A specter is haunting Europe (also the United States and, really, much of the globe)—the specter of a new Cold War. In recent years columnists have been invoking the memory of the global ideological conflict that governed much of the violence and geopolitics of the twentieth-century.
Seen through the eyes of Steven Murphy, the DEA agent whose voice-over narrates the new Netflix series Narcos, Colombia appears to viewers all over the world as a land of sicarios (hired young assassins), putas (whores), and malparidos (the fucked-up). In short, Colombia becomes the quintessential Macondo of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
This summer I conducted research in, but also beyond, my regular haunts, namely the dusty old libraries and archival reading rooms of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. After several days in Sofia, I took to the mountains to follow the paths of ethnographers, tourists, and pilgrims who have written about this distant borderland of Europe over the past 200 years.
On June 18th 1959, dressed in full army fatigues and accompanied by several comrades exhibiting an equally imposing revolutionary appearance, Che Guevara landed in Gaza.
Over the past five years or so, the United States has been experiencing an enormous oil boom. Hydraulic fracturing, known as “fracking,” has made it possible—and profitable—to drill through thick rock formations, opening up vast pockets of domestic oil and gas across the country.