< SWITCH ME >
Cartoon by Alice Baruffato
This month Alice Baruffato continues her series of cartoons for E&M and focuses on the hot topic that is the Greek crisis. With the sweeping "no" in the Greek referendum regarding the EU austerity measures leading to the resignation of minister of finance Yanis Varoufakis and eventually also of prime minister Alexis Tsipras, Greece's instability was a concern for the whole of Europe. Greece's future seems wholly unpredictable; the first female prime minister for Greece, Vassiliki Thanou, will head the caretaker government until the elections, but will she help Greece cross the tight-rope and reach the financial and political stability it so longs for?
This month Alice Baruffato continues her series of cartoons for E&M and focuses on an evergreen European topic, alias the UK and its relationship with Europe. Following the general elections' results, David Cameron has re-confirmed himself as the leader of an island that seems to be sceptical about its future presence within the Union. To renegotiate the right of freedom of movement across Europe and to stop (il)legal immigration still appear to be top priorities in 2015 UK. But can Cameron stop the European train? Is it really worth it?
The group who met in Berlin to launch the EVS4ALL project
At the end of April 2015 the Allianz Cultural Foundation welcomed a variety of different groups from across Europe to their Berlin headquarters to launch the EVS4ALL project. As one of the media partners of the event, E&M’s Chris Ruff was there to witness two days of knowledge sharing, diligent planning and infectious optimism for the future of Europe.
"We are Europe!" was the rallying cry of the late, great German sociologist Ulrich Beck as he, with his close friend and fellow European titan, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, sat down to write a manifesto for the future of Europe.
What they envisaged was a Europe built "from the bottom-up". A Europe far removed from the technocratic elites who so often dominate the news. A Europe "for taxi drivers and theologians, for workers and the workless, for managers and musicians, for teachers and trainees, for sculptors and sous-chefs, for supreme court judges and senior citizens, for men and women".
In order to disentangle ourselves from the clutches of the euro-crisis, we must re-build our civil society and rediscover those traits which bind us together, instead of those which tear us apart.
But how, I hear you ask, is this wonderful Europe of people supposed to happen? And haven’t we been moving precisely in the other direction in the years since the great crash of 2008?
|Photo: Rosaura Ochoa (Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0
The double-sided nature of Twitter and social media in general
It takes few seconds. 140 characters or a post on Facebook and we can share our ideas and go viral. But are we really aware of the consequences a single and easy gesture like pushing the button "tweet" or "publish" can have? Are we free to speak our mind online without worrying we are using a device or a type of connection which might get us in trouble? E&M author Petya Yankova interviewed Sanja Kelly, project director of an initiative called Freedom on the Net, about the findings of their latest report on freedom of expression online. What are the latest debates centred on and what is the response of young people in Europe to getting their rights infringed?
Meeting Belarusians for the first time, foreigners might not understand why every time someone makes a joke, they would put their wrists in front of their lips to whisper "Lukashenko". It’s an elusive reference for the commonly spread knowledge of governmental surveillance within the country. The name of the Belarusian president has become a synonym for the Big Brother, always watching from the shadows. Is there another country in Europe which recognises and still makes fun of repressions and privacy violations? Even the gesture-loving Italians do not have a hand movement for giving away your privacy involuntarily.
Belarus in only one of the countries where freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and other human rights are under threat. Violations of these fundamental rights invariably extend online but Ukraine's northern neighbour is far from being the only country in Europe where websites are banned, political content blocked and user rights blatantly disregarded.
|Photo courtesy of Annemone Taake
Filip and Ivana, main characters of I'm afraid that we know each other now
Life is a stage, they say. Whilst institutions and many associations are working on integrating Europe under several points of view, the European Theatre Convention trascendes geographical and language borders andbrings real life stories simultaneusly to Europe's stages. Philip Wallmeier attended one of these plays in Heidelberg, Germany for E&M and now wants to unveil its reflections on sex, life and memory making.
How can young people today live and create change when they cannot even understand how they got to where they are in the first place? This is the question around which Ivor Martinic’s most recent work, "I am afraid that we know each other now", evolves; it is being staged simultaneously in Zagreb and Heidelberg as part of the project The Art of Ageing of the European Theatre Convention (ETC).
