Caleb Powell

Caleb Powell

The writer is a Polish/Persian American and worked overseas for eight years, in East Asia, the Middle East, and South America. He now lives in the Pacific Northwest with his family. He Tweets @sonofmizrahi (twitter.com/sonofmizrahi?lang=en)

Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ represents “anti-news”, only highlighting the dumb things Donald Trump did

When I was asked if I wanted to write about Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House, my a priori response was, No! My curiosity does not extend to the contents of Wolff’s book, not to mention penning a whole blog on the topic. Thus I responded half tongue-in-cheek, “no thanks, but I’d be willing to scrawl a self-indulgent piece on why not to read the book.” The Express Tribune Blogs called my bluff, and thus here goes. There are readers, editors and writers that prioritise tabloid phenomena. Wolff’s book represents “anti-news,” a big ball of “nothing we haven’t heard before”. ...

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Is it really the end of the Islamic State?

On November 21, 2017, media outlets reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani declared the end of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Soon after, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin met with Syria’s Bashar al Assad, and then with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, all three intent on reinforcing their hegemonies. Regime change in Syria now seems even more unlikely, not to mention justice for the victims of Assad’s war crimes. Erdogan will continue to silence opposition and allocate more resources in his offensive against the Kurds, while Putin strengthens ties with two allies in the Middle East. Thus, even without the IS, the ...

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It isn’t hate speech for Yiannopoulos to say “feminism is cancer”, it’s just how he feels

In May of 2016, Ben Shapiro resigned from Breitbart News because it was a “propaganda outlet for Donald Trump”. That same month Shapiro posted a joyous announcement on social media, saying that his wife had given birth to their second child. With infinite gratitude to God, we're overjoyed to welcome to the world our new baby boy, who arrived at 10:30 this morning! — Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 8, 2016 In response, Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart mainstay Tweeted: “Prayers to Ben who had to see his kid come out half-black. And already taller than he is!” The Tweet included a photo of a black infant. ...

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Are the voices of the world enough to end the absurdity behind the #MuslimBan?

The media went on overdrive when Donald Trump, immediately after inauguration, followed through on his promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims”. The New York Times reported:  “The president’s order… suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” When The Express Tribune asked if I wanted to write a blog on the Muslim ban, I started taking notes, and by the time I finished a draft, ...

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If a Trump and a Muslim American can put aside their differences, why can’t we?

Recently, the Huffington Post covered an incident where a Muslim American comedian, Mohammed Amer, sat next to Eric Trump on a flight. A fellow passenger warned, “I wouldn’t even sit next to him if I were you.” Mr Amer, ignoring the advice, took a seat and had a pleasant exchange with the son of the future POTUS, even when they discussed immigration and the proposed ban on Muslims. Amer said, “I just know we had a good, decent conversation, and I think that proves that we can talk to each other, and I think that’s what’s most important.” He concluded, “We need to…work through the problems and find the solutions… (and not ...

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Did the biased media coverage of the US elections ensure Trump’s victory?

On April 6, 1994, a missile shot down an airplane carrying Hutu leaders Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprian Ntayamira in Rwanda, unleashing the ethnic majority Hutus against the minority Tutsis on a campaign of mass murder. As the atrocity spread, the world debated the nuances of the word ‘genocide’. Three months and at least half a million deaths later proved that, yes, it was genocide. Semantics matter. During the 2016 US election, mainstream media’s refusal to correctly identify bigotry, while perhaps not as egregious as mislabelling ethnic cleansing, has contributed to Donald Trump’s victory. Semantics matter. Trump’s detractors, and count me ...

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Should the Wheaton College Professor have been suspended for wearing a hijab?

Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off” hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Times: “Women may want to express ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women by covering up. But Muslim women don’t need to cover up. This act ...

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How do Americans and non-Muslims view Eidul Azha?

This year, a controversy surrounded the arrival of Eidul Azha, the second most important holiday in Islam, involving the holiday’s date, as the Express Tribune reported: American Muslims on edge as Eidul Azha looks set to fall on September 11th. Muslims abroad, especially in the United States, faced the prospect that celebration would coincide with a day of mourning of those killed at the World Trade Centres. As a result, some Muslim leaders prepared for tension between their community and anti-Muslim bigots. In the New York Times, Linda Sarsour, executive director of the Arab American Association of New York, said, “Our community is like, ‘What are we supposed to do?’ I should ...

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What would a Trump presidency mean?

It’s official. Donald Trump, as of July 19, 2016, is the Republication nominee for President of the United States. How could this combo of successful businessman, womaniser, and charismatic reality show TV star edge so close to the highest office in the United States?  This same man built his 2012 presidential run by challenging Obama’s citizenship, claiming he was really a Muslim born in Kenya, he’s synonymous with the Trump University scandal, his “generous contributions” to charity, when fact checked (by the Washington Post) prove false, and he will not release his tax returns. Trump 2016 has not swallowed magic beans. ...

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War is beautiful: Does photography glamourise war?

Forty years ago, Susan Sontag, in an essay for the New York Review of Books, wrote, “To photograph people is to violate them… Just as a camera is a sublimation of a gun, to photograph someone is a sublimated murder.” This and other essays backed her argument that photography was “essentially an act of non-intervention” that shared “complicity” in “another person’s pain or misfortune”. Photo: www.worldpressphoto.org Significantly, Sontag noted that Nick Ut’s (Huỳnh Công Út) photo of Kim Phuc, a naked South Vietnamese girl with arms spread, wracked in pain from napalm, “Did more to increase the public revulsion against the ...

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