home Must Reads Must reads: France, Algeria, Haiti, United States, and…hope?

Must reads: France, Algeria, Haiti, United States, and…hope?


Good morning! We’re reading stories this week that include a thoughtful profile of Kellyanne Conway, a discussion of the French election, a meditation on home, reflections on hope, and the growth of a publishing imprint in Algeria. What’s moving you this week? Tell us about it in comments — and if you haven’t already, subscribe to the Global Comment podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud and catch up on the first episode, a fascinating interview with Omar Saif Ghobash.

Angela Merkel and her press corps show how big democracies are supposed to operate‘ (The Economist)

As the US press corps finds itself under fire from multiple quarters, a conversation about how the media approaches leaders in other nations is enlightening.

The president remains an unlikely Merkel ally. He scorns detail, has praised Britain’s decision to leave the EU, obsesses over trade balances (Germany ran a $53bn trade surplus with America last year), and has called her decision to admit more than a million refugees into Germany “catastrophic”. He has appalled the German government with his open admiration for the iron-fisted nationalism of Mr Putin, his hints that he might lift sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, and his suggestions that NATO is obsolete.

Protest and persist: why giving up hope is not an option‘ (Rebecca Solnit for The Guardian)

Solnit is one of the greatest essayists of our generation, and her latest is a sharp and powerful reminder of why. In times that feel dark to many, she’s exploring what it means to hope.

Hope is a belief that what we do might matter, an understanding that the future is not yet written. It’s informed, astute open-mindedness about what can happen and what role we may play in it. Hope looks forward, but it draws its energies from the past, from knowing histories, including our victories, and their complexities and imperfections. It means not being the perfect that is the enemy of the good, not snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, not assuming you know what will happen when the future is unwritten, and part of what happens is up to us.

Algeria’s New Imprint‘ (Alice Kaplan for The Nation)

We must never lose sight of the importance of the printed word and the power of publishing to reach into corners of the world that have been neglected, forgotten, and erased.

The War of Liberation has dominated Algerian history so unequivocally that it has relegated all other eras and influences to the shadows. But today, the Algerians who were 20 or 30 years old in 1962 are dying, and their children and grandchildren will have to invent a future for the country without them. Toumi and his editors at Éditions Barzakh, Sofiane Hadjadj and Selma Hellal, hope readers will see the reflection of a new Algeria in the writing and publishing of books open to all imaginative possibilities.

Reconciling with Less Home: Between Haiti and Me‘ (Martina Foquet for Catapult)

For members of the diaspora, the relationship to ‘home’ and ‘place’ is a complicated one. This lovely essay explores that tension.

In Haiti, I am a stranger and Haiti is a stranger to me. I felt it immediately after getting off the airplane. The air was humid, much like my Floridian home, but colored with an idiosyncratic scent that smelled like my grandmother’s perfume and my uncle’s lunch. I always associated these scents with Haiti because after a long visit from either family member, the lingering smell reminded me of their home there.

How Emmanuel Macron Upended French Politics‘ (Julia Amalia Heyer for Der Spiegel)

Something interesting is happening in France, and the nation’s election has an unexpected frontrunner.

François Hollande is being quietly swallowed up by history, and we haven’t heard anything about Manuel Valls since his effort to secure his party’s presidential nomination failed, but no one is ridiculing Macron anymore. In fact, things could hardly be going any better for the politician, whose candidacy came as an astonishment to everybody last November. Within a few weeks, Macron, who no one had believed stood much of a chance of winning the election, was suddenly the front-runner.

If you enjoy our work, please consider supporting us with a one time or recurring donation. We believe in paying writers, and we rely on our readers to help us continue serving up interesting, dynamic, and engaging commentary every weekday. To make sure you don’t miss any of that commentary, you can subscribe to our newsletter below — and if you’re interested in writing for us, check out our contributor guidelines.

Photo:  Will Thomas/Creative Commons