Culture Trips

How loneliness and creativity can work together

How loneliness and creativity can work together

(Image credit: Illustration by María Medem)

Artists and writers have long been drawn to solitude – but why is that, and what can we learn from them? Beverley D’Silva speaks to Tracey Emin and others to find out more.


From Wordsworth wandering lonely as a cloud to a thousand pop songs about love-lost angst, culture is steeped in references to loneliness. Some authors have sung its praises – Virginia Woolf said loneliness allowed her to feel “the singing of the real world”. Emily Brontë’s novel, Wuthering Heights, pulsates with agonising loneliness, from its windswept Yorkshire Moors setting to its moody, solitary antihero Heathcliff. The writer is said to have avoided human society, and rarely left Haworth. While comedian Lily Tomlin once quipped: “Just remember. We’re all in this alone”.

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Artists have traditionally spent time apart from others, all the better to connect with their muse. Shakespeare wrote one of his masterpieces, King Lear, in quarantine in the early 1600s, as the Black Plague ravaged London. Frida Kahlo said she painted self-portraits, for which she is most noted, because she was “so often alone“. Van Gogh left Paris in the hope that the quieter ambience of Arles in the south of France would give him mental clarity. The lonely, tortured artist archetype can be traced back to Renaissance architect and artist Giorgio Vasari; his influential book of 1550, The Lives of the Artists, depicts the artist as someone who lives on the periphery of society, literally and metaphorically.     

An exhibition at the RA combines the works of Tracey Emin (pictured) and Edvard Munch (Credit: Courtesy of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma /Tracey Emin / David Parry)

An exhibition at the RA combines the works of Tracey Emin (pictured) and Edvard Munch (Credit: Courtesy of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma /Tracey Emin / David Parry)

Of course, not everyone wants to be isolated, and lockdowns and social distancing rules have inevitably led to greater feelings of loneliness, particularly among young adults. But if loneliness is distressing, then solitude is a more agreeable animal, and individuals have chosen to be alone since ancient times. The first known Christian hermit was Paul of Thebes believed to have lived alone in the desert of Egypt for many decades. Anthony Storr, in his book Solitude: A Return to Self, proposed that spending time happily alone is necessary for mental health and creativity, and that the most profound human experiences have little to do with our relationships with others. And Picasso, no less, is much quoted on the subject, with the phrase: “Without great solitude no serious work can be accomplished”.

The loneliness of the soul

Loneliness and grief carve a deep, dark seam through the current show by the British artist Tracey Emin. Her joint exhibition with works by Edvard Munch, at London’s Royal Academy, bears the title The Loneliness of the Soul, reflecting qualities she has identified with in the Norwegian Expressionist’s work since she “fell in love with him” at the age of 18, she tells BBC Culture.

Emin may still be best known worldwide for her “confessional” and controversial art installations of the 1990s including My Bed, with its cigarette butts, vodka bottles and stained mattress; and Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995, appliquéd with 102 names. Not to mention her reputation for hedonism, and stark emotional honesty about her public and private life. As she says: “I tell it like it is”. But her art and life –  always twin flames – have changed. She’s embracing her exceptional talent for painting while recovering from serious illness.

Crouching Nude, 1917-1919, by Edvard Munch – the German Expressionist valued solitude (Credit: Munchmuseet)

Crouching Nude, 1917-1919, by Edvard Munch – the German Expressionist valued solitude (Credit: Munchmuseet)

In July last year Emin was diagnosed with squamous-cell bladder cancer, the same disease her mother, Pam, died of in 2016. Emin underwent radical surgery to remove her bladder, uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, lymph nodes, urethra and part of her colon and vagina. In April this year she announced on BBC Two’s Newsnight that her cancer is “gone”. She also described how she faced the rest of her life with a “major disability” (a urostomy bag replaces her bladder). “I never realised how much I wanted to live until I thought I was going to die,” she said. In May her “cancer self-portraits” were published in The Guardian, brave selfies taken while she was in hospital and post-surgery.

Prior to her cancer diagnosis, Emin, 57, had been working hard on the Royal Academy show. From thousands of works in the Munch archive in Oslo, Norway, she selected 18 oils and watercolours by the artist. These now sit with more than 25 of her own works, including paintings, sculptures and neons – many made in the same time period, but 100 years apart. It’s a landmark show, the first time the two artists have been displayed together.

Its themes of grief and loneliness are palpable, the works full of drama and quite heart-rending, especially in the context of Emin’s illness. In the works I am The Last of my Kind (2019) and You Came (2018) there is a visceral vulnerability and anguish in the solitary nude figures; trauma is etched into the powerful This is life without you – You made me Feel Like This (2018); while the earlier neon piece More Solitude (2014) points to the necessity of aloneness.

Emin's I am the Last of my Kind, 2019 (left) and You Came, 2018 (Credit: Private collection courtesy of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma /Tracey Emin / Photo: David Parry)

Emin’s I am the Last of my Kind, 2019 (left) and You Came, 2018 (Credit: Private collection courtesy of Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma /Tracey Emin / Photo: David Parry)

Her 40-year fascination with Munch parallels their lives and psyches. He painted his emotional state with painful rawness, a shockingly new technique that gave birth to Expressionism. His “soul paintings” – tortured souls and ghostly lovers – reflected his fascination with then-popular spiritualism and the supernatural. That interest offers further common ground – Emin has said her relatives held seances at home in Margate. Munch had a drinking problem and was forced to give up alcohol to save his sanity – Emin has also given up drinking, to save her health.

She sees him as a kindred soul, telling me over the phone from her London home: “I related to how he viewed the world so alone. He was very emotional but very existential too, always in a position of being on the outside looking in.” Munch wasn’t very happy, as one would suspect from his work: “He had a lot of relationships but not much sex,” she says.

Emin has always been candid about her love life: she tells me she’s not been in a relationship for 11 years, and has lived alone for 20 years, then corrects herself: “I lived with my cat, Docket, but he died last year.” Docket was her “little soulmate”. Now he’s gone, she feels there’s room, more space to invite love into her life.

