Introducing equanomics

January 2009 – Governments need to rethink their economy policies to make them more equitable and responsive to citizens’ needs. Read on


The audacity to dream

January 2009 – If we suspend scepticism and take up Barack Obama’s invitation to dream of change, what Middle East can the audacity of hope help to forge? Read on


Natural born warriors

January 2009 – Does scientific evidence that war is hardwired into human society mean that we are doomed to live in perpetual conflict? Read on


The love laboratory

January 2009 – Can science make us more attractive and appealing? Let’s put it to the test. Read on


Pale imitations

January 2009 – Why is fairness so coveted in societies with darker skin. Read on


The great Santa controversy

January 2009 – It’s the western world’s greatest childhood controversy: does Santa Claus exist? The answer is both comforting and disturbing to the children among us and within us. Read on


In the name of equality

January 2009 – Society is becoming more equal but our surnames – borrowed from fathers and husbands – lag behind. Is there a fairer system? Read on


What’s the difference between Obama and an Arab?

November 2008 – John McCain has furnished compelling proof that Barack Obama is not an Arab: the Democrat is a family man. Read on


Ramadan for drinkers

November 2008 – With booze in short supply, the month of fasting can be a thirsty wait for some Muslims. Read on


The God veto

November 2008 – Belief in the sacredness of the holy land has long bedevilled the quest for peace. It’s time to challenge the ‘God veto’. Read on


Forecast: dry, becoming drier

November 2008 – There’s more than enough fresh water in the world to sate our thirst. The problem is getting it to where it is desperately needed. Read on


Readers’ comments

November 2008 – Readers air their views on Obama and the Arabs, the fishy controversy surrounding Hitler’s favourite dish, ‘Eve teasing’ in Bangladesh, ‘virtual water’, the literally mammoth task of building the pyramids, and more. Read on


The Middle East on Biden

September 2008 – Does Obama’s choice of running mate mean he’s shaping up to be just another establishment candidate for the White House? Read on


Inverting the pyramids

September 2008 – The world isn’t short on wacky theories about Egypt’s greatest monuments. The reality is less fun, but more illuminating. Read on


An untenable state of affairs

September 2008 – With neither a two-state or bi-national solution imminent, Palestinians and their Israeli allies should attend to civil rights. Read on


Disarming the bomb in the basement

September 2008 – Israel’s weapons policy jeopardises the country’s own security and undermines efforts to create a nuclear-free Middle East. Read on


The human cost of cluster bombs

Katleen Maes

September 2008 – Cluster bombs continue to hurt people and their livelihoods years after they were dropped. Read on


The ICC and Darfur

Tom Kenis

September 2008 – The ICC indictment of Sudan’s leadership merits a balanced appraisal. Read on


Hawks, doves and lame ducks

August 2008 – In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the standoff between hawks and doves has long rendered the quest for peace a lame duck. Read on


Fixing Olympia

August 2008 – Finding an uncontroversial host for the Olympics is a tricky business. The games need a permanent site on neutral territory. Read on


Seeing through the climate change hot air

August 2008 – The climate change debate has become shrouded in hot air. We need to step back and look at the larger picture. Read on


Imagine... if the kids took over

August 2008 – The future would look very different if we put the peace process in the hands of Palestinian and Israeli children. Read on


And in other Muslim news

August 2008 – A recent survey found that two-thirds of media coverage of British Muslims was negative. The time is ripe for other news. Read on


Mo-town record

August 2008 – Twenty thousand Muhammads in one place is not a world record, it is an everyday reality. Read on


Readers’ comments

August 2008 – A selection of readers’ comments on miracles, the food crisis, the spirit of Moroccan law, a clash of civilisations in Manhattan, the importance of reading between the signs, and more. Read on


Why Muslims don’t pig out

July 2008 – Muslims may sing odes to alcohol and even abandon religion, but pigs will fly before most will allow pork to pass their lips. Read on


Contemplating God-free zones

July 2008 – There is a misperception among the religious that a ‘godless society’ robs modern life of its soul and substitutes the material for the magical. Read on


The clash inside

July 2008 – The stubbornly persistent ‘clash of civilisations’ theory ignores the abundant clashes within ‘civilisations’ and the alliances that traverse them. Read on


