Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Europe Category

The Intensification of Calamities: Catalonia’s Unlikely Cheerleaders

  • October 29, 2017
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Of all forms of war, the ancient Greeks recognized that civil war was the worst and most destructive form of human conflict.   This is because civil war shatters the bonds that hold societies together, tearing families, neighborhoods and communities apart, unleashing hatreds, divisions and conflicts that can only be resolved, not through negotiation, compromise or a peace treaty, but through the complete and utter destruction and defeat of one side by the other.

We have seen this again and again throughout history, most recently in the former Yugoslavia, Syria, South Sudan and the Central...

Despatches from Catalonia

  • October 06, 2017
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Last week I posted a guest post from Barcelona in the lead up to the Catalan Referendum.    Today I’m posting the following dispatch from the frontlines of the referendum struggle from a very different perspective, summing up the tumultuous events that have shaken Catalonia in the last few week, by my great friend and...

Guest Post. The Catalan Referendum: Anubis versus Demos

  • October 01, 2017
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Today is a day without precedent in Spanish and Catalan history.   To mark the occasion, I’m posting this very personal take on the unfolding crisis by Tamara Djermanovic, writer, professor of Humanities at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, and a very good friend of mine:  

 

Anubis versus Demos

Out of all the extraordinary measures...

Spain Versus Catalonia

  • September 26, 2017
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Political struggles demand that you take sides, but there are some political confrontations that you just wish weren’t happening.   Watching the struggle for Catalan independence unfold over the last seven years, I have certainly not felt like a neutral or indifferent bystander.  Indifference is not possible when dealing with a country –...

History, Peace, and Beauty: On Barcelona’s Ramblas

  • August 18, 2017
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Of all the massacres perpetrated in Europe in the name of Islamic State, yesterday”s slaughter in the Ramblas has a particular personal resonance for me. I spent nine years in Barcelona, living near the Ramblas for part of that time. Even when I moved further away from downtown Barcelona, hardly a week went by in...

The United Kingdom of Insecurity

  • June 20, 2017
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According to conventional political wisdom the first duty of a democratic government is to afford security and protection to all its citizens.   This objective is often misleadingly conflated with the notion of ‘national security’ – a principle that supposedly incorporates the duty of protection but actually often overrides it.  National security isn’t...

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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