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Call Me Elena


Elena Ferrante’s Frantumaglia has been marketed as non-fiction. Does it matter if it isn’t?

ON October 2, the New York Review of Books published an article by the Italian journalist Claudio Gatti titled “Elena Ferrante: An Answer?” Gatti’s revelations were co-published by the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore (which commissioned Gatti’s investigation), the German newspaper Frankurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and the French website Mediapart. The question to which Gatti was offering a possible answer was that of Ferrante’s “real-world” identity.

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Gold Star, Brown Family


WHO could have predicted that the most potent image to emerge from July’s Democratic National Convention, with its hoarde of celebrity darlings from Demi Lovato to Chloë Moretz, would be that of an aging Pakistani couple who had lost their son to the Iraq War?

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Closing Statements


Every final statement uttered by a doomed inmate in Texas performs a perpetual labor for the state

IT took the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 34 years to execute 538 death row inmates. It took me just a few hours to read all 538 of their last statements recorded and published on the TDCJ’s website. In 1982, the state was the first to begin executing by lethal injection, and Old Sparky–its electric chair –was retired and put on display in the Texas Prison Museum. Texas is one of two death penalty states that self-publish the last statements of the people they execute. Since I first encountered the archive, I’ve been trying to understand the way the state uses inmate statements as ideological signifiers.

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Syria’s Desaparecidos


Finding others through mutual loss

Queremos que nos digan dónde están los cuerpos de los desaparecidos.

We want them to tell us where the bodies of the disappeared are.

–Teresa Meschiatti, survivor of Argentina’s concentration camps for political dissidents in the 1970s

BASSEL Khartabil, 35, is a Palestinian-Syrian open source developer from Damascus, Syria. He belongs to Safed, a Palestinian town in the Galilee region of historic Palestine, and from where his family was displaced in the wake of the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Zionist militias.

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Resisting Trump’s Islamophobic Promise for America


For many Muslim Americans, 9/11—and America’s complicity—has never ended

“NOLAASHO wa waax adag, laakiin wa in aan horay u soconaa.”

“Life is full of difficulty, but we must move forward,” my mother says to me in Somali on the phone just a few days after the election. I am numb from the political regression which has taken place overnight, one that had been growing alongside an anxious, sickening knot in my belly for the better part of a year now. The republic had given birth to my worst nightmare in the form of Donald Trump and in a moment of clarity, I sought my mother’s words on the matter. When she speaks, I am reminded instantly that her life and that of her siblings–my aunts and uncles–were already once upended by an autocrat, a military strongman and a socialist named Siad Barre. She knows many things about hardship. So does my father, who was a political prisoner in his youth. But she reminds me that my family started new lives in new places: Canada, America, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany. At a great cost, they were able to begin again as refugees. They started over, in exile, and for the most part were unable to return home. I think about how my parents speak Somali as it was spoken in the 1970s–their dialects frozen in time like their memories of home.

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