How to pandemic-proof a Hindu (or any other) pilgrimage

by Rashmee

Posted on April 24, 2021


/ FAITH, HOPE… One of my grandmothers died after contracting small pox at the Kumbh Mela less than a hundred years ago. Her husband, my grandfather, had already passed, so my father was left an orphan. He went on to become a doctor, both his profession and his personal story making him sceptical of large … Continue reading “How to pandemic-proof a Hindu (or any other) pilgrimage”

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What links the late Idriss Deby’s Chad to Egypt and India

by Rashmee

Posted on April 21, 2021


/ TAKE UP ONE IDEA The death of Idriss Deby, president of Chad for the past 30 years, renews the focus on electoral autocracies, which are sustained and flourish with the support of western countries. Deby – and modern Chad’s story – is quickly told. The 68-year-old strongman died of wounds sustained during a battle between … Continue reading “What links the late Idriss Deby’s Chad to Egypt and India”

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That Dutch election inspired hope…but not because of who won outright

by Rashmee

Posted on April 17, 2021


/ FAITH, HOPE… It seems awfully long ago (April 2 actually) that Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte survived a no-confidence vote after being caught up in a scandal that threatened to end his 11 years in office. And the March 17 Dutch  election seems like ancient history. In managing the crisis-defying feat of winning,  Mr … Continue reading “That Dutch election inspired hope…but not because of who won outright”

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This ‘Suez crisis’ could be an opportunity

by Rashmee

Posted on April 1, 2021


/IT’S THE BUSINESS Until recently, the “Suez crisis” was the phrase used to describe a pivotal event in 1956. Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel Nasser had nationalized the Suez Canal, a move that angered Britain, which moved alongside France and Israel to retake control. Supported by the Soviets, the Egyptian demand for withdrawal of the British-French-Israeli … Continue reading “This ‘Suez crisis’ could be an opportunity”

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Is it humane to appropriate all the suffering in the world, leaving none for the Palestinians?

by Rashmee

Posted on March 24, 2021


/ TAKE UP ONE IDEA Israel’s fourth general election in two years (on March 23) reminded me of how earnestly – and determinedly – Israelis have engaged in nation-building. And it also a reminder of how carefully, Israel has worked to preserve ethnic nationalism. Back in 2019, CUNY associate professor and Haaretz columnist Peter Beinart … Continue reading “Is it humane to appropriate all the suffering in the world, leaving none for the Palestinians?”

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There may be room for experienced optimists yet in the Middle East

by Rashmee

Posted on March 9, 2021


/ POLITICS & AMERICA A former Israeli prime minister once said that in the Middle East, a pessimist is simply an optimist with experience. It’s a clever but dispiriting observation. I wonder what he would make of recent indications that Turkey’s president may be ready to mend ties with Arab countries and thereby turn its … Continue reading “There may be room for experienced optimists yet in the Middle East”

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As Pope Francis visits Iraq, the real story may be mediaeval Baghdad’s inter-faith harmony

by Rashmee

Posted on March 6, 2021


/ FAITH, HOPE… As Pope Francis continues his three-day visit to Iraq, much of the media has described it as an attempt to “support one of the world’s oldest Christian communities”. And then this further point is made, as in The New York Times: “The ranks of Iraq’s Christians have dwindled to roughly a third … Continue reading “As Pope Francis visits Iraq, the real story may be mediaeval Baghdad’s inter-faith harmony”

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Horsing around and exhortations: World to Biden’s America

by Rashmee

Posted on January 28, 2021


In the blissfully quiet first week of Joe Biden’s presidency, there’s been a lot of horsing around as well as more serious exhortations from around the world about the United States. Mostly it’s about the challenges faced by the country. Donald Trump isn’t always mentioned by name but he hangs – like a pall – over … Continue reading “Horsing around and exhortations: World to Biden’s America”

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Memory and forgetting. Here’s why and how to remember the Nazis’ many many victims

by Rashmee

Posted on January 27, 2021


Every year, January 27 is given over to remembering the Holocaust but might there be rather more merit in the German state’s official designation of this day since 1996? For 25 years, Germany has called January 27 ‘Day of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism’. On January 27, 1945, Auschwitz, the largest Nazi extermination … Continue reading “Memory and forgetting. Here’s why and how to remember the Nazis’ many many victims”

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The pandemic has hit Palestinians harder because of the health apartheid

by Rashmee

Posted on January 25, 2021


On Sunday, January 24, Israel’s health minister Yuli Edelstein went on British television and disavowed any and all legal obligation to vaccinate Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. It was really a rather shameful performance by Mr Edelstein, who until then, had answered all the other questions put to him by Andrew … Continue reading “The pandemic has hit Palestinians harder because of the health apartheid”

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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