The Turkish government recently announced that it intended to make adultery a criminal offence. This was not altogether surprising, since the Turkish government adheres to the principles of Islam, under whose laws adultery is a crime punishable by flogging or execution. Nevertheless, it caused such uproar among more progressive Turks, not to mention horrifying the EU, which threatened to tear up Turkey’s membership application as a result, that the Turkish government has now binned the proposal (perversely, along with a raft of reforms designed to impress the jittery Europeans; but let that pass).
The figures are unremittingly stark. Last year alone 2.2 million people died from Aids in sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty-five million people are infected with Aids in Africa. It is not like the Black Death. It is worse.
Yet for whatever reason not everyone accepts the seriousness of the Aids epidemic. The South African writer Rian Malan is one of those sceptics. Scion of a famous Afrikaner family, Malan is the author of My Traitor’s Heart, the tortured and much admired 1990 homily on the white man’s relationship with Africa.
You might have thought that sitting down to watch a series of filmed executions would become tedious after the tenth unfortunate victim is dragged before the camera to be slaughtered like a sheep. After all, most of the characters do not change much. There are the hooded Islamic holy warriors standing to attention, as the charges are read out to the accused, usually a man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling and blindfolded on the floor before them.
Niall Ferguson says that Tony Blair and George W. Bush are perfect partners — Christian soldiers armed with Bibles and bazookas — but Britain now has more in common with Europe than with the United States‘I kind of think that the decisions taken in the next few weeks will determine the rest of the world for years to come. As primary players, we have a chance to shape the issues that are discussed.