Obama’s eastern promise

July 2008 – Barack Obama’s first name derives from the Arabic for ‘blessing’, but if he becomes president will he be a boon or a curse for the Middle East? Read on


Hillary’s curse of the pharaohs

June 2008 – Hillary Clinton seems to suffer from the age-old pharaoh’s curse afflicting women seeking to lead a nation. Read on


Found: the dustbin of history

June 2008 – An ancient Egyptian rubbish dump offers fascinating glimpses into life in the City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish. Read on


2048: a peace odyssey

May 2008 – Israel is 60 years old and the conflict still rages on. Can we look forward to peace by the 100th anniversary? Read on


Male feminist pigs?

May 2008 – Some regard possession of a vagina as crucial for membership in the feminist movement. But can't a man be a feminist too? Read on


The Big Sneeze

May 2008 – Hay-fever season is coming early this year. It's time for sufferers to ready for battle - but finding effective relief is no sneezing matter. Read on


Extinguishing old flames

May 2008 – Like someone who hitches up with a despised old flame after years apart, I'm kicking myself for having taken up smoking again. Read on


Raising Olympia above politics

April 2008 – In a divided world, finding an uncontroversial host for the Olympics is a tricky business. The solution could be to create a permanent Olympic village on neutral international territory. Read on


Signs of the times

April 2008 – New York is plastered with notices – some of them carrying very obvious instructions. It’s a new kind of visual pollution. Read on


The man behind the prophet

April 2008 – Muhammad was one of the most influential figures in human history. But who was the man behind the icon? Read on


In search of Arab authors

April 2008 – The Arab world is in desperate need of more novelists in the English language to bring home the realities of the region through fiction. Read on


Hell hath more fury

March 2008 – Why is it so many people seem to be hell bent on silencing others? Neither should the Quran be banned nor the film attacking it. Read on


Ad lib

March 2008 – Want to fulfil your dreams and be happy? Why not ad liberate yourself today? Now available in convenient 30-second doses. Beware of side effects. Read on


Our true colours?

March 2008 – The idea that we might all be knee-jerk DNA political reactionaries is far-fetched and dangerous – politics should be about persuasion. Read on


What the readers say

March 2008 – Some more readers’ reactions to articles on Diabolic Digest. Read on


The migrants’ almanac

February 2008 – For those tired of the endless polarised debate on immigration, there is a breed of migrants that no political or cultural frontier can hold back. Read on


Visionary democracy

February 2008 – With one eye on the next elections, it is tempting for democratically elected leaders to focus on the short term. Is it time to consider longer terms in office? Read on


Cif’s angels and demons

January 2008 – I’m accused of being everything from a neocon ‘Uncle Tom’ to an ‘Islamofascist’. Does this mean I’m doing my job properly? Read on


Death in fast motion

January 2008 – Grief at the loss of a loved one knows no cultural boundaries but increasing mobility may be making death a lonelier affair. Read on


Sleeper cells

December 2007 – Statistics reveal that more young people are succumbing to cancer. How do people in the prime of life cope when these sleeper cells go on the rampage? Read on


Sheikh with laughter

December 2007 – With Osama bin Laden unlikely to branch out into comedy, it’s important to give westerners a taste of Muslim humour. Read on


Perils of the moral high ground

November 2007 – The US Congress’s cynical manipulation of the Armenian genocide is hypocritical and a slur on the memories of those who perished. Read on


Inside an American harem

November 2007 – Forget the ‘mystical’ East. In the 21st century, the harem meets the American dream. Read on


Voices in the wilderness

November 2007 – Even with a Nobel peace prize, there’s a limit to what Al Gore can do, and so a group of determined eco-worriers are making plans ... Read on


What the readers say

November 2007 – Here are more reactions from readers. Read on


Faith and punishment

August 2007 – In Islam, apostasy and faithlessness are sins, but they are not worldly crimes. Those who claim otherwise are making a mistake. Read on


Our economic alchemy

August 2007 – JK Rowling’s billion-dollar success is certainly awe inspiring, but has she earned too much money? Read on


A song for the deaf

August 2007 – I’m sick of hearing the same old tune about how Muslims are silent in their condemnation of terrorism. Time for a song. Read on


A Christian jihad?

