Lamps are going out all over Europe

Svjetla se gase u Evropi, originally published in Novosti. Author is Tomislav Jakić, a journalist covering international affairs for Croatian Television for decades. Unautorised translation by Yours Truly with some advice and corrections by Ben Peake.

On the night between Friday and Saturday, 13th to 14th November 2015, the lamps started going out all over Europe (it is no coincidence that I use the phrase the head of British diplomacy used at the beginning of the First World War). According to the information available at the time of writing this article, seven locations in Paris, the capital of the second most important country of the European Union, were attacked by terrorists, members of the so-called Islamic State. Incomplete reports of these terrorist attacks describe an unprecedented magnitude: more than 140 dead and many wounded. The immediate consequence: a state of emergency declared in France, the closure of French borders, the closure of the French capital’s subway and airport, flights from the US to France suspended and almost fifteen hundred soldiers with machine guns on the streets of Paris. In addition: enhanced security measures at the Belgian-French border. Continue reading

Migration Period and Grey-Road Walkers

We are witnessing an event of epic proportions that, as is usual in history, has no immediate solution. Nobody knows of any. So, in these extraordinary circumstances, let us at least try to do as few things as possible that would identify us as non-humans and which would make the future generations ashamed of us. As long as they are here, let’s not stand in the way of grey-road walkers.

Dražen Ciglenečki
Grey-Road Walkers
Novi list, September 20th, 2015 A. D.

Apart from this epic conclusion, the text is mostly tied to daily political events. The title is taken from a song by Azra, a cult Croatian rock band from the ’80s, that is amazingly fitting today.

A rough translation by me.


I started for Vienna to find my lass
Didn’t know what to do, went for the first time

Cold as ice, killed by hopelessness
Cold as ice, killed by hopelessness

Austria, a hard land for walkers on grey roads
Class peace and other trinkets, stagnant backwater

Old Vienna, a good name she has, a pretty name known by all
But girls in the streets are no good
And the cripples are frequent and a usual thing
And I said, God, save Österreich

Fade to red&black

When you read a sentence that makes a “click” in your brain and you know that it is the Truth; not a notion that someone constructed to describe reality so well that it fits perfectly, but instead, simply extended his hand and picked it out of thin air, because it has been there for a while, in plain sight, and it simply waited for someone to look at it from the right direction to uncover and share with everybody else.

Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up.

The Guardian: The end of capitalism has begun by Paul Mason

The Greek Job

(or: No war between loan-sharks, no peace between debtors)

The current crisis in the European Union is perhaps the greatest in its history. It is also exposing flaws in the basic principles of capitalism, one of them being that it degenerates into chaos whenever it is allowed to ramble on without the strong intervention of political bodies. At the moment, the main battle line in the Greece Affair is whether the Republic should honour its obligations to its creditors to the letter, or whether there should be some leeway in repayments.
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Part One: Before the Nation

While communicating with a Ukrainian friend through e-mail, she wanted to know more about Croatia and Croats, being from a country currently going through something similar to what Croatia went through twenty years ago. Keeping in mind that I’m completely the wrong person to give a neutral account of a topic like that (being overly critical, unpleasantly sarcastic and generally negative and, most importantly, not a historian or anything related) I decided, what the hell, if I’m writing something like that, why not make it available to others, too?

So here it is: my version of Croatia’s past and present – and my argument as to why there is no future. Use at your own risk, do not quote as a source, Wikipedia is much more reliable. Seriously. This is just a personalised composition that may serve as a starting point for someone interested in researching further.
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…is a mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.


A Few Notes on Ukraine: Lessons from Croatia ’91

* While working on this text, a very interesting piece came out with a very similar comparison, only from a slightly different angle and the analysis made by a trained professional who is familiar with some other, more specific details. I seriously advise checking it out.

** A huge thanks goes to Ben Peake who, with his comments, suggestions and advice, helped to brush up this text significantly, both regarding its form and its content.

Even at a first glance the similarities between the war in Ukraine in 2014/15 and the war in Croatia in 1990-95 are striking, with many political, military, ideological and, most of all social factors in common. These near-identical aspects should be compared and analysed, not simply for academic purposes, but also because they give a glimpse on how events may progress in the future and may provide practical clues about how to influence events.
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