Two decades on, the unending conflict

This weekend marked the 20th anniversary of the grim terror attacks on the United States of America – and the country’s subsequent “war on terror” .

As US President Joe Biden ordered the withdrawal of his forces from Afghanistan by the end of August, the Taliban dramatically took charge of the country. Said Biden: “I was not going to extend this forever war.”

But that may be easier said than done, argues Mark Lander in The New York Times. “Twenty years after the terrorist attacks of September 2001, the so-called war on terror shows no sign of winding down,” he writes. “It waxes and wanes, largely in the shadows and out of the headlines – less an epochal clash than a low-grade condition, one that flares up occasionally…”

Read the piece here

The chequered history of India’s surveillance regime

The Pegasus snooping controversy nearly washed out the monsoon season of the Parliament, but there are still more questions than answers.

In a deep-dive published in The Morning Context, Omar Khandekar points out why we may never know the truth because the Central government is “judge, jury and executioner for all surveillance”. He also provides a rich historical account of the Indian government’s surveillance regime, how it has changed over the years – all of it replete with vivid anecdotes.

Read the article here.

The incredible Indian Paralympics campaign in numbers

The Tokyo Paralympics were India’s most successful ever – and by a far margin. India won 19 medals, five more than all the medals combined in the 11 previous editions the country participated in.

There were plenty of other remarkable numbers recorded by Indian athletes, notes Mohit Shah in ESPN where he provides a statistical breakdown of India’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympics numbers.

Read more here.

Hollywood’s meek submission to China

In 2020, the Chinese film market became the world’s biggest box office, surpassing North America. “China’s box office doesn’t just represent opportunity for Hollywood; it can mean the difference between a studio’s success and failure,” writes Shirley Li in The Atlantic. This, Li argues, had led to “a culture of acquiescing to Beijing’s censors”.

Li writes: “A culture of trying to predict the country’s needs is now the norm: Stories portraying Chinese characters as antagonists or featuring disagreement with Beijing in regions such as Tibet, Taiwan, and Xinjiang have been assumed off-limits.”

Read more here.

Hiding and hoping in Myanmar

It has been seven month since the military Junta’s takeover of Myanmar forcing believers of democracy to go underground. The military regime has so far arrested 8,013 people, 6,364 of whom continue to be in detention.

In this personal essay published in Irrawaddy, an independent Myanmarese publication, political commentator Naing Khit reflects on what it is to live in hiding in today’s Myanmar.

“Day to day, we hide in order to survive as free individuals,” he writes. “But there is a larger goal, a higher reason: to continue the struggle to rid Myanmar of the present military regime, and to end the system of dictatorship once and for all.”

Read the essay here.