Last updated: 13 November 2018

Latest items

Nostalgia… when the past is a better country

November 2018 – The majority of Europeans do not want to let bygones be bygones and pine for a past which they believe was better than their present. This is problematic for Europe’s future.

Photo: ©Khaled Diab

Tunisia: Freedom and the pursuit of unhappiness

November 2018 – With greater freedom has come greater unhappiness in Tunisia. Behind this apparent paradox is economic hardship and nostalgia for a past that never was.

Dissenting into the abyss

October 2018 – Western inaction against Saudi Arabia is emboldening the region’s regimes to clamp down harder on dissent. But by silencing peaceful and constructive change, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern regimes are paving the way to violent and destructive rage.

Voting for Palestinian empowerment in Jerusalem

October 2018 – Despite the dogmatic reactions from the politically orthodox, Aziz Abu Sarah’s aborted mayoral bid is the latest manifestation of the Palestinian struggle’s shift towards a civil-rights movement.

Headless or headscarfed, Londoners like to do their own thing.
Photo: ©Khaled Diab

In search of the lost city of Londonistan

September 2018 – Our intrepid and fearless reporter visited the fabled capital of  the European Caliphate, Londonistan. What he discovered was shockingly, surprisingly, confoundingly, almost frighteningly… ordinary.

Bad blood or blood libel: When is criticism of Israel anti-Semitic?

September 2018 – While critics of Israel can be anti-Semitic, many who criticise Israel harbour a deep respect of and love for Jews. Similarly, supporting the Jewish state is not necessarily a manifestation of philo-Semitism and can stem from anti-Semitic motives.

Photo: ©Christian Nielsen

The road less travelled, part V: Shakespeare in Sweden

August 2018 – In his final stop on his ‘road less travelled’ tour, Christian Nielsen uncovers the possible prototype for Shakespeare’s Hamlet in a Swedish hamlet.

The road less travelled, part IV: The rich texture of the original Hamburger

August 2018 – Hamburg has been minded by many nations but owned by none. This is visible in the city’s openness, resourcefulness and rebelliousness.

America’s got 99 problems… but Russia ain’t the main one

July 2018 – The assault on American democracy and its global standing originated not in Moscow but in Washington, and across the length and breadth of the United States. Like the Soviet Empire before it, America is crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.

The road less travelled, part III: The cycle of life in Groningen

July 2018 – Christian Nielsen’s road trip along the scenic route this summer takes him to Groningen where life cycles mellowly by in its car-free zones.

Photo: ©Christian Nielsen

The road less travelled – part II: Overwhelmed at Overloon

July 2018 – As Christian Nielsen takes the road less travelled this summer, he uncovers the volatile, violent past hidden under the tranquil, peaceful present of the Dutch village of Overloon.

Did Obama navigate Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without a map?

July 2018 – The Obama administration was reportedly unaware of the true extent of Israeli settlement activity. This reveals either a monumental level of ignorance or a post-facto attempt to justify the failure of the Kerry peace initiative.

The ghettoisation of Danish politics

July 2018 – The Danish government plans to force minorities out of what it classes as “ghettos”, but its Denmark’s mainstream that needs to escape its ghetto mentality.

Prisoners of our guilty consciences

July 2018 – The intensifying crackdown on the media and civil society in Egypt leaves Egyptians who are out of the country feeling powerless to help and guilty about the freedoms they enjoy.

Photo: ©Khaled Diab

The road less travelled: Navigating without algorithms

July 2018 – As I embark on my summer travels, I have resolved to ignore the recommended routes on my satnav and to get off the beaten track. Join me.

Image courtesy of Four Biscuits

When discrimination takes the biscuit… bake cookies

July 2018 – A group of entrepreneurial Egyptian women with Down’s Syndrome have proven that the only handicap they suffer is a financial one as they seek to expand their successful baking business.

Egypt: When the opium of football sharpens the pain of existence

July 2018 – Instead of acting as a pain killer for a traumatised country of heroes treated like zeroes, the World Cup has provided a painful reminder to Egyptians seeking escapism of just how desperate their situation is.

Podcast: Baladi – from bread to dance

June 2018 – Baladi is one of those elusive Arabic words that can mean different things to different people at different times.

Most ‘Muslims’ are labelled as such long before they can make any kind of informed decision about their faith.
Photo: ©Khaled Diab

What does being a Muslim actually mean?

June 2018 – In much of the world, ‘Muslim’ is often used as a marker of ethnic origin rather than of religion. This must change.

The drinker’s guide to Ramadan

June 2018 – Ramadan is the time of year when hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world abstain from food or drink. But one group of fasters suffers a special variety of thirst this time of year: Muslims who drink alcohol.

Egyptian atheists: Caught between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

May 2018 – Atheists in Egypt have been enjoying greater public acceptance, but their increased visibility has also resulted in controversy, shrill panic and a growing tide of prosecutions.


An explosive musical comeback

May 2018 – Arab audiences are not ready for the return to music of a pop superstar who became a Salafist extremist and allegedly took up arms against the Lebanese state.

Bernard Lewis and the non-existent clash of civilisations

May 2018 – Bernard Lewis was the orientalist scholar of choice for American neo-conservatives. His dangerous ‘clash of civilisations’ theory was not only wrong but caused enormous damage in the Middle East.