January 8, 2015
I’m a journalist but was only by chance in the vicinity of the massacre at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. I was en route to visit a friend. This took me past the paper’s office and thus put me at the heart of the bloodiest attack France has seen in the past 50 years.
Continue reading The Irreplaceable Staff of Charlie Hebdo
January 8, 2015
I had no intention of reporting on this from the scene of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. I was walking up Boulevard Richard Lenoir to meet a friend who lives in the neighborhood. But the moment I saw what I did, I knew for sure what had happened. A decade in Turkey teaches you that. That many ambulances, that many cops, that many journalists, and those kinds of faces can mean only one thing: a massive terrorist attack.
Continue reading First-Hand Account From The Terrorist Attack on Charlie Hebdo
The Washington Post, March 2006
LAST SATURDAY MORNING, needing help to move several heavy cartons of books from my apartment in central Paris to a storage room, I hired two movers and a van from the want ads. Students were in the streets protesting the Contrat de Première Embauche (CPE) — a law proposed to combat unemployment by giving employers more flexibility to fire young employees — and the barricades and traffic diversions made our four-block drive into a half-hour ordeal.
Continue reading Paris Burning, Once Again
Washington Post, May 2007
ISTANBUL: Bulent and Dogu are easygoing young Turks and unlikely authoritarians. Bulent just returned from the hippie trail in Southeast Asia, and Dogu’s son is named Cosmos. But when the military recently threatened to settle Turkey’s disputed presidential elections, they approved, suggesting just how hard it is to sort Turks into familiar political categories.
Continue reading In Turkey, a Looming Battle Over Islam
LEFT IN DARK TIMES: A STAND AGAINST THE NEW BARBARISM
Bernard-Henri Lévy, Random House, 233 pp., US$ 25.00a
December 15, 2008
A curious thing happened as I was reading Bernard-Henri Lévy’s latest book: I found myself moved.
It begins with an account of a phone call from Nicolas Sarkozy in March, 2007. Lévy recalls Sarkozy’s triumphant tone as he asked whether Lévy had seen André Glucksman’s article in Le Monde.
Continue reading LEFT BEHIND
What it was like to be an American in France in the aftermath of 9/11
9 September 2011
I was in Paris, alone. My father was in Washington, D.C., with his parents. After seeing the images on television, my grandfather, already ill, collapsed. My memories of September 11 are bound up inextricably with my grandfather’s death.
My grandparents were musicians, refugees from the Nazis. They fled to Paris from their native Leipzig in 1933. From my grandfather’s memoirs:
Continue reading The View From Abroad
RADIO FREE EUROPE
July 08, 2009
Very few people in Turkey are exercised by the YouTube blackout, now in its second year. Despite the ban, the video-sharing site is believed to be the ninth most popular site in Turkey. Almost every Internet user — from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the humblest teenage porn connoisseur — knows how to circumvent it with proxy browsers. “I get in,” Erdogan told reporters in November, 2008. “You can do so as well.”
Continue reading Turkey’s YouTube Ban Is Cause For Concern
Sunday, August 9, 2009
REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN EUROPE
Immigration, Islam, and the West
By Christopher Caldwell
Doubleday. 422 pp. $30
“Reflections on the Revolution in Europe” — an allusion to Burke — is the latest in a series of pessimistic books, my own included, treating the conflict between post-Christian Europe and a resurgent Islam. Christopher Caldwell, an editor of the Weekly Standard and contributor to the Financial Times, makes arguments that have been made elsewhere: Mass immigration has changed Europe’s demography and is rapidly changing its culture. Many immigrants to Europe have failed to assimilate; many retain or have developed an Islamic identity antithetical to liberal European values.
Continue reading Make Way For the New Europeans
The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism
by Theodore Dalrymple
(Encounter, 163 pp., $23.95)
Many books have now been written about Europe’s malaise, most making similar observations, but Dr. Theodore Dalrymple has two great gifts and an advantage. His gifts are his prose style-effortlessly fluent yet never affected-and his keen powers of observation. His advantage is his experience of life.
Having trained as a psychiatrist, Dr. Dalrymple practiced medicine in such countries as Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and South Africa before returning to Birmingham to spend a long career treating patients in slum hospitals and inner-city prisons.
Continue reading Dark Continent
My qualifications as an alarmist about the Islamization of Europe are second to none, according to my critics. But even I cannot find a good legal, political, or moral argument for Swiss voters’ decision, in a November referendum, to ban the building of minarets. Legally, it introduces a contradiction into the Swiss constitution, which is quite clear on this point: “Nobody may be discriminated against, namely for his or her . . . religious, philosophical, or political convictions.”
Continue reading The Wrong Ban