short stories, comment, articles, humour and photography
Hush! is that Baroness Catherine Ashton, I hear? Could it really be the sound of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs of Europe and Security Policy for the European Union, tiptoeing about in slippered feet as quiet as a mouse? Haven’t heard so much as a whisper from her in days. With such a long and pompous title like that you’d think she might have something to add to all the stuff she said before the nutjobs in Kiev really started swinging the baseball bats.
Ah, now I remember, they took her away in a straitjacket one night after she was discovered wandering the streets of Brussels in her nightie claiming to be president of a country she called Eurovisionia.
If only they had for all the madness and mayhem she and the rest of her quartet have caused in Ukraine. Make no mistake, Ukrainians from all sides have died as a direct result of their meddling and many more may be destined to die. This is Catherine Ashton the peacemaker.
It’s almost two weeks since I wrote Bryan Hemming for Nobel Peace Prize because of the outrage I felt at members of the US House of Representatives nominating the illustrious baroness for the Nobel Peace Prize. Not that I am so deluded as to believe I deserve it, or expect to get it.
As a man born of a Norwegian mother, it was as if they were spitting on her grave. My mother lived in Oslo throughout the Nazi occupation, and once told me of the screams to be heard coming from the former Gestapo headquarters in the Norwegian capital, not far from the Royal Palace, tucked behind the flat Henrik Ibsen lived in during the 19th century. We were driving by at the time she told me. A chill ran down my spine. Coincidentally, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has its headquarters on the same street as Ibsen’s old flat, as does the US Embassy, just across the road.
Before she even dares to imagine herself as a laureate, perhaps Catherine Ashton should pop over to Oslo and get one of the Norwegians, who were tortured there, to show her exactly where the HQ was, and tell her about their experiences. Then again there are probably many more survivors of the Waffen SS purges alive in Kiev today. After all’s said and done, they were the ones responsible for the actual purging and torturing in Ukraine. So maybe she should go back there. A lot of them and their families seem particularly proud of their roles in the war. She could’ve asked one of the ones she shook hands with.
Like most baby boomers my childhood was filled with stories of the two world wars. Some were amusing and some were terrifying. Norway was far from being the worst treated of nations occupied by the Nazis. But one of my Norwegian uncles had been forced into labour, building a road to the freezing north while the other had worked with the resistance as a teenager. Most of my father’s friends had served in the British Armed Forces, some had been imprisoned in the notorious Japanese concentration camps, and still suffered from the experiences. Nearly everyone had lost a member or members of their families as a result of the wars . Mine was one of the lucky ones that hadn’t. Two of my English uncles served in the RAF in Egypt, while my father made the perilous Atlantic run to Canada, where he had the luck to teach Canadians how to fly for most of the rest of the war. Nearly all our teachers had been in the army, the navy or the air force. Many of our grandfathers had served in WW1 in one role or another. Mine had been a captain in the Merchant Navy. In the centre of our town stood a memorial to all those who sacrificed their lives for freedom in both World Wars. The war against fascism was a constant theme of conversation. The words “lest we forget” were heard and seen all the time. “Never again” was repeated more times than I care to remember.
Obviously some have forgot. Keen as mustard to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the First World War this year, some of our politicians appear to be straining at the bit to start another. Once thing we can be sure of, they will not be fighting it.
The Nobel Peace Prize is the only Nobel Prize to be awarded in Norway. Though you might not believe it from the names of some the most recent recipients, it is supposed to be awarded for oustanding contributions in peace. The prize’s very first laureate in 1901 was Henry Dunant for his work in founding the International Red Cross. In 1973 another Henry was awarded the prize, Henry Kissinger. Already very familiar with secret operations to undermine foreign governments considered hostile to US interests, Kissinger went on to become the chief architect of the infamous Operation Condor, a campaign of repression and terror only officially begun in 1975. With the CIA and the secret agencies of other nations, Operation Condor specialised in assassination of left-wing opponents of right-wing dictatorships in Latin America. It toppled democratically-elected governments by financing and fomenting dissent, demonstrations, coups and armed uprisings. Beginning to sound familiar? Thousands were kidnapped, killed or just ‘disappeared’. The award prompted two dissenting Committee members to resign in disgust.
Other unworthy, or controversial, recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize include Barack Obama, and the EU. And now Baroness Catherine Ashton has been nominated.
Along with John McCain, John Kerry, and Victoria Nuland, the unelected Catherine Ashton was one of the most vocal politicians in support of the peace demonstrations in Maidan Square Kiev, pushing herself forward at every photo opportunity and egging the fascists on. Doubtless, many Ukrianians did believe that perhaps these latest demonstrations for fair governance might finally rid their nation of the corruption and political instability that has plagued it for decades. A corruption that has lasted through fascism to communism, into independence, and that recently has started to get worse again with each successive regime.
At the time of writing Bryan Hemming for Nobel Peace Prize hardly a fortnight ago, I couldn’t imagine the situation in Ukraine would worsen so swiftly to the stage where thugs from the extreme rightwing Svoboda would film themselves attacking a TV chief, who had the audacity to read the news. Yet, a couple of days ago, after toppling the democratically-elected president, and making themselves ministers – ironically enough, one for Freedom of Speech – that’s exactly what they did to force him to resign. The problem for me is, did Catherine Ashton and the rest of her little band know what would happen? and if they didn’t, why not?
There is little doubt this self-agrandising quartet were involved in a conspiracy up to a point, there’s enough evidence from phone calls that have been leaked to know that. Victoria Nuland’s brazen words “Fuck the EU…” though controversial, were not the worst part of her phone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, US ambassador to the Ukraine. In it they discussed replacing the democratically-elected president of a sovereign nation with someone of her choice. This is not a conspiracy theory, it is a conspiracy. But how far up to their necks was each involved? is the only question.
One of the chief results of this meddling, stamped with the seal of Catherine Ashton‘s approval, is that blood is being spilled on the streets of cities in parts of Ukraine, as gangs of armed thugs patrol them under the banner of Svoboda and Pravy Sektor and attack anyone that doesn’t agree with them. This is not to absolve the pro-Russian side of any involvement in the violence, it’s just that they’re not in government.
Worst of all is the role of the Western press in this shameful affair. From the start, willfully or stupidly, they completely misjudged and then ignored events, while bloggers, commentators on forums and alternative news outlets predicted almost exactly what would happen, if the West continued to openly support these fascist groups, with uncanny prescience. It wasn’t that hard. In fact, to anyone who bothered to familiarise themselves with the facts, it was harder not to see what would happen.
But where is the baroness now everything has gone pear-shaped? Hardly anywhere to be seen, and certainly not to be heard. As the US and EU waffle on about meaningless sanctions against Russia for ratifying the Crimean vote for reunion, she walks wordlessly, smiling vacantly, from car to conference.
Crimea’s secession may not be the ideal solution for the IMF, and all the other financial vultures hanging on the sidelines, waiting to make yet another financial killing, but many Crimeans will be resting a little more easily in their beds since the referendum.
But that is not the case in the rest of Ukraine. With regions of the country so deeply divided, a federal solution would seem to be the most sensible answer. But having encouraged the dissent which led to the violence, Ashton has no answers to the deteriorating situation, of which she has been one of the chief architects, except sanctions for Russia. In fact, McCain, Kerry, Nuland and Ashton behave as if they were forced to attend Maidan Square, pointing their blood-stained fingers at Putin, like children chanting: “He made us do it.”
While the US and EU blow the indignant hot air of hypocrisy at Russia, rightwing extremists are at work in the streets tightening their iron grip with the blessing of good Baroness Ashton, who doesn’t have the guts to admit she was wrong. The same with Victoria Nuland, who, despite her Jewish heritage, either hasn’t heard of the Ukrainian Waffen SS, or is pretending they never existed. Responsible for some of the most horrific crimes of WW2, among others, they slaughtered tens of thousands of Poles, Gypsies and Jews without mercy. And now they are threatening to pick up the threads again.
The more I think of the present crisis in Ukraine, the more I can believe the MEPs of the European Union are starting to confuse the organisation with the Eurovision Song Contest.
There are 47 members of the Council of Europe eliglble to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, including Ukraine, but not all do. At the moment are only 28 members of the EU. So there’s quite some catching up to be done.
To judge from the figures, both the Eurovision Song Contest and the European Union seem to be spreading eastwards at an alarming rate. Eurovision can almost be seen acting like Ghengis Khan leading his Mongol army, only in the opposite direction.
With a growing number of nations that can hardly be described as Europe – as they lie in Central Asia – taking part in the song contest, the EU seems to have taken the view it’s getting left behind. As far as I can work out the process goes like this: first you sing a song at Eurovision, then you join the EU. After that you qualify for the next stage where NATO and the US move in with bases and missiles. Apart from Russia, of course, which is only allowed to sing a song.
Ashton seems to have gone one step further than most. Dissatisfied with her full Ruritanian title: Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs of Europe and Security Policy for the European Union, she acts as though she has become the elected president of Europe. Or even worse, the hereditary monarch of an empire called Eurovisionia. But strangely enough, she has never actually been elected by plebiscite for any post in her entire life, and was born into a working class family. Talk about delusions of grandeur. Is this really someone we want to lead us into war with Russia? Because that’s what she’s almost done so far, and she isn’t even in charge of an army, let alone a country.
At the same time, why one earth would four members of US House of Representatives think to nominate this meddling, deluded and incompetent nincompoop for the Nobel Prize for Peace. Then again, maybe I just answered my own question.
For those who oppose her nomination, the address of the The Norwegian Nobel Committee is:
Henrik Ibsens gate 51
0255 Oslo, NORWAY
Copyright © 2014 Bryan Hemming
Daily Writings About The End Of Illusions
To write about my memories, past and present
An exploration into understanding the complexities of the Chemical Age, the Synthetic Chemical Revolution, and the toxins that impact us all
Singer / Songwriter / Writer / Outsider / Poet / Photos / Collecting Life's Strange Things ...and a Book For Sale
Une fois. Encore.
Public interest issues, policy, equality, human rights, social science, analysis
Hold your verve
More Coyotes than Wolves
My journey into sketching and drawing in and around Jimena de la Frontera, Andalucia