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Pope In Mexico: Indians In Chiapas Turn Their Backs On Catholicism

Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Mexico, one of the world's most Catholic countries. But other religions are gaining ground, especially in the state of Chiapas, where even Islam has made inroads. Adopting a different religion, however, can be ris

The Catholic cathedral in San Cristobal de las Casas (meg and rahul)
The Catholic cathedral in San Cristobal de las Casas (meg and rahul)
Frédéric Saliba

SAN CRISTOBAL DE LAS CASAS – Dressed in a long white robe topped with a dark red taqiyah cap, Manuel Gomez, 61, walks along one of the main roads in San Cristobal de las Casas in the south of Mexico. "I was born Catholic, became Presbyterian. Today, I am Muslim," says this Tzotzil Indian who has called himself Mohammed since his conversion to Islam in 1995.

Just like him, tens of thousands of people from this little town in the state of Chiapas, the birthplace of the Zapatista revolutionary movement, have turned their back on the Catholic faith.

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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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