Geographies
9/11 Forever

9/11 Forever

You’d be forgiven for thinking it was September 11th, 2001 again. The tone of newscasts this past week recalled the hysteria of a decade ago. It is almost as though the “America Under Attack” segments which showed us the Twin Towers falling were once again being readied for replay, following ISIS’ inevitable triumph over Iraq’s US-backed Shia government. More»

Iraq Invades the West

Iraq Invades the West

The first news I received about the events now snappily referred to as the #ISIScrisis was that 500,000 thousand Iraqis were fleeing to somewhere, from somewhere, because of something. Such is the degree to which upheavals in the Middle East have become white noise. More»

Three Days Before the Shooting

Three Days Before the Shooting

When I heard about the rampage in Isla Vista — in which a deranged narcissist unleashed a nightmare on the slightly fallen student paradise beside the University of California, Santa Barbara—I was in Washington, DC attending symposia on Ralph Ellison. Now, back at UCSB, wrapping up the quarter with my writing students, I think I finally understand the ending of Invisible Man. More»

Home Is Where the Hatred Is

Home Is Where the Hatred Is

The mood was jubilant at Mohamed Merah’s wake. His mother sat at home greeting enthusiastic mourners. “Be proud!” They said. “Your son has brought France to its knees!” The celebratory atmosphere only ended when Merah’s older brother Abdelgani screamed: “My brother is not a hero! He is a common assassin!” More»

My War

My War

When the opportunity of getting involved in the Never Again for Anyone project first came up, I had to consider seriously whether it made sense for me to take part or not. After all, the project is focused on the inherited traumatic effects experienced by third generation survivors, the grandchildren of the Holocaust, of which I am not one. More»

Careful What You Wish For

Careful What You Wish For

If you live outside the United States, let me begin by saying that I am very sorry for what is about to happen. Despite the damage that the Republican Party and their right-wing fellow travelers have done to this country and, worse, to the rest of the world, it seems the American public is once again leaning in their direction. More»

Reconsidering the Roma

Reconsidering the Roma

I attended the Carnival of Cultures parade Sunday, a much-hyped annual event, meant to highlight local diversity, in Berlin. About halfway through, I spotted a Romani flag on one of the floats: a red wheel on top of blue and green rectangles. It was being waved above a block of jugglers and musicians that were colorful and lively. It troubled me. More»

Going After Bergdahl

Going After Bergdahl

For those of you not familiar with Vietnam veteran Tim O’Brien’s 1978 novel Going After Cacciato I have two pieces of advice. Firstly, locate a copy and read it. It is as good and insightful a book on war as his better known The Things They Carried. Secondly, be prepared to find in Cacciato more than a faint echo of Bowe Bergdahl, the missing US soldier traded this week for five Taliban figures after going missing in action half a decade ago. More»

The Gender Syndrome

The Gender Syndrome

A young gunman murders people at a sorority house in Santa Barbara. Members of a football team rape an unconscious girl and proudly broadcast their happy discussions of the act, only to be protected by their community. A star football player hits his fiancée so hard he knocks her unconscious. These, and far too many other acts of overt violence by men against women have generated debate, outrage, and apologetics. More»

The Sachsenhausen Muslim

The Sachsenhausen Muslim

I grew up hearing rumours about the Jews. They were at once our puppet masters and minions of Shaytan; filthy beggars and degenerate elites; supporters of the Red Army and Balochi insurrectionists. I replayed the fairy tales in my head as I took the S1 train up to Sachsenhausen. I never believed them. More»

A Movement Beyond Wages

A Movement Beyond Wages

In cities across the US, the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, from $7.25, is picking up steam. It’s already been mandated in the small airport burg of SeaTac, outside Seattle, and Seattle itself has enacted its own wage increase, although one with caveats that critics fear are too partial to business. More»

The Syriza Effect

The Syriza Effect

It’s being called an earthquake. It’s being heralded by right-wing parties as a revolutionary mandate. And, in typically American terms, it’s being read as a ‘protest’ vote, that will evaporate when it comes time to return to national politics. However, there’s no arguing that the European Union elections, which took place May 22nd-26th, profoundly shook Europe’s political elites. More»