. Some observers emphasise the regime’s vulnerability, positing that social and political movements in Arab countries will spark unrest among Chinese youth.

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Egypt’s new Islamism

Emerging tensions as a nation tries to finds a united voice

 

“We are creating an era of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Alyaa told me with a smile as the second round of parliamentary elections came to an end in Egypt [at the close of 2011]. A year after the so-called Arab awakening, Muslims are rediscovering their religion. In Tunisia and Libya, voters put their hopes in Islamist parties. In Egypt, at least one in every eight Egyptians voted for the Brotherhood. Without a doubt, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis will emerge as winners in post-revolution elections.

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Beyond Tahrir Square

An eye-witness account of swiftly changing attitudes in Egypt

 

After more than ten days of upheaval, downtown Cairo was quiet again. Walking across Tahrir Square on my daily commute this past month, I soon got used to turbulent crowds and the sound of gunfire. Tear gas was like fresh air. Then, all of a sudden, Tahrir fell silent on 28 November. People were queuing in front of poll stations and eager to play a part in the first round of parliamentary elections since the fall of Mubarak.

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