Geographies
Remains of the Day

Remains of the Day

It has been over a year since my friend and I visited the haunted compound of the abandoned Forest Haven mental asylum and since I began chronicling what we discovered there: a horrific testament to bureaucracy at its worst and the ragged remains of so many lives that wasted away on the outskirts of Washington D.C. More»

A Public for Privacy

A Public for Privacy

It felt like a rock concert. Security was tight. Fans were so desperate to attend that the ones who had failed to get tickets before they sold out were streaming into one of the biggest rooms at the University of Arizona to watch a live feed of the event with each other, even though it was being simulcast over the Internet. More»

Pro-life politics in Pakistan

Pro-life politics in Pakistan

Pakistan is facing fresh violence following the deaths of over seventy people, and the injury of several hundred more, during a martyrdom operation on Easter Sunday, in Lahore, directed against Christians. As Punjab prepares for a military crackdown, it is critical to understand the situation in its proper context.  More»

Putin in Syria

Putin in Syria

Apparently, the Russians are leaving. Seemingly out of nowhere, Vladimir Putin declared that the operation had “largely achieved” its aims, and Russian forces would be winding down operations in Syria. Not that this means the Russian military base will be dismantled. Far from it. More»

The Politics of Rage

The Politics of Rage

It’s hard to tell who is more alarmed by the prospect of Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee: Democrats or Republicans. Democrats are upset by Trump’s overt racism. Republicans worry that these things might make it hard to get him elected. More»

The Day After

The Day After

Yesterday, my city was hit. My city of “zinnekes”, those people from everywhere on earth who, like me, become “Brusseleirs” in the remarkable cosmopolitan cauldron that makes Brussels the (small) New York of Europe. More»

On This Day

On This Day

“It’s a way to pass the time while I’m waiting.” That’s what I had told a friend in his seventies recently, when he asked me how I managed to keep up with social media. And that’s what I was doing recently during the ten-minute break between my first and second classes, scrolling distractedly through my Facebook feed, when I was suddenly brought up short. More»

Jihadist Populism

Jihadist Populism

Despite the Islamic rhetoric fused with their actions, the mujahideen in Brussels, like those in Paris before them, are less a threat to Europe than a product of it. As details are released about the attackers, it will be crucial to remember that in nearly every case, their sense of societal exclusion, and willingness to organise violently to assert themselves, is distinctly European.  More»

Death by Revolutionary Nationalism

Death by Revolutionary Nationalism

Robert Mugabe belongs to the era of revolutionary nationalism. He certainly has outlasted this period, but he stands as a lesson of its failures. As with Arab nationalism and Ba’athism, the national boundaries defined by colonial rule would become the contours of a new national sovereignty. More»

Kurdish Protest Literature

Kurdish Protest Literature

Despite years of criticism, the European Commission is backing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s nascent dictatorship, in order to deal with its self-designated “refugee crisis.” The emerging agreement is that, according to the Turkish proposal, “for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states.” More»

Something There Is That Loves a Wall

Something There Is That Loves a Wall

Even now, long after Donald Trump has ascended to Republican frontrunner for the presidency, people are still talking about him the way they did a year ago, when his candidacy seemed more of a sideshow than a serious threat to politics-as-usual. It’s a state of affairs the man himself seems eager to perpetuate, promoting his brand at the expense of traditional propriety. More»

True Americanism

True Americanism

Patriotism was once defined as “the last refuge of a scoundrel”; and somebody has recently remarked that when Dr. Johnson gave this definition he was ignorant of the infinite possibilities contained in the word “reform.” Of course both gibes were quite justifiable, in so far as they were aimed at people who use noble names to cloak base purposes.  More»