By Mehru Jaffer
He vanquished half the world. But from Hellespont to the Himalayas he was cheered by the very people he conquered. Colourful legends that trail the man to this day reveal one thing in common: wherever he went he was considered great. The desire to possess Alexander, also called Sikander in India, is a kind of inter-continental war in itself. The legend in Alexandria goes that the exiled Egyptian king was also a magician. Olympias, the Albanian princess, heard about him and gave him her horoscope.
When Tariq Ramadan talks of Islam, he makes more sense than any stereotypical mullah. Yet, the 45-year-old Geneva-based Muslim intellectual is distrusted by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. His “call to conscience,” and ideas of sublimating the ego have made secular democrats suspicious of his Muslim roots. Orthodox Muslims denounce him for being a proud European who rejects the medieval interpretation of his religion.
Last October turned out to be one of the most inspiring months in recent times.This was the first time that October 2, birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi declared by the United Nations as the international day of non-violence, was publicly observed in Vienna.
The Bruno Kreisky Forum, a permanent centre for dialogue in Vienna, hosted a conference 'Iraq: The Way Forward', recently. Naturally, the topic attracted a houseful of expectant people wanting to make sense of the tragedy that Iraq is reduced to today.
What a fuss is made worldwide over immigration and outsourcing. This is despite the fact that both provide natural fuel to any free market, something that the whole world has decided is necessary today for survival itself. And the biggest cry baby is America, a self-styled champion of free trade. In an increasingly competitive global market some opinion makers in rich countries like America seem to advocate economic isolationism at home but unrestricted access to markets elsewhere in the world, even though this is not in the interest of their own people.
It is now become a habit to reflect on love, life and longing towards the end of each year. Thoughts that come to mind on the eve of this New Year dwell upon the extraordinary times we live in, accompanied by regret over the lack of leadership to help the world cope with its historic tryst with destiny.By Mehru Jaffer
We followed the autumn fog to Heidenreichstein. This little town on the north-west tip of Austria is wrapped in mist at this time of the year and sold to tourists as the mystical quarter of the country. The romantic landscape of heath, moor, woods and gigantic hanging stones considered sacred from before Nordic times, was the venue of a rare literary festival revolving around the works of Salman RushdieBy Mehru Jaffar
My liberal friends avoid me. They are fed up of the “jihadis,” they say and want no more talk about Islam.By Mehru Jaffer
The writer shares experiences of culinary delights in the cradle of civilisation Mehru Jaffer Ciya