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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Cultural Capital 2013 Marseille/Aix at the center of Mediterranean's Future: Culture or Barbary ?

EU Cultural Capital 2013 Marseille/Aix at the center of Mediterranean's Future: Culture or Barbary ?

Written by ACM
Friday, 20 January 2012

*Aix-Marseille/Angelo Marcopolo/-  EU's 2013 Cultural Capital, Aix-Marseille's manifold ambitious projects, officially anounced yesterday during a Press visit by invited Journalists of various French and other EU Media, including "EuroFora", may timely prove, at the center of a fast-changing, sensitive and strategic Mediterraean region,  that Europe is able to efficiently and artfully renovate its Economy in times of Global Crisis by investing to Culture, including Scientific, respectful of social and moral values also on Nature (ii.e. Environment, BioEthics, etc), instead of abandoning them into risks to be reconverted, in extremis, in areas of inhuman Barbary reminiscent of the 1929-1944 Crisis, which had provoked Fascism and Nazi concentration camps, massive deportation and other horrors leading to the destructive 2nd World War...


    After having recently played a symbolic but key role into strengthening EU's Political and Economic core, since the Franco-German motor's December 2011 Historic initiative to start building €uroArea's Governance at a Top Political level of regular Heads of State/Government Summits, initially anounced by French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel at the Elysee palace, was immediately afterwards debated among MEPs and EU States/Governments' Leaders for the 1st time here, during the European People Party's bi-annual Congress, at the eve of landmark decisions endorsing the main thrust of the Plan at EU's Brussels' Summit, (See "EuroFora"s NewsReports from the Marseille and Brussels mega-political events), Marseille, now logically, systematically and actively preparing a next step on 2013 by focusing on Europe's role, influence, cooperation and interelations in its Mediterranean neighborhood, starting by Cultural values and links,  due to be highlighted by President Sarkozy's wishes for 2012 to the world of Culture, this time in Marseille, next week, as the city's Mayor, the experienced politician Jean-Paul Gaudin, anounced yesterday, before flying to personaly meet Sarkozy in Paris.


    As the former Revolutionary song  known as "the Marseilleuse", an initial song about the Rhine river, first sang in Strasbourg, notoriously motivated a Thousand of Revolutionaries from Marseille to travel towards Paris, back in 1792, in order to succesfully defend Democratic Freedoms, the 2011 Congres bringing together the biggest EU Parliament Political Group, that of ChristianDemocrats/EPP, and a wide Majority of EU's Heads of State/Government, held at Marseille, obviously paved the way for the Historic Agreement obtained immediately afterwards in EU's Summit in Brussels, where everybody (including "EuroFora") rushed to arrive at the last minute in Brussels before Final Decision time.              


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The will to help renovate the most ancient civilisation's birthplace, the Mediterranean, is, indeed, obvious f.ex. in an ideally placed old industrial outlet right in front of Marseille's beautiful "Old Seaport", facing a superb, Historic Cathedral and a couple of Islets, which will house both the port's Administration and Cultural events, including Citizens' participation in democratic decision processes, while a Giant old Silo, at the Docks, was already succesfully reconverted into a large Theater with deep scene and explosive natural Light beams, equiped with a pittoresque Reception and Restauration area ..precisely there where Wheat used to fall down from the cealing ,


facing the spectacular Saadi giant Skyscraper, Headquarters of the biggest company of Sea ship containers' transport in the World, inside a revitalized landscape alike to London's former "Docks" area, another example of succesful transformation of a classic industrial site into a modern offices, housing and public space area, High-Tech area, (which is currently inspiring also Strasbourg's smaller River port area around the "Seegmuller" Tower, not far away from the city's "European quarter").


