New Lines Podcasts
Latest from New Lines Podcasts
Ten years ago, David French was a committed Republican. But when Donald Trump won the 2016 election, a new faction of the conservative movement rose to power within the party — one with a very different set of values from French’s own. He joins New Lines magazine’s Faisal Al Yafai to unpack the differences between the two competing factions and talk about how such intra-party divisions have reshaped the entire national landscape.
“They treat Africans and African countries as if they are sort of these strange species, unnoble people, unnoble communities that exist in a way that is so different and so far away from, you know … the rest of the world. And that obviously isn’t true.”
Erika López Prater, a former adjunct professor at Hamline University, showed students medieval depictions of the Prophet Muhammad for an art history class. Her contract was not renewed and the incident became the center of a nationwide controversy. Alongside Islamic art historian Christiane Gruber, she joins New Lines magazine’s Rasha Elass to discuss the rich variety of artistic traditions within Islam and unpack the complicated web of factors behind the current controversy.
Far-right groups like the Proud Boys have already caused irreparable damage in normalizing violence in U.S. politics. Andy Campbell joined Riada Asimovic Akyol on Wider Angle podcast to talk about the threats of the "extremist playbook" they created.
As Tunisia's economy falters, its autocratic president, Kais Saied, is struggling to hold onto the powers he seized in 2021. Yet suspicion of the Islamist Ennahda party — the country’s largest and best organized political force — still divides the opposition, Monica Marks tells New Lines magazine's Erin Clare Brown. Can Tunisians restore their hard-won democracy without them?
How do phenotypic factors like hair texture and skin tone affect Black women politicians in the U.S.? How do voters (re)act? Nadia E. Brown studies the politics of Black women’s appearance, and she joined Riada Asimovic Akyol in the Wider Angle podcast to discuss the subject
“History is not a simple lesson. You cannot just take the 13th century and say, ‘Okay, we should do that now.’ It was a different world, but it's important to know that it was not always like this. And I think the nomadic experience in life and culture and politics and all gives us so many different views of how we can organize ourselves as human societies.”
American data scientist and author Cathy O’Neil joined Riada Asimovic Akyol on the “Wider Angle” podcast to talk about shame. Listen to the conversation to hear the wider angle of becoming aware of “giant shame machines” and “powerful shame industries” in the U.S. as well as the way they profit from exploiting human vulnerabilities.
The war in Ukraine begins. The war in Ethiopia lingers. Queen Elizabeth II dies. Authoritarian strongmen rise and fall, and the ghosts of the past haunt the present. In this special episode, The Lede looks back at some of the key events of 2022 and how we tried to make sense of it all as the world looks ahead to 2023.
Edward E. Curtis IV joined Riada Asimovic Akyol to talk about his book “Muslims of the Heartland: How Syrian Immigrants Made a Home in the American Midwest.” Hear one immigrant community’s story and its effect on the Midwest as a message of a long-standing diversity in that region.
Sociologist Danielle J. Lindemann joined Riada Asimovic Akyol and explained how “nearly every aspect of life is touched on in reality TV in this kind of magnified form.” So, it can teach us about different inequalities that exist in our culture or social norms about gender, race, class and sexuality.
"Growing up, we had an ugly Christmas sweater day at school, and every year I'd force my mom — my little Muslim mom — to take me to Walmart or something and buy one. And she was like, ‘This is such a waste of money’ because I don't celebrate it and it's ugly — but I'd have to; I'd have to do it every year."
“There's two ways you can fight the Russians: You can fight them with tanks, which I have no expertise in, and you can fight them in the banks. And I'm one of the people who knows more about this than just about anybody.”
In Episode 5 of New Lines’ “Wider Angle” podcast, the guest was social psychologist Batja Mesquita. One of the world’s top experts on the subject, Mesquita joined Riada Asimovic Akyol for a conversation about emotions across different cultures, urging us to reconsider roles of social conditions and relationships between people.
