Punk Feminism

Punk Feminism

If you’re someone whose social media feed inclines towards progressive politics, there’s a good chance you’ve seen someone making fun of Women Against Feminism. But if you haven’t bothered to visit that popular tumblr yourself, you may be in for a surprise. Because, while there are certainly posts of an explicitly conservative nature and plenty that seem ill-informed, others are harder to dismiss on principle. More»

Pakistan's Gaza

Pakistan’s Gaza

Pakistanis love Gaza. The intense brutality of Israeli military campaigns there has always elicited our sympathy. As a result, we offer our solidarity, in the hopes that we can help change things for the better. Things aren’t that simple, though, and many Pakistanis fail to recognize that our tendency to view the conflict in religious terms isn’t helpful. More»

People in Glass Houses

People in Glass Houses

Sometimes, after we’d made the turn off Slifer Valley Road and passed through the covered bridge, my mother would take her right hand off the steering wheel, point out the passenger-side window, and inform me, “That’s where the glass house is.” Even though I never managed to see this marvel, I never tired of her commentary. Because I needed to know who couldn’t throw stones. More»

Latest entries
Soviet Neocons

Soviet Neocons

One of the difficulties of critically discussing the Soviet-Afghan war is conceptually imagining Soviet imperialism. Many leftists are hesitant to condemn the nature of Soviet militarism in countries like Afghanistan. While there are understandable reasons for this, it misses the crucial point. More»

Trafalgar Square in Pakistan

Trafalgar Square in Pakistan

Bahria Town in Lahore is the tackiest place I’ve been to in Pakistan, with the possible exception of the resort town in Murree. It wasn’t necessarily bad for it, especially since the infrastructure clearly made Bahria Town a great place to live. However, it was irritating, as the child of formerly working-class parents, to see the absurd machinations of people with no idea how to spend their money.  More»

Imperial Disappointments

Imperial Disappointments

Noam Chomsky, the celebrated academic and political commentator, is perhaps the most famous left-wing public intellectual alive. Since rising to widespread prominence as a fierce critic of the Vietnam War, he has developed into something of an American Solzhenitsyn: a dissident bitterly denounced at home, but admired internationally (thankfully without the gulags.) More»

Putin's Wager

Putin’s Wager

Since the invasion of Crimea, Putin’s popularity has soared. The results of the Crimean referendum were obviously welcomed in Russia. Putin gave a speech the next day, proclaiming that the languages of Russians, Ukrainians, and Crimean Tatars, would now be recognised. These events have been interpreted in the West as an illegitimate annexation.  More»

It's a Small, Strange World

It’s a Small, Strange World

Wes Anderson’s latest picture Grand Budapest Hotel has been widely praised by critics for exposing more of the melancholy that has lined all of his ventures. With its allusions to the rise of fascism in the 1930s, and the fate of Eastern Europe’s smaller nations after both World Wars, the film definitely comes closer to delivering the sort of message many found lacking in his previous work. More»

Scarlet Jihad

Scarlet Jihad

Jihad is not just an obsession in my country of Pakistan. The entire region has become enamoured with the idea, even as it rejects Salafi jihadist groups such as Al-Qaida and the Taliban. It is not because of a debate between liberalism and conservatism, or whether or not Islam is compatible with Enlightenment values. It is because for many Muslims, Islamism is the new post-Soviet Marxism.  More»

Framing Putin

Framing Putin

Seeking rationality in punditry on foreign policy is a fool’s errand in the best of times. Bombastic statements and ideological polemics are the rule of the field. But when the United States and European Union are facing off against Russia, it is worthwhile to demand some clarity and, yes, even honesty. These have been in short supply on both sides. More»

Tatar State of Mind

Tatar State of Mind

“Oh that? It is complicated, you know?” Cemal Bey was not talking about his çibörek, which is cause enough for savory surprise. Customers in his small restaurant in Çanakkale can expect a treatise on the food if he opens his mouth. Of course, there is more to Tatar culture than çibörek. We discussed the referendum in his homeland of Crimea. More»

Towards Interstellar Islam

Towards Interstellar Islam

What will Islam look like in five billion years? It is our responsibility as Muslims to find an answer. Readers may scoff at the inquiry as childish, but if humanity really does survive that long (and what’s the point if we assume that it won’t?) then we have to grapple with the question of how our faith will look in the distant future.   More»

Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House

In a world where the reality principle has largely been conflated with the totalizing logic of capital, the most powerful messages may be those that repudiate common sense. Consider this provocative sticker from Brussels, one of a series popping up around the city: “If you are really cold, set fire to your house.” Like the Zen koans it resembles, this counter-intuitive advice has the potential to turn one’s thinking inside out. More»

Fourth Reich Calling

Fourth Reich Calling

One of the important tasks of the on-going project of Never Again for Anyone, including our own to take place in Berlin during the Holocaust’s 70th anniversary, is to highlight the danger of a resurgence of violent far-right activity in Europe. As a German resident, I think the most notable example in recent times is undoubtedly the case of the National Socialist Underground (NSU). More»

Labour Tourism

Labour Tourism

“We can’t fire them.” For anyone who has ever worked in Italy, the complaint is a familiar one. Often proffered to British and American employees, who are used to working with at-will type contracts, where staff can be let go on a whim, there’s an air of “Why can’t we be more like you?” to the declaration, as though a lack of job security is a more natural, albeit desirable state of affairs. More»