From The Web – Longreads – The Best Long-Form Stories On The Web

LongReadsLongreads are changing the way people read online.

They’re stories that are best enjoyed away from your desk — whether it’s on a daily commute, an airplane, a subway, or your couch. It’s in-depth stories, perfect for the iPad, iPhone or Kindle, and apps like Read It Later, Flipboard and Instapaper.

Longreads posts links to new stories every day — they include long-form journalism, magazine stories from your favorite publications (The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic), short stories, interview transcripts, and even historical documents. (For the record: Longreads are typically more than 1,500 words.)

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The Consolation of Philosophy: Hannah Arendt and the Green Movement

What does it mean to say that one needs to act? In The Human Condition Hannah Arendt insists that we should always distinguish “making” from “acting” when reflecting on the liberating potential of movements such as the Green Movement. Should people make the changes that they desire, or do they act to realize them?
Connected to Arendt’s thought-trains on making and acting is also a separation of “violence” from “power.” What is the meaning of these concepts and what are the differences?
A concrete answer to these timeless questions has been offered by the Green Movement’s chanting, a source of inspiration for the world, and given the geopolitical role of Iran, a tremendously important experiment in democracy, not initiated by an outside force but by men and women themselves acting in concert. The Green Movement has emerged independently, although of course, Iran’s people are also inspired by Western values. Above all, we must humble ourselves before the courage and perseverance of the Iranian protesters. As friends we can request good deeds, as Ibn Sina once suggested, with kindness characterized by advice and not with violence characterized by pointing out disgrace (Isharat va Tanbihat, vol. 4, ninth class, Ch. 23). The Green Movement has many such friends who are with them in spirit. One of these is the political philosopher Hannah Arendt (1906-1975), a German-Jewish thinker who survived World War II and spent a lifetime thinking about action in the face of violence. Her work can be a source of inspiration, a beacon of light, for men and women living in dark times.

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Unangetaster Blick – Unverfalschte Sicht

Für Europäer gibt es viele Arten, den südlich der Sahara gelegenen Teil Afrikas zu betrachten. Die erste und meist unmittelbare, ist die des tragischen Afrikas, die uns dauernd über die Medien erreicht.
Ob wir wollen oder nicht, die Bilder bleiben in unserer Erinnerung haften: die verkohlten Holzrahmen der Kirche von Eldoret, in der bei Aufständen nach Wahlen in Kenia dreihundert Menschen verbrannten; die Zeltlager voll weinender Kinder im weiten, trockenen Flachland von Darfour; Charles Taylors unbewegte Gesichtszüge während seines Prozesses in Liberia, konfrontiert mit den erschütternden Zeugnissen seiner eigenen Grausamkeiten; das Grinsen des südafrikanischen Präsidenten Zuma, angeklagt wegen Korruption; und auch die Verbissenheit der letzten weißen Bauern, die sich mit ihren schwarzen Angestellten gegen die Willkür Mugabes bewaffnen – und dies alles sind lediglich Ereignisse der letzten paar Monate. Hört es denn nie auf?

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Louise Fresco on feeding the whole world (TEDtalks)

Louise Fresco argues that a smart approach to large-scale, industrial farming and food production will feed our planet’s incoming population of nine billion. Only foods like (the scorned) supermarket white bread, she says, will nourish on a global scale. From TedTalks (

Louise Fresco in Rozenberg Quarterly

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The Ndundulu Invasion – Chapter 2 – All Along The Watchtower

“I don’t know if this is part of your research, but since you ask, I’ll answer you very honestly. I’m a lot of things, son, I’m a Zulu and a Xhosa, a God and a Devil, I’m a valley and a mountain, a jungle and a desert, I’m the rain and the drought, but above everything else I am an amaZulu man”.
“Why Mkhulu?”
“Because I was born in Zululand, I lived in Zululand and I’ll die in Zululand. I haven’t been to school, but I’ve been a cleaner in one place for 40 years. When I walk to the bottle store I touch the ground of the heroes and the ghosts, when I pick up a mango I touch the hand of God, when I jump the hill with my grandson I can see the deep valleys of Africa, and when I dream I am a warrior in Shaka’s army. I learned to speak and think here, I drank from the river of wisdom of my grandfather. I herded cattle here and I spoke to my ancestors hiding behind the clouds when they bring rain. That’s why I’m a Zulu, son”.
“Do you tell these things to your grandchildren?”
Mfundisi, you should know better, it’s not like in my time and your time. Kids, they have their own minds now, they go to school, have teachers with fancy diplomas and high heels, and they learn big words. I think something is wrong with you, Mfundisi, you might be lying to me about yourself. You say you are an Mfundisi, but I’m suspicious”.
“Why, Mkhulu?”
“You don’t use big words like these Mfundisis in ASIKULUME (Let’s Talk). Son, I’m worried, can I have another IJUBA?”
“Sure, Mkhulu. What do you say then, Mkhulu? Do you say my questions are very easy?”
“Very easy, son.”
“Do you think that all the Mfundisis use big words and ask difficult questions?”
“I never met one, son, before you that is, but I judge from the TV. On TV these mfundisis talk this language I don’t understand, they use big words.” Read more

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The Ndundulu Invasion – Chapter 3 – Unanswered Questions

MantzariscoverBongi hated it when suddenly his ex-school friend called him out of the blue and asked him to meet him for drinks at ROOM 319 , at the ROYAL HOTEL.He knew that his friend was a little bit shy at been seeing at the ZULU JAZZ CLUB , but sometimes he overdid it. Everything was forgotten however when he entered the spacious room and saw his old friend relaxing on the comfortable lounge watching American wrestling and sipping greedily a double scotch on a tall glass as usual.

It was sometimes incomprehensible in Bongi’s mind how Gapon Khumalo had reached the pinnacle of a career so fast after 1994 and suddenly became the envy of everyone in Section D Umlazi, who kept complaining still that he owed them money from the old school days. They complained bitterly that even though the Ramaphosas and the Motsepes always ensured that that they spent time to their old townships the same was not true of the new Black Diamonds in their city, like Gapon, especially him. Their main theme of conversation was that now he had made it and lived in the suburbs, he had forgotten his Umlazi roots. This was described as arrogant, uncalled for and incomprehensible in their language.

All these things became instant memories for Bongi as his eyes travelled momentarily through the opulence of the double room, decorated with kitschy, but well painted African art, red Persian carpets and expensive duvet covers.
The pleasantries became almost exaggerated when Bongi discovered that the old mate had stocked the mini fridge with at least two dozen HEINEKENS.
Bongi let him talk for three minutes at the most . Gapon spoke slowly, seriously and in a calculating tone, almost like reciting a three line poem in Standard three in front of the Boere inspector of schools.
There was silence, momentarily. Read more

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