Miscellaneous

I Heart EU

25 March 2017 marks 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome – which eventually led to the formation of European Union

This entry is unapologetically Eurocentric.

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Construction of a new Metrolink line in Manchester, which has now completed

EU has always meant a lot to me. I was born on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain, in former Czechoslovakia. I was nine when Velvet Revolution that overthrew the Communists happened. I still remember bits of it; my mum taking me with her out to the streets, the banners, the slogans. This was 1989. Mere fifteen years later, both Slovakia and Czech Republic joined the EU–an astonishing achievement. It enabled me to make something of myself in UK, where I first came to in 2003 as an au pair. As 2003 was before we joined EU, I still had to wait a line outside the British Embassy early in the morning to obtain a visa.

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Development in Manchester – Allied London

I’ve never been patriotic, I’m just not wired that way. I’m a European. I am fiercely loyal to my home city of Bratislava (don’t let me hear anyone badmouthing it!) but that’s about it. People usually call me Eastern European, however I reject that label because that’s not what I am.

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Side of a bench on Market Street, Manchester

Bratislava sits on the border of both Austria and Hungary, the only capital city in the world located at a tripoint. You can easily walk between the three countries as you would in your favourite park. Some people even pass the border twice a day on their commute to work.

blava map

I came across this article by Guy Verhofstadt published in Guardian. Guy Verhofstadt is a former Prime Minister of Belgium, a Member of European Parliament and the leader of Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe.

In the decades since [the Treaty of Rome] was signed, European countries have worked successfully to fight against the return of the rampant nationalism that led to two world wars and the slaughter of millions of Europeans, finding a way to work together to create a largely peaceful, free and prosperous continent.

In 2017, the EU stands at a crossroads. Our common project is consistently attacked and denigrated by nationalists, often working with authoritarian regimes outside the EU, who wish to destroy the EU and once again set our communities and societies against each other.

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Sign at Victoria Station, Manchester

It is ironic that, as we saw in the Brexit referendum, the postwar generation that benefited so much from European integration is now driving an explosion of Eurosceptic nationalism. Young people, a majority of whom deeply value their European citizenship, too often face barriers to full political participation.

Ah, but Brussels demanded they use low-energy light bulbs… or something.

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EU flag above the Midland Hotel entrance, Manchester

Nationalists tell us that the nation state is best placed to deal with common challenges, but their argument fails the test of reason and ignores the nature of the trans-national threats we face. Climate change, international terrorism and the negative consequences of globalisation cannot be tackled by individual countries acting independently. If the European Union of today did not exist, we would have to create it.

And you know what’s funny? You can argue that UK is NOT a nation state. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

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Media City, Salford Quays, Salford

Ultimately, nationalism will be rejected because its politicians are incapable of resolving the challenges we face. It is time for those who believe in a united Europe to stand up and be counted.

Beautifully put. I hope he’s right.

28 Members of EU

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • UK (for now)
Image credit: Pixabay

I love you all.

Beethoven’s Ode To Joy, an Anthem of Europe, performed by Banco Sabadell Flashmob:

Random and Weird Phone Shots

Random and Weird Phone Shots -Statements in the City

Today I want to share with you two phone camera shots I took the other day in Manchester City Centre. Both make a clear statement.

fuck trump fuck brexit

This is on the wall on Oldham Street, Manchester. Oldham Street is part of Northern Quarter, a centre of alternative culture, independent shops and suchlike. (Come to think of it, this blogs needs some pics of that area!)

Brexit and Trump seem to get mentioned together a lot. Imagine one day in the future someone who is a baby now, or not born yet, asking you: “What were they, some comedy duo?”

I wish. The difference is, The Donald won’t be in charge for more than 8 years but Brexit is final.

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Window of a Diesel shop on Deansgate says Make Love Not Walls.

This politics thing is getting a bit tiring, isn’t it.

Indoors

A Good Match

In this week’s photo challenge post, Ben posts a photograph of a donut, a cup of coffee and a glass of sparkling water, but tells us not to limit ourselves to edible stuff–but this is exactly what I’m going to do, even though I don’t normally blog about food or post pictures of food.

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The colours are a good match too

Let me introduce you to my favourite breakfast. Bacon sandwich + a cup of black coffee = heaven. For me bacon sandwich is the second best thing in the world (the first is pizza). But there is more to this shot.

We hear of things typically British and we hear of things typically Continental European. Nothing more essentially British than a bacon sandwich, I’m sure you agree. On the other hand, coffee is continental, whereas the Brits like their tea.

Best of both worlds then. Imagine if referendums never existed, we could have breakfast instead of Brexit. Sigh.

Speaking of which…

Image credit: IMDb

A very Belgian private detective with his very British sidekick.

A Good Match

ETA: At the time of the posting, there was a different image of Poirot and Hastings. This has been replaced by the current one, as I couldn’t find the source of the first one so couldn’t credit it.

