Documentary

Over the past few weeks, as the mainstream media has finally started to recognize Bernie Sanders as a serious challenger to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, it has become commonplace to equate him with Donald Trump. Both, we are told, are protest candidates, supported by those who are “mad as hell” about the establishment in Washington and its masters on Wall Street. But are they really equivalent? (More…)

For radicals, it can be exciting. Graffiti denouncing god scrawled on churches. Manifestos posted to to nearly every utility box. Streets and squares named after left-wing icons, like Karl Marx, and Walter Benjamin, in nearly every district, in the western half of the city, as well as the the predictable east. (More…)

Jerusalem for hipsters. San Francisco in exile. New York, when it was still cool. Berlinistan, to its Middle Eastern inhabitants. Poor but sexy, according to its former mayor. The German capital is many things to many people, the majority of reasons of which are decidedly unglamorous. For a major European city, it’s still relatively inexpensive. (More…)

Refugees welcome, indeed. For those who lament Germany’s sudden about turn in the wake of the Cologne assaults, take a step back. The brief window, during which Germans defined European tolerance, has witnessed a returned to form. Meaning discomfort, ambivalence, if not outright racism. (More…)

The populists are wrong. Getting settled in Europe is a lot harder than it seems. Though refugees and asylum seekers often receive support from their adopted home countries, the process of settling down, and earning residency, is incredibly hard, with no guarantees of success. It all depends on how you handle immigration bureaucracy, not just at the moment of arrival, but for years to come. (More…)

Everyone is a photographer now. So went the refrain, inside editorial rooms, in the United States, as smartphones began to proliferate, in 2007-8. Seeing dollar signs in the rise of citizen journalism, eager to shed editorial staff, reporters would now be required to shoot their own pieces, as well as write them. (More…)

Angela Merkel was just playing catch-up. By the time she announced Germany’s new open borders policy last summer (before retreating, a week or so later,) the slogan “Refugees Welcome” was already several years old. Plastered throughout Berlin, particularly the city’s heavily Muslim  central neighborhoods, it was the anti-Swastika. (More…)

The Russians are here. The echo chamber couldn’t be any larger. From Beirut to Washington, everyone has been repeating the same thing. Referring to Moscow’s military build-up in Syria, you can understand the surprise. For the first time in fifteen years, Russia had comitted military assets to the War on Terror. Or so it appears. (More…)

Your rewards taste old and rotten, like something from the last century, your promises are worthless. “Back in my school days my parents and teachers always told me I would never amount to anything! I guess they were right… (More…)

One of the benefits of living in a small-ish city like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is that I frequently run across people I actually want to see, like my old friend Shaun Slifer, one of the area’s many multi-talented and underappreciated artists, as well as a longtime champion of the underdog. Enthusiastic as always, he told me about a project he had been working on called the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. (More…)

Israeli pop has never crossed over. Though a few artists have gotten airplay on European radio, and spawned a YouTube meme from time to time, with the exeption of Ofra Haza, it’s never been a big success internationally, and it’s not for lack of trying. Dozens of licensing agents  have tried to place it abroad over the years, at best landing niche artists at boutique labels and ad agencies. Think Idan Raichel, and Monotonix. (More…)

More and more, the dozen years between the collapse of the Eastern Bloc and September 11th, 2001 seem like a mirage. Although horrific conflicts took place then — in the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and elsewhere — they appeared to be exceptions to an increasingly inevitable New World Order, in which peace-time problems would dominate the headlines. Military budgets were slashed throughout the developed world, especially the United States and Russia. (More…)