Ideas, personal, opinion and the unclassifiable

2022

 

title. No Stone Unturned

published. Berfrois

quote. "The sun blinds me. I’m getting tired. In this sepia universe, it’s as if the wall has absorbed the missing colours of nature. The wind, gentle at first, now roars and pinches my face on the hill’s summit. The slopes are unforgiving but each stone, tree, mound and flying bird whisper that the limitless exists; it’s right here, there."

 

2021

title. What is Guilt?

published. Philosophy Now

quote. "What change would emerge if we also considered prospective responsibility, that is to say, saw the present in the light in the future and what future generations might justly say of our deeds, individual or collective? If one chooses accountability, duty, and bearing responsibility, then living the ‘consciousness of guilt’ that Jaspers describes can be a transformative and healthy incarnation of self-awareness."

title. In Combourg (On Chateaubriand)

published. Berfrois

quote. "I meandered my way through the medieval city streets of Saint-Malo until I climbed stony stairs down a beach where young people played football and volleyball and older people sunbathed. On that late September afternoon, the last hours of summer were kind and offered a different vista than the regular storms and restless waves which had lulled Chateaubriand to sleep before his encounter with Combourg’s nightly, spectral terrors."

title. Pandemic Diversions: On the Modern Day Myths and Freaky Folktales of The Siberian Times

published. Literary Hub (LitHub)

quote. "I’ve looked for a mental escape this past year; and I found one, a perfect antidote to the anguish, in a meta-space opposing the many non-places surrounding me. I could momentarily lose myself in cognitive dissonance limbo. The Siberian Times is, in a way, an endless book of fiction in serialized form, where pretense is at times convincing enough to fool, where no narrator is truly reliable."

title. In Yemen, Women are the Heroes

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Katyusha rockets, she whispered in a broken voice. By then, after a few weeks of war, we had become experts at distinguishing artillery sounds, suicide bombings and air strikes. I heard her sobbing and shrieking when rockets landed nearer to her building. We stayed on the phone silent for a while until she said, I think it stopped now. At that time, the Saudi-led coalition waged a street-by-street battle to retake control Aden from the Houthis and my friend’s home was right in the middle."

title. The Jasmine Revolution: Requiem for a Spring

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "It’s happening, I told everyone. It’s happening! We were the children of Harun Al-Rasheed’s exuberant tales, the children of his Ali Baba and we would retake stolen treasures from the thieves. I wanted to see you again and measure how tall you’d become. I imagined a future."

2020

title. Bahamut, or the Salt of the Earth

published. The Markaz Review, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Each visit brought greater oddity and unfamiliarity. I’ve concluded in my mind that the Dead Sea is an abnormality, a problem. To understand why, I went back to the past, to myths and recollections."

title. Into the Darkest Moment of a Dark Year Comes the Saturnalia, a Time for Drinking, Swearing, Gambling, and the Circle of Life

published. Religion Dispatches

quote. "There’s nothing more appropriate to reflect on in a pandemic year of grief which has forced us to reconsider fragility, finitude and time. During these shorter days and longer nights, as we may or may not put up a Christmas tree in our homes, we can think of ancient rites and mythology as a guiding light amid uncertainties."

title. We Need Air. Now.

published. The Philosophical Salon, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books, and a commentary published in Philosophie Magazine (in French)

quote. "A purple cloud carries Air, and he is surrounded by other purple clouds and various birds, against a royal blue sky. Air extends his gaze towards a green chameleon sitting on its right hand. The animal stands for an ethereal symbol of all-seeing. Collart modelled his prints on an art piece painted by his contemporary Maerten de Vos, which one can admire at the Prado Museum in Spain. In the oil original, called “The Air” a draped divine figure reminiscent of Aeolus, the keeper of winds, no longer looks to his chameleon pet but gazes into a higher distance. His background contains no blue sky, and the saturating clouds point to a single source of light – the sun? paradise?"

title. Our Tunisian Summer

published. Newlines Magazine (followed by a Live event)

quote. "Even my father had never been that far away from the Gulf of Tunis – or from Paris. We had never before spent so much time together, and I leaned back and listened to the stories he told and held my arm out the window and felt the wind. It was divine."

title. Nietzsche in Gramercy Park

published. 10:30pm Midsummer Night

quote. "On my latest stroll to Gramercy, early morning this time to apply new social distancing recommendations, I soaked in the sun, commanding from the eastern side. It casted zebra stripes on the familiar bloc."

title. An Impossible Joy

published. BestDamnWriting

quote. "My name, happy and cheerful, became a place of caustic coordinates and destruction. It no longer embraced mysterious corridors of Persian palaces pre-1979. It was all tints of lapis against dusty villages. A new mission to empower Afghan women through tanks and democracy. It would begin in Farah."

title. In Bangkok with A.

published. The Philosophical Salon, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "The sand from Siwa carried his mystery. I woke up before dawn. During the week between Christmas and the New Year, desert nights iced my limbs and skeleton. The sky turned purple, an oasis laid under an irenic spell. I left my squeaky bicycle against one of the mud fences. I broke into the Temple of Ammon through an unintended passage. There was no one; the tours would cram the main entrance gate in several hours. In the courtyard, the same venue he had walked in, the sun began to rise."

title. Looking for the Signs

published. The Nonconformist

quote. "The Empire State Building dressed in red imitates the flashing light of an ambulance beacon in a nod to first responders. Sirens resonate, always more disturbingly than their regular pre-pandemic occurrence, annunciating a wave of fresh martyrs. They used to howl eerily before too, but who remembers that?"

title. Solitude, Dasein, and a Pandemic

published. The Philosophical Salon, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books

quote. "Being-towards-death is at the heart of Dasein, for as soon as we exist, we are bound to die. This is hardly a novel idea, but one which could be traced back to oriental philosophies. In my certainty of death, I carry the future, and I am an existential embodiment of time. The future, through death and possibilities, is a driving force; it opens itself in the present."

title. Coronavirus isolation is an opportunity to face our fear of death, and make peace with ourselves (Op-Ed)

published. South China Morning Post

quote. "The Meditations opens with Aurelius thanking friends, the gods, peers and family, all listed in a gratitude-filled prelude. He encourages us to “clear the clouds from the mind”. This is not a bad start, as confinement measures spread across cities, countries and continents, forcing unintended occurrences of daunting reflection."

title. Down the Ganga

published. Mekong Review

quote. "Travelers have fallen to various ailments when confronted to altering experiences impossible to transcribe – the Stendhal syndrome, the Jerusalem syndrome, for some even, a Paris syndrome. I had never heard of a Varanasi syndrome before, yet my incapacity to attain closure might be this abstract missing piece, self-attributed to an elusive oceanic feeling, triggered by a river that carries the divine."

2019

title. What does the G7 in France have to do with Cambodia? (Op-Ed)

published. Phnom Penh Post

quote. "The G7 discussions recalled significant short to medium-term global risks which could directly exacerbate Cambodia’s existing vulnerabilities and slow down the progress towards the reduction of inequalities – a global recession and accelerated climate change."