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food / travel

Meet Claude Monet's Master Gardener

Gilbert Vahé has devoted much of his life to the picturesque Claude Monet gardens in Giverny, a living legacy he not only preserved, but helped recreate.

The Japanese footbridge is the subject of some of Monet's best-known works (ohaoha)
The Japanese footbridge is the subject of some of Monet's best-known works (ohaoha)
Arianne Bavelier

How many gardeners would strip naked in front of their tomatoes to make them go red? If Gilbert Vahé had to, he would, without hesitation. This man, who has spent 35 years of his life recreating Monet's garden in Giverny, embodies the absolute devotion and passion that his unusual job requires.

Like Monet before him, Vahé goes to work in the garden every morning at 6 a.m. Dawn is the best time of day, he says, because it is "when the blue light of the night turns slowly into pink, shimmering on the dewy plants bordering the Seine and Epte rivers."

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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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