On recent news coverage of Palestine and Israel

This week, I have seen a couple of recent news stories relating to Palestine and Israel: one which enraged me; one which provoked me. I made a throwaway collage on 27th February for Ephemera for the former story about how a pro-Israel lobby group made a London hospital take down art work by children from Gaza as they felt ‘threatened’. I am still struggling to find words to explain how rage-full I feel in response to that. That people representing one of the most belligerent, violent, and militarised countries on earth could consider children’s artwork threatening is an egregious farce and an abuse of the English language. What they did not want was for anyone outside of Gaza / Palestine to know the reality of those children’s lives. That the hospital would capitulate to this lie of vulnerability disgusts me. Today I read the historian Simon Schama calling for British Jews to

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On performativity

We have long reached peak performativity in society. Of course, there has always been an element of performance, and if I could control my reading to just Goffman’s The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, then I would likely give you a nice little overview of the work on this subject. I’m going to have to come back to that as I have a feeling this is going to become a series of posts. I think, if I were a different kind of person, I would be talking about “wokery” right now. I hate that word. I hated it when the self-righteously inclusive self-proclaimed themselves as “woke”, and I still hate it now those without broadly inclusive politics justifiably use it as an insult against those who proclaim broadly inclusive politics. Even as I type this, there is so much to unpack. What do I mean by “peak performativity”? What do I

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On “male feminists”

I occasionally update my bio page to reflect whatever I am concerned, or feel strongly, about at the moment. However, one thing which has remained the same for many years now is the following statement: there is no such thing as a male feminist. Around the time I first wrote that paragraph, I came across this article and broadly agreed with it, but especially so this quote: Although I believe that men can be pro-feminist and anti-sexist, I do not believe we can be feminists in the strictest sense of the word. Men, in this patriarchal system, cannot remove themselves from their power and privilege in relation to women. To be a feminist one must be a member of the targeted group (i.e a woman) not only as a matter of classification but as having one’s directly-lived experience inform one’s theory. The quote is attributed to Brian Klocke of the National

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On modellers and the elderly

Professor Carl Heneghan is one of those people who have an amazing knack for cutting right through to the crux of a matter and explaining things simply, calmly, and clearly; and it is for these reasons, that I really, really recommend listening to this recent interview with him on why he spoke out against lockdown. There are two things he said that I wanted to comment on further: the first is the atrocious abandonment of the elderly; and secondly, the failure of a numbers-only approach to understanding complex social phenomena.

On discrimination

When 9/11 happened, I was living in America and became increasingly distressed, alarmed, and angered by the rise in Islamophobia, and disgusted by the general apathy of ‘good’ people’s response to the ‘war on terror’. I chose to move to France when the opportunity arrived as it was the one western country that was resisting the US/UK axis of evil nonsense. So when, after some time in France, I decided to a degree, it felt right to study religions at SOAS. There I focussed on the histories of the religions of the near and Middle East, and I chose that subject at that university so that I could arm myself with knowledge and expertise to argue against Islamophobic people. This same motivation to counter discrimination underscored my decision to do a masters in Iranian Studies (one of the most misunderstood countries in the world), and formed the crux of my PhD

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