Skip to main content

fluctuat nec mergitur

this has not been a good couple of weeks. yesterday, while terrorists prepared to attack the city of paris, people in southern lebanon were grieving their dead after bombings there injured more than two hundred in a shia-dominated suburb of beirut. the attack was condemned as "satanic" by hezbollah, the shi'ite political group who have been fighting isis and who are themselves designated a terror organisation by western powers. this just two weeks after a suspicious crash of a russian airliner in egypt killed over two hundred people there.

i already expressed my reaction to a similar attack in the french capital less than a year ago and i stand by those thoughts. but i still feel the need to say something here, because the horrific violence of the past two weeks just leaves me aching. i've been in paris. i've walked around the streets not far from the restaurant and concert venue that were attacked yesterday. i remember seeing the modern curve of the stade de france against the morning sky from the window of a taxi, one of my very first impressions of the city. i took the photo above- a statue of charlemagne- while i was there.

growing up in halifax, i always had lebanese friends, because there is a substantial community there, many who fled to escape the horrors of the civil war. years ago, i read about the resurgence of beirut since the war and was excited that i might be able to visit, before violence once again engulfed it.

two cities who have shown such incredible resilience over centuries, both targeted by zealots drunk on the teachings of an apocalyptic death cult- jim jones in arabic.

it's always been remarkable to me that, despite the language difference, there are more visitors to this blog from france than any country in the world save the united states and canada. in fact, there are weeks when visitors from france outnumber those of my home country.

a friend of mine from france told me the motto of the city of paris yesterday, which is also the title of this post: "tossed but not sunk". the city may be buffeted by waves- of violence, of fear, of anger- but it will not be dragged under. so when people say "we are all paris", it doesn't simply mean that we identify with the parisians. it means that we will not allow those waves to sink us. we will stand strong in the face of the storm. the waves will break and recede but we will not. we are not paris simply because we sympathize with the people there, but because we must be.

stay safe and stay strong. 

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …