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The Spoken For

The Spoken For

It’s wise to be wary when politicians speak of children and imperative when they purport to speak for them. Invoking the innocent lives that need to be protected from harm, particularly from themselves, may be the most clichéd move in the playbook, but it also remains one of the most effective. Who better to represent than those who are not permitted to represent themselves? More»

Colonial Responsibilities

Colonial Responsibilities

My mother couldn’t believe they chose to broadcast The Honourable Woman when tensions in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict are at a high, both on the ground and in the world that watches. The TV miniseries, which just ended its run in the UK, and which is still airing on Sundance in the US, is spy thriller meets melodrama, fitting for a political topic which invites such impassioned urgency, even for those without stakes in the Middle East. More»

Solidarity is Not a Cliché

Solidarity is Not a Cliché

Wheelchairs and rainbow flags blocked Berlin’s Kotbusser Damm.  Equal parts pride parade and disabled rights protest, the pairing made sense. This was an in-gathering of the margins, not normally linked at this level, considering the degree of recognition accorded gays and lesbians today. Their equalization was a strong reminder of the shared discrimination both communities could once claim in the Nazi era. More»

Hipsters Go Middle Age

Hipsters Go Middle Age

For most people, the middle of life isn’t so much marked by crisis as by a general, if heightened, anxiety. As your body gradually succumbs to entropy and gravity, you realize that history has taken place, and you have barely participated. You weren’t Madonna, you never won Wimbledon, you didn’t stop global warming. More»

The AK-47 Era

The AK-47 Era

The AK-47 assault rifle and the state of Israel are almost exactly the same age. Although this is purely a coincidence, it provides a useful opportunity to ponder their relationship. Throughout the Cold War, the AK-47 signified resistance to the hegemony of the free-market West, both during the final decades of traditional colonialism and the confusing post-colonial period that followed it. More»

Europe as Prison

Europe as Prison

Few European capitals are as loathed as Brussels. Whether it be on the right, as the scapegoat for everything wrong with national political policies, or on the left, as the enforcer of American-style neoliberal reforms, the EU’s lead city has definitely seen better days. No one will argue that the economic crisis has damaged the prospects of further European integration. More»

Punk Feminism

Punk Feminism

If you’re someone whose social media feed inclines towards progressive politics, there’s a good chance you’ve seen someone making fun of Women Against Feminism. But if you haven’t bothered to visit that popular tumblr yourself, you may be in for a surprise. Because, while there are certainly posts of an explicitly conservative nature and plenty that seem ill-informed, others are harder to dismiss on principle. More»

People in Glass Houses

People in Glass Houses

Sometimes, after we’d made the turn off Slifer Valley Road and passed through the covered bridge, my mother would take her right hand off the steering wheel, point out the passenger-side window, and inform me, “That’s where the glass house is.” Even though I never managed to see this marvel, I never tired of her commentary. Because I needed to know who couldn’t throw stones. More»

Certainty and Schizophrenia

Certainty and Schizophrenia

Demonstrators filled the Kurfürstendamm for miles, or so it seemed. From block to block, all one could see were hijab-clad Arab women, holding aloft yellow and green Hezbollah banners, punctuated by the furry hats of Neturei Karta ultra-orthodox.  For tourists, the sight was confounding. Terrorist sympathizers, walking arm-in-arm with religious Jews? In Germany’s capital? More»

For the Syrian Revolution

For the Syrian Revolution

Should the West intervene in Syria? The answer is more than simply “yes” or “no.” The complex power struggles and aspirations that define the Syrian civil war almost mock those who think there is an easy solution.  More»

The Death of Print

The Death of Print

You’ve heard it all before. Print is dead. So commonplace is the refrain, it’s practically meaningless. Particularly given the fact that it’s been continuously restated for nearly two decades, now. Print lives, albeit as one of two mediums, to deliver news. More»

Anti-Colonial Germany

Anti-Colonial Germany

What makes graffiti endlessly fascinating is the way its implications can broaden and shift over time. Taggers actively comment on the work of those who have gone before them, collectively fashioning a palimpsest that turns the passage of time into spatial relationships. And sometimes world events conspire to commenton this commentary, imparting new layers of significance. More»