Jim Farquharson: "We have the right to independence"

Jim Farquharson: "We have the right to independence"

The Scottish referendum on September 18 might result in shrinking Great Britain to Small Britain. but what does the independence bring for the Scots?

The drive for independence starts early. Sometimes even in the Uterus. „My birthday is on September 18“, a voice says in the TV spot. We see an ultrasound of an embryo. „Do I still want to be ruled by Westminster when I am older?“ the unborn child asks itself. The answer at the end of the campaign ad is as simple as expected: „Yes!“ to the independence of Scotland.

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It was not by accident that „The James Plays“ were staged at the Edinburgh Festival just before the Scottish Referendum on September 18. The drama trilogy will soon be in London.

He stands up on the stairs and looks down on his subjects. „Scotland will be small. But it will be whole“, James I. declares, to which the clan elders fall to their knees and swear their loyalty to the new king. It’s hard not to get the feeling that King James is only talking to his peers and not to all of us, too. „I always wanted to vote Yes! at the referendum“, says a young Scottish woman in the intermission of the first part of the trilogy, „but this speech really moved me.“

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

The figurehead of the Israeli peace movement Uri Avnery thinks it is easier for him - as a former terrorist - to understand the Islamist government of Gaza.

Uri Avnery, 90, has been calling for an independent Palestinian state next to Israel for decades. He was born in Germany and fought before the Israeli War of Independence for a state for the Jews against the British authorities. His peace group Gush Shalom was one of the very few who opposed the war in Gaza.

"Together, we thank our soldiers."

"Together, we thank our soldiers."

After the war is before the war. Many Israelis would rather negotiate then wait for the next round of fighting.

Both of them are 66 years old: the State of Israel and its citizen Yaakov Amidror. Once again they are in war, this time Israel is fighting the Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza strip. Amidror was among those who occupied the territory in 1967 as a paratrooper - one of Israel’s most prestigious elite army units. Although he sports a white beard now Amidror has lost none of his fighting spirit.

Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer abu Aisha are said to be the murderers of the three religious settler students. They are still at large.

Marwan Qawasmeh and Amer abu Aisha are said to be the murderers of the three religious settler students. They are still at large.

The Palestinian Qawasmeh clan organized the kidnapping and murder of the three religious Jewish students in June 2014. There is a political agenda to their violent actions.Hussam Qawasmeh was arrested by Israeli border police on July 11 when he tried to escape from the Westbank to Jordan. During interrogation, the 40 year old man confessed to having kidnapped Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach on June 12. He also confessed to having later dumped the corpses of the three Israeli settler boys on his property near Hebron. The murder of the three young Israelis, who had been abducted while hitchhiking in the Westbank, triggered off the latest war in Gaza.

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We need an Anti-Racist coalition in Europe. And in the Middle East. 

At a recent demonstration against the Gazan war in Berlin people were overheard chanting: “Gas Israel!” Really? Who thought of that disgusting slogan? What we need in response to this recent rise in anti-Semitic hooliganism is an Anti-Racist coalition in Europe. Apparently a few people forgot or never learned that it is not ok to connect criticism against Israel with anti-Semitic rants.

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Al-Qaeda expert Abdel Bari Atwan about the second generation of Al-Qaeda and how much more dangerous ISIS is compared to the followers of Osama bin Laden.

Abdel Bari Atwan, 64, was editor in chief of ‘Al-Quds al-Arabi’ from 1989 to 2013. The most important pan-Arabic diaspora newspaper is published in London. Atwan moved to the British capital in 1979. He was born in a Palestinian refugee camp in the Gazastrip in 1950. He studied at the University of Cairo. Atwan has written several books, the latest one on the current subject of concern: “After Ben Laden: Al-Qaeda - The Next Generation” (Saqi Books 2012, London).

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The British debate centers on Juncker’s personal characteristics but it is really about the British islands floating away from the European continent under the leadership of a Prime Minister with a lack of vision. 

It’s almost funny how Jean-Claude Juncker has for many in the United Kingdom become “the most dangerous man in Europe”. The usually calm, good humoured Christian democrat was long standing Prime Minister of Luxembourg, the smallest EU state. For most of his political career the 59 year old had only one theme: compromise. Juncker is a master in forging alliances in Europe for Europe.

The Mother and Baby Home at Tuam

The Mother and Baby Home at Tuam

The Irish historian Catherine Corless talks about her work in uncovering the crimes committed against children out of wedlock in Ireland up until the 1960ties.

Catherine Corless remembers the children of the “St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home” from her childhood. The home was run by nuns. What Corless did not know growing up was what crimes were committed there. She also could not imagine that she would be the one to uncover them.

In the middle of the 20th century unwed mothers were treated like criminals in Ireland. Pregnant girls where often sent by their families to these homes for mothers and children. They would give birth and live there for a year afterwards. The women would then return to their families while their children stayed with the nuns. Some were adopted. Many others died.

1. Photograph by Marco Anelli 2014

A Serbian cult artist doubles as my Yoga teacher in London’s Serpentine gallery.

“Breathe slowly”, she says and gently massages my shoulder. Not so bad for the beginning of a yoga class I think. But hold on: This is not my yoga teacher. The woman with the sensitive touch and Serb accent is Marina Abramovic.

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© 2018 Tessa Szyszkowitz