The ‘new normal’ is pretty abnormal

by Rashmee

Posted on April 28, 2020


New week, “new normal”. And it’s going to be pretty weird in many parts of the world. “New normal”, incidentally, was the phrase used on April 26 by Dominic Raab, British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s stand-in. Mr Raab wanted to suggest that the UK would transition away from a lockdown but that … Continue reading “The ‘new normal’ is pretty abnormal”

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Trump’s crackpot medical advice has a precedent. Yahya Jammeh’s Aids ‘cure’ in The Gambia

by Rashmee

Posted on April 27, 2020


In January 2007, Yahya Jammeh, president of The Gambia, announced that he had a cure for Aids. The treatment required confinement, herbal concoctions and for the patient to cease anti-retroviral drugs. Somewhat bizarrely, it only worked on Thursdays and Mondays. Despite the treatment’s apparent slothfulness on other days of the week, Mr Jammeh promised that the … Continue reading “Trump’s crackpot medical advice has a precedent. Yahya Jammeh’s Aids ‘cure’ in The Gambia”

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Trump’s immigration ban is troubling but not as much as his fulminations on mosques

by Rashmee

Posted on April 26, 2020 / The Arab Weekly


Pitching mosques into the febrile atmosphere of a world shut down by a pandemic merely feeds grievance politics, possibly taking it to dangerous heights. What’s the point of Donald Trump’s new immigration ban? Just like his decision to ban Muslims from entering the US three years ago, Trump’s new, temporary immigration restriction lacks both sense … Continue reading “Trump’s immigration ban is troubling but not as much as his fulminations on mosques”

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There was something mediaeval in Trump’s use of the word ‘cleaning’

by Rashmee

Posted on April 25, 2020


Donald Trump’s use of the White House megaphone to float the idea of injecting a disinfectant into one’s body “almost as a cleaning” has precedent – in the Middle Ages. In mediaeval times, medicine was practised according to ideas popular since antiquity. Initially, it was thought that disease and ill-health was the result of sinful … Continue reading “There was something mediaeval in Trump’s use of the word ‘cleaning’”

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Trump and disinfectant injections: Ancient leaders too bumbled their response to the plague

by Rashmee

Posted on April 24, 2020


When I heard Donald Trump suggest that people could be cured by having injections of disinfectant (“knocks it out in a minute… One minute!”) and/or treatment by ultraviolet light, it was a reminder that he has no monopoly on ignorance. From ancient times, leaders have offered superstitious, bumbling and sometimes dangerous responses to the outbreak … Continue reading “Trump and disinfectant injections: Ancient leaders too bumbled their response to the plague”

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From George W. Bush’s propensity to read books came the US policy of social distancing

by Rashmee

Posted on April 23, 2020


I didn’t realise that George W. Bush read books. The fact that he did matters, especially as the US is beset by “reopen” protests against Democratic governors seeking to mitigate the coronavirus toll by keeping states in lockdown. For it was from President Bush’s propensity to read books that came the US official policy of … Continue reading “From George W. Bush’s propensity to read books came the US policy of social distancing”

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The sheer, mind-numbing pointlessness of Donald Trump and his immigration order

by Rashmee

Posted on April 22, 2020


On Tuesday (April 21) Donald Trump announced that he would issue an executive order to temporarily suspend some kinds of immigration to the US. He cast it as a jobs-protection measure, meant to “help unemployed Americans be first in line for jobs as America reopens”. It was a pointless statement with neither sense nor sensibility. … Continue reading “The sheer, mind-numbing pointlessness of Donald Trump and his immigration order”

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Even a pandemic can’t stop the desperate flow of refugees to Europe

by Rashmee

Posted on April 19, 2020 / The Arab Weekly


In the circumstances, an EU humanitarian package might serve as a band aid but not much more. In the weeks since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic, it’s become clear that the outbreak of disease can paralyse national economies but not the flight of desperate people across the Mediterranean to apparent safety. How else … Continue reading “Even a pandemic can’t stop the desperate flow of refugees to Europe”

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What Orwell would have made of ‘social distancing’

by Rashmee

Posted on April 18, 2020


On April 15, Denmark became the first in Europe to relax restrictions on education and reopen nurseries and schools. The move presented a conundrum for the Danish government, one that governments everywhere will eventually have to confront when they do the same and send young children back to school. For, it is in the nature … Continue reading “What Orwell would have made of ‘social distancing’”

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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