This must be what it was like in the 1930s when Jews fleeing Nazi Germany created a major refugee crisis to which the response of Britain, the USA and other potential safe haven countries was a collective shoulder shrug of indifference – or outright hostility. This summer we have witnessed an unfolding crisis on a … Continue reading This must be what it was like when German Jews were refugees
Seventy years after the city of Hiroshima was destroyed by one atomic bomb what puzzles me is this: where has the fear gone? Like most of my generation, growing up in the fifties and sixties my thoughts and night-time dreams were haunted by the bomb. During the Cold War years, as the nuclear stockpile grew … Continue reading How we stopped worrying and learned to forget The Bomb
‘Wherever I travel, Greece wounds me.’ – George Seferis After the ugliness of last few days in Brussels as we watched a country being humiliated and a new form of economic colonialism being imposed on a people who have struggled to assert their wishes by means of an impeccable commitment to democracy, it really does … Continue reading Greece wounds me
What should we choose as the soundtrack for the stunning outcome of the Greek referendum? Patti Smith’s ‘People Have the Power’, perhaps? Or David Bowie singing, ‘We can be heroes, just for one day’? The landslide No to austerity vote is thrilling, but the future of Greece still hangs in the balance. What has been … Continue reading Greece: People power or heroes just for one day?
Still the Enemy Within is a documentary about the miners’ strike of 1984-5. It begins in the middle of nowhere, in a desolate spot empty but for wind-blown weeds. A middle-aged man hoves into view, a former miner who once worked at this place. It’s South Yorkshire and this is where Frickley Colliery once stood, … Continue reading Still the Enemy Within: pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will
Why does Berlin fascinate and thrill me more than any city I know? I think Alexandra Richie puts her finger on the answer in her monumental history of the city, Faust’s Metropolis: Like Faust, Berlin can be said to have two spirits in the same breast; it is both a terrible and a wonderful city, … Continue reading Visiting the Reichstag: the ghosts of history
I’m not sure exactly when I began to be a regular reader of the Guardian – certainly soon after starting at university in 1967. But I had always appreciated investigative journalism and good newspaper design: at home in the sixties I would read The Sunday Times, excited by its colour magazine and relishing the work of the Insight … Continue reading The Guardian: farewell to a great editor