Issue I/2019 - Above




Standing at the top of a mountain is uplifting. Positioned up high, close to the clouds, with the valley appearing tiny and far, far below. For those who live in the mountains, spectacular vistas are an everyday thing. They reside up high, somewhat isolated from the rest of the world, amidst nature's gifts - but also at its mercy.






Tomorrow's world

Canada: The Cannabis Professor

The University of British Columbia, near Vancouver, has announced plans to hire the first professor in cannabis research in the country. 


Peru: Banning Disposable Plastic

 In December 2018, members of the Peruvian Congress voted by a large majority for the abolition of disposable plastic. 


Spain: The Oldest People

Spaniards are getting older. According to a study published last year, the Spaniards will replace the last aging front-runners, the Japanese, by 2040 - reaching an average life expectancy of 85.8 years. 


Morocco: Whistling Against Sexual Violence

Women and men in Morocco protest against sexual assault with whistles. 


Uzbekistan: Independent News

Turon24 is the name of the first non-state-owned press agency Uzbekistan. 


Japan: Gambling For Foreign Currency

Japan will allow the construction of casinos in hotel resorts in the future. The government is hoping to access foreign currencies to boost the economy. 


Cultural spots

The Island of San Simón in the Bay of Vigo

Yolanda Castaño

Seen from the northwest coast of Spain, the Illa de San Simón looks like the graceful guardian of the bay of Vigo. If you stand at low tide on the beach of Redondela, you might think that the island, which consists of two islets connected by a stone bridge, can be reached by a short swim. The tranquillity of San Simón, where a light sea breeze sways the crowns of the eucalyptus trees, does not suggest that monks lived here centuries ago, or that the island was once a quaint stop-off point for the sailors returning from the Spanish colonies, or once formed a home for orphans. 


What's different elsewhere

Gambia: Just Touch

Marabi S. Hydara

Gambia, like many West African countries, is blessed with crocodiles. What is unique, however, is how these reptiles are respected and appreciated. 


South Korea: The Baby Oracle

Young-Sim Song

 In the past, Koreans were very poor, and many babies did not make it to their first birthday due to illness or famine. That is why this event is marked with a lavish celebration. 


The talk of the town in ...

The Talk of the Town In: Uttar Pradesh

Subhro Bandapodhyay

 In Uttar Pradesh right now we are talking about why the government of the Indian People's Party (BJP) is giving new names to big stations and cities. In August 2018, the fourth largest railway junction in India, Mughalsarai, was renamed after the politician Pandit Din Dayal Upadhyay, who was a pioneer of the Hindu nationalist BJP. 


What's different elsewhere

A Toast to the Lassies

A. L. Kennedy

Burns night is a big thing. You don't think about it when you're growing up but it's actually really nice that this national, specifically Scottish thing is a c... more

A house in ...

A House In: Finland

Stefan Stenberg

The Villa Bergbo (in English “mountain nest”) was built in the small mountain town of Kauniainen in 1953. Kauniainen (known as Grankulla in Swedish) is a small town, 16 kilometres west of Helsinki with 9,800 inhabitants, around half of whom are Finnish-Swedish.  


Main Topic

Distant and Strange, Cold and Brilliant

Esther Kinsky

Stories the mountains tell us: Walking in Friuli, northeastern Italy.



“Mountains are an Archive of Earth’s History”

Gillian Foulger

How did Mount Everest form, why do mountains grow and where would humankind be without them? An interview with the geologist Gillian Foulger.



Bernard Debarbieux

An estimated 900 million people live in the mountains, worldwide. What connects them? What separates them? 


The Time-Tested Knowledge of Nagaland

Aheli Moitra

How a young man in northeast India is reigniting curiosity about the cultural wisdom of his ancestors.


The Highest Conflict in the World

Prateek Joshi

Indian and Pakistani troops have been facing off on top of a glacier for 30 years.


In the Shadow of the Volcano

Kai Schnier

To locals, the Sicilian mountain Etna both gives life, and – sometimes - takes it away. 


