Oppression makes a wise man mad

“It would certainly prove nothing as to what part I might have taken had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England […]

Unbaking cakes

http://www.theguardian.com/…/study-of-holocaust-survivors-f… Geneticist Steve Jones once pointed out how the nature/nurture debate can rest on the unsafe assumption of a clear dividing line between genes and environment. This exciting new research reported in the Grauniad seems to make this point even more relevant. Moreover, scientific orthodoxy looks very much subject to revision and change in its […]

Medicine without frontiers

The Crow word ‘bacheitche’ apparently means ‘good man’. President Obama used it to characterise Joe Medicine Crow, last warrior chief of the Plains Indians, hero of WW2, the ‘first person from his tribe to earn a’ masters degree, anthropologist & historian, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Mr Crow died yesterday aged 102, […]

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Always been fascinated by Brzezinski, who has just died; a sort of liberal version of Kissenger. Reading his obit here in the Post, I discover that as well as a shared Polish heritage we share a birthday! Explains a lot… Anyway, it’s an informative piece but rather glosses over Brzezinski’s role in the Afghan conflict […]

“That the Subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions and as allowed by Law. ” – English Bill of Rights, 1689 “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” […]

Nuer scales

The work of E.E Evans-Pritchard, the now somewhat old-fashioned, but utterly meticulous and detailed anthropologist, and I, have crossed but once. As an undergraduate I studied the first of his books from his fieldwork with the Nuer, a people of the Nile Valley What follows are fragments of notes I took at the time.

Heaney’s ‘Bog Oak’

Since I mentioned my University days on Tuesday, I thought a relic of that time, on Seamus Heaney, who would have turned 80 last week, worth airing. I couldn’t bear to let this go, however, with all the undergraduate prose intact, so I’ve improved the grammar and tone. The essay attempts to see how Heaney […]

The Story of 1804 – from Haitian Independence to the Battle of Tsuntua

1804 proved a remarkable year in world history, in the arts, in science and industry, and in the shifting sands of liberty and empire. This revolutionary age reaches a kind of climax: a good starting point for understanding the 19th century that emerged. Warfare between Russia and Persia, America and Tripoli, and elsewhere in Africa […]

The Story of 1804 Part One: Winter

The independence declaration, written in French by Louis Boisrond-Tonnere and signed by General-in-Chief Dessalines, founded a new state called by its native name, dedicated to the abolition of slavery, ‘anathama to the French’, and a ‘radical understanding of race and citizenship.1 Revolutionary France, under pressure from Saint-Domingue’s ‘black jacobins’, had abolished slavery in 1794, emancipating […]