August 2007 – Many in the West fear the threat posed by political Islam. But there is a more ominous menace closer to home. Read on


What the readers say

July 2007 – Here is another selection of readers’ comments. Read on


Uri Avnery v Khaled Diab

One state or two?

July 2007 – Could a ‘one-state’ solution end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Read on

A history of violence

July 2007 – British-born ‘jihadis’ have been wreaking havoc at home and abroad for generations, lured by a heady mix of idealism, romance and rebellion. Read on


The other right of return

July 2007 – Palestinians have not been the Middle East’s only victims. We Arabs should recall the many Jews who paid the price for the Arab-Israeli conflict. Read on


Sex and the medina

July 2007 – The time is ripe for a Middle Eastern sexual revolution and there are signs that a quiet one is in progress. But will young Arabs openly stand up for their right to get laid? Read on


The Muslim faithless

July 2007 – Ridiculing and questioning Islam, Muhammad, the Qur’an and religion in general is an ancient tradition in Muslim countries. Read on


A war on error

June 2007 – It is time to dispel the myths surrounding Muslims – namely, that we are all terrorist anti-feminist teetotallers. Read on


A war on error (2)

June 2007 – It is time to dispel the myths that conservative Muslims often propagate about 'the west'. Read on


Small bombs, big trouble

Katleen Maes

June 2007 – There are renewed hopes of an international treaty on cluster munitions – although the only way forward is to ban them. Read on


Testing times

June 2007 – Across Europe, the real challenge when dealing with minority groups is not integration but marginalisation. Read on


Arab League should enter uncharted territory with Israel

April 2007 – The Arab League’s reaffirmation of the Saudi Peace Plan is a good step in the right direction, and the Israelis should seize the opportunity it offers. The Arabs can boost the prospect for peace by recognising Israel now. Read on and Readers’ reactions


The War on Error begins

April 2007 – The War on Error seeks to shatter the myths about ‘us’ and ‘them’ distorting the views of one another held by ‘Westerners’ and ‘Muslims’. This series takes a number of misconceptions on both sides and deconstructs them. Read on and Readers’ reactions


The rotten Apple which killed my iPod

April 2007 – One bad Apple update spoilt Khaled Diab’s iPod and the lack of support he received has put him right off the company. Read on


Some more readers’ comments

April 2007 – To mark 25 issues of Diabolic Digest, here is another selection of readers’ comments. Read on


Speaking the language of unity

March 2007 – Elio Di Rupo, the flamboyant chief of the Walloon Parti Socialiste, has called for a network of bilingual schools in Brussels and areas at the so-called ‘language frontiers’. Despite the dismissal of some Flemish politicians, his proposal makes both pedagogical and political sense. In fact, it should be applied across the country. Read on


Deniers of Egypt’s dark past

March 2007 – Egypt stands in the dock for falsifying its history and identity. Khaled Diab answers the sometimes hilarious allegations that Egyptians reject their African present and deny their black past. Read on

International Women’s Day –

A tale of two sisters

March 2007 – To mark International Women’s Day (8 March), Khaled Diab reflects on the status of women in Egypt. Read on


Madrid for the people

February 2007 – Some 15 years after the Madrid conference which launched the now defunct Israeli-Palestinian peace process, former statesmen and stateswomen from both sides got together to try to revive the quest for peace. What we now need is to complement this crème-de-la-crème peacemaking with a gritty ‘Madrid for the people’, Khaled Diab argues in a letter to former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, one of the figures who spearheaded the initiative. Read on


Arabs and Israelis held hostage by a common enemy

February 2007 – Salom Now! And METalks are two experimental initiatives which sought to rewrite the script of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and give ordinary people a starring role in the quest for peace. Those involved experienced profound changes to their outlook and took the first steps towards forging a new, more inclusive narrative for the Middle East. However, such popular, grassroots action is held hostage by some common enemies: despair, hatred, antipathy and distrust.


