The twenty-first century in Europe is increasingly concerned with Islam on all fronts. On an internal, domestic political level, Muslim populations in Europe are growing and entrenching at an unprecedented rate. Islam’s relationship with the West and Europe has become particularly relevant and scrutinized with the September 11 attacks in 2001 and the attacks on the London bombings in 2005, particularly because these attacks were attributed to Muslims fighting in the name of Islam. It should be emphasized that this is not simply a security concern over violence, but a much deeper cultural and identity crisis, which has been dubbed “Islamophobia” or “Eurabia.”
This is a Chinese translation of my short story “The Dreamers” by 轻歌慢语 (“Breathed slow language”). The translator compared his translation to a “砖” or a brick, which I thought was an endearing image.
Lech Wałęsa’s autobiography, A Way of Hope,offers a unique first-person perspective from one who has shaped the history of modern Poland. It traces the emergence of a moral dimension and authority by Wałęsa, and explains the distinctive structure, principles, and success of Solidarity. As the titular “Genesis” might suggest, Solidarity is seen here through a distinctively Christian lens. The Catholic Church offered an inclusive and universal structure based on morality and solidarity, one that Wałęsa was quick to associate with and could use to reconcile the workers’ divisions and surmount the state’s authoritarianism. Catholicism had the powerful benefits of an omnipresence and omnibenevolence, of an alluring virtue in both past and future. There is then, an amorphous and indistinguishable trinity between Wałęsa, the workers, and the Church that explains the particular genesis of Solidarity as it arose.
It did not seem right to the detective Z. Zhuang that he should be dying in such a clean and sterile room on such a bright January day. He had lived his life in the malarial heat of the narrow Hong Kong streets among the human fauna. He yearned for the smell and the feel of it all again: the resinous, mossy head notes, that solid wave of damp air that crashed into you when you stepped outside; the ardent, polluted heart notes, black particles of exhaust spiraling into the atmosphere endlessly from engines; and the final, swarming, oppressive base notes, of congestion and people and industry.
The closest he had been to death before, that time when he had utterly been convinced that every blood-stained breath he was drawing would be his last, had been thirty-five years ago, when he had deciphered the designs of a triad lieutenant, unveiled treachery, and in the end, been shot in the heart as all the interminable mechanisms clicked into place, hammer drawn back then sprung forward, and a .38 revolver fired. That would have been a good death—this, not so much.
When the People’s Republic of China was founded, Mao Zedong was faced with a nation divided on every level, having been ravaged by a century of external foreign invasion and internal civil wars. Like Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor, Mao Zedong had the difficult task of consolidating and unifying China ahead of him. Maoism should be seen in the context of this unifying task: Mao Zedong Thought was the political and ideological fruit of Mao’s efforts towards a unified nation.