Leaving the West

Leaving the West

Among Turkish media commentators and academics, we are observing an increasing tendency to question Erdoğan’s policy of reorienting Turkey away from the West towards positions and a vernacular that appeal to the “Islamic street.” More»

Syria Studying Proposal to Amend Nationality Law

Syria Studying Proposal to Amend Nationality Law

BEIRUT – Nationality was a controversial topic in Syria even before the influx of foreign fighters, the fleeing of 5.2 million people from the country and the increasing restrictions on freedom of movement for Syrian nationals. More»

Europe at War

Europe at War

A few months ago, Europe was a prosperous country, full of wealth, comfort, and enjoyment of all kinds. Its many millions were engaged in quiet occupations which employed their energies happily. “They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.” More»

Latest entries
America as Obstacle

America as Obstacle

Daniel Levy is one of the most respected Israeli peace advocates in the United States. Best known for his role as a senior policy adviser to former Israeli Minister of Justice Yossi Beilin, Levy was a member of the Israeli delegation to the Taba Summit with the Palestinians in January 2001, and of the negotiating team for the “Oslo 2” Agreement from May to September 1995, under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. More»

Amongst the Thugs

Amongst the Thugs

Arizona’s extreme right deludes itself that it occupies a central place in American politics. However, there is a difference between being influential, and throwing legislative temper tantrums that gain global notice.  Its leading political figures have become internationally scorned, which doesn’t trouble them, and does not harm their electability either.  The disjunction between local and external opinion is a matter of local pride, an insularity characteristic of oppressive governments in many areas beyond the American Southwest. More»

My United Kingdom

My United Kingdom

It was a sight I never imagined I’d see. I was watching a reenactment of the 1946 bombing of Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on British TV. One of the last episodes of  The Promise, aired in February on the UK’s Channel Four, the miniseries succeeded in touching a lot of nerves. This one touched mine. More»

The Hippo Shake

The Hippo Shake

Children’s programming is complex in every culture. Field recording public television, Turin. April, 2011.

Damaged Beauty

Damaged Beauty

This piece, part of the Copper Belt Project, is the second in a series — listed here — exploring the forgotten people and places of an iconic American landscape scarred by a history of economic and environmental violence. More»

Obey the Grande

Obey the Grande

I’ve always been surprised by the fact that the original Starbucks is an inconspicuous cafe in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Its anonymity stands in stark contrast to the legendary coffee company’s aggressive marketing style. After all, this is where it all started. Shouldn’t this be obviously branded a landmark? Not if your bottom line is numbers. No CEO really cares about his legacy. Just his stocks. The more signs you see on the street, the less likely you are to go inside and drink coffee. More»

Turkish Folk Music

Turkish Folk Music

Turkey broke the mold. Whether Germans were questioning the right of Turkish migrants to become citizens, Americans were attacking its leadership’s positions on Israel, or Syrians were complaining that Ankara manages to preserve favored status despite its policies towards the Kurds, Turkey is shorthand for , “Yes, but. . .”, a way for practitioners of Realpolitik both to define a “state of exception”, and assert its value. More»

Yiddish-Speaking Vikings

Yiddish-Speaking Vikings

Heavy Metal is often seen as a quintessentially white, Western, music. That is indeed the case much of the time. Metal emerged out of white, blue collar mutilations of the blues in working class heartlands such as the West Midlands. Metal imagery is often festooned with such ur-symbols of whiteness such as Viking warriors and corpse-painted pagans amid the snowy forests of Scandinavia. More»

Designer Security Apparatus

Designer Security Apparatus

Arriving in Tbilisi, Georgia, is a refreshing jolt for the senses. The boorish border guards typical of former Soviet republics suspiciously leafing through your passport (to find a visa it took you weeks to obtain) are replaced by courteous people providing a visa and hassle-free service at the city’s small airport. Driving into town provides another. Along the highway, a wavy ribbon of light-blue glass floats off a flat expanse of manicured grass, brilliantly lit against the dark, moonless night. That, I discovered, is the new Interior Ministry headquarters. More»

The Pessimism Process

The Pessimism Process

Aaron David Miller worked for the State Department for twenty-four years. His career began during the presidency of Jimmy Carter, and ended in the early days of George W. Bush’s presidency.
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Don Juan of Milan

Don Juan of Milan

Silvio Berlusconi can be faulted for many things. For using television to refashion Italian sensibilities. For buying votes. For making a mockery of an advanced, industrialized European country’s legal system. And, as many would insist, for reversing however far Italy may have traveled into the sexual revolution. More»

Mining the Copper Belt

Mining the Copper Belt

This piece, part of the Copper Belt Project, is the first in a series — listed here — exploring the forgotten people and places of an iconic American landscape scarred by a history of economic and environmental violence.
More»