Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Europe Category

Achtung Switzerland!

  • August 11, 2013
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In Carol Reed’s The Third Man,  Harry Lime  sarcastically suggests that Switzerland’s only contribution to civilization is the cuckoo clock.   Lime was ignoring some innovations which would not have suited his modus operandi.

In terms of human rights and the laws of war, Switzerland is associated with some of the most significant developments of the modern era.  It was the birthplace of the  great eighteenth century philosopher and jurist Emerich de Vattel, whose ideas laid the basis for a body of law that that would later be realised in...

Of Moors and Gypsies

Of Moors and Gypsies

  • June 10, 2013
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I’ve just come back from Spain, where I spent a fabulous week leading a group of 18 walkers around the Axarquia mountain range in Andalusia.   The village where we stayed was located about an hour from Malaga, just inland from Torre del Mar, one of several   ‘white villages’ in the area left over...

The Cyprus bailout: as low as it gets?

  • March 17, 2013
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The Cyprus ‘bailout’  announcement marks a new threshold in the ongoing disgrace that we have come to label austerity.  For the first time, the European Union, the IMF and a national government have announced that a levy will be exacted on individual savings without any process of consultation, in order to prevent the Cypriot...

The democratic deficit in action

  • February 28, 2013
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I’ve always suspected that the European Commission was something of an elite outfit.   But in the last two weeks,   I’ve been granted an unexpected firsthand insight into the Commission’s commitment to democratic debate.

This somewhat bizarre episode began a couple of weeks ago, when a journalist from the Brussels-based tv channel Euronews rang up...

Greece, Syrian Refugees and the Paradox of Humanitarian Intervention

  • December 10, 2012
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There was a grim but essential story in last week’s Guardian, on the secret deportations of Syrian refugees by Greek police   across the Evros River border  with   Turkey.   The Guardian described how a group of Syrians recently crossed the Evros.  Some members of the group drowned, others made it to...

IPS News Interview on ‘Fortress Europe’

  • November 29, 2012
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UNITED NATIONS, Nov 28 2012 (IPS)  – Along the borders of modern Europe, migrants have much to contend with, ranging from contradictory and confusing national immigration policies to horrific war zones, which these borders areas are slowly becoming.

Their stories and more are the subject of journalist and writer Matthew Carr”s latest book, “Fortress Europe: Dispatches...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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