    But it was also a disaffected former Tile Factory, at Marseille's Aix-en-Provence hinterland, which had been transformed into a Prison and "Transit" faciility between 1939-1942, initially for Foreigners whose countries were ennemies during the 2nd World War, (as NAZI Germany, including an annexed part of former Czechoslovakia), afterwards of various Political Dissidents, leftists, etc. adversaries to NAZIsm, later extended also to Jews, etc., by the Petain collaborationist regime after the Military defeat inflicted by the NAZI army, before Final Mass Transportations to Death-Camps like Dachau, Aushwitz, etc. from 1942, when it was closed after being emptied from jailed Families with Women and young Children included.


F.ex. a Mother who committed suicide there in order to avoid being transferred to NAZI Death Camps, as the Director of the President of the Foundation for the "Camp of Milles", (due to re-open on June 2012 an "Education and Memory" center), Alain Chouraqui, a reknown Research Director on Sociology at the prestigious French CNRS, reminded.


- "In fact, this wasn't a typical Concentration Camp, but rather a former ordinary space, run by ordinary People, in the middle of ordinary villages, at a moment when almost nobody suspected what extra-ordinary horrors expected the victims inside the NAZI Concentration Camps. And that was, precisely, when the Resistance of Conscious People in order to prevent such gross violations of Human Rights,'", warned Chouraqui, whose "Father was among  those who, later fought to liberate Strasbourg and the rearby Struthof, real NAZI Concentration Camp", as he told "EuroFora", speaking of the links with the European Center for Deportees, created on 2006 at the remote Mountainous ressort where were notoriously gathered "Specimens" of arrested People gone "MISSING" throughout all Europe, in order to be selectively but systematically submitted to atrocious "Tests" by NAZI "Doctors" in a Strasbourg's Medical University Labo, as an Historian has described : See relevant "EuroFora"s Newsreport.


To contribute, on the contrary, into ensuring Today a Peaceful and prosperous, sensitive but also Strategic Euro-Mediterraean area, where socio-political tensions and uncertainties, demographic pressure, but also Democratic aspirations, the most Ancient Civilisations in the World, and new huge Natural Resources' findings concentrate, the European Cultural capital 2013 operation unites together Marseille, the Historic Eastern Mediterranean Seaport founded by the Greek Civilisation, with Aix-en-Provence's Roman hinterland History, both currently generate an astonishing Number of various Projects, funded mainly by the Municipalities, but also the Departments and the Region, private Sponsors, as well as the French State and the EU itself, in addition to various cooperations, which all naturally contribute into boosting Economic Development, as indicates the Spectacular number of giant Cranes which multiply all over Marseille's seaport...


But, good quarters look overloaded as in all historic Mediterranean Cities. To the point that, f.ex., young pupils of a private Christian School are obliged to study without any open-air recreation yard, all day closed inside a building, so that a Dutch Artist was invited  to design an "internal landscape" allowing Children to relax a bit, almost inspiring himself from Van Cogh's trend to transfigurate simple objects, f.ex. a room or field, by hinting towards a supernatural horizon, beyond its physical limits... (In addition, since the creation of a garden at the flat top of the building, according to Le Corbysier's recipes, seemed forbidden, "EuroFora"s suggestion to use the School's superb, High Walls to project photos/films picturing f.ex. eyecatching overviews giving an impression of open space, was apparently, already on the way)..


=> In consequence, a lot among the most important 2013 projects are located right at the front of Marseille's Seaport, and radically change the seaside, by almost penetrating inside the Sea, (as f.ex. nearby Monaco has already started to do, f.ex. with its famous Oceanographic Museum, half located under sea-level, etc). :


- Either transforming the use of a pre-existing building : F.ex. 15.000 m2 at the Castle of saint John, which becomes a Garden and part of the MuCEM Museum (See infra). The giant "Silo", at the Docks (See supra). The spectacular, giant "Hotel Dieu", a former Hospital, due to become a 5 stars "InterContinental" Hotêl with a superb view right in front of the biggest sight-seing of Historic Marseille : the 200 m high Hill of the Church of "Notre Dame de la Garde". The "Parvis" : a more than 1 km long Dike, with a wide, build corridor up to a 1st floor,  leading towards deep Sea's horizon, in front of 3 islets, after crossing throughout all Marseille's Seaport with plenty of eye-catching views,  (See reelevant Photos), which will be restored and opened to the Public. The "J1" Boathouse hangard, ideally located at the Seaport's center, which will house both the Port's Management, and a public Exhibition hall, Citizens' participation, etc., "because we want to highlight everywhere the combination of Economy and Culture", as MP2013's director, Ulrich Fuchs from Germany's Bavaria, (who has already  a previous EU Cultural Capital experience at Linz in Austria), told "EuroFora". (etc).        


