The Sad Future of Catalonia

In some conflicts, you don’t need to pick a side. Because sometimes, both sides are wrong. Between the Catalan and the Spanish governments, it’s impossible to keep tabs on who has committed more grave mistakes.

Even for supporters of self-determination, it’s hard to take the Catalan independence referendum seriously because its proponents didn’t have any plan for the day after. They blatantly mislead Catalans about the prospect of remaining in the EU, which shows complete ignorance about how the EU – or indeed any international body – works.

If a member state of the EU could split in two and then have two seats and votes in the Council of the European Union, then what’s to prevent Germany from splitting into two again? Or France into 100 regions in order to gain a super-majority in the EU?

That’s not how international law works. Countries as political entities are members of the EU, not a certain stretch of land. If you leave that country, you are out. If, on the other hand, a country grows, it doesn’t require a new application for membership, as seen after German reunification in 1990. [Hint for Romania and Moldova. ;-)]

Second, as anyone can look up in the EU Treaty, admission of a new member requires unanimous consent of all existing members. Unanimous! Yes, that includes Spain. Even before the central government unleashed Inquisition 2.0 in Catalonia, nobody could have expected Spain to consent. Any such hope is naive. Just ask Kosovo.

But things can get even more depressing from Catalonia’s viewpoint. Because there is a village in Greece which is also called Katalonia.

Katalonia greek

As the Republic of Macedonia can tell you, Greece won’t allow anyone into the EU as long as they have a name that resembles that of any Greek region, district, county, city, village or restaurant. (Greece even refuses academic ties with the University of Georgia because it’s in a town called Athens.)

So if – and that’s a big if – an independent Catalonia were ever to advance in EU membership talks, it couldn’t do so under the name of Catalonia. It would either need to resort to an ancient name like Aragon, but that sounds too much like Lord of the Rings, doesn’t it? Or like Macedonia, the new entity would be known under an abbreviation. FACOC for Former Autonomous Community of Catalonia is almost as catchy as FYROM.

Posted in Europe, Greece, Language, Macedonia, Politics, Spain | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The sweet life of a freelancer

From a conversation with a potential client on Upwork:

price garden book

They didn’t hire me for the job.

Posted in Economics, Time | Tagged , | 10 Comments

The state of Brexit negotiations

EU British flag.JPG

Photographed in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, England.

Posted in Europe, Photography, Politics, UK | Tagged | Leave a comment

Buy more saltpeter!

In the article about Humberstone, I had already shown a few of the placards which I found in the museum there.

Most of them were from the first decades of the 20th century. I quite like the graphic design and typography of that era. Another interesting aspect is the range of languages, from Arabic to Chinese. Globalization is nothing new, it seems.

Plakat englisch

Plakat deutsch.JPGPlakat Ägypten.JPGPlakat NLPlakat China.JPGPlakat arabisch oder persisch.JPG

Customers in India even got a parable with pictures. To the left is the family which treated its field with salpeter, for which they receive a full tobacco harvest, a fat cow and a casket of coins. To the right is the family which stuck to organic farming, for which they got their personal famine, a collapsing house and no jewelry for the wife.

Plakat Tabak Indien

Tobacco wasn’t frowned upon yet.

Plakat Zigaretten.JPG

The ads are dominated by information or naturalist depictions of sowing, harvesting and agricultural products. But some posters utilize drawings of attractive ladies who have nothing to do with the product at all. Until today, commercial artists lacking creativity apply this method to sell anything from cars to chainsaws.

Plakat Frau im Feld.JPGPlakat arabisch.JPGPlakat Frau Sichel

But this doesn’t work in all markets and cultural sensitivities have to be considered. Particularly German customers prefer figures, charts and statistics. For them, there was this poster from the very early 20th century which illustrated how the use of saltpeter from Chile greatly increased the apple harvest.

Plakat Statistik.JPG

An early form of the infographic, one could say.

But farmers in the Netherlands received something even more modern: an infomercial pressed on a record.


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Priorities in the countryside

Not even a proper toilet, but the tree has a satellite connection.


(Photographed on the way to Savin Kuk in Montenegro.)

Posted in Montenegro, Photography, Technology, Travel | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Humberstone Hotel

“But is there a hotel?” some of you have been asking after reading my article about Humberstone made them want to visit.

Of course there is:


And from your room, you have a view of the town’s central square.

Fenster aus Hotel.JPG

Also, you are right next door to both the swimming pool and theater. Perfect.

Posted in Chile, Photography, Travel | Tagged | 4 Comments

Train Theater in Germany

A train ride as a piece of art:

Posted in Germany, Travel | Tagged , , | 3 Comments