Diplomatic Breakthrough in Crimea

After weeks of failing communication between the great powers and after the world had come dangerously close to World War III Cold War II, international negotiators reached an agreement on Sunday night after a Summit Meeting on Crimea.

Yalta_summit_1945_with_Churchill,_Roosevelt,_Stalin(Zur deutschen Fassung dieses Beitrags.)

Posted in Cold War, History, Politics, World War II | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Polignano a Mare

A short train ride to the south of Bari is the town of Polignano a Mare, where the houses are situated on top of steep cliffs as if they were scrambling to get the best view on the sea, with at least one particularly beautiful bay. Narrow streets and whitewashed buildings provide a calm atmosphere, but I felt more drawn to the cliffs where the strong waves pounded against the stone, splashing salty water several meters into the air.

Polignano a Mare bay

Polignano a Mare bay 2

Polignano a Mare bay 3

Polignano a Mare

wave splashing Polignano a Mare

But Polignano a Mare is not only a beautiful place, it also boasts a number of festivals throughout the year, from kite-flying festivals to fireworks to processions to food festivals to cliff diving. Hence I will probably return to this lovely town throughout the year.

(Hier geht es zur deutschen Fassung.)

Posted in Apulia, Italy, Photography, Travel | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Video Blog: Car Bomb in Bari

It always happens, wherever I move. As soon as I settle in, somebody tries to get rid of me already. A few minutes ago, a car bomb exploded outside of my house in Bari, Italy. Luckily, it happened during lunchtime when most of Italy is asleep. It looked to me like nobody died.

The view from my window:

This brings to mind my story from a few months ago, when I revealed Al-Qaeda’s new instructions to their followers, which included the torching of parked cars.

(Hier klicken für die deutschsprachige Fassung.)

Posted in Apulia, Films, Italy, Terrorism | Tagged | 4 Comments

Anti-German election campaign in Italy

Finally I know what it feels like to be part of a group of foreigners used as scapegoats in an election campaign. It feels weird. Despite being aware that they are not targeted against me personally, I always feel affected by these election posters when I walk past them:

Europei non tedeschi

“Europeans not Germans”, this is the slogan chosen by Italia dei Valori (“Italy of Values”) to compete for votes in the European elections of 2014. This is not even a right-wing or generally xenophobic party (of which there are a few in Italy as well), but a rather left-leaning liberal party, founded by Antonio Di Pietro, one of Italy’s most well-known prosecutors, who himself had lived and worked in Germany for two years as a young man. Italia dei Valori currently hold 7 of Italy’s 73 seats in the European Parliament, so they are not some irrelevant splinter group either.

As a German living in Italy, I feel queasy in light of these posters. Somehow, it’s a strange situation to sit in the park, to talk with Italians and to tell them that I am from Germany (which I cannot hide due to my accent when speaking Italian) while on the billboard behind us, anti-German slogans poison the political discourse.

If a party picks such a slogan, they must assume that there is actual anti-German resentment. Now I am insecure whether among all the Italians who approach me in a very friendly way, there might be some who would much rather have me deported. Thus far, it has only happened twice that Italians (of the young kind who probably think of themselves as modern and cosmopolitan, by the way) insulted me based on my origin, once with the famous “Nazi kapo” insult which Martin Schulz once had to suffer from Silvio Berlusconi. “Why don’t you go back to Germany” is the sentence which is then always dropped, which is not only particularly anachronistic in a united Europe, but which is even more out of place in my case, not having lived in Germany for 5 years, than it would be if hurled against German tourists. But the tourists don’t need to worry because by the time the main holiday season will kick off, the posters for the European elections will have disappeared again.

(Diesen Artikel gibt es natürlich auch auf Deutsch.)

Posted in Elections, Europe, Germany, Italy, Politics | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Easily Confused (32) Manuel Valls

Whenever I see Manuel Valls, the new French Prime Minister,

Manuel Valls

I am reminded of Jamie McDonald (actor Paul Higgins), the “crossest man in Scotland” from the film In the Loop:

In the Loop Jamie McDonald

Posted in Films, France, Politics, Scotland, UK | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Home is my Castle

Andreas Moser Castel del Monte

At Castel del Monte in Apulia in Italy, taking notes for my upcoming report about my visit to this extraordinary castle.

Posted in Apulia, Italy, Photography, Travel | Tagged | 5 Comments

Did you notice the Irony? (11) Climate Refugees

Did you ever notice the irony that lies in

  • us flying to the Maldives, the Seychelles, to Easter Island and everywhere else,
  • thus destroying the world climate with our CO2 emissions,
  • but when climate refugees try to come to Europe because their islands are being consumed by rising sea levels or because their land is being turned into desert by the increasing heat, then we turn them away?
"We sure hope you did enjoy your holidays on our islands - when they were still there."

“We sure hope you did enjoy your holidays on our islands – when they were still there.”

Posted in Environment, Human Rights, Philosophy, Politics, Travel | Tagged | 3 Comments