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The Common

Shanghai Noir

The Common is an online and print literary magazine hosted at Amherst College. Their mission is "to deepen our individual and collective sense of place". So you can imagine how proud I am to announce that my essay "The Mapmaker" will be published by The Common Online this week. In fact, by the time you see this newsletter, it will probably already be live. You can check here.

For those of you who know me and my work, it will come as no surprise that "The Mapmaker" is about Shanghai. This essay is about the first time I went to that city. My guide was my cousin Brenda and her lodestar was a map drawn by her mother.

From Shanghai, it's a short plain ride to hit Hong Kong, the epicenter of an awful lot of seismic activity these days. It has occurred to me, reading the coverage and the multitude of opinion pieces on the recent protests, that there's a bit of historical context missing.

Deng Xiaoping, the man credited with transforming China into the economic powerhouse it is today, is also responsible for the slogan One Country, Two Systems. His idea was to allow Hong Kong (and Macau and, ultimately, Taiwan) to maintain their economic freedoms in exchange for their political rights. The protests we see today and the response by Beijing are Deng's legacy. You can read why in this week's blog post: The Devil's Bargain.

In the meantime, I'll be doing a little protesting of my own. We'll be gathering at 7pm this Friday at the Museumplein in Amsterdam for a vigil in protest of the US border camps. If you're interested in joining that protest, live or online, check out the options available through Democrats Abroad.

Meanwhile, the countdown continues. 8 more weeks until take-off.

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