Was the drone strike on Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani an assassination?

by Rashmee

Posted on January 7, 2020


The Trump administration has long had a problem with words that inconveniently mean something quite different from what it wants. Generally, it takes a bullish approach to this and just dubs everything that it doesn’t like “fake news”. But there seems to be no way for it to characterise as “fake news” the wording being … Continue reading “Was the drone strike on Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani an assassination?”

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Ivanka Trump is a prose poet of jargon. Remember ‘architecting’?

by Rashmee

Posted on December 2, 2019


I was reading Andrew Hill’s excellent piece in the FT about the business jargon that rather clouded corporate thought at the recent Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna and suddenly remembered Ivanka Trump. In fact it was a word that the US president’s eldest daughter had used that I remembered. “Architecting,” Ms Trump wrote in her 2017 … Continue reading “Ivanka Trump is a prose poet of jargon. Remember ‘architecting’?”

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What’s foreign and Arab about Italy’s Eurovision entry?

by Rashmee

Posted on April 7, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


There is an element of farce about the bigotry on display at the highest levels of the Italian government with respect to a song by a half-Egyptian, half-Sardinian man named Alessandro Mahmoud. Mahmoud’s song “Soldi” (“Money”) won the Sanremo Music Festival contest in February. In its 68 years, Sanremo has launched the careers of some … Continue reading “What’s foreign and Arab about Italy’s Eurovision entry?”

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Why we should miss the fading art of writing postcards

by Rashmee

Posted on January 25, 2019


  The other day I came across Pulitzer Prize-winning prose poet Charles Simic’s musings in the New York Review of Books on the fading art of writing and sending postcards. He was very clear why it’s so charming. “Nowadays, you’re bound to get an email enclosing a photograph, or, if your grandchildren are the ones … Continue reading “Why we should miss the fading art of writing postcards”

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President Trump seems almost to wear the mythical Ring of Gyges, and yet…

by Rashmee

Posted on August 26, 2018


For those who despair at sight and sound of unfit people in high office, it’s worth remembering that ideas of justice and virtue are basic to human beings. Without justice and virtue, we would all, long ago, have eaten each other. Back in the 4th century BC, Plato was pointing out the reason for acting … Continue reading “President Trump seems almost to wear the mythical Ring of Gyges, and yet…”

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Do lies really spread faster than truth? Yes, and here’s why

by Rashmee

Posted on August 20, 2018


Now that Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s lead attorney in the ongoing Russia probe, has said “truth isn’t truth”, one might usefully ponder people’s affinity for falsehoods. Some little time ago, American columnist Megan McArdle wrote about an interesting new paper from Soroush Vosoughi and Deb Roy of MIT’s Media Lab, and Sinan Aral, a professor … Continue reading “Do lies really spread faster than truth? Yes, and here’s why”

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An ALL-CAPS war on diplomacy

by Rashmee

Posted on July 29, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


When the leader of a nuclear-armed nation lobs a tweet bomb at another country, the world takes notice. When it’s the president of the United States, which has 6,550 available nuclear warheads, a tweet bomb has enormous explosive charge. So it was with Donald Trump’s rather thuggish warning to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rohani, late … Continue reading “An ALL-CAPS war on diplomacy”

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What to make of a migrant who doesn’t learn her new country’s language properly?

by Rashmee

Posted on June 25, 2018


Here’s a woman who came into a western country, worked, got naturalized, married, bore a child, and 22 years later, still speaks halting English, with a strong foreign accent. What’s her name? Magda? Maha? Mina? Mehbooba? Marium? Madeeha? Mallika? Actually, it’s Melania. Mrs Trump. The US First Lady. Had a Magda, Maha, Mina, Mehbooba, Marium … Continue reading “What to make of a migrant who doesn’t learn her new country’s language properly?”

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Junior Trumps’ divorce statement shows how language is mangled but does the job

by Rashmee

Posted on March 26, 2018


  Note the words Donald Trump Jr, the US president’s oldest son, and his wife Vanessa used in their joint statement as they filed for divorce: “After 12 years of marriage, we have decided to go our separate ways. We will always have tremendous respect for each other and our families. We have five beautiful … Continue reading “Junior Trumps’ divorce statement shows how language is mangled but does the job”

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Is the Japanese concept of Komorebi (see pic) really culturally untranslatable?

by Rashmee

Posted on February 24, 2018


Someone posted a blog that listed “11 beautiful Japanese words that don’t exist in English’, which made me think of all the culturally untranslatable concepts we carry around to the eternal bewilderment of other people. (In English, that should include gobbledygook, trade-off and spam.) The 11 “untranslatable” Japanese words that Marie Sugio listed included some … Continue reading “Is the Japanese concept of Komorebi (see pic) really culturally untranslatable?”

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