Author: Joel Schalit
Joel Schalit is the author of the critically-acclaimed Israel vs. Utopia, and Jerusalem Calling, and has edited some of America's most influential magazines, including Punk Planet and Tikkun. The longtime News Editor at Brussels' EURACTIV, Schalit now heads the publishing department at Berlin's DOC and comments on European affairs for Israel's i24News.

The morning I returned from the US, every paper was carrying the same cover story: Six Italian soldiers had been killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul. Corriere Della Serra, La Repubblica, even the local edition of The Metro, all seemed to be working with the same set of photos of the event’s aftermath. For the first time since we’d moved to Milano, it was like overhearing an entire country sighing, simultaneously. From left to right, the reaction was the same. Everyone was in a state of shock. (More…)

“Your papers, please,” she said rather stiffly. Judging from her pronunciation, I could tell she didn’t speak English very well. I placed my passport on the counter. “Ein Jude!” she exclaimed, as she inspected the Menorah-inscribed cover. (More…)

“Two great tastes, one great flavor,” joked my boss, as we overheard the strains of a booty jam sampling a piece of 1950s Arab orchestral music. Sitting in his car on the way to a recording session, we turned the volume up. Nodding his head in approval at the mix of squishy beats and vintage strings, he declared, “It’s so fucking obvious! Byrne and Eno were doing this twenty years ago.” Well, not exactly. But he was close. (More…)

The bathroom was empty. The floor was clear. There was no sign of him underneath the sofa. He wasn’t on the balcony, either. Looking at the roof of the cafe below, I started to panic. Raster wasn’t the most agile of creatures. Had he lost his balance?

“Raster,” I yelled out. “Raster!” People started to look out their windows, wondering what I was going on about. I noticed a faint shadow on the cafe roof. I could hear a dog whimpering. A small black head pushed itself out from underneath a ledge. (More…)

Forty-eight hours before the British government was to announce new initiatives to combat Muslim militants, a new police report indicated how much worse of a threat they have become. As The Daily Telegraph reported, a new generation of extremists, driven underground by law enforcement tactics, is now coming of age despite harsh measures to contain it. (More…)

The arrest of Ratko Mladic could not have come at a better time. The last surviving high-ranking war criminal of the Yugoslav civil war to be apprehended, his sixteen years at large were a constant reminder of Western Europe’s failure to achieve justice. At a time when all Europeans need to be reminded of the values that made his freedom a travesty, Mladic has the potential to inspire more than a sense of closure where the Balkan tragedy of the early 1990s is concerned. (More…)

For the last month, my wife and I have lived next to a synagogue. Not just any synagogue. Perhaps one of the most beautiful ones in Europe. The Great Synagogue of Turin, on the Piazzetta Primo Levi. First constructed in 1884, the monumental structure befits its location. Styled in a deliberately Moorish fashion, with classically Islamic details, it betrays the close proximity of the Middle East. (More…)

Punk bands never die. They just turn into H&M t-shirts. Or, in the case of the field recording below, supermarket sound system fixtures in southern European immigrant neighborhoods. If Joe Strummer were still alive, he’d delight in the specificity of the product placement. (More…)

The Christal Methodists began working together during the late 1980s. Formed at Portland, Oregon’s Reed College, the group went through several lineup changes (and one band name) before it released its first cassette under the Methodist moniker on its own Goy Division label, in September 1994. (More…)

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She isn’t exactly a star. But if you watch the local news enough, you can catch her hosting her own segment. Never more than twenty minutes long, the piece that sticks in my memory the most is one she made about eating organic food. (More…)

Last winter, I drove from Berlin to London. Waiting in Calais to take the Channel Tunnel train to the UK, I took a dozen pictures of asylum seeker-related graffiti. My own family was displaced internally, within France, during WWII, so I connected with the graffiti a little more personally than usual. “Droits humains?” (Human rights?) Downtown, November 25th.

Italy is renown for its political posters. Marxist, nationalist, racist, multicultural. Every city is its own open-air art gallery. Aside from “schiave” (slave), this poster shouldn’t require much translation. Corso Vittorio Emanuele, Turin. April, 2011.