tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Tuque Souq: On Route to India

Ladies and gentlemen, fans of the Tuque Souq, all of you readers and well-wishers... we welcome you to the new Tuque Souq, soon to be blogging live from India, in the state of Orissa.

WHAT'S NEW: Well, nothing just yet. Your humble Tuque Souq blogger is departing for India on March 2, 2010, for a year (at least) in India.

WHAT'S OLD: The Tuque Souq as you knew it--the oft-times satirical news digest following the goings-on in the Middle East--will take a hiatus of sorts. You can still search the Tuque Souq archives for old articles, and browse some of our enduring favourite "bureaus":
Somali Piracy Watch
The Fate of Nazem Kadri
Save Mohamed Kohail
The Shoe Intifada
Hummus War
The Lightness of Being Qaddafi
Swine Flu o'er the Cuckoo's Nest
Plus our award-winning How to Start Your Own Israeli Settlement.

If you've never visited the Tuque Souq before, you'll want to check out our most beloved (and most linked and referenced) post ever, A Tuque by any other name... or check out how the Tuque Souq got started in the first place.

Special note for soccer fans: our popular World Cup 2010 coverage will continue, despite India's lack of representation in South Africa (or ability to field a team ranked higher than 125th in the world, despite a billion-strong potential talent pool).

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT IN THE FUTURE: At this point about as much as this blogger can, which is very little. I'll be in Delhi for the month of March, then moving to take up a position with the People's Rural Education Movement (PREM) in and around the town of Berhampur.

My position and work is through CUSO-VSO, a global development-work-placement network.

When next the Tuque Souq reports, it will be live from India!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Best of the Tuque Souq

The most popular, most beloved Tuque Souq departments

"A Tuque by Any Other Name"
Finally, a passionate 
defence of why it is
a Tuque, not a Toque

"Great Canadian Putsch of 2008"
Prorogation prorogues
anti-roguing rogues

"What PREM Does"
Life and times of a 
little NGO in India 

"A Woman's Right to Wear her Manservant"
Obama's Arabic gaffe 
accidentally initiates 
medieval Middle Eastern
 policy shift

"The Fate of Nazem Kadri"
Arab-Canadian hockey phenom
meets his destiny

"Shoe Intifada"
It began with one shoe.
Now, are there enough
shoes to hit everyone
who deserves one?

"Somali Piracy Watch"
Economic downturn
threatens pirate industry

"Google Diplomacy"
Map flap derails
Middle East peace process.

"How to start your own Israeli Settlement in 7 easy steps"
Practical advice for

Photography by Richard A. Johnson

Publications by Richard A. Johnson

Feature Magazine Articles
The Hamas Dilemma
“We have always believed that for people to become convinced to join Hamas, the PLO should fail by virtue of its own policies,” said foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahhar. “Hamas is not in a hurry. We know that the PLO’s practice will inevitably lead to its downfall. There is no need to bring this about through confrontation.”
A Dramatic Revival
THIS MAGAZINE | September-October 2007
"The child under military occupation is affected psychologically, emotionally and academically," Mer-Khamis says. "The socialization of the child is the most basic thing in its life; if you see children only as individuals, in fact you can be indirectly deepening their problems.

The Globe and Mail
Good Policy, or Just Good Strategy?
THE GLOBE AND MAIL | 03 October 2008
While it remains to be seen just how much life the announcement can breathe into the Liberals' flagging campaign, it's received praise as a deft strategic move. But for those less concerned with political tactics than keeping their jobs and their homes, there's been scant analysis of what - if anything - the plan would actually do for the economy if Mr. Dion had a chance to implement it.
The Search for Signs of a Conservative Platform
THE GLOBE AND MAIL | 28 September 2008
Election observers continue to debate the necessity, from Tories’ point of view, of releasing a formal platform - especially when the Conservatives’ poll numbers continue to inch upward toward the threshold of majority government, results based in no small way on a carefully crafted, deliberately muted image of responsible stewardship.