Part I – War and elusive peace

Part II – Talking under fire

Part III – Dangerous liaisons

Part IV – Constructive ideas

Part V – Let’s talk about you and ME

Part VI – Terrorised by a common enemy

Part VII – Existential angst

Part VIII – Moving forward


Saddam Hussein:

In desperate pursuit of a hero

January 2007 – The US-UK occupation of Iraq is succeeding in achieving the once implausible feat of turning a reviled dictator into something of a cult hero. This demonstrates the utter failure of the Anglo-Saxon military adventure there. It also reveals the desperate need in some Arab quarters to find a hero amongst the villains who pass for leaders in the region and to salvage some pride amidst all the humiliation and defeat.


Part I – Anti-heroics and wishful thinking

Part II – Champion or villain of the Arab cause?

Part III – The dead don’t talk

Part IV – Emulating history


How I learned to start worrying and hate the bomb

November 2006 – With North Korea’s recent nuclear test and Iran’s suspected nuclear designs, Khaled Diab explains why he learned to start worrying and hate the bomb and suggests how the proliferation of nuclear weapons can best be arrested – and reversed. Read on


Tripping down memory lane

November 2006 – Khaled Diab goes tripping – mentally and physically – down memory lane and discovers the multi-layered nature of reality.

Wafers of reality

Multiversal man

Cultural pie and civilisational mash

Between the reel and the surreal

Back to school

Back to (sur)reality


Pitch gender battles in Iran

October 2006 – Jafar Panahi’s Offside is a football film that is about almost everything but the beautiful game. It is onside and on target when it comes to providing a farcical and perceptive insight into the position of women in contemporary Iranian society. Read on


Over to the reader

September 2006 – Diabolic Digest is two years old and to mark the occasion, here is a selection of reader comments about the journal and the issues it has raised. Read on


Using a carrot and stick for peace

September 2006 – Given the fragile situation in Lebanon, the pledge by EU member states to provide troops to police the UN-backed ceasefire was well-timed. However, to avoid a fresh crisis from erupting, Europe will have to aid efforts to forge lasting peace in the Middle East. Read on


Salom now!

Mobilising the untapped power of Arab and Israeli peaceniks

August 2006 – Arabs and Israelis have a common way of greeting people and it is to wish them ‘peace’. As advocates of violent solutions chalk up another victory in the Middle East and the international community fails the test again in Lebanon and Gaza, the time has come for Arab and Israeli citizens to join forces in a broad-based regional coalition to work towards salam/shalom… now.

Part I – Silent world

Part II – Peace begins at home


Crisis in Lebanon and Gaza

From complete failure to comprehensive solutions

July 2006 – Israel’s massive onslaught against Lebanon – and before that Gaza – reveals a monumental failure on the part of the international community to prevent an avoidable tragedy. Now it is up to the European Union to avoid a replay of 1982 and revive the idea of a comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Read on


The beautiful game as a political football

July 2006 – Kofi Annan would like the UN to become more like the FIFA World Cup. While there is something to be said for the beautiful game’s potential for uniting people and resolving conflicts bloodlessly, it might be premature to scrap the UN and replace it with a football League of Nations. Read on


Egypt: Restoring faith in national unity

May 2006 – Most Egyptians are justified in their conviction that Egypt does not have a history of sectarian strife. But pretending that all is rosy in communal relations could lead to the increasing Balkanisation of Egyptian society. Restoring faith in national unity requires migrating religion to the private domain. We should start by removing religious affiliation from identity cards and abolishing the law against apostasy so that Muslims and Christians have equal freedom to convert.


I: Restoring faith in national unity

II: Sacred unity

III: Privatising faith


Belgium needs more personal social responsibility

May 2006 – The ‘silent march’ was a moving expression of popular sentiment at the tragic murder of a teenager who has become known simply as Joe. But calls for more police and ‘zero tolerance’ will not prevent a repeat of this tragedy. People need to realise that the system does not have all the answers and it is time for citizens to take on more personal social responsibility. Read on


Getting to the grassroots of the Middle East conflict

By Khaled Diab and Katleen Maes

April 2006 – The new Kadima party’s election victory in Israel looks set to continue the comatose Ariel Sharon’s bid to impose a unilateral solution on the Palestinians. The evacuation of settlements is setting in motion a new and potentially positive dynamic, but continued one-sidedness could cause the situation to slip back into deadlock as usual. Israelis and Palestinians need to recognise that they have no political shepherds to guide them through the valley of the shadow of conflict. Ordinary people must seize the initiative from the political classes who lack the imagination and courage to make peace.


