An introduction

This is a semi-public place to dump text too flimsy to even become a blog post. I wouldn't recommend reading it unless you have a lot of time to waste. You'd be better off at my livejournal. I also have another blog, and write most of the French journal summaries at the Eurozine Review.

Why do I clutter up the internet with this stuff at all? Mainly because I'm trying to get into the habit of displaying as much as possible of what I'm doing in public. Also, Blogger is a decent interface for a notebook

Sunday, August 30, 2009


The inane, paranoid meme that Europe is about to be overrun by evil Muslims has somehow managed to burst out of the right-wing cul-de-sac in which it deserves to be confined, and spreading tentacles far more dangerously than is its purported target.
Of the resistance against obnoxious stupidity, this dissection of a recent book on the subject has deservedly got a lot of links. But the one I'm really enjoying is this article from the Guardian. It steps back slightly from the neverending claims and counter-claims, and gets a better view of the whole picture:

Ordinary Muslims in Europe, who suffer from the demoralisation caused by living as perennial objects of suspicion and contempt, are far from thinking of themselves as a politically powerful, or even cohesive, community, not to speak of conquerors of Europe. So what explains the rash of bestsellers with histrionic titles - While Europe Slept, America Alone, The Last Days of Europe?

It also raises a historical angle on the French veil debate which I hadn't previously been aware of:

The veil, fixed in the 19th century by the French as a symbol of Islam's primitive backwardness, was used to justify the brutal pacification of north African Muslims and to exclude them from full citizenship.

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