Daily Archives: April 8, 2008

Instant punditry

1. Zimbabwe

Dogmatic, impractical, time-warped, totally uncaring, corrupt, totally delusional, and power-mad. Oh, and a strong competitor in the World’s Worst Leader stakes. What a tragic comedown for a one time liberation hero. I actually hope he dies, soon.


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Posted by on April 8, 2008 in Africa, challenge, Chinese and China, current affairs


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Fascinating stuff

I am currently reading a thriller by a Spanish journalist: Juan Gomez-Jurado, God’s Spy (Orion 2007):

God’s Spy has a lot of attention-grabbing ingredients. There’s a cast of characters that includes a brutal serial killer (of cardinals !), a (female) Italian police inspector who was trained at the FBI headquarters in Quantico, and a priest who was an American intelligence officer — not to mention cameos by popes John Paul II and Benedict. Set in the Vatican, it offers numerous conspiracies, from the Catholic Church sex-scandals to sinister and secretive Vatican organisations to the crimes John Negroponte was willing to overlook in Honduras. With all this set in the Vatican as the cardinals gather to elect a new pope in April of 2005 … well, you can understand how the pitch would appeal to editors…

In outline it doesn’t sound half bad. Someone is offing cardinals — in a phenomenally gruesome manner. More or less in charge of the case, Paola Dicanti, from the Department for the Analysis of Violent Crime, has to contend with both attention and contempt from her male colleagues. The American priest-cum-spy, Anthony Fowler, has a tortured history of his own. The Vatican wants to keep everything hushed-up, so information about the dead cardinals is kept from the public. A journalist stumbles on the truth — putting herself in grave danger. And then there’s the Santa Alianza:

“It’s the Vatican’s Secret Service. Or so they say. A network of spies and secret agents who don’t hesitate to kill. Old wives’ tales, used to scare rookie cops who just joined the force. Nobody takes it seriously.”

In this book, it’s hard to take anyone or thing seriously, but even the most outlandish idea isn’t too ridiculous for Gómez-Jurado.

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Posted by on April 8, 2008 in America, book reviews, current affairs, Fiction, globalisation/corporations, Middle East, politics, reading, terrorism, Thriller


Watching Angels and Demons on Enough Rope last night

Andrew Denton’s one-off episode on mental illness [full transcript now available] was highly informative and for me very moving. See a promotional video here.

Partly that was a matter of memory.

Miss Saeki stared at her hands on the desk, then looked up at Nakata again. “Memories warm you up from the inside, but they also tear you apart.”

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore p.420

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