Laughing and Complaining

Noémi Kiss

The lives of the Csango people in the east Carpathian mountains are hard. But there’s much to discover when you just listen to their stories. 


Starving Glaciers

Kristin Richter

The impact of melting ice on the earth’s water supplies. 


The Scourge of Mountaintop Removal

Michael Hendryx

How coal mining is beheading the Appalachian Mountains and devastating a region.


Deep in the Mountain’s Belly

Germán Bustinza Chura

In the Peruvian city of La Rinconada, known for its altitude and its gold, many come to seek their fortune. 


Alpine Twilight

Werner Bätzing

Booming tourist centres and abandoned valleys: How mountain culture is disappearing from the heart of Europe. 


“Nausea at 2,000 Meters”

Ned Gilbert-Kawai

In conversation with doctor Ned Gilbert-Kawai, who researches altitude sickness, among other health issues, in extreme conditions. 


"My Mountains Aren't Generic"

Eliot Weinberger

Eliot Weinberger, a collector of found stories, has written an essay about winds and mountains. 


Songs, Paintings and Poetry

Nune Hakhverdyan

What Mount Ararat means to the people of Armenia.


Jealous Mountains

Kararaina Te Ira

How the Maori people explain the creation of New Zealand’s landscape.


Better Than in the Valley

Archil Kikodze

Why the Georgian mountains are so important to the Georgian people.


The English as Inventors of Alpinism

Will Self

Why are people in flat countries magnetised to the mountains? An interview with the writer Will Self.


Those Who Lie Down in the Mountains

Kai Schnier

For Japan’s Yamabushi monks, the mountains are a place for meditation and self-reflection. One of them explains. 


World report

The House of the Half Moon

Alfredo Jaramillo

The first Argentinian clinic that uses a combination of conventional medicine and traditional healing will open this year in Patagonia. Patients will be treated with the power of fire, herbs and even regular pills. 


No Room for Roma

Hacer Foggo

Historic Sulukule was the first neighbourhood in Istanbul to fall victim to the Turkish construction boom. 


Bye Bye Britain

Jess Smee

How Britain's cultural scene is squirming at the prospect of Brexit.


In theory

Pure and Local

Nikolina Skenderija-Bohnet

There are only few things that impact our understanding of identity and belonging as much as food. But what do the dishes we choose, and the dishes we refuse, say about us? 


In practice

Guardians of the Bridge

Gundula Haage

How artists are helping to keep the peace at the watery border between Slovakia and Hungary. 



A phone call with ...

Shu Lea Cheang: Will Artificial Intelligence, or AI, Revolutionise Art?

Shu Lea Cheang

If there is going to be a revolution brought about by AI, then it will take place in the every-day. Technologies that use AI are already part of our lives. 


I think that ...

... European Visa Politics Should be More Liberal

Stefan Weidner

I am often asked for advice by people putting on events: Which writer from the Islamic world can we invite to read here? Who could we give a prize or a scholarship? It’s not hard to suggest suitable names. 



A Harsh Clarity

Gerd Koenen

In her book, The Future is History, author Masha Gessen shows us an oppressive vision of Russia, a country that has been unable to reclaim its soul after the end of the Soviet Union. Her semi-factual novel, based on various interviews and reports, tells the personal tales of three generations and at the same time acts as a pyscho-social analysis of the Soviet legacy. 


When Your Background Is the Crime

Thomas Hummitzsch

What does it mean to be seen as a stranger in your own country? In two novels, the authors John Okada and Min Jin Lee answer that question in diverse and fascinating ways.


"The World Does Not Want the Same Things as Us"

Richard Powers

In his novel "The Overstory," shortlisted for the Booker Prize, Richard Powers interweaves his characters like roots on a forest floor - and joins them to fight for the rights of trees.


Count Your Chickens

Friederike Biron

Authors Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore describe how we arrived in the ‘Capitalocene’ era – and how we can leave it too. 


Issue I/2019 - Above