Replica of a wall panel from the Temple of the Storm God in the Citadel of Aleppo (Photo: Timo Al-Farooq)

Memory making is usually initiated after the conclusion of a historiographically relevant event or period: the statue that glorifies the valiant fighter of a bygone battle; the natural history museum that brings to life extinct animal species; the memorial that warns against the repetition of war and genocide.

Between November 22, 2018 and April 30, 2019, the renowned Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) in the Qatari capital Doha memorialized a country that still exists and with which we are all familiar with, albeit for all the wrong reasons: since March 15, 2011, Syria has been experiencing a continuous civil war…

Then Vice President Joe Biden in Baghdad in 2016 (Photo credit: Executive Office of the President of the United States. Via Wikimedia Commons)

I am not a big fan of internet memes, but a few days before the U.S. elections I came across one on my social media feed that was brilliant. The post juxtaposed two identical images of a fighter plane dropping bombs, with one image captioned “Republicans” and the one next to it captioned “Democrats.”

The only distinction between the two: the latter plane had an LGBTQ rainbow flag on its rudder, while a Black Lives Matter logo in the style of the black and white “Parental Advisory” label and the words “Yes she can” were emblazoned across the side of…

The above picture shows one of my most prized possessions: my treasured copy of one of the most important books ever written, purchased a quarter of a century ago on a trip back to the U.S., my childhood home.

If it hadn’t been for this mental bulletproof vest and wisdom-spraying, truth-spitting shot-licker of a book, I would never have survived the cerebral racism & general naziesque mentality of white-devilish German society while growing up there as a teenager after my family moved there in the late-1980s.

Malcolm X, who was assassinated on this day 56 years ago, taught me to…

‘Freedom of Speech’ by Faramarz Ghahremanifar (Anaglyph 3D), 2015. (Source: Aesuithiel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons. Image has been cropped)

About eight months ago I wrote an essay in German titled “What it means to be a leftist today. And what that has to do with Israel.” It dealt with the overall hypocrisy of the German left (social democrats, Greens, socialist leftists, anti-fascists) with regards to their anti-racism credentials in general and their blind spot with regards to Israel in particular, extensively arguing the case that you cannot call yourself an antiracist if you willfully exclude Israel from the discussion.

Why? Because Israel — lauded by Western narrative construction as “the only democracy in the Middle East” is founded on…

White privilege on tour in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Timo Al-Farooq)

Any white person who has travelled in Asia or Africa — especially off the beaten track away from mass tourism — will undoubtedly have experienced the curiosity their presence often tends to generate among locals and the friendliness, hospitality and willingness to help that is extended to visitors from afar.

Think about the spontaneous invitations from strangers in India to drink chai at their home. Cheerful children in Malaysian kampungs on their way home from school proudly shouting “Hello Mister!” at passing white people, irrespective of their gender. Kepala desas in rural Indonesia inviting white backpackers over for dinner. …

Rethinking traditional notions of power within international relations theory

The business district West Bay in the Qatari capital Doha (Photo credit: Timo Al-Farooq)

This article first appeared on the British news website The Muslim Vibe (

What do France’s top football club Paris Saint Germain, the British luxury department store Harrods, Germany’s largest car-maker Volkswagen and the Bank of America have in common? They are all fully or partly owned by the tiny Persian Gulf State of Qatar.

With a population of approximately 2,7 million, the country is frequently associated with multiple superlatives: boasting the highest per capita income in the world; being designated by the UN as a country of very high human development; possessing the third-largest natural gas reserves in the…

Eine Berlin-Glosse

Unapologetisch berlinerisch, auch in Zeiten von Corona: stockender Verkehr bis Stau auf der Stadtautobahn 100. (Foto: Timo Al-Farooq)

Gib jemandem den kleinen Finger, und er nimmt die ganze Hand: Auch wenn die bundesweiten Stay-at-home-Vorgaben trotz Lockerungen weiterhin gelten, scheint man in der deutschen Hauptstadt nicht viel davon zu halten. Beweisstück A: das obige Foto von der Berliner Stadtautobahn 100 vom vergangenen Mittwoch Nachmittag, dem Auftakt ins verlängerte Himmelfahrtswochenende.

Echt faszinierend wie viele Berufspendler in einer so sozial ungleichen Stadt wie Berlin ein Auto haben. Und wie viele Berliner plötzlich einen Zweitwohnsitz in Brandenburg und Schleswig-Holstein. Denn eigentlich durften am vergangenen Wochenende nur die in diese Bundesländer reisen.

So sieht also „Regieren“ in der Krise aus.

Apropos: wer bis…

An Introduction to German Racism

Dear Ciara,

thank you for not making me have to go back to Germany today and allowing me to stay here in the UK longer.

You might not know this, but my home country Germany is one of the most casually racist places you will find. Racism is so nonchalantly endemic, bipartisan and socially accepted there that every time I go back I have to acclimatize myself afresh to this toxic status quo of normalized selective dehumanization perpetuated by the right, the center and even parts of the left.

Fascinatingly enough, Germans — from conservatives to liberals, and often even…

Hong Kong’s Kowloon area, one of the focal points of the ongoing pro-democracy protests (Photo © Timo Al-Farooq)

For over seven months now Hong Kong has been rattled by mass protests against mainland Chinese domination. I talked to Aaron B. (name has been pseudonymized to ensure confidentiality), a China expert and independent researcher from Berlin, Germany, about the ongoing volatility in the Special Administrative Region.

Aaron, the Australian journalist CJ Werleman who routinely writes about China‘s mass internment of Muslim Uyghurs cautioned in a piece for the UK‘s Byline Times that what is happening to the former could also happen to the protesters in Hong Kong. Do you share his view?

What are you going to do, throw…

The light at the end of the tunnel is darkness. Embrace it, dear Left, times will get worse before they get better (Photo © Timo Al-Farooq)

Despite one of my New Year’s resolutions being spending less time on social media, one of the first things I did on the first day of 2020 while my morning coffee was brewing was to go on Instagram. There, my feed showed me a post by Salma Yacoob of the UK’s Labour Party who is also running to be the candidate for West Midlands Mayor:

“Happy New Year! What New Year’s resolutions do you think Labour should make?”

My compact, but detailed reply began with “To fight fire with fire.” Labour in the UK and the global Left from the…

Timo Al-Farooq

Journalist from the gentrified wastelands of Berlin, the capital of the Merkelian Postdemocratic Republic. Based in London.

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