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From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true. /FK (Contact: TBONotebooks at fastmail.fm. The Blue Octavo Notebooks welcomes mail, although we cannot guarantee a response. Your email may be posted in part on The Blue Octavo Notebooks unless otherwise requested.) Please enjoy the notebook entries, and thanks for reading.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Say wha'? Interesting math in today’s Arab News:

Wednesday's Madrid massacre is arguably Europe’s Sept. 11. It came three and a half years to the day after Al-Qaeda’s murderous attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The danger is that this latest outrage may wreak the same change in attitudes among Europeans as the New York and Washington crimes did for Americans.

Well, who’s counting, anyway? Interesting editorial, too, and good to see Arab News is admitting Al-Qaeda was behind at least one 9/11, albeit not the 9/11 most people think of in relation to Al-Qaeda.

Indeed it may be worse. Europe’s racist bigots like France’s National Front are bound to try and cash in, claiming their vicious xenophobia has been vindicated. Europe could easily be infected with American paranoia and illiberalism. Most crucially, it might start to accept Israel’s craven claims that it too is a helpless victim of fanatical Muslim terrorism.

Ah, yes, don’t you just love good ol’ “American paranoia and illiberalism”? If only we could more liberal and tolerant like our Saudi allies:

RIYADH, 13 March 2004 — A court in Riyadh sentenced a Saudi teacher accused of denouncing religion to three years in jail and 300 lashes. The man was banned from teaching and writing in newspapers.

The court dropped an apostasy charge but found him guilty on other charges of blasphemy. The court took statements from three witnesses under the age of 15 in addition to other teachers at the same school.

According to students, the teacher “allowed” what was religiously forbidden such as homosexuality and adultery. He also referred to the Syrian poet Nizar Qabani as “Nizar (peace be upon him).”

Three years in jail and 300 lashes: Good thing for him he wasn’t practicing black magic. What’s that you were saying about other folks being paranoid and illiberal, hmmm?

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