31 Oct 2014

The Jezebel Complex and Lebanese Women Today

There’s a persistent stereotype when it comes to Lebanese women today that I often come across both in real-life conversations and on social media. Lebanese women pay excessive attention to their appearance, they do too much plastic surgery, they use too much makeup and so on. The implication is that Lebanese women are superficial and this supposed excessive attention to physical appearance reflects a lack of intellectual capabilities.

Now it would be bad enough if this attitude came from conservative or religiously-minded people, but in fact it’s much more wide-spread than that. You’ll come across this attitude among liberal, secular types who seem to be unaware of the puritanical aspect of such perceptions. It stems sometimes from a prudish strand of feminism that is overly focused on objectification, in the process denying women agency and the ability to control their public image.

29 Oct 2014

How To Use Brown People To Illustrate A Story About Overpopulation

Yesterday a report was published by the National Academy of Sciences warning that even major wars and catastrophes won't curb population growth. Good news, you might think, we are resilient as a species but of course that's not the version that the media will go with. Naturally it's too good an opportunity to miss for another round of scaremongering about human population growth. There's nothing that gets western media, in particular, giddy with excitement as the prospect of disasters brought about by population growth.

But how best to illustrate a scary story about human population growth? For some time now I have noticed that those stories are never illustrated with pictures of white people, the convention seems to be that brown people or non-white people in general are more photogenic to illustrate the threat of overpopulation.

Let's take a look at how this particular story was illustrated:

The Independent went for 'brown people boarding a train': (From Bangalore).

13 Oct 2014

Fascinating Observations of Life in the West by an Iraqi Anthropologist

Until now there have been very few authoritative anthropological study about the Western World, of which we know very little aside from inaccurate media representations and what we see in TV and film which can be hardly representative of the reality of Western culture. However a major study by Iraqi anthropologist Hassan Daqiq is set to change that. Daqiq spent years living among Western people and meticulously documenting their culture and lifestyle. The result is a rich archival encyclopaedia of the habits and daily lives of Western people.

Daqiq lived among Western people like a native, eating their food and wearing their clothes, in an attempt to get them at ease and make them open up about their beliefs, practices and cultures. He took thousands of photographs and hours of footage of their daily lives, and conducted hundreds of interviews with Western Peoples over many years. Below we share some of this fascinating material that will reveal little known facts about Western culture and people.

10 Oct 2014

We Went Busking With Slavoj Žižek

Superstar Communist philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek once claimed that his lectures are more rock and roll than The Beatles in their heyday. We decided to put the idea to the test by taking the unkempt Slovenian philosopher busking and see how much money he can make by ad-libbing about politics, philosophy and psychoanalysis on the streets of London. The results will surprise you.

1 The ICA - post-superpower capitalist world order

We head first to the Institute of Contemporary Art, a venue beloved by pretentious arty types who are into overpriced contemporary radical theory. Žižek stands outside the main doors and launches into an experimental rant about his latest obsession, a dissection of the possibilities of post-superpower capitalist world order. As soon as he is recognised a large crowd gathers around us.

8 Oct 2014

Qassem Suleimani Iran’s Shadowy Commander Who Has No Shadow

It was a hot summer evening in Tehran, as the scents of spices wafted through Tehran’s Grand Bazaar and the voice of the muezzin could be heard in the distance calling the pious for the evening prayer and something suitably mysterious and oriental about Persian carpets, a group of official-looking people were walking silently among the crowd. To the casual eye there would have been nothing special about this group of middle-aged men, but the casual eye didn’t recognise Iran’s most important weapon in its war against the US and its pathetic sidekicks: Qassem Suleimani.

7 Oct 2014

Global South Launches ‘Best White Saviour’ Award

From Bono to Al Gore, there can be no doubt that white saviours are great. Sadly the Global South has done little to acknowledge the greatness of white people over the recent decades, claiming it was busy with the challenges of post-colonisation, nation-building and fending off hunger. These are poor excuses however and a wide coalition of Global South governments, NGOs and ordinary people are now attempting to rectify this historic omission by launching the ‘Best White Saviour’ award this year.

26 Sep 2014

The ideal Twitter diet: eat your way to better tweets

As someone who’s on Twitter, I get asked a lot about what’s the best diet to follow in order to tweet successfully. It’s a subject that I have thought about a lot during the past half an hour, and therefore decided to write a guide for people who are too busy to design their own diets. It’s a matter of common courtesy, you owe it to the people who follow you to eat properly in order to keep them informed and entertained. So here we go.

20 Sep 2014

When the aliens met ISIS (because odds are)

It’s a hot summer evening in the Iraqi desert, the sun had finally disappeared behind the hills in the distance. Two Islamic State recruits are keeping guard on a remote outpost. They had finished their dinner and are sipping their sweet dark tea in silence. Abu Abdullah al-Inglizi is a convert from Birmingham and his companion is Abu Bakr al-Shishani, an engineering student from Chechnya who had quit his studies to fight for the Caliph. Abu Abdullah speaks only English, while Abu Bakr knows few Arabic phrases and even fewer English ones.

12 Sep 2014

We Give the Scottish Independence Referendum the Middle East Expert Treatment

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article.

8 Sep 2014

Incredible archive of ancient unseen photographs discovered in Lebanon

While working at a soup kitchen in London a few months ago, I made a startling discovery that revealed a secret archive of photographs from Lebanon dating back for millennia that I am now sharing with the world. A very, very old man approached me and I detected a hint of a Phoenician accent in the way he spoke English and I quizzed him I realised he is also from Lebanon. Over the next few weeks I built a relationship with the man, Abdeshmun of Byblos, and he revealed to me his fascinating story, and in the process revealed the vast archive of six photographs that he possessed which today we are publishing for the first time.