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Where Books are Burned, at the End People Will Burn

Helmut Sorge | Posted : November 20, 2019

 

His name was Heller. Gerhard Heller. For his friends in Paris he was just « Gérard » and not an insulting Fritz, a fridolin, a boche, or a chleuh. Heller was a symbol of power. He was a « Sonderfuehrer » in the « Propagandastaffel », practically a low level lieutenant, but for his French contacts he was the ruler of them all. Heller was the censor for French literature, a kind of Napoleon in Nazi uniform. He decided whether Sartre’s books would be published, or Camus. It was up to him to reject the manuscript or help to allocate the necessary paper. In his four years in the Nazi occupied capital of the defeated and humiliated France, Heller read about 800 manuscripts, among them the Albert Camus classics “The stranger” and “The myth of Sisyphus”.

Hong Kong: A Combat for a Soul and Identity

Helmut Sorge | Posted : October 04, 2019

 

Massive and sometimes violent protests have been setting the pace in Hong Kong for over 100 days. Demonstrators have put forward five demands, amongst which a democratic system of local rule, not controlled by Beijing.  Below is an international press review of the Hong Kong political crisis by Helmut Sorge, former Foreign editor, and Middle East expert for Germany's leading newsmagazine "Der Spiegel", and columnist at the Policy Center for the New South.   

The Strongest Political Force in Italy

Helmut Sorge | Posted : September 23, 2019

 

To lessen the burden for countries like Malta and Italy, which receive most migrants daring to sail from Libya to Europe on unsafe boats, Germany recently agreed to accept 25 percent of migrants saved by rescue boats, trying to develop with EU countries like France, Romania or Ireland a voluntary distribution sharing plan in the coming weeks.

Fire is legend

Helmut Sorge | Posted : September 11, 2019

 

The power of fire is a legend, a myth. Reality. The Combustion Triangle-heat, fuel, oxidizing agent. Its importance to   civilization debated by philosophers in ancient Athens, tempting Prometheus to steal fire from the Gods to protect the otherwise helpless humans. Fire is part of life, as is the sun, fire consumed cities in war and San Francisco after an earthquake or just burned to glorify the spirits, provoking fear, the devil, ghosts, and the desperate in poverty, burn baby, burn. The earth consumed by fire. Yesterday, tomorrow. Life reduced to ashes. Death. Mentioned in the bible “Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD descended on it in fire; the smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently” (Exodus 19:18). Fire is part of history, ever since Nero, the emperor, was accused to have fiddled while Rome was burning.

 

“A group of people roughly the size of a decent football crowd”

Helmut Sorge | Posted : August 30, 2019

 

The bells of Big Ben are silent. No toll, no sound, for two years of restoration. Big Ben is a symbol of British parliament and democracy –the Palace of Westminster. The bells may not toll, but the clock is ticking, running forward above the heads of  Britain’s parliamentarians, who are facing history and turmoil and even the dispersing of their parties, in power for centuries. Time is running out. The no deal Brexit, possible on October 31, is creeping up on the United Kingdom like an alien monster with an insectoid head, reversed legs and floppy arms made in Hollywood. Brexit creates fear, because Brexit, particularly a no deal Brexit , will ,most likely, cause disruptions in Europe, the UK, and ,yes, in countries around the world.

The Thirsty Planet, and No End in Sight (II)

Helmut Sorge | Posted : August 23, 2019

 

“O! WRETCHED MORTALS, OPEN YOUR EYES”

Leonardo da Vinci, creator of the ever beautiful and impenetrable Mona Lisa, noted 500 years ago that he realized the importance of water, which is, the artist jotted in his notebooks , “the driving force of all nature”, the vetturale di natura, the vehicle of nature.

The Thirsty Planet, and No End in Sight (I)

Helmut Sorge | Posted : August 16, 2019

 

Earlier this month, the World Resources Institute based in Washington D.C. revealed that 17 countries, home to one-quarter of the world's population, are facing extremely high water stress. Below is an international press review of the global water crisis by Helmut Sorge, former Foreign editor, and Middle East expert for Germany's leading newsmagazine "Der Spiegel", and columnist at the Policy Center for the New South.   

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