A long break from writing my blog but not from thinking about the questions which drive it. In the interim we have seen the rise of IS, the economic laming of Europe, the collapse of high oil prices and the end of the Democratic Congress.
Oh and I nearly forgot, the end of alarmist climate change as anything but a fringe issue… When you are reduced to the Pope and Prince Charles you know that the shark jump has occurred.
At end I have been reading history and Gore Vidal’s essays and Proust. To really get a handle on IS you need a sense of the murderous history of the Near and Middle East. To capture the spirit of massacre which permeates the politics of the Levant you need to recognize that it stretches all the way back to the Early Byzantine. If you want to understand the nastiness of elements of Sicilian and Spanish cultural attitudes towards women you have to see how far into Europe Islam advanced. Similarly it is useful to know that before the Islamic invasion much of the Middle East was Christian, pagan or Jewish. The Crusaders, in their brutish way were protecting Christian holy places from invaders. (Not that the Crusaders were adverse to killing the Jews as well as Muslims in wholesale numbers. Not to mention attacking Byzantine, populated by fellow Christians.)
When you get a bit of a historical feel for the place a lot of the vexed questions of whose land is it vanish – it is contested land open to whomever can hold it. So then the question become who would we like to hold it. And that question can be answered in a number of defensible ways.
So, back to blogging. It is an emptier world than when I tapered off. But it will be interesting to see who is new.