Hating Hijabs or Badgering Blondes: What's the Difference?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | Washington, DC, USA (map)

The scene of the crime: Dupont Circle by night, central Washington, DC
Last night around 9:00 PM, I was walking home in the dark from a function near my office. After a long day at work, I felt like a rubber band that had been stretched too many times.

I had just reached Dupont Circle, a small park in central Washington, DC, when a wild yell snapped me from my daze. Ahead of me, on one of the wide paths leading to the circle's central fountain, a small pack of teenagers were cackling and swerving menacingly around a man and woman. At a glance, I noticed two things: the couple looked to be around 60 years old, and the woman wore a long dress and hijab (the traditional Muslim head scarf).

In an instant, the largest teen uncapped a water bottle and sliced it through the air, sending a streak of water at the woman's face. Her husband tried to step in front of the next plume of water, and swung desperately at the kids. Another teen swung back with a messenger bag, hitting the

Reflections on South Africa 2010: World Watches Cup, US Watches World

Wednesday, July 14, 2010 | Washington, DC, USA (map)

Well said. (Spectator in the crowd before the US-England match broadcast, Washington, DC)
The 2010 World Cup in South Africa has come and gone. I did not reach Africa's first World Cup, although I did my best to watch every game (and for the first few weeks, before returning to a desk job here in Washington, I came close to doing so).

Watching this Cup here in the US was nothing like back in 2006, when each muggy evening I crowded with fellow spectators around the TV in a ramshackle Tanzanian bar. The contrast is unmistakable; while the rest of the planet takes a month-long break every four years for the World Cup, few Americans even bat an eyelash. If anything, most marvel at the silliness of their fellow Earthlings' football fever.

Here in the US, ahead of every World Cup, whatever TV network holds broadcast rights to the Cup happily perpetrates the myth that (despite all precedent to the contrary) this World Cup will be The