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Showing posts from April, 2015

The Battle for Food: Winners, Losers and Victims

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The battle for control over what's in our plate. It's all in a new book I just reviewed - 5 stars on Amazon, an excellent read, I highly recommend it. I did a review for Impakter magazine that you will find here and here's the opening on Impakter:



THE BATTLE FOR FOOD: SMALL FARMERS VS. BIG CORPORATIONS: WHO WINS? BOOK REVIEW BY CLAUDE FORTHOMMEFood Security Governance, Empowering communities, regulating corporations by Nora McKeon, Routledge’s Critical Security Studies, February 2015. $38. The battle between rural communities and big corporations is a modern replay of David vs. Goliath. And it’s a battle that concerns all of us, as Nora McKeon, a political scientist and the author of three books on the United Nations and civil society, reminds us  in her latest, just-published book, Food Security Governance. She  reveals the complexities of the world food crisis and provides a unique chronicle of how this battle landed at the United Nations. The book opens with a vivid accoun…

The GermanWings Crash: Did the Suicidal Pilot Deserve a Candle?

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It is surely a sign of our times that we delicately talk of "pilot suicide" when in fact this German Wings pilot killed 149 people along with himself when he slammed the plane in the mountainside. In any other society, at any other time in History, this would have been called a homicide. In plain English: murder.

So far, only the New York Times has come out with a really outstanding article about this tragedy, apportioning responsibility where it belongs, in particular to Lufthansa's management - that overlooked the danger signals regarding this pilot when he was in training, "haltingly" going through the process as the Times put it (it took him several years with many unexplained stops).

As far as I know, no media in Europe has done as good a job of probing into this problem of "denial of risk of pilot suicide", and if I'm wrong about this, please signal it in the comments. All I see is that Lufthansa took the position that it was "not requ…

Sometimes You Just Have to Let Yourself Go...

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Sometimes you have to leave behind the pains of the world, the pressure of work, your responsibilities to all your loved ones and... take a walk! Breathe deeply, take a few steps outdoors and then some more, and yet more, for an hour or two, until, for a few heady moments, you feel FREE...

That's exactly what I did a few days ago, it was a cool spring day on Lake Trasimeno, in the heart of Italy - a lake that straddles Tuscany and Umbria. It wasn't at sunset (like on the cover of my book "Crimson Clouds"), it was midday. A cold wind was blowing but the sun shone bright, the birds sang, and horses happily grazed in the fields. Here are some of the images I took on my smart phone that I want to share with you, starting with the lake:


This is Isola Polvese - an island that is a natural reserve - and the shot is taken from high up. In fact, we had driven up to the small, medieval village of San Savino, with its characteristic tower:


 You can glimpse the lake in the back,…

Chasing the Flame...

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This week leading to Easter was an authentic Via Crucis for some 300 innocents massacred  by demented people: half of them were hapless tourists flying on Lufthansa's low cost GermanWings, the other half, university students in Kenya who were shot and decapitated because they happened to be Christians.

The Pope had unforgettable words on Holy Friday for the Christians who were killed and for all the senseless violence permeating our society. Referring to the Christ's Via Crucis, he said "In you, divine love, we see also today our persecuted brothers and sisters, decapitated and crucified for their faith in you, before our eyes and often with our complicit silence.”
Whether Christian or not, let us all agree that we cannot be silent. That something must be done - all of us can do something either at work or on our days off. And I was reminded of Sergio Vieira de Mello from Brazil, a man who dedicated his life to humanitarian causes and was horrifically killed in the lin…