Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Al Jazeera on International Intervention in Libya

An Op-Ed piece by Al Jazeera evaluating the merits and de-merits of intervention in Libya. Has some interesting takes on the international law implications of intervention in the country and the question of establishing a no-fly zone. It also provides its own set of recommendations for an international response. However, I am not as convinced of the practicality of their argument concerning evacuation corridors for African migrant workers to Europe.
"In the end, we argue for humility in imagining the role we might play in the course of Libyans' struggle. The international community is neither entitled to take the reins today nor dictate the post-regime scenario tomorrow. Further, those of us who wish to stand in solidarity with Libyans from outside of their country must recognise that we may not be best placed to identify which local actors enjoy broad-based support... Imaginative strategies to offer much-needed relief and refuge to Libya’s vulnerable population represent a challenge the international community has yet to meet. That is a good starting point for transnational solidarity."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Meeting the last surviving revolutionary of the Chittagong Armoury Raid

Siddharth Monga might come off quite nastily at times, especially when reporting on the Bangladesh cricket team, but this blog entry is wonderful:

The Last Revolutionary Standing

"“We knew we were all going to die,” he says, casually.

I have heard this line many times in films, read it in books, but to hear it face to face, from a man who knew he was going to die, is something else. This is not a line we, born in free countries, quite appreciate when it is played out in the movies. To feel the real meaning of the words, make a trip to Momin Road in Chittagong, and find Binod Bihari Chowdhury, who lives in one of the bylanes in a small non-descript house. He had a bullet pierce his neck, but he has survived to tell the not-often-told tale of theChittagong Armoury Raid in 1930.

Binod is 101 now, the last revolutionary alive among that group, mainly comprising students, who fought a battle that they knew would eventually claim their lives. He is as frail as can be imagined. Recently he has been to Kolkata for treatment. He struggles with high blood pressure, but still watches cricket, much to the chagrin of those who look after him. He struggles to talk, but likes to tell stories. Dadu we call him. Like adadu, a grandfather, he has us sit around him and tells us of the people who fought for independence. He doesn’t blink at all when he is talking. There are four of us there, and he looks into the eye of each, one by one, alternating, as he admits his memory plays tricks at times...."

Source: http://blogs.espncricinfo.com/wc_tourdiaries/archives/2011/03/the_last_revolutionary_standin.php

Ahmed ibn Fadlan & first encounters with Vikings

This is definitely someone I need to read more about:

Ahmad ibn Fadlān ibn al-Abbās ibn Rašīd ibn Hammād (Arabicأحمد بن فضلان بن العباس بن رشيد بن حماد‎) was a 10th century Arab traveler, he is famous for his account of his travels as a member of an embassy of the Arab Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad to the king of the Volga Bulgars, the Kitāb ilā Mulk al-Saqāliba (كتاب إلى ملك الصقالبة) (book for the Owners of Scalivia). His account is most known for providing a description of the Volga Vikings, including an eye-witness account of a ship burial.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmad_ibn_Fadlan 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Talking to myself about the Bar

Today I received acceptance letters from two BPTC courses: College of Law Birmingham and UWE-Bristol. Today was also the day that I first watched the TV show, Barristers and after watching the first hour-long episode I am no longer sure whether my euphoria about the acceptance is appropriate. I enjoy studying law and I love the rush of adrenaline I get when I am speaking to an audience but I am not intensely competitive. I like a bit of competition but I am not aggressive. But most of all, I hate doing applications. I know everyone dislikes doing them and finds them to be a pain but I find myself physically incapable of doing them most of the time.Beyond the astronomic academic requirements, it is this aspect of my personality that troubles me the most.

Without any major hiccups and with blessings from above, I will be able to do reasonably well in my degree and BPTC. However, the real rat race starts when seeking pupillages with Chambers. I've already experienced this a bit, just by applying for a few mini-pupillages, and I am dreading what is ahead. As an international student, I might have difficulty hanging around the country even if I secure a pupillage much less if I am unsuccessful and try to scrounge around for one. (See my post about the immigration quota below). For me to have any chance of practising in the UK for a couple of years, I will really have to do something remarkable.