9 Apr 2017

The Isis Phenomenon: Sweden Looks Right

Those who know history understand well that none can win a war over another culture while it exists in any shape or form.

The folly of the Bush administration to attack the Islamic world after 9/11 has long been apparent. What wasn’t apparent is the scale of the response to the West’s badly constructed intervention.

Although fractured in parts due to old sectarian fault lines the Islamic world can hold out for ever to western efforts to bring it into line with its liberal principals. Culture change must come from within.

After a lethal truck attack by Islamic extremists in Stockholm,
Sweden questions its EU borders policy and whether less openness is a safer option.
 Image from series "Periphery" 
All across the Middle East new armies are being constructed; when launched, only another army can halt their march. Where are the global intuitions to prevent this happening! Are we at a League of Nations moment once again!

The latest attacks in London and Sweden by “Lone wolfs” who are prepared to sacrifice the lives of innocents and themselves is just the beginning of the beginning.

What if the trucks used were laden with chemical or bio-logical weapons.

It is only a matter of time before a cornered Isis resorts to these terror tactics. Better to accept that Isis exists and will continue to mutate in reaction to perceived western interference. Better to negotiate now than wait until negotiations are untenable and the word is plunged into a permanent conflict with the Muslim world akin to the two centuries of Crusader wars of the middle ages.

Better not to corner the beast which may prove to be more savage than one’s self. 

28 Mar 2017

Invitation to Exhibition: Excerpts From Extraordinary Journeys

May I invite you to view my photojournalism exhibition titled "Excerpts From Extraordinary Journeys". It opens Thursday 6 April 2017 at 15.00 hrs in ArtCetera Studio, 43b Rosemary street, Belfast BT1 1QB and runs till 20 April 2017.  
Location: https://goo.gl/qQjfao  Tel: 028 90 5738500 

Image from series  Divided Cities - the Road to Damascus.

While in the Levant in the early 1990s, I witnessed the persistence of old narratives. The images in this exhibition capture the sense that these recurring stories are an extension of a troubled past.
I saw my own presence as part of this bigger picture, within which, identities have been fractured, borders disputed and peoples migrated. These are common issues relating to distinctiveness, citizenship, and dispossession that demonstrate the continuity of past and present.
From the exhibition "Excerpts From Extraordinary Journeys."
1. Excerpts from Extraordinary Journeys focus on the experience of conflict in - East Europe and the Near East. Martin Nangle’s observation documents society’s ability to maintain a sense of direction despite incredible obstacles.
War and Conflicts
1977 - 1989 Northern Ireland
1989 - 1995 The Fall of Berlin Wall 
1990 - 1991 Revolutions in Eastern Europe with special focus on Romania & Bulgaria
1990 - 1991 The Gulf War, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Intifada Israel & Palestine
1991 - 1992 The Break-up of USSR in the republic of Moldova
1992          The Siege of Sarajevo
1992 - 1995 Bosnia, Croatia & Serbia
Divided Cities
This is a visual narrative about daily life in cities divided by segregation barriers; the physical "Walls" reflect the consequences of the social and political issues of our time. They symbolise our conflicts and embody the solutions which characterise the societies we create.

Divided Cities continues the social and political journey through Europe and the Levant.
It commences in Belfast in 1973 and continues to the present.
Belfast      1973-1989
Berlin        1989 Fall of the Wall, 
Jerusalem 1990-1991
Sarajevo   1992-1994 
Nicosia      2015
Post Communism 1989 - 2001 
This journey explores the role of culture and tradition in Romania during a time of extreme austerity, uncertainty and romantic courage during post communism. The project documents how a culture and its people survived the near collapse of its society.

European Union; The Art of Superstate  2001-2017
A series of portraits and images of daily life focuses on Western European Society's preoccupation with neo pluralism and multi-culturalism. The rise of the Euroskeptics and the Brexit referendum are illustrated though pictures from Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

15 Jan 2017

EU Decline: Mists Lift off Brexit’s Pillars.

