United States
Dead Cities

Dead Cities

Given the eminent place of Detroit in the history of the United States, the announcement that it had filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection last week did not make the splash that some expected. With debts estimated to be in excess of $18 billion (no one knows the real number for certain,) the city that had once been the heart of American industrial power had been a dead man walking for years. More»

The Global Hoodie

The Global Hoodie

There is no shortage of lessons to be learned from the acquittal of George Zimmerman. Americans of conscience, however they may feel about the verdict, should examine what this says about our attitudes. Those attitudes are reflected not only in how we deal with the violence on our own streets, but also around the world. More»

We're All Terrorists Now

We’re All Terrorists Now

It’s May, 2013. I’m standing by a metal detector near the entrance to the masjid. There is an old man sitting a few feet from me. I close my eyes and feel the evening sun on my face, as Urdu phrases begin dancing through the air. I look over at the man singing, his fingers pressing against an instrument that sounds like an accordion. I breathe in as he sings his dervishes. More»

In Obama We Trust

In Obama We Trust

Barack Obama continues to insist that surveillance of telephone and internet communications is necessary. Speaking in Berlin, where the outcry over PRISM has been the loudest amongst US allies, Obama claimed that the surveillance had thwarted “at least 50 threats of terror attacks in the United States and other countries,” according to the Voice of America. More»

America's Digital Stasi

America’s Digital Stasi

PRISM just became the hottest word in America. With the disclosure Thursday by the Washington Post of an explosive PowerPoint presentation from a “career intelligence officer” documenting the breadth of government surveillance on the Internet, user privacy has turned into a full-blown civil rights crisis, the likes of which we have not seen since the 1950s. More»

Exporting American Democracy

Exporting American Democracy

“US OUT OF THE MIDDLE EAST.” The simplistic slogan was trumpeted by the radical left for many years before George W. Bush’s foray into Iraq made it a common bumper sticker. The same call could have been used by the isolationist right as well. Unfortunately, both practicality and, more importantly, morality make removing the US  from the region more complicated. More»

Sorting Through Salafism

Sorting Through Salafism

The pattern was familiar. Following the identification of the Boston Marathon bombers, US media were awash with experts, explaining the appeal of Jihad in Muslim communities. Security forces were deployed in major metropolitan areas. Returning from Pakistan a week after the attacks, a Homeland Security officer at JFK Airport asked me how often I pray, as though, because I’m South Asian, I must therefore be religious. More»

Black Like Me

Black Like Me

During the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, sociologists Mamie and Kenneth Clark received national attention. Their 1947 study, Racial Identification and Preference in Negro Children, would prove integral to the US Supreme Court’s decision to end the segregation of public schools seven years later. More»

Brain Freeze

Brain Freeze

International sanctions on Iran have devastated the country. In the past year, the latest round of US and EU sanctions due to Tehran’s nuclear development program are the toughest in Iran’s history. With a plummeting currency, medicine shortages, and rising food prices, Iranian students now find themselves struggling to gain admission to universities abroad. More»

The American Jihadist

The American Jihadist

New York means freedom of speech. With progressive groups defending a talk at Brooklyn College by two Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) activists in February, and right-wingers rallying around anti-Muslim demagogue Pamela Geller this week, it’d be hard to assume otherwise. Still,  the two episodes say a lot about discourse on Israel in the United States.  More»

America's Impotent Left

America’s Impotent Left

Incomes Flat in Recovery, but Not for the 1%. The New York Times headline understated the case. According to economist Emmanuel Saez, during the first year of the economic “recovery,” the top 1% of America’s population saw its income rise by over 11%, while the rest of the US saw its income decline slightly. More»

The Israel Excuse

The Israel Excuse

The US government is becoming a textbook example of dysfunction. Everyone thinks that about their government, with good reason. I will not, in this space, try to compare American dysfunction to that of any other country. But it’s time to look at how bad the situation has become, as it has been highlighted by the circus surrounding the confirmation of ex-Senator Chuck Hagel as the new Secretary of Defense. More»