Tales of the world episode 17 – Dictators don’t go on holidays

Dictators and dictatorships don’t go on holidays

Why should they? These are most propitious times for action, with entire Western countries and civil societies bearing their guard down.

Russia’s Pussy Riot and Syria’s rebels are but the most recent and recurring examples of what happens when a good part of the western hemisphere is at the beach.

With tongue in cheek music from

Michel PolnareffJean François Maurice

and, of course, Pussy Riot

For a related podcast, see Tales of the world episode 7.



Political Crisis in Romania – there is still hope, but only just

Political crisis in Romania – why there is still hope, but only just

Romania is in dire straits. Let us be honest : when has this country NOT been in dire straits ? Anyone who bothers even the briefest look at Romania’s past would realise it has dug for itself a history-deep gorge of self-loathing and annihilation.

But let me not forget that i am writing this article in English, the language of empiricism and dispassionate analysis. Out of respect for Anglo-Saxon common sense and my training as a political scientist I shall try to be dispassionate. But here’s the rub exposed by the current Romanian situation: it cannot be apprehended, let alone understood, without embracing pathos, and that very Romanian passion for contradiction and inconsistency, otherwise known as the absurd.

For, Romania of August 2012, EU member with Schengen aspirations, is in throws of a debate on people’s census that the English had at the time of the Norman conquest, in 1066, and Domesday, when William the Conqueror ordered the tallying of the inhabitants in the newly conquered territories.

In the Romania of August 2012, in a bid to oust the President, the government is contesting the very electoral lists that brought it to power but two months ago, and whose update some of its representatives ardently fought before local elections.

It is the same country in which in a twist of absurdly clear logic, the suspended President says he cannot resign from his position, as he is actually suspended from it! Continue reading Political Crisis in Romania – there is still hope, but only just