There is a sense of aloneness about Munch's work including Seated Female Nude, 1923-33 (Credit: Munchmuseet)

There is a sense of aloneness about Munch’s work including Seated Female Nude, 1923-33 (Credit: Munchmuseet)

Emin has been reading Munch’s portrayals of death (he lost his mother when he was five, his sister at 14) in the context of the current pandemic. “He was brought up with a lot of death around him. Think about it, before [the current pandemic] some people had not experienced death unless it was their parents, say. Now few can say that after the past year… People have become much more aware of the finality and the fragility of life too.”

That might include herself – and have helped to shape her own experience of solitude over the last year. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she consciously distanced herself from friends to preserve her energy to get through the surgery and to heal she says. During her recovery she’s been working less and has allowed friends back in – she has been glad of their support. “I’m the happiest I’ve been, really.” Facing death has “made other problems pale into insignificance. If something made me unhappy before, it would engulf me. Now I just deal with it… The cancer’s really helped me with that.”  

The artist is relishing a new lust for life. Her 9m-high bronze sculpture, The Mother – “I’m giving Munch the mother he never had” – will be installed outside the Munch Museum in Oslo; her studio complex in Margate should soon be completed; and a major show in Venice, which was postponed owing to her illness, will now go ahead in 2024. Also, she says: “I’m open to love, which is very different to how I felt… I also feel I deserve it, maybe before I didn’t.”

Tracey Emin's neon work More Solitude, 2014, points to the show's theme of loneliness (Credit: Tracey Emin/ Collection of Michelle Kennedy and Richard Tyler)

Tracey Emin’s neon work More Solitude, 2014, points to the show’s theme of loneliness (Credit: Tracey Emin/ Collection of Michelle Kennedy and Richard Tyler)

Her psyche has changed; she feels that her ordeal has erased trauma. “It’s gone,” she says. Emin appreciates her “amazing life….I’m embracing everything. Nearly dying has a lot to do with it, I know.” She’s working on having a “quieter, more peaceful life”, and plans to fill her days with “painting to the sound of birdsong”. She’s sure of one thing: “I no longer feel alone… I think the chance of me dying without someone holding my hand is zero.”

Tonic of wilderness

According to many artists and writers, there is a “cure” for loneliness. Maya Angelou said music was hers: “I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness”. Others find it in nature, hiking, wild swimming: the “tonic of wilderness” as Thoreau put it.

Author Martin Shaw knows about the virtues of isolation outdoors. As a “rites-of-passage wilderness guide”, he takes groups into deepest Dartmoor, in the English countryside, and other remote places, where they separate and learn to “reconnect with nature and their own character”. Retreats like these date back to Ancient Celtic times, says Shaw, the author of Smoke Hole: Looking to the Wild in the Time of the Spyglass, which reframes myths for our times. He has also collaborated with the actor Mark Rylance and the artist Ai WeiWei.

Shaw tells BBC Culture that people on his retreats, from troubled teens to traumatised war veterans, can report being bored or homesick but “I’ve never had anyone come back and say they were lonely… There’s so much stimulation in the wild, maybe there’s no space for loneliness.” Shaw is at home outdoors – he lived in a tent for four years – but despite his deep inner resources, found the confines of his Dartmoor home in the third lockdown a bit much. “I genuinely was lonely and missed conversation and simple interactions.” 

The work of painter Edward Hopper is explored in Olivia Laing's book The Lonely City (Credit: Alamy)

The work of painter Edward Hopper is explored in Olivia Laing’s book The Lonely City (Credit: Alamy)

The key is in forging meaningful relationships, according to Dr Andrea Wigfield of the Centre for Loneliness Studies at University of Sheffield. The centre’s research showed that when people can’t be together, arts-based activities, such as children and grandparents working together online on arts projects, can help them to connect. However these aren’t enough on their own to combat loneliness if meaningful relationships are absent. In the UK, Loneliness Awareness Week (LAW) 2021 runs from 14 to 18 June. Run by the Marmalade Trust, the theme this year is acceptance, and their “We get lonely” campaign aims to make loneliness accepted as a natural part of being human.

The writer Olivia Laing is familiar with finding positives in adversity. Moving to New York City in her 30s after a break-up, she felt a terrible loneliness every day. The book that evolved from that, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, was a hit. The New York Times said it was “daring…about the universal struggle to be known“. In it, Laing examines loneliness through art, with essays on Andy Warhol’s Time Capsules and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks among others. Laing tells me that focusing on Hopper’s paintings with their “feeling of separation, of being walled off or penned in, combined with near-unbearable exposure” helped her, and “eased the burden of my own feelings. Someone else had grappled with loneliness, and found beauty, even value in it”.

Tracey Emin/Edvard Munch – The Loneliness of the Soul is at the Royal Academy, London, until 1 August 2021.

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Middle East

Israeli police run over child in Jerusalem for flying Palestinian flag – Middle East Monitor

A 12-year-old Palestinian child was run over by Israeli police in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood for placing the Palestinian flag on his bicycle while riding to a nearby grocery to buy bread, Anadolu reports.

“I was on my bike to buy bread when three Israeli policemen chased me because I put the [Palestinian] flag on the bike,” Jawad al-Abbasi said in a report he provided to the Hadassah Hospital where he has been receiving treatment.

The boy said he was nursing injuries on his head, neck, and leg.

Jawad also told the Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center in another testimony that Israeli police held him at gunpoint and beat him. “I was afraid that they would shoot me or arrest me,” he added.

Jawad said passers-by had to call the ambulance because Israeli police refused to, noting that he fainted before reaching the hospital.

“I am now at the hospital and I am afraid that Israeli police will come to arrest me before I get the necessary treatment,” the boy said.

There was no comment from the Israeli police on the incident.

Meanwhile, Jawad’s cousin, Issa al-Abbasi submitted a recorded testimony to the Hilweh center saying he received the news about his cousin while at home and hurriedly arrived at the scene only to find the Israeli police surrounding the young boy.

“We called for an ambulance, but the police insisted on arresting him,” Issa said, adding that they eventually managed to take him to the hospital by ambulance.

“When we got to the hospital, the police came claiming that they had not run over him,” Issa said. “Jawad, like all children, went out of his house to buy bread, and he put the flag on his bike. This is the flag of his country, so where is the crime in that?”

