July 12, 2005

Seeing how the main page is blank...

I didn't really mean to be out this long, but I thought, well, it would take as long as it took. But, Kiera is back at work, and the main page is blank, so I thought maybe it was time I got back to life.

I found out today that I got into my PhD programme. There are details to iron out in September, but that can wait.

Anyway, so I plan to get back to blogging starting forthwith. I notice, for example, that Doug Merill over at AFOE just misses the reasons why Muslims are having a hard time feeling European - it's not citizenship laws, it's ?the largely unemployed, undereducated, masses of Muslims -- les jeunes de banlieues -- living in the suburban ghettos that ring major French cities". Social exclusion is not about slips of paper, it's first and foremost about security.

Also, I find myself agreeing completely with Edward Hugh on the relative importance of structural differences across the EU when compared to monetary policy. This is why we need to build exactly the kind of "social Europe" so repeatedly rejected by conservatives and business elites, and it is what seems to me to have been at stake in the EU constitution referenda. Not that you'd ever know that from reading the English language press.

And, the BBC's hesitation to use the word terrorist has caused some consternation over at Crooked Timber. This sounds to me like another job for a lexicographer. Words are defined by looking at how people use them, not how they say they use them. As far as I can tell a terrorist is someone who:

  1. uses violence to further political goals I don't approve of.
  2. uses violence against people I can identify with.
  3. operates in a way that undermines my confidence that the relevant authorities will be able to do something to stop them.
It hasn't always meant that, but that's the only definition I've found that fits the way it seems to be used in 21st century English.

Oh, I almost forgot: I want to thank everybody who wrote and linked from their own blogs with kind words after my last post. I'm sorry, I didn't answer anyone's e-mail or comment anywhere. No one was singled out - I really didn't answer anyone - and I don't want to give the impression that I didn't see your letters or your posts. At first, I just didn't want to deal with it over and over again when it was still so fresh and all I wanted was to move on. Then later, it just seemed awkward. But, Kiera and I do appreciate your thoughts and sympathy.

We're doing okay. It's traumatic, but there's nothing to be done but move on and try again.

Posted 2005/07/12 16:04 (Tue) | TrackBack

Good to see you back! Congrats on the PhD program, and... well, you know.

Posted by: language hat at July 12, 2005 16:26

Thanks... I've half committed to learning Inuktitut to do part of the PhD. It should be fun.

Posted by: Scott Martens at July 12, 2005 16:35

Congratulations on the phd program! I think you need to reread Doug's post.

Posted by: David Weman at July 12, 2005 20:28

Welcome back!

Posted by: Aidan Kehoe at July 12, 2005 21:43

Thanks, Aidan and David.

David, yes I realise that Doug was trying to get at something else. It's just that since the question was why are European Muslims so alienated, and the answer was so immediately there, it merited remarking.

Posted by: Scott Martens at July 13, 2005 10:14
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