From France to Italy

From France to Italy

In Paris, its fullness of brilliant life so dominates that all shadows seem to fly before it and poverty and pain to have no place, and the same feeling holds for the chief cities of the continent. It is Paris that is the keynote of social life, and in less degree its influence makes itself felt, even at remote distances, governing production and fixing the rate of wages paid. More»

Snow in April

Snow in April

When the surprising news of Prince’s death was announced last week, I reflexively moved to post something to social media. And so did a great many of my friends. But we were immediately reminded of just how little material was available for free online. His insistence on being properly compensated for his work had made it hard to mourn him collectively through social media. More»

The Pakistan-China Economic Corridor

The Pakistan-China Economic Corridor

The $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was finalised during an official visit by Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to Pakistan a year ago. CPEC is arguably the largest infrastructure project in Pakistani history, and includes Eastern and Western Realignment projects that comprise highways, railways, sea-lines, electricity lines, and energy projects.  More»

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Vigilante Liberalism

Vigilante Liberalism

If there’s there’s one thing about Donald Trump that everybody agrees on, it’s that he’s gone too far. After all, even taboo breaking has its limits. But to what end? A recent article in Jacobin contends that the billionaire made the jump from liberalism to fascism. It’s an interesting hypothesis, but oversimplifies the problem. More»

Diyarbakır is Burning

Diyarbakır is Burning

An image remains in my mind that encapsulates Turkey’s second election day this year. Especially within the pro-government AK Parti (AKP) strongholds of Istanbul, such as Beykoz. As we sat in the café of the regional elections centre, watching television, and waiting for the vote count to slowly arrive, every time a Turkish or Kurdish member of the left-wing HDP (People’s Democratic Party) delegation rose from their seat, the police in the room would laugh. More»

Liberalism and Its Discontents

Liberalism and Its Discontents

Tzvetan Todorov’s The Inner Enemies of Democracy wants to use the accumulated wisdom of the West to address a modern problem. In this particular case, the problem is that, although democracy has become the  lingua franca of the West, there are dynamics internal to it that have the potential to vitiate the progress that has been made towards more humanistic social orders. More»

The Bedou are Wogs

The Bedou are Wogs

After our journeys in South Africa and Abyssinia, it was suggested to my husband that a survey of the Hadhramout by an independent traveller would be useful to the Government; so in the winter of 1893 – 94 we determined to do our best to penetrate into this unknown district.  More»

The Wu-Tang Clan’s Failed Experiment

The Wu-Tang Clan’s Failed Experiment

Last year, the world was treated to an unexpected announcement from one of the most famous acts in hip hop. The Wu-Tang Clan revealed that it had secretly recorded a massive 31-track album that supposedly brought the band back to its roots and the raw, rugged, ominous sounds that made its debut, Enter the 36 Chambers, an instant classic upon its release in 1993. More»

Communism for Capitalists

Communism for Capitalists

Last week, it was announced that Finland is set to introduce a citizen’s basic income. It’s said to be around €800 a month, which would be provided universally and without any conditions to all Finnish citizens. It will replace all previous benefits. More»

AKP is Authoritarian

AKP is Authoritarian

The AKP’s growing neoliberal authoritarianism can be viewed most succinctly within the period between 2015’s two elections. Suruç’s re-opening of Kurdish guerrillas’ conflict with the state was used by the AKP as an opportunity to punish Kurdish citizens for their subversion of voting norms.  More»

Letter to an ISIS Militant, Part II

Letter to an ISIS Militant, Part II

Camus’ writings deal intensely with the problem of death; suicide in Myth of Sisyphus (1943), and the death of others in L’Homme Révolté (1951). For Camus, the issue is that humans have no direct experience of death, but it remains their only certainty, and shapes their existence. More»

Carol and The Dressmaker

Carol and The Dressmaker

In light of the praise from colleagues and friends, it feels heretical to confess my ambivalence towards Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015). There is a lot that makes it special. A lesbian love story that ends well, released at Christmas (aka Academy Awards season) feels like cause for celebration—even if films focused on queer women should be a commonplace occurrence. More»

Liberating London

Liberating London

In recent years, there has been plenty of talk of devolving powers to London thereby allowing the city to exempt itself from the same tax rate and regulatory measures as the rest of the UK. It’s not surprising that the case for decentralisation should be made on such grounds. London is the centre of political and economic power in the country. But it is also the city of squats, warehouse raves, hipster cafes and the liberal commentariat. More»

Democratic Militarism

Democratic Militarism

Several Turkish and Kurdish cities are successful recruiting grounds for ISIS, in particular the capital Ankara and the majority-Kurdish city Adıyaman. Despite the AKP government heavily publicising their raids and arrests of alleged ISIS members, lax border controls are obvious.  More»

Victory Over the Thugs

Victory Over the Thugs

Of all the notable literary events of the past year, perhaps none was so important as the release of the complete works of Primo Levi. The three volumes of this edition make available in one place a wealth of Levi’s novels, his shorter fictional and occasional pieces, as well as his more general autobiographical writings such as The Periodic Table. More»