C. P. Cavafy Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies and Comparative Literature
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“Biographies of ‘homegrown’ European terrorists show they are violent nihilists who adopt Islam, rather than religious fundamentalists who turn to violence. … To summarise: the typical radical is a young, second-generation immigrant or convert, very often involved in episodes of petty crime, with practically no religious education, but having a rapid and recent trajectory of conversion/reconversion, more often in the framework of a group of friends or over the internet than in the context of a mosque. The embrace of religion is rarely kept secret, but rather is exhibited, but it does not necessarily correspond to immersion in religious practice. The rhetoric of rupture is violent – the enemy is kafir, one with whom no compromise is possible – but also includes their own family, the members of which are accused of observing Islam improperly, or refusing to convert.” This is an edited extract from Jihad and Death: The Global Appeal of Islamic State by Olivier Roy.
In his video presentation, Subcomandante Galeano, of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, pointed out “that the struggle of the original peoples cannot nor ought to be circumscribed to Mexico; it must lift up the view, the ear and the word to include the whole continent, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.”
‘The Weathermen were motivated to join the radical group because “revolution was on the march around the world.” National liberation movements were gaining steam throughout the Third World, and were actually able to seize power in about a dozen countries. “The most oppressed, the ‘wretched of the Earth,’ were reshaping the world in a more equitable and humane way,” David Gilbert wrote. “Those of us who later formed the Weather Underground pored over these various revolutions, studying both how they won against imperialism’s monstrous military machines and the changes they brought about in terms of education, health care, land reform, and women’s rights.”‘
‘I want to conclude by suggesting that this “radical vigilance” is the most viable form of “resistance” that is available to us, and it is this slogan that should undergird our activist work. Radical vigilance is a kind of resistance in so far as it corresponds both to a rigorous quest for the truth, and to an abiding fidelity to facts. The project of radical vigilance, then, is deeply connected to language since it prods at the government’s narrative, tugs on its coat sleeve, forces it to elaborate and to elucidate on its blurry proclamations and dubious promises.’
The new Museum of the American Revolution opens in Philadelphia: “If it doesn’t quite throw the old heroic narrative out the window, it does draw on decades of scholarship that has emphasized the conflicts and contradictions within the Revolution, while also taking a distinctly bottom-up view of events.”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s campaign for the French presidency, and the populist movement behind it, France Insoumise (“Rebellious France”), “isn’t seeking leadership of a marginalized left. He’s aiming to transform the whole of French politics.”
Will there be a Kurdistan? “An overarching Kurdish public opinion is strongly in the making, cutting across borders with the self-consciousness of being their own agents rather than the instruments of ‘others’. This mental independence is creating the modern Kurdish world from north-western Iran (Rojhelat) to northern Syria (Rojava) and from south-eastern Turkey (Bakur) to northern Iraq (Bashur). This is a historical transition from the scattered and disorganized world of Kurdish tribal lands into a diplomatic, authoritative, self-conscious political geography with raison d’état. Yet, it is still misleading to see the Kurds as a single, homogenous group that collectively strive for a united or greater Kurdistan. As the Arab Middle East, the modern Kurdish world is large enough to have more than one Kurdish sovereign territory, one leader, or one ideology. … Rather than a unified Kurdistan across borders, a single ethnic group with multiple sovereign territories independent from each other is more likely to be the political foundation of the modern Kurdish Middle East. The key question for the rival Kurdish actors is how to compete for power and represent broader Kurdish public interests without falling into another ‘Birakuji,’or civil war.”
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