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Pick of the Month May: « Révolutions »

Le monde est en constante évolution, ce qui implique le début et la fin de pays, de formes de gouvernement et de chefs d’État. L’actuel Pick of the Month propose entre autres un aperçu (photographique) de l’histoire des révolutions qui ont changé le visage du continent européen, ainsi que des bouleversements mondiaux dont les effets se sont fait/se font sentir jusqu’en Europe. Il s’agit d’une approche plus concrète à travers différents exemples : la Bolivie, le Kurdistan, l’Indonésie, la Somalie et la Syrie. La seule chose qui est certaine, c’est que les choses vont changer. Il ne reste plus qu’à espérer que nous tirerons les leçons du passé et que nous serons aussi bien préparés que possible à un avenir incertain.

Revolutions

Some of the earliest photographs of their kind show the barricades of Paris in the revolution of 1848 and the Commune of 1871. Iconic images like the fall of the Winter Palace and Lenin’s arrival at the Finland Station sit alongside more rarely seen pictures of packed meetings, occupations, and popular demonstrations, showing the truly mass nature of the Russian Revolutions of 1905 and1917. Similarly vibrant photographs of revolutionary periods in Hungary, Germany, Mexico, Spain, China, Cuba, and France in 1968 reveal the chaotic energy and determination for a better world that impels people to take history into their own hands.

Leading historians Gilbert Achcar, Enzo Traverso, Janette Habel, Pierre Rousset, and Michael Löwy provide commentary on the images and timeline of events. This edition includes a new afterword by the author surveying more recent struggles and asserting that history is not, in fact, over. (Haymarket Books)

Michael Löwy

Haymarket Books / 2020 / 540 pp


Coup – A Story of Violence and Resistance in Bolivia

In three dramatic weeks in October and November 2019, the fourteen years of progressive change that Evo Morales’ pink tide government had worked to implement in Bolivia and beyond came to a screeching halt.  President Morales was forced to resign after protests against his re-election to a fourth term in allegedly fraudulent elections erupted among the urban middle classes, anti-indigenous racists, and prominent conservative politicians. The country’s far right used the ensuing crisis to orchestrate a successful coup, with military and police backing, paving the way for a repressive “transition” government led by Jeanine Áñez to take power. The Áñez government quelled popular protests with lethal force, shut down critical media outlets, and targeted members of Morales’ political party, the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS). Despite postponing elections three times, the Áñez government was eventually forced to call elections in October 2020. The MAS swept back into power, winning elections with 55% of the vote and returning democracy to the country.

This book tells the story of this year of upheaval in Bolivia, providing a critical analysis of the 14 years of the MAS government that preceded it as well as the MAS return to power in 2020. It includes personal stories and commentary from women and men on the streets, leaders in social movements, members of the MAS party and government, survivors of Áñez’s abuses, and intellectuals. (Haymarket Books)

Thomas Becker and Linda Farthing

Haymarket Books / 2021 / 306 pp


Sur la révolution syrienne

Ce livre est un recueil sur le soulèvement de 2011 et la guerre civile qui s’en est suivie : interviews, témoignages, récits d’engagements citoyens et insurrectionnels, analyses des enjeux géopolitiques… tirés aussi bien de blogs consacrés à la révolution syrienne, de la grande presse, que de brochures ou journaux militants. Il s’agit de faire pièce aux calomnies de droite comme d’extrême-gauche qui nient qu’un soulèvement à caractère révolutionnaire a (aussi) eu lieu en Syrie : celui-ci ne peut être réduit ni à une sédition jihadiste, ni à une “révolution bourgeoise” au service des intérêts américains. (La Lenteur)

La Lenteur / 2017 / 141 p.


Kurdistan +100 – Stories from a Future Republic

Kurdistan +100 poses a question to contemporary Kurdish writers: Might the Kurds one day have a country to call their own? With 13 stories all set in the year 2046 – exactly a century after the first glimmer of Kurdish independence, the short-lived Republic of Mahabad – this book offers a space for new expressions and new possibilities in the ongoing struggle for self-determination.

Throughout the 20th century, and so far in the 21st, the Kurds have been repeatedly betrayed, suppressed, and stripped of their basic rights (from citizenship to the freedom to speak their own language), seeing their political aspirations crushed at every turn.

In this groundbreaking anthology, Kurdish authors (including several present and former political prisoners) imagine a freer future, one in which it is no longer effectively illegal to be a Kurd. From future eco-activism, to drone warfare, to the reanimation of victims of past massacres, these stories explore the present struggles through the prism of futurism to dazzling effect.

Winner of a PEN Translates Award 2021 (comma press)

Edited by Orsola Casagrande & Mustafa Gündoğdu

Comma Press / 2023 / 237 pp


Revolusi – L’Indonésie et la naissance du monde moderne

Le 17 août 1945, à peine sortie de la guerre, l’Indonésie, premier pays colonisé à franchir ce pas, proclame son indépendance. Présents dans l’archipel depuis le début du xviie siècle, les Pays-Bas ne la reconnaîtront que le 27 décembre 1949. Au fil d’une étude aussi passionnée que passionnante, David Van Reybrouck scrute et restitue les étapes de cette grande aventure humaine et politique. Il s’agit pour lui d’examiner les événements et luttes qui ont conduit à l’indépendance tout en inscrivant l’histoire indonésienne dans un contexte international. Son projet est, en effet, de saisir, par le biais du “modèle” indonésien, l’histoire de l’émancipation des peuples non européens tout au long du siècle écoulé et son incidence sur le monde contemporain.
L’auteur analyse une myriade de sources et retrace quelque cinq cents ans d’histoire économique, diplomatique et politique, de l’époque dite prémoderne à nos jours. Mais il s’intéresse tout autant aux souvenirs, aux récits des témoins de cette époque, rencontrés lors d’une enquête de terrain de plusieurs années, menée à travers tout l’archipel, ainsi qu’au Japon et au Népal. Mêlant à parts égales histoire et mémoire, ce livre bruisse de mille voix, qui composent une fresque absolument unique. Peut-être parce qu’il est à la fois historien, journaliste, voyageur, conteur, parce que sa lecture du monde est politique et poétique, David Van Reybrouck sait non seulement redonner leur place à ceux qui ont vécu l’histoire, mais aussi amener l’histoire à notre portée : “Revolusi” nous emporte autant qu’il nous instruit. (Actes Sud)

David Van Reybrouck

Actes Sud / 2022 / 609 p.


The Orchard of Lost Souls

It is 1987 and Hargeisa waits. Whispers of revolution travel on the dry winds, but still the dictatorship remains secure.
Soon, through the eyes of three women, we will see Somalia fall.
Nine-year-old Deqo has left the vast refugee camp where she was born, lured to the city by the promise of her first pair of shoes.
Kawsar, a solitary widow, is trapped in her little house with its garden clawed from the desert, confined to her bed after a savage beating in the local police station.
Filsan, a young female soldier, has moved from Mogadishu to suppress the rebellion growing in the north.
As the country is unraveled by a civil war that will shock the world, the fates of these three women are twisted irrevocably together.
Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa and was exiled before the outbreak of war. In The Orchard of Lost Souls, she returns to Hargeisa in her imagination. Intimate, frank, brimming with beauty and fierce love, this novel is an unforgettable account of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times. (amazon)

Nadifa Mohamed

Scribner / 2022 / 352 pp

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