From spiritual harmony to the women’s movement, new narratives will emerge in 2018

by Rashmee

Posted on December 26, 2017 / The National


“Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,” wrote TS Eliot in the final poem of the set called Four Quartets. “And next year’s words await another voice.” The new year will, as it always does, bring out other voices. But will they be heard over the loud, angry cries of 2017? Is 2018 going … Continue reading “From spiritual harmony to the women’s movement, new narratives will emerge in 2018”

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Saudi should be pleased Belgium believes its pledge on women’s rights

by Rashmee

Posted on December 22, 2017


The Saudi Crown Prince should be pleased. A few months after his very public, much-touted promise of furthering and respecting the rights of women, Belgium is to send Riyadh its first female ambassador. Brussels has said that its appointment of a woman as its envoy in the conservative country will send a “clear signal” about … Continue reading “Saudi should be pleased Belgium believes its pledge on women’s rights”

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ISIS is apparently rather better at governance than expected. Hold that thought

by Rashmee

Posted on October 13, 2017


This really is a hoot. Have a read, if you get the chance of Rand Corporation’s new study “The Economic Impact of Islamic State Governance in Iraq and Syria”. IS (or ISIS or ISIL) wasn’t that bad an economic manager, it says. In fact, says Rand, “local economies that struggled under ISIL control did so … Continue reading “ISIS is apparently rather better at governance than expected. Hold that thought”

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Art as defiance in the Middle East? Calligraphic expression might work best

by Rashmee

Posted on April 5, 2017


Art as defiance in the Middle East. It’s an interesting topic for discussion and Chatham House is doing exactly that today (April 5) by bringing together a Lebanese musician, a Syrian medical doctor who writes and a Palestinian visual artist. The stated aim is to examine the impact of conflict on the output of artists … Continue reading “Art as defiance in the Middle East? Calligraphic expression might work best”

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Banning electronic devices: Security or economic protectionism?

by Rashmee

Posted on March 26, 2017 / The Arab Weekly


Is the Trump administra­tion’s new travel ban — not on people flying out of the Middle East but on their electronic devices — a sneaky game of economic protec­tionism dressed up as security? It is a loaded question. Secu­rity is literally a matter of life and death. It is dangerous for laypeople to be overly sceptical of any government’s … Continue reading “Banning electronic devices: Security or economic protectionism?”

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Trump administration’s newest travel ban: not on people per se but their laptops!

by Rashmee

Posted on March 22, 2017


This blog was written within an hour of the news breaking on Tue, March 21. In substance though, many of the issues raised remain just as valid and the questions continue to puzzle the experts Imagine you’re an American journalist based in Abu Dhabi and you’re flying home at the weekend. Before you get on … Continue reading “Trump administration’s newest travel ban: not on people per se but their laptops!”

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‘They brought it on themselves didn’t they?’ How Trumps’ war on Muslims is working

by Rashmee

Posted on February 4, 2017


“They brought it on themselves, didn’t they?” people say, in sorrowful response – these are good, honest folks in America, Britain and elsewhere – to news that US president Donald Trump had banned all refugees’ entry and that of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries. I heard people I know well say this. Then I heard it … Continue reading “‘They brought it on themselves didn’t they?’ How Trumps’ war on Muslims is working”

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Islam and Manuel Valls’ cultural battle for the heart and soul of France

by Rashmee

Posted on January 28, 2017


France’s Socialist Party presidential primary is tomorrow (Sunday, January 22) and it’s worth considering the effect of Europe’s perceived Islamification on one of its formerly leading contenders. I suppose Manuel Valls doesn’t matter much anymore, but still, this is fascinating. Back in the summer, the former French Prime Minister expressed an uncompromising view of Islam … Continue reading “Islam and Manuel Valls’ cultural battle for the heart and soul of France”

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Why is there angst over Trump’s appointments?

by Rashmee

Posted on December 15, 2016


It was Claire McCaskill, a Democratic senator from Missouri, who created a catchy name for the American administration taking shape in president-elect Donald Trump’s hands. In what sounded a little like a well-known luxury Italian fashion label, Ms MacCaskill branded the Trump line-up as “the G& G cabinet.” It does seem, she said dryly, “to … Continue reading “Why is there angst over Trump’s appointments?”

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What would Trump do after a lone-wolf attack?

by Rashmee

Posted on December 4, 2016 / The Arab Weekly


Whatever Abdul Razak Ali Artan’s motivations and inten­tions were when he deliberately ploughed his car into a crowd on Ohio State University’s campus, injuring 11, the young Somali man brought unwanted attention to that most vulnerable of vulnerable communities — ref­ugees. The renewed focus comes at a particularly sensitive time, with US President-elect Donald Trump preparing to … Continue reading “What would Trump do after a lone-wolf attack?”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, UK and US