Palestine vs. The Palestinians

(This week’s post will unfortunately be shorter than usual as work is kicking into a higher gear with the approaching end of the semester.) One of the bigger stories of the past week has been the (tentative) reconciliation suddenly achieved between Fatah and Hamas with the prospect of a unity government on the horizon for the first time since the Palestinian elections in 2006.  The announcement was almost immediately overtaken by Israel’s reaction and the United States reaction to the reaction, and at present the media coverage is focussed on the presumed death of the peace process (although how you … Continue reading Palestine vs. The Palestinians

Rioters, Terrorists, and Zombies

In the aftermath of any major event, certain tropes crop up in the speech of politicians and unimaginative journalists, tropes which can often provide the key to understanding the deeper significance of that event.  In the case of the riots across England two weeks ago, the politicking slogan became “mindless violence”.  This gem was of course intimately linked to the belief that there was no socio-economic reason behind the riots, that they were not a political act. Leaving aside the debate about all this (although I have my own opinions), let us engage in a bit of hypothesis.  If there … Continue reading Rioters, Terrorists, and Zombies

Will I Ever Publish Another Post?

Do Western journalists understand the principle of cause and effect? I ask only because in the last few days I have seen a number of articles with the headline “Is the Arab Spring in danger?”, or thereabouts, generally about the upsurge of activity which took place this week.  Now, as I understand it, the main worry is that the revolutions will be betrayed by those who have been brought to power (such as Tantawi in Egypt).  Surely, then, the revolution was under far more threat before this week, when the protesters were not out in force, than it is now? … Continue reading Will I Ever Publish Another Post?

A Little Reactionary Politics Before Lunchtime

As you may have noticed (yeah, really! who am I kidding?), the Shi’ite cleric Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah died five days ago, and since then there’s been a minor whirl of articles about him, all of which seem to mention that he was considered liberal, though it’s not made clear by whom.  They all explicitly stated that he was connected to Hezbollah, an accusation which he vociferously denied.  What’s more, Hezbollah itself has denied that he is one of them, and as far as I recall, they don’t seem to keep any great aura of secrecy about their leaders, what with … Continue reading A Little Reactionary Politics Before Lunchtime