London - Finally the autumn party conferences are over.  What did we learn? David Cameron does not know, how much a loaf of bread costs. Shock horror. Not such a big surprise, since he already let slip six months ago that he does not know the price of milk. So either the premier does not learn from his mistakes or he actually likes to be seen as posh.


Anne Applebaum about communism, the totalitarian temptation and Austria’s limited understanding for the development of Eastern Europe.

Anne Applebaum, 49, is an American author and specialist for communism, the Soviet Union and the countries of Central and Middle Europe. She was born in Washington DC and studied at Yale and Oxford. As correspondent and editorialist for “The Economist” and the “Washington Post” she analyzed the social and political upheaval in Eastern Europe before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. She received a Pulitzer Prize for her book “Gulag: A History”.  “The Iron Curtain: the Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56” was published in 2012 and is the history of control and defiance in post-war Eastern Europe. Anne Applebaum is married to the poish foreign minister Radoslav Sikorski. She lives in London and Warsaw. At the beginning of the year she received polish citizenship.


Austrian and Russian artists conquer the Arctic city of Murmansk.

What is the Bolshevik leader doing on the icebreaker which bears his name? Melting. Russian artist Maria Koshenkova shows only the right half of a bronze bust of Lenin; the left half has apparently melted into a glass puddle. All this on the table of the captain’s cabin. Between 1957 and 1989, the nuclear-powered icebreaker demonstrated Soviet greatness north of the Arctic Circle. Today it is a museum ship permanently anchored in Murmansk. Last week was the opening of a novel exhibition entitled “Icebreaker: Lenin”. In March, the show will move to the Lentos Museum in Linz, Austria.

castle pic2

British political theorist David Held about dangers of military intervention in Syria and the necessity to speak to bad guys.

 David Held, 62, specializes in the field of international relations, cosmopolitan democracy and global governance. The British political theorist taught at the “London School Of Economics”, but resigned in 2010, when the university admitted it had accepted funding from the Gaddafi Foundation. Held had informally advised Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, son of dictator Muammar, while he was writing his Phd at the LSE till 2008. Today Held is master of University College Durham. His latest book was published in July by Polity Books: “Gridlock. Why global Cooperation is Failing When We Need It Most”. 

The Israeli author Shani Boianjiu describes corruption and violence in the Israeli army in her book “The people of forever are not afraid” 

Shani Boianjiu is just 26 years old and her first novel “The people of forever are not afraid”, which was published in English in 2012, will soon be  published in 23 languages. Although she grew up in the North of Israel and comes from a family with Iraqi and Rumanian roots, she wanted to write in English because she spent the last years studying at Harvard University. Her style is raw and wise as it often happens with young adults, who have to negotiate two opposing sentiments: Their urge to find the sense of life and the intense feeling of boredom in the world they live in. But Boianjiu’s book became a bestseller not only for her powerful literature. She writes about the highly sensitive issue of the Israeli army. The author herself finished her own service in the Israeli Defense Forces not long ago.

Middle East specialist Michael Kerr about the British No vote on a military strike against Syria and why the US will go for it alone.

Michael Kerr is Director of the Middle East & Mediterranean Studies programme and the Centre for the Study of Divided Societies at King’s College and expert for Third Party Interventions. His latest book was published in 2012: “Lebanon: After the Cedar Revolution”.

Bestseller author and psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz about his relationship to the founder of his profession and to his patients.
The house of Sigmund Freud in London’s elegant and leafy Hampstead pulls people in till today. The founder of psychoanalysis lived here one more year after the Nazis had kicked him out of Berggasse in Vienna’s ninth district in 1938. Not only tourists and fans come to the house museum. His successors still like to live nearby. Many North London psychoanalysts are - like Freud - immigrants. Stephen Grosz, too. He came in the Seventies from the university in Berkely to study in Oxford, stayed in England ever since and works a few streets away from Freud’s house.

Twitter-Joke in Beirut: Sheikh Nasrallah says: Tell Obama, in case he is scared, we can start first!

Twitter-Joke in Beirut: Sheikh Nasrallah says: Tell Obama, in case he is scared, we can start first!

The "No" vote in the House of Commons against a strike on Syria is a triumph of parliamentary democracy.

LONDON. “I am ashamed to be British today”, my friend said this morning. “How can we vote against helping to stop chemical weapon attacks on Syrian children?” She was not the only one in London who woke up on Friday and could not believe that the House of Commons voted down a government motion to join the US in attacking the Syrian regime in response to its apparent use of chemical weapons against its citizens on August 21st.

 Maha Azzam is an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, an independent think tank on international affairs in London. Azzam specializes in Political Islam with particular reference to Egypt.

Profil: Is Egypt slipping into Civil war?

Azzam: We certainly see an escalation of violence, but not necessarily a civil war. The military is using violence against protesters. The full force of the army is spent in order to quell the protests. We will see growing resistance to the tactics of the army and the level of the violence might go up. And there is another level: The sectarian violence between Muslims and Copts is getting stronger as always in a situation like this. We saw this under Mubarak and Sadat. But all this is not a civil war. It is mainly one group – the army – cracking down on protesters.

Mona al Qazzaz is the spokeswoman of the Muslim Brotherhood in Great Britain.

She is a Phd student in Cambridge. Her brother Khaled al Qazzaz was an advisor to deposed president Mohammed Morsi and was detained with him on July 3rd.

Keep me updated!

© 2018 Tessa Szyszkowitz