Saturday, 10 January 2009


Early in the 20th century, during that brief window when it seemed possible that if everyone thought along the right (socialist) lines the good society could be created on earth, the Russian futurist Velimir Khlebnikov published a series of ‘proposals’. Among them, this: ‘Set aside a special uninhabited island for a never-ending war between anybody from any country who wants to fight now. (For people who want to die like heroes.)’

Quick, now, send Hamas and the Israeli military there. And if uninhabited islands are in short supply, send them to 3112 Velimir, the minor planet discovered in 1977 and named after Khlebnikov. Just get them out of those crowded streets where children, women and men want only shelter, food, work, love.

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