All entries by this author

An Abominable ‘Achievement’ *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed laments that terrorism has become an Islamic enterprise.… Read the rest

‘It All Started In Our Libraries’ *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Charles Onyango-Obbo links attack on Ngugi to books with pages torn out.… Read the rest

African Literature Association Reacts With Horror *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

‘all people who support freedom of the press, women’s rights, writer’s rights to free expression need to be alarmed’ … Read the rest

The Aim was Humiliation *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Kenyan author Ngugi wa Thiongo & his wife Mary Njeeri were assaulted on return.… Read the rest

Less Famous Hostages *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

About 20 hostages, of a dozen nationalities, are still captive in Iraq. … Read the rest

Friday Afternoon, Kids Coming Out of School *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

The idea that had we negotiated with the Taliban, kids would now be safe in Beslan, is just wishful thinking. … Read the rest

Fry on McCrum on P.G. Wodehouse *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Misguided to interpret his life according to contemporary moral and psychological shibboleths.… Read the rest

‘Activists’ Plan Ten Attacks a Day *

Sep 5th, 2004 | Filed by

Animal rights campaigners threaten at least ten terror attacks a night.… Read the rest


Sep 4th, 2004 8:18 pm | By

A follow-up of sorts to my colleague’s Comment on Crooked Timber. Bush’s monopoly seems to be broken for the moment; the Timberites are discussing Beslan and Islamophobia and Islamophobiaphobia. Somewhat heatedly, as a matter of fact.

There is a thread on ‘Al Qaeda in Beslan?’ for instance, and another on the horror itself which kicked up an interesting comment by Dsquared:

I think that ‘Islamism’ is a politically convenient but fictional construct drawn up by people who want to drag their own pet Middle Eastern issue into the fight against Al-Quaeda.

Ah. Fictional construct. Really. Do the people in, say, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, etc etc, who are damn well terrified of Islamists, think ‘Islamism’ is a fictional … Read the rest

Iraqi President Postpones Visit to France *

Sep 4th, 2004 | Filed by

French foreign ministry cited situation of kidnapped journalists.… Read the rest

French Journalists ‘About to be Freed’? *

Sep 4th, 2004 | Filed by

Influential Sunni Muslim organisation in Baghdad said Friday the two were safe.… Read the rest

Pretty Darn Stupid

Sep 3rd, 2004 8:36 pm | By

As OB suggested below, it’s been a pretty awful time lately. And it goes without saying that Russia today is just appalling.

Admittedly I should have known better, but I decided to check out what the folk (with apologies to Dubya) at Crooked Timber made of all the horror this week.

Guess what, as far as I can tell – and despite their combined IQ of 213 – they have absolutely nothing to say on these matters. Not a squeak.

So what are they talking about?

Something about ITunes – though I’m too limited to understand a word of it.

Something about George Bush.

Ah, Rousseau. Cool.

Some blindingly obvious stuff about Durkheim. Oh no, … Read the rest

What About Penniless Gay Nazis from Africa?

Sep 3rd, 2004 8:23 pm | By

Just a little more Harding – because the previous visits with her are on the August page, which no one will ever look at again, and because at least one reader thinks I may be giving her the straw man treatment. But in fact I’m making her sound better than she is rather than worse, because as I mentioned it simply is impossible to convey how feeble her arguments are via brief quotations. Brief quotations don’t, for instance, and can’t of their nature, make clear how absent any evidence is. They also can’t convey the cumulative effect of her writing, which is genuinely credulity-strainingly childish. Brief quotation for instance misses out how often she repeats the identical inane phrases, but … Read the rest

Another List of Ten Books *

Sep 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

This one by writers with a score to settle.… Read the rest

Extract From Dawkins’ New Book *

Sep 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

Echolocation has evolved at least four times, eyes more than forty times.… Read the rest

Deeply Though Subtly Subversive *

Sep 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

The aim was to replace unexamined religious belief with empirical knowledge and reason.… Read the rest

The Nuisance Value of an Entrenched Vocabulary *

Sep 3rd, 2004 | Filed by

If you can ignore it, it’s not a nuisance.… Read the rest

Manifesto of Freedoms

Sep 2nd, 2004 11:09 pm | By

And then as soon as I posted that, I found this rather inspiring Manifesto at Jonathan Derbyshire’s blog. And the thing is…it seems to me that people in the US and the UK who side with the pro-hijab side against the ban don’t quite realize the extent to which they’re siding against people like those who wrote that Manifesto. Against people like Azam Kamguian and Maryam Namazie and Ibn Warraq. People who are not arrogant Westerners, not Eurocentric, not colonialists, not Orientalists, not hegemonists keen to trample on the Other, but people who want to get rid of the regressive, punitive, subordinating aspects of their own cultures, just as we all want to get rid of those aspects in … Read the rest

Not That Again

Sep 2nd, 2004 10:23 pm | By

Damn – it’s one of those days. Horrible sectarian fights breeding violence everywhere you look. What a disgusting world. Schoolchildren and teachers held hostage by Chechen rebels, mosques burned and people injured in Nepal after a group of Nepalese workers are murdered by Islamic militants, two French journalists held hostage by more Islamic militants and threatened with death because of a French law against wearing conspicuous religious symbols in schools. It’s hard not to think that a good deal more secularism would be a helpful vitamin for a lot of people.

It pains me to say it but I don’t agree with Normblog on this issue. At least, not with the way he states it. I think it’s reasonable … Read the rest

All the Way Back

Sep 2nd, 2004 6:17 pm | By

The rest of it…









January 2003

December 2002


OctoberRead the rest