Al Shaw

Links, quotes, images and the occasional unoriginal thought.

Oct 20

The explosion of violence in the Middle East is a symptom of what we see there as a crisis of the state. In the much cited definition by Weber, the state is to be considered an entity, an institution, or a system of institutions, that success-fully claims the monopoly or legitimate use of violence in a specific territory.

Although this monopoly of legitimate violence may define the state, however, systematic application of this potentially undermines it. When a state needs to turn to repertoires of violence in a generalized way, it may lose the virtue of its functional competence and thus legitimacy. Then, government becomes the on-going exercise of power though violence, and violence a condition for the functioning of state institutions.

This, as Walter Benjamin explains, we may refer to as the state
of emergency becoming norm, not an exception but the rule.

This rule has been tormenting the Kurdistan region in Syria,Turkey, Iraq and Iran for decades

Kurdish Spring 

Oct 9

Oct 7
“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that of three possible objectives in Syria, Ankara puts the fall of Assad and the defeat of Kurdish aspirations above that of the destruction of the Islamic State.” Open Democracy

Oct 6
“Turkey’s approach to the crises generated by IS advances in Iraq and Syria has been puzzling, and shrouded in a troubling murkiness.” Open Democracy 

Sep 27
“The return to war will reinforce the politics of fear – which is the grimmest legacy of the Blair era in Britain. It has Cameron popping in and out of his Cobra bunker like a rabbit in a hole. Cameron does this because he knows he can only get Britons to go to war by portraying Isis as a “threat to Britain’s national security”. Some Isis adherents may have criminal intent, but that is a matter for the police. Britain survived a far greater menace from the IRA without crumbling. Its existence is not threatened by jihadism. The claim is ludicrous. Cameron must have no faith in his own country.” Simon Jenkins 

Sep 5
“The unity-in-diversity Paul proclaims is more particular than generic teamwork – as if getting along and working together itself is holy. The punch for Paul is not just the simple analogy of a body for human cooperation and interconnectedness. The point is how that interconnectedness – the unity amidst diversity – is transformed by our incorporation and participation in Christ” Seth Richardson

Sep 3

Aug 18
“Once you taste undiluted community, it’s hard to go back to whatever the watered-down American knockoff would be. Once you realize that you don’t have to hold it all together on your own, that you can rely on others, share with others, and be real with others, it’s really had to imagine going back to the old way of doing life…. Although building community is hard, uncomfortable, and requires vulnerability in a culture that tends to value pretentiousness, the life you will discover at the end of that road is one that you’ll never want to turn away from. Like Jesus, we find life as it was intended when we build a circle of friends who will join us in the messy work of wrestling with what faith in our time looks like.” (Benjamin Corey, Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, 45-46)

Aug 5
“Everyone likes to eat. In peace or war, the ultimate refuge—the sanctuary of all that is humane—lies distilled within the warmth of the kitchen.” Paul Salopek

Jul 31
“The ivory tower of Neo-Calvinism has reached so high, I’m not sure what the point is anymore. Calvinist bloggers only stimulate other Calvinist bloggers. Neo-Calvinism has become the ghetto of the ghetto of the Christian subculture.” J.S. Park

Jul 22

"In recent days, there were times I wanted to give greater voice to the anger and grief that the Malaysian people feel and that I feel," he said.

"But sometimes, we must work quietly in the service of a better outcome."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on negotiations resulting in Ukrainian pro-Russian fighters handing over the black boxes of flight MH17. 

Jul 20
“The best-selling author Tony Horwitz recently wrote in the New York Times about his experience with electronic publishing. He was delighted to find that his instant book on the Keystone pipeline, Boom, had landed in the Amazon Top 25 list of all digital titles—only to learn that he had sold a mere 800 copies.” Philip Yancey 

Jun 29
“In its later and more refined stages [slavery] is carried on by the ownership of the things from which man must live.” Clarence Darrow 

Jun 22

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