- Or even by creating New Buildings, inside the Sea : F. ex. the new, main part, of the National Museum for Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM), a 17.000 m2 wide modern building, connected by a bridge with the Castle saint John, as an extension at the end of the Seaport. Or the nearby "Regional Center for the Mediterranean", alias "CEREM", built by the Region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, with an original Architecture where "the Sea is part of the Building", as its Italian Architect characteristically said, due to serve as Public and/or Experts' meeting place for People from all over the Mediterranean civil society, who will be able to enter "inside" even through the Water, navigating with small, f.ex. speed Boats, etc. (See also infra) ; (etc).


=> In total, with more than 600 Millions € invested for new infrastructures, the Marseille-Provence 2013 EU Culture capital operation, (which extends also to Marseille's hinterland, with a large part of beautiful Landscapes, full of History and Culture, both ancient and modern, including several "poles of Excellence" in Science and Technology around nearby sister city Aix : See infra), aims to "prove, also at EU level, that Culture is a driving force for Development, as well as an Economic sector in itself, with Thousands of professionals involved in "new services", which offer also jobs and a better Quality of life to Citizens", as stressed Marseille's Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin, speaking to Journalists, including "EuroFora", yesterday at the "Silo" (comp. supra).

Moreover, only a simple Presentation of the main, among various Cultural Events prepared by Marseille/Provence for 2013, took many Hours, at the official anouncement of the Programme to the Press, until late Evening, exhausting even the more curious among Journalists by the quantity of events, even if they were cited briefly, and despite the fact that even the last to be mentioned were really interesting :

- As, f.ex. the Restoration of the old building where had been projected the 1st Films in the History of Cinema by the World famous "Lumiere brothers", at ciné - Alhambra, due to become a Museum and Audio-visual School ; or the re-fabrication of a replica of a real Ancient Wooden Ship by a modern Factory, according to the model found near Marseille's Seaport and dating some 2.500 years, (part of a Series of Ancient Greek and Roman Ships found and restored at the city's Historic Museum, there where the Greeks founded, 2.600 years ago, the most important Seaport in Eastern Mediterranean, which progressively became, after the addition of Aix by the Romans, a birthplace of modern France, linked also to Italy, Switzerland, Germany and "Mittel-Europa" through the "vertical", "North-South" River Rhone axis, which communicates with the Rhine river near Stasbourg)...



+ In the meantime,  fast-growing Cruise Ship trips have considerably augmented around Marseille, passing from 18.000 up to 900.000 visitors yearly,  in less than 15 years, travelling from Marseille mainly at the Western Mediterranean Sea, (f.ex. to Genova, Roma, Barcelona, Tunisia, Alger, Malta, etc.) a City's Senior Official on Tourism, told "EuroFora".  

This is added to more than 215.000 Congres'days yearly, in a City which recently attracts some + 5.000 new permanent Citizens each year, Gaudin  also noted.
As, f.ex. "Charles", an Electronic engineer based in Paris, close to the prestigious "Defense" High-Tech quarter, who leaves his main Home "every week" in order to "manage a Factory" on Digital micro-electronics equipment located at ... Aix-en-Provence, near Marseille, where he comes and goes rapidly thanks to a modern and well organized "TGV" ("High Speed Train") Network, whose High-Tech looking base was built right in the middle of a beautiful Aix-en-Provence's Nature, with a superbe view to the surrounding Mountains, (see also infra), as he told to "EuroFora", met there while waiting for the right train to Strasbourg..

