Short History of Turkish Politics

With Ekrem İmamoğlu’s win following the highly politicised mayoral elections in Istanbul, the capital of Turkey and where Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had long held, the defeat explains a new beginning in Turkish politics. İmamoğlu and the win of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) undermined the legacy of Erdoğan’ seventeen years of power. Despite clear corruption by Erdoğan’ party members, at the onset of his defeat blasted rhetoric that blamed organised crime for his loss in Istanbul and demanded a re-election, only to lose a second time by an even bigger margin. In similar vein to Nicolae Ceaușescu who for a number of years held power in Romania only to appear a crazy old man prior to his death by execution, this defeat is indicative of a new political dynamic that offers an alternative that neutralises Erdoğan’ once convincing power. Read More

Saudi Arabia and Iran: The Arms Race Continues

In a few months time, I will be visiting a Syrian refugee camp where I will be filming my next documentary on children born with cancer due to exposure from the use of illegal chemical weapons. Since 2011, over 5.6 million people have fled the country with 6.6 million internally displaced and along with food shortages, overcrowded conditions and poor water and sanitation, the humanitarian crises has seen over 500,000 people killed in the horrible bloodshed. All this savagery ignited by the proxy-wars between the United States and Russia who, along with their allies, deepened the hostilities between the Shia/Alawi regime and the Sunni majority.

In 2017, Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia signed a $110 billion dollar arms deal. It was clearly articulated that the purpose was to strengthen the “long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats.” The long-term security of Saudi Arabia? According to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) in Yemen, there have been over 56,000 people killed since 2016 and complicit to this atrocity is neighbouring Saudi Arabia who – along with their allies – marketed the violence to be less intense and thus less of a concern. While they signed this deal, tens of thousands of Yemeni were suffering from starvation and malnutrition as well as well as preventable diseases. Read More

My Soul Aches For Bethlehem

I always wake up before sunrise, no longer needing any alarm and I rug up in my warm clothing and wander the quiet gardens as the morning beams of light penetrate the atmosphere and colour the clouds with a scarlet glow. It is a time of quiet for me to gather my thoughts, to solidify my disposition and prepare for what is often a long day at work full of meetings and people and reports. Read More

The Politics of Food: A Case Of The Falafel

Food plays a vital part in our lives and relationships, where our culinary preferences bring us communities and families together and unite us with something joyful and memorable. Steeped in tradition, chefs and anthropologists alike travel the world in search for different products and recipes, how regional differences in taste and method authenticate originality of some dishes. It is the global voice that articulates hospitality, and it can express agriculture, labour and economic systems, suffering and hunger, and even power; eating meat is a sign of wealth and masculinity, for instance.

In the Book of Job, it writes: “Their strength is consumed by hunger, and calamity is ready for their stumbling,” that the epitome of suffering and unhappiness is the loss of food, indeed Amartya Sen’ Nobel Prize winning research on famine and food distribution during Great Bengal Famine of 1943 is a clear, modern example of this calamity. Read More

Turkey: The Seventh Seal

You may or may not have heard it. They are the Christian Zionists – or the Christian Right – a sophisticated political and social movement organised in the United States who are ambitiously attempting to spur the Second Coming of Christ. These evangelical fundamentalists have popularised the idea the Bible must be read literally. While perhaps a portion of the scriptures may clearly articulate laws and behaviour to correspond directly with our reality, to take the poetic and figurative narrative literally in other sections of the book would make the contents of the Book of Revelations, Book of Daniel and the Book of Ezekiel is real.

As such, they are actively participating in the implementation of the coming rapture or Armageddon despite the highly ambiguous and dream-like apocalyptic content by interpreting those descriptions into a physical reality. For instance, Ezekiel’ Temple Vision has been interpreted as the restoration of the temple that replaces the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. While they may appear a strange and insular people driven by eccentric beliefs and a violent do-it-yourself form of salvation, they are a powerful community now even more visible under the leadership of Trump who are committed in their efforts to endorse all the proxy-wars and other terrible activities in the Middle East. Read More

I Shall Not Hate

Book Review
Izzeldin Abuelaish
I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey On The Road To Peace And Human Dignity
ISBN: 978-1-4088-2209-8

I found myself in a fairly difficult situation when I initially encountered this book. That staunch determinism in the face of such horrendous circumstances came to me as being both admirable and inspirational in as much as it was frustrating and almost agitating. Could there possibly be any logic or reason that could make a man who experienced continuous mistreatment under Israeli occupation, who lost several of his daughters to indiscriminate bombings by the Israeli army and yet who remained dedicated to the concept of peaceful relations between the Palestinian and Israeli people? Surely something is wrong with him, something that has deluded him into occupying a mindset that makes no sense, that his idealism and optimism is an exposure of a failing psychological condition? Read More