• The Rise and Fall of Africa's First Narco-State? Hope, Change and Renewal in Guinea-Bissau

    The last elections in Guinea-Bissau were charged with great expectations both nationally and internationally. After being postponed several times they were finally held in April and May. After continuous political instability, state structures being coopted by trafficking networks, and constant military interference in public affairs, the 2014 election represented an attempt to finally reestablish political legitimacy, regain hope and incite renewal.

  • Don't Lean In, Fight Back

    Two months ago I wrote a farewell op-ed for my school's newspaper, The Herald. The piece was addressed to Harold Washington College's class of 2014 and City Colleges of Chicago students in general. In it I explained my decision to boycott my own graduation in protest of the individual chosen as our commencement ceremony speaker, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg.

  • The Kissing Places

    It’s a white building in a city of brown and gray. The mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, is made of white marble. It rises up, domed and pristine, in the middle of a park known as Bagh-e-Jinnah, or the garden of Jinnah. It is not a green garden, for that is an elusive color in beige Karachi, but it has patches of vegetation. Closer to the building, there are sometimes even flowers. Rising up from a marble platform, the mausoleum is flanked on each of its four sides by cadets of the Pakistan military.

  • Unpacking Harris v. Quinn: Labor, Race, and Gender in Caregiving

    The recent Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn dealt a blow to public sector unions and the labor movement in the US. To recap: workers who belong to public sector unions pay dues. The union is obligated to represent and bargain for all workers, including those who aren't members, with those non-members under the union's purview required to pay "agency fees" designed to cover the cost of bargaining for their wage improvements and other benefits.

  • Frantz Fanon on Film

    Frantz Fanon would have been 89 years old this July had he not succumbed to leukamia at the young age of 36. Best known for his radical and innovative work Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth, Fanon was a psychiatrist, anti-colonial theorist and activist born in Martinique. The documentary Black Skin White Mask by British filmmaker Isaac Julien is a performative and hybrid film which brings together archival footage, interviews with family members and re-enactments to piece together the life of this influential thinker.

  • Nuclear Weapons Are Like Aging Baby Boomers

    Baby Boomers: as numerous as they are narcissistic (their rep, anyway). They were once synonymous with the emergence of the phenomenon of The Teenager as well as youth culture in general. It should come as no surprise then that Baby Boomers, many of whom are entering old age, are integral to the newfound prominence of geriatrics and eldercare. Meanwhile, the culture shift from youth to old age that parallels the life cycle of the Baby Boomers is mirrored in a similar shift in things that go boom — nuclear weapons.

  • Nadine Gordimer, RIP (1923-2014)

    Filmmaker and photographer Adrian Steirn pays homage to South Africa's celebrated and Nobel prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer. He shoots an "Alice in Wonderland" portrait of her as she reveals the profound love of books and writing that has focused her entire life.

  • Poems for Gaza

    Slit Lips
    by Samih al-Qasim

    I would have liked to tell you
    The story of a nightingale that died.
    I would have liked to tell you

    The story...
           Had they not slit my lips.

    (Translated by Abdullah al-Udhari. Victims of a Map. Al Saqi Book, 2005.)

    (A Dream)
    by Adonis

    They arrived naked
    Broke into the house
    Dug a hole
    Buried the children and left...

    (Translated by Abdullah al-Udhari. Victims of a Map. Al Saqi Book, 2005.)

  • The Arms Trade Treaty and South Sudan

    As the Republic of South Sudan approaches the third anniversary of its independence, the young nation has been making headlines again. This time, though, it’s for all the wrong reasons. The slaughter and displacement of unknown numbers of civilians over the last several months has sparked international debate over the need for intervention and revealed horrific stories of rape, mutilation, and torture.