For its part, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates issued a statement condemning the attack by Israeli police on the Palestinian boy, describing the incident as “an attempted murder and a heinous crime that rises to the level of a crime against humanity,” and held the Israeli government fully responsible for it.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 and annexed the entire city in 1980 – a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

READ: School children in UK face punishment for supporting Palestine

Travel lifestyle

50+ Foods to Eat from Jamaica

How familiar are you with Jamaican food? Perhaps you’ve already had multiple tastes of this intriguing cuisine that is full of coconut flavored meals and unique dishes, or possibly you’ve yet to have your first encounter with the foods of Jamaica!

To get you started on your journey of discovering Jamaican cuisine, which includes delicious foods like beef Jamaican patties, callaloo and ugli fruit, below is the best bucket list that takes you through the savory dishes, desserts, snacks and drinks that are traditional to Jamaican cuisine. I guarantee that you’ll be salivating by the end

Jamaican Food (Snacks & Dishes)

1. Ackee & Saltfish

First up is a dish called ackee & saltfish, made of the ackee fruit and saltfish. Ackee is considered to be Jamaica’s national fruit, having been imported to the Caribbean from Ghana in the early 18th Century, with ackee & saltfish often recognized as Jamaica’s national dish. Eaten for breakfast, boiled ackee and salt cod is sautéed together with various vegetables, after which it is seasoned with paprika and pepper, among other spices. Although not mandatory, for garnish bacon and tomato can be used. 

Recipe: Jamaican Ackee And Saltfish by Immaculate Bites

2. Bammy

Made from bitter cassava, bammy is a traditional flatbread in Jamaica, having already been eaten by the original inhabitants of the country. There are two different methods to baking bammy, the traditional way being similar to the Native American method for making tortillas, while the more modern way produces thicker bammies, which are dipped into coconut milk before serving. Bammies can be eaten like tortillas or like any wheat bread, with whichever fillings you desire, as a snack or with any meal of the day. 

Recipe: Jamaican Bammies by The Spruce Eats

A traditional, gluten-free flatbread made from cassava called Bammy

3. Breadfruit

Belonging to the same family as jackfruit and mulberry, breadfruit is a fruit used in various ways in Jamaican cuisine. It may be boiled in a soup, roasted on the stove, used in salads, or fried to be served as a side dish. It is commonly eaten together with the native Jamaican food ackee & saltfish, which was described above. 

4. Brown Stew Chicken

This is a classic Jamaican style stew. It is made with chicken, which is cooked until tender, and vegetables, and it is heavily seasoned with spices, including brown sugar, garlic powder, dried thyme, and many other spices.

Recipe: Brown Stew Chicken by Immaculate Bites

5. Callaloo

Callaloo is a vegetable dish that is widely popular among the Caribbean islands. Its main ingredient is a leaf vegetable, though which one is specifically used depends on the availability of the vegetables, which varies within the countries on the Caribbean. In Jamaica, the callaloo dish is usually eaten together with saltfish, seasoned with various vegetables, then steamed and served for breakfast. You’ll find it typically served with breadfruit, green bananas which have been boiled, and dumplings. 

Recipe: Jamaican Callaloo by Michelle Blackwood

A callaloo on a white bowl

6. Chicken Foot Soup

Besides the obvious main ingredient, chicken foot, another main character of this soup is pumpkin, making for an interesting base combination. In addition, big chunks of corn, carrot, bell pepper, and other vegetables are added to this delicious soup prior to serving. 

A Jamaican Chicken Foot Soup on a white bowl

7. Coco Bread

A staple of Jamaican kitchen, coco bread is made out of a mixture of flour, yeast, and coconut milk. It has a hint of a sweet flavor. A coco bread is commonly sliced in half, eaten as a sandwich, with Jamaican beef patties as its filling.

Recipe: Coco Bread by Immaculate Bites

8. Curry Goat

Although curry goat originated from South Asia and Southeast Asia, it has since long ago become a staple meal in Jamaican and Caribbean cuisines as well – in fact, it may be more popular in Jamaica than anywhere else today. The main ingredients for this dish are curry powder and goat meat; they are then turned into a stew, along with potatoes and other ingredients. Finally, it is typically served over rice and peas.

Recipe: Jamaican Goat Curry by Hank Shaw

A curry goat in a black pan and brown table

9. Escovitch Fish

This interestingly named dish involves as its main ingredient a whole fish that has been fried until it has become crispy. Before serving, it has then been covered with various pickled vegetables, such as sweet peppers and carrots, among others. To achieve the most delicious taste, the dish is left to marinate in the fridge overnight prior to serving.  

Recipe: Jamaican Escovitch Fish by Immaculate Bites

A sumptuous Escovitch Fish on a brown plate

10. Festival Fried Dough

Also known as Jamaican fried dumplings, the festival fried doughs are fritters made of cornmeal, known to be somewhat sweet. They’re typically eaten with jerk meats. 

Recipe: Deliciously Sweet Jamaican Festival

Jamaican fried dough, known as festival

11. Fish Tea

Though it’s called such, fish tea isn’t actually tea, but a popular Caribbean style fish soup that’s especially prominent in Jamaica’s cuisine. It includes various types of fish and seafood, in addition to which various filling vegetables are used. This delicious and warming spicy soup typically takes hours to prepare.

Recipe: Fish Tea by Liz Della Croce

12. Fried Plantains

Popular all across the Caribbean and several other regions of the world, fried plantains are eaten as a side dish, with any meal you may feel like eating it with. The plantains are prepared by peeling them, then cutting them into bite sized slices, and they’ll be fried on a pan for nearly half an hour, in the middle of which they’ll be taken out to be flattened with a potato masher or an equivalent. 

Recipe: Sweet Fried Plantains by Sparkles of Yum

Fried Plantain on a white plate

13. Gungo Peas Soup

Another Jamaican food that’s a favorite among many is the soup made of gungo peas. It is rich in flavor, featuring also beef, pig tails, yellow yam, and various vegetables and spices.

Recipe: Jamaican Gungo Peas Soup by

14. Hard Dough Bread

Yet another staple Jamaican food is the hard dough bread, which you can easily find eaten in just about any Jamaican household. It has a dense consistency, and a slightly sweeter taste than Pullman loaf, for example. It’s typically sliced in rectangular slices and eaten in various ways, such as with spreads, or as sandwich bread, or by breaking the slices of bread into a cooked porridge.

