Religion

Andalusia’s Ambivalence: Between Convivencia and Islamophobia

Andalusia’s Ambivalence: Between Convivencia and Islamophobia

This article has previously been published by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and is also available as PDF. The southern Spanish province of Andalusia is a much-invaded corner of Europe. Its history and culture have been shaped by peoples as distinctive as Iberians, Phoenicians, Celts, Greeks, Carthaginians, […]

Still(ed) waters: a very short history of Mexico City

Still(ed) waters: a very short history of Mexico City

How a lake turned into one of the largest cities in the world: this is the story of Mexico City. Before the Spanish conquest, Mexico City was a kind of Venice in the middle of a couple of connected lakes, surrounded by volcanoes. It was […]

Amritsar: conflict and harmony

Amritsar: conflict and harmony

This article has previously been published by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue. Amritsar is a medium-sized city in India serving as a tourist destination for two main reasons. First, it is the location of the holiest temple of the Sikh religion; second, it is the closest […]

On India, poverty and religion

On India, poverty and religion

On my second day in India, I almost teared up in the back of a tuk-tuk that was driving me past households of cardboard and rags. I was slightly surprised by and appreciative of my own sensitivity: it was not the first time I was […]

Islamic State: media and identity

Islamic State: media and identity

The influence of the so-called Islamic State reaches far beyond the physical territory of the self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Under a variety of names the terrorist organization has infiltrated every media diet and compelled many countries to take action in the form of […]

Movie: Silence by Martin Scorsese

Movie: Silence by Martin Scorsese

It is a mystery to me why Martin Scorsese’s last movie Silence, about Christian missionaries in Japan, premiered at the Vatican. Although Scorsese is Catholic and at some point in his life even wanted to become a priest, it seems that more than just offering […]

Identity and nationality in the Gulf

Identity and nationality in the Gulf

Few countries in the world have more foreigners than locals living within their borders. It is the case in the Arabian Gulf, where the majority of the population consists of immigrants: up to more than 85% in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Drawn to […]

Antithesis

Antithesis

Amid the chaos of the city that she was calling her home for a little while now, there were only two sights calm and peaceful: the surface of the river and the setting of the sun. On the bridge, people were gathering to welcome the […]

If only the world made sense

If only the world made sense

If only the world made sense. It’s a jumble of arbitrary events, a mess of moments, admittedly related, but few of them making any sense to us. It’s an age-old problem: we just can’t wrap our heads around life. Religion has traditionally been a good resort. It gives answers […]

The stories of Eskibahçe

The stories of Eskibahçe

This is an extra chapter for the book Birds without wings by Louis de Bernières, which I wrote for a university course assignment. It provides a new perspective on the novel. “Lately, I have been having dreams about the former times of Eskibahçe. I have […]