With the current unrest in the Middle East it appeared that, all of a sudden, everybody seemed to have forgotten about what President George W. Bush once described as “the biggest threat to civilisation itself”. Yet, with the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda has again taken centre stage in global politics and media coverage. The question that remains is: What is left of Al-Qaeda? Contrary to the popular assumptions, Al-Qaeda never fitted the description of an organisation because it lacks the very one element in order to be defined as such: structure.
Last summer, Naoto Kan became Prime Minister as head of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) invested with the hopes of a nation for a new style of leader. After a line of unpopular and ineffective Prime Ministers, Kan made immediate efforts to reset foreign relations. His actions were on track to remedy pieces of Japan’s sad portfolio of economic problems, but a botched tax increase in June 2010 began the erosion of his tenure into business as usual.
For most Western politicians, the cost in blood and treasure of achieving even modest outcomes in Afghanistan outweighs their respective benefits. In sum, the political momentum for the war has been lost.
There are places in the world of which little is known. Their past, though intertwined with the lives of ordinary men and adventurous travellers, remains somehow on the sidelines of history. Bokor is one of those places.
It is official: the wet season has landed on my front step and what an entrance it has made. My street is a stream of mud-covered feet and animals. And yet, its heartbeat remains surprisingly unchanged by the dramatic weather.