Things have been rather quiet here recently, which we can only explain by the fact of having too much writing to do in the real world (i.e., in the jobs that pay us). And we'll be off the next week to darkest Belgium for a big social history conference, so things might remain a bit silent here for a while.
Still, given the events of recent days, we would like to express our sympathies to our Polish neighbours regarding the loss not only of their president but also a substantial number of their political, military and cultural elite.
I must confess to never being a fan of Lech Kaczynski--to say the least--but I would have much rather seen him voted out of office this year than killed in a symbolically significant accident like this plane crash near the site of one of the 20th century's most notable crimes.
The obliteration of so many prominent people from the Polish leadership is not only a difficult burden to bear but also a reminder of the power of contingency over the lives of even the most powerful.
Thus, to the extent that our small voice means anything, we would join Chancellor Merkel in offering sincere condolences to the Polish people.