Sunday, February 4, 2018

If You Had Been Watching - II

Sunday is usually a slow day for news, but even so, why do the networks repeat ad infinitum what they have been saying all week, rather than turn to the rest of the world?
On any hour of any day of any week, things are happening around the world that Americans will never know about. In the past hour, watching France 24, I learned that the Greeks are demonstrating for the nth time against the tiny country of Macedonia ‘usurping’ the name of Greece’s northernmost province, an issue that rises up whenever there is a moment’s respite from really important issues such as the country being forced to leave the euro.
Kurdish female fighter
Staying with Eurasia, US ‘ally’ Turkey’s foray into Kurdish areas in Syria puts both the US and Russia ill at ease because their official policies are to respect nationalist aspirations. Syrian Kurdish fighters are related to the Turkish Kurds fighting for an independent Kurdistan that would include Turkish — as well as Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian land, and Turkey takes the threat more seriously than do its neighbors.  
That may be why the Kurdish all-female brigades based in Kobani, Northern Syria, plah such an important role. Their drill sergeats are as tough as any men and they cry but vow to avenge their fallen. (Turkey, in its incarnation as the Ottoman Empire was referred to as ‘the sick man of Europe’ in the nineteenth century, but has throughout history been a thorn in Russia’s side, is officially a US —  and European — ally, but, with ups and downs, it’s moving closer to Russia. ) 
Moving westward, France 24 follows a group of African migrants taking the ‘high road’ from Italy to France, that is, one that runs through an Alps mountain pass between the two countries.  Following the closing of the more convenient border between Italy’s Ventimiglia area and that of Monaco/Nice, these young men climb through two feet of snow, with the help of local French mountain volunteers.  As in their grandparent’s days, when European Jews were helped to cross from France to Spain, and thence to the new world, today’s French locals keep isolated cabins stocked with clothes, food and firewood.  Cell phones allow refugee minors to contact members of the new ‘underground railway’, who locate them up using GPS and lead them in sneakers through two feet of snow to French villages on the other side, where inhabitants open their homes and help them start applications for refugee status.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel and her social democratic counterpart, Wolfgang Schulz have announced they’re actually ready to form a coalition government, more than three months after the last election. That will reassure the rest of Europe, where the waters are rising even though it’s the dead of winter.  
The French English-language channel follows the Washington soap-opera, but doesn't treat it any differently from the other stories. 

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