SpaceX launch: Beacon or bad omen?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 27, 2020 / The Focus


NASA’s first manned flight since 2011 is being advertised as America’s hopeful return to space, to boldly go where no man has before. Is it really? Yes and no. Wednesday’s launch to the International Space Station, nine years after the end of the space shuttle programme, is definitely a milestone. Those nine years were the … Continue reading “SpaceX launch: Beacon or bad omen?”

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Look who’s having a good pandemic. A female ‘authoritarian’ leader

by Rashmee

Posted on May 6, 2020


Bolivia’s interim president Jeanine Anez was meant to be in the job for just the few weeks it took to organise elections after the country’s long-serving leader Evo Morales quit in November amid electoral fraud allegations. Six months on, she’s still in the Palacio Quemado, the president’s official residence. What’s more, she has rejected a parliamentary … Continue reading “Look who’s having a good pandemic. A female ‘authoritarian’ leader”

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A pandemic isn’t an existential threat to humanity; nuclear weapons are

by Rashmee

Posted on May 5, 2020


  A philosopher on the radio the other day said a pandemic isn’t as much of an existential threat to humanity as nuclear weapons. He’s probably right. Even if the coronavirus pandemic takes a terrible toll – in terms of lives, incomes, economic wellbeing – it won’t be an existential threat unless there is a … Continue reading “A pandemic isn’t an existential threat to humanity; nuclear weapons are”

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It’s not the pandemic but Donald Trump that could kill off the two-state solution

by Rashmee

Posted on May 2, 2020


It’s not the pandemic but Donald Trump that could kill off the two-state solution, once and for all. Practically unnoticed by Washington’s worthies and elsewhere in the world, Israeli politicians recently offered bipartisan approval to America’s authority in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is both bad and good. In some ways, it imperils the two-state solution. … Continue reading “It’s not the pandemic but Donald Trump that could kill off the two-state solution”

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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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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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With the pandemic as priority, countries will have to hold off on defence spending

by Rashmee

Posted on April 21, 2020 / The National


Predictions, as the American baseball player Yogi Berra once said, are hard, especially about the future. And forecasts are especially perilous in the midst of a global pandemic. But the coronavirus crisis is indisputably changing our view of what is important. Could it take a pandemic to redefine the idea of what constitutes national security? … Continue reading “With the pandemic as priority, countries will have to hold off on defence spending”

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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