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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

men should accept blame; women should assert agency

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following rant was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine, and I have her permission to reproduce it in its entirety. Systems of patriarchy are sometimes so entrenched, we just accept them as part of normal daily interactions. […]

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is there a “right” to health care?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

In the debate over health care, and the associated debate over illegal immigration, I’ve often heard the argument that “health care isn’t one of the rights defined in the Constitution.” This argument seems to me to deny the very concept […]

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Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) opens today

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE – the name of the building is now officially the Burj Khalifa, named after the ruler of neighbouring Abu Dhabi, to honor the bailout made by its sister emirate during the financial crisis. The Burj Dubai is officially open […]

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Phil Carter resigns

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Woah. Phil Carter has resigned. Phillip Carter, who was appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy in April, said in a brief telephone interview that he was leaving for “personal and family reasons” and not because of any […]

Iranian Baha’i and Saudi Shi’a

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

With all the attention paid to by the global muslim community towards Uyghurs, Iranians, Rohingya, and other oppressed yet largely unknown muslim minorities, it’s easy to forget that there are examples much closer to the muslim mainstream, but which receive […]

human shields in Gaza for the IDF?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the central rationalizations for the permissibility of “collateral damage” in warfare is that the enemy uses “human shields” – that militants are deliberately hiding among civilian populations so as to force the attacker to kill innocents if they […]

Blogger Peter Guo (@amoiist) arrested in China, twitters it

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I just saw a re-tweet from Rebecca MacKinnon that Chinese blogger Peter Guo has been arrested by authorities in China. Amazingly, it seems he managed to twitter his arrest while in custody, by using his phone while the police were […]

an Uyghur primer: the roots of discontent

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The oppression of the Uyghur in China’s Xinjiang province has been getting a surprising amount of media coverage. The first reaction most people have upon hearing about the Uyghur is to ask, “who?” so it’s worth reviewing some basic information […]

Baharestan is Tehran’s Tiananmen?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

UPDATE: Another eyewitness claims to have been at Baharestan Square and saw no violence, though the scene was “tense”. At this point it is impossible to know what to believe. We have to wait for the mainstream media to do […]

moving beyond pro-life and pro-choice in the abortion debate

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Lets get my personal opinion out of the way: I am generally in suppoort of Roe vs Wade because I think it does a good job of providing a simple, algorithmic solution to the messy lack of moral and ethical […]

rape at Abu Ghraib? Obama vs Taguba

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

A British newspaper, The Telegraph, is claiming that the unreleased photos from Abu Ghraib include images of rape and sexual abuse of men and women, as Seymour Hersh alleged a few years back. What makes this claim more credible is […]

About those photos… (part 1)

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Thomas Nephew. A few days ago, my friend Aziz Poonawalla published a couple of posts — “Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos” and “release the prisoner abuse photos — but […]

TRANSCRIPT: Obama’s speech on security and values

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Here is the complete transcript of Obama’s speech at the National Archives about the need to balance security and values. The word cloud shows the word “People” as most prominent, followed by Guantanamo and Security. This fits with the president’s […]

text SWAT to 20222 to donate $5 for Pakistan relief

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier I mentioned a few ways you can donate to various relief agencies working for Pakistani refugees in the Swat valley and other areas affected by the ongoing warfare with the Taliban. Now comes the most innovative initiative for fundraising […]

release the prisoner abuse photos – but not right now

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Earlier, I argued that President Obama was right to change his mind, regarding the release of new photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. My good friend Hussein Rashid took issue with my position, arguing that a […]

an appeal on behalf of the people of Swat

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is an urgent appeal for donations on behalf of the refugees of the Swat Valley, by Zeenat Ahmed, of the Center for Dialogue, Peace and Action (CDPA). Mrs. Ahmed is a well-known Pakistani activist whose family has been […]

Obama is right not to release the prisoner abuse photos

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is indeed a reversal of policy and campaign promises: President Obama said Wednesday that he would fight to prevent the release of photographs documenting abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan by United States military personnel, reversing his position […]

torture is terror

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The recent electoral losses of the Republican Party have indeed been good for conservatism, if for no reason other than the sprouting of new, fascinating conservative blogs run by principled and thought-provoking voices like Daniel Larison, Rod Dreher, and the […]

Phil Carter appointed as Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a great step forward for civil rights and detainee policy – as well as a well-deserved achievement by a fantastic blogger: The Obama administration has chosen a lawyer and Iraq War veteran who has denounced U.S. detention policy […]

Muslims Against Torture

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following statement of principles, A New Muslim Statement Against Torture, is reprinted from Religion Dispatches. It came about as a direct result of the general failure of the muslim-American community to join the national dialouge condemning torture when president […]

Dubai, city of the Pharoah, will fall

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Johann Hari has a landmark essay in The Independent “The Dark Side of Dubai” that lays bare the facade of the glittering city of Dubai, peeling away the illusion of modernity and freedom to reveal a shocking substrate of slavery […]

Previous Posts

the 12th Annual Brass Crescent Awards - nominations open
It's that time of the year again! What are the Brass Crescent Awards? Created in 2004 by Shahed Amanullah and Aziz Poonawalla, they are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Brass Crescent - ...

posted 5:13:45pm Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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