Or young Digital Art/Events creator Pierre Giner, (http://www.pierreginer.fr/i-dance-pierre-giner/) attracted far away from his favorite Shanghai (China), to Marseilles by the 2013 EU Culture operation, which will include also "Digital Media" content creators, in so differend locations as :

- both in "the largest Cultural Development Site in Europe"  : as the organizers call "La Belle of May", a 30 acres-large former Tobacco Factory located in the middle of the poorest neighborhood of Marseille, dedicated to AudioVisual Archives and Research, AV. Media, Arts and Spectacle, with Hundreds of emerging Businesses, Associations and Public Services working for years to complete an ambitious collective plan due to help boost new creations,


+ and the prestigious "Foundation Vasarely", a superb, Innovative Architecture Building designed by -and dedicated to the World-Famous Hungarian origin Modern Art painter Victor Vasarely, inventor of the "Cinetic" and "Optic Art" concept, located on a Hill facing at the Horizon line the best Mountains of Aix-en-Provence, which will be renovated and extended to include also Digital Media and an Art School from 2013.


But, in order to have a real Economic and Social base, the Cultural Attractivity of any area, be it Euro-Mediterranean or other, must, today more than ever, obviously "include also the Scientific Culture", pointed out the active Mayor of Aix, Maryse Joissains-Masini.

In this regard, in addition to  the Historic but also brand new Aix-Marseille University, recently unified (as Strasbourg's own mega-University), whose reputation, as "EuroFora" has found at various occasions, grows recently, she cited also the "Poles of Excellence" officially recognized and organized, in cooperation with High-Tech Industry and Research, at the Aix-en-Provence area, Marseilles' hinterland :


- "Out of a total of 8 Poles of Excellence existing throughout all France, we have 5 here", Aix's Mayor proudly told "EuroFora", pointing f.ex. at so various areas of Science and Technology as Energy (both Nuclear, and Solar, together with other Renewables), Micro- and Nano-Electronics, Bio-Technologies and Medicine, etc.
However, Maryse Joissains-Masini (who looks fond to work together with Marseille's Mayor Gaudin), also reminded to "EuroFora" that she was the Lawyer defending the Families of the Victims in the famous case of the "Contaminated Blood", a huge and deadly scandal involving some irresponsible Technocrats in the Past of former "Socialist" Governments in France, which had provided an occasion to establish legally the "Precautionary Principle" in BioEthics, of growing importance today.

 - "But we should always use the Precautionary Principle without excess", she carefully advised now, given also several Researchers' complaints against some legal restrictions that they may feel useless or undue, independently of whether they may be right or wrong at a precuse moment on a precise issue, often of great importance for People's Health, for the respect of Human Dignity, or even for all Humankind.
Nevertheless, Aix-en-Provence's Mayor, experienced Lawyer Maryse Joissains-Masini, also agreed spontaneously with "EuroFora"s observation that, in fact, for real and honest Intellectuals, the "Precautionary Principle" may be not just an obstacle for their Scientific-Technological Research, but also a Driving Force able to legitimize and even show the Need for many more Scientific Research to be done, both in the present and in the Future, when it comes to cover the need f.ex. to ensure that Human Health, Dignity or even all Humankind will find efficient ways to be protected from any possible Risk or threat which might be eventually provoked in case of abuse of modern techniques f.ex. by a few irresponsible and/or selfish petty Technocrats without Social and Human Conscience :

- "Yes : That's precisely what should start to be done right Now !", the experienced and active, twice Elected Politician and Top Lawyer on Bioethical issues immediately replied to that "EuroFora"s observation, (before being suddenly interrupted by a demand to meet other Polirticians, which postponed our encounter at the most important point)..

