Slow News Europe

Daniel Tkatch

Take-away cheeseburgers riddled with calories cannot provide proper nutrition. Consuming ever bigger quantities of information does not satisfy one’s need to know what is going on. Europe is muddling through crisis after crisis, unable to come to its senses. Media machines — too big to fail — set the rhythm and our spin-doctored politicians are happy to dance along. Infosumers are properly shocked, carefully enraged, skillfully disoriented, but also hungry for actual content, hungry for thought. What is the share of the new in the news today? Slow down, make sense.

Slow News Europe

There is a global network of airport-based duty-free depots that buy and sell works of art that might never again see the light of day. Chances are you’re not among their customers.

In 1990, Japanese paper magnate and art collector Ryōei Saitō purchased a Van Gogh at a Christie’s auction. He paid 82.5 million US dollars, making “the Portrait of Dr. Gachet” the world’s most expensive painting at that time. Saitō died six years later…

World’s export champion Germany knew but did nothing to question the integrity of one of their biggest producers. The revelations cast a dark shadow on the entire auto industry. What is worse, Germany-led Europe in its entirety now appears shrouded in a foul smell. The Union that seemed the bastion of environmentalism and of regulations protecting the rights and health of consumers is now being openly ridiculed by US neoliberals in the media.

This Thursday (June 18, 2015) marks the first day of the month of Ramadan – the ninth and the holiest month of the Islamic calendar, which is very significant also for the European Muslims. Thousands are expected for the Ramadan opening prayers at the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium (CICB). The building is located in the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels and is sometimes called the ‘Great Mosque of Brussels.’ Curiously, it’s a gift from the Belgian King.

“It’s Europe Day!” my wife called out when I showed her the invitation flier to Kriek & Frites party on May 8-9 at Place Jourdan in Brussels. Neither the flier nor its typically Belgian offer implied any connection with the EU. Given my early school days were spent in the Soviet Union, I associated the dates rather with the end of World War II. So what’s this Europe Day anyway? I distantly remembered that it had something to do with the day on which France and Germany decided to unite their coal and steel industries, hoping that this would prevent them if not from ever again piling up tanks and cannons…

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