The Garret Tree
Friday, March 18, 2005

Sonkrai update

So why I haven't I updated the sorta-blog in about two months? A couple of bouts of illness, first a cold, and then a nasty flu that was going around the office that made me take four days off work, left me drained for another week, which meant in the past five weeks or so, I was reduced to writing perhaps a paragraph a night for most of the time that I wasn't ill. But at the same time I did get even that little done when I could and thus I am on track to finish the book by early April.
I have had to take two weeks of annual leave to get it done, but the final manuscript should be on its way to the publisher by April 8 at the latest.


A blog search turned up a link to a backgrounder I wrote in 2003 for on the changing demographics and the politics of Iran, called Iran Facing A Demographic Revolution. (It's since been updated by our research staff).

The backgrounder was cited by Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad at a conference in Washington in May, 2004 in a paper called "The Challenge of Institutional Governance in Islam: Justice, Democracy and Shariah". (PDF file will open in a new window).
Ahmad, who teaches at the University of Maryland, is also president and director of The Minaret Institute of Freedom, which says on its website that it is dedicated to "educate Muslims on the importance of liberty and free markets to a good society..."

The most fascinating thing that I found about Ahmad's paper was his idea that the very basis of Western democracy, Magna Carta, was, in fact, influenced by returning Crusaders who saw that the man who would expel most of them from the region, Saladin (spelled Salahuddin in the paper)was a Islamic ruler who was not above the law. He goes on to say, "The British barons demanded that [King] John submit, not to Islamic law, but to a
notion of an English traditional law that they imagined but until that moment had never
been explicit."

I found out about this when a search turned up a copy of the paper on the Kashkul blog.

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I write in a renovated garret in my house in a part of Toronto, Canada, called "The Pocket." The blog is named for a tree can be seen outside the window of my garret.

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Name: Robin Rowland
Location: Toronto, Canada

I'm a Toronto-based writer, photographer, web producer, television producer, journalist and teacher. I'm author of five books, the latest A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal. The Garret tree is my blog on the writing life including my progress on my next book (which will be announced here some time in the coming months) My second blog, the Wampo, Nieke and Sonkrai follows the slow progress of my freelanced model railway based on my research on the Burma Thailand Railway (which is why it isn't updated that often) The Creative Guide to Research, based on my book published in 2000 is basically an archive of news, information and hints for both the online and the shoe-leather" researcher. (Google has taken over everything but there are still good hints there)

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    A River Kwai Story
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