Here’s a conversation to which, in one form or another, I have been party more than once in the past week or so. Perhaps you have done the same.
In discussing the latest twists of the Covid-19 pandemic, person one says something to the tune of ‘I can’t remember. Is the Delta variant the Indian one, then?’, and person two, if they do not reproach the other for their lack of politesse, says something resembling, ‘er, I don’t know. I’ll just check’.
For all the pro-forma talk of a two-state solution among diplomats and politicians across the world, it is commonly believed that the Palestinian national cause has lost its impetus. Palestine lies in two divergent parts, separately ruled by parties which hate each other. Because no Palestinian state worth the name could spring quickly into existence, the diplomats and politicians believe, they need give it no heed save the platitudes.
For the owners and operators of the Colonial Pipeline, the resumption of normal operations following an attack of ransomware probably brought little pleasure. Not least because, according to an official, they had paid up to $5 million to the attackers in ransom in the process. But to have one’s business entirely paralysed in this way is not so much a wake up call, as it has been fashionable to call it, as a time to get serious.
As the mechanics of China’s genocidal repression of its Uighur minority has become more and more evident, the hunt has been on to find the link between the systematic suppression of a cultural minority and global commerce.
Review – Prey: Islam, Immigration and the Erosion of Women’s Rights by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Ayaan Hirsi Ali argues that Muslim immigration is diminishing women’s rights in Europe in a way that is measurable and sustained. She makes an empirical case for asylum seekers and recent immigrants perpetrating an out-of-proportion number of sexual crimes, and contributing to a de facto culture of seclusion in which – at least in some parts of the European continent – women venture outside less than their male peers and partake less in society.
Denied an electoral bellwether for over a year because of the pandemic, politicians and commentators have unleashed their pent-up desire for analysis on this year’s local, regional, by- and London elections.
With a seeming spirit of negotiation sweeping the Middle East, it’s easy enough to make rash predictions. Saudi Arabia taking to Iran and the Assad regime in Syria – Egypt and Turkey talking to each other. Many commentators, notably in the United States, are already treating this as a fundamental change to the old ways of doing things, and in doing so are taking leave of things we know to be true.