Nightcap

  1. At home with the homeless Johannes Lenhard, Aeon
  2. Naguib Mahfouz’s Cairo Ursula Lindsey, the Nation
  3. Tyler Cowen on geopolitics marginalrevolution
  4. Collected. Bought. Looted? Friedel & von Gliszczynski, Africa is a Country

Nightcap

  1. How Buddha became a popular Christian saint Blake Smith, America
  2. Russia, Germany at loggerheads over Idlib Yekaterina Chulkovskaya, Al-Monitor
  3. Arab melancholia Thomas Patier, Los Angeles Review of Books
  4. Does Locke’s entanglement with slavery undermine his philosophy? Holly Brewer, Aeon

Nightcap

  1. Forget Trump: The Military-Industrial Complex is Still Running the Show With Russia Bruce Fein, American Conservative
  2. King Thibaw’s Elephants Jonathan Saha, Colonizing Animals
  3. Revolution and Decolonization in the Arab World Yoav Di-Capua, Age of Revolutions
  4. The Hunger for a Bold Socialism Conor Friedersdorf, the Atlantic

Nightcap

  1. Science fiction from China is epic AF Nick Richardson, London Review of Books
  2. What is the proper role of galactic government? Michelangelo Landgrave, NOL
  3. Science fiction & alternate realities in the Arab World Perwana Nazif, the Quietus
  4. Algorithmic wilderness: can techno-ecology heal our world? Henry Mance, Aeon

Nightcap

  1. Scandinavians and the boons of empire Miles Macallister, Aeon
  2. Europe’s populists are waltzing into the mainstream the Economist
  3. Toughing it out in Cairo Yasmine El Rashidi, NY Review of Books
  4. Knowledge of the Holocaust Bart van der Boom, OUPblog

BC’s weekend reads

  1. Libya Epitomizes Hillary Clinton’s Not-So-Smart Power
  2. Paradoxes of the Gray Zone
  3. The Kurdish Conundrum
  4. The Future of the Arab
  5. Just Following Orders: Leadership Lessons from Argentina’s “Dirty War”

A Short Note on Islam and Violence: Russian Edition

Many notable, and many more unnotable, commentators will swear by Islam’s “violent penchant.” They don’t care for nuance. They don’t care for facts. Instead, they adhere to the old principle of repeating something often enough until it becomes true.

I think there is an issue with Sunni Arabs and cultural chauvinism (the Qur’an is supposed to be memorized in the Arabic language only, for example) masquerading as religion. I think religion itself is mentally and emotionally abusive. Yet I am confident in stating matter-of-factly that there is no penchant for violence in Islam. Each instance of violence perpetrated by an Islamist can be explained by his or her political, or better yet institutional, situation. Islamism is, after all, a relatively new political paradigm that has arisen only with the advent of the nation-state in the Middle East.

Incidentally, these same detractors – the ones who repeat themselves over and over again – are also hawks when it comes to Russia. If I am not mistaken, Russia is a Christian nation (with a few exceptions along its peripheries) and unofficially a Christian state (did anyone catch the Patriarch’s recent speech to the Duma?). The Russian state is violent and aggressive. Russian society is violent and parochial. Moscow routinely violates individual rights. Because the vast majority of Russian citizens support the aggressiveness of both the Russian state and the Russian communities in post-Soviet space, this means that all Christians are violent and aggressive, right?