Reportage/Features

Can An Independent Kurdistan Reshape the Middle East (Newsweek Jul. 29, 2014)

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  When Isis militants stormed the Iraqi city of Mosul in June, the disastrous fragility of Iraq’s armed forces was laid bare.  It also ignited a process that may lead to the setting up of the world’s first independent Kurdish state. Since the departure of US forces from Iraq in 2011, relations between the Iraqi administration [Read more…]

Good News From Afghanistan? (Commentary Magazine, July/August 2014)

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Good News From Afghanistan? (Commentary Magazine, July/August 2014)

On the Unheralded Transformation of Kabul  “Everybody knows the war is over./ Everybody knows the good guys lost.” -Leonard Cohen Everyone knows that there has been no progress and no development in Afghanistan, that the West’s efforts there since the overthrow of the Taliban have been a gigantic waste of blood and treasure. Everyone knows that the [Read more…]

Postcard from ... Hargeysa, Somaliland (The World Today Oct 2013)

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No 1 African literary festival: Somaliland buzzing with expectation No one would claim that the Hargeysa International Book Fair presents a threat to the Jaipur Literary Festival or its ilk. It will be a while before the capital of the Somaliland Republic – a country yet to be recognized by the world’s Foreign Offices despite 23 [Read more…]

Oslo - Signing OFF on Human Rights (Standpoint June 2010)

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Oslo - Signing OFF on Human Rights (Standpoint June 2010)

The Oslo Freedom Forum is alternative human rights conference that highlights causes too often ignored or forgotten There are not many occasions in life when you feel honoured to be in the same room as someone. However, it happened to me several times during the three days of the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF). The first was [Read more…]

Battle at Sea - Diving with Wounded Warriors (Sunday Times Magazine Nov. 13 2011)

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Battle at Sea - Diving with Wounded Warriors (Sunday Times Magazine Nov. 13 2011)

British servicemen seriously wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq are on the mend in a pioneering underwater healing programme in Florida Twelve divers are suspended in a semi-circle over pale sand, a few yards from the ribs of a wrecked sailing ship. Six of them are younger than the others. The one next to me is the [Read more…]

How Hollywood Finds Its Causes - Sunday Times (Oct. 04, 2009)

Aid/NGOs/Philanthropy, Reportage/Features Comments Off on How Hollywood Finds Its Causes – Sunday Times (Oct. 04, 2009)

Meet the discreet power brokers of the talent agencies who match influential charities with guilt-ridden celebrities The headquarters of the United Talent Agency is in a gleaming white building on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Inside, it looks and feels surprisingly like a corporate law firm. The men pacing around the glass-walled offices wear crisp white [Read more…]

Returning to Baghdad, where he was embedded in 2003, the author finds the “Hellraisers” of the Third Infantry facing the challenge of training Iraq’s new army I first saw Baghdad on April 8, 2003, two days before the city fell, while embedded with the army’s Third Infantry Division. What is now the Green Zone was recently [Read more…]

Fred Astaire ate there once a week and ran a tab; John Belushi dined there the night he died. Dan Tana’s was an insider’s place when it opened in 1964, and it’s an insider’s place now. Tana’s never changes; where there have been improvements over time, they have been so small and imperceptible that the old [Read more…]

Mumbai: On the 'Slumdog' Trail (Standpoint March 2009)

The Mumbai slums where Danny Boyle shot Slumdog Millionaire are a world of surprises. There are the gaggles of uniformed schoolchildren running through unpaved streets, satchels bouncing on their skinny backs – they study only in the morning or afternoon so they can work for a living the rest of the day. There are the Dickensian [Read more…]

The last enclave of pagan tribespeople in remotest Pakistan might already have fallen to the combined ravages of modernity and militant Islam were it not for a redoubtable, eccentric Englishwoman. The journey to Birir in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan takes you along a terrifying jeep track of 11 hairpin miles. It winds so sharply [Read more…]