Christopher de Bellaigue

Christopher de Bellaigue was born in London in 1971 and has worked as a journalist in the Middle East and South Asia since 1994. He is the author of Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town. His research for the article in the December 17, 2015 ­issue was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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  • A Song Against Jihad

    February 22, 2015

    In the hands of Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako and his superb cadre of actors in Timbuktu—many of whom are non-professionals—defiance of extremism is vested with such moral authority as to make the jihadists look risible.

  • Turkey's Double Game in Syria

    October 14, 2014

    Even by the dismal standards of the Syrian civil war, the current battle for Kobani, a Kurdish town on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border, seems particularly intractable.

  • What Only Soldiers Understand

    August 20, 2014

    Sebastian Junger’s new documentary Korengal deals in a peculiarly profound way with the unsettling sense that a young warrior experiences, after fighting alongside his brothers-in-arms, that he knows all the joy and agony that life can offer.

  • No One Is Blameless

    February 27, 2014

    Why would anyone want to go to the cinema to watch the frail outgrowth of the future suffocated under the weight of the past?

  • Turkey: The Fakir vs. the Pharaoh

    January 27, 2014

    Turkey’s political crisis pits two groups against each other that are entrenched in virtually all administrative and commercial areas of Turkish life.

  • Tunisia: 'Did We Make the Revolution For This?'

    December 18, 2012

    Exactly two years have passed since the self-immolation of a fruit-seller in a depressed provincial town spurred Tunisians to topple their authoritarian president. But the mood on the anniversary of that richly symbolic martyrdom is somber, even defeatist. To many Tunisians, the goals that animated the revolution no longer seem within reach.

  • Iraq: What Remains

    December 21, 2011

    The world has changed a great deal since the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003–thanks in part to that invasion and to the earlier invasion of Afghanistan. And yet, watching President Barack Obama welcome home the troops at Fort Bragg on December 14, and the media coverage of that event, it struck me that one thing has not changed. Despite the vast expenses incurred by news organizations following the occupation, and the considerable time that politicians in Washington spent debating its merits, many Americans continue to see in Iraq a reflection of their own country’s ideals and contradictions. They will remember Iraq as an American trauma. But it was, above all, an Iraqi trauma.

  • Should Afghanistan Exist?

    October 7, 2010

    Here is a map of Afghanistan. Versions of it adorn conference rooms in military bases, ministry buildings and NGO headquarters. The first question it raises is: “Why does Afghanistan exist?”