Recipe: Hard Dough Bread by Sian’s Cooking

15. Ital Stew

The word “ital” comes from the word vital, with ital food using some of the same ideologies as kosher, except it goes far enough to believe that the food ought to be vegetarian, on top of being unprocessed. Ital stew’s base is in coconut milk, involving more than a dozen different ingredients, including various vegetables and spices. This stew is popular especially among the Rastafarian movement.

Recipe > Ital Stew by Charla

16. Jamaican Beef Patties

Jamaican beef patties are a popular Jamaican food, having been created from a mixture of influences coming from various immigrants, laborers and slaves arriving into the country. In addition to the beef, this pastry includes as main ingredients cayenne pepper, cumin, and curry, inside a pasty-like dough. It’s commonly eaten as a main meal, either on its own or inside coco bread.

Recipe > Jamaican Beef Patty by Marcela

An authentic Jamaican Beef Patty

17. Jamaican Corn Soup

Another dish that is closely related to the Rastafarian movement is this corn soup. It’s incredibly flavorful and popular to eat as comfort food. Besides corn cobs, it includes coconut milk and various vegetables, and of course spices.

Recipe: Jamaican spiced corn soup by Delicious Magazine

A delicious Jamaican Corn Soup

18. Jamaican Porridge

Porridge is a go-to breakfast food in Jamaica, whether you’ll be eating it on a relaxing morning at home, or picking one up at a street vendor while on the go. Of the various different types of porridge, cornmeal porridge – which also includes coconut milk, bay leaves, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and possibly also condensed milk – is considered a favorite among Jamaicans.

Recipe: Jamaican Corn Meal Porridge by Immaculate Bites

A Jamaican Porridge on a white bowl

19. Jamaican Red Peas Soup

Using red kidney beans and salted pigtails as its main ingredients, Jamaican red peas soup is another popular soup belonging to Jamaican cuisine. With the addition of various vegetables and dumplings into the dish, you’ll create a thick and hearty, delicious meal for the whole family to eat.

Recipe: Red Peas Soup by Original Flava

20. Jamaican Spiced Bun

Dark brown in color and shaped in a similar fashion as a loaf of bread, this bun, albeit sweet, the most common ways to eat the spiced bun is with cheese, or butter, or with a glass of milk. Using molasses and dried fruits as some of the main ingredients, Jamaican spiced bun gets especially popular around Easter time, though it is eaten every season of the year.

Recipe: Jamaican Spice Bun Bread by Tonyjillshy

21. Janga soup

Janga is the Jamaican word for freshwater crayfish, also known as shrimp. It’s a traditional soup that also includes various vegetables and spices. A fun fact related to the soup is that it’s seen as an aphrodisiac, even offering men long endurance!

22. Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken is the absolute favorite way in Jamaica—and across the Caribbean islands—to cook chicken. The jerk seasoning comprises Scotch Bonnet chili peppers (or alternatively habaneros) and allspice, making for a hot and spicy meal. After marinating the chicken overnight, the chicken is simmered in a saucepan or grilled at medium heat, or possibly even baked in the oven. You can use the same methods to cook pork or fish with jerk seasoning, as well.

Recipe: Jamaican Jerk Chicken by Paul Chung

A native Jamaican Jerk chicken on a blue table

23. Mannish Water

Besides janga soup, mannish water is another Jamaican food regarded as an aphrodisiac. Its main ingredient is goat meat, which has been seasoned with herbs and spices. Other ingredients include various vegetables, as well as yam, potatoes, and even bananas.

Recipe: Mannish Water by Keith Famie’s Adventures

24. Oxtail

In Jamaican cuisine, as well as other West Indian cultures, oxtail is often cooked into a stew with butter beans, and is served over rice. Jamaica’s use of oxtail traces all the way back to the mid-1500s and it’s seen as a delicacy today.

Recipe: Jamaican Oxtails Recipe by My Forking Life

An Oxtail dish on a brown plate

25. Pepper Pot Soup

Using callaloo as its base ingredient, the pepper pot soup can be eaten as a vegetarian version, with meat, or with shrimp. It goes heavy on adding vegetables and spices into the soup, making for a hearty meal.

Recipe: Jamaican Pepper Pot Soup Recipe by Jamaican Medium

26. Rice and Peas

A delicious bowl of rice and peas is the most popular side dish in Jamaica. It’s especially common to eat together with oxtail and curry goat, but it can be eaten together with various dishes, at any time of day. Although referred to as peas all across the Caribbean countries, the dish is actually made with kidney beans. 

Recipe: Jamaican Rice and Peas by Briana Riddock 

A staple rice and peas dish in Jamaica

27. Rundown

A traditional stew dish in Jamaica, it uses reduced coconut milk as the soup’s base, with various seafood, as well as onion, plantain, tomato, and yam included as main ingredients. For fish, mackerel and other locally caught fishes are typically used. Rundown is traditionally eaten for breakfast.

Recipe: Jamaican Run Down by Immaculate Bites

28. Solomon Gundy

Typically made with smoked red herring, solomon gundy is a Jamaican style pickled pâté. It’s served as an appetizer, together with crackers.

29. Spinners

These are a type of a dumpling, differentiating themselves from other types of dumplings largely in that they’re dense and hearty in their structure. One reason why they’re named “spinners” is because they tend to spin (and sink) while being cooked. To make Jamaican spinners, you only need flour, kosher salt, and water.

Recipe: Jamaican Spinners (Dumplings) by Cynthia Nelson

Spinners dumplings pm a brown table

30. Stamp and Go

Made using salt fish as the main ingredient, stamp and go is a fritter dish, typically served for breakfast. It is usually likened as one of the first fast food items in Jamaican cuisine.

Recipe: Jamaican Saltfish Fritters (Stamp and Go) by Monique C.

31. Steamed Cabbage

Jamaican style steamed cabbage is popular to include as a side dish during meals. Its main ingredients are shredded cabbage and carrots, along which bell pepper, garlic, onion, and thyme are typically mixed into the dish.

