Why “Three ‘Whys’ of the Russian Revolution”:

3whysFrom the onset of the revolution in the early part of the 20th century, Russia and her significance has captured the hearts, minds and intellects of many a people. Richard Pipes, one of the emir authors of Soviet History, is no different. His book “Three Why’s of the Russian Revolution” is an ode three main questions of early Soviet history- Why tsarism fell, why the Bolsheviks gained power, and why Stalin succeeded Lenin. Unfortunately, his text is a quick, overly simplistic catechism of three large invariantly complex conditions. Take his chapter on tsarism for example. Continue reading

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1002 Tales of Scheherazade

Some cultural concepts do not translate well. One such concept is that of the Harem and/ or the Harem women. Fatema Mernissi, the author of Scheherazade Goes West, provides a pivoting albeit surprising look at Harems and the women bound by them.

While promoting her book Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood, Mernissi came across a cultural ideology that she was not quite familiar with. This ideology clash focused heavily on how both the Arab and the West viewed the boundaries (frontiers as Mernissi calls them) that men place on women. Continue reading

A Night Well Spent

nadiayassine1My mother always told me that everyone should spend at least one night in jail. She said that ending up in jail for that one night proved one of two things; the first that you had one hell of an adventure and the second that you were fighting for something you believed in. Her words reverberated in my head when I learned of a youngish contemporary woman in Morocco. 

Nadia Yassine will be 50 years old this December. Whether she is allowed to celebrate that birthday at home with friends and family is still up to the Moroccan government. She has been charged with the crime of publicly denouncing the Monarchy in favour of a democracy. However, this is not the first time that Nadia Yassine has been in trouble with her government. One may say she has been in such peril all of her life. To understand her life one must simply start at the beginning. Continue reading

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