America, anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, jihad, Muslim family, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Terrorism, War, War on Terror

Not all children are the same – some are collateral damage

President Barack Obama, looked terribly distressed at the vigil to commemorate the victims, twenty of whom were children. Obama’s words, as well as his emotions, were sincere. He said

 The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old..They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.

The Newtown shooting has been a terrible tragedy, so shocking that it has reopened the debate about gun crime in a country with  300 million of them among a population of 311 million.  Could the massacre have been avoided? In the current situation, probably not. That school could have been anywhere, and the killer apparently acted out of his mind rather than out of a plan. Continue reading

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anthropology, Apocalypse, bin-Laden, Bush, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Freedom, Iraq, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islamo Fascism, Islamophobia, jihad, Journalism, Misteries, Muslim family, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War, War on Terror

9/11 commemorations: ritualizing and celebrating civilization rhetoric

Yesterday the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was commemorated in New York. Yet the commemorations started more than one week in advance with newspapers, TVs and magazine building up the momentum. There is little need to summarize the incredible amount of special dossiers, reports, commentaries and documentaries which have been written during these days for a tragedy that happened ten years ago. The commemoration of 9/11 is becoming increasingly interactive with questions like: “do you remember 9/11?” or “share your 9/11” and similar collective archiving of personal memories, often shared every year for the past decade. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Apocalypse, BBC, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Prison, Riots, The UK, Uk government

The English riots: multiculturalism, ‘the roba‘ and the crowd

Many questions remain unanswered in the violent riots which have shaken England recently. As could be expected, some have blamed the “failed” experience of multiculturalism. In reality these riots are very different from previous ones that have thrown neighborhoods into chaos (see the 2001 English riots, the Leeds 2001 Harehills riot, the 2005 Birmingham race riots, or even the most recent 2010 UK student protests). While the context in which the above riots developed are clear (community frustration, neighborhood-specific inter community tensions, and traditional student protests gone wrong), the recent riots are unusual in many aspects, such as the heterogeneity of those involved, the dynamic of how they started, a lack of apparent common strategy and a lack of shared reasons for rioting. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Censorship, democracy, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Freedom, Islam, Islam in Europe, Islamophobia, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Research Metodology, sociology, The UK, University

Genes, marriages, cousins and upset British Muslims

Recent headlines in British newspapers announce another controversy about Islam and Muslims. This time it is not a novel or another stupid cartoon to challenge the very much stressed British Muslim population, but instead a branch of science: genetics. Indeed, Prof Steve Jones, one of Britain’s most eminent geneticists, who lectures at University College London, has warned at The John Maddox Lecture at the Hay Festival that the level of inbreeding among the nation’s Muslims is endangering the health of future generations. Continue reading

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anthropology, Catholic Church, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Europe, Humor, Immigration, Islam, Islam and Christianity, Islam in Europe, Italy, Journalism, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Refugees, Religion, Research, sociology, War on Terror

Berlusconi and the ‘Mamma the Turks!’ strategy

In Italy it is time for the administrative elections. This electoral test has surely, as at beginning Berlusconi suggested, a national value. After the first electoral turn, last week, for Berlusconi things are not so good. In his Milan stronghold, the oppositional candidate, with a clear Communist past, has won the first part of the competition. Berlusconi’s main ally, the xenophobic and Islamophobic Lega Nord, was furious with the result and Berlusconi’s government now has to dance a different Bunga Bunga. The fear that the Left will take control of Milan, the city-symbol of Berlusconism, is enough to convince Berlusconi himself to adopt Lega Nord’s favourite weapon: what I call the ‘Mamma the Turks’ strategy.

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anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Ethnic Minorities, Freedom, Islam, Journalism, Malaysia, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, Singapore, sociology, Southeast Asia

Strict, less strict, restrict: the diatribe on Muslim integration in Singapore

In the last few days the debates about religion, and in particular Islam, has unusually increased in Singapore thanks to the words of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, whom has urged Muslims to ‘be less strict’ in his new book “Hard Truths”. This has provoked strong reactions within not only the Malay Muslim communities but also among all Singaporeans. I have no space here to go into detail about the complex social alchemy of Singapore’s multiculturalism. Yet allow me to highlight some of the main aspects needed for my observations below. One of the main factors to remember is that Singapore multiculturalism  is affected by a rigid administrative classification of the population according to the categories of race (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Others or CMIO) and religion (mainly Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism).  Continue reading

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anthropology, Apocalypse, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, South Asia, Terrorism, War on Terror

Suicide bombing: the martyr machine

girl watches her mother dying

Imagine that your country suffered an average of 71 suicide attacks per-year. Imagine that these suicide actions killed an average of 1,140 civilians per year, all among the most poor and in need. If you cannot imagine such an Armageddon then you can have it for real: it is called Pakistan. Today, as many other days, a suicide bomber (this time a woman, but children have also been employed previously) killed more than 40 people at a food distribution centre. It is the most poor who have paid the highest price – often simply because they are easy targets: queuing for food, shopping at the market or praying to a saint for hope that ended up drowned in their own blood. It is becoming easier to die in Pakistan, particularly in the North-West frontier, than to live. About three people die daily, yet there are no candlelight vigils, no minutes of silence and no ceremonies. The dead are mere numbers in your morning newspaper, seemingly unworthy of the fanfare that often accompanies European deaths.

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