Great little short film on YouTube, asking some of the age-old questions, and answering some more pertinent ones, like why I won’t be committing suicide with British Rail.
President Sarkozy will not be the one to tell French schoolchildren that the borders of Europe extend to Syria and Iraq,1 should Turkish overtures to the EU be fully accepted. One must assume then, that he would have no problem explaining that the current borders of the EU extend to Morocco on mainland Africa, or that France itself shares borders with Brazil and Suriname. Or perhaps that under fifty years ago, its borders extended south to the Sahara Desert.
The question of Europe is a naturally contentious issue. Assuming one isn’t to treat it as a mere archipelagical extension of Asia, Europe has one of the most fluid and imprecise geographic borders of any of the continents. Claiming that Europe ends with the Atlantic Ocean, the Urals, the Volga or the Bosporus is perhaps all very appropriate, except that none of today’s borders actually conform to the logic. Whilst the EU might today stake the strongest claim to defining Europe, would Sarkozy’s schoolchildren really see it that way? Their idea of Europe is as likely to be influenced through football and music, as much as through other political and international bodies.
Meine Gedichte brauche ich dazu nicht mehr; in meinen Bücherregalen ist das alles viel besser gesagt. Aber was würde mit einem passieren, wenn das schon ein Grund wäre, etwas aufzugeben? Wo blieben wir alle? So schreibe ich weiter, doch oft genug erscheint es mir grau und papieren gegen den Abendhimmel, der jetzt über den Dächern weit und apfelfarben wird, während der violette Aschenregen der Dämmerung schon die Straße füllt.
Erich Maria Remarque, Der schwarze Obelisk
It might not be particularly well featured, but Google Docs does at least provide a quick and easy way to share your documents, albeit with messed up formatting and various other caveats. Today, however, I came across a problem uploading some small files which produced the rather pallid error message “Server rejected.” Something wrong with my files? With the browser upload? With the server itself? No idea.
Fortunately there was an easy, if rather roundabout fix available: simply email the files to my Gmail account, and use the option there to open them with Google Docs. Bingo!
The Intelligence² group hosted a debate in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, in October, considering whether the Catholic church is a force for good in the world. Speaking for the motion were Archbishop John Onaiyekan, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, and the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, Conservative MP and Catholic convert. Speaking against were Christopher Hitchens, writer, broadcaster and polemicist, author of the bestselling book “God is not Great”, and Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and television presenter. The debate was presented by Zeinab Badawi.
Since the new Intelligence² website appears to have done away with transcriptions, I’m publishing this one here. Please note that this is an entirely unofficial transcription, so any mistakes are my own. The full video can be found on the official site, as well as on YouTube.