Richard Fynes, reviewing Marie-Françoise Boussac, Jean- Françoise Salles & Jean-Baptiste (eds.) Ports of the Ancient Indian Ocean, Delhi: Primus Books. 2016. ISBN 97893840820792 …………… in IIAS Newsletter, Summer 2017
This edited volume delivers much more than is suggested by its title, since it includes discussions of emporia as far inland as Delhi, the time-scale covered by its articles extends from the 20th century BC to the 18th century AD, and since not only the Indian Ocean, but also the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Bay of Bengal and the South China Sea are discussed by the various authors. Given the wide range and disparate nature of the twenty-four papers in the volume, how should one orient oneself among them? Best to begin with Elizabeth Lambourn’s ‘Describing a Lost Camel’ – Clues for a West Asian Mercantile Networks in South Asian Maritime Trade (Tenth-Twelfth Centuries AD). The volume taken as a whole forms a contribution to the genre of world history and Lambourn provides a clear-eyed assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of that genre. Although Lambourn’s paper is primarily concerned with the two hundred years from the tenth- to the twelfth centuries AD, her masterly analysis of the sources and criticism of the various methodologies in which they are employed provide the reader with a prism with which to view the remaining papers in the volume. Lambourn begins her account with a review of the relevant archaeological and documentary evidence. It is salutary to learn just how insecure is the dating of many South Asian ceramic types and consequently of the archaeological sites whose dating has been largely derived from ceramic evidence. Lambourn notes the problems posed by pluridisciplinary character of the sources and their simultaneous use. Her paper focuses on the port of Sanjan, in the domain of the western Indian dynasty of the Rastrakuta, where, for the tenth century there is rare conjunction of evidence from archaeology, Arabic geographical writings and Indian epigraphy. Her discussion is rich both in evidence and insight, and she gives due acknowledgment to the work of Ranabir Chakravarti, whose work has led scholars to reformulate the questions they ask of the sources. Lambourn’s findings lead her to speculate on the nature of world history and the relationship between micro- and macro history, as she expresses dissatisfaction that she is “left with an eclectic collection of small insights and few satisfactory larger narratives.” Such honest appraisals of the conclusions of one’s research invite further questions and are thus a stimulant to further research. Continue reading
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Policy Exchange’s Hannah Stuart discusses police counter-terrorism operations on BBC Radio 5 Live……..May 2, 2017 …. https://policyexchange.org.uk/news/hannah-stuart-5live/
Following the recent terrorism related arrests, Hannah Stuart, Policy Exchange Co-Head of Security and Extremism, discusses police counter-terrorism operations on BBC Radio 5 Live:
Hannah Stuart on BBC Radio 5 Live
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Raffaello Pantucci, courtesy of The Telegraph, 23 May 2017, where the title is “Cars and knives are easier to use, but bombs will always be central to terrorist thinking” **
Terrorism has a predictable brutality to it. And yet, the idea of a bombing is something that still surprises us when it happens. The attack in Manchester in some ways appears a flashback to a different time when the terrorists we worried about detonated bombs, rather than using vehicles as rams or stabbing people. The reality is that terrorism’s only constant is its desire to shock and kill. For any group or ideology, the fundamental point is to make yourself heard as dramatically as possible. Groups and individuals will use whatever tools they have to gain that attention.
The successful use of a bomb is unusual among recent terror attacks CREDIT: JOEL GOODMAN/LNP
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Greg Sheridan, in The Australian, 24 May 2017, where the title is “Manchester Terror Attack: Endless Cycle of Jihadism” … with emphasis by highlights being the intervention of The Editor, Thuppahi
A crowd of mostly teenage girls, as innocent as young people can be, at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. It’s everything jihadist terrorists — from Islamic State to al-Qa’ida to the Taliban — hate most about the West, and everything that declares the innocence of youth and the pleasure of music in public spaces. The savage attack — believed to have been carried out by a lone male suicide bomber, leaving at least 22 dead, 60 injured and more fatalities likely — demonstrates the stark realities of the terrorism war. First, the terror threat in Western societies is not diminishing. Every so often the West gets weary of the terror story, develops terrorism fatigue and wants to declare the peak of the threat has passed. This is not true.
Police and fans close to the Manchester Arena yesterday after reports of explosions. Picture: Getty Images Continue reading
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