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Monday, December 18, 2017

235 results for 'Anastasia '

Let 300 million Flowers Bloom

By Anastasia , published on May 20, 2012

Last week the Chinese National Bureau of Corruption Prevention issued a statement saying that 72.7 per cent of the population was satisfied with progress the government was making on tackling corruption, an endemic problem in the country. It caused a virtual tsunami. People went on line in their thousands, creative in their derision of a figure that doubtless sprung fully armed from the mind of some bureaucrat or other. One individual said “Public opinion poll? Did they conduct it inside the Politburo? Poor old public opinion – raped once again.”

I say ‘said’ but the comment was... (more)

Tags: china, communication, free speech, communism, microblogging

Hell’s Deepest Circle

By Anastasia , published on May 18, 2012

I came across the name of Chil Rajchman fairly recently. It was while reading The Road, an anthology of the shorter writings, fiction and non-fiction, of Vasily Grossman, the author of Life and Fate and Everything Flows. To be more exact it was in the appendices, the piece entitled Grossman and Treblinka.

Grossman, a Soviet Army war correspondent, was the first to gather material on the operation of Treblinka, an extermination facility close to Warsaw. The Nazis had done their best to cover the traces, destroying it completely in 1943. But by sifting through the evidence, including some... (more)

Tags: books, mass murder, nazism, the holocaust, treblinka

Thou Shall Never More Be Mayor

By Anastasia , published on May 15, 2012

At the beginning of the month I wrote about the imminent mayoral election in London (Blonde Ambition, 1 May). Boris Johnson, the Conservative incumbent won against all the odds, against a tidal wave of electoral hostility flowing over the party. I was even gladder, though, to hear the final farewell of Ken Livingstone, a former mayor standing for the Labour Party. At last London is rid of this maudlin, self-pitying old narcissist. Bye, bye Ken. Never turn again; thou shall never more be mayor!

Now comes the time to write Livingstone’s epitaph, a farewell to arms for conceivably... (more)

Tags: london, british politics, mayoral election, ken livingstone

They Are Coming

By Anastasia , published on May 13, 2012

Look at this picture. Can you guess who or what it is? No? Well I’ll tell you – it’s the new face of Greek democracy! His name is George Germenis, a black metal rocker, although he uses the stage name ‘Kaiadas’, after the chasm where Spartans threw deformed babies.

Germenis or Kaiadas – whose next album, incidentally, is called Long Live Death – was thrown into another chasm - the Greek parliament. He is there along with another twenty members of Golden Dawn, an extreme nationalist movement entering the assembly for the first time ever. It won seven percent of the poll in the election... (more)

Tags: racism, elections, greece, fascism, european union, nationalism

Give me Liberty or Give me…Obama

By Anastasia , published on May 10, 2012

I love America. It’s like a second home to me. We have close family friends in south-west Georgia, people I’ve been visiting on and off since I was a child. It’s the old Georgia, semi-rural Georgia, a town surrounded by cotton fields, further from the chaos of Atlanta than mere distance would suggest. It was in cotton fields in winter that I first learned to shoot. Georgia and the Old South is all part of my romantic vision of the United States.

It's going with the wind. Romance is shattered by reality, the reality of what is happening to America today, what is happening to American... (more)

Tags: health care, barack obama, american politics, bureaucracy, the presidency

Defender of the Faith

By Anastasia , published on May 9, 2012

I grew up in the Church of England and while I no longer attend, apart from family days and holidays, and even then only to please my parents, I still retain a considerable affection for the institution, for the part that it has played in the history of this nation. If I did not feel affection, a lingering sense of respect, I could look upon the pronouncements of Rowan Williams, the muddle-headed Archbishop of Canterbury, with equanimity; but I cannot; he retains the power to madden me with some of his more outrageous statements.

So, yes, I value the Church of England just as I value... (more)

Tags: christianity, atheism, church of england, secularism

Leaves of Grass

By Anastasia , published on May 6, 2012

There can’t be many Nobel laureates who served in the Waffen SS. In fact I can only think of one - Günter Grass, author of The Tin Drum, Germany’s best known writer and the self-appointed moral arbiter of his nation and its times. He was, not surprisingly, a tad ashamed of his background, which meant he kept quite about it for decades, all the while throwing around homilies on this on that and on the other, a little like Zeus firing lightening bolts from Olympus.

Now he has written a poem, not about his Nazi past but about the ‘threat’ that a nuclear-armed Israel represents to world... (more)

Tags: israel, germany, writers, anti-semitism

Hannah in Jerusalem - a Report on the Banality of a Book

By Anastasia , published on May 4, 2012

A new group of deportees has arrived at Auschwitz. There they are: men, women and children, all fearful, all apprehensive. A truck drives by, piled high with corpses. The arms of the dead are hanging loose over the sides, waving as if in grim farewell. The people scream. But no sooner has the vehicle turned a corner than the horror has been edited out of their minds. Even on the brink of death there are some things too fantastic for the human imagination to absorb.

This is a true account, though unfortunately I can’t remember exactly where I read it. I think it was Anus Mundi, Wiesaw... (more)

Tags: war crimes, nazism, adolf eichmann

Blonde Ambition

By Anastasia , published on May 1, 2012

When I was eighteen I wrote to Boris Johnson, the present mayor of London. He was then shadow Minister of the Arts in the front bench team of Michael Howard, the Conservative Leader of the Opposition.

Johnson was also at the time the editor of the Spectator, a weekly political magazine that I’ve been reading since my early schooldays. It was on his watch that an editorial appeared criticising the people of Liverpool for displays of ‘mawkish sentimentality’ over the death in Iraq of a prominent local figure. They were also accused of wallowing in a ‘vicarious victimhood.’ Howard,... (more)

Tags: cities, london, british politics, mayoral elections

Discord in Concord

By Anastasia , published on Apr 29, 2012

Concord, Massachusetts, now there’s a town that has earned its place in history. The seedbed of American democracy, it was at a meeting in 1774 that the residents agreed to form a militia, volunteers who could be ready in a minute to face any approaching danger. Some months later these minutemen saw action against three companies of the British Army on the town’s North Bridge, firing a shot heard around the world.

Another shot has been fired from Concord that has been heard around the world, yea, even so far as London. The enemy this time is not redcoats but felines. Yes, some... (more)

Tags: cats, local government, animal welfare, american cities

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