Franz Kafka’s Lost Drawings

In 1921 and 1922, Franz Kafka asked his friend, the writer and Zionist activist Max Brod, to burn all of his manuscripts, letters, and drawings in the event of his death. When Kafka died in 1924, at the age of forty-one, Brod refused to heed the request, and began trying to see that many of the writings he found were published—thus securing Kafka’s legacy among the literary of geniuses of the 20th century. Brod brought the papers with him when he fled Czechoslovakia in 1939, just before the Nazi invasion, for the Land of Israel. After a protracted legal battle, the National Library of Israel recently acquired some of these papers, which it has now digitized and made publicly available.

Although his stories rarely touch on Jewish subjects, Kafka throughout his life sought to learn more about the religion of his birth, and resented his parents for denying him a more robust Jewish education. The newly digitized materials, never before seen except by a few eyes, include several drawings. The one below is s titled “A Beggar and a Refined Patron.” (Courtesy of the National Library of Israel, Max Brod Archive.)

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More about: Art, Franz Kafka, Jewish history, Literature


An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy