Have you ever watched a historical documentary or perhaps a Second World War movie and wondered how the fascists ever took over? How did they convince people to follow them? How did they reshape a nation in their mould? How could anyone support that kind of hatred? Why weren’t they stopped, why did more people not stand up to them? Have you ever wondered what you would have done if you were in that situation? Surely you would have stood up to them, right? Surely they would have no appeal to people like you? Continue reading
Esperanto isn’t a common discussion topic, certainly not in the English speaking world. There’s rarely articles and hardly any books about it, so naturally I was excited about the new history of the language, “Bridge of Words” by Esther Schor, which is billed as the first book about the whole history of Esperanto. The book narrates the history of the language, the ideas behind as well as the personal experience of the author who spent years in the Esperanto community.
Hopefully this will generate interest in the language and provide a valuable resource to people who want to learn more about the language. So far, there have been some reviews in leading journals which will introduce the language to many people for the first time. However, these reviews are written by outsiders who know little about Esperanto (so there is a lot of the inevitable ‘Esperanto failed’ nonsense) and in fact the author herself was an outsider before she wrote this book. So I decided to write a review from an insider’s perspective, from the view of a committed Esperantist. Continue reading
A major issue nowadays is immigration and the refugee crisis, particularly the immigration of Muslims into Europe. Some people warn that they are a threat to Western Civilisation as they don’t have “Western values”. This is a strange argument for numerous reasons such as the assumption that none will assimilate and that it’s somehow impossible for two cultures to live side by side. However the strangest part is that no one seems to know what Western values are. Continue reading
It hardly needs to be said that the two main candidates running for president are not very popular. Both Trump and Clinton have historically high unpopularity ratings and many voters are voting against a candidate rather than for one they support. Perhaps it is time to consider a third option.
Jill Stein claims to be a candidate worth voting for based on her policies and principles, not just because people are afraid of Trump. She argues that Clinton is just as bad as Trump and voting for “the lesser of two evils” will not solve America’s problems but only allow them to continue. She is hoping that people will reject “the politics of fear” and break the two party system. Continue reading
So after the debate I covered last time between Job and his 3 “friends” (if you can call them that) there is a shift in the Book of Job. The first post was about questions of morality and why bad things happen to good people and in this post God shows up to give his response. Continue reading
One of the great questions of humanity is why do good things happen to bad people? Why is there war, famine and genocide? Why are rich and powerful people often dishonest and criminal? Why do innocent people suffer poverty and disease? Why are terrible injustices often unpunished? These are questions that have challenged humans throughout history and many religions and philosophers have struggled to answer. The Book of Job is dedicated to discussing this question and to my surprise it is actually entertaining. Continue reading
In two weeks time, Britain will vote on whether or not it will leave the European Union, a major decision which could have wide reaching ramifications. Even though as an Irish citizen I cannot vote, the decision will have a large impact on both Ireland and myself. Leaving aside the specifics of Brexit (whether Britain could still have access to the common market and whether it would still be bound by EU regulations) and political ironies (the same people who opposed Scottish independence are making essentially the same agreement in support of leaving the EU) I think it’s worthwhile to discuss the EU as an institution in general and consider whether it is beneficial or not. Continue reading