Sunday Reading for the New Years

in optical character recognition

I mean, really, how can EVERYTHING get cock-ed up by this Administration? A farce of a public trial and a lynching later, they managed to convert a bloody tyrant into a shaheed – it is downright pathetic. They should have thrown him back into that spider hole in which they found him along w/ some food. But, no. The video of the hanging – with the taunts, the thugs in leather and ski-mask, his last words of shahahda – is everywhere, fueling the narrative of a sunni martyr.

  • And, in the meantime, the vaccum continues on Capitol Hill. Escalation, surge, whatever is being ‘debated’. As if 140,000 soldiers only need 40,000 more – and not leaders with some notion of the history and religion of the societies in which they are operating [pdf link. Answers here.]. Really, What about the Iraqis?
  • In the NYT, Zizek takes issue with the hypocrisy and ineptitude involved in the trial. Zizek, also rips off an old Sikh joke in there. Or is it an old Irish joke? I need to look into the historical development of Sardar ji jokes.
  • Speaking of dictators, Tariq Ali in the LRB, gives a nice rundown of Pakistan’s past affairs with military ones – from Ayub to Zia to the General. It is a rollicking good read and guaranteed to make the neocons rush a call for democracy in Pakistan.
  • Things are bad in Afghanistan, too. For the British, who seem to be the only ones paying attention, the BBC finds rare historical proof that “the forefathers of the Taleban were every bit as ruthless as they are today”. Oh, brother. “Then as now, British troops faced a determined enemy described by Churchill as people who “fight without passion and kill without loss of temper”. Oh, brother. [thx to bulbul and umair for the tip]
  • Well, forget all this depressing stuff. I, for one, welcome our insect overlords. We, Chicagoans have been talking non-stop about this. Ok. No.
  • How to apply for jobs in Dubai. Canadians are arseholes, too?
  • David Denby, in the NYer, gets thoughtful on Hollywood, cinema and the ways in which we watch movies. It is hard nostalgia and some idiosyncratic reading of technology but well worth your while to read.
  • Deborah Solomon tries hard to kick Cat Stevens in the balls. Thats one mean lady with some issues. [via lapata]
  • And finally, Cliopatria Awards 2006 are announced. My heartiest congratulations to the best of historical blogging on the nets ESP. CM fav. – Bill Turkel’s Digital History Hacks for Best New Blog.

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