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Last updated: 25 February 2021

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Egypt’s other revolution

February 2021 – A decade after Egyptians rose up against Hosni Mubarak, the counterrevolution appears victorious in the political domain. However, under the radar, a social revolution is in motion.

The heroes fighting online hate speech

February 2021 – Donald Trump’s latest impeachment throws a spotlight on the politics of grievance, the role of social media and the dangers of hate speech spilling over into real life. Fortunately, the pushback has started.

Image: Ramy Raoof

Egypt’s suicidal state

February 2021 – Events following the fall of Hosni Mubarak reveal that the Egyptian regime is on the path to self-destruction.

The downfall of Donald Trump

January 2021 – There was a certain poetic justice to Donald Trump’s undoing. I’d even call it Shakespearean.

Source: Wikipedia

How to kill a revolution

January 2021 – Unable to extinguish the ideas awakened by the revolution, the Egyptian military has focused its efforts on violently and brutally crushing almost every form of open dissent. This is an extremely dangerous and reckless game.

Ancient Egypt: A pyramid scheme that worked

January 2021 – Spanning some three millennia of recorded history, Ancient Egyptians built a state to last. What was behind this success and what can we learn from it? Quite a few surprising lessons, in fact.

Max Headroom

On the high-tech path to destruction

November 2020 – Rather than humans becoming enslaved by robots, machines have become the new slave or serf class, with devastating consequences for society and the environment. We desperately need a more humane and sustainable approach to automation.

Good riddance to Trump

November 2020 – With Biden elected, Rebekah Crawford, like much of America, is waking up from being in an abusive relationship. Sadly, millions of Americans did not mind Trump’s racism, corruption and abuse of power.

Trump is terrible but Europe and the Middle East have racism too

November 2020 – Outside America, Donald Trump has provoked near universal outrage and dismay. However, Europeans and Middle Easterners must not forget the racism closer to home.

Image: Michael Vadon, Flickr

My fellow Americans, socialism is not an insult

October 2020 – I may never be able to convince a Trump voter not to vote for Trump, but I can tell them what it’s like for an American to live with “socialist” healthcare and education in Europe.

Moria and the smouldering ruins of Europe’s humanity

October 2020 – The refugees and migrants who survived the fire at the Moria camp in Lesbos find themselves in an even worse predicament as authorities repeat the same dire mistakes.

Lost in ‘know-ware’ land

October 2020 – It is the cypher of the age, the new C-word that the know-ware machine must not detect lest it conjures up undesirable meanings, and undesirable consequences.

Belgium’s endless identity crisis

September 2020 – As it stumbles from one political crisis to the next, Belgium faces a profound existential threat. But can the slow disintegration of the Belgian state be reversed and, if so, how?

Hedwig Klein at work.

Defining tyranny: Hitler, a dictionary and the death of a Jewish Arabist

July 2020 – The world’s best-known Arabic dictionary started off as a Nazi propaganda project and cost a young Jewish scholar her life. It’s time Hedwig Klein received the posthumous recognition she deserves.

The mediocrity of evil

July 2020 – Many of the leaders held up as representing the epitome of evil were extraordinarily and spectacularly untalented, incapable and incompetent. With this mediocrity of evil, it is almost a wonder that they managed to rise to the top at all.

Occupy Wall Street protester in 2011.
Image: Glenn Halog Source: Flickr

Billionaires and the welfare of nations

June 2020 – The super rich are leaving only the scraps for everyone else to fight over, which is fuelling a mounting wave of intolerance as minorities and migrants are scapegoated for falling wellbeing. For the welfare of all, we must end these stark wealth inequalities before it leads to unmanageable social unrest.

Beyond belief: Arab atheists and their quest for acceptance amid intolerance

June 2020 – Atheists are amongst the most marginalised and persecuted minorities in the Arab world. Despite the risks atheists face from the state and vigilantes, atheism has become more visible and vocal in recent years, leading to greater public understanding and tolerance.

Robust health systems are society’s first line of defence against pandemics

May 2020 – Belgium has long been written off as a dysfunctional and failing state, yet its response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been surprisingly functional and successful. This highlights how effective healthcare acts as society’s immune system.

Living robots and the meaning of life

March 2020 – The advent of ‘living robots’, or biobots, not only poses grave risks for which we must be prepared but also raises profound questions about the future and what it means to be human.

After ISIS, former Yazidi sex slaves are caught between trauma and taboo

February 2020 – Safia, a Yazidi teenager from Iraq, was captured by the Islamic State, sold into sexual slavery, raped, tortured and made pregnant, leaving deep psychological scars. Her ability to come to terms with the trauma are thwarted by taboo, shame and her forced separation from her daughter.

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.