“The government manipulated the coup, getting people out into the streets to celebrate it. They were able to pretend it was not a coup. And I think that this ability to deny facts is something that works to Africa's detriment. I think it was up to the regional and continental bodies to do the right thing. Not to say that if you get people out into the streets, because the soldiers are gone, it is no longer a coup.”
Erich Schwartzel, the guest in Episode 4 of New Lines’ Wider Angle podcast, is a journalist and author of “Red Carpet: Hollywood, China, and the Global Battle for Cultural Supremacy.” He joined Riada Asimovic Akyol to discuss China’s challenge to Western liberal democracy through the country’s dissemination of its movies.
“The nature of war is hatred and fury, but it’s mitigated very quickly when a new enemy comes to the scene. The idea that we should chase all of these Nazis and punish all of them, was wrong. Because it meant that while there was still rage, while the war was still remembered, the Allies wasted their time hunting all sorts of small fry. If you really want to punish war criminals, choose the people who were the worst and focus on them. The people who operated the gas chambers, the concentration camp guards — if those people were executed, I would have been happy to pardon all other Germans.”
In this episode of New Lines’ Wider Angle podcast, guest Shrayana Bhattacharya, an economist and author, discusses the dynamics of gender relations in today’s India told through profiles of diverse women often divided by caste or class but united in their fandom of global movie star Shah Rukh Khan.
“When we have a technology that can spread lies so quickly and so far, and when we have a legal system that has basically let media companies operate with minimal regulation, there is an open door to falsehood.”
Riada Asimovic Akyol speaks with Andrew Whitehead, one of the foremost scholars of Christian nationalism in the United States. They discuss the perceptions of Christianity’s relationship to American identity and civic life as well as the findings of Whitehead’s research about “Christian nationalists” among different ideological adherents and traditions.
“There are tales of a statue in Cadiz which speaks, or cities of bronze in the desert. I don't think that people in the past were necessarily naive or necessarily taken in by these kinds of stories, but the world was much more mysterious. There were lots of places where most people had never been and would never go and really weren't quite sure whether these things existed or not.”
Award-winning journalist Sally Hayden joins Riada Asimovic Akyol to discuss findings of Hayden’s investigation about migrants inside Libyan detention centers. These refugees from different parts of Africa are seeking safety and are trying to get protection in Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
“The thing that we couldn't have known was the degree to which voters were going to react against the power grabs that the right has made. And I'm happy to say that it does look like that's one of the stories from last night.”
“I think we are in this moment, though, where things are kind of breaking loose; they're becoming unmoored. There's this sort of terror that everyone's living inside their own universe, in their own reality, and their own kind of construction. There's not a lot of analytical frameworks out there that are shared or even systematic.”
“They're ruthless. They have no moral code. They are opportunistic. They will be whatever the public needs them to be at that moment.”
“The collapse of the country has been very rewarding for me personally, in whatever comedic capacity I have.”
“I tend to use the word ‘afterlife’ rather than ‘the past’, because I think that things that have happened in history have a life in the present. It’s ongoing.”
“It was easy for Russians to push the war off to the edge of their minds, but now it has come home to them.” Russian-American journalist and author Julia Ioffe talks to New Lines’ Amie Ferris-Rotman about Putin’s mobilization and the future of Russia.
“I’ve never met a nomad who wanted to have more, in terms of possessions. But I’ve met an awful lot of people who live in cities who wish they lived more lightly.” Historian and travel writer Anthony Sattin joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to talk about how nomads changed history — and why their contribution has yet to be fully recognized.
Three weeks after the end of Ethiopia's fragile ceasefire, the warring factions have finally agreed to let the African Union mediate. New Lines' Kwangu Liwewe talks to analysts Chris Maroleng, Adeoye Akinola and activist Tedla Asfaw about whether it can really bring about a lasting peace after two years of brutal civil war.
Producer and screenwriter Hayat Aljowaily joins New Lines’ Ola Salem and Anthony Elghossain to talk about cinema, identity and the making of “Moon Knight.”
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai speaks to Lydia Wilson, Amie Ferris-Rotman, and Kwangu Liwewe about what the passing of such a consequential figure may mean for the world.
After fighting broke out in Baghdad, New Lines’ Rasha Al Aqeedi joins Faisal Al Yafai to talk about Iraq’s ongoing political crisis and what this latest escalation may mean for the country’s future.
When Egypt entered the war with Israel in 1948, the government claimed that victory was assured. But when Egypt’s army instead suffered a defeat, the public demanded answers. Historian Chloe Bordewich joins New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to talk about how officials lost control of the narrative, how a rumor helped topple a king and the dynamics of disinformation before the digital age.
A month after Tunisia passed its controversial new constitution, analyst Mohamed-Dhia Hammami joins New Lines’ Lydia Wilson in The Lede to talk about the alarming power it grants president Kais Saied — and what that means for Tunisia’s hard-won democracy.
One year after the fall of Kabul, this special anniversary episode of The Lede looks back on the momentous events of Aug. 15, 2021, and explores how Afghanistan has fared in their aftermath. Featuring Fazelminallah Qazizai, Nazila Jamshidi and Chris Sands, alongside hosts Rasha Elass and Faisal Al Yafai.
What if you discovered that everything you knew about the world was wrong? As a teenager in Albania, that’s exactly what happened to political philosopher Lea Ypi when the communist regime collapsed in the ‘90s. On The Lede, she joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to talk about how to see the gap between ideology and reality, where people look for certainty in uncertain times and what it actually means to be free.
“There seemed to be something so modern and pithy and frank about their voices.” Writer and editor Selma Dabbagh joins New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to talk about sex, love and intimacy in the writing of Arab women, from the pre-Islamic era to the modern day.
For this third installment in our series on the fall of the Ottomans, historian Marc David Baer joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to look back at the 600 years of history that preceded their ultimate collapse.
Comedian Maz Jobrani joins New Lines’ Anthony Elghossain to talk about doing funny accents, playing a terrorist on TV and why he doesn’t worry about cancel culture.
Lebanese poet Zeina Hashem Beck joins New Lines’ Rasha Elass to talk about what inspires her bilingual verses and how they intertwine over themes of language, country and womanhood.
Oliver Bullough, an investigative journalist covering corruption and financial crime and author of “Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals,” joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to talk about how British banking made London a sanctuary for Russian oligarchs, Ukrainian billionaires and other kleptocrats from across the world.
Translators Yasmin Seale and Robin Moger join New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to discuss their unique approach to translating the poetry of the 12th-century philosopher Ibn Arabi.
Historian James Barr joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to talk about the post-Ottoman colonization of the Middle East — and how the last century of the region’s history was set in motion with the stroke of a crayon.
Aymenn Al-Tamimi joins New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to discuss the 13th century Latin text “Historia Arabum” — one of the oldest works of Islamic history by a Western author — and why he decided to translate it into Arabic.
Political scientist Yascha Mounk joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to discuss diversity, democracy and patching up America’s polarized politics.
Genocide researchers Annsar Shahhoud and Uğur Ümit Üngör tell New Lines’ Rasha Elass about their years-long undercover mission to expose the man behind the Tadamon masscre, how dark humor kept them sane and how they tricked him into into confessing — over Facebook.
Scholar and translator Marcel Kurpershoek talks to New Lines’ Kevin Blankinship about the Nabati poetry of the Arabian peninsula and its thousand-year history from pre-Islamic oral traditions to the UAE’s smash-hit reality show “Million’s Poet.”
Pre-eminent historian Eugene Rogan talks to New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai about the Ottoman Empire’s final years, its still-controversial legacy and how its defeat in World War I created the Middle East of today.
Award-winning translator of Arabic literature, William Hutchins talks to New Lines’ Kevin Blankinship about how he began his career, why he continues to work in his retirement, and what it was like to translate the beloved Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz.
In the first of a series of podcasts delving into the big questions of history, Ahmed El Shamsy joins New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to discuss how the printing press became the engine that powered the Arab Renaissance.
Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton speaks to New Lines’ Rasha Elass about the importance of silence to both human health and the health of the planet.
Author and historian Haris Durrani speaks to New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai about representation and religion in the classic sci-fi…
Acclaimed Pakistani novelist Fatima Bhutto joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai for a wide-ranging conversation about the relationship between politics and fiction. They discuss why she decided to be a writer rather than a politician like her aunt Benazir Bhutto, why the CIA has a department for script writers and why people increasingly identify more with stories from outside the West like “Squid Game” than with “Friends.”
Journalist Suha Ma’ayeh and international relations expert Amer Al Sabaileh join New Lines’ Lydia Wilson in Amman to discuss how people and governments in the Middle East have responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — and what it means for a region already struggling with inflation, rising food prices and COVID-19. Faisal Al Yafai presents.
Award-winning novelist Reem Bassiouney and ArabLit.org editor M Lynx Qualey join New Lines’ Lydia Wilson and Faisal Al Yafai for a wide-ranging conversation about the challenges of translating Arabic literature, why a translation is never finished and what it means to be a “victim” of translation.
Award-winning journalist Anand Gopal joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai to talk about how the invasion of Ukraine compares with Vladimir Putin’s war in Syria and ask why Syrians never received the same support in the face of Russian atrocities.
Kalani Pickhart, author of the novel “I Will Die in a Foreign Land,” joins New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to talk about Ukraine’s Maidan revolution and the long history of Russian aggression toward the country.
As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, New Lines’ Lydia Wilson is joined by Mary Kaldor, a professor at LSE and the author of “New and Old Wars,” to talk about what makes the war different from other contemporary conflicts and whether she thinks Putin has miscalculated.
The war in Afghanistan may be over, but a humanitarian crisis threatens to be even deadlier than the 20 years of fighting. Six months after the fall of Kabul, New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai is joined by Fazelminallah Qazizai, Pashtana Durrani and Emran Feroz to explore how the country has changed under Taliban rule.
Few topics evoke as much passion as food. New Lines' Kareem Shaheen is joined by Suna Çağaptay and Riada Asimovic Akyol to talk about how our identities are connected to what we eat, why Kareem is so passionate about authentic hummus and why recipes have become such a political battleground.
In a crossover episode with the podcast “The Fire These Times,” its host, Joey Ayoub, joins New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai and Lydia Wilson to explore the hold the Lebanese civil war still has on the national psyche — and what Syria can learn from its warning.
Over a year into Ethiopia’s civil war, New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai talks to three guests — freelance journalist Zecharias Zelalem, VICE News’ Julia Steers and Biniam, a Tigray civilian who lost several close friends to a notorious massacre — and asks what it will take to end the bloodshed.
Urban planning scholars Mona Fawaz and Yasser Elsheshtawy join New Lines’ Lydia Wilson to discuss how Beirutis are reclaiming public spaces, why Egypt is building a new capital from scratch and why city planners can learn more from Riyadh than from Dubai.
Janine di Giovanni speaks to New Lines’ Lydia Wilson about her career reporting conflict, her book The Vanishing, and why she fears for the future of the Middle East’s ancient Christian communities.
Luke Harding, author of the book “Shadow State,” speaks to New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai about the increasingly bold activities of Russia’s ruthless intelligence services. They discuss the challenges of reporting on such a secretive world — and the heroism of the Russian citizens working to expose it.
Foreign policy specialist Kamran Bokhari talks with New Lines Magazine’s Rasha Elass about Deobandism, the “Wahhabism of South Asia” — and why it remains mostly unknown in the West.
Fulbright scholar James Barnett joins New Lines’ Rasha Elass to discuss how he made contact with Nigeria’s bandits, who they are — and what they want.
Syrian journalist Asser Khattab’s viral essay in New Lines last week explained why he stopped writing about Syria, sparking a much-needed conversation online about how foreign media outlets treat local reporters. In this latest podcast, he and New Lines’ Kareem Shaheen continue that vital conversation.
