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protest

Invisible horns and haloes: America’s symbolic civil war

For some, history consists of only two events: the present, and the Nazis. Any unwelcome political action is thrust into a crude parallelism with a singular mode of fascism, stripped of complication and context, and offered as a warning.

Continue reading “Invisible horns and haloes: America’s symbolic civil war”

Festung Europa

The tragedy and desperation of this summer’s Mediterranean human trafficking has slowly drawn blood even from the stone of David Cameron’s largely retiring isolationism, and united an unsteady Europe in sharing the humanitarian responsibility, or the accompanying rhetoric at least. The major parties have been joined in sympathy. There could be no other response. The savagery of Syria, the poverty of the Sahel, civil war and stagnant prospects are potent push factors. The comparative, indeed shockingly contrasting wealth and security of Europe is a justified pull. Yet one need not leave Europe to witness this cruel, international carrot-and-stick migration at work. Less sanguine, but perhaps more insidious, is the enduring maltreatment of the Roma people within the palisades of Festung Europa. Continue reading “Festung Europa”

The Circus

17th November, the anniversary of the beginning of the Velvet Revolution, and solemnity finds its expression in the candles placed beneath the statue of King Wenceslas upon whose square commemorations have been taking place throughout the day.  Looking down from here, perhaps in more ways than one, the foot of the boulevard boasts a more Dionysian spectacle. Continue reading “The Circus”

The Who and the When of the Velvet Revolution.

“Kdo, když ne my, kdy, když ne ted!” On 17th November 1989 the slogan announces itself intermittently, taking its turn among the others resounding from the impassioned voices of the marching crowds of Prague: “Who, if not us, when, if not now!”. A call to action, if not to arms. A flag, a marker planted resolutely in the present – renouncing the failures of the past and the potential vacillations of the future. The chanting assembly would no longer be the victims of history. Continue reading “The Who and the When of the Velvet Revolution.”

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