Some people need to see a proctologist in order to find their heads. Robert Mugabe couldn’t be described as everybody’s favourite uncle on the sunniest day of his life, so it seems to lack foresight to heckle him at the state opening of Parliament, on the grounds that he does have something of a reputation for really being quite nasty to those who tick him off. Mugabe arrived at the meeting in an open-topped vintage Rolls escorted by mounted police wearing pith helmets and carrying lances. No colonial residue here, then.
We recall Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change yelling ‘foul’ in March an in the solo run-off Mugabe cheated under starters orders and unleashed all manner of nastiness with the help of police and party activists. I’d be quite inclined to vote Conservative if a man with a machete threatened to chop my hand off.
I find myself between a rock and a hard place at this time, so have some sympathy with others.
Just a little note………ScribeFire works very well when publishing to Blogger.com
Marvellous. GBR wins lots of wonga at the Olympics and the superhuman Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps smash, annihilate or otherwise dismantle records. Fears of terrorist disruption seem to be fading with only five days to go until the IOC calls upon the youth of the world to assemble in London in 2012. I wonder, has the Chinese legendary mistrust of foreigners been softened by hosting the ballyhoo this time around? They have spent the most money, consequently have won more than anyone else, so national pride is satisfied. As Mao once said belatedly, ‘China is on its feet again’. Paying homage to China’s rich history and culture at the Olympics is a good starting point if rapprochement between the most rapidly emergent economic juggernaut in history seeks to assert itself on a cross-cultural stage. The flipside calls on China to get its international act together. Criticism must be aimed squarely at the CCP while keeping China’s national pride intact, as GWB chose to administer in Bangkok on his way to the opening ceremony. Western governments might do well to seek enriched relations between the Chinese community and their own by means of cultural exchange and co-operative projects. The message needs to be unequivocal:
We respect China and celebrate its culture, but demand responsibility on China’s part. Mismanagement of foreign policy, including decisions by Western leaders to pursue delegitimizing actions such as cultural boycotts, will create greater distrust bereft of constructive policy impact.
– from the Jerusalem Post today.
It’s ironic that the masters of rapprochement in Tel Aviv give such sound advice. Replace CCP with PA. Will it be heeded? Probably not.
Winston Churchill once wrote “It’s not the government that makes war in a democracy, but the people – and the people are asleep in the free democracies today, lulled into inaction by a ‘softening up’ process of our enemy.”
Is Islam the ‘enemy’ of the West? Italy has thousands of polygamous, frequently unhappy marriages, the state appears to turn a blind eye in the name of ‘cultural sensitivity’. In Britain and Spain, where large Muslim communities also have settled, some officials favour recognizing polygamous marriage as a way to ensure the wives’ access to pensions, medical care and other state benefits. One problem seems intractable. The application of human rights, and what the West perceives as ‘civilised’ behaviour is in some cases directly at odds with the Shariat. For example, what are Norwegian Muslims to do, since homosexuality is punishable by death by beheading under Islamic law.
If they all take four wives, they might be able to breed themselves into power, using the very democracy they wish to overthrow. It seems that the clash of cultures is irreconcilable thus. much like fighting dogs, separation or defeat is inevitable. Alternatively, tolerant and judicious planning and a complete paradigm shift in everybody’s thinking might just prevent holocaust. Islam is culturally accustomed to waiting. The West is not. H’m.
It’s been an interesting week. The remains of an ancient Thracian chariot was unearthed in Bulgaria and the next episode of Chariots of Fire in Beijing has begun. The razzmatazz has, of course, to be bigger, better, brighter and a lot more expensive than last time, with, so far, an American dream team – again – convincingly routing the host nation (what, I wonder, is a ‘tomahawk dunk’?) and a swimmer with an independence of muscular control so well-honed that he might as well not bother competing until the finals when he can haul off all eight golds in a handcart. Finally, here’s someone who might be able to topple the legendary Mark Spitz, whose perfect dentition and seven golds I remember seeing in Munich in 1972. This was the same Olympics when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage by Black September, and twelve lives were lost.
Coincidentally, this week saw the fast of Tisha Be’av when the Jews mourn in commemoration of the destruction of the Temples, presumably also with loss of life. The Ninth of Av was the day, according to the rabbis, on which both great structures were destroyed, the first by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, the second by the Romans in 70 CE. On the eve of the day of mourning and fasting, religious Jews read the Book of Lamentations (Eicha), ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah who witnessed the destruction by the Babylonians. Commemoration of Tisha Be’av takes place most publicly at the only portion remaining, the Wall. Given a choice of the Water Cube or the Wall, I think the latter, in spite of these incomparably perfect synchronised 3m springboard gold medallists, giving China the lead in the medals table.
My apocalyptic streak resurfaces sometimes. The fate of humanity, the Earth and the London Olympics is seriously in question as 2012 marks the termination of the 13th b’ak’tun cycle, and possibly the end of the world, according to Mayan prophecy, which, of course, everybody knows. H’m. Geomagnetic reversal might be the lever this time, which will no doubt bewilder a large number of migrating wildfowl who might find themselves temporarily homeless. I find myself taking the longer view, much like the Archbishop of Canterbury, so catastrophe might be a Black Swan inevitability at some unspecified, Mandelbrotian time, but in the short term, let’s all try to keep the keel in the water and hopefully we all won’t capsize.
The water chute is from the Mayan temple in Atlantis. Of course. Where else…
……….is 1600ft long and an exhilarating ride, especially in the rain. Apart from a frisson of probabilistic, almost Gaussian uncertainty, the adrenalin rush was sufficiently modulated to permit enjoyment of the scenery. Especially upside down. There’s even time to think. I found myself musing on retrospective distortion – an examining of past events without adjusting for the forward passage of time, leading to the illusion of posterior predictability. Fings ain’t what they used to be because we not only remember imperfectly but do so in the context of a personal and limited historical worldview. I went to a dance festival recently – not a bestseller for me – and it was rather like attending as a participant, a children’s tea party. Big fun when you’re six.