India, Hungary, Turkey, Trump’s America

by Rashmee

Posted on October 29, 2020


In the way of television quizzes, here’s your starter for ten: What unites India, Hungary, Turkey and the United States? They’re governed by nationalist parties, all of which are increasingly promoting a faux democracy. The BJP, Fidesz, AKP and the Republican Party are a common thread that runs through the body politic of all four … Continue reading “India, Hungary, Turkey, Trump’s America”

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Hungary to get a new university – from China. Here’s why it matters and doesn’t

by Rashmee

Posted on October 27, 2020


Axios said “this isn’t news exactly” because it’s a development from December 2019, but I think it’s probably better described as a development that’s still newsy even though 10 months old. Fudan University, from Shanghai, China, is planning to open a campus in Budapest, Hungary, by 2024. The context is worth noting. In 2018, Hungary’s prime minister … Continue reading “Hungary to get a new university – from China. Here’s why it matters and doesn’t”

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The cheesy trademark battle over halloumi

by Rashmee

Posted on July 22, 2020 / The Focus


What does cheese say when it looks in the mirror? Halloumi. The cheesy joke may be due for an update now that a London court is faced with a battle over its trademark. The salty unripened cheese is one of the biggest exports from Cyprus and the UK is Nicosia’s largest market for it. Unsurprisingly, … Continue reading “The cheesy trademark battle over halloumi”

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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 state elections in India have in common with Istanbul and Budapest

by Rashmee

Posted on October 29, 2019 / The National


The results of recent elections in two Indian states — Haryana and Maharashtra — have come as a surprise to prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party as well as its opponents. The BJP’s vote share in Haryana, which borders the Indian capital Delhi, fell by 22 per cent, in contrast to its triumphal performance in the national election … Continue reading “What state elections in India have in common with Istanbul and Budapest”

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Europe should pay attention to Spain’s un-European harshness towards the Catalans

by Rashmee

Posted on October 21, 2019


Now that Catalonia’s president, Quim Torra, has called for a dialogue with the Spanish government, it’s time to state some basic truths: Spain has been behaving in an un-European way towards the Catalans, with the Spanish Supreme Court handing down draconian sentences for non-violent political offenses the European Commission hasn’t dared (or cared) to say … Continue reading “Europe should pay attention to Spain’s un-European harshness towards the Catalans”

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The Trump effect was underway long before Trump. But now, it is empowered

by Rashmee

Posted on October 4, 2019


Israel, India, Britain…The grim rollcall of countries where long-standing norms of political behaviour are increasingly disregarded, and where elected leaders attack the tools that keep democracy vibrant and true. Stanford political scientist Larry Diamond has described some of these tools as follows: judicial independence, a free media, a deeply engaged civil society, universities, the civil service, … Continue reading “The Trump effect was underway long before Trump. But now, it is empowered”

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The Orbanisation of India? Before that, there was the Modi-fication of Hungary

by Rashmee

Posted on May 23, 2019


The Orbanisation of India? Before that, there was the Modi-fication of Hungary. Now that Narendra Modi has decisively won re-election he is master of the narrative, the history books, of legislation and much, much more. How much more can be best explained by considering the following: The Election Commission of India’s unwillingness or inability to do … Continue reading “The Orbanisation of India? Before that, there was the Modi-fication of Hungary”

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A legitimating moment for European bigotry?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 19, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


Opinion polls indicate a surge in support for the far right ahead of the elections, which could make it the second largest force in the European Parliament with up to 35% of all seats. The legitimating moment for European bigotry occurred when Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was received by US President Donald Trump at … Continue reading “A legitimating moment for European bigotry?”

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At the rate European disunion is going, Britain won’t need to exit

by Rashmee

Posted on February 8, 2019


  Remember, before the Brexit referendum there was Viktor Orban. In 2014, two years before Britain voted narrowly to leave the European Union, the Hungarian leader was pledging to turn his country into an “illiberal” democracy. In effect, Mr Orban was exiting the EU in spirit, by fiat and without a referendum. Now, there is … Continue reading “At the rate European disunion is going, Britain won’t need to exit”

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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