Part I: Getting to the grassroots of the Middle East conflict

Part II: The end of the road for unilateralism?

Readers’ comments


Graven images and poor reflections

February 2006 – It is perplexing that a few crude cartoons can spark an international crisis overshadowing war, political oppression and economic and social injustice. It has hurt the image of Muslims and reflects poorly on their tolerance, while unmasking the uglier face of western prejudice. Read on and readers’ comments


Abuses freedoms and we all lose

February 2006 – It is not freedom of expression that is under threat, but the right to human dignity, argues Tom Kenis. Read on


Extraordinary renditions –

The playwright and the president

January 2006 – Jeff Sommers, Khaled Diab and Charles Woolfson explore the dynamics between playwright and president as American foreign policy stands in the dock. Read on


Extended analysis

Dressed to kill –

Under the cloak of Bush’s foreign policy

December 2005 – Jeff Sommers, Khaled Diab and Charles Woolfson expose what lies beneath the cloak of US President George W Bush’s foreign policy. Read on


Conversion is not a crime

December 2005 – Muriel Degauque has the dubious distinction of being the first white European female suicide bomber. Shocking as this is, suggestions that we have reached a dangerous turning point and that converts are brainwashed fanatics and their partners are comic-book villains are unfair to the vast majority of converts and to non-converts married to Muslims. Read on


Walk first, then surf

December 2005 – Trying to level the cyberspace playing field without addressing poverty, illiteracy, disease and unfair trade practices is an exercise in futility. Read on


A revision of Salman Rushdie’s vision –

We need ijtihadis, not jihadis

September 2005 – Salman Rushdie’s proposed Islamic Reformation touches on the urgent need for reform in most Muslim societies. But his vision needs serious revision if it is to work. Read on


Vrij van angst

By Katleen Maes

September 2005 – EEN zonnige lentedag in april, in de vroegere grensstreek tussen Noord- en Zuid-Jemen. Drie meisjes van 11 hoeden schapen in een idyllisch berglandschap. Plotseling struikelt een van hen, haar voet zit vast in een gat in de grond. Nog geen vijf seconden later, een enorme knal. Ze heeft in het gat een landmijn geraakt, verstopt in een wit gemarkeerde en dus - zo dachten de meisjes - veilige zone. Ze had geluk, enkele uren later was ze in het ziekenhuis, levend en wel, al mist ze nu een been en enkele vingers. Read on


Between democrat and autocrat

September 2005 – Hosni Mubarak may be a semi-authoritarian ruler, but he takes his legacy seriously and has a genuine vision for a democratic future for Egypt, argues Carlos Tiny*. Read on


Outcomes of the unexpected

September 2005 – To an alien visitor, it would look like a full-blown election. But we mortals expect Hosni Mubarak to win the election. But, asks Khaled Diab, what if the unexpected occurs… Read on and readers’ comments


Egypt 2008

September 2005 – Hosni Mubarak dies suddenly in 2008 and the presidency is up for grabs, KM peers into the future… Read on


From nature to naturalisation

July 2005 – This month, Belgium celebrates its 175th birthday. Khaled Diab, its newest citizen, reflects on his newfound Belgianess and all things Belgian. Read on


Not a love letter to the Egyptian president

January 2005 – Faced with the grim prospects of prolonged political virginity, Khaled Diab decides to make President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak an indecent proposal. Read on and readers’ comments


The language placebo

January 2005 – To hear some politicians speak, one would think that language and culture were the panacea for all Belgium’s social and economic woes vis-à-vis its immigrant community. Read on


Mine child

December 2004

My sweet child, everything’s going to be just fine

I’ll take your hand, if you’ll take mine

Makeshift games in the sand is all you can afford

No wonder, poor thing, you look so bored

Well, come over here and play with me

I’ve got the best toys a poor kid’ll ever see:

Bright, alluring, the colour of your fantasies and dreams

Step right up and check out the fluorescent yellow gleam Read on


Raising a new olive branch

December 2004 – Following the loss of Yasser Arafat – for decades, the international face of the Palestinian struggle for statehood – it is time for the Palestinians to rethink radically how they defend their cause. Read on


