4 December 2015

1 November 2015

God in Green

Some words and images from my time in Iran for Humboldt Books.

In Tabriz, all roads lead to the bazaar. The smaller ones you take to bypass it are dead-end driveways to iron-gated neighbourhoods. It's the largest covered market in the world, one of the oldest in the Middle East, and the only place in the city that's free of the dust and wind. Iran's bazaars were sunk into their cities, built up to a few meters below street level. This maximises the flow of the denser cool air and lets the hotter rise to the domed ceilings, whose curves disperse the heat across their surface area, cooling the bustle below. Neon is everywhere. Outside the door of the mosque in its centre, Allah's name is lit up in acid green, and in the jewellery section the lights beat red tints onto gold.

29 September 2015

Sinking states: Climate Change and The Next Refugee Crisis

A new kind of refugee crisis is on the horizon. For this one, there will be no tyrants to blame and the migrants won’t be escaping war. They will be fleeing nature—specifically the ocean—and they will have no home to return to. The highest point in the Pacific state of Tuvalu is just over 15 feet above sea level. During tidal surges, all of Tuvalu becomes temporarily submerged. The highest point in the Maldives, a country situated on coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, is less than eight feet above sea level. The tide on the islands creeps higher by the day. Scientists expect Tuvalu to disappear in the next 50 years, the Maldives in the next 30. Once they become uninhabitable, neighboring islands will follow, affecting up to 9.2 million people throughout the Pacific Ocean’s 22 island states and 345,000 in the Maldives. Although the slow advance of the waves may not attract as much media attention as the metaphoric flood of refugees hitting European shores, the consequences of the unprecedented eradication of a state’s entire territory will be just as significant.

I also spoke about the piece on a special edition of the Foreign Affairs Podcast dedicated to the global refugee crisis. You can listen here, or below.

12 September 2015

Turkish and Brazilian Foreign Policy in Africa

My first academic citation is 'Roles and Reality: Turkish and Brazilian Foreign Policy in Africa', published by Bilge Straji, the journal of Bilgesam, the Turkish think tank. Read it in full here.

In the enthusiasm to declare a second ‘scramble for Africa’ by emerging powers, China has dwarfed the debate, fuelled by the zero-sum perception that its gain is the United States’ loss. Although middle powers such as Turkey and Brazil have equally global ambitions, their growing engagement with the continent has received little critical attention. This article identifies the roles that Turkey and Brazil have adopted in their foreign policy towards African countries, and analyses these roles against the realities on the ground. It finds that their discourses of sustained partnership and support are belied by the kinds of resource-hungry economic interests favoured by prior colonial projects, and misleadingly selective histories of affinity that amplify partial connections to a continental scale.

31 August 2015

In Rawabi

Article on Palestine's first-ever planned city, Rawabi, for the London Review of Books

Even through the rose tint of my 3D glasses, the architects’ rendering of Rawabi is a dizzying sight. Their animated introductory film swoops down on the central square, where men sit with shisha pipes in one hand and iPads in the other, glamorous women go shopping, young couples stroll by, businesspeople talk on the phone, and boys and girls (with and without the hijab) play football together. At a cost of $1.2 billion, Rawabi will be Palestine’s largest ever private sector project, and its first planned city. It’s the brainchild of the US-Palestinian multimillionaire Bashar Masri, who is funding it with backing from Qatar.

Read the full article here.