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‘Europe’s New Headache?’ Polish Law and Justice comes to Chatham House, by Olenka Hamilton

Since its election in October 2015, Poland’s new government has been criticised by many in the media as nationalistic, eurosceptic and right-wing. The Economist has called it ‘far right’, branding Poland ‘Europe’s new headache’. Within days of winning the elections, the Law and Justice Party (PiS) tightened its grip on the judiciary, the security services…

Olenka Hamilton | 22/02/2016

Czech Band Čankišou: ‘Supay’ (2015) reviewed by Ian Mole


Czech band Čankišou formed at a Christmas party in 1998 and have since then released six albums. Their work’s fuelled by the legend of the ancient one-legged Čanki nation and they sing not in their native Czech but in an artificial language called Canki. The theme of Supay, their most recent album, is the struggle…

Ian Mole | 19/01/2016
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REMEMBERING BOSNIA: An Interview with Foreign Correspondent Maggie O’Kane, by Robin Ashenden

Anyone of news-viewing age in the early 90s will find it difficult to recall the Bosnian War without remembering Maggie O’Kane. This Northern Irish war-correspondent was part of the landscape of the time, whether writing a regular column on the war in the Guardian or making television documentaries about the same. Young, elfin, urgent and…

Robin Ashenden | 04/01/2016

Eastern Europe: Migration and Disintegration, by Tim Less

What’s the difference between solidarity and intimidation? Not much if you’re the leader of a Western European state with an uncontrollable migrant crisis on your hands. But if you’re an Eastern European state on the receiving end of system that threatens your vital national interests, it could be the difference between staying and leaving inside…

Tim Less | 06/10/2015

Hungary, Frontier Village, by George Szirtes

When God created the world he invented history a few seconds before he did economics. Being a poet – and, it is said, the Muses are the Daughters of Memory- he liked to let them float beside each other and observe the shapes they made. One of the more memorable but highly shifting shapes was…

George Szirtes | 25/09/2015
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The Jews of the Ukraine and the Current Crisis (JW3 Jewish Community Centre), by Nick Barlay

‘There is no buffet-style international law.’ So says Dr. Thomas D. Grant, international lawyer and author of ‘Aggression against Ukraine’, a new book on the conflict from the perspective of a fundamental principle that has existed since World War Two. As Grant, ‘a lawyer by training and an academic by vocation’, puts it: ‘Post-1945, there…

Nick Barlay | 25/07/2015

Czech Band Mydy Rabycad at the Henley Festival, reviewed by Ian Mole


It seemed a difficult task at first. A young band from the Czech Republic playing their first U.K. gig and trying to win over an audience – with an average age of about sixty – who’d almost certainly never heard their music before. Also, Mydy Rabycad are a dance band and this was an all-seater…

Ian Mole | 15/07/2015
Mladic in court

Remembering Srebrenica: Ratko Mladić: The Butcher of Bosnia, by Judith Fagelson

General Ratko Mladić  – the infamous ‘Butcher of Bosnia’ – seems almost out of place at the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Now elderly, balding and wizened, he bears little resemblance to the battle-hardened general who, precisely 20 years ago,  oversaw the massacre of 7,414 Bosnian Muslims in the UN ‘safe area’ of…

Judith Fagelson | 11/07/2015