Europe
Tarrying With Fascism

Tarrying With Fascism

“Fascisti Carogne,” (Fascist Bastards) the graffiti read, in bold blood red. An anarchist A placed to its right, it wasn’t hard to surmise its source. Situated underneath four municipal billboards designated for political posters, the slogan is a denunciation of Italy’s political class. Left or right, they’re all the same, including Unione del Centro party chief Pier Ferdinando Casini, whose advert takes up three of the spaces. More»

Unpacking Cameron's Euroscepticism

Unpacking Cameron’s Euroscepticism

Britain’s eternally uneasy political relationship with Europe is fast deteriorating, a rueful fact that Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech last week in Bloomberg’s London HQ will confirm. From the inescapable symbolism of the corporate setting to Cameron’s awkward affectations of sincerity, this was a particularly painful piece of theatre. More»

The Charge of Anti-Semitism

The Charge of Anti-Semitism

When the Simon Wiesenthal Center published its 2012 Top Ten Anti-Semitic/Anti-Israel Slurs list, it comprised many obvious figures. #1 was Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which has routinely called for Jewry’s destruction. The apposite quality of this designation was further illustrated when comments made by Mohammed Morsi came to light, in which he described Zionists as “bloodsuckers.” More»

Islam, Equality and Labor

Islam, Equality and Labor

The British workplace must become more accommodating to Muslim women. So went the title of a Reyhana Patel op-ed piece, in Independent Voices. Pretty common sense, no? Nothing to disagree with there. Well, not to everyone. The article was in fact attracting considerable attention from the most dubious of quarters. The commentary was quite awful. More»

Outlawing German Fascism

Outlawing German Fascism

2012 was a year of rude awakenings in Germany. The revelations surrounding the National Socialist Underground terror cell, which had been allowed to murder at least ten people (nine of which were minorities,) were followed by even more disturbing indications of incompetence on the part of the security services tasked with policing them. More»

Introducing the Outerclass

Introducing the Outerclass

With repetition, truth accretes. So I mumbled, as I looked up at the newsstand, and saw dozens of copies of the new Charlie Hebdo on display. “Intouchables 2,” read the lead headline. Beneath it was a drawing of a Haredi Jew, pushing a disabled Imam sitting in a wheelchair. “Faut pas se moquer!” (“Don’t mock us!”) he says. More»

Learning To See

Learning To See

This sticker, the latest in Souciant’s series on a youth outreach campaign of Germany’s Left Party, brings back memories of a time when I was both “learning to see,” in the sense Rainer Maria Rilke invokes in The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, and trying hard not to do so. More»

Appropriating Orientalism

Appropriating Orientalism

Immigrants who move to Western countries from the Middle East are frequently faced with a conundrum. Do we indulge Orientalist stereotypes in order to market our businesses? After all, there is an economic value attached to such caricatures, that foregrounds our identity in the Diaspora labor market. Should we risk cheapening ourselves? It seems we have no choice in the matter. More»

Food for Foreigners

Food for Foreigners

The Imam was optimistic. ”This is a step forward for integration too’,” he bragged to ANSA, the Italian state news agency. The reason? The first halal mozzarella had been certified by religious authorities. Henceforth, Italian Muslims would be able to consume one of Italy’s most popular food products, in full accordance with their religious beliefs. More»

Leftover Politics

Leftover Politics

One of the first things I did when I arrived in Germany as an exchange student in 1986 was to walk into a bookstore and buy a collection of Bertolt Brecht’s plays. I spoke almost no German. And the only Brecht I had been aware of back in the states was his libretto for the Kurt Weill “song-play” The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny More»

Pussy Riot in Polish

Pussy Riot in Polish

Don’t let Putin fool you. Banishing Pussy Riot to a penal colony allowed the Russian leader to reassert his rule. Democracy be damned. Civil rights, religious freedom, and gender equality from herein would be subject to his purview. The ex-KGB officer’s message wasn’t just aimed at Russia. It was directed at all of Eastern Europe, too. More»

Mario Balotelli, Jewish

Mario Balotelli, Jewish

Arms upraised, they punched the air, shrieking at the top of their lungs in Tigrinyan. An Irish team had just scored its first goal against an unidentified Milanese team. I was confused. “Why are they rooting for the Irish?” I queried my companion. “Because they’re Africans,” he snorted. “They want to see the Italians punished for their racism.” More»