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SPOTLIGHT: SARAJEVO RUBBLE TO TRUMP TOWER

The pace of modern communication tells us that what's here today is gone ... tonight. The potential worldwide virality of any piece of digitally circulated information comes with the caveat that everything is also potentially, and eternally, invisible. The tree falling in some proverbial unseen forest of the Internet. But history teaches us that ideas — good and bad — are bound to travel and cross-pollinate, fade and reappear. And, yes, some of it will last.


That brings us to Aleksandar Hemon, an accomplished 51-year-old Bosnian novelist … and Donald Trump. We get this story by way of another transplanted U.S.-based Balkan writer named Andrej Mrevlje, whose Yonder pieces are occasionally republished on Worldcrunch. Mrevlje recounts how the Sarajevo-born Hemon refused to sign a recent petition of American writers to try to ban Trump from the presidential election.


"His message is universal," Mrevlje writes of Hemon. "Only a person who suffered that much, who saw his hometown reduced to ruins by bombs and shells, disinfected of all its smells and memories — only this kind of person can cherish democracy to the extreme of supporting Trump's right to run for office. Hemon knows that exclusion leads to segregation, revenge, violence and destruction. Hemon is not an American patriot, and he is not a Trump fan, but he defends voting as the strongest tool of democracy. Once your homeland — your courtyard, your imaginarium — has been wiped out by savages, you will defend these institutions of democracy with your own claws. It happens after every war." Here's the full piece.

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Geopolitics

Our 'Emotional' Divide: How The Ukraine War Reveals A World Broken In Two

Russia's invasion has created a stark global divide: them and us. On one side are the countries refusing to condemn Moscow, with the West on the other. It's a dangerous split that could have repercussions far into the future.

Protesters against the war in Ukraine demonstrate in front of the Russian embassy in London

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — "The West and the Rest of Us." That's the title of a 1975 essay written by Nigerian essayist and critic Chinweizu Ibekwe. I've been thinking about his words as the war in Ukraine both reveals and accelerates divisions of the world that I believe are ultimately "emotional" in nature.

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With war returning to Europe and the risk of escalation, there is a gap between the Western view and that of the "others," a distinct "us and them." This gap cannot be explained in strictly geographical, political, and economic terms.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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