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LA STAMPA

Praying For Mandela In Soweto, Birthplace Of Apartheid Revolt

Forty years after government killings here sparked the militant anti-Apartheid movement, the ailing grandfather of modern South Africa is a reminder not to return to the past.

In Soweto, South Africa
In Soweto, South Africa
Paolo Mastrolilli

SOWETO – Thoko Dhlamini smiles, takes her foreign visitor by the hand and points toward the center of the aisle: “Now the kids are coming back from school to receive the benediction," she says. "I pray for them not to go through what I went through. I pray for this country to remain united, even when Mandela is gone”

It’s Sunday morning in Holy Cross, the Anglican church of Soweto overlooking the corner where on June 16, 1976 Hector Pieterson died. The government had decided that the children should study Afrikaans as well as English.

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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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