Peopling a war

Books | UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD: Profiling the Syrian war’s rebels, jihadists, and casualties
by Mindy Belz
Posted 11/20/18, 11:29 am

Perhaps one day we can read as history Rania Abouzeid’s No Turning Back: Life, Loss, and Hope in Wartime Syria (W.W. Norton) and be grateful for her meticulous attention to detail and to humanizing a brutal and misunderstood conflict. For now, as the Syrian war grinds on, Abouzeid brings us uncomfortably face to face with its ongoing horror. That hard encounter, plus the persistence of U.S. policymakers and others in doing the wrong thing, is why No Turning Back is our Book of the Year in Understanding the World.

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Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images

Fire in the mountains

South America | Rural Colombia remains a ‘Wild West’ of guerrilla and paramilitary violence, but amid threats and attacks village pastors preach the gospel of Christ
by Jamie Dean
Posted 10/24/18, 05:00 pm

In a small room in a nondescript building near Colombia’s mountainous border with Venezuela, Pastor Juan Martinez leans his slight frame over a bulky Bible and describes Christian ministry in his rural Colombian village: “I am currently under threat of death for preaching the gospel.”

Martinez isn’t alone.

In the same room, three other Colombian pastors tell similar stories about the dangers of leading evangelical churches in rural regions where armed militants still roam the hills and demand control.

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U.S. Navy Photo

China’s coming

Asia | A new ‘red scare’ finds a new generation ... not scared
by Mindy Belz
Posted 10/10/18, 10:08 am

The South China Sea is more than 7,000 miles from San Diego, yet it became the sight of a showdown between China and the United States on Sept. 30, as the USS Decatur nearly collided with a Chinese destroyer bent on blocking its path. The Chinese ship came within 45 yards of the U.S. vessel and its 356 crew members in a breathtaking—and deliberate—close call.

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