The Sparkplug

The Sparkplug is a catalyst for difficult conversations, going where fast headlines don’t.

Creative and artistic expression have the power to humanize political debates that are often abstract or driven by sensational media. An off-shoot of The Green Violin, The Sparkplug ranges into journalism and essays, engaging with the deeper questions of human dignity and struggle against the social orders that repress our most volatile possibilities.

Format: Simple. Printed as a 1-3 sheet broadside, usually with two articles (A-side, B-side). Also as a PDF and email. Irregular, printed whenever.

Latest: Volume #1, Issue #2

The Meaning of Words (or, Democracy by Any Other Name)

Eritrea: Forget “rights” and speak of duties and responsibilities, by Abraham T. Zere

Canada lifts sanctions against Eritrea, human rights abuses continue, by Lital Khaikin.

Under the guiding hand of the Ministry of Information, Eritrea shows the world a façade of progress. It flaunts two years of rapprochement with Ethiopia, expanding ports, and an illusion of successfully combatting the coronavirus crisis. Government officials, including President Isaias Afwerki himself, further promote the image of a functional society, manipulating public image through the complicity of Hollywood stars and influential figures who promote the photogenic side of the country, while choosing to remain silent and ignorant of the festering horrors of the regime.

This issue welcomes back Eritrean-American journalist and author Abraham Tesfalul Zere — who was one of the first authors published by The Green Violin, through a chapbook called Anecdotes of Indefinite Anarchy: Dispatches from Eritrea. Zere reminds us of the autocratic reality of Eritrea — a reality that will surely prove to be inconvenient for politicians and international capitalists amid the loosening of global sanctions against the country.


Of Purity and Autonomy: A Nation for Whom?

August 2020. Featuring Nandita Haksar. On the persistence, challenges and contradictions in Kashmir’s pursuit of self-determination.