In July 1990 the politically astute Chancellor of German unity, Helmut Kohl, promised in a broadly disseminated and well received speech:
In a joint effort we will soon turn [the East German regions] Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia into flourishing landscapes.
Two and a half decades later and still struggling with the lingering aftermath of the upheaval caused by the German unity, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is crippled again by a plethora of actual or presumed societal transformations. On 4th September, around one fourth of eligible citizen in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political homeland will vote for extreme or moderate right-wing parties beyond traditional political schemes. Read more
Fermoyle Strand, County Kerry, Ireland
In my childhood we returned to my grandparents’ home village to spend our holidays there. We looked curiously and dumbfounded into the minuscule house my father was born in; massive walls build from rough granite blocks broken through only by tiny windows resembling embrasures. We enjoyed the thrill to cross the small strip of land, which my grandparents, until being deported, ploughed to eke out a meagre existence. We bounced from stone to stone, from corner to corner, while never running the risk of touching the poor topsoil. We children laughed and joked, my father gave us a quiet smile, my grandmother wiped away tears from her eyes.
Mount Brandon, Fermoyle Strand, County Kerry, Ireland
It is said that this is precisely where Saint Brendan of Clonfert, also referred to as Naomh Breandán, and his disciples started their journey to the Isle of the Blessed. Later millions of Bucket Riders followed his example, not to attain enlightenment, but to leave despair, hunger and misery behind to seek their very own paradise. Unlike Naomh Breandán, they were rarely successful in their endeavour and even more rarely found their way back home. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you.