An Indian Border Security Force soldier stands guard near a fence on the India- Bangladesh border at Thakuranbari village, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. Chief Minister of Assam state Sarbananda Sonowal has sought help from the central government in sealing the porous border, one of the core issues of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign in Assam. (AP Photo/ Anupam Nath)
Divisions: a security force soldier stands guard on the India-Bangladesh border in Assam. AP

Review: 'Divided: Why We're Living in an Age of Walls' by Tim Marshall



“If you had to choose a moment in history to be born,” Barack Obama told an audi­ence in Athens during his final overseas visits as president of the United States in November 2016, “you’d choose now”. Obama’s optimism was out of step with his surroundings. Riot police were busy restraining thousands of Greek protesters as Obama proclaimed confidently that the world had never “been wealthier, better educated, healthier, less violent than it is today”.

It is a message amplified by the Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker in his books The Better Angels of Our Nature (2015) and Enlightenment Now (2018), and there is now a loose consortium of influential academics, pundits and businesspeople known as "New Optimists" dedicated to promoting the proposition that we are living in the best of times. If they are all correct, how do we explain what looks and feels like the world's collective descent into chaos over the past decade-and-a-half?

The optimists overlook the experience of a substantial mass of humanity for whom the world – even after being purged of the ills of the past centuries and endowed with modern technology – remains a forbidding place. The optimists' exaltation of modernity is accompanied by the myth that modernity has created benefits for all. Consider, for instance, the frequently repeated claim by the optimists that we live in the most open age in human history: it presupposes that all humans have access to this open world, when only a relatively small portion do.

The majority are "more divided than ever", as Tim Marshall, who is a contributor to The National, notes in his new book. The pessimism that leaps from the pages of Divided shouldn't be mistaken for the author's attitude. It is, rather, the mood of the world as it stands. In eight chapters on China, the United States, Israel and Palestine, West Asia, India, Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom, Marshall examines the walls – physical, religious, ethnic, psychological – that fence people off or, at times, pen them in.

Everywhere there is evidence of people retreating into narrow identities. Marshall, unlike the western commentators who rushed to pronounce this the Chinese century, is not sed­uced by the glitz of Shanghai's skyscrapers. His eye is trained on the human cost of China's progress: the disparities generated by it, the exodus from village to city, the loss of individual dignity. Beijing is altering the demographics of Buddhist Tibet, which it violently subsumed in the 1950s, and Muslim Xinjiang by flooding them with Han Chinese. It is in Beijing's ethnic engineering that Marshall espies "the greatest threat to the prospects of long-term prosperity and unity in China".

Looking at India, Marshall contends that the subcontinent has not fully recovered from the invasions of the past millennium. The people on the peripheries continue to be haunted by the division of India to create Pakistan and the subsequent partition of Pakistan to birth Bangladesh. Bengalis in India resent the influx of migrants from Bangladesh because they are mostly Muslim. India has erected state-of-the-art fences on its eastern border. But as vast swathes of Bangladesh are poised to sink into the waters as sea levels rise, where will the climate refugees of the future go?

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Marshall's chapter on the European Union is the most powerful. Ever since Britain voted to leave Europe, extraordinary claims have been made for the EU. But if the EU is the ne plus ultra of political co-operation, why did so many people choose to turn away from it? "The EU," Marshall writes, "has never really succeeded in replacing the nation state in the hearts of most Europeans."

The EU hierarchs' revulsion for nationalism doesn't negate the importance many attach to national identity. As Marshall warns in his chapter on Britain, to "dismiss people who enjoyed their relatively homogeneous cultures and who are now unsure of their place in the world merely drives them into the arms of those who would exploit their anxieties – the real bigots".

By magnifying religion and culture as the causes of division, Marshall exposes himself to the charge of advancing a deterministic view of the world. Yet this is where Divided draws its strength from. As Raymond Aron said in response to French intellectuals who sought to blunt Algerian demands for independence with talk of progress under French rule, "it is a denial of the experience of our century to suppose that men will sacrifice their passions to their interests". Marshall can't be faulted for identifying the sources of those passions. He has written frankly about the world. We deny this at our own peril.

