Jan 20, 2014

Al-Qaeda as “Bandits”

I’ve read the book Eric Hobsbawm “Bandits,” again.

In this book he wrote about the history of “Bandits” around the world. He insisted that groups that were called “bandits” appeared in the age between the demise of tribal societies and the formation of modern capitalized society.

He described the phenomenon “bandits” as follows.
Social banditry of this kind is one of the most universal social phenomena known to history, and one of the most amazingly uniform.

… this uniformity is not the consequence of cultural diffusion, but the reflection of similar situations within peasant societies, whether in China, Peru, Sicily, the Ukraine, or Indonesia.

… Socially it seems to occur in all types of human society which lie between the evolutionary phase of tribal and kinship organization, and modern capitalist and industrial society, but including the phases of disintegrating kinship society and transition to agrarian capitalism.

At the other end of historic development, modern agrarian systems, both capitalist and post-capitalist, are no longer those of traditional peasant society and cease to produce social bandits

… In a broader sense ‘modernization’, that is to say the combination of economic development, efficient communications and public administration, deprives any kind of banditry, including the social, of the conditions under which it flourishes.
When I read this passage, I was reminded of Al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda has two faces. The first is the globalized organization using the Internet to instigate terrorism, and the second is the aggregation of small groups revolving in remote areas, such as the tribal area in Pakistan and the mountain area in Afghanistan.

The second face of Al-Qaeda has many features in common with “bandits,” which Eric Hobsbawm focused on. His study showed that “bandits” couldn’t be wiped out by officials but they disappeared through losing their social and economic basis. In fact, Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan is surviving even though the U.S. Army attacked them using their modern weapons.

It might be more efficient to eliminate Al-Qaeda through realizing “the combination of economic development, efficient communications and public administration” in these areas.

Although I don’t know well about the progress of the study about “bandits,” it must be quite important to deal with Al-Qaeda, especially, the study about “bandits” in the globalization and the Internet age.

Jan 15, 2014

I Found Spring Coming in Cold Winter

Last weekend, it was really cold but sunny, so I took an hour walk to Mejiro-teien, which is a small Japanese garden.

Since I got started on Instagram last year, I have been enjoying taking photos. The sunny day was good for taking clear photos with my iPhone 4S.

When I arrived at Mejiro-teien, I couldn’t find anything to take a photo with. There were no flowers blooming and no leaves on the trees.

After I looked carefully at some details, I found a bunch of small buds on branches. I zoomed in on the buds as closely as possible to capture the vitality, which was condensed in them.

Spring was coming even in cold winter.

"If winter come, can spring be far behind."

Jan 12, 2014

How to Look for a Book in the Stone Age

I have written a series of entries, which I call “the Stone Age series.”

Everyday life has been changed drastically by the spread of the Internet, but sometimes I feel that the life with the Internet is so natural, because I forget the life before the Internet. In order to remember how was the life before the Internet, I wrote some entries about it. In these entries, I call the age before the Internet “the Stone Age.”

In the Stone Age, we could survive without the Internet and cell phones. I wrote about the devices that we could use in the Stone Age in the entry “I could survive in the Stone Age.”

In these days, people managed to meet friends with public phones and “real” message boards. If you interested in how they met friends, please read my entry “How to Meet a Friend in the Stone Age.”

Today I’d like to write about a way of looking for a book without amazon.com.

If I were looking for a newly published book, at first I went to a bookstore. Now, in the Iron Age, I can check the stocks in a bookstore with the Internet, but at that time the only thing that I could do was just going to a bookstore. If there were no stocks of the book that I was looking for, I went to another bookstore.

I don’t have to worry that the digital book that I want to read will be out of print, but paper books often became out of print so quickly. In the Stone Age, I had to buy the book that I would read someday as soon as possible, and there were a pile of books on my desk, which I myself didn’t know when I could read.

Paper books are heavy and bulky. It was really hard to bring a shopping bag that was full of books from a bookstore to my house. My room was filled with a lot of books, which I could no longer put together. Sometimes I bought again a book that I had already bought, because I couldn’t find it from a pile of books in my room.

In the Iron Age, I can get a book just with “1-Click” from Amazon.com on my kindle.