Food patterns in Arab-majority countries draw on influences from the rich cuisines of India, Persia and the Ottoman Empire. The latter includes foods from Greece, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and other former Ottoman regions.
At around 2 p.m. news spread that the president, Ashraf Ghani, had fled from the palace. Then the Taliban released another statement saying they would now enter Kabul to maintain order and prevent anarchy. After 20 years of war and tens of thousands of lives lost, it was a stunning moment. The insurgents were now the peacekeepers.
As with the earlier apology from the Vatican, the majority of the criticism pointed to the words the pontiff chose to use—and those he didn’t. It was discouraging to see Pope Francis once again forgo the opportunity to assume responsibility not just for evil committed by individuals, but for the Catholic Church’s institutional support of the residential school policy.
The recordings show Nouri al-Maliki for what he always has been, a paranoid charlatan who cannot comprehend an Iraq operating outside his incredibly narrow sectarian worldviews.
The sermon itself was boilerplate and innocuous, urging good deeds and adherence to the pillars of the faith, standard fare for such an occasion. But it was interesting also for other reasons, such as the demonstration of the state’s power over the religious establishment as well as how it exerts influence over it to serve its political goals and shifts positions on what it will tolerate in terms of religious speech.
The ability of the state, so secure in its hold on power, to impose top-down revolutionary cultural, political and social change that instantly transforms (at least on the surface) attitudes about festering problems that have shaped people’s worldviews for decades, often their whole lives, is extraordinary.
It is of course difficult to divorce an individual case from the broader context of a resurgent religious right, which can feel like an assault on the liberal way of life and secularism itself as a key pillar of democracy. But I also don’t think it is wise to be outraged and fearful over every expression of the self that veers away from those precepts.