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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Evil: The Book of Isaiah

It is our society that shapes and dictates standards of morality and how we should behave, creating prohibitions based on ethical definitions often aligned with its own best interests. What one nation or community could view as grossly immoral may by another’ standards be considered moral, i.e., female circumcision, thus moral and ethical behaviour is a practice that is socially constructed and conditioned. However, the broader conception of evil includes offences such as vicarious negligence, poor leadership or ignorant decision-making that results in greater civil wrongs, or even physical illness and natural disasters that stand apart from an intentional motivation ascribed to individuals that knowingly and decisively act in a manner that endangers others. While ignorance is no excuse, intent stands outside of these socially constructed or conditioned evils and becomes universal in its condemnation of moral evil. The line of good and bad behaviour with moral agency could be blurred, so what are the conditions that can sufficiently explain the characteristics of evil? Read More

The Ottoman Effect

The Ottoman Empire was established under the leadership of Osman I where – legend has it – he had fallen in love with a woman Malkhatun that he was unable to marry because her father refused the union. Several years of continuous rejection left him depleted and powerless, her father had already established himself as a great religious figure in the region and was completely unmoved by his pleas. It was at this time that Osman I had a powerful dream of a moon rising out from the chest of his sleeping friend – the moon itself symbolising a great love for Malkhatun – and this moon floated toward his heart before he absorbed it as the earth would a seed, at which point from his chest grew out a monumental tree that provided shade over the four great Caucasus, Atlas, Taurus and Haemus mountains.

In the dream, the wind gently blew the leaves into the direction of Constantinople, a city made of diamond set between sapphires and emeralds. He awoke believing that the dream meant that he would marry his beloved and that the city that was fashioned into a ring of precious stones was a wedding ring meant for her. The dream inspired her father enough to permit the marriage. What emerged from that love was a great dynasty that overwhelmed most of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe strengthened by centuries of leadership born out of their progeny. Read More

Women and Peace Movements in Israel

I do not identify with feminism because I believe that gender equality falls under the umbrella of human rights which itself broadly explains equality between men and women as a social status. It is a method of discourse that acts as a solution to inequality and does not blame a specific gender but rather enables a platform for both men and women to work together to challenge socially constructed ideologies and ultimately enhance a pluralistic and peaceful society. While it is clear that global data shows physical violence and discrimination against women far outweighs that of men, human rights aims to educate and challenge the causal roots of gender inequality, which I believe can be caused by the ideology of masculinity that is itself a type of socially-inflicted psychological abuse used as a tool to pressure, undermine and manipulate men who then respond and react to that pressure. This can either be by tolerating or conforming to hurting themselves and others, which then leads to a chain reaction that permeates throughout the culture of a society and effects women, children and the next generation. Read More