Categories
Guest Voices

Islamic Insurgency Rages in Nigeria

The Michigan State University geographer Harm de Blij, in the 2012 edition of his book, Why Geography Matters, writes about an “Islamic Front” in sub-Saharan Africa that stretches from Sudan, bordering the Red Sea in the east, to Sierra Leone on the Atlantic Ocean in the west. And the line cuts many countries, including Nigeria, Africa’s […]

Categories
Arts

Documentary on Marvin Hamlisch Celebrates a Great American Composer

Musical notes coursed through his blood, recalls a friend. The late Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012) was an American composer whose melodic songs and iconic scores for Broadway plays and Hollywood movies earned him a slew of prestigious prizes — four Grammys, four Emmys, three Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Who […]

Categories
Arts

A Wonderful Documentary about J.D. Salinger

Jerome David Salinger, the great American novelist, was ubiquitous yet remote and elusive. His iconic debut novel, The Catcher in the Rye, published in 1951, has been read by three generations of adolescents in the United States and the rest of the world and has sold an astonishing 60 million copies, a figure that staggers […]

Categories
Arts

Igor and the Cranes’ Journey is enchanting

Once in a while, a film of pristine and profound beauty comes along, fixating and enchanting a viewer. Igor and the Cranes’ Journey, directed by Evgeny Ruman, is such a film. The Toronto Jewish Film Festival’s Chai Tea & A Movie series will screen in on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. (Tea is served […]

Categories
Arts

Gloria Explores a Rarely Broached Topic

A dowdy middle-aged woman nurses a drink in a singles club in Santiago, Chile. She looks vulnerable and lonely. She perks up as she dances with an old friend, but when she leaves the noisy, smoke-filled club, she is still utterly alone. Gloria, the woman in question, is a divorcee with two grown children. Plain looking, […]

Categories
Travel

The Varadero Bubble

It was freezing cold in Toronto and I yearned for the heat. Weary of the January weather, my wife and I decided to book an all-inclusive package to Cuba. We chose Cuba because it offers what far more expensive destinations in the Caribbean also offer: great weather, nice sandy beaches and comfortable hotels. We had read […]

Categories
Guest Voices

Tunisia Weathers the Arab Spring

You may remember this old joke from the 1990s: What is Communism? Answer: The transition between capitalism and capitalism. To this we can now add: What was the Arab Spring? In Egypt, it has been the transition between military dictatorship and military dictatorship, with a brief interlude of Muslim Brotherhood rule. Remember all the nonsense […]

Categories
Guest Voices

Pakistan — A Deeply Troubled Country

Pakistan has been called “the most dangerous place in the world” by Pakistani journalist Imtiaz Gul, the executive director of the Islamabad-based Centre for Research and Security Studies. Throughout its history, this country of 180 million people — the second largest Muslim state in the world — has been subject to periodic military coups, often […]

Categories
Middle East

Palestinian Incitement Campaign Counter-Productive

Incitement and peace don’t mix, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said recently, referring to a persistent and disturbing pattern in which Israel and Jews are demonized and delegitimized by the institutions of the Palestinian Authority, the representative body of the Palestinians currently engaged in peace talks with the Israeli government. Charging that the PA’s campaign of […]

Categories
Arts

Paul Verhoeven Film Retrospective to be Presented by TIFF

North American filmgoers are probably familiar with Paul Verhoeven’s Hollywood films — science fiction blockbusters like Total Recall, RoboCop and Starship Troopers, the erotic thriller Basic Instinct and the bust of all busts, Showgirls, which almost ruined his career. It would be fair to say they know much less about his Dutch-language films, from Turkish Delight, one of his […]