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
The specs

Engine: 2.3-litre 4cyl turbo
Power: 299hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm at 2,750rpm
Transmission: 10-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 12.4L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh157,395 (XLS); Dh199,395 (Limited)

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).

Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

The five pillars of Islam
Specs

Price, base: Dhs850,000
Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Power: 591bhp @ 7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm @ 3,000rpm
Fuel economy, combined: 11.3L / 100km

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

UAE squad

Rohan Mustafa (captain), Ashfaq Ahmed, Ghulam Shabber, Rameez Shahzad, Mohammed Boota, Mohammed Usman, Adnan Mufti, Shaiman Anwar, Ahmed Raza, Imran Haider, Qadeer Ahmed, Mohammed Naveed, Amir Hayat, Zahoor Khan

SPEC SHEET: SAMSUNG GALAXY S24 ULTRA

Display: 6.8" quad-HD+ dynamic Amoled 2X, 3120 x 1440, 505ppi, HDR10+, 120Hz

Processor: 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, 64-bit octa-core

Memory: 12GB RAM

Storage: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: Android 14, One UI 6.1

Main camera: quad 200MP wide f/1.7 + 50MP periscope telephoto f/3.4 with 5x optical/10x optical quality zoom + 10MP telephoto 2.4 with 3x optical zoom + 12MP ultra-wide f/2.2; 100x Space Zoom; auto HDR, expert RAW

Video: 8K@24/30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, full-HD@30/60/240fps, full-HD super slo-mo@960fps

Front camera: 12MP f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh, fast wireless charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC

I/O: USB-C; built-in Galaxy S Pen

Durability: IP68, up to 1.5m of freshwater up to 30 minutes; dust-resistant

SIM: Nano + nano / nano + eSIM / dual eSIM (varies in different markets)

Colours: Titanium black, titanium grey, titanium violet, titanium yellow

In the box: Galaxy S24 Ultra, USB-C-to-C cable

Price: Dh5,099 for 256GB, Dh5,599 for 512GB, Dh6,599 for 1TB

If you go

Flight connections to Ulaanbaatar are available through a variety of hubs, including Seoul and Beijing, with airlines including Mongolian Airlines and Korean Air. While some nationalities, such as Americans, don’t need a tourist visa for Mongolia, others, including UAE citizens, can obtain a visa on arrival, while others including UK citizens, need to obtain a visa in advance. Contact the Mongolian Embassy in the UAE for more information.

Nomadic Road offers expedition-style trips to Mongolia in January and August, and other destinations during most other months. Its nine-day August 2020 Mongolia trip will cost from $5,250 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, two nights’ hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, vehicle rental, fuel, third party vehicle liability insurance, the services of a guide and support team, accommodation, food and entrance fees; nomadicroad.com

A fully guided three-day, two-night itinerary at Three Camel Lodge costs from $2,420 per person based on two sharing, including airport transfers, accommodation, meals and excursions including the Yol Valley and Flaming Cliffs. A return internal flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad costs $300 per person and the flight takes 90 minutes each way; threecamellodge.com

Five expert hiking tips
  • Always check the weather forecast before setting off
  • Make sure you have plenty of water
  • Set off early to avoid sudden weather changes in the afternoon
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Take your litter home with you
UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
What is an ETF?

An exchange traded fund is a type of investment fund that can be traded quickly and easily, just like stocks and shares. They come with no upfront costs aside from your brokerage's dealing charges and annual fees, which are far lower than on traditional mutual investment funds. Charges are as low as 0.03 per cent on one of the very cheapest (and most popular), Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, with the maximum around 0.75 per cent.

There is no fund manager deciding which stocks and other assets to invest in, instead they passively track their chosen index, country, region or commodity, regardless of whether it goes up or down.

The first ETF was launched as recently as 1993, but the sector boasted $5.78 billion in assets under management at the end of September as inflows hit record highs, according to the latest figures from ETFGI, a leading independent research and consultancy firm.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five largest providers BlackRock’s iShares, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisers, Deutsche Bank X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

While the best-known track major indices such as MSCI World, the S&P 500 and FTSE 100, you can also invest in specific countries or regions, large, medium or small companies, government bonds, gold, crude oil, cocoa, water, carbon, cattle, corn futures, currency shifts or even a stock market crash. 

