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The Refugee Scandal on the Island of Lesbos

Those wishing to visit ground zero of European ignominy must simply drive up an olive tree-covered hill on the island of Lesbos until the high cement walls of Camp Moria come into view. “Welcome to prison,” someone has spray-painted on the walls. The dreadful stench of urine and garbage greets visitors and the ground is covered with hundreds of plastic bags. It is raining, and filthy water has collected ankle-deep on the road. The migrants who come out of the camp are covered with thin plastic capes and many of them are wearing only flipflops on their feet as they walk through the soup. Children are crying as men jostle their way through the crowd.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/conditions-on-lesbos-worsen-for-refugees-and-residents-a-1180209.html

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union, Reportages

 

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Egypt’s President al-Sisi facing serious questions about strategy to bring Isis hotspot Sinai province under control

The Sinai mosque massacre proves what many have suspected for months in Egypt: that Isis – even without a direct claim yet –  is taking over the peninsula, targeting more and more of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s officers and police.  Thus proving that tactical defeat in Iraq and Syria means for Isis merely a change of location.

The ‘fall’ of Sinai — perhaps even stretching down to Sharm e-Sheikh — the supposedly ‘safe’ tourist resort — would only further undermine al-Sisi’s brash claims after his coup that he would end ‘terrorism’ in Egypt.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/egypt-mosque-attack-latest-isis-terrorist-sinai-al-sisi-a8074941.html

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Africa

 

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Having lived in Belfast at the height of the Troubles, I see how Brexit could push us toward war in Ireland again

Warnings about the damaging impact on the Northern Ireland peace process of the return to a physical border between the north and the south post-Brexit understate the danger. Those issuing these warnings point to the problems posed by a hard border to relations between nationalist and unionist communities, to power sharing between Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and to commerce within Ireland and between Britain and Ireland.

But the opposite of a peace process is a war process and this is not so far away as it might seem. Peace in Northern Ireland depends ultimately not so much on power sharing but on a complicated but stable balance of power between communities and it is this which is now being eroded by a Brexit-obsessed British Government.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-ireland-border-good-friday-agreement-war-again-patrick-cockburn-a8074456.html

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Europe, European Union

 

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Syria war, Sochi peace

The main take-away of the trilateral, two hour-long Russia-Iran-Turkey summit in Sochi on the future of Syria was expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“The presidents of Iran and Turkey supported the initiative to convene an All-Syrian Congress for national dialogue in Syria. We agreed to hold this important event at the proper level and ensure the participation of representatives of different sectors of Syrian society.”

In practice, that means Russian, Iranian and Turkish foreign ministries and defense departments are tasked to “gather delegates from various political parties, internal and external opposition, ethnic and confessional groups at the negotiating table.”

Putin stressed that “in our common opinion, the success on the battlefield that brings closer the liberation of the whole of Syrian territory from the militants paves the way for a qualitatively new stage in the settlement of the crisis. I’m talking about the real prospects of achieving a long-term, comprehensive normalization in Syria, political adjustment in the post-conflict period.”

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Syria-war-Sochi-peace-by-Pepe-Escobar-Assad_Daesh_Negotiation_Peace-171124-877.html

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Începuturi

Stăteam într-un bloc în Pipirig, un cartier urît şi murdar din Caransebeş. Cel puţin aşa spune mama, pentru că eu îmi amintesc doar frînturi. Construcţii, mult noroi, băltoace şi butoaie în care muncitorii topeau smoală, folosind cauciucuri vechi care ardeau cu un fum negru şi foarte înecăcios. Stăteam la etajul 3 şi nu era lumină pe scară. Dormeam pe un fotoliu care se întindea şi uram să mă duc la grădiniţă. Am o poză de la grădiniță împreună cu colegii şi eram de departe cel mai negrişor. Nu ţin minte însă de ce nu îmi plăcea acolo.

Descoperisem că, dacă mă văitam că mă doare burta sau capul, mamei i se făcea milă şi mă lăsa să stau acasă.

Cel mai tare îmi plăcea să mă duc la fetele vecinei de la etajul 4 şi să mă dau pe scîndura de călcat ca pe un tobogan. Mama lor, o nemţoaică ţeapănă, era croitoreasă, gătea bine-bine şi făcea nişte prăjituri minunate. Gerlinde era căsătorită cu domnul Toma şi aveau doua fete: Anne şi Sibi.

http://dilemaveche.ro/sectiune/tilc-show/articol/inceputuri-1

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union

 

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Louis Theroux on Charles Manson

When we heard the news of Charles Manson’s death, we asked Louis Theroux if we could reprint this piece he wrote for Idler #1 in August 1993. In it Louis examines transcripts of Manson’s parole hearing from 1992.

