Last updated: 27 January 2019

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Image: ©Khaled Diab

The demographic dimension: The role of population growth in the Arab uprisings

January 2020 – Decades of unprecedented population growth have played a significant role in Arab regime repression, the two main waves of revolutions that swept the region, and the fierce counterrevolutions that followed.

Palestinian exiles: When home becomes a foreign land

January 2020 – While Palestinians living in the diaspora are physically separated from Palestine, those who remain in the homeland often feel a sense of psychological or spiritual alienation, not to mention an overwhelming dream to roam free.

Nuns admiring the Christmas tree in Bethlehem.
Image: © Katleen Maes

When Muslims make merry at Christmas

January 2020 – For Western Muslims, Christmas is just outside their doorsteps. For some, Christmas even skips merrily in from the cold and crosses the threshold into their homes.

Photo: ©Boštjan Videmšek

Living in a nightmare: Gaza’s unending tragedy

December 2019 – Trauma, depression, destitution and hopelessness are the daily realities with which Gaza’s besieged population must contend.

Photo: ©Khaled Diab

Arab exiles: Fleeing nightmares or chasing dreams

October 2019 – When Arab revolutionary dreams turn into anti-revolutionary nightmares, the fortunate ones find safety abroad. But with exile comes unprocessed trauma, guilt, fear, dealing with xenophobia and painful yearnings for home.

Image: ©Matej Povše

Bordering on inhumanity: How Slovenia and Croatia illegally deport refugees and migrants

August 2019 – Rather than being allowed to apply for asylum, thousands of refugees and migrants attempting to enter Slovenia and Croatia are being illegally and often violently spirited across the border to Bosnia, and out of the EU.

Mohamed Morsi’s ghost will haunt Egypt for a long time

June 2019 – The death in court of Mohamed Morsi completed the incarcerated former Egyptian president’s unlikely metamorphosis from mediocre mundanity to mythical martyr whose political ghost will inspire generations of radical Islamists.

Memory lanes: The smell of childhood and lemons in Cologne

June 2019 – Rows and rows of the now iconic 4711 bottles arranged in the display window of Cologne’s famous ‘House of Fragrances’ were a trip down memory lane for Christian Nielsen.

Racists exploit BDS and Israel to advance their agendas of hatred

May 2019 – As recent motions in the German Bundestag and US Congress reveal, both the BDS and pro-Israel movements are exploited by racists as fig leafs to further their agendas. These racists must be exposed and challenged.

Image: ©Christian Nielsen

Anzac Day: Digging beneath the myth of the unruly Australian digger

April 2019 – Despite their reputation for being undisciplined and insubordinate, Australian soldiers who fought in World War I, known as ‘diggers’, were fiercely courageous and disciplined where it mattered – on the battlefield. These rebels with a cause would play a pivotal role in defining modern Australian identity.

Brenton Tarrent, the man being tried for the Christchurch massacre.

Of crusaders and jihadis

March 2019 – Despite their conviction that they are polar opposites, white supremacists and Islamist extremists share much in common, including a hatred of minorities and the enemies within, a persecution complex, and nostalgia for past glories.

Citizenship is a universal right, even for ISIS members

March 2019 – The death of Shamima Begum’s infant son underscores the injustice of depriving alleged terrorists and jihadis of their citizenship. It also sets a dangerous precedent that can come back to haunt and hurt everyone in society.

A burning ‘Satanic Verses’ in Bradford, UK. Photo: Asadour Guzelian

The unlikely demonisation of Salman Rushdie

February 2019 – Salman Rushdie made a very unlikely target for the fury of conservative Muslims, which is why the opportunistic fatwa issued by a Khomeini in serious decline took the novelist and the world by surprise.

The curious case of the Islamophobe who became a Muslim

February 2019 – Rather than being like a vegetarian who suddenly becomes a carnivore, a former Islamophobic politician’s conversion to Islam is more akin to a committed soda beverage drinker switching from Coca Cola to Pepsi.

Although organised religion is on the decline in Belgium, Catholicism is everywhere.
Photo: ©Khaled Diab

Losing faith in education

February 2019 – While it is important for children to learn about religion, they should not be schooled in any particular faith.

Image: Bassam Bounenni

The clash between realpolitik and principled politics

December 2018 – The contrast between the red card from protesters and the red carpet from officials that greeted Mohammed bin Salman on his world tour highlights the growing global battle between a principled grassroots and a ‘pragmatic’ political leadership.

Father Christmas arrives by camel.
Photo: ©Khaled Diab

Merry Muslims at Christmas

December 2018 – Despite fears of an anti-Christmas jihad, many ordinary Muslims enjoy getting into the spirit of the season.

Ending America’s arms race with… America

December 2018 – America’s addiction to weapons is destructive abroad and at home. Time to end this devastating arms race.

Steve Bannon is being amplified, not silenced

December 2018 – By providing Steve Bannon with an uncritical solo platform, the Oxford Union has failed in its mission as a forum of free and fair debate, succumbing instead to tabloid sensationalism.

Photo: ©Christian Nielsen

Spain’s Pegasus sports car is no myth

December 2018 – To see modern Spain’s flourishing design and innovation landscape today, it is hard to imagine a time when it was anything different. But have you ever heard of the Pegaso (Pegasus) Z-102 sports car?

Island of despair

November 2018 – While the outrage of Europeans has been turned to Donald Trump’s wall and the handling of migrants at the border with Mexico, they ignore a humanitarian disaster closer to home. The EU has left Greece to handle the influx of refugees on its own and those stuck on Lesbos are living in abysmal conditions.

A new Tembo for an old museum

November 2018 – As Belgium’s revamped Africa museum prepares to re-open its doors, Christian Nielsen checks out its glistening new restaurant.