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In the dystopia that is the Mideast, Rojava stands out. Few regions of the world are more synonymous with hopelessness. But this tiny leftist enclave in Syria, where gender and social equality are co-equals, bucks the norm. And then some. (More…)

“Good thing it wasn’t Leila Khaled,” my father muttered, as the Carabinieri carted off an Arab-looking man in handcuffs, submachine guns pointed towards his back. “It was too easy.” (More…)

Watching Lost Highway (1996) at the Soho Curzon, my friends and I began to connect the dots between David Lynch’s films and the rise of populist demagogues (we’ll get to this later). In more ways than one Soho was the perfect place to watch Lost Highway, those famous twin poles of Freudian thinking – sex and death – are a vital part of the Lynchian universe. (More…)

Margins still matter. If the flyers that litter inner city neighborhoods have any say on the issue. Promoting bands with political names. Written in languages other than the national. Being on the outside still has value. At least culturally speaking. (More…)

They weren’t supposed to hate Jews. Selectively anti-Semitic – meaning anti-Muslim, not Judeophobic – Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland party has finally aligned itself with pre-populist fascism, condemning the country’s culture of WW II guilt, and shame over the Holocaust. (More…)

Revolution leads to repression. If the utopian convulsions of the 20th century are our guide, it would be impossible to conclude otherwise. The Soviet Union, Communist China, the Islamic Republic, capitalist Russia. In each and every case, the path to democracy was consistently compromised. (More…)

France is lost. Or so it would appear if you read the country’s newspapers regularly. Marine Le Pen will be the next president. The Socialists can only give in to the banks. Racism is the new norm. Emergency powers have become permanent. The only alternative is fascism. (More…)

Nationalist parties are funny things. As convention would have it, they’re platforms for narcissism. Vote for us because we’re about your superiority, is their message. Particularly when it comes to ethnicity, and class. (More…)

The location is excellent. Many of the buildings are nice, albeit historic – meaning survived WWII. And, like the rest of Berlin, rents have largely been low. That is, until about five years ago, when the British and French began moving in. (More…)

Nobody understands Alternative für Deutschland. Okay, so they’re racist, and want to rehabilitate a lot of Nazi-era ideas. It’s legitimate to call them fascists, and criticize them for wanting to turn the clock back in Germany. (More…)

You might as well be in Istanbul. So thick is Berlin’s Turkish cultural overlay, you’d be forgiven for thinking there was nothing separating the Bosphorous from east Germany. In spite of its critics, Berlin’s decidedly Middle Eastern public sphere helps ward off what would otherwise be a more provincial, poverty stricken city still struggling to overcome the legacy of Communism, and the Nazi era. (More…)

While it might seem perverse to call someone who is constantly berated for his imprecision a master rhetorician, Donald Trump has demonstrated time and time again that he has the rare gift of being able to cast a spell over the media with his blend of hyberbole, bluster and hearsay. True, it might cost him the presidential election in November. (More…)