Recipe: Jamaican Steamed Cabbage by Michelle Blackwood

32. Ugli Fruit

A fruit with a truly interesting name, ugli fruit is a cross between an orange and a grapefruit, with a sweeter taste in comparison to the latter. It is native to Jamaica, with highly nutritional value. You can read my article on ugli fruit if you wish to know more!

Ugli Fruits on a table

Jamaican Drinks

33. Blue Mountain Coffee

Existing in Jamaica since 1728, this is coffee that is grown on Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. It is liked for its mild flavor that barely has even a hint of bitterness to it, which is how it has grown to be one of the most expensive coffees in the world, with the majority of the coffee being exported to Japan at the moment. You don’t even have to travel to Jamaica to try it—you can buy a pound here.

A blue mountain coffee

34. Bob Marley Cocktail

While the Bob Marley cocktail is specifically the signature cocktail of Jamaica’s Secrets Montego Bay resorts, the vibes of the drink will remind you of Jamaica no matter where in the world you’re drinking it in. To put together this drink, a mixture of light rum, orange curacao, blue curacao, sweet and sour mix, strawberry daiquiri mix, lime juice, mango, and ice are used. It can be made and served in various ways – including flamed!

Recipe: Bob Marley by Cocktail Pro

A colorful drink called Bob Marley Cocktail

35. Dragon Stout

Dragon Stout is a dark beer produced exclusively in Jamaica. It’s relatively high in alcohol percentage, but has a sweet and creamy taste, with an aftertaste resembling mocha coffee. Brown sugar as well as caramel and roasted malts are used in producing the beer.

36. Guinness Punch

Continuing with items in the Jamaican cuisine that are likened as an aphrodisiac and an endurance enhancer is the delicious Guinness punch, consisting of a mix of Guinness Stout and three kinds of milk. It’s a simple drink to make but has such an exciting and delicious taste to it.

Recipe: How to Make Guinness Punch by Lesa

37. Irish Moss Drink

The main ingredient of this ingredient is Gracilaria, which is a red algae, and where the name of the drink also comes from. It’s boiled in milk with sugar, plus various other spices like cinnamon and vanilla. Other ingredients may also be added to the drink.

Recipe: Jamaican Irish Moss Drink by

An Irish Moss drink on a dark table

38. Jamaican Rum

While Jamaica may not be the birthplace of rum, it’s Jamaican rum that made the spirit globally famous. Its taste is noticeably different to other rums produced on the Caribbean islands, one large differentiation point being the fact that Jamaican rum doesn’t consist of any added sugar. Jamaican rum is a full-bodied kind, meaning it has undergone a natural fermentation process; this in turn means only all natural yeast is used, with no added sugar or other artificial flavors, with the fermentation taking place in oak barrels.

39. Malta

Brewed in a similar fashion to beer, Malta is a non-alcoholic malt beverage. It is lightly carbonated, and caramel color and corn are sometimes added in producing the beverage.

40. Red Stripe Beer

Red Stripe beer is a pale lager that’s brewed in Jamaica, in addition to which Heineken also brews this beer. Its recipe was originally created in the United States, from where it was brought over to Jamaica.

41. Sorrel

Sorrel is Jamaican style hibiscus tea. In addition to the sepals of the roselle flower, ginger and sugar, plus occasionally clove, cinnamon, and even white rum, go into producing the tea. It is served chilled and is especially common to drink during Christmas time, together with sweet potato pudding or Jamaican fruit cake.

Recipe: Jamaican Sorrel (Hibiscus) Drink Recipe by Jillian Atkinson

Sorrels on a table

42. Ting

Another popular carbonated beverage in Jamaica, Ting is flavored with grapefruit juice concentrate. Its taste is a mix of sweet and acid.

Jamaican Desserts

43. Jamaican Rum Cake (aka: Fruit Cake)

Called by several different names, depending on who you ask, the Jamaican fruit cake – also called Christmas cake – is customary to eat during Christmas, but also other holidays, from Easter to weddings. It is a fruit cake soaked in rich dark rum, typically consisting of cherries and cranberries, plus raisins and prunes.

Recipe: Jamaican Rum Cake by Barry C. Parsons

44. Bulla Cake

Often simply called bulla, this is a cake made from molasses, using ginger and nutmeg as the main ways to spice it. The final product is a small and round flat loaf, and is common to eat with avocado, butter, or cheese. It’s a traditional Jamaican food that has been especially popular to offer school children as a treat.

Recipe: Bulla Cake by Jamaica Land We Love

45. Bustamante Backbone

A traditional Jamaican dessert, Bustamante backbone comprises dark brown sugar, grated coconut, grated ginger, water, and a little bit of lime juice. The ingredients are all mixed together before being left to cool until they’ve turned into a hard texture, which is then cut into squares. 

46. Cocktion

Made from corn and sugar, cocktion is a Jamaican dessert, in the form of a small ball. Occasionally food coloring is used to color the balls into a more appetizing color.

47. Coconut Drops

Coconut drops are Jamaica’s answer to toffee. Combining the toffee-like gummy texture with chewy but soft pieces of coconuts, it’s a sweet tasting traditional dessert in Jamaica. Typically five ingredients go into making this delicious treat: coconut, sugar, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.

Recipe: Coconut Drops (Jamaican Style) by Charla

48. Duckanoo (Jamaican Blue Draws)

A variation of the Caribbean dish ducana, with roots on the African continent, duckanoo is a dumpling-like sweet dish made using batata, brown sugar, coconut, sweet potato, and various spices. All the ingredients are mixed together and tied up inside of a banana leaf, with the “package” then being cooked by boiling to be ready for serving. 

Recipe: Jamaican Blue Draws by

49. Gizzada

Gizzada is a small tart pastry, with a pinched crust shell and a coconut filling that is simultaneously both sweet and spicy. It’s a classic treat that drew its inspiration from the Portuguese tart guisada. 

Recipe: Gizzada (Coconut Tart) by Dani

50. Grater Cake

In a grater cake, a layer of grated coconut is covered with sugar icing. They’re cooked together in boiling water, until it reaches its sticky and soft texture. It’s common to add pink or red food coloring on the icing to make the treat look prettier.

51. Sweet Potato Pudding

Although it’s called a pudding, the consistency of the sweet potato pudding is often more similar to a cake or a pie. For main ingredients sweet potato, flour, coconut milk, dried fruits, vanilla, nutmeg, and brown sugar are used. 