Amidst rising authoritarianism, social atomization and looming climate change, award-winning journalist and novelist Ece Temelkuran speaks to New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai about how it got this bad — and why we cannot face it alone. They discuss watching democracy die in Turkey, why she’s not an “exile” — and why she refuses to lose her faith in humankind.
Award-winning investigative journalist Tam Hussein speaks to New Lines’ Lydia Wilson about his latest article for New Lines on the mythologization of Afghanistan by Western Islamists, how jihadist propaganda spread before the internet, and why the far-right admires the Taliban.
New Lines contributor Olivia Snaije and contributing editor Lydia Wilson speak to Faisal Al Yafai about recent articles they wrote exploring how the Middle East’s ancient heritage continues to shape modern politics — and how the story of a nation depends on who’s telling it.
Military tech journalist Kelsey Atherton speaks to New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai about how drones changed modern warfare, how emerging technologies will affect future conflicts — and why the real threat from killer robots is not what you might think.
Isma’il Kushkush and Dallia Abdelmoniem talk to New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai about the military takeover in Sudan. They explain why the coup took place, how it feels to be back out on the streets — and why the generals may have overplayed their hand.
Jonathan Powell is CEO of the conflict resolution charity Inter Mediate and has made a career talking to some of…
Nina Jankowicz is a fellow at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. and the author of “How to Lose the…
In this podcast, Farkhondeh Akbari and Andrew Watkins join New Lines for a conversation on Afghanistan. They share their sentiments about the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, assessments on decades of American intervention and recent withdrawal, and reflect on the past, present and future.
In a wide-ranging podcast with Newlines’ Kareem Shaheen, David Kaye, who served as the U.N. special rapporteur for freedom of opinion and expression discusses justice and accountability for crimes in the Middle East.
In a special podcast on the fall of Kabul and its aftermath, Emran Feroz, Fazelminallah Qazizai and Shelly Kittleson tell Newlines’ Faisal Al Yafai what it was like on the ground in Afghanistan before, during and after the takeover by the Taliban. They discuss that fateful Sunday in Kabul, where the long war against the Taliban fits into the wider war on terror, and what the Taliban might do next.
In this podcast, Isam Uraiqat of AlHudood picks his favorite satirical headlines, and talks censorship, the serious side of satire, why authoritarian governments hate being laughed at, how the US media handled Trump - and tells Newlines' Faisal Al Yafai what topics he would not joke about.
In this podcast, a discussion of what it felt like a year ago before and after the blast; the challenges of reporting on a city that is both a global story and also home – and why living in Beirut sometimes feels like waiting for life to restart.
In this wide-ranging podcast, the writer and political analyst Rime Allaf recalls the death of Hafez al-Assad in Syria and traces the years of his son’s rule, from the Lebanon occupation to the Syrian revolution.
Arash Azizi, author of “Shadow Commander”, and Cameron Khansarinia, policy director at the National Union for Democracy in Iran, sit down for a podcast with Newlines’ Rasha Elass to discuss what the election of the “hanging judge” means for Iran.
Peter Pomerantsev is the author of This Is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality. In this podcast, he explores modern memory wars, and how they are attempting to remake reality, from Ukraine to America.
Nafees Hamid is a cognitive scientist of political violence who wrote “The Neuroscience of ‘Devoted Actors’ Within Extremist Groups”, on why people join violent groups. In this podcast, he explores similarities between jihadists who joined ISIS and the insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol.
Nick Foretek is the author of “The Philosopher’s Wine”, a long-read for Newlines that tells the story of several years in the life of one Syrian fighter. In this podcast, he discusses how he first met the fighter in Cairo, what prompted him to tell the story, why he made certain literary decisions – and whether he thinks the fighter is a sympathetic character.
In a wide-ranging conversation with Newlines, Mustafa Akyol discusses what happened when he was arrested by the religious police in Malaysia; early Muslim reformers and the making of the first Muslim state; the coercive power of modern Islamic states and why he believes it is holding back the full flourishing of the Muslim world.