Back to the culture wars then

by Rashmee

Posted on September 14, 2020


The gains from the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement were many. It proved to be a great investment for the Arabs. Not only did they create a vibrant environment of intellectual enquiry, they were able to use their very appetite for Hellenic knowledge as a cultural cudgel against their rivals next door, the Christian Byzantines. Interestingly, Muslim … Continue reading “Back to the culture wars then”

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What was the logic of the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 13, 2020


Why did the second Abbasid Caliph Al Mansur (r.754-775) initiate the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement? He was no scholar but there was a very particular reason to lay claim to the fruits of Hellenic thinking. Al Mansur had an interest in astrology and may have been keen to form a dynastic ideology. This was to be … Continue reading “What was the logic of the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement?”

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The Greek-to-Arabic translation movement: no expense spared

by Rashmee

Posted on September 12, 2020


The 200-year-old Greek-to-Arabic translation movement begun by the Abbasid Caliph Al Mansur (r.754-775) has no equivalent in world history. Never before and never since has one culture tried to import the knowledge of another in so sustained a manner as the Arabs did with Hellenic thought. It was an expensive business too, creating its own … Continue reading “The Greek-to-Arabic translation movement: no expense spared”

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Culture wars and cultural gaps: the Hellenic equation

by Rashmee

Posted on September 11, 2020


The culture wars between the Muslims and the Byzantines had decided effects. Often, they left the Byzantines feeling small and with the sense that they were late-starters. Consider this interesting story recounted by British archaeologist and academic of Late Antiquity Judith Herrin. The Byzantines were trying to brush up on their knowledge of math and … Continue reading “Culture wars and cultural gaps: the Hellenic equation”

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Don’t despair over the culture wars. They’re benign compared to 8th and 9th centuries

by Rashmee

Posted on September 10, 2020


Not too long ago, British sociologist Frank Furedi wrote a piece on the culture wars in the US and UK. He asserted that the culture war was historically “set in motion in Western societies by a powerful impulse to detach the present from the past, which emerged at the turn of the 20th century”. He … Continue reading “Don’t despair over the culture wars. They’re benign compared to 8th and 9th centuries”

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Trump Googled himself, got Obama. Bit like Aristotle vs Plato in Arab world

by Rashmee

Posted on August 30, 2018


America’s child-man president is livid about the unfairness of internet searches. The Guardian reports that on August 29, Wednesday afternoon, Mr Trump tweeted grumpily: “For years, Google promoted President Obama’s State of the Union on its homepage. When President Trump took office, Google stopped.” The tweet had a short video that tried to substantiate the … Continue reading “Trump Googled himself, got Obama. Bit like Aristotle vs Plato in Arab world”

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Arabic content is key to journey down the digital highway

by Rashmee

Posted on January 14, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


Don’t believe the inter­net, Arabs do read and they’re increasingly reading online but more and better Arabic language content is needed to bring about a digital transformation, writes Belgian- Moroccan techie and social entre­preneur Khadija Hamouchi. In a five-part series exclusive to The Arab Weekly, Hamouchi, 27, explains the digital gap in the Arab world … Continue reading “Arabic content is key to journey down the digital highway”

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Some Americans took the ‘haboob’ advisory to signal a takeover by Arabs

by Rashmee

Posted on June 4, 2016


Texan anger at their weather service’s description of the duststorm as “haboob” was a reminder of the profound limitations imposed by ignorance. And of Islamophobia. To those who know (or have read that wonderful novel ‘The English patient’) a haboob is a very particular kind of dust storm. It refers to a situation in which … Continue reading “Some Americans took the ‘haboob’ advisory to signal a takeover by Arabs”

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An urgent plea for Arabic-speaking (and reading) crew on all US flights

by Rashmee

Posted on May 9, 2016


I’m only half-serious about mandatory Arabic-speaking-and-reading crew on all flights in America, but the fear is approaching ludicrous levels. On Thursday, a 40-year-old olive-skinned man with curly, dark hair, was the reason a domestic American Airlines flight was delayed by a couple of hours and returned to the gate. The man, an Ivy League economist … Continue reading “An urgent plea for Arabic-speaking (and reading) crew on all US flights”

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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