Am I missing something, totally misinformed? Should we all be comforted by the thought that Nobel Prize winner Obama, staunch David Cameron, podgy F. Hollande and Angela Merkel are doing what is necessary to keep the horrendous Russian bear at bay?

Perhaps Obama hopes to gain in the public opinion polls. Cameron might be reading Churchill's memoirs. Podgy soldier Hollande, marching closely behind Obama, might be hoping that some sort of aggressive diversion could be a way of avoiding to reimburse Russia for the costly Mistrals already paid for that the French President might eventually have to sink. This whilst his Spanish PM exits to Berlin with his sons to see the football final (Barcelona/Juventus) on French tax payers' money. Of them all, perhaps the souvenirs and sentiments of Angela Merkel would justify her stance.

Thus our war ships are gallantly riding the waves of the Baltic Sea; and how dare the Russians send a fighter jet to patrol the air above them! American tanks and heavy arms are positioning themselves on the borders of Poland and Lithuania. Steadfastly we lever the old bellows to fan the glowing embers of conflict.

For the sake of liberty, naturally. But the Ukrainians who voted in favour of maintaining their Russian identity, all those who culturally feel more Russian than part of a State whose government cannot possibly be considered representative of all of the Ukrainians in any case; do the staunch defenders of democracy dismiss them and their liberty?

The Ukrainian presidential elections were due to take place in March, 2015. Because of the problems in Crimea and eastern regions of the Ukraine, the elections took place earlier, the 25th May, 2014. Would it not have been better to first try to settle the issues correctly and diplomatically rather than precipitate the elections in the hope that the results, supported by the USA and the EU, perhaps for strategic reasons, will be accepted either peacefully or forcibly?

Imagine the clout of American public opinion in support of a hypothetical community of Americans living elsewhere under a regime who refused to recognise and respect their identity, and this even after they had voted to retain it. Imagine the pressure on Obama to defend their cause.
Or was Margaret Thatcher's courageous military engagement in the Falklands officially to preserve the democratic rights of the British living there, more a false pretext to retain control of an important strategic territory?

We seem, in any case, to be living in the past. Would David Cameron have treated the Scots who voted for Scottish independence as "rebels"? If Scotland had voted for total independence, would the British Prime minister have dismissed the results and used brutal seventeenth century military methods to force the Clans to swear allegiance to England and the Crown? Would there have been another massacre of Glencoe?
Can one not make such absurd parallels to the dangerous absurdity that is taking place in the Ukraine, and to the bellicose reactions of the USA and the EU? Or is Russia also completely out of step in wanting to try to defend the Ukrainians who identify with their mother country?

Text © Mirino. Image (modified) with thanks to June, 2015

Expressions of silence

After months of having abstained from writing comments for the press, a decision perhaps encouraged by what appeared to be a change of policy of Le Point, who, without warning decided to deprive their commentators from having access to their comments unless they pay for the privilege, I find myself returning once more to the fray.

Why? I ask myself, when I am living in a little paradise and should completely relax and enjoy it, instead of deluding myself with the thought that by writing messages sent in corked bottles, they might find their way to distant shores to be uncorked, the messages read and even appreciated by people who matter, people who have enough clout to change the world for the better.

Perhaps it's because I care that such little paradises continue to remain so. However, when one reads Le Courrier della Sera, for which I have also started again to try to write comments in my own brand of zoppicante italiano, one is aghast by the lackadaisical manner in which the EU is treating illegal immigration.

During my first vacation visit to the USA many years ago, several art directors and publishers in NYC led me to believe that I could easily make 'a fortune' if I chose to live there. Although I was already aware that the Americans are often over generous with their praise, I was convinced enough to go through the motions of trying to obtain a work permit and visa for a two year period, mostly for the experience. 
The idea was quickly abandoned because none of those initially so enthusiastic about my work were inclined to make the necessary legal commitment to the US authorities to justify and thus permit my relatively brief professional sojourn in the USA.

I refer to this because such rigorous US control even in the late seventies, contrasts starkly with Europe's wishy-washy attitude today that seems to be based on what is now considered as political correctness, or in this particular case- false and irresponsible altruism.
It also brings to mind Oscar Wilde's views on altruism, one of the ever proliferating weeds that grow from political correctness.
To open one's door to the needy, seems a noble act. But such nobleness depends on other factors. It depends on the real motives of those who claim to be in need. It depends on the respect they have for the generous host. It depends on the capacity of the host to receive them. For if in the process of opening one's door to the needy, one's home and one's health end up in ruins, no one benefits.

To my knowledge the EU have done nothing to modify the Schengen agreements. This means that hundreds of migrants who have been persuaded to part with their hard earnt savings to pay criminals for the illusion of reaching 'Eureldorado' using the most flimsy floatable means, will continue to risk their lives and those of their families to do so. Indirectly the EU is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of would be immigrants as well as for the criminal activity of those who exploit such weakness.
This institutional parliament full of technocrats who pretend to represent us, but who appear to be more concerned about Brussels-sprouts than with the tragic loss of human lives, seems oblivious of what is in fact its responsibility. The control of illegal immigration is not the responsibility of each European State bordering the Mediterranean, for example. This is simply because once an illegal immigrant has managed to get a foothold in Europe, thanks to the present Schengen agreements, he or she is virtually free to go anywhere within the European Union.

If we are to believe those who anticipate democracy eventually destroying itself simply by continuing to apply its own essential principle, it's then possible that uncontrolled immigration can eventually lead to what today we might still consider to be totally inconceivable. 

Text © Mirino. Image- One of the celebrated door paintings of the village of Valoria (Liguria, Italy). With many thanks to the artist. June, 2015