However, Aix-en-Provence's young Dean, Professor Pena, speaking later to "Eurofora", observed that, in addition to several other areas (almost coinciding with the "Poles of Excellence" evoked supra), is also particularly efficient on Law, not only for Historic reasons, (Aix having been the No 1 Court of Appeals' area in France in the Past, etc), but also because several Legal disciplines (eventually including also BioEthics, etc) had been recently united together inside a Pole of Exvellence which cooperated also with CNRS, the prestigious National Research Center in France. And "this includes, particularly, a strong section focusing on International and Humanitarian Law", he added, pointing at something of obvious interest and utility in the conflict-ridden Mediterranean and Middle-East area...
All this Scientific and Technologic potential obviously needs to be translated in concrete terms in real Economy, if the strategic and historic Marseille-Provence region is to bring a key-contribution to Euro-Mediterranean relations in the foreseable Future :


- MEP Dominique Vlasto, (an active Member of EU Parliament's Committees on Transports, Relations with Maghreb and Foreign Policy, as well as of the Union for the Mediterranean's Assembly), speaking to "EuroFora", pointed out to the "various, recent EU programs, of particular interrest for the EuroMediterranean area", that Marseille can contribute to advance forward : 

+ "In addition, in the foreseeable Future, to the inclusion of FOS in EU Plans", she stressed in conclusion, evoking the huge, High-Tech and modern Liquefied Natural Gas mega-Terminal, recently built at Foss II, near Marseille, able to deal with big amounts of Strategic Energy Transports of NLG which can be transported by Ships, thanks to New Technologies, throughout the Mediterranean Sea towards the rest of the EU (including f.ex. Germany and Central Europe via Rhone - Rhine rivers links, etc), via Suez Channel, from Algeria, Nigeria, and/or from the currently emerging Oil/Gas mega-findings area at the South-Eastern Mediterranean Sea, mainly between Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, and EU Member Country Cyprus :

i.e. Energy sources partly located inside EU Territory, (and easy to transport DIRECTLY into EU Industry, without imposing any hazardous interposition of any Foreign 3rd Country which might endanged the transit), which might, eventually, be of similar Great Importance as the Oil/Gas recent findings by the USA in the Mexico's Gulf, (+ 52M of USA's needs, according to former US President GWBush) of similar Geological formation as that South-Eastern Mediterranean area, (See "EuroFora"s analysis on that issue, already evoked in previous NewsReports, according to "EuroFora"s co-Founder's original, pioneer Newsreports and various Publications already made as early as since 2001-2002).
=> What overall Message for the Euro-Mediterranean Present and Future ?
=> But what could be the main thrust of the overall Meaning for Europe and the Mediterranean behind all these pioneer efforts done by Marseille/Provence, France and the EU for the 2013 European Cultural Capital event ? What unifying principle and guiding idea, able to "speak to the People" that all this concerns objectively and aims to actively attract and involve in the foreseeable Future ?


- Experienced Top Politician, (and "king-maker" in National politics according to several sources), Marseille's Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin (of the Governing Majority UMP), opened the scene, yesterday at the "Silo" (see supra), and today at the spectacular "Foundation Vasarely", by putting the access on revitalizing and modernizing Today an Historic Link for "exchanges between Civilisations" accross the Mediterranean Sea, (as symbolized also by the Ancient Greek and Roman Ships found in Marseille, aged 2.600).


- Provence-Cote d'Azur Region's President, Michel Vauzelle (PSoc), speaking this Morning to Journalists, including "EuroFora", preferred rather to focus, on the occasion of CEREM (see supra) more on Civil Society Networking, "if States definitively fail" to make Mediterranean peaceful and prosperous, as he said, which should bring together both the Large Public, and a "reserved" are for Scientists, Engineers, Artists, etc, from all neighbouring Countries, as he said.

+ Aix's Mayor, Lawyer Maryse Joissains-Masini, tried a Synthesis pointing at  Culture, as the "Art to create Cohesion" (Coherence) between different and respected, but complementary Identities, according to her own words.
Waiting for French President Nicolas Sarkozy's next week speech at Marseille on the world of Culture in general, (See supra), "EuroFora", for the moment, had to run to catch up the last High-Speed Train (TGV) from the High-Tech, brand new, impressively Modern Mega-TGV crossroads' Station, located right in the middle of a superbe Natural Landscape at nearby Aix-en-Provence.