Home truths about the home secretary

October 2004 – David Blunkett – like his boss – is growing blind to what his party stands for. In fact, some of the home secretary’s recent pronouncements have sent a chill down Khaled Diab’s spine. Read on


Taking up peace, putting down arms

September 2004 – Sistani won his peaceful protest in Najaf. But Gandhian methods in the Middle East must substitute rather than supplement violence, writes Brian Whitaker. Read on


Gaza for the Gazans

August 2004 – The latest Egyptian diplomatic initiative to revive the peace process is sustained by a belief that the art of the possible will pave the way for the wishful. However, an Egyptian presence in the Gaza Strip will not expedite peace and may have dire long-term consequences. Read on


Why I want to live in an EU superstate

August 2004 – The idea of an EU superstate gets Khaled Diab’s vote. He thinks Europeans should stop thinking in terms of ‘national sovereignty’ – keep the culture, drop the rest. Read on


Why set menus for Middle East peace do not work

By Katleen Maes

May 2004 – “Why all the fuss?” was the question recently asked on the pages of the Globe and Mail, a liberal Canadian daily, regarding US President George Bush’s support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s latest unilateral blow to prospects for peace in the Middle East. Read on


A state of pragmatism

March 2004 – As one of the original six founders of the European Union, Belgium has been a powerful driving force behind the continent’s unification. However, after nearly 174 years of pragmatic nationhood, the marriage between its two main communities has become increasingly shaky. What are the prospects for enduring national unity and how much does it matter in a borderless Europe? Read on


Alternative peace plan for Middle East ‘should be put to the people’

Katleen Maes and Khaled Diab

February 2004 – THE Middle East peace juggernaut stalled before taking the first turn along the EU-backed road-map. But prominent European politicians came out recently in favour of an alternative peace plan. Despite the ongoing cycle of violence and political inertia, Israelis and Palestinians are embracing other avenues to peace – and the EU should aid them in their quest. Read on


Why anti-religious dress codes are no road to liberty

February 2004 – The French government has proposed a law that will ban Muslim girls from wearing headscarves in school. Such a ban will not help the cause of multicultural tolerance in the EU. Read on


Veiled intentions

January 2004 – Some prominent politicians – first in France and now in Belgium – are calling for Islamic headscarves to be banned in schools. Rather than simply guaranteeing the separation of church and state, such a ban is more likely to alienate the Muslim community – particularly women – and harm multiculturalism. Read on


Digital dreams for the worldwide web of poverty

December 2003 – Trying to create a true World Wide Web by targeting the 90% of the global population lacking internet access may seem like a commendable aim. However,  it is a case of putting the computer before the cart. Read on


Migrating from the margins

November 2003 – As a reflection of Belgium's multicultural reality, just under 10 percent of the country's population is foreign. While the EU component of this population has the right to vote in local elections in Belgium and in European elections, the non-EU contingent goes mostly unheard and unseen on the political radar screen. Read on


A state of conscience

Khaled Diab and Katleen Maes

November 2003 – Building a single homeland for Israelis and Palestinians may be the only viable solution to the decades-old conflict in the long-term. Read on


Burning issues 

September 2003 – Belgian trains are about to become off-limits to smokers and the debate over extending the ban to other public spaces simmers on in Belgium – and across Europe. Read on


Somewhere over the rainbow

May 2003 – Belgium’s ‘rainbow’ coalition is coming to the end of its four-year term in office. As the country prepares to go to the polls to choose a new government, question marks surround what lies at the end of the rainbow for Belgium’s Muslim community. Read on


Sporting an Afro

December 2001 – If I were to let my hair grow, I’d be sporting quite a respectable Afro within a matter of months. Not so my wallet, however. While Africa seethes in an explosive brew of poverty, war, oppression and disease that threatens to drag it ever downwards, the dream of unity – even humble monetary unity – being touted by several of the continent’s leaders seems a distant and dim prospect. Read on


A Greek tragedy

June 2000 – A bigoted tragedy at Cairo’s Greek club. Read on


Beware the Arab?

April 2000 – Khaled Diab looks at the Arab stereotypes that are terrorising people’s common sense. Read on



ã2008 – Khaled Diab. Unless otherwise stated, all the content on this website is the copyright of Khaled Diab.

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