Every few years since 1977, Charles Manson has appeared before the California board of prison terms and been considered for parole. And every few years Manson has been returned to prison. Looking over the transcripts of his latest hearing, dated April 1992, it isn’t hard to see why.

Manson gets off to a shaky start when the various board commissioners are spelling their names for the benefit of the transcriber.

Presiding Board Commissioner Koenig: Mr Manson?

Inmate Manson: Charles Manson, inmate, B-33920.

Koenig: Would you spell your last name please?

Manson: M-A-N-S-U-N.

https://idler.co.uk/article/louis-theroux-on-charles-manson/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Let This Flood of Women’s Stories Never Cease

There’s a problem with the way feminism moves forward in reaction to breaking news stories. It brings focus to a single predator, a single incident, and people who haven’t faced the pervasiveness of misogyny can build stories around it about why this was the exception, not the rule. That Harvey Weinstein was typical of liberals or Hollywood, or Roy Moore and Bill O’Reilly were typical of conservatives, that this mass killer with a domestic violence background was typical of veterans or loners or was mentally ill, that case after case is a glitch in the pattern of society, not the pattern itself. But these are the norms, not the abberations. This is a society still permeated and shaped and limited by misogyny, among other afflictions.

Obviously—as we keep having to reassure them, because when we’re talking about our survival we’re supposed to still worry about men feeling comfortable—not all men, but enough to impact virtually all women. And in another way all men, because we’re all warped by living in such a society, and because as Kevin Spacey’s case demonstrates, though men are nearly always the perpetrators, other men and boys are sometimes the victims. Being groomed to be a predator dehumanizes you, as does being groomed to be prey. We need a de-normalization of all that so we can rehumanize ourselves.

https://lithub.com/rebecca-solnit-let-this-flood-of-womens-stories-never-cease/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in North America

 

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Germany’s crisis means uncertainty for Europe. But it won’t be fatal

The collapse of Germany’s coalition talks is the latest shock to hit Europe. No one saw it coming. Of course the blow is of a different nature from the banking crisis, the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, Brexit, Trump, Poland and Hungary’s democratic backsliding, or Catalan secessionism. Germany’s politics look upended but the fundamentals are still in place: the postwar democratic set-up is hardly under threat. Still, this is rattling stuff. Europe’s powerhouse is in unknown political territory at a time when so much remains unresolved across the continent. And Germany’s political uncertainty means yet more uncertainty for the EU. Yet doomsayers shouldn’t assume that this crisis has to be fatal.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/21/germany-political-crisis-uncertainty-europe-macron

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union

 

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Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has published two exclusives whose import is far greater than may be immediately apparent. They concern Israel’s bombing in 2007 of a supposed nuclear plant secretly built, according to a self-serving US and Israeli narrative, by Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Although the attack on the “nuclear reactor” occurred a decade ago, there are pressing lessons to be learnt for those analysing current events in Syria.

Porter’s research indicates very strongly that the building that was bombed could not have been a nuclear reactor – and that was clear to experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even as the story was being promoted uncritically across the western media.

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/22/syria-experts-and-george-monbiot/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Canada Prepares for a New Wave of Refugees as Haitians Flee Trump’s America

Near the town of Lacolle, Quebec, just across the border in upstate New York, a cluster of blue-trimmed beige trailers has just arrived to provide temporary shelter for the unending wave of refugees, many of them from Haiti, who walk up on foot from Trump’s America. Inside the new heated trailers are beds and showers, ready to warm up frozen hands and feet, while processing and security checks take place.

Last winter, after Donald Trump’s inauguration, there was a sharp increase in “irregular border crossings” all across the Canada-U.S. border: people sidestepping official ports of entry and trying to reach safety by walking through the woods, across clearings, or over ditches. Since January 2017, Canadian authorities intercepted nearly 17,000 migrants from the U.S. (and others crossed without detection). The applications for asylum begin once migrants are safely in Canada, rather than at border crossings, where they would likely be turned back under a controversial cross-border agreement between the two countries.

The risks of the irregular crossings are especially great in winter, and this one looks to be a cold one. Last year, during the coldest months, there were wrenching reports of frostbitten toes and fingers having to be amputated on arrival in Canada. Two men from Ghana lost all their fingers after they walked across to Manitoba — one told reporters he felt lucky that he had managed to keep one of his thumbs.

https://theintercept.com/2017/11/22/canada-prepares-for-a-new-wave-of-refugees-as-haitians-flee-trumps-america/

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in North America

 

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