Date Archives April 2007

Mao: Crazy or not so Crazy? Discuss.

Monthly Review has one of those articles on its webiste that makes you sit up and take notice. It’s title: Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? My immediate response: well, yes, he did. But I think it’s always good to question immediate responses, and the author Joseph Bell does a good job of showing that a lot of the sources relied upon for famine statistics have a distinct anti-Communist bias. Unfortunately I don’t have the energy to wade through all the analysis of grain production figures… Read More

I almost agreed with David Cameron!

I had a real shock just now. Read a BBC News story about David Cameron talking shit, and actually found myself agreeing with part of it. (Well, at first I admit I was distracted by wondering how the man’s forehead could be so huge, but then I focused and found myself agreeing.) His basic point was that ASBOs are not working, and that an improvement in behaviour will come from allowing people more responsibility to control their own lives. So far, so good. I actually agreed with David Cameron! But… Read More

In-Dependence from Bondage

This book seems worth reading. It looks at the work of Claude McKay and Michael Manley, an interesting combination, and more broadly at the effects of globalization on the African diaspora. My only real view of Manley up to now has been his interview in the excellent film Life and Debt. But I remember clearly his frustration and anger at being forced into borrowing from the IMF on unfair terms, at being forced to trade with the US and Europe on unfair terms, and at the inability of other oppressed… Read More

Getting better all the time…

I suppose now the Red Cross can be added to the list of dangerous subversives who deride the war in Iraq for their own crazy left-wing reasons. After all, they have released a report cataloguing the sheer horror of life in Iraq under American occupation. The Red Cross, as always, is careful not to apportion blame – its reputation depends on its perceived impartiality. But the title of the report, “Civilians Without Protection: The ever-worsening humanitarian crisis in Iraq” and the contents, divided into sections such as “A conflict that… Read More

I’m too speechless to compose a title for this

This Islamophobia is astonishing! Well, really, I shouldn’t be astonished given the generally fucked up state of the nation, but I am. Manal Omar went swimming in an Islamic-style swimsuit, something she has done all over the world, but it caused a clamour among the ignorant bigots at David Lloyd’s fitness club in Oxford. Really, what is wrong with Muslim women wearing what they want to wear? It’s 2007. You feel threatened? Intimidated? Grow up.

Guardian Books

I should read this more often. It actually has some interesting stuff. This week there’s Paulo Coelho on the Seven Deadly Sins, and some interesting pieces on writers I haven’t heard of but would like to try, like political fiction writer Richard Flanagan. And the Digested Read is fantastic!

Absolutely mindless

I think Lord Acton was wrong: power doesn’t corrupt. It lobotomises. Consider Michel Platini, for example. Gifted footballer, intelligent analyst of the game, articulate opponent of Lennart Johansson when campaigning to be UEFA President, complete moron as soon as he’s elected. My evidence for this slur? His speech awarding the 2012 European Championships to Poland and the Ukraine, and more specficially this: “Today Poland and Ukraine have been chosen by the Uefa executive committee to host Euro 2012 and they are surely a worthy winner. However there are no losers… Read More

Fortress Europe

From United Against Racism comes this list of 8,855 refugees who have died throughout Fortress Europe since 1993. The amount of drowning, suicide, murder and starvation on this list is overwhelming. Yet the only time the newspapers write about these people is to complain of the “floods” of migrants claiming British benefits and stealing British jobs.

Novel Award

I will enter this contest by October. Also the Jo Cowell Short Story Contest (8 June), the Keats-Shelley prize (30 June), Wellington Town Council (31 August), City of Derby, Arabesques Press call for entries.