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, Arab-Israeli conflict, CyberOrient, Democracy and Justice, Freedom, Islam, Israel, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Journalism, Middle East, Politics, Refugees, Religion

UN resolutions, Palestine, Israel and trimming the tree: when fear of demography matters

The desperation of a Palestinian mother

Today many Palestinians and people believing in justice and the right to self-determination are celebrating the overwhelming vote to recognise Palestine as a non-member state. This was a clear message that the world (or at least the UN represented world) sent to the US, Israel and allies that enough is enough. Indeed, had the UN been a real democratic organization without historically dictated (hence old) rights of veto, Palestine would today be a recognised nation. Surely, morally, humanly, and in the name of justice, this is news to celebrate. It also shows the extent to which the US, with few acolytes left, and Israel, with probably even fewer, are geopolitically isolated. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, democracy, Democracy and Justice, Freedom, Iraq, Islam, Middle East, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Religion, Research, sociology, Sunni, War

From anthropology to politics: the myth of the fundamentalist Arab Muslim mind

Many would have noticed that western leaders and countries seem to shift from one position to another about the wave of revolts in the Middle East and Arab world. One prime example: Tony Blair, who incidentally is the official envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, shifted from praising Mubarak on Wednesday 2 February 2011, to praising the protests for democracy on 13 February. At the same time, in those interviews, he first presented the Muslim Brotherhood as a dangerous para-terrorist organization and then ending in declaring that politicians should “not be hysterical about them, they are not terrorists or extremists”. Although we need to acknowledge that each revolt finds its raison d’être in local contexts and issues, we have also to recognize that Arab youth in the region want a change: they wish to end the long post-colonial period of time marked by dictators at the service of western economic and geopolitical interests. Continue reading

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Academia, anthropology, Democracy and Justice, Freedom, Islam, Islam in Europe, jihad, marranci, Muslims, Politics, Prison, Research, Scotland, sociology, Terrorism, The UK, Uk government, War on Terror

British Prisons and terrorism: the foretold failure

A few days ago, the head of MI5 Jonathan Evans has undertaken the unusual step of revealing, among other aspects linked to the security of the UK, his own concerns that a number of soon-to-be-freed inmates are still ‘committed extremists and likely to return to terrorist activities.’ As an anthropologist who has conducted one of the most in-depth research projects on Muslims in prison in the UK, his quite alarmist announcement did not take me by surprise. I am pretty sure that Mr Evans has every right to be concerned. Yet the British public needs to also know why today we find ourselves in such situation and where the political responsibility lies. Continue reading

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Apocalypse, Arab-Israeli conflict, Democracy and Justice, Ethics, Genocide, Islam, Israel, Israel/Palestine, jihad, Journalism, Middle East, Muslims, Neocon, Politics, Refugees, sociology, Terrorism, War, War on Terror

Gaza: bad politics needs blood

 

Just a child

Palestinians in Gaza are again living another nightmare. The world, however, appears less interested than usual.  Dead Palestinians are common products on the international political markets at least last since 1967. As many may have observed, I have rarely commented or written about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. I am not a political scientist and I think that too much has been said and too little done. This post is intended to be just a reflection provoked by the sight of innocent people suffering and trapped in an endless conflict. Continue reading

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Italy: do not ask for a mosque but rather smoke your daily weed

It would be a good news, among the bad, if you were a Baye Faal Muslim of Gambia and, with your Muslim Rasta dreadlocks and ready to enjoy your daily dose of wisdom weed. Indeed, today you would have come to know that the Italian State, controlled by not-so-post fascist parties, may not allow you to have a real mosque to pray in, and oppose your constitutional right to have your freedom of religion respected, but recognise your right, as Bayee Faaal Muslim, to have your Afghani weed.
Today the Italian Cassazione (High Court) has decided that Rastafarians are allowed to posses and smoke high quantities of Marijuana (read here for an English short version of the story) despite the very restrictive Italian law. Continue reading

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