Books

In Walla Walla, Washington during the early 1980s I could count the punks on the fingers of one hand. We felt like we had it pretty tough. There was the ever-present possibility that some random person would decide they wanted a piece of you. (More…)

It is now more than 30 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, bringing at least a nominal close to one of the most brutal and intractable conflicts in European history. The major paramilitary organizations decommissioned their stockpiles of weapons, the savage tit-for-tat rhythm of atrocity and reprisal ended. People in England, the Republic, and Northern Ireland moved on. Except for those who didn’t. (More…)

‘If you’re not busy being born you’re busy buying’. All the sales girls in the flash boutiques are made to dress the same and have the same make-up, representing the 1940’s. In fashion as in everything else, capitalism can only go backwards. We’ve nowhere else to go. We’re dead. (More…)

Turkey will never be the same again. The papers are filled with news of the crisis in Iraq, Soviet intrigues in Turkey, the persecutions of Christians, fears of a Turkish-Italian war, the hanging of opposition members of the Grand National Assembly, Turkish women demanding votes and claiming complete emancipation, and the Kurds rising in rebellion against the new “infidel,” Kemal Pasha. (More…)

Italy’s fascist movement was built up and installed in power by the most powerful and reactionary sections of the ruling class as their chosen means of perpetuating their profits, power, and class rule. (More…)

Even after 30 years, Salman Rushdie will forever be associated with the fatwa against him. The Satanic Verses still divides opinion today, but what more can be said about the controversy? (More…)

Northern Ireland is a small region within a rich nation-state, but the strength of the economic union has now become a source of instability.  The threat is that the Northern Irish business community has not seen a consistent “reduction of uncertainty”, as it depends on the prospect of stability. (More…)

One measure of twentieth-century conceptual conflict over comics in China lies between the positions of literary critic Hu Feng and Mao Zedong. Hu Feng, an inheritor of the May 4th revolutionary tradition, argued that individual subjectivity provided the basis for responding to popular sentiment and political will. (More…)

With the death of Hafiz al-Assad in 2000, a peace deal between Syria and Israel remained incomplete. While some speculated that  Islamists in Syria would use the death of Assad to attempt to gain political control of Syria that reality did not occur. The Alawi political power remained intact when Bashar al-Assad took over for his father. (More…)

In late 2010 and early 2011, popular uprisings challenged the ruling dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt, as opposition groups campaigned for a democratic transformation. Their actions inspired opposition groups in neighbouring countries, opening the door for change across the region, in what became known as the “Arab Spring.” (More…)

Where does prison literature begin and where does it end?  At the prison gates? Only with jailed writers? Given the sprawling impact of prisons on American society, no definition of prison literature will hold. (More…)

One night on a kibbutz in the early 1970s, a German volunteer named Wolfgang turned up at my door asking for assistance.  He’d climbed over a high gate returning from Tel Aviv, fell, and had a nasty cut across his palm.  I took him to the clinic while a friend fetched the kibbutz nurse, a concentration camp survivor with a tattoo on her arm. (More…)