The death of Farkhunda was a shock to all of us. The international community and Afghans were horrified by what happened to her. The question of why it happened and what this means for Afghanistan is something that I tackle in my latest article. It’s been published by the History News Network. Give it a read and hopefully a conversation will begin to ensure no more Farkhundas happen. http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/159025
Ever since Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu flew out to Congress to wag his fingers at lawmakers and warn them against supporting the Obama approach to Iran, the country has been splashed all over the headlines. So-called experts have come out in droves to tell us what we should think but, mainly to frighten us about a country that we seem to know so little about. In America, we have an image of Iran that is stuck back in the 1970’s. We reduce representation of Iran to a country of dour and scary Imams and oppressed women. Undoubtedly, there is a lot to criticize about Iran, from its hard-line regime to its violations of civil liberties, but we also need to update our outdated ideas about the country. It’s time to see Iran as it truly is; a powerful and key player in the Middle East. Let the pundits spew out their polemic dross all they want, but let’s dispel some myths about Iran.
Sometimes you wish that you could spend one day, just one day, not hearing about a world full of hate and violence. But alas this was not to be. I was working quite late on Wednesday evening on some research I had been doing in the archive–in fact it would be accurate to call it early Thursday morning. I took a break to head over to twitter which is when I saw #ChapelHillShooting trending. I quickly clicked and with growing horror followed the story.
There is so much that is tragic about the Charlie Hebdo case. People lost their lives to senseless violence that tore at the heart of France and moved the international community. The entire situation is a maelstrom of emotions. The acts of terror are unforgivable, but as is the case in situations of great tragedy, the event itself quickly gets drowned in a storm of social forces that manipulate the conversation in insidious ways. It is the price we pay when we allow conversation to disintegrate.
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies was seemingly our last foray into the wonderful world of Middle Earth. I am of the generation that grew up with Lord of the Rings, having watched it in high school. I saw how the Lord of the Rings brought the fantasy genre into the mainstream and how suddenly Tolkien was cool among my classmates. I read the books long before I watched the movies, but the movies were an essential part of my youth. So my last journey into Middle Earth was somewhat bittersweet. There are no further plans, so as I watched the final installment of the Hobbit, I couldn’t help but feeling like an era of my life was coming to a close. But that is merely my sense of nostalgia, I could always pop in the DVDs for another venture into the fantasy world of Tolkien.
That strange time of year is upon us where people rush about in a mad scramble of shopping, cooking, and feasting. A time when families get together with mirth and button-bursting indulgence. Christmas is just around the corner. A nominally religious holiday meant to celebrate the birth of Christ, it’s become a world-wide festival enjoyed by people from outside the religion. But not many people know much about the history of the holiday. So let’s take a closer look at some of its common customs and their origins.
Michael Brown has been killed and no one will be held responsible. When the grand jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, this is what they were saying. But why and how is this possible? How can an officer kill an unarmed teen and not get indicted?
To be clear, I am not implying guilt here as I don’t know all the facts of the case. But to not return an indictment means no trial to determine guilt or innocence. In other words, Michael Brown doesn’t even get the benefit of having his case heard. Not only was his life taken, but now the very worth of his life is dismissed. The grand jury effectively shut down any chance at justice. Simultaneously they have deemed Darren Wilson’s actions beyond further investigation, or explanation.
What was the rationale behind this? How did the grand jury come to a decision that legally cast aside Michael Brown?
A young black teen is dead and no one will be held accountable. That is what the grand jury told the nation in the case of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Some were shocked by the outcome, but those more jaded with the ways of our legal system were not surprised.
Two of my latest articles have been published. The first is on ISIS and whether calling it medieval or not was accurate. It was published at openDemocracy. You can check it out here.
The second article looks at Afghanistan’s new First Lady, Rula Ghani, and the history of Afghanistan’s courageous women that she has to live up to. It was published at the History News Network. You can check it out here.
Keep your eyes pealed for more upcoming publications!
Tuesday November 4th, Professor Arezou Azad of the University of Birmingham and the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxford will be presenting a talk on sacred landscape in Afghanistan. The talk is sponsored by the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies at the University of California Irvine. Professor Azad is also the author of a book by the same name and her work focuses on Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Iran where she researches urban spaces and religion. Her book takes a close look at the famed city of Balkh, a cultural epicenter of poetry, religion, and beauty, not to mention the home city of Rumi. Her talk at UCI is not one to miss! It’s open to the public so come by.