A common criticism of Valentine’s Day is that it was invented by a greeting card company. Even though I sympathize with that genre of criticism, I also find it contrived. Yes, Valentine’s Day is highly clichéd, and a vehicle for all sorts of crass interests. Still, it’s a rare occasion to publicly reflect on love and the significance of romantic relationships. (More…)

The announcement of a celebrity boxing match between George Zimmerman, and rap-star DMX, has generated quite a lot of anger. The Nation‘s Mychal Denzel Smith does not mince words about how disgusted it makes him feel. (More…)

I tightened the noose around my neck and threw its tail over the rafters. I felt the rope dig into my flesh as my body was dragged upwards.My surroundings quietly began to fade, and a gentle ringing whispered into my ears like a songbird. “It’s over, it’s all over.” (More…)

It’s raining in Neukölln as I’m writing this. As far as I know, smell activates memories. The scent of rain activates my own from a childhood vacation in Khyber-Pakthunkhwa. I find it soothing to think of the days I spent in the province of Swat, which is now caught in a violent power struggle between insurgents and the Pakistani military. (More…)

There is a great deal of hysteria about al-Qaida militants taking over Fallujah. Is the organization resurgent in Iraq, or is the allegation unfounded? (More…)

The Wall Street Journal has published a promotional excerpt from Robert M. Gates’ memoirs, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of War. It’s a much needed glimpse into the wartime thinking of the Obama Administration, particularly its similarities to its predecessor, the Bush Administration. (More…)

It has been four days since I was forced to leave Yemen. Last Thursday, the president of Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies, gave me a choice: face interrogation, arrest and, potential imprisonment over my article Explosions of Sana’a (and presumably others,) or leave the country by Tuesday. (More…)

Anyone who travels to Pakistan, or Yemen, for long periods, is confronted with violence. Death is everywhere. One of the ways I have come to terms with it is through re-watching relevant films, in particular, A Serious Man. (More…)

People mistake my bitterness this time of year for hating Christmas. Actually, I’m fine with it. I just hate how it gets observed. And I especially hate being around American expats, in Yemen, on Christmas. (More…)

Media outlets are abuzz this week about the stabbing of a Japanese diplomat during an attempted kidnapping on Hada’a Street, in Sana’a. Tellingly, they leave out the information that is needed to put this event in context. Specifically, that there was a drone strike a few days ago that killed fifteen wedding-goers. (More…)

I hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. It’s the day of my mid-term, and I am still exhausted from filling out graduate school applications. My eyes shoot open as a massive explosion slashes through the morning air, rattling my windows, echoing across the innumerable alleyways of the Old City.  (More…)

According to a Pew poll released in July, the United States is only one of three surveyed nations where majorities approve of President Obama’s drone strikes. It’s joined by Israel, likely due to the popularity of its own anti-terror policies, and Kenya, where Obama’s roots continue to buoy him to popularity. Curiously, there’s a gender divide  of approval in other countries, by at least double-digits.  (More…)