Notes From the Margins…
Posts Tagged Islamic State
Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

Shamima Begum and the Quality of Mercy

  • February 17, 2019
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What is mercy?   The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘ compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’  This definition highlights the essential component of mercy, which is forbearance and leniency from a position of power and authority.

This concept is well-established in various religious traditions.  The Quran declares:...

Peter Kosminsky’s Islamic State

Peter Kosminsky’s Islamic State

  • August 22, 2017
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The violence that we call terrorism has always been surrounded by a curious paradox. On the one hand virtually every terrorist emergency in history has declared terrorism to be a unique threat to society,  yet the societies under the threat of terrorist violence are generally not encouraged and are even actively discouraged from thinking about...

History, Peace, and Beauty: On Barcelona’s Ramblas

History, Peace, and Beauty: On Barcelona’s Ramblas

  • August 18, 2017
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Of all the massacres perpetrated in Europe in the name of Islamic State, yesterday’s slaughter in the Ramblas has a particular personal resonance for me. I spent nine years in Barcelona, living near the Ramblas for part of that time. Even when I moved further away from downtown Barcelona, hardly a week went by in...

Murder in Westminster

Murder in Westminster

  • March 23, 2017
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So far nothing is known about the murderer who mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on Westminster Bridge and assaulted parliament with a kitchen knife yesterday.

The murderer is dead, having completed his homicidal spree with an act of suicide-by-cop.  Last night Channel 4 News bizarrely identified him as Trevor Brooks, aka Abu Izzadeen, the Islamist bigot...

The World According to Bono

The World According to Bono

  • April 15, 2016
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I’ve got  nothing against famous people getting involved in politics or embracing political causes.  On the contrary, there’s no reason why the accident of fame and the weird cult of celebrity-worship that comes with it should place anyone above politics  or preclude celebrities from taking moral and political positions on issues that they feel strongly...

Trapped in the Gray Zone

  • March 23, 2016
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It would be good to imagine that our descendants may look back on our savage world as a bygone tragedy that has been superseded by a more enlightened era.  Perhaps  historians will draw  lessons from our collective descent into the abyss, the way we now look back at the 1930s and the rise of fascism,...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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