English

Afghanistan still exists

(Versión en castellano aquí) In memory of Lorena Enebral Pérez “The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways every day.” David Foster Wallace, This is water Part one: The law of […]

Day eigth: Inscrutable and, sometimes, wonderful roads

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war We were at the front of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State in Syria, when the terrible events of Barcelona took place. We found out when one of the fighters with whom we shared mess and a flat roof where we slept every […]

Day seven: Starry Night

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war Like in the rearguard, in the front of Raqqa it is usual to sleep on the roofs of houses. You should take some basic precautions such as not smoking, lighting a flashlight or using a phone. Commander Botan repeats this to the eight men […]

Day six: a window to Raqqa

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war Reaching a battlefront is much more complicated than it seems. Rarely, perhaps never, do we talk about the preliminary round after the bang-bang; the bureaucratic nightmare of special permits, photocopies, stamps, accreditations and meetings with those who are responsible for validating all documents. The […]

Day five: Hearts and minds

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war Some village in Raqqa. Clay houses cooking under the sun, a lot of sun, in the middle of nowhere. In Serran there are no sidewalks, no roads, no streets, no shops; just a donkey tied to a pole next to the remains of something […]

Day four: losing your head

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war Two years have passed, but Amina remembers the day of the heads as if it was yesterday. Heads appeared punctured on garden trellises, traffic signs … There were also some in glass jars, up to a total of fifty that, they said, belonged to […]

Day three: Hotel Kobani

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war The truth is that it’s not bad at all, twelve dollars a night for a room with a fan and a bathroom to yourself. We are the only guests of the only hotel in Kobani. The quintessential Kurdish “martyr” city is an obligatory stop […]

Day two: they go to war

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war They are 1,500 men, between the ages of 18 and 30, who graduate after their 45-day training. Many have a moustache, others are not old enough to grow one. They are Arabs and Kurds about to be sent to fight against the Islamic State […]

Day one: we are in

Translation: Teresa Galarza (Versión en español aquí) Shortcuts. On the shoulders of a country at war On the world’s shoulders, the shortest distance between two points is rarely a straight line. Often, roads are blocked by checkpoints, mud walls or concrete blocks that require a diversion. It might also be that the road ends abruptly in the crater of a […]

Kim Stanley Robinson: “Science needs to think of itself more as a humanism and as an utopian politics”

Photo: Jorge Quiñoa (Versión en español) We meet with Kim Stanley Robinson (Waukegan, 1952) in Barcelona, during the annual literary convention Kosmopolis. Robinson is a respected and popular hard science fiction writer, especially known for his trilogy dealing with martian colonization and terraformation (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars). After Mars, he imagined humanity expanding through the whole Solar System […]

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