Recipe: Grandma’s Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding by Roxy Chow Down

52. Toto

Another wonderfully coconut flavored dessert, toto is a small coconut cake of a small size. Both shredded coconut and coconut milk go into creating the dish. Additional spices may be used to flavor the cake, but it can also be made simply with flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.

Recipe: Jamaican Toto by Analida

How many of the Jamaican foods on this list were you already familiar with? Which dish was the most surprising one to you? While Jamaican jerk chicken has been making rounds around the world, shockingly many Jamaican dishes are yet to be well-known outside of the Caribbean islands (like Jamaican beef patties!). But in some ways, doesn’t that make it all the more exciting to get to have a taste of this delicious Caribbean cuisine? 

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Middle East

Israel, UAE sign tax treaty to boost economic cooperation – Middle East Monitor

Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a tax treaty on Monday, Israel’s Finance Ministry said, describing the move as a spur to business development between the countries after they normalised relations last year, Reuters reports.

The UAE finance ministry said in October that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Israel on avoiding double taxation.

The tax convention, once ratified by ministers and parliament this year, will be Israel’s 59th and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

It is the first tax treaty reached in the wake of Israel’s normalising relations with the UAE and Bahrain last year. In parallel, Israel has moved to improve ties with Morocco and Sudan.

The treaty is based primarily on the OECD model, Israeli Finance Minister Israel Katz said in a statement, adding that it “provides certainty and favourable conditions for business activity and will strengthen economic ties” with the UAE.

Under the agreement, tax deductions, dividends and royalties are capped.

Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said the treaty will enable significant promotion of investment and trade that will help both countries’ economies.

Since a normalisation deal was signed last September, Israeli and Emirati banks and other companies have signed cooperation deals, while also establishing direct flights.

Report: UAE refuses to help rebuild Gaza through Hamas

World's Best

Learning a recipe for freedom in Nigeria — Global Issues

“When my family discovered I was pregnant, they told me to go to live with the father of my unborn child, but instead of going there, I started sleeping in an empty building, where I began hawking sachets of water to survive. 

When my family found out, they threatened my rapist and, because I was out of options, I went to live with him. He would beat me so badly that I was in and out of the hospital emergency room, and I almost lost my unborn son. 

One day, he poured a corrosive chemical on me, which burned my legs; he then ran away with my son. It took me two months to heal. At first, his father allowed me to live in his home, and then my mother, the only member of my family to support me, took me in. 

My abuser’s father also helped the police to find and arrest him, and thanks to him, my son was returned to me. It was during this time that I learned about the culinary arts course.  

UNDP Nigeria

Blessing Ojukwu and other women who have suffered at the hands of abusers have learnt new skills at the Livelihood Pathways Programme.

I had had a strong interest in cooking for a long time, even being paid to cook for people from time to time. However, I only really knew Nigerian dishes, and during the course, I learned how to cook a wide range of cuisines from across the globe, including cakes, pastries, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. 

In addition to the new recipes I have been taught, I also learned about food presentation and photography, and I can now take lovely photos of the meals I make for sale, which help me to advertise on WhatsApp, and to attract more customers. 

Since graduating, I have started to build up a client base and, with the little money I make, I can take care of myself and my son. I am looking forward to growing and, one day, I hope to open an international restaurant and pastry shop in Abuja. 

So, if any survivors of sexual assault and abuse are reading this, I would encourage them to speak out: that’s how you get help. If I hadn’t spoken up, I would never have received this great opportunity to learn new skills. Now I have a second chance.” 

Blessing Ojukwu (left) leant how to cook pastry and other foods at a UN-supported initiative.

UNDP Nigeria

Blessing Ojukwu (left) leant how to cook pastry and other foods at a UN-supported initiative.

Middle East

Netanyahu attempted to block social media, says Israeli press – Middle East Monitor

The Israeli prime minister attempted to shut down social media after Israeli-national Palestinians held protests against Israel’s attacks on East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip under blockade, a report said on Sunday, Anadolu reports.

According to the Israeli press, Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to block social media during the attacks on Gaza on May 10-21.

The officials said Netanyahu recommended blocking social media twice, but his suggestions were refused by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and security officials, the report added.

According to the report, Netanyahu probably made the recommendation to prevent a probable riot, claiming that the Palestinian-born Israelis organized the protests through the social media platform TikTok.

Meanwhile, Walla News said it was not Netanyahu who recommended blocking social media, but he rather supported a plan offered by security officials.

At least 255 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and 39 women, and more than 1,900 others injured in 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks in the West Bank also killed at least 34 Palestinians since April 13.

The Israeli onslaught came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect in the early hours of May 21.

READ: Heroic Palestinian resistance from the river to the sea

World's Best

Its Time to Reimagine Our Relationship with Nature — Global Issues

Greenpeace Brazil activists have joined forces with Munduruku Indigenous leaders to protest the Brazilian government’s plans to build a mega dam on the Tapajós river, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest in the Pará state. Credit: Rogério Assis / Greenpeace
  • Opinion by Savio Carvalho (amsterdam, the netherlands)
  • Inter Press Service
  • The writer is Global Campaign Lead, Food and Forests, Greenpeace International

    The following Oped is part of a series of articles to commemorate World Environment Day June 5

Intertwined with the biodiversity crisis, the climate crisis exacerbates species loss and social inequality, threatening the safety of our communities and our planet. Governments must work fast to stop the climate crisis in its tracks, and work with Indigeneous peoples and local communities to protect and restore nature.

Business-as-usual backed by polluted politics and corporate greed is holding us all to ransom. The same destructive systems that are stripping our forests and oceans of life are killing environmental defenders and pushing people into peril.

To balance our relationship with nature, we need governments to push back corporate interests and place people’s needs at the centre of future policies. This needs systemic changes in the way we relate to nature: a shift in how we produce and consume and how we operate our economies.

This year’s meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) offers an opportunity for governments to help humanity balance it’s relationship with nature. To live in “harmony with nature”, as the CBD vision states, we must listen to those communities who have been depending on it for generations. Indigenous Peoples and other local communities must be heard and supported, their rights fully respected and protected.

11-24 October 2021, in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China.

