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

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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Hello world!

So, howdy y’all. This is the place where I will be publishing my ramblings urbi & orbi, whether at the delight or the horror of my faithful audience. A topic spectrum may be wide, but I have a tingling feeling it may converge to a particular area of human endeavours, but let’s not jump to conclusions just yet.

So, what will be discussed (or, more accurately, preached) here, in a very roughly, but not completely particular order:

Science Fiction. As a semi-professional writer (meaning, I occasionally get some money, but would need to investigate if the amount covers the bill for the electricity I used while typing) OF COURSE there is going to be science fiction here. But even more, as a fan, SF is a significant part of my thought life; at one local convention (or, rather, after it) I have been proclaimed the King of Geeks (not my doing, it was spontaneous, well, ok, no crowd involved, but it was sincere). So, expect the unexpected.

Education. Not only because I’m professionally a physics teacher, but also because I’m an education fundamentalist. Education is the most important thing in the world and all world problems can be solved by education. (And if a particular problem can’t, the only remaining solution is usually repression, so choose freely, but wisely.) I’m an active member of a small, but active teacher NGO with reputation. (Do you want to know more?)

Politics. Hell, yeah, baby! If you’re gonna run away from it, it will chase you down, rip you up, tear you apart, happily wave to the audience and make you ask for more. So may as well stop running and show it your ugly side, you know you have it. Hiding will only make it worse.

For the record, politics is not only elections, candidates, parties, corrupt politicians (although those can also be fun sometimes; hell, you’re paying them, may at least have fun with them…) As someone at the Loncon said (maybe even Ken McLeod, don’t remember), politics is when you want a speedbump installed in your street, but you want it in front of your neighbour’s house, not yours.

Games. We all like to play games. Only, some play them with people where victory points are usually laughs or tears, while some are more adult and like cardboard or computers as intermediaries. Well, I prefer the latter two. Strategy and role-playing are the preferred kind, but you never know, the night is still young. Also, as someone said, it usually turns out that the people who say that there is time for work and time for play, usually never have time for play (while people who oppose them usually need to get a life, me included, but there you have it…)

Music. Rock, classics, rock classics, classic rock. Maybe some New Age, ethno or other stuff, if I like it.

Cats. As a friend said, the purpose of humans on this planet is to serve, cuddle and feed our feline overlords. If I’m not too lazy, may share some photos from my household.

To be continued.