In front of it, at the crossroads between Paris and Marseille, stands the famous, majestic "Holy Victory" Mountain, (the biggest part of a long series of interesting Mountain Tops, some of which reportedly are so old that they covered even Dinosaure's eggs, among spectacular shapes of giant rocks at their top) : World famous painters Cezanne, Picasso, Kadinsky, etc., who loved to live at the area in the recent past, have notoriously pictured that "Holy Victory" big Mountain in various artistic works.


=> A timely and good Symbol of what EU Citizens may dream for modern European Democracy and Human Rights, Peace, Development and Innovation proclaimed Values to positively and victoriously interact in the Mediterranean area, Historic Mother of most Civilisations ?


 (NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate and complete, Final Version, as well as related but more particular papers, are due asap, according to developments).



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 In Democracy, the forthcoming choices for EU's Top Jobs, as the New EU Parliament's President, new EU Commission's President (+ probably EU Council's President, EU Foreign Minister, etc) should be made according to EU Citizens' Votes in June 7, 2009 European Elections, and main EU Governments' strategic policies.

At the heart of the biggest EU Countries, in France and Germany, EU Citizens clearly voted for a renovated, non-technocratic but Political Europe based on Values, declared explicitly incompatible with Turkey's controversial EU bid.

This main choice was also supported in several other small or medium EU Countries, such as Austria (cf. promise of a Referendum), Spain (cf. EPP program's reservations vis a vis Enlargment), etc., while EPP Parties won also in Poland, Hungary, Cyprus, etc.

In other Countries, whenever Governing coalitions didn't make these choices or eluded them, continuing to let a Turkish lobby push for its entry into the EU, they paid a high price, and risked to damage Europe, by obliging EU Citizens to massively vote for euro-Sceptics whenever they were the only ones to offer a possibility to promise  real change and oppose Turkey's demand to enter into the EU :

It's for this obvious reason that British UKIP (IndDem) succeeded now (after many statements against Turkey's EU bid) to become Great Britain's 2nd Party, unexpectedly growing bigger even than the Governing Labour Party, as well as the Liberal party  ! Facts prove that it's not an isolated phenomenon : A similar development occured in the Netherlands, where Geert Wilders "Party for Freedom" (PVV) became also the 2nd biggest in the country, (after EPP), boosting the chances of a politician who had withdrawn in 2004 from an older party "because he didn't agree with their position on Turkey". And in several other EU Member Countries, even previously small parties which now focused on a struggle against Turkey's controversial demand to enter in the EU, won much more or even doubled the number of their MEPs (fex. Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, etc).

On the contrary, whenever Socialist and oher parties were explicitly or implicitly for Turkey's controversial EU bid, they obviously lost Citizens' votes and fell down to an unprecedented low.

In consequence, EU Citizens clearly revealed their main political choices, in one way or another : They voted to change for less Bureaucracy, but more Politics and Values in a Europe really open to EU Citizens, but without Turkey's controversial EU bid.

Recent political developments are obviously different from the old political landscape which existed in the Past of 1999-2004, when Socialists based on Turkish 1% vote governed undisputed not only in Germany, but also in the UK, Greece and elsewhere, France followed old policies decided when it had been divided by "cohabitation", before the 3 "NO" to EU  Referenda since May 2005, before Merkel, before Sarkozy, etc.... before the surprises of 7 June 2009 new EU Elections.

If the current candidates to the Top EU jobs promise and guarantee to respect People's democratic choices, OK.

Otherwise, Europe must find new candidates, really motivated and able to implement these democratic choices of the People.

The beginning of crucial, final Decisions are scheduled for the 1st EU Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg, in the middle of July, and they could be completed towards the October session, when Lisbon Treaty's fate will have been fixed.

See relevant Facts also at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/2009electionsandturkey.html



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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