Other Magazine Writing
Off the Bottle
THIS MAGAZINE | July-August 2007
If you're the type to slap stickers on your water bottle, Rocky Mountain Animal Defense has a new one for you: "This is my last Nalgene bottle."
Review: The Syrian Bride
E-CMES MAGAZINE | September 2005
The story slowly swells along a path of family dysfunction and repair, climaxing at the comical exchange of bureaucratic nitpicking that awaits Mona when she and her family reach the Israeli-Syrian border.
Lunch Rock before Breakfast
Reflections on a blind climb - free-soloing at Enchanted Rock, Texas.
A Village Demands to be Heard
Reporting from the West Bank Palestinian village of Deir Ibsi'a, under closure and curfew for more than two months.
Christmas Under Occupation
Reporting from Bethlehem and Ramallah, West Bank, during the "three-plus" Christmases of 2000 during the Intifada.

Ryerson Free Press
Rachel Corrie Toronto stage review
FREE PRESS | July 2008
It is the heart of Rachel Corrie that is often obfuscated by its setting; had the girl gone anywhere else in the world, her posthumous audiences back home might actually have experienced a new world from her frenzied and disjointed writing.
Belfast's Peace Lines still loom large
FREE PRESS | May 2008
In Catholic areas these murals pay homage to the dead and disappeared IRA volunteers, depicting political prisoners and tragic events of the Troubles. Prominent are flags and graffiti exhibiting solidarity with Palestinians and Kurds, Chechens and Zapatistas, and aboriginals the world over; not groups who are what you would call 'white.'
Palestinians lost in the shuffle
FREE PRESS | April 2008
To Israelis, Palestine was Israel, just as to other Arab states, Palestine was not Israel. No one seriously argued that Palestine was Palestinian.
Norman Finkelstein...
FREE PRESS | December 2007
"Supporting Israel is for American Jews something to hide," Finkelstein says, "like a meshuga aunt confined to the attic because of what the neighbours will think."
In Caledonia...
FREE PRESS | July 2007
"The Assembly of First Nations," bristles Dawn Smith, "is an arm of the White Government. Our confederacy has been protesting every day the fact that the Canadian government thought they had the divine right to take our land."

Photo Essays
Tunisia: An 'Other' Perspective
E-CMES MAGAZINE | September 2005
Dreaming Roland Barthes' lucid dreams while shooting black-and-white in North Africa.
Reflections on the Past, Visions of the Future
A portrait photography project for the 50th anniversary commemorative book of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.
West Bank Café
TOKION MAGAZINE | Issue 29, 2002
Photographing coffee-shop culture in Ramallah, West Bank.

Some Other Work
Contributing Writer
New York: Facts on File, 2008
Contributing Writer
Fall 2007; Fall 2008; Fall 2009
Lead Writer, Managing Editor
Awards gala programs, 2007-2009; 2011

Richard Alexander Johnson

Richard Alexander Johnson is an award-winning writer, editor, photographer and project consultant. [LinkedIn]

His writing and/or photography have appeared in The WalrusThe Globe and MailThis MagazineTolkion, the Journal of the Harvard Mountaineering Club, the Ryerson Free Press, and more

Born in Toronto, Richard lived in the United States, Jordan, Tunisia, Sweden, and Israel/Palestine - writing and photographing along the way - before returning to the city of his birth in 2005.

In March 2010, he took a one-year leave of absence as the Communications Manager of the National Magazine Awards Foundation in Toronto, to pursue volunteer work as a Communications Advisor with the People's Rural Education Movement (PREM) in Berhampur, Orissa, India, a position obtained through CUSO-VSO, a global volunteer-work placement organization.

He received a Masters degree in Middle Eastern Studies (Anthropology) from Harvard University, after a B.Sc. in Finance and Economics from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He has previously been a teacher of English, a features editor of a newspaper, an emergency relief volunteer, co-author of an encyclopedia, and an intern at The Walrus magazine. He speaks Arabic, French and a bit of Spanish, plus enough snippets of Oriya and Swedish not to get lost.

His professional interests include the Middle East, the Palestine conflict and peace process, Arabic/Islamic history and culture, India and India's indigenous tribes, Canada's aboriginal populations, the Arctic, Newfoundland and outdoor adventure. When not completely engrossed in the above, you'll find him happily backcountry hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, and working toward his official certification in genealogy. His cameras are never far away.

In Brief...

Richard Alexander Johnson
B.Sc., M.A.
Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ); 
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)

Résumé [pdf]

richard [at] canadazone.com