The Contemporary Novel of Ideas Finds its Footing
March 13, 2014
Two recent novels by Nigerian expats have explored the limits of the novel of ideas.
Don't Let the (Creative) Terrorists Win
September 22, 2013
It has been a gruesome 48 hours. On Saturday, in Kenya, at least 68 people were slaughtered when gunmen from Somalia's Shahab extremist group entered a mall and started firing indiscriminately.
Al Qaeda’s Not as Battered as Obama Thinks
November 29, 2012
Is the terror group dead or alive? It's complicated.
The Terrifying Rise of Greece’s Nazi Party
October 19, 2012
They own the streets; is parliament next?
The Multiple Hero
August 02, 2012
The Dream of the CeltBy Mario Vargas Llosa Translated by Edith Grossman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 358 pp., $27) PERHAPS, once a man’s bones have been hauled from his grave, he will forever be unquiet. In David Rudkin’s play Cries from Casement as His Bones are Brought to Dublin, a Catholic cardinal admonishes the long-dead Roger Casement as his bones are brought to Dublin: “Be a good patriot, shut your mouth. Lie down.” But the Irish nationalist martyr and international pioneer of human rights will not lie easy in his grave.
In a speech Monday at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, made a forthright defense of the drone war currently being conducted against Islamic militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. “As a result of our efforts,” he declared, “the United States is more secure and the American people are safer.” Brennan’s argument deserves credit for its boldness.
Feebleness at the UN, Extremism in Nigeria
February 20, 2012
I. The U.N. General Assembly has, by a vote of 137-12 (with 17 abstentions), condemned Bashar al-Assad and his relentless killing of the Syrian opposition which has gone on for nearly a year. The news was on page 12 of The New York Times which tells you just how significant the paper’s editors thought the resolution to be. The gifted reporter, Rick Gladstone, told us just about everything you would want to know.
Five Books I Wish I Had Written About This Year
December 14, 2011
It’s that season again: time for the annual purge of my bookshelves. As usual, my ambition outstripped my reviewing appetite this year, and I’m left facing a shelf full of worthy titles that I somehow never got around to. So, as I did in this space last year, I’m making my year-end compilation not a greatest-hits list but a list of the books I regret not having written about. Among them are two novels (one a very impressive debut), the best collection of short fiction I’ve read in years, an essay collection, and a memoir. Open City, by Teju Cole (Random House).
What the U.N. Can Do to Stop Getting Attacked by Terrorists
September 02, 2011
For years, the United Nations has taken pains to present itself to the world as an impartial, international institution dedicated to helping people around the world. But when the Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram detonated a car bomb at the UN’s compound in Abuja, Nigeria, last Friday, killing 23 and wounding at least 75, it was a stark reminder that, no matter how hard the UN tries to be neutral, many, especially in the Muslim world, see it as a proxy of Western powers. Indeed, for many groups bent on wrecking havoc, the UN has become synonymous with the United States.
July 13, 2011
The U.S. ship in the successor flotilla aiming to break the Israeli embargo of the Gaza Strip has been named The Audacity of Hope. It is a bad joke that Barack Obama deserves. His proven coldness toward Israel has emboldened these foolish and meretricious people (including the uproariously silly Alice Walker) to open yet another front against the Jewish state. Of course, their campaign is not really about the embargo. It is about the very existence of Israel. It is not genocide, but it is politicide, and this is also a crime against humanity.