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From a mural In Buenos Aires, where books are now celebrated, not burned as they once were...
From a mural In Buenos Aires, where books are now celebrated, not burned as they once were...
Julieta Roffo

More than a million-and-a-half books from the Latin American Publishing Center (Centro Editor de América Latina, CEAL), which had been intended to spread reading and literature to a wider audience in and around the capital, were first censored and then ultimately destroyed by fire here 33 years ago. It was a national abomination, but now a memorial to the event means there is little chance that it will ever be forgotten.

SARANDI — "I need a picture taken to show "la patrona" (chief) since she didn’t believe me when I told her what I was going to do," a police officer told CEAL photographer Ricardo Figueiras on June 26, 1980, in Sarandí, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. Under a judge’s orders, the officer set fire to the area, including to the 24 tons of books that had been banned under a military dictatorship and transferred from CEAL’s warehouse just six blocks away.

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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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