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The Republic of Abkhazia was once the destination of choice for thousands of Soviet holiday-makers, including Stalin. The nation’s one railway line was constructed in a regal fashion. Burnt out buildings from a vicious secessionist war in 1993 scar the landscape amidst the breathtaking beauty of rural valleys – scars of a history sometimes tactfully glossed over. (More…)

“How are we going to control one million Arabs?” That was the question posed by Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol almost exactly 45 years ago, when Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan. It never seemed to occur to anyone, as they scrambled to come up with an answer they never really found, just how disturbing that question really is. (More…)

It’s easy to ignore Ayn Rand. The extremity of her views makes it easy to write her followers off as fringe characters in the already-far Right. However, ignoring Rand and her Objectivist philosophy has in fact facilitated her movement from the fringes toward the mainstream. Now, thirty years after her death, it’s dangerous to ignore her. (More…)

Umskiptar (“Metamorphosis,” in old Norse) is Kristian “Varg” Vikerenes’ third album since his 2009 discharge from prison. Incarcerated for the murder of former bandmate Oystein Aarseth, and arson attacks on several churches, the one-man black band  (otherwise known as Burzum) remains a lightning rod for controversy. (More…)

At Swadesh restaurant on LA’s West Third Street, Bangladeshi diners carefully chew on bony hunks of curried goat. But they don’t mince their words about their Korean neighbours. “If you go to their stores and you’re brown, some of them stare at you,” says Maminul “Bachu” Haque, a burly community organiser. (More…)

No band is as familiar as The Beatles. Wherever you go, their ‘brand’ is recognizable, and universally loved. Whatever musical subculture you identify with, it’s difficult to develop an active dislike for them, the way, for example, the Sex Pistols stigmatized Pink Floyd, or The Clash, Led Zeppelin. In spite of its limitations, The Beatles’ catalogue seems to have a little bit in common with everything. (More…)

As Russia’s ruling tandem switches places yet again, Dmitri Medvedev ambling slowly off centre stage, legions of internet users offer a canned outrage that even the most vehemently anti-government newspapers hesitate to express. Vladimir Putin returns yet again – a superb pole vault of the vertical of power. (More…)

Forty-five years ago today, Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser made the fateful decision to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. This was the act of provocation that convinced Israel to go to war, although it would be some days before the actual decision was taken. (More…)

Double takes are quite common. Especially for first time visitors from the United States, who know little about German politics. Appearing like clockwork, just before annual commemorations of the end of World War II, such anti-fascist stickers harken back to a time when radicals were grateful for being liberated by the Americans. (More…)

Propaganda may soon be returning to America’s airwaves. No, not the mainstream media liberals often deride as “Fox News” coverage. Nor the mainstream media Fox watchers deride as “liberal.” I mean honest-to-goodness propaganda, the kind that’s been legislatively limited in the United States since the end of World War Two. (More…)

A new crop of deathrock bands has reclaimed its punk roots and is pushing the music in a new and compelling direction. According to to Louder Than War goth “music in the nineties was largely dire, possibly due to the scene’s popularity at the end of the eighties bringing in a lot of people without those punk roots” that had originally invigorated the music. (More…)

The reaction was intense. Within an hour, a post I’d written, about Latinos in Italy, was being torn apart. Why was I interested in Peruvian restaurants? What was wrong with local Mexican cuisine? Why move from San Francisco, and think about anything other than Milan? And yet, the article was immensely popular. It went to number one on Reddit Italy, and generated thousands of readers. I even received some very nice private emails thanking me for raising the subject. (More…)