Geographies
Someone Else's Problem

Someone Else’s Problem

Sometimes it’s easier to perceive a country’s most pressing problems when you don’t speak the language. It was August, 1986. I had only been in Germany a few weeks. All I could really say were sentences like “It is X” and “I am Y”. Understanding others was even harder. But I had already figured out that the words Obdachlosen and Asylanten were crucial for understanding the nation’s future. More»

How Not to Analyze Yemen

How Not to Analyze Yemen

The situation in Yemen continues to degenerate faster than the media can analyze it. Since the Houthi seizure of power on Tuesday, there has been a flurry of negotiations, protests, counterattacks, and even outright declarations of independence in the restive south.  More»

The American Way of Death

The American Way of Death

America is one the last of the states in the West to practice judicial killing. Although the pace of executions doesn’t match up with the rivers of blood unleashed by China, or ISIS, the practice of liquidating offenders, and the buoyant enthusiasm that surrounds it, combine to evince a distinctly macabre state of affairs. More»

Choosing Gender in Iran

Choosing Gender in Iran

It may come as a surprise to see an Islamic country allowing married couples to make ‘designer babies’ by giving them a choice to choose the gender of their child under the ‘gender selection’ or PGD (Pre-implantation Gender Diagnosis) process. More»

Will Putin Fall?

Will Putin Fall?

The Russian economy faces crises on multiple fronts: currency devaluation, crashing energy prices, and Western sanctions. This is very bad news for Vladimir Putin, who has straddled the imbalances of post-Communist society for over fifteen years now. His only recourse has been to appeal to Soviet nostalgia and chauvinist nationalism in equal measure. More»

Pakistan vs. Charlie Hebdo

Pakistan vs. Charlie Hebdo

According to the Centre for Research and Security Studies, 7,655 Pakistanis died in 2014 as a result of terrorism, militant attacks, drone strikes, sectarian violence, targeted killings, and security operations. Its report was released the same week as the Charlie Hebdo murders, which caused international outcry, and massive unity marches, in France. More»

Officer Friendly

Officer Friendly

The work slowdown currently being undertaken by the officers of the NYPD is one of the more surreal moments in the recent history of policing in America. While still responding to major crimes, New York cops have virtually stopped writing tickets, particularly for so-called “broken windows” type violations. More»

Germany Without Racism

Germany Without Racism

Germany’s fractured twentieth-century history gives racism a different meaning there than it has in the United States, Great Britain or France. The lack of an unbroken colonial legacy and the immigration to which it inevitably leads made people of African and East Asian descent relatively uncommon. Those who did settle down came primarily as guest workers or asylum seekers. And the Holocaust further complicated matters. More»

Die Entzauberung der Welt

Die Entzauberung der Welt

When I was a teen, a boy I loved left me. I was heartbroken. Yes, it was something every girl experiences, but still, it hurts every time it happens. Nothing could fix this feeling, or make things better. My friend Mandy told me about a wonderful fortune teller in our neighborhood, who was reading tarot cards, coffee cups and giving advice to anybody who would pay her. More»

No Control

No Control

Since protests erupted in Ferguson, in response to the killing of Michael Brown, America’s attention has turned to the militarization of domestic police. The guns, tanks and armor have concerned even moderates, raising questions about ignited tensions, reducing trust of law enforcement and even violating the essence of the Posse Comitatus Act, meant to restrict the military’s ability to police the public. More»

Top Five Shariati Quotes for 2014

Top Five Shariati Quotes for 2014

Parisian-educated Iranian intellectual Ali Shariati has been severely discredited as an ideologue of the Islamic Revolution. Despite that, the turmoil of this year calls for a reexamination of his work. Shariati made critical insights that are necessary to move beyond 2014’s bloody malaise.  More»

The Road to Tbilisi

The Road to Tbilisi

In the 21st century, many countries border each other with roads, and tunnels. But Georgia’s neighbour is Russia, not Switzerland, or France. Russia is not a modern, thinking country, and has no plans to be so. More»