May 2013 – The curious case of Arab men reportedly deported for being “too handsome” demonstrates that the beautiful can also be the victims of discrimination.
The Boston marathon bombings have refocused attention on the threat of “homegrown terrorism”. But there is a much more dangerous domestic threat.
April 2013 – From Guy Fawkes and Lord Byron to Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell, Westerners have an ancient tradition of doing ‘jihad’ in foreign lands.
March 2013 – This year marks the 20th anniversary of the clash of civilizations theory, but Samuel P Huntington was wrong.
January 2013 – The acid attack on the Bolshoi ballet’s director highlights the worrying spread of organised crime and corruption to all facets of life in Russia.
January 2013 – Half-baked rules about homemade biscuits say a lot about the sort of society we live in and undermine community spirit.
January 2013 – Gun and knife violence gets a lot of public attention but one killer prowling our streets goes largely unnoticed… apathy.
January 2013 – Despite its bonding potential, a trip to the hairdresser’s can inflict trauma on soap-phobic pre-adolescent boys and their mullet-phobic fathers.
October 2012 – The Belgian magazine Knack did something shocking, brilliant, or lazy… depending on how you look at it.
September 2012 – Israeli novelist Amos Oz believes that Jewish civilisation is founded on dissent and non-conformity, but how true is this?
September 2012 – As we spent more of our lives online, what happens to our virtual selves when we die? Do they disappear too, or do we become ghosts in the machine?
August 2012 – In an era of economic austerity, we must revive the idea of a permanent venue for the Olympics, which would also help to de-politicise the games.
July 2012 – My father’s secret police file reveals that my newly wed parents were right to flee Egypt. But I’m grateful for the liberation of “exile”.
June 2012 – As social media strip away the space and time separating like-minded people, is the notion of “nationalism” becoming too small for us?
April 2012 – Anzac Day, which recalls the horrors of modern warfare, marks the birth of modern national conscience in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
April 2012 – As propaganda and branding goes, no one holds a candle to the Olympics. But is growing commercialisation protecting or threatening the Olympic spirit?
February 2012 – Is buying a secondhand car after nine months of contemplation akin to becoming a father or a lover?
September 2011 – A story that redhead sperm is not welcome at a Danish spermbank has gone global, reflecting how good reporting is being crowded out of the media by ‘incredible free content’.
July 2011 – You cut, trim, mulch, fertilise, spray, dig, weed, rake and tidy up for half your weekend. The other half you keep looking at what still needs doing as the futility of mid-life gardening grows deep within.
February 2011 – The time is ripe to crystallise a creative vision for Egyptian democracy, one that can perhaps be used as a model by other Arab countries.
December 2010 – The Simply Red lead singer’s admission that he slept with thousands of women shatters one longstanding ginger stereotype, but discrimination against redheads goes way back.
November 2010 – ‘Spurned skydiver murders love rival in Belgium’. Big news in a little country, and a film just waiting to be made.
October 2010 – Yes, it’s a famous Cole Porter song but an even better ambition for a fading socialist of the 1980s kind.
September 2010 – Moving house is a back-breaking master class in logistics. But it’s also an emotional rite – moving from what was to what will be, purging yourself of possessions and packing some away for good.
September 2010 – The Scientists shouted they would get “smashed in a different world”. But do the words of this punk band reveal something profound about human nature?
August 2010 – Love is a universal theme in music, but there are good reasons for the Arab world’s preoccupation with romance.
June 2010 – Being monolingual can be limiting, so why not learn another language and get a new perspective on the world?
April 2010 – Silent nights, genuinely blue skies and the sense that nature is finally fighting back. Am I the only one who enjoyed Iceland’s volcanic eruptions?
April 2010 – In philosophy and religion, the body is merely a hollow shell for our mind and soul. But what if our bodies not only confine but also define us?
April 2010 – Global TV networks provide us with insight into major events around the world. But surely we can do without the terrible ‘global ads’.
April 2010 – Marriage and fatherhood bring out the best in some. But for many it’s an unbearable weight, and so they leave.Why is this?
January 2010 – From ‘gay girls’ to ‘shagging flies’, the changing meaning of English words causes no end of confusion.
January 2010 – Like shrimps on the barbie and hard yakka*, the great outdoors is one of the binding contracts of being Australian. Except it really isn’t.
December 2009 – Facebook, Sellaband, Twitter… social networking is like the classics with the clap. And a bloody waste of time to boot.
December 2009 – Barring men from the delivery room will not make giving birth any easier. In fact, it is a case of throwing out the father with the bathwater.
December 2009 – Do you breed people like Nick Cave, or do they grow organically? Some adults and children are just more in tune with their surroundings.
November 2009 – Much as we’d like our children to hold the same things dear as we do, we should have enough faith in them to let them choose their own belief system.
November 2009 – Learning Arabic is tough but it can open you up to a whole new world of cultural experiences and opportunities, not to mention build understanding.
November 2009 – There is something of an inner circle to mourning whose circumference varies from culture to culture. Knowing where you fit in takes some research.
October 2009 – Having kids is no longer the preserve of married couples, or couples full stop, it now seems. That’s all good and well, but does it mean dads will soon be surplus to requirements? No way!
September 2009 – If I were to vanish into thin air, my Swedish in-laws would have a suitable expression for this.
September 2009 – Elevating food to celebrity status has turned the theory of motivation upside. It’s time to stick one up the foodies.
August 2009 – The case of Caster Semenya is not about racism, rather it has highlighted the need to end gender apartheid in sport.
August 2009 – Could pregnancy outside the womb save women the pain of labour and herald in a new level of gender equality?
August 2009 – Sexual relationships among ethnic minorities offer richer dramatic pickings than cliched stories about arranged marriage.
August 2009 – Beauty, failure, enchantment, … you name the emotion and poetry’s got it. But this noble art is not for everyone. And it’s by no means easy to call yourself a poet.
July 2009 – Deciphering hieroglyphs is much more fun than decoding the ‘thumbspeak’ of SMS texting.
July 2009 - A revolution is on the way and it’s going to change everything – in our house.
July 2009 – It’s bad enough, in the Friends era, being able to quote Ross Geller – the nerdy palaeontologist – but being fully versed in the McDreamy language of Grey’s Anatomy is a nauseating form of existentialism.
July 2009 – Being called a miserable sod might not be everyone’s moniker of choice, but Shakespeare was on to something with his comment “The miserable hath no other medicine but only hope”.
November 2008 – Why is fairness so coveted in societies with darker skin?
November 2008 – Readers air their views on Obama and the Arabs, the fishy controversy surrounding Hitler’s favourite dish, ‘Eve teasing’ in Bangladesh, ‘virtual water’, the literally mammoth task of building the pyramids, and more.
September 2008 – With booze in short supply, the month of fasting can be a thirsty wait for some Muslims.