Notes From the Margins…
Posts Tagged Islamic State
Terrortalk

Terrortalk

  • December 13, 2015
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Many years ago, when I was doing my A’ Levels, my English teacher gave us three basic rules of thumb to apply when reading texts: 1) What is the author trying to achieve? 2) To what extent does he/she succeed on his/her terms? 3) To what extent does he/she succeed on your terms?

I’ve always found...

Save a Refugee – Bomb ’em all to Hell

  • September 09, 2015
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In less than a week, the British government has frantically changed its line on Europe’s refugee crisis like a twitchy gambler shuffling cards in the hope that the right one comes up.  First  David Cameron  rejected the notion that accepting more refugees was a ‘solution’ to the crisis, as if anybody had ever said...

Full Spectrum Idiocy

  • June 30, 2015
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Governments rarely have anything honest to say in response to terrorist atrocities, and they rarely have anything intelligent, insightful or useful to say about them either.     Invariably they lapse into the standard bargain-basement cant that has acquired such tedious traction over the last fourteen years: we shall not cower…an attack against all of...

The Day of Terror

The Day of Terror

  • June 27, 2015
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In his memoir The Devil in France, the German-Jewish novelist Lion Feuchtwanger looked back on the historical circumstances that had resulted in his internment in a French prison in Tunisia during World War I,   and driven him into exile in southern France following Hitler’s ascent to power, and his internment in French concentration camps...

Islamic State’s British Volunteers: a Useful Threat?

Islamic State’s British Volunteers: a Useful Threat?

  • June 17, 2015
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I feel sorry for the Bradford husbands and other British Muslim families whose children and relatives have absconded to join Islamic State’s savage utopia, but I don’t feel any sympathy at all for the ‘radicalized’ volunteers who have gone to Syria.   It isn’t as if you have to look very far to know what...

Jihadi John: The Man Behind the Mask

Jihadi John: The Man Behind the Mask

  • February 27, 2015
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So now we know the identity of  the smug executioner with the black balaclava and the knife who murdered James Foley, and the British media and politicians are struggling to understand how a boy who once liked S-Club 7 and wanted to be a footballer became a ‘monster’.

I don’t pretend to have an explanation for...

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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