Daily Archives: January 9, 2011

The news from Sudan sounds almost too good to be true. The referendum is taking place on time and without violence. The Sudanese government appears ready to accept the partition of the country when – as everybody expects – the South votes to secede. There seems to be a real possibility that this will be a peaceful separation. This sort of thing is hard enough to pull off in Europe. (Think of the Balkan wars.) But, in Africa, it was meant to be impossible. Read more

The idea that there is anything in common between the politics of the United States and Pakistan might seem absurd. But both countries have suffered appalling acts of political violence this week. And in both cases, the victims were moderate voices who spoke out for liberal values.

The political/religious motive in the murder of Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, is indisputable. The governor was murdered by a religious fanatic, enraged by his challenge to Pakistan’s Draconian blasphemy laws. The motives of Jared Loughner, the man suspected of shooting and gravely wounding Congressman Gabrielle Giffords yesterday - and killing several other people – are not yet clear. Maybe they never will be. But Loughner had made disturbed videos ranting about gold and the constitution, which are favourite themes of the Tea Party movement. Read more