Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

EUROPE – WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

June 24, 2016

Living in Europe for 35 years, I greatly appreciated the people and their various ways of life. I was happy to return to live in England, since I imagined that within the European Union we could be one. So now that Britons have dropped a nuclear bomb on the relationship with Europe, I am devastated.

That we should have a constitutional crisis, utter confusion, no government and no plan for the future was eminently foreseeable. Yet a majority of voters, including friends of mine, embarked on this apparently reckless course. Why did the Remain camp fail to convince?

Voters knew David Cameron was no friend of Europe, so he had no credibility in declaring he would campaign “heart and soul” to stay in. No more persuasive were statesmen who urged Britain to stay inside the Union to play a leading role in reforming it. If Britain could not fix the defects before, why hang around? As for experts’ prophecies of economic disaster, voters clearly thought economic forecasting had too bad a track record.

A Leave friend wrote on Facebook “Now we will be back in the driving seat again!!!” Indeed so, and the responsibility rests primarily with Leavers to draw up strategies, act and take care of the people of Britain. Just now, they have no Prime Minister, no government and no plan. We Remainers however must realise that the European Union cannot continue as the framework for relating to the continent. Leavers and Remainers have a joint responsibility to end the chaos and devise new ways of functioning with our neighbours.

As for European leaders, they should take this bombshell as a warning. It is not enough to dwell on the Union’s success in ending post-war animosities and providing a democratic framework for liberated Eastern Europe. The people of Hungary and Poland have elected governments that patently care little for this.

It is not a time for European leaders to close ranks to hold the Union together at all costs. Britons are not the only people who are dissatisfied. Who today expresses enthusiasm for the Union? Jean-Claude Juncker, Head of the European Commission, has failed to rise to his task. Angela Merkel performs a useful role as a “nice German” at the heart of Europe but will not act decisively as a leader.

However Europe must have smart people able to solve issues such as the bias of the euro system in favour of Germany. Germans’ insistence that other countries should merely act economically as they do is unrealistic. If limited liability laws enable individuals to go bankrupt, renege on debts and eventually return to economic activity, why can this not be done also for Greece?

The European Union has to resolve the chaotic inflows of migrants, the number one issue in the British campaign. There is talk of “defending frontiers”, but the free passage provided by Schengen has been built into infrastructures of airport and road systems, and can scarcely be dismantled. Britain, for all the boasts of the Leavers about regaining sovereignty, has only a handful of coastal patrol craft, and Italy or Greece have even less chance of sealing off their huge coastlines. However Spain does. It pays money to Morocco and Mauritania in return for measures to head off migrants. Such measures do not choke off channels altogether, but manage the flows better.

Financial stability and migration are among the big issues of our time. They need imaginative ideas and cooperation, far more than exasperated reactions to bothersome bureaucrats.

Help young people understand the world

February 23, 2015

Help crowd-fund this worthwhile project in journalism. I did.

http://bit.ly/1BFZkF2

WE GERMANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WAR, SAY BOMBED DRESDENERS 70 YEARS ON

February 17, 2015

Marcus Ferrar's Blog

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I was in Dresden last weekend for a deeply cathartic commemoration of the 70th  anniversary of the British bombing which destroyed the beautiful historical centre of Dresden and killed up to 25,000 in a firestorm. Seeing the pictures of the utter devastation of the burning ruins, and listening to stories of survivors, it is hard to believe that a people and a city could ever rise again. The sheer scope of the catastrophe makes our troubles today seem trivial.

I was there as Vice-Chairman of The Dresden Trust, which dedicated to reconciliation and raised £1 million to help rebuild the city’s main church. The Trust’s Royal Patron, the Duke of Kent, was honoured with a Dresden Peace Prize, which has previously been awarded to Mikhail Gorbachev and Daniel Barenboim. DSC07969 Reconciliation is possible for one reason – the recognition by all German leaders for the past 30 years that the German…

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Troubled Eastern Europe: understanding the turmoil

February 26, 2014

The Budapest House cover                        IMG_0728

NOW ON VIDEO …

A talk about my new book featuring a woman who travels to Eastern Europe to rediscover her roots – and encounters a world in upheaval. It’s about dealing with trauma and moving on. As we can see in the Ukraine, the turmoils of Eastern Europe are far from over.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkIdgP_qbHQ

A printed book? Yes please!