In "I am afraid that we know each other now" the young Ivana and her ex-boyfriend Filip run into existential trouble. Not because she broke up with him; but because when she told him about her decision to end the relationship, he responded by restating what his mother once said: "You best satisfy a woman with the tongue". Ivana cannot accept this as the last words which were spoken in their relationship: "How can I tell people about how it ended?". Since Ivana cannot accept Filip's reply, she comes to see him again and again. While Ivana is looking for a way to tell the story of her life, Filip is searching for words that could describe "what really happened".
In this involving play, the spectators are shown this tension between Ivana’s search for a story that could be told and Filip’s soul searching for what really happend not merely through the actors' words but also through their bodies in motion. The young actors, who spend nearly two hours continuously on stage, run, shiver, are aroused, beat or caress each other, looking for ways to communicate that could transcend the tension between what happend and what can be said. Often their bodies speak a different language from that of their voices. The play is not, however, a meditation on the general impossibility of true communication through language but can be understood as a reflection on the feelings and lives of the young generation today in Zagreb and Heidelberg. When, for example, Filip is finding a way to give his experience an expression, the characters think about the particular city part of which their story is: Ivana and Filip discuss the meaning of the monument "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" in Zagreb. The monument was originally built for the fallen soldiers of World War One, but the placard which recounts this history was erased by the communist regime – the consequence: many people believe that this is a tomb for the soldiers who fought the Nazi regime. As the young director Miriam Horwitz explains, the "piece questions the role of spoken language but also the idea of stories as memories and memory making".
|Photo courtesy of Alice Baruffato
Lichtgrenze over Berlin - Alice Baruffato, December 2014
As a part of E&M's commitment to multimedia content, our magazine is glad to announce that the Italian illustrator Alice Baruffato will be sharing with us cartoons drawn exclusively for E&M. She works as an archaeological illustrator but she will be also be contributing specifically to E&M, so stay tuned and enjoy some of the most significant European issues being turned into thought-provoking drawings on a monthly basis. To find out more, E&M's Veronica Pozzi has interviewed her about her work as an archaeological illustrator and her life-experiences in Europe.
Alice Baruffato. If you feel you are already familiar with the name that's because she is not new to E&M. Last November, together with two friends, she wrote this article on her experience as a volunteer at the Berlin Wall. But the months she spent in Germany's capital are not the only European project in which she has participated. In this interview she shares those experiences as well as her personal views on Archaeology in Europe and the related job market.
E&M: Where does your passion for drawing come from? And how have you nourished it throughout the years?
Alice: My parents had a stationery shop. I remember I started drawing when I was a kid: I've always had this passion and, thanks to my parents' shop, I had access to good quality pencils and everything I needed. I took only one drawing course in my life, it was about cartoons but very short. For the rest, I just kept on drawing following my passion and as a self-learner.
Every January in Italy, an old woman, very similar to a witch, delivers gifts to children (or coal, depending on whether they have behaved well or not during the previous year)
With the Christmas celebrations coming up soon, it's the right time to learn more about traditions that sometimes overlap but can also differ from country to country. Taking advantage of the fact that she's lived in different European cities, Nicoletta Enria uncovers the origins and current life of lesser-known European Christmas traditions featuring, among others, a witch and tasty desserts. Stay tuned on E&M to read more about Christmas traditions in Europe.
Advent has begun and with it the countdown to the most awaited holiday of the year. Christmas decorations appear as if from thin air, the temperature halves and overall the atmosphere seems to be one of blissful joy, no matter what. There is nothing like wondering through a Christmas market or merely observing Christmas decorations and feeling that inexplicable explosion of excitement. Originally, Christmas was solely the celebration of the birth of Christ but, interesting enough, in Arabic the word for birthday and Christmas are the same. Due to its origin, Christmas is mainly celebrated in Christian countries, however it has seeped its way into the atheist homes with each European country, region and household developing its own unique traditions.
IN 8 DAYS