n.31 July 2010

This issue sees east head south. Wojciech Jagielski traces the history of the windy prison island where Nelson Mandela was once held captive while Donata Columbrowrites about Burkina Faso,a laboratory racial and religious co-existence. This issue also marks an editorial turning point for the magazine. We’ll now be publishing six times a week instead of five. Time and your feedback will tell us if we did the right thing.

As a result of the change, we’ve decided to produce a somewhat unorthodox issue. We focus on special reports and travel pieces, maintaining only two of our regular features, namely “Out of This World” and “Recommended Reading.” We also purchased the rights to three reports we hope you’ll enjoy. The first one, by Robert Fisk of London’s “The Independent,” examines the secrets of Middle Eastern cuisine.The second is by William Butler of “The Guardian,” who takes a look at wild nights in otherwise virtuous Dubai.Finally, we publish period piece travelogue about Turkey written by Lady Mary Montagu, an English noblewoman who lived between the late 17th and early-18thcenturies.

Once again, you’ll be the judge about the wisdom of our choices One thing is certain: They’re interesting and easy-to-read, which makes them ideal for summer.
Credit is due to Monika Bulaj,aPolish anthropologist and photojournalist, for both our cover shot and an insider photo essay on Afghanistan. Monika just returned from that war-torn nation, where she lived for three months under extremely harsh conditions. Her photos, which reflect her unusually strong spiritual bent, give you insight into a country markedly different from the one offered up by television, daily newspapers, and even the web. Seeing is believing.


The Robben Island penal colony is a ferry ride away from Cape Town. It housed antiApartheid activists, including Nelson Mandela and current South African President Jacob Zuma. In 1994, the facility was transformed into a museum to help keep alive memories of conditions for imprisoned members of the political resistance..These days, however, the flow of visitors has dwindled and some wonder if this one-time island of prisoners and exiles has a future.

Burkina Faso is a largely Muslim state with a substantial Catholic population..For centuries, the two sides didn't talk.  Even Muslims were divided within their own ranks. But an enterprising French priest named Lucien Bidaud saw an opportunity in disaster. .With the country savaged by drought, he brought together members of the country’s major faiths and urged them to help the victims of the tragedy. This helped lay the foundation for a modern state whose approach to religious freedom remains groundbreaking.

Italian writer Pier-Paolo Pasolini once wrote about Yemen's "unreal perfection." But these days the country is anything but perfect. .It must cope with mass migration from Somalia and Ethiopia, deal with skirmishes along the border with Saudi Arabia, and try to contain a growing terrorist menace. At the same time, the country remains a staunch U.S. ally that permits the U.S. to launch attacks on suspected terror camps. .As in Pasolini’s time, the whole is the sum
of contradictions.


Have contributed to this issue:
Claudia Astarita
Emiliano Bos
Monika Bulaj
William Butler
Donata Columbro
Daniele Confortin
Massimiliano Di Pasquale
Nicoletta Ferro
Robert Fisk
Marina Gersony
Wojciech Jagielski
Francesca Lancini
Mario Masciaga
Michele Novaga
Antonio Picasso
Marjola Rukoj
Matteo Tacconi
Vittorio Borelli