A ten-minute dip into world news today reveals the following two fascinating stories:
RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”. Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church. For more see Times Online.
And for New Zealand lovers a great piece of writing from Simon Schama opposing the lunatic idea that New Zealand should become the seventh state of Australia. Here’s a bit:
Schama wants: to see New Zealanders selling short the rich history of their peculiar place in the world. I’m not an enthusiast for one-size-fits-all versions of national community: interchangeable airports, cookie-cutter multiplexes, die-stamp shopping malls.
I’m all for micro-anachronism. Long live Andorra! Hail to thee O Liechtenstein! May Sikkim never perish from the face of the Earth.
I own up to a smidgin of nostalgia here. For anyone who grew up in the 1950s, it’s a weird and not unpleasant experience to travel thousands of miles to the opposite ends of the Earth and, in New Zealand’s smaller towns, arrive where you began your life amidst drizzle-sprayed bowling greens, rose gardens, and shops selling Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts.
But that’s the knitted tea-cosy cliche about the country. The strength of its history could not be less purl and plain.
Wherever you look, the New Zealand story has been heroic, volcanic, singular. Its island masses, torn from Gondwanaland, stayed so remote that for millions of years they knew no mammalian life. Insects, reptiles and birds shared the lush ecology and without any predators, many birds evolved flightlessly.
For more see here.