Daily Archives: April 4, 2009

What’s new Sunday 5 April to Saturday 11 April

026march 005

Coffee shop in East Redfern

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Posted by on April 4, 2009 in site news


Uncomfortable but possibly correct thoughts on Afghanistan

It isn’t very often that I recommend something in Quadrant, but I do recommend Justin Kelly’s How to Win in Afghanistan – even if the title is perhaps rather ambitious. What he says is certainly worth placing beside whatever other sources you may be following. “Kelly is a recently retired Australian army officer. He commanded the Peace Monitoring Group on Bougainville, was deputy commander of the peace keeping force in East Timor and was director of strategic operations in the US headquarters in Iraq from November 2006 until September 2007.” So it is frankly written from a military perspective, but he does get at least some vital facts correct.

Originally law belonged to a people. It was a common possession which defined the group to which individuals “belonged” and which was marked by their subscription to the weight of custom, ritual and obligation entailed. In return, membership of the group regulated the interactions between individuals and families within the group and offered advantages in dealings with other groups…

From this germ evolved the idea of the modern state as a geographically bounded area within which “a law” prevailed…

These two conceptions of law—as belonging either to a people or to a state—are irreconcilable and the conflict between them is being played out in domestic and international politics across the world. Insurgency and counter-insurgency is a competition to establish whose law will prevail in an area. The counter-insurgent force is attempting to establish its coercive authority in areas in which that authority is contested by insurgents. In Afghanistan, NATO forces are acting as proxies for the government of Afghanistan in the extension of its authority. The Taliban is resisting that attempt while also endeavouring to extend its authority over the remainder of the country.

Modern-day Afghanistan is largely a figment of the Western imagination. Its present boundaries emerged only during the nineteenth century as a result of imperial competition between Persia, Russia and Britain. It is the rump of a larger Pashtun empire (the term Afghan having its roots in the Persian for Pashtun) that had previously extended well into modern-day Pakistan and Iran. The northern boundary, only stabilised in the 1870s, was originally a zone through which Pashtun influence was in balance with that of the steppe-dwelling Uzbek, Tajiks and Turkmen, who remain ethnic minorities in northern Afghanistan today. Peshawar, in Pakistan, was until the early nineteenth century the winter capital and “pearl of the [Pashtun] Durani Empire”…

I still think a good case can be made that the whole Iraq thing – whatever you now think of it – was a terrible distraction from attending properly to the place where Al Qaeda really was, under the friendly shelter of the Taliban.


Saturday roundup 4th April

The book reviews will continue through the coming week. There are one or two non-fiction titles I will be adding, so it could be pretty much a literary week here on Floating Life. I am generally limiting myself to one or two posts a day here, and the regular daily additions to the Photoblog and Ninglun on Journalspace. By the way, if I am ever in danger of running out of photos I just go for a walk… 😉

Now for the who looked at what in the past seven days. The round-up for March is on Ninglun’s Specials.

Visits in past seven days



341 How should I write up a Science experiment? English/ESL
319 Mary Shelley, "Frankenstein" — and "Blade Runner" English/ESL
244 The "Belonging" Essay English/ESL
206 HSC English NSW Area Study Standard and Advanced "Belonging" English/ESL
194 A student’s “Belonging Essay English/ESL
169 Physical journeys and Peter Skrzynecki’s poems English/ESL
156 Belonging pages: HSC 2009-2012 English/ESL
150 Friday Australian poem #17: Bruce Dawe, Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
138 Australian poem: 2008 series #9 — "The Angel’s Kiss" Floating Life
126 Studying the Gothic, or Emily Bronte? English/ESL
78 How good is your English? Test and Answers Floating Life
78 Backgrounding my essay: question and resources English/ESL
61 Australian poem 2008 series #17: "Australia" — A D Hope Floating Life
51 Workshop 03 — Creative Writing (Year 12) English/ESL
50 NSW Module A English HSC Advanced: on not seeing the wood for the trees English/ESL
50 The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005 Floating Life
49 Assimilation, Integration, Multiculturalism Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
43 What tense should I use when I write about literature? English/ESL
42 Two Australian poems of World War II Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
40 Australian poem 2008 series #10: Peter S Floating Life
40 Scaffolding English/ESL
37 Dispatches from another America Floating Life
36 John Howard: bullying expert extraordinaire Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
35 Workshop 09: Advanced English Module B English/ESL
34 Workshop 02 — NSW HSC: Area Study: Imaginative Journeys English/ESL
34 From my personal site: The Secret River English/ESL
31 Better English and ESL writing workshops English/ESL
28 Workshop 04 — Creative Writing Year 11/ English/ESL
28 Is "majority" singular or plural? English/ESL
27 Links English/ESL
27 Workshop 01 — a theme unit in four different text types English/ESL
27 Cutting Edge: Embedded with Sheik Hilaly Floating Life
27 Sequel: Art Monthly Australia July 2008 Ninglun’s Specials
26 Physical journeys and Peter Skrzynecki’s poems updated English/ESL
26 ESL+ English/ESL
25 Friday Australian poem #3: A D Hope, "The Death of a Bird" Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
25 Ian McKellen and Judi Dench in Macbeth and segue into Mardi Gras Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
25 I too was offered a free trip to China Floating Life
25 01b: The Essays English/ESL
25 Literacy English/ESL
25 Studying comic strips? Really! English/ESL
25 How can I improve my essay grades…? English/ESL
25 How can I write better short stories? English/ESL
25 FAQ English/ESL
23 3 — Indigenous Australians Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07
23 Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields Ninglun’s Specials
22 Workshop 010: HSC Advanced English English/ESL
21 A rather odd argument? Floating Life
21 Australian poem: 2008 series #8 — Indigenous Floating Life
The most visited individual post on the Photoblog was Small Buddhist temple 3 with 13 views.
NOTE: I finished this offline in Windows Live Writer on battery as we just had our second power outage this week. See Bathroom romantic. 😉
Comments Off on Saturday roundup 4th April

Posted by on April 4, 2009 in site news, site stats


Good commentary on Australian economy

Over in the sidebar you will see various perspectives, Oz and other, on the current economic crisis – an area I am far from expert in. Not listed there are Jim Belshaw’s posts in his Management Perspectives blog.

I commend them to you.

Comments Off on Good commentary on Australian economy

Posted by on April 4, 2009 in Australia, current affairs, economic crisis, globalisation/corporations, Jim Belshaw, other blogs, Political, politics