Antidote to Turkish Rambo

Here’s the real-life flipside to Valley of the wolves, Iraq: a Turkish military court has released the phenomenally brave gay consciencious objector Mehmet Tarhan. An excellent piece by Bernard Bouwman in Dutch in the NRC describes how our man decided after 9/11 that this fight was not his in any sense and–traitor!–refused to serve when…

Ciudadanos de Cataluña launch, a bitter disappointment

Liberals believe that politics is about freeing individuals to live as they want within just bounds. Nationalists believe it is a tool for translating a sense of ethnic identity and a fondness for folkdancing into, respectively, sovereignty and national ballets. No one can remember what socialists believed. For the rest of us, however, politics–I speak,…

El mullet

Someone told me the other night that Barcelona is the world capital of mullet. The Danish allegedly call it Bundesliga-hÃ¥r, but I don’t think there’s an equivalent term in Catalan or Spanish. (Mollet is a small town near here best known for its police school and its Islamic fundamentalists. None of them are big mulletmen,…

A Moroccan blogger on the London bombs

I hadn’t looked hard enough, but it turns out (thanks Karim) that there are a lot of Moroccan bloggers out there, including novelist Sanaa Elaji, MP Khalid El Hariry (no relative of Wilfred the Hairy), and Ayoub, an authentic Blue Man (this craze is not limited to Montana or Kentucky); there’s also the beginnings of…

Whys & wherefores

Livingstone doesn’t travel well, but I thought this was really good. Galloway is deranged and has no place in London, but even he doesn’t go as far as the charming anti-whateverist who told me last night that, in her carefully considered opinion, 9/11 would never have happened had it not been for the invasion of…