Bargain War

How successful are the Soviet troops fighting in Afghanistan? During a second visit to the resistance forces, in late 1980, I found that in some respects the Russians were improving their tactics. For example, soon after I entered north-eastern Pakistan with a group of five resistance fighters, one of my …

No Place for Heroes

Very little happens on stage in A Lesson From Aloes, the South African writer Athol Fugard’s most recent play. In the first act, the Afrikaner Piet Bezuidenhout and his wife Gladys sit in the shabby back garden of their house in Port Elizabeth. They are waiting for the sunny afternoon …

Getting Away From It All

Most people who write about travel know the temptation to pass off, as a description of the place they are visiting, an account of another place it reminds them of—either home or another foreign spot, rarely more than superficially similar. In The Old Patagonian Express Paul Theroux describes passing through …

Kicking the Door

Vaclav Havel, the Czech playwright, was one of the three principal spokesmen for the Charter 77 group. Since the signing of the Charter he has been arrested three times. First imprisoned from January through May 1977, he was arrested a second time in October of that year and condemned to …

The Persecution of Jiri Grusa

On June 1, ten years after the Soviet invasion, the Czech government arrested JirĂ­ Grusa, who is, according to his older colleague Pavel Kohout, probably the most talented Czech prose writer to have appeared since the war. It seemed at first that Grusa was only one of the dozens of …

For a New ‘Internationale’

Does the Third World still exist? In its poverty and underdevelopment more than ever; in its “nonalignment” less and less. Most of Asia has already been divided into Soviet, American, and Chinese spheres of influence. The end of the war in Vietnam seems, at least temporarily, to have stabilized ideological …