Essays

An Enduring Tension: Turkey Caught in the Middle

An Enduring Tension: Turkey Caught in the Middle

The violent dissolution of the Ottoman Empire in World War I created a complex and enduring relationship between Turkish attitudes toward the Arab world and Turkish attitudes toward Europe.

Ashure: A Sometimes Rich Pudding With an Always Rich History

Ashure: A Sometimes Rich Pudding With an Always Rich History

As a kid who grew up in a mixed Alevi and Sunni neighborhood in Malatya, I listened to all the stories related to the meaning of the ashure pudding. Before then, I just assumed that the pudding was an Alevi-specific dessert.

The Eva Perón of Afghanistan

The Eva Perón of Afghanistan

Standing next to the king was his wife, Queen Soraya Tarzi, who was to Amanullah what Khadijah was to the prophet. As her husband finished his speech, the queen smiled and looked at the king with pride and affection as she gently tore off her veil, sending shockwaves throughout Afghan society.

Sami Moubayed
Women Warriors of the Early Muslim World

Women Warriors of the Early Muslim World

Hind marched with Quraysh to battle, then stormed the field with other women to mutilate the corpses of the Muslims, slashing off noses and ears and fashioning them into necklaces. It’s said that she gouged out the liver of Muhammad’s uncle Hamza and bit into it.

Kevin Blankinship
Missing Anthony Bourdain

Missing Anthony Bourdain

It was a dark day. Like earlier generations, who remembered where they were when they learned of the great rock ’n’ roll deaths of the ’60s and ’70s, the moment we heard of Anthony Bourdain’s death will be forever etched in our minds.

Alex Skolnick
How America Lost Afghanistan

How America Lost Afghanistan

Over its 10 years of aiding the mujahedeen, the U.S. learned nothing about the nuances of Afghanistan’s people, history or culture — a problem that would continue to plague most of our actions for the 20 years the U.S. spent in Afghanistan.

Thomas H. Johnson,
Larry P. Goodson
Yiddish and Arabic Share an Uncommon Commonality

Yiddish and Arabic Share an Uncommon Commonality

For the Zionists, Yiddish represented the weak, emasculated Jew of the shtetl. They saw it as feminine, backward and hybrid, a mixture of many languages. This stood in stark contrast with Hebrew, which they associated with the new, muscular Jewish identity they sought to engender in Palestine.

Alexander Jabbari