The ANC’s rising clout in the Global South recalls its glory days as a national liberation movement. Its abysmal domestic record, however, indicates a common post-colonial quandary: how to transition successfully from protest to power. Despite South Africans’ flair for exceptionalism, this is not the only place in the world where erstwhile liberators, once they’re tasked with ruling, become as loathed as the former oppressors. The question that will begin to be answered after tomorrow is what might come after national liberation.

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27 May 2024

‘At least we die dancing’

Ada Wordsworth

‘Lots of clubs claim to be “safe spaces”,’ I was told by Anton Nazarko, the co-founder of Some People in Kharkiv, ‘but ours is probably the only one in the world that actually is.’ He was joking, but also not. The dancefloor is below ground level, with fireproof doors that have been there since the building was a refrigerator factory. This means that it could theoretically act as a shelter from the Russian missiles being fired at the city. The club, which also acts as a theatre, cinema and art gallery, was founded last summer, a year after the Russians were expelled from the Kharkiv region and the city was granted a brief respite from Russian attacks.

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24 May 2024

Black Outs

Selma Dabbagh

When a building under construction collapsed in George, South Africa, last week, dozens of workers were buried beneath the rubble. Delvin Safers, an electrician, was trapped next to a colleague who was ‘already deceased’. His girlfriend sent him photographs of their two-year-old son to keep his spirits up. Without the light from his phone, everything was dark. That was the hardest part of it, Safers said. ‘When you close your eyes, it is dark, then you open them, it is the same thing.’ He was freed after a couple of days, with the use of his legs. ‘That was the main thing,’ his father said, ‘when I saw my son walk.’ His life was saved thanks to the large teams of rescue workers with hard hats, sniffer dogs, cranes, bulldozers and trucks who came to his rescue.

In Gaza more than ten thousand people are trapped under the rubble, according to the United Nations.

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22 May 2024

The Real Complaining Party

Michael O’Connor

According to one influential view, crimes against humanity can and must be prosecuted irrespective of national borders: at the Nuremberg trials, the American prosecutor, Robert Jackson, declared that ‘the real complaining party at your bar is civilisation’.

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21 May 2024

Integrated Vision

Tom Stevenson

The military protection of Saudi Arabia has been the centrepiece of US power in the world’s major hydrocarbon-producing region for decades. For most of that time the US has also committed itself to the protection and support of Israel. American strategic planners have usually managed this balancing act without trouble, but on occasion it has posed problems.

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17 May 2024

The Algarve moves right

Franklin Nelson

Chega, led by a former football pundit, is a serious test of Portuguese democracy, both because it harks back to Salazarism and because it is increasingly popular. The general election in March saw an alliance of right-wing parties form a minority government after nine years of Socialist rule. But Chega more than quadrupled its presence in parliament, winning fifty seats, and became the dominant force in the Algarve. The new prime minister, Luís Montenegro, has refused to enter a coalition with the party, but that principled position may not last. 

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13 May 2024

Tractor Beams

Chris Lintott

Aurora Borealis over Whitley Bay, 10 May 2024. Photo © Owen Humphreys / PA Images / Alamy

The evening sky on Friday lit up with a bright auroral display. Such phenomena are usually confined to the polar regions, but this one was seen as far south as Mississippi and as far north as Melbourne.

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