Matchbox Media News

Independent Media Network

  • AL JAZEERA: Should giant Charles Byrne be left to rest in peace?

    I wrote about an Irish giant who met a macabre fate in 18th century London, the celebrated surgeon who stole his body and exhibited it in a museum, the modern day giant who owes his life to the research gained from his genetic ancestor's DNA and the people that want to honour Charles Byrne's dying wishes and bury him at sea.

    Read the story HERE 

  • PRI: Romania faces a rush of migrant boats as smugglers test new routes to Europe

    Romania has largely avoided the refugee crisis in Europe, but tightening borders have seen smugglers test the Black Sea route, which is not so new but quite underused.

    Read the report HERE

    PS. In World War Two, an overloaded Jewish refugee boat that disembarked from Romania across the Black Sea to Palestine was denied entry to numerous ports by Europeans, dragged sinking into the water by Ottomans, and then torpedoed by Russians. There was one survivor who took years to tell his story. It is largely considered the most deadly civilian maritime disaster of WW2, for more read this.

  • RED CROSS: Education in crisis

    My report for Red Cross Red Crescent magazine on the challenges for humanitarian organisations to deliver education to displaced children. Featuring voices from Mexico, Madagascar and Syria. Read the report HERE

  • PRI: Refugees are still squeezing through Europe's clamped borders

    The closure of Europe's borders did not stop the refugee crisis, it just pushed it do deep underground that smuggling networks from Afghanistan to Germany are experiencing an all time boom and child refugees face a massive increase in violence and trafficking.

    Read the full report on PRI HERE

  • FSRN: Despite border closures, smugglers move hundreds of refugees through Europe daily

    With over 6,500 refugees stranded in Serbia as of early November, more are able to thread through the nook and crannies of the southern borders than leave. Hence, the Balkan state has become a giant open-air human bazaar, with the trade operating openly in broad daylight.

    Listen to the full story on FSRN HERE

  • Sri Lanka

    It is 2011. In front of the courthouse of Diyarbakır during one of the many “maxi trials” against Kurdish militants an international activist approaches the garrison and asks me to translate her rage: “Why are you preventing them from defending themselves in their own language?”. The policeman smiles and calmly answers: “we will act as in Sri Lanka, we will exterminate them all”.

    To annihilate and crush the enemy to the point of deleting him/her from the map is one of the possible strategies to adopt. This is what the Turkish government has been trying to do since one year, since the collapse of the peace process, secretly inaugurated in September 2011, precisely while the policeman was talking to me about Sri Lanka.

    It is a political genocide that does not even spare representatives elected by the Kurds such as Gültan Kışanak, the combative mayor of Diyarbakır, the main Kurdish city in Turkey, arrested on the 25th of October, together with co-mayor Fırat Anlı. The Hdp, a Turkish and pro-Kurdish radical left coalition, is the bête noire of Erdoğan, who wants to wipe it out from parliament in all possible ways.

    To end up in prison first were the Turkish intellectuals close to the Kurdish movement, then the journalists and eventually, one after the other, the Kurdish activists and leaders. The project is clear: to silence the Turks who are in favor of the negotiation in order to isolate the Kurds and destroy them first politically and then militarily.

    In Sri Lanka, in the war against the Tamil Tigers, 40 thousand people died in a single year, 1000 a day during the last weeks of conflict. Such was the price for the failure of the negotiation. While waiting to understand if the same thing will happen in Turkey, where the Kurds are more than 15 millions, the space of political practicability for those who propose negotiating solutions to the military conflict is almost non existent. But the leader of the Hdp Selahattin Demirtaş announces a battle to come: “We will not lower our heads in front of fascism, we will go from house to house as in the '90s, this is something they cannot stop”.

    (The cover drawing is by Gianluca Costantini, English translation Giustina Selvelli)

  • Sri Lanka

    Era il 2011, davanti al tribunale di Diyarbakır per uno dei tanti maxi processi contro militanti curdi, al presidio si avvicina un’attivista internazionale che mi chiede di tradurre la sua rabbia: “Perché gli impedite di difendersi nella loro lingua?”. Il poliziotto sorride e risponde sereno: “faremo come in Sri Lanka, li stermineremo tutti”.

    Annullare e schiacciare l’avversario fino a cancellarlo dalla mappa è una delle strategie possibili. E’ questo che il governo turco sta cercando di fare da un anno a questa parte, da quando il processo di pace, partito in segreto nel settembre 2011 proprio mentre il poliziotto mi parlava di Sri Lanka, è naufragato.

    Un genocidio politico che non risparmia i rappresentanti eletti dai curdi come Gültan Kışanak, la combattiva sindaco di Diyarbakir, la più importante città curda in Turchia, arrestata il 25 ottobre, assieme al co-sindaco Fırat Anlı. L’Hdp, una coalizione di sinistra radicale turca e filo curdi, è la bestia nera di Erdogan che vuole spazzarlo via dal parlamento in tutti i modi.

    A finire in carcere sono stati prima gli intellettuali turchi vicini al movimento curdo, poi i giornalisti e infine uno dopo l’altro attivisti e leader curdi. Il progetto è chiaro: zittire i turchi favorevoli al negoziato per lasciare soli i curdi e annientarli prima politicamente e poi militarmente.

    In Sri Lanka, nella guerra contro le Tigri Tamil sono morte 40 mila persone in un anno, 1000 al giorno nelle ultime settimane di conflitto. Questo il prezzo dell'insuccesso del negoziato. Nell’attesa di capire se accadrà lo stesso in Turchia, dove i curdi sono più di 15 milioni, lo spazio di agibilità politica per chi propone soluzioni negoziali al conflitto militare è ormai quasi inesistente, ma il leader del Hdp Selahattin Demirtaş annuncia battaglia: "Non abbasseremo la testa davanti al fascismo, andremo casa per casa come negli anni novanta, questo non lo possono fermare".

    (Il disegno di copertina è di Gianluca Costantini)

  • FSRN: Hungarians vote on whether to participate in EU refugee resettlement plan

    Nazi rock, angelic choirs, historical amnesia and two-tailed dogs. My FSRN radio report from Budapest, listen HERE

  • PRI: Not all Hungarians back their leader's campaign against Muslim migrants

    Report from the Hungarian government's latest piece of political theatre.

    Read on PRI HERE

  • IRIN: A tale of two summits for Central American refugees

    While Obama implored the world to raise its commitments to refugees, a growing number of people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are fleeing some of the most intense violence on earth, and banging on America's door.

    My latest from New York at the UN General Assembly, and beyond, for IRIN. Read HERE

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