Miscellaneous

Spaniards in UK, post Brexit feels (Edge of Humanity Magazine)

via Spaniards Living In UK – Their Accomplishments, Experiences & Hope After Brexit | Edge of Humanity Magazine

In the aftermath of the EU referendum, many UK-based Europeans have been left with feelings of insecurity and anxiety about what the future might hold for them and their families.

This project offers a snapshot of their experiences, capturing their thoughts and emotions following this momentous and potentially life-changing political decision.

“On the day of the referendum, I [Simon] was working at a theatre workshop in London with people from all over the world. We were all devastated. Then out came the stories in the press about people telling European waiters to go home. It was disgraceful.

Some people say that the Leave vote was a vote of punishment against Cameron and the Tories, but I think the voters are only punishing themselves. I see no positives at all in this situation. Things seem to have calmed down but you can already see some repercussions.”

“I [Maria] experienced a lot of sadness and anxiety at the beginning. It [Brexit] made me question whether this was really the place for me in the long term. I felt left out at a time when I was working hard to fit in and adapt to British culture.

However, I have had a lot of support from some sectors of society, like work colleagues and my own students. This has made me feel a bit better. I am not sure where I will end up, I’m young and there’s a whole world out there to explore.”

“It was sad to see how most of the Leave campaign was focused on immigration, blaming people like us for some of the biggest problems of this country.
After the referendum we experienced a mixture of emotions – fear, frustration, anger, a strong feeling of being unwanted.
We felt it was very irresponsible of politicians to pit one section of the population against another for their own interests, not valuing foreign workers like us for the contribution we make to the development of this country.
We are worried that this could greatly affect the peaceful coexistence between nationalities in this diverse and multicultural country. ”

“I believe in a world without borders and think this [Brexit] is a step backwards from that.
I am not concerned about my situation as a EU National in the UK, perhaps because I have been here for longer than the London Eye and I am both practical and resourceful, or it could be that I am still a bit in denial, I wouldn’t know.
As Murakami says in one of my favorite books, sometimes “You have to wait until tomorrow to find out what tomorrow will bring.”

Me: At least I’m not on my own. Even though I haven’t got a PhD, Master’s degree, nor do I run my own business.

Image credit: Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Outdoors

New Horizon

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I love the title of this challenge. It’s full of positivity. New Horizons is also a name of the NASA probe to Pluto. I’ve not managed to get a shot of any space probe yet, but I did manage to get a shot of a hot air balloon (sort of)–it’s that tiny red dot on the above photo. Speaking of hot air balloons, once I watched some movie with a hot air balloon when I was a kid and I liked it so much that when it crashed at the end, I started crying and my mum, who wasn’t watching it, ran to the living room, worried, asking what happened, why was I crying and when I told her, she said, don’t worry, they will fix the balloon and it will fly again! I remember she then went to the kitchen, where, I imagine, burst into massive laughter, though this couldn’t be confirmed; she has no recollection of this incident. (I don’t remember how the movie ended.)

I don’t know what’s on the horizon. On one hand, I can’t wait for 2017, on the other, I’m scared that after 13 (well, 14 by then) years of living in UK, some politicians will decide that I have to go. These guys have expressed it much better than me. But it also proves that you must not under any circumstances take anything for granted. My favourite saying is shit happens and now that shit happened, let’s see how we can deal with it. (Like, google “moving to Germany” for starters.)

The picture was taken in Arnside, Cumbria.

New Horizon

Outdoors

Local

Manchester Old Cheetham Hill police station

I was standing on the street next to mine, photographing this, when a woman approached me and asked me what it was that I was taking a picture of.

“Old Cheetham Hill police station,” I said. Cheetham Hill is this area of Manchester.

The woman was pleasantly surprised and told me she was interested in local old buildings and had been trying to find out for years what this gateway was part of. There was no information on it anywhere.

I told her the truth, that I found it only thanks to Pokemon Go.

In fact, I never even noticed the gateway before, even though I have passed by it regularly for at least a decade. It was when I was catching Pokemon in the summer that I looked at it for the first time–it was a Pokestop. So we chatted a bit, I explained to her how the game worked and then we parted.

I haven’t been able to find out almost anything on the net about this old police station and now I really have to give it to those folks at Nintendo.

This obviously refers to “local” as in where I live, not where I’m from. My home town (if that is the right word, as in the place I was born and bred) is Bratislava. But this makes me think, what is local?

Some Tory politician or other (I’m not making the effort into looking up her name) said at a recent party conference, that firms should be hiring British people instead of immigrants. Because immigrants… well, immigrants. You know, immigrants. I’ve seen a comment on Facebook post that linked to that news article, which agreed with this politician and that it yes, the firms should be recruiting local people in the first place. What is “local people”?

I have been living in Manchester for 13 years, in the same area for  almost 12, have been renting from the same estate agency for 11 years and been living in the same flat for 6. But immigrants.

It will take me a very long time to get over being bitter about Brexit.

 

Local