The solidarity flyer seemed apropos. A stone’s throw from the Mole Antonelliana,  the 19th century tower dominates Turin’s skyline, evocative, in some ways, of the Dome of the Rock. Originally conceived as a synagogue, it’s difficult to disconnect the Mole from its religious intent, despite the fact that it was never used as such. (More…)

Don’t let his pro-Palestinian rhetoric fool you. Recep Tayyip Erdogan remains a close ally of the United States. The head of a socially conservative Islamic political party, the Turkish Premier nonetheless believes Turkey to be an integral part of the west, no less deserving of EU membership, for example, than decidedly secular, northern European states such as Germany. (More…)

Sifting through the rhetoric of old-school Communists in the twenty-first century, it’s hard not feel sorry for them. The world has caught up with their talking points to such a degree that they struggle to communicate their radicalism. Take the word “international.” (More…)

It was great revolutionary branding. A beautiful young woman, wearing a Turkish star and crescent teeshirt, was holding up a matching flag, blowing in the evening wind. Her eyes were focused on something afar, as though preoccupied with higher thoughts – of the good of the nation, perhaps. Three women stood to her right. One sported a similarly coordinated Turkey-branded teeshirt and headband (More…)

Don’t believe the hype. Just because the left isn’t in power doesn’t mean its ideologies are dead. Anti-capitalism, for example, is everywhere, including on the right, or what Europeans call “populist” parties, which deliberately mix a little bit of red with their brown.”National Socialism,” as it was called, is a perfectly-named example, despite the Nazis’ former ties to big business. (More…)

It was too simple. Black and white, with a drawing and some type, from a distance, it had the feel of an old school punk flyer. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be solidarity demo flyer, to support Occupy Gezi. Sporting Turkish hashtags (“DiREGEZI”) it could not have been more contemporary, either.  Yet, written at the bottom was a distinctly identifiable German phrase: Wir Sind Das Volk (“We are the people.”) (More…)

Her elbow had been smashed. Bike wheels caught in a tram track, she’d been catapulted into the air, landing on her left arm, in front of Porta Nuova, Turin’s main train station. Within seconds, pedestrians  had dragged her onto the sidewalk, and put her in a cab. When she finally came to, she was in the emergency room at the city’s best hospital. (More…)

Christians could be a minority by 2018, census analysis reveals. So read The Guardian headline, two weeks before Christmas. By no means the first such prominently-featured title of its kind, I took a second look, wondering if I was seeing things. Fortunately, I wasn’t. Not that I have anything against Christians. But, the idea that there could be a Western country in which Christianity is on the decline, is  a novel one. (More…)

Italy and Communism. For over seven decades, the two words were indelibly linked. Perhaps only pasta, at least abroad, was more synonymous with the southern European state. With good reason. Few, if any Western countries, had as strong a Communist movement, or major political party ( the PCI ) as Italy. (More…)

The Occupy movement was perplexing. Heavily covered by some media organizations and ignored or ridiculed by others, it could seem huge one moment and tiny the next, a bold model for the future or a tired rehash of countercultural platitudes. Outside the United States, figuring out what to make of this decentralized phenomenon was even more challenging. (More…)

World War II was only yesterday. So one might surmise, during the month of April, by flyers posted in Berlin. Largely focused on May Day, a near equal number tend to be dedicated to commemorating Russia’s victory over the Nazis a little over a week later. Celebrated every 9th of May, the event marks Germany’s May 8th 1945 surrender. (More…)

Foucault would have laughed. That is, at the flyer, and its politicization of mental healthcare. Proclaiming that we must be emancipated from psychiatry, it had a distinctly retro feel to it, harkening back, as it does, to the heyday of post-structuralism, on the one hand, and the era of Soviet mental hospitals, where dissidents were often confined, on the other. (More…)