We’ve seen over and over how local communities are instrumental in protecting our planet against corporate greed. In Mexico’s Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, local communities secured legal protection and are reviving marine life and livelihoods. Studies from Brazil show that the most effective way to safeguard forest and biodiversity in the Amazon is to provide Indigenous people with the legal rights and instruments to defend their territories from encroachment, invasion and exploitation.

It’s time to move beyond “fortress conservation” – an antiquated and colonial approach to nature protection that has led to the eviction of Indigenous peoples and local communities of their ancestral lands, human rights violations, and outright atrocities.

Instead, Greenpeace is calling for an ambitious plan to protect and restore nature – a commitment to bold targets that protect at least 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030 – made in partnership with not against local and Indigenous communities.

For the CBD to succeed rights-based conservation must be an indispensable prerequisite, enshrined in it’s post-2020 global biodiversity framework. They must ensure local and Indigenous rights to land, and leadership in planning and managing protected areas. And provide robust legal instruments to defend these rights.

Governments must also cut out dirty industries such as fossil fuel, forestry, and big agricultural companies from attempts to co-opt nature protection as a substitute for real emission reductions. Known as ‘offsetting, this approach is not only bad for our climate, but also puts a massive burden on those marginalised communities most affected by climate change.

As part of such offset schemes frontline communities often lose access to forests which are deeply connected to their lives and culture. They also provide them with food, medicine and income from non-timber forest products, getting a ridiculous amount of money in return.

In other cases, they lose access to land they rely on for food production, as it is being occupied by large corporations for planting monoculture tree plantations. All that for an often bogus and always uncertain reduction in emissions from land use, or increased sink capacities from ecosystem restoration.

We need widespread vigilance against insidious greenwashing tactics, and an unwavering commitment to cut emissions at their source, enforced by strict regulation. Partial measures to solve the climate crisis only serve as tactics that block necessary progress towards the protection of biodiversity and the 1.5oC Paris goal.

It’s imperative that governments protect nature and people and not let the fossil fuel industry hijack the agenda via their dirty lobbying and advertising tricks. Governments also need to ensure that COVID recovery must in no way cause more harm by investing or expanding in fossil fuel companies.

The worst-case outcome of land protection targets would be a rush for offset or other greenwashing projects that allow states and corporations with large greenhouse gas emissions to retain their unsustainable business model by investing in top-down managed protected areas.

This would further exacerbate social injustice, infringe rights, and undermine dignity and avenues for prosperity for local and Indigenous communities. This neo-colonialism must not be allowed to happen.

It’s time to act. Governments must recognise the urgency of the interconnected crises of climate and biodiversity and promote a shift of power that restores justice, and acknowledges and enables local communities to continue as the guardians of nature.

If nature disappears, our planet, our health, wellbeing and even our lives will disappear with it. Protecting nature is the only way to protect ourselves.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

Middle East

We can’t support you forever – Middle East Monitor

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday told Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi that America cannot continue to publicly support its bombing campaign in Gaza, Axios reported.

Calling for the assault to end soon, Blinken said the US could not keep opposing French efforts at the UN Security Council for a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

In his response, Ashkenazi said Israel still has military goals it wants to achieve in Gaza before it can bring an end to its offensive.

In a tweet yesterday, Blinken wrote: “I spoke with @IsraelMFA @Gabi_Ashkenazi about efforts to end the violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza, which has claimed the lives of Israeli and Palestinian civilians including children. The U.S. expects to see de-escalation on the path to a ceasefire.”

More than 130 Democratic members of the US House of Representatives signed a letter calling for Biden to “facilitate the immediate cessation of violence.”

“Too many people have already died. More will unnecessarily perish if America does not act with the immediacy this violence demands,” the letter said.

While members of Congress were calling on the US to stop arms sales to Israel as a result of its onslaught on Gaza.

Some 230 Palestinians have been killed in 11 days of bombing by Israel. A further 1,700 were injured. Twelve Israelis have also been killed.

A ceasefire was declared yesterday and came into effect at midnight.

South Africa: images from Palestine ‘bring back terrible memories of apartheid,’ says president

World's Best

The Killings in Gaza and Two Jewish Philosophers Hope for a Better World — Global Issues

  • Opinion by Jan Lundius (stockholm / rome)
  • Inter Press Service

The issue of Palestine and Israel generates strong emotions and quite often aggressiveness, making it difficult to nuance opinions and causes, an endeavour that may be likened to stepping out on a minefield. The reasons for the catastrophe is quite correctly considered to be a question about politics, religion, and ethnicity, though the dimension of personal suffering is easily forgotten.

Judaism (Yahadut) is a religion, while “Jews” are not a race. All Jews are not adherent to Judaism, though most Jews identify themselves as belonging to an ethnic group, others consider them all to be both a “race” and adherents to Judaism. In world politics, Israel is generally characterized as a “democratic Jewish state”, a notion that has been criticized as an anomaly. Generally speaking, a democratic nation ought to adhere to a principle meaning that every citizen is considered to be equal and it is difficult to reconcile such a perception with constructs like “Christian nations” or “Islamic Republics”. Nevertheless, as late as in 2014, Israel’s cabinet advanced a bill that would define Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”, declaring that Jewish law would be a “source of inspiration” for its Parliament.

The existence of Israel as a “Jewish state” is less than a hundred years old. In 1917, the so called Balfour Declaration was announced by the British government, stating its support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. Why should the British in 1917 care about the fate of the Jews? The answer is that the British Empire was at war with the Ottoman Empire and needed support from Jews and Arabs who were subjects to Turkish rulers, allied with Britain’s enemies – Germany and Austria-Hungary.

In 1920, leading men of the victorious powers met in the Italian seaside resort San Remo to divide the defeated Ottoman Empire. It was decided that Great Britain would receive a governing mandate for Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Palestine. A prerequisite for the British temporary rule over Palestine was that they were supposed to prepare the creation of a “Jewish homeland”. After the horrors of World War II, when six million Jews had been deliberately and systematically exterminated within a Nazi-dominated Europe, the United Nations did in 1947 approve of the so called Resolution 181, which recommended a partition of the former British mandate of Palestine into “a Jewish state, an Arab state, and a Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem.”

