Making Sense of Turmoil: Letters from the Philippines, Turkey, and Venezuela

A friend recently gifted me a 12-month subscription to The New Yorker — it’s perhaps the best gift I’ve received. Not only is the content consistently top-notch, but there’s something uniquely satisfying about rolling up the thin digest and stuffing it into your back pocket, in case you catch a few minutes to read it on the subway or during lunch, aware that you still have a few articles to get through before next week’s volume arrives.

Anyways, that The New Yorker is a good magazine isn’t news to anyone, I don’t think. But I’d like to quickly flag for online readers three articles that have stuck out over the past few months.

In Turkey’s Thirty-Year Coup, Dexter Filkins charts the gradual rise of the Gülenist movement in Turkey — a somewhat covert movement guided by an enigmatic spiritualist leader whose loyal followers have managed to infiltrate each and every corner of the Turkish state. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to make sense of the recent (failed) coup attempt in Turkey.

In Venezuela, A Failing State, William Finnegan paints a dire picture of a country pitched into chaos by the death of Hugo Chávez, and the sudden unraveling of the precarious experiment he had for so long overseen.

Finally, in The Tough Guy, Adrian Chen studies the impact of Filipino President (and boisterous demagogue) Rodrigo Duterte’s first few months in office, and the country’s quiet acquiescence to his brutal campaign of extrajudicial killings and vigilantism.

Too often, we consume major international news stories without the context to properly understand them or to judge their impact. We know that there was a coup in Turkey, that there have been food riots in Venezuela, and that the Philippines have also elected a dangerous populist with a big mouth. But we don’t know why, nor do we always have the means to figure it out in any sort of efficient manner.

I highly recommend that you bookmark these articles, and make your way through them. You won't regret it.

- Richie


Amy Sanderson07/12/16