April 2009

Here’s a headline that SHOULD be top page news, but won’t be:

1,500 farmers commit suicide in India

also here


It looks like things are turning once again to pirates and piracy. A good time to recall the classic critique of empire: 


AugustineCity of God, IV.4 – “Indeed, that was an apt and true reply which was given to Alexander the Great by a pirate who had been seized. For when that king had asked the man what he meant by keeping hostile possession of the sea, he answered with bold pride, “What thou meanest by seizing the whole earth; but because I do it with a petty ship, I am called a robber, whilst thou who dost it with a great fleet art styled emperor.”

I just found this fascinating early modern text: Vidiciae contra tyrranos. (1579). Also here and here.

How ironic is the name of Bernie Madoff’s now-seized yacht? I would have thought “Con” or “Swindle” or “Dupe” or “Killing”, but this works too.