Scholars, journalists, activists, and others have an almost knee-jerk tendency to praise Bangladesh's beginnings as a secular nation and trace its slide into Islamist domination from the 1975 assassination of its founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. That praise is warranted - but only to a limited extent, for secularism and any semblance of democratic ideals were in their death throes long before Sheikh Mujib was.
I'd very much like to wake up one morning with a cow of the Friesian variety and walk her down to Soho to the Coach and Horses, stopping on the way to buy twenty Players, ply her with vodkas until closing time, whip her off to an Indian restaurant, take her up to the Colony Room till 5.30 and then to the Yorkminster, Swiss Tavern, Three Greyhounds, get beaten up by Chinese waiters at midnight, have a row with the taxi driver, set the bed on fire, put it out with tears and then wake up on the floor. Could you then milk said cow? I doubt it.
Believe it or not, after the Second Vatican Council anticlericalism is a Catholic virtue. In elaborating a theology of laity, as many call it, and speaking of a hierarchy of service rather than of domination in the Church, Vatican II implicitly endorsed opposition to clericalism, which is a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy. Clearly, this sort of anticlericalism has nothing to do with the other anticlericalism.
Of all the many and (thanks to a free press) the ever-multiplying blessings attendant upon the "glorious constitution" of literature, not the least precious and profitable to a modern cultivator of systems and syllables, in pamphlets, magazines, and folios, is the right of Quotation.
In the South, prior to the Civil Rights movement and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, democracy was the rule. The majority of people were white, and the white majority had little or no respect for any rights which the black minority had relative to property, or even to their own lives. The majority - the mob and occasionally the lynch mob - ruled.
Leaks have happened before. They are not new. But the industrial scale of leaking made possible through the digitisation of information and the ability to communicate instantly across the globe - that is new. If it is to be revolutionary, however, we need a model for a new type of politics.