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Street scene. Jodhpur, India.

“Is there somewhere I can be alone ?”, I asked bluntly a the reception desk of a popular backpacker hostel in Jaipur. “Yes, we have this private room on the third floor but no one wants it,” the young man replied. “Who wants to live alone?”

It wasn’t a great room. It had a window covered with deceptively cheerful curtains in a bright blue pattern, their sole purpose being to mask the narrow gap between the building I was in from the one next to it; the white bedsheets had a yellow stain; the white walls were sullied with smudges…


Where is the global outrage?

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The aftermath of a police shooting in Rio de Janeiro. Photo by Felipe Araujo.

What if I told you there is a city, a world famous city, with a police force that kills more people in a month than Minnesota police has killed in 20 years? What if I told you there is a country, not some backwater state, but a major economic and cultural player, where a black man dies at the hands of the police every 23 minutes?

The city is Rio de Janeiro, and the country is Brazil.

As demonstrators around the world take to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd, the international battle cry of black people…


Beneath our dependency on smartphones lies a seething resentment at what our devices are turning us into

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Illustration: Joe Melhuish

For Christmas 2018, I booked a trip to Thailand on a whim — keen to escape work and the annual family gathering. Nothing good tends to comes from hasty decisions. Jetting off to the other side of the world because I couldn’t deal with real life would come at a price.

Sure enough, soon after landing in Bangkok, things started to go missing. I left a copy of Lord of the Flies in a restroom, forgot to retrieve my credit card from an ATM, left a pair of earphones in a restaurant. …


At a London CCTV center, operatives monitor thousands of citizens every day. But does the public realize how surveilled they are? And do they care?

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Credit: fotologic via flickr/CC BY 2.0

Eleven years ago, a giant mural appeared in Newman Street, central London, of a boy in a red jacket painting the slogan, “One Nation Under CCTV” in stark white capitals. His actions are filmed by a painted policeman next to a barking dog. Right above the mural was a real live CCTV security camera.

The mural was removed promptly by Westminster City Council, who ruled it was “an unlicensed commercial,” but its point resonated. Estimates vary, but when it was created by the elusive graffiti artist and social critic Banksy in 2008, there were something like four million surveillance cameras…


Half my twenties were spent in fear and constant paranoia

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Photo: Unsplash

Life in Britain was never meant to start with a lie.

It was summer 2004, and I was standing in line at the university enrollment office. I handed my application to the administrator and told her I was raised in Portugal. I expected her to ask for my ID, which would show that I was born in Brazil and would therefore be required to pay thousands of pounds more in tuition. But she never asked, and I never said anything. …


A simpler life might be trendy now, but the Hare Krishna have been doing it for centuries…with a few quirks

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Ram Charandas, financial controller of the Hare Krishna temple just off Oxford Street in London, UK. Photo: Felipe Araujo

James Edwards was 16 and partying at Lollapalooza when a Hare Krishna devotee handed him a book called Easy Journeys to Other Planets.

Intrigued by its descriptions of meditation and yoga and how our spirits can transcend our material body, he says the encounter made an impression him as a teenager. Looking back, he recalls that he felt he had found a kind of truth. “This is what I have been looking for,” he thought.

Edwards, who is now known as Jai Nitai Dasa, became a vegetarian, took up yoga, and started meditating. …


Carnival belongs to black Brazilians — and they are learning to use it to their advantage

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Photo: nateClicks on Flickr

As a black Brazilian who grew up abroad, I never quite understood the meaning of Carnival. Sure, I knew it was a time to party and do away with the inhibitions of everyday life. But up until very recently, I couldn’t grasp the almost religious importance my fellow countrymen and women place on a street party that costs millions of dollars to stage, in a nation that lacks so much. Indeed, Carnival is the only thing that seems to run like clockwork in Brazil, displaying the kind of efficiency that the country’s schools and hospitals can only dream of.

Of…


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Osman, 65, in his workshop, where for the past 32 years he has melted aluminum cans to make make cooking pots for local women.

It is known as Africa’s biggest e-waste dumping site, a place where the outdated, discarded electronics from the West come to die. Locals dissect their components and sell them on to third parties, mainly from China and Nigeria. Yet Agbogbloshie, a sprawling slum in the center of the Ghanaian capital Accra, is much more than that.

Home to more than 8,000 people from Ghana’s four main tribes, Agbogbloshie has for years received unwanted international attention for the way some of its residents choose to make a living. Copper is worth good money in this part of the world, and it…


Customers can get anything they need to survive a major catastrophe—and business is booming

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Lincoln Miles, inspired by America’s survivalist scene, opened his prepper store in 2012. Photo: Felipe Araujo

On a remote farm a two-hour drive from London, 24-year-old Lincoln Miles prepares for the apocalypse. “Oh yes, it is coming in some shape,” he tells me without hesitation. “The tensions with Russia at the minute, the tensions in Europe — we are on the brink of war.”

It was in that spirit six years ago that Miles, an entrepreneurial father of one, decided to set up Britain’s first prepper store, a one-stop place where those who believe in being prepared for an emergency situation can buy anything to survive on their own for “at least the first 72 hours.”


But are sustainability, simplicity, and spirit enough to live in a 21st century world?

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I arrived at Brithdir Mawr on a gray Tuesday afternoon in autumn. I am deep in West Wales on the slopes of the beautiful Pembrokeshire National Coast Park, green hills stretching out as far as the eye can see. The air is sweet with the scent of wet grass.

One of a growing number of communities living sustainably and off-grid in the UK, Brithdir Mawr is home to 13 adults and five children. At the entrance of the main stone house, there’s a pile of battered-looking Wellington boots in every size and color, all caked in mud. It has been…

Felipe Araujo

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