Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell (1933)

Books & Boots

Poverty is what I’m writing about, and I had my first contact with poverty in this slum. (p.9)

This is George Orwell’s first published book. It is a book of two halves – a tale of two cities, in fact.

Eric Blair

George Orwell’s real name was Eric Arthur Blair. Eric was born in India in 1903 to an Imperial civil servant father. The family returned to England in 1907 and sent young Eric to prep school then to, surprisingly, managed to wangle him a scholarship to Eton. Good at sports (not least because of his gangling six-foot-two height) Eric’s poor academic record made it seem unlikely he’d get into Oxbridge so the decision was made to send him to join the Imperial Police Force in Burma in 1922.

Eric served for five years before quitting and returning to England in 1927, determined to make a career as a writer…

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The Arab Spring and the Art of Revolution

The Owl: Danny Orbach's Blog

This article was originally published in Ynet News.

The Arab spring is certainly one of the most stunning developments of our age. In Egypt, the regime fell after three weeks of popular protest. In Yemen it crumbled after ten months of bloody confrontations, and in Syria Bashar al-Assad still clings to power in defiance of the world and the ongoing resistance. Now, in retrospect, it is interesting to ask some questions. What is the difference between these different uprisings? Are there some rules for a successful rebellion? Or in other words, how can one define the “art of revolution”?

The Arab spring reached its climax in the winter, or in February 2011, to be more exact. Coincidently, I was travelling in Egypt in January, just two weeks before it all began. From countless conversations with taxi drivers, students, café goers, hotel owners, vendors and other people I have met…

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Coup Proofing Turkey’s Military? History has Ominous Lessons

The Owl: Danny Orbach's Blog

One month after the failure of the coup on July 15, Turkey decided to invade Syria. The historical record suggests this is a very bad idea. Here is why.

f4-turkey_syria-war Credit: Activist Post

This article was originally posted in War on the Rocks

On August 24, 2016, 450 Turkish troops, supported by tanks, armored trucks, air, and artillery support, crossed the Syrian border as part of Operation Euphrates Shield. Initially, things seem to go well, though ominous signs already loom on the horizon. Pushed by Erdogan’s pride and anger, nationalist public opinion, and a strong urge to justify sunken costs, the Turkish army may get entangled in an endless counterinsurgency campaign. Unfortunately for Turkey, its military forces are undergoing a severe crisis that undermines its capacity to conduct such warfare. After the abortive military coup in July, the government engaged in a series of sweeping purges in its armed forces…

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