By Hugh Miles in Arts and Culture

As we have explained in previous years, the Muslim calendar is lunar and the fasting month of Ramadan is a lunar month. It is traditionally considered to begin on the day after the new moon is sighted. That, of course, depends on cloud conditions as well as pure astronomy, and there is always uncertainty and frequently disagreement. […]

Gold as Monetary Arbiter – Modern Monetary History

By Michael Taylor in Economics and Finance

Even very late into the Renaissance, alchemists laboured in their quest to transmute base materials into gold. That they laboured, and labour in vain, tells us something about the quality of gold which made it for so long an embodiment of value: while it could be exchanged for almost anything, there were no combinations of […]

My Father, Ezra Pound

By Alessandra Quattrocchi in Arts and Culture

A story of love and mysteries. On one day in July 1925, a poor  Tyrolean woman, Johanna Marcher, gave birth in a clinic in the Italian town of Bressanone – or Brixen, as the German-speaking locals call it. It was an unusual decision for the farmer woman from the village of Gais, in Val Pusteria, […]

In the Medina

By Geoffrey Heptonstall in Arts and Culture

Green is the colour of Islam, presumably because it is emblematic of paradise. Fertility in a climate of extreme heat and vast deserts cannot be taken for granted. It may seem to a believer God-given, a blessing. The surprise is how green much of Morocco seems. Even in the intense heat of Africa, there are […]


By Allston Mitchell in Letters

To all our readers, we have an announcement to make.  The editors Allston Mitchell and Gillian McBride will be moving on after ten years running The Global Dispatches.  It has been a great pleasure and we hope you have enjoyed the magazine as it has developed over time.  As a farewell from us we are […]

Putin’s Patriarch

By Astrit Dakli in Features

This is an article by Astrit Dakli from 2012.  We republish it in his memory.  He will be sorely missed. Prison for protesting feminists, prison for gays who flaunt their homosexuality, prison for anyone publishing Lenin’s works … the so-called “nostalgia for Soviet values”, expressed recently by the official spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate, has […]

Restoring the Mosaics of San Vitale

By Livia Alberti in Arts and Culture

History of San Vitale Ravenna was still under the reign of the Ostrogoths when Bishop Ecclesius laid the foundations of the Basilica of San Vitale in 527. Incorporating a pre-existing fifth century sacellum (shrine) dedicated to the martyr St. Vitalis, the building took nearly 20 years to complete. By the time Bishop Maximianus had inaugurated […]

Tree of the Wooden Clogs

By Robert Arnold in Arts and Culture

THE TREE OF WOODEN CLOGS won the Palme D’Or for Best Film at Cannes in 1978. Using untrained actors from around Bergamo, speaking the heavy dialect of that region, it depicts the lives of a few families who share a large farmstead around the end of the 19th century. Peasant farmers, they work the land […]

Travels Through Rural China

By Olga Iazzarelli in Travel Writing

Completely rebuilt in the 1970s, the Anlan or Couples Suspension Bridge over the River Min in Sichuan is known as one of the Five Ancient Bridges of China. [/caption] As I travelled around China I thought long and hard about what adjective could most faithfully describe what I was seeing and experiencing. Not incomprehensible, nor […]

Mud Brick Architecture of Yemen

By Howard Meadowcroft in Arts and Culture

Yemen has a unique architectural heritage, one from which we can learn and draw inspiration. The practitioners, the master builders and craftsmen have learnt how to build to suit geography, location, the climate and available materials. They have by necessity had to “work with” the local conditions and in so doing have developed over generations […]

The Reactionary Mind

By Corey Robin in Politics

Corey Robin teaches political science at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center. He is the author of The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin and the award-winning Fear: The History of a Political Idea. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, the London Review of Books, and elsewhere. […]

Flash Fiction

By Mitra Hooshiar in Arts and Culture

Mitra was born in Iran and currently lives in Tehran, having recently spent ten years in Vancouver BC. Her fiction and non-fiction pieces, reports, and translations have been published in journals and art magazines in Iran since 1996. She graduated in Visual Arts and Italian language and culture (Iran and Italy) and worked for 8 […]

The World’s Best Travel Book

By Allston Mitchell in Travel Writing

There is plenty of competition for the title of best ever travel book: Patrick Leigh Fermor’s A Time of Gifts; A.W. Kinglake’s Eothen; Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia or Robert Byron’s The Road to Oxiana have all been cited as the very best of the genre at one time or another. Travel writing has attracted many […]

Letters from Hanoi

By Beverly Blankenship in Features

The last two weeks in Berlin were so hectic, that I sometimes doubted that I would actually make it to Hanoi, prepared and ready to start directing. This is a huge project: an opera with actors and dancers in major roles on stage with singers singing at them…., new music, a totally unintelligible language, and […]

Le Trio Joubran

By Allston Mitchell in Features

*Le Trio Joubran* is a Palestinian oud ensemble, made up of the three brothers Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran all hailing from the city of Nazareth. The Joubran brothers come from an artistic family: their father is famed throughout the Arab world as a master stringed instrument maker and their mother, Ibtisam Hanna Joubran, sang […]

Interview with David Hirst

By Allston Mitchell in Features

David Hirst, the veteran Middle East journalist speaks to Allston Mitchell of the The Global Dispatches about his new book “Beware of Small States”, published by Faber & Faber. From 1956 to 1963 David Hirst studied at Oxford University and the American University of Beirut. He reported for the Guardian from 1963 to 1997 and […]