Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Monday, May 31, 2004

Commonplace Book

Some people say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.
Logan Pearsall Smith


Friday, May 21, 2004

Walk like an Assyrian

Yes, Israel is different. For one thing, it’s the only nation there is that doesn’t have an attached nationality. Israelis carry an identity card with a space marked Nationality’. If you’re a naturalised ex-Egyptian, you write ‘Egyptian’, and so on. If you were born there you fill it in as ‘Jew’, ‘Arab’, ‘Druse’, ‘Samaritan’ and so on. I now read in Ha’aretz that when some citizens recently went to court to argue that they should be able to write ‘Israeli’, the Israeli Government argued that this “undermines the very principles under which the State of Israel was created”.
The state claims that
"the dictionary definition of a nationality is `a nation, a people; a large group of people of a joint origin, common destiny and history and usually a shared spoken language' and thus registering as ‘Israeli’ would not reflect the person’s "national and ethnic identity".

Professor Uzi Ornan, one of the petitioners, says. "The state is afraid that if it agrees to register an Israeli nationality, it will create a de facto separation between Jews abroad and Jews living in Israel as part of an Israeli nationality.”
Israel is not an ordinary state like other states, and this is at the heart of many of the problems of the region.


Friday, May 14, 2004

When the last king is strangled with the guts of the last priest, the world will be free

When in Luang Prabang last we toured the Royal Palace, kept up and run for tourists by the government complete with immense paintings of the last Royal Family by the best Russian painters. As the regime had exterminated the Royal Family not all that many years ago I was curious as to how they squared this with their current royalism-without-the-king, and asked at the souvenir desk (selling small reliquaries and medals with icons of the King) "And where is the King now?"

The gentleman behind the desk said "They had to leave the palace. Bad feng shui."


Tuesday, May 11, 2004


I've enabled Comments, I think; which will be only marginally less humiliating than a hits counter, but it seems to be etiquette.


Abu Manus

The Abu Ghraib abuses seem to have been due in part to governmental demonization of the inmates, facilitated by denial of access to the media and the judiciary, and exacerbated by uncertainty as to which country’s law was applicable and by politicians playing pass-the-parcel with operational responsibility. Isn’t it a good thing that none of those problems apply to Australia's refugee holding camps in Bouganville and Nauru? We’ve got nothing to worry about.


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