EU Sanctions

The EU makes a major statement. Have the non-EU Europeans signed up?

Last week Marietje Schaake, a Netherlands MEP, delivered on Newsnight (see it here), an emotional, impassioned yet controlled appeal for a strong response from the EU to the mealy mouthed, paranoid Vladamir Putin who had clearly briefed his media minions to get him off the hook for the downing of MH17.

Ms Schaake represented and gave substance to the values of a formally united Europe. The Netherlands is a small country (16 million people) with much less international influence than Britain, France, Germany. Like all countries of the EU, The Netherlands has survived a troubled history of border disputes and religious and political upheaval but has made major contributions to what underpins our nations collectively and individually – freedom, democracy and The Enlightenment. Today, 30th July, the EU finally positioned itself, united, behind sanctions against Russia, which Ms Schaake sought.

These sanctions are not directed against the people of Russia but against a man and his regime which has been seizing land in pursuit of the re-establishment of a failed empire.

The Ukraine, and other nations which emerged from the old Soviet Union or from its influence, deserve the same opportunities as all its neighbours in the EU. Putin’s Russia is a dangerous anachronism.

Border disputes in Europe post WWII have been tetchy at the very least and involved protracted discussions but have achieved incredibly successful outcomes particularly since the evolution of the EU to its most recent manifestation.

The 30 July 2014 should be an important moment in our collective histories when all people in the EU and the rest of Europe start to understand the broadest possible picture of the good that can be achieved in a strong formal union of free, enlightened, democratic countries.

Switzerland for instance, should re-examine its sanctimonious, convenient commitment to neutrality and ask itself in a referendum whether it can any longer be so selfish as to expect the rest of Europe to protect its frontiers whether those frontiers are geographic or economic. I doubt they have signed up to the sanctions and I wonder what would have happened had the ill-fated MH17 been a Swissair flight.

Nigel Farrage, leader of UKIP and pom pom waver for Putin has unsurprisingly been a little muted of late. But in fairness he might have been dealing with the induction of Charlie Brooks into the party.

People in non-EU countries should listen to  Marietje Schaake’s words because what will be achieved from today’s statement could not happen in a divided Europe.

 

Putin’s Russia

The Putin regime’s total disdain for the victims of the MH17 crash is encapsulated in this laughable graphic which currently appears on the Russia Today web site.

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Fancy us imagining it was brought down by a ground to air missile. Those dastardy democrats from Kiev did it.

In the tradition of the old Soviet Politburo the regime endeavours to shift the blame onto the Ukrainian air force. One would laugh at the Russia Defense Ministry’s artwork  if the matter wasn’t so serious.

This blog being interested in writers and their work, it is a good moment to remember the heroic resistance to Putin by Russian journalist,  Anna Politkovskaya who was shot dead outside her apartment in Moscow on 7 October 2006. To be sure of the hit,  it took 5 armed men to kill one woman. They were caught and imprisoned – another very long story – but the contractors have not been found or should I say revealed.

In sharp contrast to Politkovskaya, today On BBC News 24, I heard an odious Putin apparatchick representing Russia Today deliver a daft appraisal of the situation at the crash site in East Ukraine where in his words the ground and the evidence is being compromised by Ukrainian military.

The Russian people deserve better than the dimunitive dangerous buffoon who struts his stuff in the manner of Mussolini.

I take this opportunity to direct you to Anna Politkovskya’s book Putin’s Russia – I am not in the pay of Amazon and I am sure it is available from all good bookshops! However I have cut and pasted this quote from Amazon by the recently deceased author, Nadine Gordimer.

“Anna Politkovskaya refused to lie, in her work; her murder is a ghastly act, and an attack on world literature”.

The killers of 289 people in eastern Ukraine are being protected by liars.

May Russia return to democracy soon.

 

The Rusticant….another bloody writer

My first words at this site

Last summer (2013) during a distinguished period of energetic indolence much of which was spent on the beach at Winchelsea, LinkedinEast Sussex, I read Hilary Mantel’s widely and rightly lauded novels, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.

Mantel introduced me to a word which had                previously passed me by – “rustication”. Fall out of favour with a retributive monarch like Henry VIII and you could feel a heavy cold blade across the back of the neck. But if you were lucky you might simply be put out of sight – sent to the country; rusticated.

My rustication had recently happened towards the end of 2012. Without the slightest planning I had ended up in a small village in the beautiful Weald of Kent – population about 1500 – in an environment so completely different to Piccadilly, Leicester Square which I had quite recently said goodbye and farewell to.

A person rusticated, I deduce, is a rusticant – a noun, as migrant is a noun. Rusticant does not exist in my dictionaries. Thus I have invented a new word to which I lay claim with the title of this blog!

This blog is dedicated to what drives me: thought, politics, the arts, writing and the people that perform those vital duties in our daily lives.

The controversial H L Mencken gives me a succinct sub text to this blog:

“A writer’s job is to remember what the fundamentalists try to erase”

Part of this piece is repeated under the “About the rusticant” tab with some more insight into who and what thrills and inspires me. Authors, journalists, artists.

The weekend I chose to launch this work saw the knuckled headed Nazis of ISIS arrive in Mosul demanding the conversion of Christians to Islam under threat of decapitation. How charmingly medieval . The equally knuckled headed and fascistic Putin downed an airliner (yes he did down the airliner) in Ukraine taking the lives of 298 people about 80 of which were children; pitilessly scattering feeble final possessions across the sunflower fields of Ukraine. In my newspaper I saw a picture of Putin engaging with the hierarchy of The Orthodox Church. Those laughably garbed iniquitous, politically malleable, good men of the church put me right back inside Hilary Mantel’s books.

In my tranquil self -engaged corner of the world people have recently widely voted for isolation from a united Europe. Not since 1945 has a solid, united democratic European consensus and resolve been more required.

Freedom, democracy and The Enlightenment underwrite my life and the ethos of this work.

Welcome inside my world of words