The Impact of Brexit on Hospitality

Some hospitality businesses in rural areas of Scotland like Oban are having to shut for one or two days a week because they can’t get enough staff. They blame Brexit in the first instance as there are fewer European workers available. BBC Reporting Scotland (15/7/21)

Geizige Schotten. Warum eigentlich? Und was wohl dran sein mag?

Schon Theodor Fontane fühlte sich in Oban an der schottischen Westküste von einer alten Waschfrau überfordert. Es ist wohl die komischste Szene seines Buches “Jenseit des Tweed”. Aber ich lebe jetzt seit 18 Jahren hier und habe die Schotten immer als äußerst gastfreundlich und großzügig kennengelernt. In der Tat hat ihre Liebenswürdigkeit entscheidend dazu beigetragen, daß ich letztendlich nach Schottland ausgewandert bin. Was ist also dran, an dem Klischee? SWR 2 Matinée (11.7.21)

Are the Sinixt still considered extinct?

Canada’s Supreme Court recently granted the Sinixt hunting rights in their traditional territory. Some celebrated this as a reversal of the declaration of extinction of the Sinixt people by Canada in the 1950ies. But others say it’s not, as they still don’t have land rights. As seen on “An Là” on BBC ALBA on 1/6/21 (Sinixt territory footage by Ali Kazimi).

Is it possible to revive a dead language?

The Wampanoag language had died in the 19th century, but with the help of an old Bible (and other documents) they have reconstructed it and are now teaching classes. There are said to be around 10 fluent speakers so far. An exhibition about their culture has opened in Plymouth. As seen on “An Là” on BBC ALBA on 22/5/21.

Wählt Schottland heute die Unabhängigkeit?

In Schottland wird heute ein Regionalparlament gewählt. Es scheint aber, als wäre es in erster Linie eine Abstimmung über ein erneutes Unabhängigkeitsreferendum. Die europafreundlichen Schotten wollen wieder zurück in die EU und die Europafahne weht weiterhin vor dem Parlament in Edinburg (gesendet am 6.5.2021).

Werden die Schotten mehrheitlich Parteien wählen, die die Unabhängigkeit anstreben? Wird es ein zweites Referendum geben? Wollen die Schotten immer noch zurück in die EU? Gesendet am 6.5.2021.

Soisgeul @ Glòir an 2019

Cuimhneachain air amannan nas fheàrr: Soisgeul an Talla Usher an Dùn Èideann/ Memories of better times: Two year’s ago the only Gaelic Gospel choir performed in the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. What a privilege to be a part of this amazing choir!

I first joined Soisgeul at a workshop with Gareth Fuller, an experienced Gospel choir director, on the holy island of Iona in 2017. Here is my report for An Là, the news on BBC ALBA.

Berlin Rent Cap a Clash of Ideologies

The City of Berlin has recently introduced a rent cap after rents doubled over 10 years. But they are still very low compared to other European capitals. The federal government has challenged the law in the courts saying it is unconstitutional. The rent cap was introduced by “Die Linke”, successor of the communist party of East Germany. Three industry experts tell me of their fear it will gradually return the housing stock to the ruinous state of communist times as landlords stop investing. Now campaigners gather signatures for a referendum to expropriate big private and even social landlords.

My report for European current affairs programme, Eòrpa on BBC ALBA on 4/2/21:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000rzvp/eorpa-series-28-episode-8

If you live outside the UK please access my report on youtube:

The Sea Cannot Be Blocked

In February 2020 I visited Moria, the notorious refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. Some who worked there say the conditions were worse than in refugee camps in Africa. The camp has since burnt down in a fire set by the desperate refugees themselves.

“Η θάλασσα Δεν φράζεται” [I thálassa den frázetai]! Kostas Pinteris kept repeating the sentence over and over again. “The sea cannot be blocked”. He is a fisherman on the Greek island of Lesvos, on the edge of Europe. Turkey is within sight. In 2015 when the refugee crisis was at its height, he became a fisherman of men. He says he rescued thousands. Together with three others he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Fisherman Kostas
Kostas Pinteris, Greek fisherman who became a fisherman of men

Now the Greek government are planning to install floating barriers between the island and Turkey to keep the refugees out. Kostas says this will impede fishing as well as shipping and will inevitably lead to disputes with the Turks.

