Is Trump a pessimist or a prophet? In 2013, he was tweeting about World War III

by Rashmee

Posted on April 21, 2017


“Be prepared,” warned Donald J Trump. “there is a small chance that our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III.” That was on August 31, 2013, much before Mr Trump or anyone else could have expected him to be in the White House, running America’s affairs and serving as “leader of the … Continue reading “Is Trump a pessimist or a prophet? In 2013, he was tweeting about World War III”

Read More

A sad loss. The US army version of T. E. Lawrence for Afghanistan’s war

by Rashmee

Posted on July 29, 2015


Today, July 29th, it’s exactly a month since the US army ended a seven-year experiment that had its heart in the right place: with the people the Afghan war was meant to help. At the end of June, the military confirmed that it was calling time on the rather sinisterly named Human Terrain System programme. … Continue reading “A sad loss. The US army version of T. E. Lawrence for Afghanistan’s war”

Read More

This Valentine story from Afghanistan with a lot of hope and broken hearts

by Rashmee

Posted on February 14, 2015


This year’s Valentine story must come from the country that dare not love too much, too publicly. This account in Medium by Mujib Mashal @MujMash describes Afghanistan’s weekly radio show “The Night of the Lovers”. It’s daring, in all sorts of ways, for Afghanistan, where “until the beginning of the US war and the fall … Continue reading “This Valentine story from Afghanistan with a lot of hope and broken hearts”

Read More

Recognize that some people think Charlie Hebdo was ‘asking for it’

by Rashmee

Posted on January 12, 2015


Take two front pages – one in, say, Pakistan; the other in Britain. Find two entirely different perspectives. That’s the fundamental faultline. Let’s stop being overly politically correct and recognize that some people don’t get the joke if you start mocking the Prophet or using satire to highlight aspects of their faith. They believe that … Continue reading “Recognize that some people think Charlie Hebdo was ‘asking for it’”

Read More

European Muslims need political representation, so says Michel Houellebecq

by Rashmee

Posted on January 10, 2015


Michel Houellebecq (pronounced ‘wellbeck’) should be read – and praised or condemned only after that essential act. I say this off the back of news that Mr Houellebecq’s controversial new novel ‘Soumission’ (Submission), which imagines a France where a fictional Muslim party wins the French election in 2022, will be published in English in September. … Continue reading “European Muslims need political representation, so says Michel Houellebecq”

Read More

As he bows out, William Burns doesn’t address lessons of Herat

by Rashmee

Posted on October 26, 2014


In his wise reflections on 33 years in the diplomacy business, US Deputy Secretary of State William J Burns has spoken of the new “realities (which) pose some real challenges” for professional diplomats. He summed up some of the new realities as follows: “How can we add value in a world of instant and nearly … Continue reading “As he bows out, William Burns doesn’t address lessons of Herat”

Read More

US in Herat: Honeyed words can’t mask Afghanistan’s hard reality

by Rashmee

Posted on October 25, 2014


By now the US Consulate in Herat, Afghanistan, will have moved from its plush, five-star location to a military camp and with it goes some of the good news narrative so determinedly put out in the run-up to December’s NATO-ISAF withdrawal. That Consulate was always an anomaly – a vast, marbled, relatively luxurious location that … Continue reading “US in Herat: Honeyed words can’t mask Afghanistan’s hard reality”

Read More

CEO, Afghanistan! Is this a ‘real country or just acting like one’?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 22, 2014


Any friend of Afghanistan must fear for its future. It is to have a CEO, akin to a Wall Street for-profit organization. The new CEO will have authority on a par with Afghanistan’s new president, whose election “win” was announced on Sunday sans any mention of margin of victory, or voter turnout, three months after … Continue reading “CEO, Afghanistan! Is this a ‘real country or just acting like one’?”

Read More

America’s militarized streets can’t fully explain #MichaelBrown’s death

by Rashmee

Posted on August 17, 2014


Militarized streets have some bearing, of course. But they deflect attention from the real, unchanging reason #MichaelBrown died: racism. Petty shoplifter or not, a young black man is always more likely to be seen as trouble than his white peer. That said, 13 years of continuous war in Afghanistan and Iraq have undoubtedly left America … Continue reading “America’s militarized streets can’t fully explain #MichaelBrown’s death”

Read More

In Kabul, the US is building a small city sans features of an urban paradise

by Rashmee

Posted on July 19, 2014


Next month, the US State Department is scheduled to report on needs unmet by the ongoing $773-million Kabul embassy compound. Though it is about the size of a small city, it lacks some of the key attributes of an urban paradise: parking space (which the State Department will address) and big green public spaces. The … Continue reading “In Kabul, the US is building a small city sans features of an urban paradise”

Read More

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