Remembering Jewish Arabists and Arab Jews
June 2021 – In these polarised times, the social, political and cultural influence and fluid identities of Arab Jews and Jewish Arabists is largely forgotten when it should be commemorated and celebrated.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Just one of those unlucky lucky days
November 2017 – Unlucky days can sometimes turn out to be a different kind of lucky… the tortuous variety.
Unsung death on the Nile – Part II
August 2017 – Arriving in Thatcherite Britain was a shock to mother's leftist, post-colonial worldview, but she adjusted, managed to admire her new home and made friends from all walks of life.
Unsung death on the Nile – Part 1
August 2017 – Once the mother of our world departed, her ghost arrived, plunging me into the memory hole which grief opens up, where the past becomes its own present and the present morphs into a kind of phantom future.
When you're a collector… don't give too much away
April 2017 – Collecting may seem like a harmless hobby but it allows others to gather a whole lot more about us than we let on or probably even know.
White supremacy's inferiority complex
December 2016 – For an ideology which claims to stand at the pinnacle of humanity, white supremacy exhibits a paranoid sense of inferiority and persecution.
The generous of the earth in the most wretched of places
September 2016 – If you're feeling dejected by the troubled times we live in, remember that human generosity lives on, even in the most wretched of places.
March 2016 – “You are different” is a simple sentence with confusing connotations. What does that even mean? What sort of different?
The Chronikler hits 10,000 subscriber mark
March 2016 – The Chronikler is now 10,000 subscribers-strong. Thank you to everyone who reads it. Here is a selection of articles since 2009
December 2015 – Rather than distrusted, marginalised or persecuted, minorities must be celebrated for the role they play in strengthening society and bridging chasms.
Socialising with the disabled: A guide for the perplexed
September 2015 – Out of awkardness, the able-bodied find it hard to deal with the disabled. The golden rule is to treat the handicapped like the normal people they are.
Living in a selfie-centred world
March 2015 – The selfie fad has reached epidemic proportions, but we don't live in more narcissistic times. Selfie-absorption is as old as civilisation itself.
The death throes of Arab thuggery
October 2014 – Arab civilisation has not collapsed but the thuggish political, economic and religious mafias dominating the region are dying violently.
اكتوبر 2013 – رغم عدم الإعتراف بهم، الملحدين ايضاً اولاد بلد ويجب على الدولة والمجتمع ان يعطوهم حقوقهم
Ugly discrimination in the face of beauty
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.
America and Europe's real “homegrown terrorism” threat
The Boston marathon bombings have refocused attention on the threat of “homegrown terrorism”. But there is a much more dangerous domestic threat.
A brief history of Western ‘jihadists'
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.
The clash within civilisations
March 2013 – This year marks the 20th anniversary of the clash of civilizations theory, but Samuel P Huntington was wrong.
Russia takes a “grown up” beating
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.
Half-baked rules that take the biscuit
January 2013 – Half-baked rules about homemade biscuits say a lot about the sort of society we live in and undermine community spirit.
A careless killer on the loose…
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.
A knack for the exclusive non-interview
October 2012 – The Belgian magazine Knack did something shocking, brilliant, or lazy… depending on how you look at it.
Israel's Wizard of Oz on the anarchy of Jewish civilisation
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”.
Social media and the end of nationalism as we know it
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?
Anzac Day and the birth of three nations
April 2012 – Anzac Day, which recalls the horrors of modern warfare, marks the birth of modern national conscience in Australia, New Zealand and Turkey.
Will the real Olympics please stand up!
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?
‘Redheads under the bed' as a substitute for good reporting
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'.
Mid-life gardening… fertile futility
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.
Falling in love… too literally
November 2010 – ‘Spurned skydiver murders love rival in Belgium'. Big news in a little country, and a film just waiting to be made.
Who wants to be a millionaire? I don't (know)
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.
Seeing the world through new tongues
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.
Facebook: consider yourself de-friended
December 2009 – Facebook, Sellaband, Twitter… social networking is like the classics with the clap. And a bloody waste of time to boot.
Labouring under a false premise
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.
Getting in your face – it's a sensitive issue
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.
Language: the food of understanding
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!
Swedish idiom and the sum of all cardamom
September 2009 – If I were to vanish into thin air, my Swedish in-laws would have a suitable expression for this.
Bugging the culinary operating system
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?
TV's desperate Muslim romantics
August 2009 – Sexual relationships among ethnic minorities offer richer dramatic pickings than cliched stories about arranged marriage.
Poetry, nonsense or what (not)?
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.