Black hair is a language with many dialects. It is diverse in texture, curl patterns and styling, and speaks of ethnic markers, social standing, histories, joys, and complexities. But it is also a language that can be misunderstood and misinterpreted. Sometimes we, who own it, struggle to understand it.

I want to let you in on a little secret. So you know what to expect when you are watching a film or reading a novel and suddenly the protagonist comes across an organisation or club or grouping of individuals – usually all wearing matching uniforms – that wants to employ his or her assistance. You know, they tend to walk in step with one another, like to repeat a lyrical motto, and justify their philosophy and actions in the name of preserving, establishing, or re-establishing some sort of stated Order? Well, there is a good chance these folks are actually antagonists. This trope, presently bordering on being a cliché, is being employed with an alarming frequency amongst ‘creative’ writers. Traditionally, this trope was applied to some allegory for Nazis or Commies, and because these entities were fairly universally seen as bad, there was no need to labour the point. More recently, writers have been attempting to apply this trope as a trick, a bait-and-switch. Certain writers think they can pull a fast one, introducing this group as the ‘good guys’ only to pull the rug out from under you with a mid-second-act reveal that they are, in fact, fascists and they have been using our protagonist to unwillingly see out some seriously evil stuff. I see this, over and over, and think what is going on? This is not a twist, is it not obvious? Sure, they tone it down a bit, cutting out comical salutes, blue-eyes with blonde-hairdos combos, and the wearing of arm cuffs, but Hitler in sheep’s skin is still Hitler, right? The unoriginality alone boggles my mind. I mean, it is a bit ridiculous. There has been a wholly unoriginal obsession with using this trope (I assume because it is an easy way to make your film meta) with some form of ‘time police’, fanatically bent on maintaining ‘the timeline’. This is used in three ongoing series I can think of, right off the top of my head, Rick and Morty, The Umbrella Academy, and Loki, and I am sure there are plenty more. The one remotely clever thing they will do to make this trope a twist is to make the protagonist morally dubious. But we have known for decades that the days of perfect superheroes are long gone. How could these writers break a key principle: do not insult the intelligence of your audience? 

On the day the US embassy opened in Jerusalem, in May 2019, 58 Gazan protestors died from Israeli fire. This, Donald Macintyre writes in a special dispatch for The Independent, was easily the bloodiest day since the Gaza war of 2014.

God in the Qur’an is the final volume in a series of three books by Jack Miles about God in the three major Semitic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – commonly described as monotheist, whose followers make up more than half the world’s population.