August 31, 2013

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Who says printed books are finished? Here’s my four-month-old step-granddaughter getting stuck into her first one. Not long before she’s down to the Library …

I Skype .. and my PC suffers serious damage

July 30, 2013

Half-way through a Skype video call with my daughter, the video froze. At the end of our talk, neither of us could exit Skype. My whole PC froze too, and I could not restart.

The IT guy who took it into care says the PC and its systems were seriously damaged.

Skype, he says, it a relatively open system and it is not difficult for a malevolent person to penetrate into your PC during a conversation. I must say, I did not know that.

After 48 hours of cleaning and repairs, he got it back up again to where it was.

My daughter says her Mac froze too, but she could restart it after turning the power off and nothing was amiss.

Macs, says my IT guy, are more resistant to such attacks. My creative arts daughter kindly rubbed it home with another lecture about my Neanderthal computing choices.

“Writing about people with difficult histories” – my author talk in London

June 22, 2013

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On 21st June 2013, I gave a talk in London on three books I have written about people with difficult histories. They are :

Slovenia 1945: Death And Survival After World War II
A Foot In Both Camps : A German Past For Better And For Worse
The Budapest House: Traumas Of Eastern Europe (to be published in September)

In all three countries, a catastrophic historical event continues to cause harmful divisions in societies today.

In Slovenia, it was the murder of 13,000 surrendered and disarmed Home Guard soldiers – 2% of the Slovene population – by Communist Partisans after World War II had ended.

For Germans, it was the fatal mistake of bringing Hitler to power, participating in genocide of the Jews and ravaging Europe with a World War.

For Hungarians, it was colluding in the dispatch of 500,000 of their Jewish compatriots to Auschwitz.

In all three countries, events confronted people were with finely-balanced moral dilemmas. Their choices had enormous consequences. Germany has accepted guilt and recovered, but in Eastern Europe, the resulting internal conflicts continue to hinder the harmonious development of societies.

My father died today, at 97 peacefully. Here he is, younger.

February 19, 2013

H young man camera

Pope’s resignation will re-energise Roman Catholic Church

February 12, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI at one time admitted that he had no talent for administration or management. That is why he resigned. He saw how the Church already became disorganised in the declining years of Pope John Paul II. But his own qualities lay in theological thought and reflection. Under his reign, there were new gaffes and missteps which a better manager could perhaps have avoided. It is to his credit that he openly recognised his incapacity yesterday and drew the consequences.

The Cardinals are likely to learn the lesson, and choose a new Pope who can get a grip on affairs more effectively. He will doubtless be just as conservative in matters of doctrine, since most of the Cardinals were handpicked by Benedict XVI and his predecessor. But he is likely to be better at managing. The outcome will be dynamising and the Roman Catholic Church may come to appear more modern.

The Church of England just went through the same process. The last Archbishop was a learned and likeable personality, but lost control and his Church suffered. The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is a former oil business executive with experience in finance. He too is clearly expected to be a better manager.

So, Faith is not enough. Material obsessions no, but worldly organisational talents: yes please.

SPECIAL OFFER – A Foot In Both Camps – ebook at only 99p, $1.99, €1.99

December 15, 2012

A Foot In Both Camps

A Foot In Both Camps: A German Past For Better And For Worse, by Marcus Ferrar, is available as an ebook for only               99p, $1.99 and €1.99 in a year-end special offer. Valid until 15 January 2013.

Since launch this summer, the book has enjoyed excellent reviews and feedback. This is what readers have said:

not just good but brilliant
… made tears sting the backs of my eyes – a wonderful and moving book
… eloquent, thought-provoking and remarkably reflective
… a passionate, fluent and deeply insightful book
… quite exceptionally good – and very moving
… an absorbing and uplifting story told in fine style
… one of the best books about Germany
… the perfect introduction for anyone visiting the country for the first time
… unputdownable
… very satisfying both intellectually and emotionally
… this book is unique … easy-to-read

Also available in paperback. Publisher LBLA digital. ISBN: 978-10908879-08-0


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