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Zaman Stanizai
Zaman Stanizai is a Professor of Mythological Studies at the Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, California.

Entries by Zaman Stanizai

It's Time to Crash the Parties

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 1:48 PM

"The government you elect is the government you deserve." - Thomas Jefferson

The faint pulse of the health of the American democracy is indicative of a serious systemic dysfunction suggesting the need for a major surgery, or at least an end to the two-party monopoly. There is a daunting disconnect...

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In Response to a Letter From a Christian Friend

(2) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 7:41 AM

Recently I received this message, in essence an invitation to a new faith, from a Christian friend of mine that sent me deep within for a contemplative response. The thought echoed through the landscape of my imagination and dialogued through reason with the message that began this way:


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When the Prophet of Peace Meets the Profit of War: An Analysis of the Hubris Syndrome in Governance

(1) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 3:05 PM

Peace has always been a human ideal, an ultimate desire, and a necessary prerequisite for social harmony--a seemingly achievable goal. Yet in spite of the many evolutionary advances in human thought, peace has always remained an untenable dream--wishful thinking at best. War, by contrast, has been viewed as an act...

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Obama's Last Stand on Afghanistan: A Strategy With No Foresight

(2) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 7:48 PM

President Obama's decision to slow the troop drawdown from Afghanistan is hailed by some as the 'right decision.' But this 'right war' had done much wrong to the people of Afghanistan and like most U.S. foreign policy blunders; this one too misses the point.

Afghanistan's current instability has resulted...

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Islamic Solar Calendar: Eclipsed by Politics and Ideology

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 8:39 PM

As we celebrate the Vernal Equinox, the Islamic Solar New Year, commonly known in the West as the Persian New Year, controversies abound as to its origin and re-identification.

The year was 1073 CE when Sultan Jallaluddin Malikshah I commissioned a counsel of astronomers, headed by the renowned Omar Khayyam...

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Can We Afford Another Failed State in Afghanistan? Beyond the 2014 Drawdown

(3) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 2:10 PM

President Obama has threatened a full U.S. troop drawdown from Afghanistan by the end of this year unless Afghan President Hamid Karzai signs a security agreement with the U.S. Obama didn't say anything about "the asking price" of the controversial agreement, nor did he say much about the Afghan state...

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Afghanistan Exit Strategy: How Bilateral Is the Security Agreement

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 5:38 PM

For more than a year we have been negotiating the specifics of the U.S.-Afghanistan Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the Afghan government. The sticking points in the agreement are the U.S. demands to establish 10 permanent military bases on Afghan soil, immunity from prosecution for American servicemen, and unrestrained night...

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Egypt and America in Historical Twists of Ironies

(1) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 5:20 PM

On the Eve of the Fourth of July, fireworks erupted in Tahrir Square in Cairo and in Times Square, New York within hours of one another. There were parallel scenes of excitement and jubilation on Cairo's 6th October Bridge and on Brooklyn Bridge. From a distance...

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Understanding Syria: How a Cold Front Chilled the Damascus Spring

(2) Comments | Posted June 28, 2013 | 1:04 PM

Understanding the Crisis

Why has all the political punditry failed in predicting an end to the Syrian crisis and why have the experts repeatedly miscalculated the fall of the regime in Damascus? Because they have analyzed Syria's crisis analogously through the commonalities of the Arab Spring rather than the country's...

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Drone Wars Terrorize Friends Into Enemies

(3) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 1:16 PM

On Memorial Day, we don't celebrate those who have died, we celebrate the principles worth dying for that keep us alive. This Memorial Day, as the words of President Obama's recent address still echo in our ears, the resonance of Code-Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin's punctuated interruptions echoes even louder. The...

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Provocation or Freedom of Expression

(3) Comments | Posted October 3, 2012 | 2:54 PM

"You won't know the love (of God) until and unless the 'you' in you becomes the 'us' in us all." - Rumi

Like golden rules there are golden values, principles, and rights that civil societies cherish and hold in high esteem -- regardless of whether we root them in scriptures...

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Walking in a Muslim's Moccasins: A Different Perspective on the Muslim Protests

(8) Comments | Posted September 24, 2012 | 2:43 AM

"Don't judge any man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." - Native American Proverb

We must condemn violence unequivocally, but we must also defend people's right to free expression, at home and abroad. We also need to understand that when the rule of law is weak; it...

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Is American Gun Culture Compatible With a Modern Civil Society?

(25) Comments | Posted July 26, 2012 | 12:32 PM

The American gun culture is defined by the highest rate of gun ownership in the world along with a high rate of gun violence. Americans own a whopping 270 million guns. That is 88.8 guns per 100 people. With only 4 percent of the world population,...

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Why Is the European Union Haunted by Its Rejection of Turkey?

(54) Comments | Posted July 9, 2012 | 9:48 AM

The shifting winds of the latest Greek and French elections turned the June 2012 European Summit in Brussels into "a defining moment for European integration." Now that the collapse of the euro has been averted through easy-term bank bailouts and an empowered European treasury, it's time to reflect...

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When an Arab Spring Is Neither

(9) Comments | Posted June 18, 2012 | 5:48 PM

When it comes to religion and politics, the Western mind understandably shifts to a high pitch of anxiety and fear of theocracy. The theocentric Muslim East, on the other hand, has no experience of theocracies and is thus astounded by the West's overreaction to the role of religion in socio-political...

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NATO's Third Alternative in Afghanistan

(11) Comments | Posted May 24, 2012 | 9:41 AM

The majority of Afghans, Americans, and Europeans believe that it is time for NATO and American troops to leave Afghanistan. This treacherous road had been traveled long enough to know that it leads to nowhere. The decade-long unrestrained military operations have failed to achieve even a modicum of political stability....

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