Life in the Gray Zone

In the 13th century, the Italian town of Lucera was a Muslim island in a sea of Christendom. Here Frederick II, the head of the Holy Roman Empire, established his own shadow cabinet of scholars and advisors from among the Arabs that he invited to live in this walled city near the eastern coast of Italy. It was a bold, unconventional move during a precarious time in Christian-Muslim relations. The...
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Wrestling with Wrestling Jerusalem

Solo shows are about journeys. The performer tells the story of how he or she navigated through an experience of life-altering importance. At the beginning of Wrestling Jerusalem, the new solo show that kicks off Mosaic Theater Company’s latest Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival in Washington, DC, playwright and performer Aaron Davidman makes it clear that his journey of personal...
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US and Iran Collect Diplomatic Jackpot

In 1748, as part of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, France regained Cape Breton from Great Britain. The island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, had passed back and forth between the two countries over the years, and previous treaties had been as binding as toilet paper. But as part of the 1748 treaty, Great Britain sent several British peers to Paris as a guarantee of the British king’s good faith...
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Africa’s Success Story?

The most impressive person I met in Botswana barely said a word. She was an older woman, small in stature. We were sitting next to each other at a table during lunch at a conference about Botswana’s economic model. In a quiet voice, she told me that she was a former government minister. We talked briefly about the conference, neither of us saying anything particularly memorable. Then we were...
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Between Rocks and a Hard Place

A large billboard on the side of the road urges residents of this dusty capital city to restrict their showers to under three minutes. Even now, during the rainy season, Gaborone is experiencing a severe water shortage. At the luxury casino resort hotel where I stayed on a recent trip, water flowed from the taps only a few hours each day. The current water shortage offers a stark reminder that...
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