In the December I was asked by openDemocracy to write an article about the ongoing protests in Alsace.
An ocean of red and white flags filled the streets of the Alsatian town Colmar last Satuday. A crowd of mostly young people was walking behind a banner that read “Alsatians we are, and Alsatians we will remain”. Slogans affirming the identity of this border-region were chanted both in French and in German. The crowd had responded to the call of the autonomist party Unser Land to demonstrate against the plans of the French state to merge the Alsace region in a “mega-region” with Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne. This would effectively deny Alsace any political existence.
“We are fed up that people who do not know us, decide for us”.
Maybe this is the banner that best summarised why an estimated 6,500 to 15,000 protesters (depending on the sources) took to the streets in Strasbourg, the capital of the French region Alsace, two weeks ago. The protesters followed the call of regional activists and politicians to demonstrate against the proposed plan of the French government to administratively merge their region with two other regions.
Current affairs programme about the Germanic population of France.
France remains one of the only countries of Europe which has not granted specific rights to its linguistic minorities. A folk-singer, a small-town mayor and a group of parents are determined in their fight to ensure that German will remain a living language in the French region Alsace
This is an article I wrote back in May 2014. The Islamic State (then ISIS) was not yet headline news, though their genocidal campaign against minorities was already steadily progressing. Sadly, much of what the interviewees predicted has become reality.
The prime minister’s comments on the United Kingdom being a Christian nation have led to a lot of discussion. Less discussion followed the speech David Cameron made during the Easter gathering at Downing Street where the British Prime Minister said that ‘“It is the case today that our religion is now the most persecuted religion around the world.1’ Though he omitted to cite countries where this was the case, Christian aid organization ‘Open Doors’ publishes a yearly list of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian2. Often this is due to state persecution, which harasses or imposes legal restriction on Christian communities.
This year marks the centenary of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Throughout the year Swansea will be playing a central role in the celebrations. The “ugly lovely town” made Dylan Thomas and he has left an unersasable mark on it.
I went to the place where it all started, 5 Cwmdonkin Drive .This is a story about the house where Swansea’s most famous son was born and raised.