Poseidon is known to be the Greek god of the sea. But Thalassa was a primeval spirit of the oceans. Her name is still in practical use today: I thálassa den frázetai! Together with her male counterpart, Pontus, she spawned the tribes of fish and the storm gods. Thalassa and Pontus were later replaced by Oceanus and Tethys, Poseidon and Amphitrite.

Continue reading “The Sea Cannot Be Blocked”

Creideamh, Cànan agus Cogadh

Observations from a trip to the Balkans (in English below)

Stone Gate, Zagreb
An Geata Cloiche/ Stone Gate, Zagreb

A’ coiseachd tro Zagreb, prìomh bhaile Chroatia bho chionn ghoirid ràinig mi Kamenita Vrata, An Geata Cloiche. Tha soidhne dà-chànanach os a chionn – ann an Chroatianais agus Gearmailtis. Bha an dùthaich uair fo smachd Ìmpireachd na h-Ostaire agus na h-Ungaire. Tha an ailtireachd da-rèir. ‘S e geata a-steach dhan t-seann bhaile a th’ ann. An rud a tha iongantach mu dhèidhinn ‘s e is gu bheil ìomhaigh de Mhuire Mhàthair na bhroinn agus beingidhean feadha gus ùrnaigh a dhèanadh. Ach chan e a-mhàin is gu bheil daoine ag ùrnaigh an sin, chìthear fiù ‘s oileanaich a’ ruigh tron gheata dha na clasaichean aca is iad a’ dèanadh soidhne na croise. Gun teagamh is e àite a th’ ann an Croatia far a bheil an creideamh Caitligeach gu mòr mar phàirt dhe beatha poblach na dùthcha.

Sarajevo panoramic view
Sarajevo, BiH

Continue reading “Creideamh, Cànan agus Cogadh”

Catacomban Mhàiri Mhagdalene/ Catacombs of Mary Magdalene

(in English below)

img_0408
At first I thought the white fog came from my breath, but then it disappeared and its provenance remained unexplained

Air Eilean Lesbos sa Ghrèig tha catacomban ann a chaidh a chladhach le muinntir an àite às dèidh do Mhàiri Mhagdalene nochdadh dhaibh. Air an eadar-lìon chan fhaighear mòran fiosrachaidh mun dèidhinn ann am Beurla. Dar a ràinig mi baile Skopelos cha robh aon soidhne ri fhaicinn. Dh’fhaighnich mi do ghrunnan dhaoine, ach cha robh iad ga mo thuigsinn. Mu dheireadh thall lorg mi eaglais agus chaidh mi a-steach ann. Bha an eaglais ortadocs sin làn stuthan cràbhaidh mar is dual dhaibh.

Bha cailleach ann an aodach dhubh na suidhe an sin agus dh’fhaighnich mi dhithse a-rithist: “Maria Magdalena?” Rinn i soidhne dhomh nach b’ e seo an eaglais cheart idir, ach gun robh agam ri falbh suas an rathad. Chan fhada mus an do ràinig mi eaglais eile, ach bha an geata timcheall oirre dùinte. Abair briseadh dùil. B’ e seo an aon chothrom a bha gu bhith agam gus tadhail oirre. Bha e 7.45 sa mhadainn ge-tà. Chaidh mi timcheall is thog mi dealbhan bhon taobh a-muigh. Dìreach mus robh mi am beachd falbh nochd cailleach eile ann an aodach dhubh le gàire air a h-aodann: “Kali mera!” – madainn mhath, ars mise. “Kali mera – katakombe?” dh’fhaighnich ise. Mu dheireadh thall bha fios aig cuideigin mu dhèidhinn Màiri Magdalene.

Church in SkopelosLe iuchar mhòr dh’fhosgail i an toiseach an geata agus an uair sin an eaglais. Sheall i dhomh an icon a tha an-diugh na sheasadh na broinn, ach a-rèir choltais lorgar e gu h-ìosal san talamh. B’ abhaist taighean-còmhnaidh a bhith air an làraich seo. Bha Anton agus Eilidh Tsantarlioti a’ fuireach an seo timcheall air a’ bhliadhna 1900. A-rèir aon làrach-lìn co-dhiù nochd Màiri Magdalene dha Eilidh is i ag ràdh rithe gun robh i a’ fuireach sa ghàradh aice agus gum miannaicheadh i gun losgar coinneal dhi fad na h-ùine. Rinn iad sin ri taobh a’ chruinn-ola. Continue reading “Catacomban Mhàiri Mhagdalene/ Catacombs of Mary Magdalene”