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The Goddess of Love is not normally associated with migrant advocacy. However, there is no mistaking the meaning created by the tandem placement of these two event flyers. Posted to a municipal billboard on the left side of Turin’s Askatasuna squat (an occupied house, or a social center, as they are referred to in Italy) the message is clear. (More…)

Rats, crocodiles and Wile E. Coyote have been much on my mind lately.

I’m going to Kenya tomorrow. The guidebook warns against swimming in inland waters, infested as they are with crocs and bilharzia. But that’s not what brings these thoughts to mind. While on the subject, my daughter’s too young to appreciate Chuck Jones. And rodents have left my larder alone for a few years now. (More…)

DECEMBER 24, 11 AM

I arrive in Cambodia thirty hours late, due to a blizzard in central Europe. I am sleeping next to a posh pool in a Phnom Penh hotel, when I get a text from Saem Vun, a singer with a musical group called The Messenger Band. (More…)

Toronto is made up of many different villages. In the past, each played host to a different immigrant community. Today, you can hardly tell these areas apart from each other. Bloor West Village used to be Ukrainian, but has since since lost much of its original, eastern European character. Touted as a poster child for Canadian multiculturalism, it is conspicuously homogeneous, in a typically unmemorable sort of way. (More…)

It makes sense, I suppose, that the same company that files away paperwork for safekeeping would also be in the business of destroying it safely. But when I found myself in traffic behind a truck touting the firm Recall‘s “Secure Sustainable Destruction,” I was struck by the paradoxical nature of this charge. (More…)

Taking photos of any public place has become a risky activity for American photographers since the ill-conceived Homeland Security Act was put into effect. When the subject is a sensitive site like a power plant, the danger is greater still. While no laws were broken taking these photos of the Tucson Electric Power facility, the risk of harassment and interrogation was real. (More…)

For ten years now, I’ve been answering questions about the potential for war with Iran. During this decade, I have repeatedly decried the neoconservative push to war with Iran, but maintained that war wasn’t going to happen. Since 2001, events in the region have borne me out. Even today, if forced to give a simple yes or no prediction, I’d rule war out. However, the danger of it has never been closer, or more real. (More…)

Hummus and and falafel have long been staples in US supermarkets. The more expensive and alternative the vendor, the bigger the Middle Eastern food offerings. Aimed at vegetarians and international clientele (Arabs and Israelis, especially in larger cities) offerings have improved in recent years, despite the persistence of problems that tend to plague Levantine-American cuisine, such as an absence of tahina. (More…)

“James Taylor, Marked For Death.” The title of a 1971 essay by the late rock critic Lester Bangs was a watershed moment in American music criticism. Denouncing the smarmy folk rocker for, among other things, nurturing his own cult of personality, some critics contend that Bangs’ attack on Taylor was one of the first instances of punk music journalism. (More…)

Ever since an angry mob burned down a Roma encampment last month, Turin’s streets have been flooded with beggars. Judging from their bright clothing, and their accents, it’s hard not to imagine who they are, and why they all of the sudden appeared, en masse, all over the city. From my apartment, on the west side of the River Po, all the way to the city center, there are women begging. Elderly women, to be precise. (More…)

America is notorious for its lack of public restrooms. Unlike Europe, however, it is extremely uncommon to find people relieving themselves in public places. For lack of a more polite way of putting it, Americans simply hold it in. Until they get home, that is. (More…)

It was finally dark. The days were still hot here in the desert. But once the mountain became a silhouette, the temperature dropped quickly. My daughter and I were delighted by this first hint of winter, the reward that seemed impossibly remote in the middle of another too-hot October. (More…)