Sophie Gorman

See more by Sophie Gorman

An old man enjoying the sun in Nice, in February 2021.
Geopolitics

Bad Mourning, Relatives Of France's COVID Victims Seek Solace

Family members who lost a loved one in the early months of the pandemic, at the height of the restrictions, are now demanding a national day of mourning.

PARIS — It has been a year and still the "anger," "anguish" and "feeling of injustice" resonate in Claire's voice. Her mother, Marie-Gabrielle, died in the spring of 2020 from COVID-19. She was in an isolated, long-term care unit in Charleville-sous-Bois, in northeastern France. Today, painful memories resurface.

"On March 22, she celebrated her 80th birthday. On March 31, we learned that she had COVID-19 and, on April 5, she died. "

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Shoppers at a French luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton store
Geopolitics

The Abundance Conundrum: Becoming Victims Of Our Own Success

In this era of plenty (even in the midst of a pandemic), humanity faces a key question: How can we cope with excess without sinking into decline?

-OpEd-

PARIS — Describing the great plague that ravaged the Périgord in 1585, French philosopher Michel de Montaigne makes this melancholy observation: "Generally, everyone gave up caring about life. Their purpose remained trapped in the vines."

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Lockdown in Paris
Geopolitics

Neverending Lockdowns: The Ultimate Victory Of The Virus

The French have been under a strict curfew for months. Now they're being ordered back into lockdown, but with little evidence that these Draconian measures even work.

-OpEd-

PARIS — Returning to Italy on March 8 following a visit to Iraq, Pope Francis expressed his joy at being able to travel abroad after so many "months in prison."

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Telegram is one of many apps used in recent protests
Geopolitics

The World's Social Media Alternatives To Facebook And Twitter

Whether governments exercising control or protest movements needing a boost, upstart social media platforms matter in places like Russia, Poland and India.

In the United States, the social media application Parler was the platform of choice for the insurrectionists behind the Jan. 6 capital mob. While the app has been taken off the main servers and app stores (though it is now back online), social movements on all sides of the political spectrum worldwide are trying to leave behind mainstream tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. While some activists and protestors are looking for a place to organize without government surveillance and censorship, politicians are also looking to local alternatives to cement their power.

A wave of new right-wing sites in Poland

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Empty vaccination center in Hamburg, Germany
Germany

What's To Blame For COVID-19 Vaccine Delays Around The World

Delays, reluctance, shortages... the rollout of the coronavirus vaccines across the world has been beset by some recurring obstacles.

The brand new vaccination center in Saarbrücken, in western Germany, was set up in record time in two old exhibition halls. With a dozen check-in counters, two large waiting rooms with hundreds of chairs, 36 separate cubicles and doctors at the ready, the center has all it needs to welcome crowds of people in an orderly fashion. The problem, as German daily Die Welt reports: No one has turned up.

Only 200 people per day were being vaccinated in the center this week, one-tenth its capacity.

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Crowds of Egyptians during an anti-government protest in Cairo in January 2011
Geopolitics

Ten Years Later, How Arab Spring Delusion Feeds Islamist Rise

When Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in December 2010, it first triggered a wave of revolts, then hopes of a historic liberalization in Arab countries. But the doors of democracy, barely half-opened, have been shut ever since.

-Analysis-

PARIS — Exactly 10 years ago, on December 17, 2010, a low-key Tunisian fruit and vegetable seller felt so harassed and abused by public officials that he set himself on fire. Bouazizi's fatal act of desperation and revolt would mark the beginning of a wave of uprisings in the Arab world, that spread from Tunisia to Egypt, and then on to Libya and Syria.

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Walking with a face mask in Montreal, Canada
BBC

COVID Death Toll At 1.5 Million: A World United By Those We Lost

The COVID-19 pandemic has reached every corner of the planet, and we remember those we lost from more than 20 different countries.

PARIS — It's a staggering number, one that in the early days of the pandemic, few would have even dared to imagine. And yet, here we are: The worldwide COVID-19 death toll is now set to pass 1.5 million.

Those we've lost include some of the biggest and most advanced countries, including the United States, which has registered the most deaths (271,000+), followed by Brazil (174,000+) and India (138,000+). But this pandemic, the first of this amplitude in the era of airline travel and full-throttle globalization has reached virtually every corner of the world. That means 27 have also died in Iceland and 29 in Singapore, alongside the more than 39,000 in Argentina, 57,000 in Italy and 49,000 in Iran. And so on ... sadly.

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