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He had come to understand the defining human struggle not as left versus right, or faith versus reason, but as individual versus institution. As a student of Kafka, Koestler, and Solzhenitsyn, he believed that truth, creativity, love, and compassion are corrupted by institutional hierarchies, and by “patronage networks”—one of his favorite expressions—that contort the human spirit …Assange wrote that illegitimate governance was by definition conspiratorial—the product of functionaries in “collaborative secrecy, working to the detriment of a population.” He argued that, when a regime’s lines of internal communication are disrupted, the information flow among conspirators must dwindle, and that, as the flow approaches zero, the conspiracy dissolves. Leaks were an instrument of information warfare.

Julian Assange, profiled in the New Yorker by Raffi Khatchadourian back in June 2010.

In his review of Sándor Márai’s works, J. M. Coetzee quotes from Márai’s memoir Land! Land!

In literature as in life, only silence is sincere

Márai goes on to elaborate (as quoted by Coetzee)

We not only act, talk, think, dream, we also preserve our silence about something. All our lives, we are silent about who we are, which only we know and about which we can speak to no one. Yet we know that who we are and what we cannot speak of constitutes the ‘truth’. We are that about which we preserve our silence.

Now, consider the following extract from a review of Tony Blair’s recently published memoir, A Journey:

On the six-hundred-and-eightieth page of a six-hundred-and-eighty-two-page book that consists almost entirely of detailed accounts of politics, Blair writes, “I have always been more interested in religion than politics.” It is just about the only mention of religion in the book.
Blair nowhere says what his religious beliefs are, and nowhere discusses how they affect his politics or his decision-making or his daily life.

One may merely speculate as to the reason for Blair’s silence. Perhaps it is the sincere silence that Márai talks about. Or perhaps Blair preserves his silence for A Journey: Part 2.

states with nuclear weapons should have better call verification systems. This mega-blooper is just in time to qualify for WTF of the year.

If stories are to be believed, the luxurious Taj mahal hotel in bombay, completed in 1903 and open to everyone, was Jamsetji Tata’s response to being denied an entry into a city hotel that did not admit Indians. In the rally following the Mumbai terror attacks of November 26, the banners that read ‘enough is enough’ seemed to echo a sentiment akin to the one that may have led to the conception of the Taj – one of the landmarks that the terrorists wanted to bring down.

The events of November 26 in post-analysis offer a multiple choice of emotions – remorse over the 188 lives lost, shock and anger at the perpetrators, and a sense of disappointment and rage at the Indian polity. These are not feelings unknown to Mumbai. The train blasts on July 11, 2006 killed 209, the car bombs near the Gateway of India and CST station on August 25, 2003, killed 50, and the 13 bomb blasts in March 1993 killed 257. The latest attack was more in-your-face unlike prior cowardly acts of stealthily placing bombs and remotely cause them to explode. The perpetrators stayed on after arriving undetected on a boat in the city and engaged the security forces on the streets and structures of Mumbai transforming the city overnight into a battleground. They demonstrated to the residents of Mumbai and beyond that their declining belief of security was in fact non-existent.

My personal pet peeve is the one involving the political class in India. I have yet to find anyone I know that confesses a sense of faith in one or more political parties, or denies a sense of resentment against the majority of those that clamber on one another for political office. With the recent terror attacks, as in the case of terrorists that now have a face, the political scum have emerged with tangible heads, like the mythological multi-headed demon, Ravana. As with Ravana, when one head is cut off, another emerges to take its place.

One often hears mention of the two Indias – the rich and the poor. There is, in fact a third India – the inefficient and indifferent political class – that is perhaps primarily responsible for creating this disparity. You can sense their apathy in their words, idiocies, and concerns at a time of crisis. It is this rare combination of being inefficient and indifferent that makes the typical Indian politician an unconventional species – one whose very nature is at odds with the responsibility given to it.

I believe that the among others, the aftermath of the attacks is a time for self-examination. After we have vented our rage and expressed our remorse, and before the memory of the events fade away, perhaps some of us will point the finger at ourselves and ask if we have failed our people. And maybe a few of us will do something about it. Just as the those that were discriminated against more than a century ago decided to do something about it.

If you convince yourself that you’re amongst the elite or that you alone are privy to the eternal truths about how to govern, then you can become a very dangerous person.

From an interview in Salon with Simon Blackburn, on his recent book on Plato’s Republic. Of particular interest is the context in which the above statement is made.

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