 "We are leaving. We are coming out. We are not going to be a member of the EU any longer," says the British PM.

And so says the labour opposition but in different words. “We are not wed to free movement”

The mists surrounding the pillars to uphold Brexit are beginning to clear.
Power revolves in Washington this month. Incoming president Trump is facing a counter-attack by those he spectacularly defeated in the November 2016 elections. They are wedging obstacles into his programmes before they have started. US ambassador to Brussels claims Trump wants to see the break-up of the EU. The ambassador calls a break-up “Lunacy.”

Mists clear over Stonehenge during the 2017 new years day .
The ancient pillars have stood the test of time for their connection with the people and its environment.
 From the series "Antiquity."  
This is hardly a shock. The EU is doing that break-up all by itself. US observers are asking which countries are next to leave. There are a handful of northern countries with large swaths of Euroskeptic voters. Some of these countries finance ministries give the maximum life span for the Euro and ultimately the Europe project at seven years.

So seven years is what Europe has got to clean-up the Brussels mire. EU Break-up is assured if there continues to be no change to Brussels’ determination to pursue federalism at all costs and beyond consultation with Europe’s citizens. Inclusion, co-operation and humility are words they could learn and practice.

All great man made edifices standing the test of time are built in rock, stone and with the sweat and labour of people.

The EU needs to realise it cannot trick Europe into its mystic utopia by shrouding its aims in secrecy. 

5 Dec 2016

E.U. Decline; Italy Speaks: Rivoluzione Continua

Grown people know the world they live. Today’s world is financial terrorism- neo-liberal internationalism – economic slavery.  It is called globalism; where living standards are lowered in the rich west through a weapon named “Austerity” - in order to increase living standards elsewhere.

The backlash, to this policy (a policy led by the financial globalists), is the wave of populist uprisings of 2016 where “Revolution” (a transfer of power from one political base to another) is well underway. 

Italy is the latest country to express its rejection of the establishment. All eyes are now on France.
Death of the EU lies squarely with dictatorial attitudes of the EU commission and its Europhile cabinet cohorts. It’s about attitude. About those who have it and those who reject it.

Italy Speaks: The revolt against Globalisation and the establishment parties which promotes it continues a path to victory.
Image- Bucharest 1990, From  the series Revolutia Continua, about the revolutions which supported the end of communism
across eastern Europe.  

The EU federalist clique since 1993, railroaded their ideology of a born again Empire. They ignored Europe's citizens; their national identity, their histories of struggles from past dictatorial regimes and replaced democracy with a distorted combination of Plutocracy and technocratic bureaucracy while instructing those who asked to be consulted to shut -up.

How did neo-liberalism expect the people to ultimately respond to the EU’s half-baked notion that its idealism cannot be wrong! For the greater good of Superstate and finally an Empire with its own trans-national army - sacrifices had to be made; Greece, youth unemployment, nation states, forced immigration quotas, cheap labour and above all obedience from Brussels to member governments not to critise or expose the final solution to Europe’s divisions.

Would it be an idea for federalists’ politicians to recognise that voters are aware! That citizens are conscious of the dreadful spins they put on everything to suit their chances of political advantage; to attain the 2025 goal of Superstate, universal taxation and a strong army to force its will. 

The new picture for Europe is what kind of future relations we citizens want with the EU (if any) and the rest of the world which is 93%. There can be no going back to the EU of old. It is past time the Brussels federalist bubble realise this. 

13 Nov 2016

US Elections 2017: Trump’s America, Reality Anger in the USA.

An American dream becomes reality anger in the 2017 US election. It is not an anger of violent rage. It is a contest within modern augmented perceptions about two visions of the developed world.

One side of the vision feels brow beaten by excessive political correctness. It experiences stagnation in living standards and harbours an opinion that establishment elites have abdicated political responsibility to faceless technocrats and undemocratic bankers.

