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

Turkey: Political Polarisation and Media Laws

I spent an amazing morning with friends observing the Anzac Day commemorations of the many young soldiers who perished over the Gallipoli peninsula during WWI following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. As I prepare for my trip to Turkey in a few months time to film my next documentary, I came to learn more about the difficulties many journalists and filmmakers face in the country.

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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 Rose City

“Make sure,” he said, pointing out into the middle of the bus, “to not give in, okay!” He was one of those tour guides where I was not entirely sure if he was honest or just believable because he spoke with confidence about things we knew nothing about. It seemed as though anything he said – even if it was absurd – must be true only because he said it loudly and with a firm expression. He was the expert after all. “No one in Jordan steals!” was one such comment. Read More

An Aussie Intern in Israel

From the soundless alarm made from the gentle, orange sunrise piercing through the giant tree outside my bedroom window that form shapes on the wall to the random crazy man shouting for no apparent reason on the side of the street. The impolite service, the politics, history, feeling lost in the maze of an unknown language as I stand in shock as people ride hand-made motorised bicycles in the middle of a busy, disorganised road. The combination of young, perfectly tanned girls wearing short dresses that expose their tattoos to women dressed modestly in long skirts and shirts with a scarf over their heads. The dilapidated buildings and infrastructure that is nevertheless functional and the sudden silence during shabbat. On one end I see an overweight, bearded man wearing a payos and hat with a gun strapped around his thigh and on the other I see young, attractive men sipping beers in their board shorts. I am lost in the chaos, overwhelmed by the constant honking of the horns, the failure to understand where to go or what bus to catch. And I love every minute of it. Read More