Sleepless In Lucknow Or How The Jaipur Literary Festival Became A Nightmare I Want To Wake Up From

Lets begin by celebrating overt and rabid racism – Ayaan Hirsi Ali was at the Jaipur Literary Festival and I was left bereft with incredulity at the idiocy of the event organizers. Rather than create a genuinely interesting and intellectually serious environment around writers, thinkers, activists and intellectuals, the festival seems to prefer polemicist, celebrities, second class ‘European’ award winners, starlets, and of course, a lovely collection of Islamophobes and reductive racists. Details »

Where The Head Spun: November 13th 2009

A wide range of issues came across recently and though I would love to wax lyrical about all of them I find my head space considerably limited to speak of each in some reasonable fashion. But I wanted to draw your attention to some interesting developments, a few of which are being carefully ignored in our press and oh-so-alert media Details »

Where The Head Spun: Sunday, 12th July 2009

This week has been busy with some writings on The Idea of India photo project, but I did manage to come across some fascinating stuff:

Ikea Is As Bad A Wal-Mart; A piece in Salon magazine that reviews Ellen Ruppel Shell’s book Cheap.

Yes, it is our consumer habits that are driving these climate changes – the degradation of the soil, the cutting of forests, the polluting of the oceans, the exploitation of human labor in china and mexico, to name just two places, is all for the sake of our cheap consumer goods.  We may prefer to avoid this fact by trying to simply shop ‘green’, but shopping, and repeateded, frequent cycles of shopping are in fact why the problems are emerging. Details »

The Definition of Courage: The Israelis Speak

The testimonies now being given by a number of Israeli soldiers who took part in the recent war on Gaza, a war that Richard Falk, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights, called a criminal act, offer us a glimpse into acts of human and individual courage.

There is no other way to describe the actions of these young men who were involved in what was nothing short of an international war crime against the unarmed civilian population of Gaza.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has been publishing a series of testimonies – the paper’s Amos Harel’s has two pieces, IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement and ‘Shooting and crying’. Details »

The Anti-Semite In Me

In 2002, just before I left for Gaza to begin nearly 2 years of work on the impact of Israel’s occupation of that land, I wrote a short email to Edward Said.  Much to my surprise, he wrote back.  It was a short response, wishing me luck with my project and expressing an interesting in seeing my work once I thought it was ready to be shown.  Edward Said died about a year later and I never got a chance to take him up on his offer, though I knew that he had made it out of politeness.  And I could never tell him how much even that polite offer had meant to me and how much it had inspired the work that I did eventually manage to produce. Details »