Asia
Sunni Death Cult

Sunni Death Cult

Last March, in response to allegations of blasphemy from a Christian man in Lahore, a crowd of demonstrators torched over a hundred buildings in a Christian neighbourhood of the city. Authorities responded swiftly, reprimanding and arresting those who took place in the violence. More»

Iran as Progressive

Iran as Progressive

In 2007, when former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared during a Columbia University appearance, “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country,” many chuckled. It seemed to verify the average person’s preconceptions of the country as being primitive and socially backwards. More»

Designing Postwar Japan

Designing Postwar Japan

The debate was about who knew Japan better: the “Japan Crowd” or the “Lobby,” on the right, or the “New Dealers” in the SCAP. The story of the US Occupation from, 1945 to 1952, is the story of these camps’ shared assumptions about the limitations of the Japanese psyche. In the end,  the conservatives won, disproportionately influencing Japanese politics, and America’s imperial administration. More»

The Imran Khan Fantasy

The Imran Khan Fantasy

In case you haven’t heard, Islamabad is in turmoil right now. Twin marches led by Pakistani-Canadian Imam Tahir ul-Qadri, and cricketer-turned-politican Imran Khan, have turned violent and shaken the government’s foundations. On Saturday night, a crowd of about 25 000 people marched to the Prime Minister’s statehouse, and after some protesters broke in, the police began a crackdown. More»

Stereotyping Japan

Stereotyping Japan

In 1945, The Saturday Evening Post proudly proclaimed that “The G.I. Is Civilizing the Jap” by showing the “savage” and “dirty” natives how to fix cars without breaking them, and how to go to the bathroom. A 1951 follow-up subsequently reported that the Japanese they visited six year prior, with their nightsoil gardens and Shintoism, now had gas stoves and Christianity! More»

Humanity is Passé

Humanity is Passé

The Khmer Rouge got off easy. No act of genocide is as misunderstood as the murderous campaign that the Maoist revolutionaries undertook during the second half of the 1970s. Two million Cambodians were murdered in the space of four years. The scale of the killings, and the ruthlessness with which they were conducted, shocked the West, which was still struggling to get its head around the Holocaust, just three decades earlier. More»

Pakistan's Gaza

Pakistan’s Gaza

Pakistanis love Gaza. The intense brutality of Israeli military campaigns there has always elicited our sympathy. As a result, we offer our solidarity, in the hopes that we can help change things for the better. Things aren’t that simple, though, and many Pakistanis fail to recognize that our tendency to view the conflict in religious terms isn’t helpful. More»

Putin's Asia

Putin’s Asia

Last year, many commentators in the West were aghast at the Russian stance on the Syrian civil war. It was in early 2013 when Russia and China presented a united opposition at the UN Security Council to intervention in Syria. It was also flabbergasted at the Russian opposition, in the summer of 2013, to Obama’s proposed ‘punitive measures’ (read: indiscriminate bombing.) More»

Soviet Neocons

Soviet Neocons

One of the difficulties of critically discussing the Soviet-Afghan war is conceptually imagining Soviet imperialism. Many leftists are hesitant to condemn the nature of Soviet militarism in countries like Afghanistan. While there are understandable reasons for this, it misses the crucial point. More»

Hating the Ahmaddiya

Hating the Ahmaddiya

I grew up hating Ahmaddiya Muslims. It’s almost a ritual for Pakistani Muslims, especially in the deeply pious newly middle class. Even calling them Muslims will bother many of my family members: we all grew up using the pejorative “Qadiani.” We hated them with a vehemence that somehow rivaled our disgust for Sikhs and Hindus, though maybe it’s all part of the same thing. More»

Rock Against Zia

Rock Against Zia

Zia ul-Haq was disgusted by Western culture. Much to the horror of Pakistan’s elites, the late President took his cues from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, and sought to limit its corrupting influence on the country’s youth. Still, Pakistanis rebelled. Pioneering Punjabi rock band Junoon led the charge. More»

Pakistan's Uncertain Future

Pakistan’s Uncertain Future

Pakistan has no shortage of divisive leaders, but the most controversial is General Zia ul-Haq. Although he presided over a decade of relative stability and prosperity, the late President is frequently criticized for allowing an aggressively conservative Islamism to take center-stage in Pakistani society. More»