8 Jan 2011

preserving Istanbul memories

Twenty years ago last August I passed through Istanbul towards Eastern Turkey. Saddam had invaded Kuwait and I was assigned by the Associated press to cover the refugees pouring out of Northern Iraq. It was a beautiful assignment. Turkey is a stunning country. The food, the scenery, the people and the history. On the day I visited Istanbul I wandered through the streets. It is what I do when I go to a new town. Mosey about with the camera. Stumbling into a district steeped in history caught me by surprise. A wondrous mix of wooden and stone houses bursting to tell stories about character, passion and a past. It was my first real experience of crossing the Bosphorus into Asia minor. That memorable swirl through the tiny streets and the interaction with the locals remained a memory without clarification for two decades, for I had no idea of the name of the district. Until by chance I saw last year the fine visual report about the district by Jonathan Lewis.

A recent communication from Turkey passed me sad news about the area. The streets of Tarlabasi are under threat from city planners.  http://www.tarlabasiistanbul.com/  We may not be able to prevent the redevelopment but we can preserve some memory even if it is just a few examples of those fine old wooden homes. A great reason for myself and others to relive the memory of our travel days. Turkey has a great future just like its past. I hope the planners can preserve both

 Right:  The Tarlabasi district in Istanbul 1990.                                                                                                                                                                

6 Jan 2011

Gangsta Governments, no thanks.

It is not easy to say we don't need government and really mean it. Belgium has been without government for several months and it is still there. People are still breathing and babies are still being born. No body can foresee what would happen in Belgium if there was no return to business as usual and if Flanders and Wallonia were to spar to the point of divorce.
What is for sure is that there will be no divorce without a referendum on the issue should government decide to sack itself.
If we can see that far and accept that the people are wise enough to settle issues by referenda, then government should stop treating referendums as headaches and an inconvenient tolerance.
All constitutional changes should be put to the people regardless of the inconvenience. For at least the decisions would have a vastly longer life as opposed to the constant fixing, resetting and repealing of actions by politicians playing to party vested interested and which is plaguing the evolution of universal democracy.


It is with disgust and horror to know that Europe is still home to some of the worst human behaviour carried out by Gangsta Government.
Take the case of KLA boss Hasim Thaci in Albania . This Mafia freak, who cut the organs from Serb Prisoners of War and sold them to unquestioning and desperate patients, is in some way understandable of the messed up conditions facing the Balkans. What is not understandable and totally repugnant is the UK’s former War Prime Minister for New Labour accepting a gold medal for freedom from the guy. Maybe Blair should invest in the UK’s Health system and speak out against such Government Barbaric practise.

Left: A victim from the Yugoslavian War 1992.

3 Jan 2011

Year for Germany, the Euro and the EU to face the music

Shoring up the troops for a new year attack,  Mrs Merkel ties prosperity to the euro, saying the EU's biggest economy was committed to the single currency....BBC 3-1-11

The German people have emerged stronger from Europe's economic crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her new year's message..... despite the worst crisis in more than 60 years, Mrs Merkel said: "The euro is much more than a currency...

"A united Europe is the guarantor for our peace and freedom. The euro forms the foundation of our prosperity.
Germany needs Europe, and our common currency, for our own well-being and also in order to overcome big challenges worldwide." ......ends                               Left: A Party political poster on the outskirts of Cologne 2011 

2 Jan 2011

Shine a light to C 2011

In 2011 the European Union will decide its destiny. It can only be an historic moment to watch and hear whether todays leaders will take place in its history or join a long list of wannabes.
In looking at the bigger picture it would be a mistake to not break the cycle of self interest at national level for a period of pan Euro citizenship and a Global role for the betterment of  human condition. Negotiations will be tough and will take some further years to resolve.

The vicious bond vigilantes will incur the wrath of the people. On the streets and in the workplace a new revolutionary thinking is spawning to question the roles of financiers and politicians. It would be a folly if politicians did not cut loose their ties to these people and save their future. This is not 1933. The populace is better off, wiser and more organised.  The road to a stable society is rooted in the C. Co-operation replaces Confrontation as the  solution but will it take confrontation to make the enemies of  the stable society come to C the  way of progress.   

Above: The entrance to Groningen museum in northern Netherlands. Right: The Euro sign in Frankfurt financial quarter.