"You Have All the Reasons to Be
Eve Fairbanks • The New Republic
A mine massacre and the fight for South Africa's future.
On the morning of Thursday, August 16, 2012, as thousands of striking South African miners marched in circles atop a pile of red rocks, the police lined up their tanks in front of it. Roughly 30 feet high and 50 feet across, the rock pile was the closest thing to a mountain for miles, jutting out of the flat expanse of the mining area called Marikana, 60 miles northwest of Johannesburg. The miners, who had been on the hill for six days demanding a raise from their employer, the platinum giant Lonmin, were unbowed. Cloaked in tribal blankets, they sang protest songs and waved knives and knobkerries, wooden batons given to boys at their tribal initiations as a symbol of power.
The miners' strike has an integral place in the history of South Africa. Ever since mining began here at the end of the nineteenth century, poor shaft workers have chafed against the mining-enriched white establishment. Mine strikes in the 1980s kicked South Africa's black-liberation struggle into high gear, setting the stage for the fall of the white-run apartheid government. On the face of it, the strike at Marikana seemed like a continuation of this classic conflict between rich white and poor black: Lonmin is headquartered in London and has mostly white managers.
Alexander Joe/AFP/Getty Images
Vali Nasr • Foreign Policy
A former Obama administration official on a "deeply disillusioning experience."
The true key to ending the war, Holbrooke often told us, was to change Pakistan. Pakistan was the sanctuary that the Taliban insurgency used as a launching pad and a place to escape U.S. retaliation. But to convince Pakistan that we meant business, we first had to prove that America was going to stay.
But how? Pakistan's double-dealing was in part a symptom of its bitterness over having been abandoned and then treated as a rogue state after a previous Afghan war, against the Soviets, had been won in 1989. Pakistan was also deeply insecure about India's meteoric rise and growing strategic value to the West. Pakistanis were playing things very close to the vest. We had to get them to open up. Could we convince them that their strategic interests in Afghanistan could be addressed? If so, perhaps in time they might reassess their interests in a way more favorable to ours.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
That's Not a Droid, That's My Girlfriend
Aubrey Belford • The Global Mail
On the development of companion robots in Japan.
But while Kozaki has aged, Kobayakawa has not. After three years, she's still 16. She always will be. That's because she is a simulation; Kobayakawa only exists inside a computer.
Kozaki's girlfriend has never been born. She will never die. Technically, she has never lived. She may be deleted, but Kozaki would never let that happen.
Because he's in love.
Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images