At that time, 1,181,000 Muslims, 630,000 Jews and 143,000 Christians lived in Palestine. Most Muslims opposed an “ethnic” partition of their homeland. According to the UN plan, the majority of the land (56 percent) would go to a “Jewish state”, at that stage Jews legally owned only seven percent of the area supposed to be designated to them, while the territories proposed to end up within an “Arab state” contained much land deemed to be unfit for agriculture. When the British Mandate expired on the 14th of May 1948, the Jewish People’s Council, which had accepted the UN partition, declared “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” The day after, war broke out between Israel and surrounding Arab States, which had not accepted the partition of Palestine. However, since they suspected that the Arab States did not intend to support the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, few Palestinian Arabs joined the Arab Liberation Army.

The war ended in 1949 with an armistice which meant that the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) were occupied by Egypt and Transjordan respectively. This First Arab-Israel War was followed by a second one in 1956, and in 1967 the so called Six Day War was waged from June 5 to June 10 between Israel and Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The Israeli army captured the West Bank from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria, and the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt. The Six Day War was in 1973 followed by the October War, but Israel was able to hold on to its occupied territories.

Partly as a result of these wars, more than 850,000 Jews left Muslim dominated nations and entered Israel, often due to persecution, anti-Semitism and outright expulsion. However, Palestinians who fled, or were evicted, from Israel, were often not welcomed in other nations. As of 2020, more than 5.6 million Palestinians were still registered with The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as refugees, of which more than 1.5 million continue to live in UNRWA-run camps.

On the 7th of June 2021, Israeli has occupied the West Bank for 53 years. An 8 metres high wall now separates Israel from its conquered territory, which has been split into 167 Palestinian “islands”, under partial Palestinian National Authority civil rule, while 230 Israeli “settlements” has been established inside the area. Israel maintains complete “security control” for over 60 percent of the West Bank territory.

After the Six Day War, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 242, which established the categorical prohibition under international law to acquire territory by force. The Oslo Accords, which in 1993 were signed by Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), established that a negotiation process would aim at achieving a peace treaty based on the UN resolution 242 and the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” However, these aims seem to be lost in a dim future, while Israel continues to support “Jewish settlements” on the West Bank, treating their residents under Israeli law.

In 1982, as a result of the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula and in 2005 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip were dismantled and Israeli troops left the area. Nevertheless, Israel retained its control of airspace, territorial waters, border crossings, currency and trade. After local elections in June 2007, Hamas took control of Gaza and after rocket attacks on Israel the Gaza Strip was by Israel declared as “enemy territory”. Israeli retaliation attacks have so far killed approximately 3,450 Palestinians in Gaza, while Israeli causalities have been estimated at 200, of whom 33 have died during rockets attacks.

Approximately 2 million people live in the Gaza strip. With the excuse that terrorists use Gaza as a base, the area has been blocked by both Israel and Egypt. It is not only the smuggling of weapons that is affected by this blockade – import of vital building materials, medicine and food is also obstructed. Along the Israeli border, Gaza is separated by a six metres high wall, supplemented by an underground barrier several metres in depth and equipped with sensors that can detect tunnel construction. A six metres high wall has also been constructed along the Gaza-Egypt border, as well as an underground steel barrier extending 18 meters into the ground.

Getting accustomed to the senseless killing and destruction in Gaza world opinion seems to have become numb to the suffering. People have been turned into abstractions, politically determined numbers. This is completely opposed to the teaching of two Jewish philosophers, Martin Buber and Emmanuel Levinas, who as many Jews had been scared by the exterminations during World War II.

Even if Martin Buber (1878-1965) was a deeply religious Jew, he was opposed to the establishment of a “Jewish state”. He wanted Palestine to be an exemplary society without a Jewish domination over Arabs, hoping and believing that the two groups one day would live in peace within a shared nation. According to Buber, some persons live on the basis of their essence, trying to adapt themselves to their inner sense of being, while others live according to imagery, determined to adapt to the opinions of others and thus turn human existence into an abstraction. Authenticity depends on how we relate to others, or ability to meet and talk casually and unconditionally. To live is to be listened to and be seen, as well as listening, seeing and feeling.

Buber’s most important book was called I and Thou and Emmanuel Levinas (1905-1995) developed Buber’s thoughts further. Levinas taught that we “must welcome the other”, recognize other persons as “fellow beings”. The face-to-face encounter with “the other” is the primal moment from which all language and communication spring. The face of the other demands that we care for her/him because it establishes the basic I-Thou relationship. Recognition of and care for the other is the basis for resistance to the merciless callousness of genocides, which arise from a reduction of human beings to the status of commodities. To look into the face of the other is to hear the injunction not to kill.

This may sound banal, but it was written by persons who knew what suffering was. Such voices need to be listened to and it is now high time that the international community unities to amend all this animosity, suffering and bloodshed. Human rights have to be assured and respected, the UN resolutions must be followed, otherwise the misery will be endless. This is far from utopian thinking, it is a necessity.

Buber, Martin (2000) I and Thou. New York: Scribner. Levinas, Emmanuel (1989) The Levinas Reader. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell.

Jan Lundius holds a PhD. on History of Religion from Lund University and has served as a development expert, researcher and advisor at SIDA, UNESCO, FAO and other international organisations.

© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

Middle East

Netanyahu attempted to block social media, says Israeli press – Middle East Monitor

The Israeli prime minister attempted to shut down social media after Israeli-national Palestinians held protests against Israel’s attacks on East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip under blockade, a report said on Sunday, Anadolu reports.

According to the Israeli press, Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to block social media during the attacks on Gaza on May 10-21.

The officials said Netanyahu recommended blocking social media twice, but his suggestions were refused by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and security officials, the report added.

According to the report, Netanyahu probably made the recommendation to prevent a probable riot, claiming that the Palestinian-born Israelis organized the protests through the social media platform TikTok.

Meanwhile, Walla News said it was not Netanyahu who recommended blocking social media, but he rather supported a plan offered by security officials.

At least 255 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children and 39 women, and more than 1,900 others injured in 11 days of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks in the West Bank also killed at least 34 Palestinians since April 13.

The Israeli onslaught came to a halt under an Egyptian-brokered truce, which took effect in the early hours of May 21.

READ: Heroic Palestinian resistance from the river to the sea