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Issue 2107
 

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is one of the most mysterious countries in the world. The reason is simple: it is not easily accessible to outsiders. Although the history of civilization in the region of present-day Turkmenistan is almost as old as that of the agricultural centers of the Middle East, the Turkmen tribes – who would later come together to form the Turkmen people – began to spread here only between the 11th and 12th centuries. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, Iran and the Khanates of Khiva and Bukhara came into conflict over the control of this region. Most of the territory...

By: Vladimir Pachkov, SJ
 

Beyond Nihilism

One of the effects of the current pandemic has been the calling into question of a general silence on the “ultimate questions.” The nihilistic vision of life, which was made famous by Nietzsche’s philosophy and has frequently returned in updated versions, considers such questions definitively outdated and meaningless. According to this philosophical approach, the truth cannot be attained, because there are no stable values. This is a consequence of the death of God and a fragmented vision of time and history.[1] Therefore, people can only attend to their momentary, experience of present circumstances, renouncing the fundamental questions. A recent book...

By: Giovanni Cucci, SJ
 

Pope Francis and his Messages to Latin America

Francis and Latin America Before being elected as the first ever Latin American pope, on March 23, 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio had spent 76 years almost continuously in Latin America. He acknowledged this in his opening greeting, saying he had been chosen from “the ends of the earth.” It was an unprecedented event in the 2,000 year history of the Church. (Another milestone was that a Jesuit had been elected bishop of Rome), but over the years it has proved to be anything but secondary. Indeed, in various ways it has had consequences that place it on a higher level...

By: Diego Fares SJ
 

‘Before I Die’

The wall, often a symbol of division, can become an expression of life, reflection and art. Such is the case of the Before I Die Project by Candy Chang,[1] a street artist who transformed the wall of an abandoned house in New Orleans into an artistic and existential space that helps us “grapple with mortality and meaning as a community today.” Street art can become not only a form of social expression, but also of introspection: it stands on the urban fringe, where the frame is the suburb itself, whose walls become a canvas for colors that reflect the depths...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ
 

10 Years after the Arab Springs

The Insurrections of the Arab Spring The uprisings that engulfed the Arab world in the winter and spring of 2011 were some of the most important historical events of recent times. The first began on December 17, 2010, following the protest of a young Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire in front of the seat of government in Sidi Bouzid, following repeated mistreatment by the local police. The gesture was full of symbolic value and triggered the so-called “Jasmine Revolution.” For several weeks thousands of young people took to the streets in various locations in Tunisia,...

By: Giovanni Sale, SJ
 

‘Nomadland’

Nomadland, winner of a Golden Lion, Golden Globes and Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Directing and Best Actress in a Leading Role, is based on journalist Jessica Bruder’s 2017 investigative book of the same name. Director, Chloé Zhao, is a US-based, Chinese writer and producer, with two critically acclaimed movies to her credit. Both Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) and The Rider – A Cowboy’s Dream (2017) are marked by dramatic events that immerse and challenge their protagonists and set in the broad expanses of nature, featuring landscape shots with leaden sunsets shot through with the purple rays...

By: Claudio Zonta SJ
 

Synod Time for a ‘restless’ Italian Church

From May 24 to 27, 2021, the Italian Episcopal Conference held their 74th General Assembly. Pope Francis opened it with a prayer and a dialogue with the bishops present. The work of the Assembly, under the guidance of Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, focused on the theme: “Proclaiming the Gospel in a time of rebirth. Starting a synodal journey.” In his introduction Cardinal Bassetti defined this journey as “a necessary process that will allow our Churches in Italy to continue to adopt a better style of presence in history that is credible and reliable.” The pontiff urged the bishops to take up...

By: Antonio Spadaro, SJ
 

Muon: As long as there is error there is hope

“Physics could be seen as a game of chess played by the gods, with us observing the movements of the pieces on the chessboard without being aware of the rules of the game but with a burning desire to discover them”: so said the great American physicist and genius Richard Feynman.[1] Sometimes, first you discover a law and then you better understand its deeper reasons. However, the most interesting things happen when you observe what you did not expect: as if – to remain with the chess  metaphor – we discover a bishop on a square with a different color...

By: Paolo Beltrame, SJ
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