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Opening Premier League fixtures, August 14
  • Brentford v Arsenal
  • Burnley v Brighton
  • Chelsea v Crystal Palace
  • Everton v Southampton
  • Leicester City v Wolves
  • Manchester United v Leeds United
  • Newcastle United v West Ham United
  • Norwich City v Liverpool
  • Tottenham v Manchester City
  • Watford v Aston Villa
Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Empires of the Steppes: A History of the Nomadic Tribes Who Shaped Civilization

Author: Kenneth W Harl
Publisher:
Hanover Square Press
Pages:
576

RESULTS

Bantamweight: Jalal Al Daaja (JOR) beat Hamza Bougamza (MAR)

Catchweight 67kg: Mohamed El Mesbahi (MAR) beat Fouad Mesdari (ALG)

Lightweight: Abdullah Mohammed Ali (UAE) beat Abdelhak Amhidra (MAR)

Catchweight 73kg: Mosatafa Ibrahim Radi (PAL) beat Yazid Chouchane (ALG)

Middleweight: Yousri Belgaroui (TUN) beat Badreddine Diani (MAR)

Catchweight 78KG: Rashed Dawood (UAE) beat Adnan Bushashy (ALG)

Middleweight: Sallah-Eddine Dekhissi (MAR) beat Abdel Enam (EGY)

Catchweight 65kg: Yanis Ghemmouri (ALG) beat Rachid Hazoume (MAR)

Lightweight: Mohammed Yahya (UAE) beat Azouz Anwar (EGY)

Catchweight 79kg: Souhil Tahiri (ALG) beat Omar Hussein (PAL)

Middleweight: Tarek Suleiman (SYR) beat Laid Zerhouni (ALG)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

Race card

6pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 – Group 1 (PA) $50,000 (Dirt) 1,600m
6.35pm: Dubai Racing Club Classic – Handicap (TB) $100,000 (D) 2,410m
7.10pm: Dubawi Stakes – Group 3 (TB) $150,000 (D) 1,200m
7.45pm: Jumeirah Classic Trial – Conditions (TB) $150,000 (Turf) 1,400m
8.20pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 – Group 2 (TB) $250,000 (D) 1,600m
8.55pm: Al Fahidi Fort – Group 2 (TB) $180,000 (T) 1,400m
9.30pm: Ertijaal Dubai Dash – Listed (TB) $100,000 (T) 1,000m

FIGHT CARD

Featherweight 4 rounds:
Yousuf Ali (2-0-0) (win-loss-draw) v Alex Semugenyi (0-1-0)
Welterweight 6 rounds:
Benyamin Moradzadeh (0-0-0) v Rohit Chaudhary (4-0-2)
Heavyweight 4 rounds:
Youssef Karrar (1-0-0) v Muhammad Muzeei (0-0-0)
Welterweight 6 rounds:
Marwan Mohamad Madboly (2-0-0) v Sheldon Schultz (4-4-0)
Super featherweight 8 rounds:
Bishara Sabbar (6-0-0) v Mohammed Azahar (8-5-1)
Cruiseweight 8 rounds:
Mohammed Bekdash (25-0-0) v Musa N’tege (8-4-0)
Super flyweight 10 rounds:
Sultan Al Nuaimi (9-0-0) v Jemsi Kibazange (18-6-2)
Lightweight 10 rounds:
Bader Samreen (8-0-0) v Jose Paez Gonzales (16-2-2-)

UAE-based players

Goodlands Riders: Jamshaid Butt, Ali Abid, JD Mahesh, Vibhor Shahi, Faizan Asif, Nadeem Rahim

Rose Hill Warriors: Faraz Sheikh, Ashok Kumar, Thabreez Ali, Janaka Chathuranga, Muzammil Afridi, Ameer Hamza

Henrik Stenson's finishes at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

2006 - 2
2007 - 8
2008 - 2
2009 - MC
2010 - 21
2011 - 42
2012 - MC
2013 - 23
2014 - MC
2015 - MC
2016 - 3
2017 - 8