Saturday, 19 May 2018


Tallulah Bankhead: 

"Only good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don't have time."

Fanny Burney, March 1768:

"To have some account of my thoughts, manners, acquaintances and actions, when the hour arrives in which time is more nimble than memory, is the reason which induces me to keep a journal."

Gwendolen in "The Importance of Being Earnest"

"I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train."


Joseph Campbell:

"If you want to know what a given society believes in, look at what its largest buildings are devoted to."

Chris Beck
'Claire Lehmann’s Forum for the Intellectual Dark Web':

“Lehmann contributed to a number of publications before launching Quillette, but claims the Australian media blacklisted her as soon as she started criticizing feminism. She rejects the ‘blank slate’ view that feminists, and progressives in general, have made a centerpiece of their dogma. It’s the belief that humans are strictly the product of culture and socialization, and the rejection of the idea that humans are born with certain innate characteristics.”

Romania and Turkey are the least well educated countries in Europe

This map says Romania and Turkey are the least well educated countries in Europe.

Since WHEN was Turkey in Europe? 

Balkan countries not in the EU are a blank space, unless Turkey is still a Balkan country.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Eyeless in Gaza

I was originally angry with the Israeli army for killing fifty civilians trying to storm the border with the Gaza Strip, but reading about it - in particular what was written by Colonel Kemp, a retired 
British officer, in the Telegraph - it seems the Israelis did what they could to avoid fatalities and are not to blame for the civilian deaths. 

The army did not shoot indiscriminately and it has now been revealed by the Palestinians themselves that 50 of the 62 dead were Hamas members.

Hamas wanted to breach the wall and
 to flatten the fence at numerous points to allow hundreds or even thousands of Gazans to enter Israeli towns, overwhelming the Israeli security forces ability to protect the townspeople from the infiltrators, thus requiring the Israeli security forces to use lethal force against all those who infiltrated.

Similar demonstrations have taken place each week since March. The reason that this

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

In Ireland the past is not dead, it is not even past

My grandfather's grandfather (or great grandfather) came to England from County Cork in Ireland in around 1860. My father always wanted to trace our family history but never did and nor have I nor probably ever will. 

I therefore do not know where exactly we (meaning my paternal line) came from. But I do know where we left from, or at least I think I do. 

Though they might have embarked for England from Kingstown, now Dún Laoghaire, the port of Dublin, my granddad's grandparents probably left from Queenstown (Cobh), the port of Cork where I spent a happy twelve hours at the weekend. 

It was from Queenstown that millions of Irishmen and women left their island for England, Canada or the USA, after the terrible famine that killed so many while the British Whig government, pursuing free market economic theories, did little.

John Dominic Crossan, the Irish-born American New Testament scholar and heresiarch, said the wisest thing about Irish history and probably about history in general.
I still hold two truths with equal and fundamental certainty. One: the British did terrible things to the Irish. Two: the Irish, had they the power, would have done equally terrible things to the British. And so also for any other paired adversaries I can imagine. The difficulty is to hold on to both truths with equal intensity, not let either one negate the other, and know when to emphasize one without forgetting the other. Our humanity is probably lost and gained in the necessary tension between them both. I hope, by the way, that I do not sound anti-British. It is impossible not to admire a people who gave up India and held on to Northern Ireland. That shows a truly Celtic sense of humor.

The English on the Irish

Dr Johnson: "The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir; the Irish are a fair people; -- they never speak well of one another."

Monday, 14 May 2018

Ireland is still her old-fashioned self in places

I am sitting in a bar watching Eurovision in Cobh, pronounced Cove. Cobh, formerly Queenstown and before that Cove, is a little port for big cruise ships in the very large and very deep natural harbour of Cork. Cobh is very Irish, not yet EU-ised. Even the waitresses are still Irish, not East European. It's a little like a Cornish port but Irish, meaning beery, peasant, articulate, funny, incredibly friendly.

I am thinking to myself that it’s strange being in a country similar to England which has no class system and some religious belief. Though much less religion than forty years ago.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Mafia is sending Africans to Italy and Germany houses refugees' relatives

Professor Roland Benedikter blogging in the LSE blog site, says today:
Meanwhile, with no stable government in sight, the problems the country [Italy] faces are serious. For example, leading Mafia expert Roberto Saviano in a new book estimates that around 80% of the “migration business” in the Mediterranean is in the hands of the Italian Mafia. Worth at least 60 billion euros a year, this is arguably a more lucrative and ‘ethical’ trade than drugs or arms trafficking and it is employing a growing number of the southern Italian youth who are becoming existentially dependent on the continuous stream of illegal migrants.
And given the absence of state power, ‘shadow powers’ as they are called in Italy can expand their outreach. Italian army general Vincenzo Santo has observed that he believes the flow of migrants in the Mediterranean is being controlled from Italy’s coastlines.

Meanwhile the German Cabinet has approved a new refugee family reunification law. From August 1, the new migrant family reunification law will allow "subsidiary" refugees ("subsidiary" means they do not have full asylum and are not allowed in theory to stay indefinitely) to bring their relatives into Germany.
Deutsche Welle reports that

Under exceptional circumstances, even allow migrants in Germany flagged as potential Islamists to apply for family reunification, provided they can prove to authorities that neither they nor their relatives will pose a threat.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Dusk, Dâmbovița, Octav Dragan

Image may contain: sky, cloud, tree, twilight, outdoor, nature and water

All Muslim terrorists in Europe are Sunnis, so why is Iran the great threat?

This post from a year ago is topical still on the day the USA pulls out of the Iran deal. The Iran deal could have been better but was much better than letting the Iranians continue to develop the capacity to make a bomb. Critics of the deal say that it allowed Iran to continue to threaten America's allies and sponsor terrorism. I think those two arguments, which I just heard advanced on the BBC World Service news by a neo-con called Richard Goldberg, who is 'a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies', are misconceived. The allied tail has wagged the American dog too long.

Obviously, the USA and UK should never have invaded Iraq. They should have launched a short punitive expedition into Afghanistan in 2001, restored the monarchy and then allowed the Taliban to come back. Nation-building was always (a liberal) folly: Afghanistan and Iraq were not post-war Germany, as should have been clear.

But having broken it, as Colin Powell warned, the USA bought Iraq. Leaving Iraq alone led to ISIS. So what is the solution?

I don't know. Unfortunately, the USA may now back the Israeli-Saudi-Sunni alliance against the Shia crescent (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah). I hope Mr. Trump resists this temptation.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

Steps at Balamand University, Lebanon

How absolutely wonderful. I note however that the Divine Comedy is very islamophobic for a place like Lebanon.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A future Archbishop of Canterbury worried about mass immigration

The modern Anglican clergy's keenness on multiculturalism and immigration contrast with Anglican clergy in previous ages.

It is misleading to argue that England has always been a nation of immigrants. Immigration levels until the last two generations were low, unlike on the Continent. According to the reliable Migrationwatch, more people came to the UK in the single year 2010 than to the British Isles in the whole period 1066-1950. 

Nevertheless, there were always immigrants in England and in the Middle Ages their number was not negligible. A survey of foreigners in England in 1440 listed by name around