A Australia is a nation similar to the U.S. in many respects; British colonized, sort of English speaking, of comparable geographic size and immigrant makeup. Also similar: rising xenophobia and the “othering” of Muslims. Australia’s Islamaphobia is as controversial as it is in US.
Most people can recognize a roundel when they see one, but they don’t know it is called that, and they may not know how this form of national graphic art works. Military buffs and vexillologists (flag fanciers) know though. Such folks, usually men, are surprisingly common so let’s peek into their world with a look at the roundel.
For many years tourism to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was almost impossible for Americans. Now it isn’t, but should one go? Stalin called western sympathizers and visitors in the 1950s “useful idiots” who believed Soviet propaganda while he killed tens of millions. A similar dynamic exists in northeast Asia today.
Travel agencies profiting from tourism there use the argument that grassroots connections and money in the economy are overall positives. This argument falls flat on Read More
The Connecticut-sized, natural gas-rich nation of Qatar in the Persian Gulf is often cited by optimists as a sane role model for Arab world. Qatar’s stated goal is to turn their hydrocarbon based economy and traditional society into more a diversified, outward looking system. This is often considered as opposition to the traditional, strict Islamic values of their population: it is a complicated and delicate balance.
It was my intention to visit Iran this year for study. Now however in a fit of pique, the tit-for-tat reply to our ban the Iranians will soon bar American citizens from visiting. So will the other, less tourist-friendly countries on a list which is a who’s who of “Dangerous sounding Muslim countries we’ve had something to do with in recent decades and can almost pronounce.” The ban is a win for “alternative facts.”
There are countries most people have never even heard of and have little reason to know exist. But that doesn’t mean strange things don’t happen in them and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea (E.G.) is one such place. About the size of Maryland, it fits into the “corner” of West-Central Africa near Nigeria. It popped up in the news lately because its Vice President T.O. Nguema of the ruling family is on trial in absentia in France.
I live in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York, a trendy slice of South Manhattan which defines “gentrification”: expensive wine and cheese stores, fru-fru patisseries, Google and Twitter’s East Coast headquarters on 17th. There’s the High Line, the new Whitney Art Museum, and Chelsea Market, so lots of tourists mix with a strong LGBT community of residents.
The election hit Chelsea hard. There’s still a civic trauma which is quite discernible and similar to 9/11 in terms of mass psychology. After 9/11 various horrible things happened Read More
During the madness of last month, other things happened. One was a partial retreat in the War on Drugs, marijuana division.
A quick review of recent changes from voter actions.
Boy did we mess up. This is what happens to one’s predictive abilities when one lives in a bubble. My bubble is a nice apartment 14 floors above 8th Ave in Manhattan’s tony Chelsea district, mixing only with over-educated like-minded limousine liberals, and ensconced in a political campaign where optimism is the only valid currency.
A fellow volunteer called on Tuesday night of the election, in hysterics, and asked me: “What are you thinking, David?” Read More