This spot is dedicated to the world and how I see it.

Monday, January 15, 2007

15 January 2007

When I came home last Friday night at 2am I found blood on the stairwell wall. Yellowish crisps with the shape of craniums were scattered over the floor.

I live in the area where Trainspotting was filmed. 10 years ago this used to be a really rough place to live, it was mainly for drugaddicts and prostitutes - "normal" people from wealthier areas used to stay out of here. These days it is up-and-coming and the recent wave of Polish immigrants has given it a well-needed injection of cosmopolitanism and fresh blood. Young professionals and first time buyers have moved in and parts of it are becoming quite trendy.

During the day it is an interesting place to stroll around. When night falls its character changes. Not at 8, 9 or 10pm, but when it is after midnight there are quite a few people walking around that could be Trainspotting characters. Crime levels and break-ins have increased during the last year (which is opposite to the general perception). And it is probably be the part of town with the highest density of ambulances picking up people. One day 4 drug addicts died, just in this area - apparently they had bought and used a bad batch of heroin. Some people queue for the pub at 8:45 in the morning.

It comes as no surprise to me that Ian Rankin's novels are inspired by the police station situated here.

Monday, January 08, 2007

8 January 2006

Today I talked to someone whose young niece just lost her one month old daughter. It is truly tragic and very sad. I also found out that the niece had been smoking throughout her pregnancy, that the babygirl was underweight when she was born and that she died of leukemia.
It makes me question the responsibility some parents feel when putting a new life into this world. Scientists are not completely sure if there is a strong link between leukemia and smoking, but shouldn't it be self-evident that if a baby "smokes" for the first 9 months of its life - from when it is even smaller than its smallest finger when it is newborn, until it reaches its +/- 50 cm - that it should cause some kind of harm?

Monday, January 01, 2007

1 January 2007

From today the European Union has 27 member states and and almost 500 million citizens. The truly joyful moment of accession was celebrated yesterday at midnight in Romania and Bulgaria when these former Communist states, after hard work to fulfil the many membership criteria, became members.

Europe has been my passion for quite some years now and it continues to be so. I am proud that we have managed to turn wars and walls into a constructive project where open borders mean not only that it is easier to travel, move or work elsewhere, but also that prejudices are fewer and understanding better. For example, Erasmus students live and study together for one year abroad - who will start a serious war-torn conflict with a friend? In my opinion this is one of the cores of the European project!

I don't paint it all in rosy colours. The EU faces serious problems and challenges - illegal immigrants arriving on the shores of the Canary Islands, trade walls against the rest of the world and enormous internal scepticism of the EU itself. Understanding between Europeans is better than 20, 30, 40, 50 (...) years ago, but what about understanding of other non-Christian religions? This leads us to the challenge that we have seen related to the negotiations and the public opinion about Turkey as a future member state.

Climate change is another problematic issue that the EU is taking very seriously at the moment and most likely in the foreseeable future too. Pollution and energy-related issues do not stay within borders and co-operation is absolutely necessary. Environmental co-operation is another crucial core of the European project.

The days are gone of romantic ideas and ideals about the sovereign "nation state". In this day and age we should start viewing "non-sovereignty" as a positive thing- we need to acknowledge that being dependent in certain areas is not necessarily only negative.