n.48 July/August 2013

Tigers of the Orient is the title of east 48, available at newsagents, in pdf format or from applestore from the 1st of June 2013.

Emma Bonino, Italian Foreign Affairs Minister and staunch European supporter, examines Europe today, its weak points and its potential. Themes that will be the subject of the east Forum in Rome which she will open on the 11th  of July.

Tigers of the Orient is also the title of the dossier focusing on India and China, two giants that are currently dictating the pace of the planet’s growth. They are obliged to keep growing: ever so powerful yet dangerously fragile. The tiger and the elephant: a comparison of the two country’s great successes but also fearful contradictions, youth, growth, speed, but also political uncertainty and ancient vices.

From the Bhagavad Gita to cooking shows. Balanced between dream and reality, the two Asian steamers are about to come of age.

In east 48 Asia and Europe eye each other: Buddhism reflected in the mirror of the West but also The risk of spoiling the curry describe temptations and contradictions that have no boundaries. Angela, Enrico and François’ Europe on the one hand and The blogger and the student on the other. Essence or absence? The rarefied complexity of Anish Kapoor or The new industrial revolution?

Mana Neyestani’s satirical No comment cartoon strip is, as always, extremely eloquent.

east 48 awaits you at newsagents and from June 8 in bookshops as well.




Read some of this issue's articles in full


Sabre-tooth tigers, tigers hidden in the jungle undergrowth, battleworn tigers, wounded, bleeding tigers. The title of our dossier is a tribute to the two vast continent-countries (the “dear enemies”) that are currently dictating the turbulent beat of our new century.

According to a recent survey entitled “The New Sick Man of Europe: the European Union”, conducted by the reliable Pew Research Center in America, Italy is the least dependable country in Europe according to the Germans, the Spanish and, wait for it, the Italians themselves!

The veil of secrecy that has protected tax evaders for decades is slowly being lifted leaving their bank accounts more vulnerable than ever.

For the last sixty years Europe has enabled its inhabitants to live in relative peace, freedom and prosperity. No individual Member State on its own would have had the necessary means to offer citizens the same level of comfort, security and stability. This does not detract from the fact that, today, Europe’s limits are plain for all to see.

The euro crisis is reshaping politics across Europe – and creating a widening gulf between the European project and its citizens. Established political parties are fighting for their lives; countries that thought of themselves as European in every respect are finding themselves sidelined. We are witnessing the emergence of a new political geography for the European Union. And this is affecting at least four different aspects of the European project.

Is it worth dreaming of a European democracy? Is there such a thing as the ‘European people’? And if not, how come we talk about democracy without unity? The answers to these highly legitimate questions are often superficial.

All eyes in Europe are on the next German general elections. The vote scheduled for the 22nd of September may represent a key event for the future of the European Union, like the construction (in 1961) and fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The Kremlin’s initial reaction to the protest rallies against electoral rigging in December 2011 verged on panic. The Putin Administration almost immediately said that it was willing to make concessions, but in actual fact the changes made to the electoral law were merely cosmetic.

Ever since Grandpa died, the family has been at war. The godfathers of organised crime in Russia are locked in a ferocious battle to fill the power vacuum left by Aslan Usoyan, a.k.a. Grandpa Khasan, the boss of bosses shot dead in a Moscow restaurant in mid-January.

Squeezed between the Dniester River and the Ukraine, Transnistria isn’t recognised by any of the world’s governments. Yet it has its own flag, currency, a capital and a Supreme Soviet with full powers. Welcome to the last of the Soviet socialist republics.

Iceland is growing again after the 2008 crisis – with a ‘homemade’ recipe based on cuts in public spending, welfare, nationalisation programmes and a new Constitution. The application to the EU is on standby; but many Icelanders are sceptical.

The Vatican and Italy – two contiguous sovereign states, both led by octogenarians – have faced difficult leadership crises this year.
To reform, or not to reform, that is the question that both the centuries-old Holy See and the 150 year old Italian state have to confront in 2013.

On the subject of the two Italian marines currently being held in India, we publish a comment by Antonio Armellini, former Italian ambassador to India and current President of Organising Committee of the Italian Research centre for Asia and Africa.

The secret to a good curry lies in the right mix of spices and herbs. A delicate combination of flavours that don’t smother each other but make up the true strength of the most celebrated of Indian dishes. The negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the European Union should produce a lucrative combination of industries and services. But the wrong amount of one or two ingredients could ruin the mixture.

China’s insatiable demand for coal – used to produce 70% of its entire energy requirements, has forced large mines to produce more than they are allowed to and encouraged the development of small illegal mines. In China, the victims of this eternal struggle between increased production levels and improvements in safety conditions are always the miners.

Whoever wins the Indian elections in 2014 will find themselves governing a country riddled with political, economic, social and strategic problems. Given the general lack of respectable and reliable candidates, the victory of Sonia Gandhi's children, Rahul and Priyanka, becomes more likely with each passing day.

The images are contradictory. They have to be. We are talking about India, a country with 1.2 billion people; all very different. A country
that is many countries in one – divided by class, caste, community and region.

In India, the gang-rape of a young psychology student last December which ended in the girl’s agonizing death 13 days later has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with the country today. The crime that took place on a bus commandeered by the 6 culprits, one of which was the actual bus driver, proved to women that they cannot rely on the government to look out for them. India’s booming middle-class, which emerged following economic liberalisation in the early 1990s, is demanding change.

Have contributed to this issue:
Marcia Aunt
Antonio Armellini
Claudia Astarita
Antonio Barbangelo
Emma Bonino
Paolo Borzatta
Eugenio Buzzetti
Chandrahas Choudhury
Tomaso Clavarino
Francesco Cocco
Emanuele Confortin
Filippo Di Giacomo
Manuela Dviri
Danilo Elia
Amana Fontanella Khan
James Fontanella Khan
Marina Forti
Flavio Fusi
Luca Gambardella
Gabriele Giovannini
Sylvie Goulardmep
Serena Grassia
Francesco Guarascio
Lev Gudkov
Ulrike Guérot
Priscilla Inzerilli
Thomas König
Francesca Lancini
Mark Leonard
Christine Lutringer
Carlotta Magnanini
Sonia Montrella
Mana Neyestani
Simone Pieranni
Maria Cristina Pisciotta
Antonio Sansonetti
Bina Sarkar Ellias
Giulia Sbarigia
Giuseppe Scognamiglio
Alessandra Spalletta
Kalpana Sharma
Antonio Storto
Cecilia Tosi
Boyd Van Hoeij
Stefano Vergine
Ascanio Vitale
David Willey
Zhang Lijia