Post of the week
Contentious Centrist on recognizing righteousness. (And while you’re there, read this interesting post on the Haredim, solidarity and tolerance in a multicultural society, and watch this interview with Irving Howe and this one with Roger Scruton.)
Fighters for freedom
Yoani Sanchez and her on-going struggle for freedom from Castro’s authoritarian regime (h/t Jogo).
The Arab spring’s Islamist winter
2011 was an extraordinary year. (Check out this funky interactive timeline at Wired: "Hyper-Networked Protests, Revolts, and Riots".) But what comes next? Hussein Ibish is cautiously optimistic about the role of Islamism in the post-Spring moment, focusing on Egypt. A more pessimistic reading can be taken from this report from libertarian socialists in Egypt, who describe Muslim Brotherhood collusion with, and even incitement of, SCAF repression of leftists. A very subtle analysis – in a long post, which I recommend you print and read fully – comes from Andrew Coates, less optimistic than Ibish, but more pessimistic than many. Meanwhile, on Syria, Carl at TCF cautiously acknowledges the benefits of military intervention to save the democratic uprising there, in a post which draws somewhat on a report by Michael Weiss.
Everybody Hates a Tourist relates on Atzmon and his relationship with the Nazi Alexander Baron. Also, this is from a while back, but I’m not sure if I posted it and I noticed while getting the link for the Islamism post linked to above, Hussein Ibish had this piece in October: Gilad Atzmon and John Mearsheimer: self-criticism, self-hate and hate.
But I Am a Liberal remains the go-to site for dissecting Ron Paul. See, e.g. “What is it that Ron Paul fans fail to grasp?”, contra Andrew Sullivan. See also these fine posts by AJA on Ron Paul and cranky libertarianism and then the reactionary libertarian. On other candidates, Roland also writes on Rick Santorum as the trojan working class candidate, and on the Gringrich campaign's faux-populist demolition of capitalist Mitt Romney.
I missed the BBC Radio 4 report about Iranian “soft power” in the UK, apparently focusing on the Iranian regime-controlled English-language broadcaster Press TV. Gene at HP gives a flavour, focusing on Tory grandee Norman Lamont’s whitewashing of the regime. (Talking of this, I’m not sure if I already linked to Rosie’s fisking of George Galloway’s anti-obit of Christopher Hitchens. This is the relevant bit: GG: Hitchens was “the Englishman in New York who discovered there were large bundles of right-wing dollars available for apostates like him. If they were prepared to betray their friends, their principles and sell the soul he didn't believe he had in the first place.” Rosie: “And I'm sure your work for Iran's Press TV is done for a small pittance, barely enough to keep you in cigars.”)
While we’re on the subject, here is Salman Rushdie on Hitchens – getting it both right and wrong, as Mick H and Norman G note. Oh, and I’m not sure if I already linked to this 2009 Platypus article on Hitchens by Spencer Leonard, which I reached via this argument between Ross Wolfe, Corey Robin and Doug Henwood, in which Wolfe comes across as verbose but basically right, and Robin and Henwood (someone I generally respect a lot) come off quite badly.
Two posts by Rokhl – whose blog has returned to life after a too long leave of absence – on Yiddish today 1 and 2.
South Africa/North Korea
A while ago, I posted about my youthful inoculation against the ANC, which was partly down to Paul Trewhela, who has recently written a hard-hitting piece “Kim Jong-il, blood purity, and the ANCYL”, which I read via PIIE, which I got to via Mick, whose post you should also read.
Another plug for some of the better best pieces I’ve read on the Stephen Lawrence verdict, by people who knew Eltham a little better than many other commentators: Owen Jones, Darryl Chamberlain, Sunder Katwala, and for my own first and second thoughts. Sunder returned here, and kindly linked to my pieces, summarising some of the issues clearly. And Darryl returns with a really interesting post here.
Phil D’s critique of Hope Not Hate’s “Beyond the BNP” document, and his thoughts in the wake of Infidel and other attacks on Occupy camps.
More miscellany from Entdinglichung.