Seeing is believing. What the public sees is a fake world where reality is something to handle as one sees fit.
In the shadow world of the left behind an awaking has rocked the cradle of a patronising elite who use
managed perceptions of reality to push their global vision of a technocratic world government. Has at last the
substance of this narrative wore off. Are we witnessing a return to politics of the real. Or will the technocrats just up
the daily dosage and sedate the masses.  image November 2017.    

This is rural southern and middle America; the backbone of one vision of white American culture. They are experiencing the sober reality of distress and identity politics. Angered, they have sent a hard response to Washington.  Against a backdrop of continuing upsurges of western populism reacting to a stalled globalisation, that response was personified. Its name is Donald Trump; the 45th President of the United States of America. 

Managing the world is a different slant on the vision of changing the world. The global financial community who now lead the management philosophy are being challenge by the backlash of the disaffected who call for change.

Interesting times to witness if the 45th president can deliver the change he has promised or will the forces of global management re-enforce its position and relapse western citizens into mediated reality where none really knows what is fake and what is real.
In the harsh world of managed perceptions and outcomes does anyone now believe in anything!

3 Oct 2016

EU Decline: Hungarian Referendum: A Counter-Revolution Against EU Federalists.

Hard border between Northern Ireland  (UK)  and the
Republic of Ireland during the "Troubles." 1969 -1990.
Hungary's  new border fences are the result of
new troubles brought about by EU policy
 over free movement of people. Image 1983
This EU project is led by the European Commission. The Commission is like a collection of government ministries supported by an army of thirty-three thousand employees. Its focus is an attempt to create a modern Federalist Superstate; a successor to the many forms of government that have ruled Europe since the collapse of the Roman Empire of past ages. To some this may sound appealing. To others it sounds the stuff of nightmares.

Empires do not end gracefully and often are credited with a legacy of internal strife and civil war. From the end of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD till the close of the World Wars of European origin, various empires, federations, confederations, dictatorships, kingdoms, isms and the like have shaped, built, destroyed and defined the continent.

Euroskeptics view EU ideologues as sick and dangerous patients to be cut adrift and quarantined. They see the commission as a fanatical body of brainwashed elites that forces Europeans to follow “More Europe.”

The European Commission, aka “Good Europeans” view the skeptics with similar disdain. Democracy is dangerous and leads to wars – this they say about Europe in the 1920’s and 30’s. Better to direct the people how do it than ask for their viewpoint.

This is a clash of political thought over what is the better system for ruling Europe in the 21st century.

A clash of political cultural identity between the Democratic Nation State which emerged from 19th century Europe and the continuity of European empire.

 Interestingly Churchill said in 1943 “Empires of the future will be empires of the mind.”  The new counter –revolution spawning in Hungary and spreading to central and Eastern Europe is taking the politics of culture and identity closer to central stage. “Who am I and do I own my country?” “Shall I be told to move aside to make room for another people and another culture regardless of how I feel about it?”

I see the EU project entering into decline over its dogmatic approach to fulfill the aims of the Lisbon treaty. One can only comprehend that the EU as an intuition to bring Europe together is creating the opposite effect on almost half of the continents citizens.

19 Sep 2016

EU Decline: National Populism Confronts Federalist Liberal Elitism.

Vehement federalists and former prime ministers of Luxembourg and Belgium, Jean Claude Juncker (EU commission chief) and Guy Verhofstadt (Federalist leader), speaking on behalf of the pro EU lobby in the Strasbourg parliament (Week 37) looked despondent, sounded angry, became frustrated and appeared cornered.  
"Battle for survival" and "existential crisis" – were phrases used by Juncker.

It was extraordinary to watch. I say extraordinary; most Skeptics and Brexiteers at the parliament session in Strasbourg wanted to hear conciliatory notes.

After the victorious post-Brexit vote it is clear the federalist command went into camera to plan their response. Rather than address genuine concerns and fears about where their federalist plan is taking Europe and its citizens, they have emerged to declare a counter offensive against National Populism.
Brexit revolution throws the  EU into decline. Across Europe the Nation State
is asserting its primacy over a weak and mistrusted Brussels leadership to create
a Federalist Superstate.  image England 2016 
Unstoppable Nationalist Populist sentiment spreading across Europe was treated to a display of attitude and commendation.

