when there’s nothing left to burn you have to set yourself on fire;

I can’t imagine I’d be allowed to lift the strip in its entirety, so here are the always-astute Jesus and Mo on the case of Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the Afghan student journalist who was sentenced to death after downloading an internet report on women’s human rights.

Julie sent me the link to the Independent newspaper’s petition to the Foreign Office on Friday afternoon, and I mentioned at the time that I would blog about it but of course was signing off a magazine and disappearing to England at the time. The official word is that the student, who was sentenced to death under his country’s strict blasphemy laws after distributing an article to his journalism class which commented on Koranic verses about women’s rights, will not be executed but it remains to be seen what penalty he will suffer for something that we take for granted.

Oh, I don’t have to tell you this stuff. Draw the case to your attention, yes – but moralise? It’s funny, but as the blogosphere has expanded the dissenting voices seem to have got lost. We have formed our own cliques, we have our favourite reads and we don’t have time to seek out intelligent, challenging viewpoints. I’m not talking about HA HA YOU SUKK-type trolls but genuine, thought-provoking debate. This blog’s readership is predominantly drawn from my friends: intelligent, interesting, marvellous people who I hardly ever have cause to argue with. I wouldn’t want to swap them for strangers, but I guess I wish I was good enough for those who might stumble across this blog randomly to want to stick around.

I could do without the people Googling for bit trojan hardcore indian girls though.

Saying that, actually, I was delighted to get a lovely email last night from my old friend Paul who I suppose was one of those “random people who stuck around”. Paul used to blog at Doing The Dance, and we struck up a friendship after I left a comment on a post of his round about the time that Sleater-Kinney broke up. In his “Obama Dispatch from St. Paul, Minn” he asked if it was true that Super Tuesday had made the headlines on my side of the Atlantic, and said:

There is something happening in this country where the people who were against Bush/Iraq war from the beginning are energized, the apathetic have awoken and Republicans who gleefully voted in “the Decider” twice feel ashamed and are crossing the aisle to Obama or Hillary. The era of cowboy diplomacy is drawing to a close, and a willingness to work with the rest of the world is emerging as the smarter course.

I was happy to confirm, and speculated in my response that perhaps this interest stems from the feeling of participation that the US selection process seems to confer. It’s not like over here, where leaders are nominated from a crowd of grey men by a party of grey men, and I need to remind myself every morning who the Prime Minister is these days. Even my mother hasn’t been this excited by American politics since 9/11!

I was in the mood to pick a fight this morning, but it’s passed now in a wave of exhaustion. My sleep has been dreadful this week, and work is about to get busier than I anticipated. Still, my Hold Steady tickets have arrived and I’ve got a few unexpected days with my best friend next week, so there’s a lot to look forward to if only I can keep my eyes open!!


1 Comment

  1. February 7, 2008 / 8:22 pm

    I almost have something intelligent to say your post because I agree with a lot of it but I’ve run out of my quota of intelligence today and I’m suffering a wave of exhaustion myself.