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Illusions of Justice in America and Syria by Ali Khan Mahmudabad
At the basis of the very idea of the nation-state is an assumed moral-high ground because the state, our twenty first century deity, is assumed to be infallible. Its interests, regardless of whether it is a democracy or dictatorship, override everything else. One of the most prescient and admirable aspects of the American constitution was the suspicion its framers had of the very government they were trying to form. Alexander Hamilton, in The Federalist Papers wrote, “the people are commonly most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those [toward] whom they entertain the least suspicion.” A government by its very definition is a selfish, and at best amoral, entity that needs to be kept in check and this is regardless of which one is picked out of the roughly 196 countries that exist.
Ali Khan Mahmudabad is a PhD Student at the University of Cambridge. Affiliated with the faculty of History, his work focuses on the effect of poetry on the formation of North Indian Muslim political identity between 1850-1950. Before completing an MPhil in Historical Studies at the University of Cambridge, he was at the Institute of Higher Language Studies at the University of Damascus for a one year course in the Arabic Language. In 2006 he completed his BA (Hons) from Amherst College in America with a double major in History and Political Science.
In addition to his academic interests Ali is also a free-lance journalist and has contributed articles to The Guardian (UK), OpenDemocracy (online UK), National Geographic Traveler, The Times of India, Tehelka, The Hindustan Times, Daily News and Analysis and other international magazines and newspapers. He writes a fortnightly column the national Urdu language daily Inqilab. His areas of interest are linked to the politics, culture and religion of South Asia and the Greater Middle East.
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