Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Saint of the day is Aurelius, bishop and companion of St. Augustine, d. 429.
Amnesty International have a comprehensive overview of the Sudan crisis. They have detail about the widespread collusion between government forces and Janjaweed militia, the violence against women and ethnic cleansing  
Human Rights Watch have compiled a thorough report, what's more, they claim to have decisive evidence that the government has been involved in the recruitment, training and support of the Janjaweed militias:

“It’s absurd to distinguish between the Sudanese government forces and the militias—they are one,” said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. “These documents show that militia activity has not just been condoned, it’s been specifically supported by Sudan government officials.”  

The Sudanese governement has denied these reports. Their Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail, who seems not to be as well-advised in PR matters as he should be, has said that the documents are "90 % false".  
The Guardian has a useful archive of articles which includes, in ascending order of odiousness, this, an interview with one of the baddies, and finally this.
An African in Greenland. He left Togo and spent ten years travelling North, eventually got to Greenland, and returned to tell the story. Tete-Michel Kpomassie is an astonishingly intrepid guy. John Derbyshire has written a review, well worth reading if you can tolerate some of his wilder ramblings, and Al Alvarez's introduction to the book is online here.

Didier Drogba, a certainty for African footballer of the year if ever there was one, has signed for Chelsea from Marseille. There are various reports about the size of the fee, but the figure most often quoted in reports is £26 million, or about €40 million. It seems excessive for a player who has only had two decent goalscoring seasons in his career. On the other hand, he looked outstandingly good in the UEFA Cup, and especially at Newcastle where he destroyed them despite playing alone up front. 


a profile of Bryan Magee, from the Guardian from ages ago when he had a new book out:

".religion as a way of avoiding fundamental problems that have arisen because we don't know certain very basic things about our own lives which I think are unknowable. I'm against that kind of false self-consolation. It prevents people really confronting the harsh reality of our situation." He says that as a child an early appreciation of this harsh reality would upset him. "I sometimes used to feel it was threatening my mental health. But I feel we ought to grapple with things and not evade and I certainly feel that about philosophers. I feel there is a professional obligation not to seek consolation. This is certainly part of what philosophy is for."

Simon Blackburn on Heidegger, originally at TNR, but now at Prof. Pole's site here.

Johann Hari meets Peter Singer and can't quite shake the feeling that something is wrong:

Singer is pure, disembodied rationality - the Enlightenment made flesh. He measures pain and capacity to suffer in neat units and disregards old-fangled notions such as species or emotion. He discusses killing babies or his mother with the passion of the speaking-clock. Give me Singer over the Vatican-style superstitions he is trying to dispel any day; and yet, as I leave the interview, I can't shake off a strange - Singer would say sentimental - anxiety. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


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