Daily Archives: February 10, 2011

Week in Links – Week 06/2011: Food prices, injustice and Egypt

– Confirming that earlier food price alarums represent a trend rather than a blip, the FAO registered the highest food prices ever earlier this month. Linking this development to the re-emergence of actual food riots in the last years, commentators in Foreign Affairs assert that violence generally fails to erupt unless food price fluctuations are accompanied by a concrete sense of injustice perpetrated by local actors. Whether this should be seen as a reassuring or alarming factor is left to you, gentle reader, to decide.

– While the situation in Egypt is less obviously connected to the subject matter of this blog (whatever the role of food prices there), it is one of the unfolding human rights events of the century and I cannot avert my eyes. And despite the breathing room the Mubarak regime gave the protesters by its cretinous decision to assault foreign reporters last week, things still look pretty precarious. Even as the military appears to wobble on not using open force against protesters, the Guardian has carried allegations of systematic torture of protesters by army units. Meanwhile, even murkier allegations are coming to light about the agenda of the Obama administration and the dubious resume of Omar Suleiman, the ostensible midwife of Egypt’s democratic transition. I am generally not one for conspiracy theories but at this point even fairly mainstream commentators such as Nicholas Kristof and Roger Cohen at the New York Times are nervously urging President Obama to keep himself on the right side of history. I never dreamed I would say this, but I am beginning to feel downright sentimental for the moral clarity (such as it was) of the Cold War.

Happy Birthday TN!

12 months. 120 posts. 12,500 hits. So, how does TN rate?

At the end of 2010, my good hosts at “Team WordPress.com” had a huddle with their “Stats Helper Monkeys” (sometimes I think maybe I’m too old for all this), and notified me that TN placed at the level of “Wow”. The 11,000 hits TN had received through December 2010 were, I was told, the equivalent of 26 full 747s.

Now I suspect that puts me several national airlines behind your average blog on iPads and I can only dream of the kind of numbers that colleagues like Antoine Buyse get at seasoned forums like the ECHR Blog. On the other hand, when I was really honest with myself about the subject matter of this blog, I figured ’boutiquey’ was about as high as I could shoot and by that standard I believe we have more than succeeded.

So, to all the frequent flyers, a heartfelt thank you for your support, your comments and your sustained interest. I hope our service will continue to improve and that we might even pick up a few new destinations this year. And particular gratitude goes to my co-pilots, friends and colleagues who contributed their time and insights as guest-bloggers:

In kicking off TN’s second year, I would like to invite even more of you to weigh in with guest postings, comments, feedback, suggestions, etc. If there is one lesson I’ve learned after twelve months of this, it is that TN is a lot more fun as a forum than as a soapbox. Happy 2011!