As we speak today, the Chinese authorities are cracking up a very very large-scale and what promises to be an incessant security drive in Xinjian Province in northwest China against what the Chinese government calls Islamic extremists. What in fact the Chinese government means is it’s launching a drive against dissent from the Uighur people who’ve lived there for centuries.
When we look back at our history here in Europe, we often celebrate the romanticized version of that history and forget the import that that romanticism often cloaked. For instance when we have films, when we read the books of Alexandre Dumas, particularly The Three Musketeers, all we see are three (plus one) swashbuckling, sword-bearing gentleman usually of an exquisite handsomeness. And there’s an evil cardinal, Cardinal Richelieu, lurking in the background. But the idea that France was just like this for no apparent reason is something that we never really really investigate.