20140126 Peace in Southern Philippines? The chances improve

I don't want to make much comment on the statement from the US state department I've copied below except to say that while I was researching The Mission, I spent some time in Mindanao and also discussed the situation with a number of advisers to the Philippines police, armed forces (the Navy in particular) and intelligence agencies. The situation has been far less volatile in the past few years but some instances of conflict have been noticeable in the past year.

20130911 Zamboanga, Philippines. Peace, please.

Zamboanga in the Philippines is one of those places visitors are told not to go. It's in the heartland of the separatist terrorist groups fighting for total independence of Mindanao province, a majority Muslim area in the south of the majority Catholic country.

It's a beautiful area of the world. The vast majority of the people are lovely.

But a minority are violent and vicious criminal gangs and terrorists.

The town of Zamboanga itself is not pretty: it's photogenic in the sun-washed shades of shabby areas around the tropics.

20130331 Reflections on Easter and more

Last Easter, I wrote an Easter message that resonated with many readers which was gratifying. You can read that here

This year, my attention was grabbed by an article by a chap called AC Grayling who, after a career as in universities eventually ending up as a Professor, started his own establishment - The New College of the Humanities.