These ultra-federalists projected a weak notion they can and will persuade citizens of Europe to accept their mantra of “More Europe.” Sadly it seems, they may have no further intention of even attempting to do any persuading. They show little interest in the views of the people. They are convinced they can ultimately steamroll citizens into their federalist Superstate Europe by a declared 2025 deadline using the tools provided by the Lisbon treaty.

A Europe under threat seems to be the EU federalist’s last throw of the dice. They openly are pushing for the EU army they believe will save their plan. Creating diversions and promoting external in internal threats is a way to temper political and social grumblings. It worked for Rome and the Soviet Union-right! But it only works if you control the orders to send the troops into action-right!

Are they so blind they cannot see the power they craved for slipping away from the Brussels citadel and re-forming in the north nation states and to the east where the politics of culture and identity has gripped its people?  

Of-course they are blind just as they were blind to the idea of a positive vote for Brexit.
As this blog stated in an earlier post, the EU response to Brexit was a planned attack on an East European country with threats of expulsion from the organisation over allegations of corruption and misconduct.  

Hungary has come under a proxy threat from Luxembourg (of all countries) over its handling of the migrant crisis, refugee quotas and asylum seekers treatment.  Luxembourg is renowned for being Europe’s number one big international corporation tax haven. A system set up by commission boss Junker while he was PM there.  
The EU (Junker) also recently attacked an international American Corporation in a prodding attempt to claim the right to set tax laws for sovereign member states-Ireland; and of course the saga of the EU army and the Commissions role (Junker) in invoking it into action rolls on and on.

These federalist pipe dreams are sounding more dangerous and desperate. Their obsession with reaching “More Europe” in its totality is now fanatical and fuelling unmeasured responses from National Populism.

At the latest “Unity” summit in Bratislava, “divisions” were led bare. The German Chancellor declared the EU in a “Critical Situation.” Merkel’s call to correct the “Critical situation” was to drum up the usual taboos-internal and external defense, terrorism, security co-operation, jobs in security etc. 
Reassessment of critical situations, redefining relationships and the re-mapping of new courses is not an admission of failure but a deed of courage to find and lead out of a “Critical Situation.”

21 Aug 2016

Notes From Transylvania: Preserving the Continuity of Traditions; Maramures August 2016.

The deep bellowing sounds of Maramures are projected into the moonlit sky. The astoundingly beautiful natural amphitheatre of ‘Sus Pe Bradova’ in the hills above the village of Barsana is sending messages from a concert fusing traditional and contemporary music.

This historic part of Transylvania is in insurgency. It is opposing the latest campaign to reach these ancient hills; the contemporary erosion of the area’s rural spirituality.

On a hillside above Barsana village in remote Maramures, (a district of northern Romania) Grigore Lese – regarded internationally as the leader of Romanian traditional and pastoral music - created an extraordinary event of musical theatre. 

The Festival of the 63 villages’ mission is not only to promote but to protect and preserve the role of Maramures as the beating heart of Romania’s peasant culture.

The Romanian Emperor Trajan immortalised Maramures’ resistance to outside forces’ attempts to dilute its proud independence by carving into a stone column the story of his adventures in the area – then known as Dacia- in the year 113 AD. That’s how long the baton has been held by the residents of the 63 villages: they continue to champion the way of life in this region, often referred to as ‘the greatest garden on earth.’

In experiencing the sounds and character of Maramures on a hillside deep in this garden, I feel a new resistance to global urbanisation. Slow and tranquil, the garden entices one’s soul to contemplate and reflect on life and purpose.

This festival is sending powerful messages to our urban centres, the deep sounds of Maramures emanating from these hills are calling to the senses. Senses that make us, as a people, feel connected to nature and our duty never to forsake its treasures.