As we approach the Sacred Triduum in Holy Week, when Christians reflect on the profound sacrifice Christ made for humankind, and at a time when the Jewish community has started the feast of Passover, a focus on the Middle East and North Africa region seems religiously natural - as well as politically topical.
If Chancellor George Osborne wants to explore his assertion that "we are all in this together", he could have done no better than attend the closing session of Scotland's Poverty Truth Commission at 2pm on Saturday 16 April in Glasgow City Chambers. He was invited. But sadly he was not there.
Quakers take pride in the history of nineteenth-century Quaker employers, many known for their progressive thinking. Some have suggested that they can now be a model for us in developing a form of "ethical capitalism". But the most forward-thinking nineteenth century Quakers called not for philanthropy but for fundamental change to the economic system. Their example can inspire us to reject capitalism altogether and to seek alternatives.