Been reading about the next month and what it holds in store for Kosovo and the entire Balkan region. Would have made for an interesting time to be back in Belgrade around this time.
The following video is just a montage of images, texts, and audio that I’ve been taking in and evaluating. My g4 powerbook, after 3 years of service, is struggling with exporting video… It is time for a new computer and as always.. I appreciate tips in the tip jar.. and your moral support is nice too.
Well, they lasted a year, and at last the far-right racist and xenophobic block of the European Parliament fell apart last week. Known by their ironic title “Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty Group”, the block dissolved after the Romanian far-right members were offended by derogatory comments by Mussolini’s granddaughter. In practice it means they will get less speaking time in parliament, and perhaps more importantly, no more EU funds for their professional hatred activities. They say when the announcement was made the parliament broke into applause and cheering. I’ll save my applause and cheering for when the mainstream parties stop pushing xenophobic and corporatist policies on European citizens.
It is a pretty well known fact that the US is the global leader in arms sales. Some will also have heard that Russia is second. But in fact, if you put together all the European Union numbers, in terms of total arms sales in the last 10 years, they come very close to tying the US. Somehow its not a very publicized fact, Europe sells almost as many weapons as the US.
And who gets those weapons? Which countries in the world? Better yet, which groups in the world? Places where there is civil war? Dictatorships? Or civil wars yet to come? I think of all those child soldiers in the world and wonder where their gun came from? USA? France? Probably both.
Global warming gets a fair amount of play in the media these days. There is even some, though surely not enough, mobilization to do something about it. Yet all over the developed world in all these lovely places with people that are so highly educated and experienced, people are engaging in the arms trade. Making money selling weapons for people to kill each other with. Trading stocks and benefiting while people arm themselves and carry out mass murders in the name of the latest cause or call-to-arms. Even in the US now, the favored presidential candidate Hillary CLinton has become the number one choice of weapons manufacturers… and yet people believe she will bring change and restore some sort of self respect for the nation.
With each passing year that arms dealers post record profits, more people die needlessly in the name of business and strategic defense. If that isn’t a threat to our world, I don’t know what is.
One of the newer members of the European Union, Poland plans to build a highway to the Baltic states. However part of that highway would run through an ecological preserve. The classic debate begins, development versus conservation. Economy versus Environment.
First guest is Peter of the Beatroot, who blogs on Poland and Eastern European Affairs.
Second guest is Ellen Townsend of Birdlife International in Brussels
– The proposed highway
– The reasons for construction
– The route it takes and the risks involved
– public opinion locally and nationally in Poland
– the view from brussels
– EU environmental regulations
– Lobbying Brussels
– Alternate Plans
– The state of the case
– European Court of Justice
– Development versus environment
With all the problems related to automobile exhaust and the destruction of wetlands throughout the world, I didn’t expect to hear that an EU nation was pushing to build a new highway through wetlands in order to connect to neighboring countries. But that is what has been going on in Poland.
It is not a new story, but it is an unresolved issue that seemingly doesn’t make the radar of most European media. Or if it does, it is summarized in brief in a tiny little column.
In the latest reports I’ve found at this moment, construction of the highway has been haulted because of pressure from the EU. But the fact that the Polish government wanted (and still wants to) execute such a project despite all that we’ve learned in the last decades about how important natural preserves and wetlands are. Somehow having a highway from Poland to Finland is more important that maintaining an ecosystem when so many have already been destroyed.
This might call for a conversation with the great blogger and journalist in Poland, Mr. the Beatroot. I’m especially interested in just how these plans can be reversed and the opinions of Polish people and other follow citizens on this continent. Building a highway.. how 20th century. Build a high speed rail line, or better yet.. a maglev train… whatever you do, plan for the future with what we’ve learned from the past.