< SWITCH ME >
Our editor Sam Volpe points you in the direction of a few articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about essays that will make you swoon, queerness and why we write and ought to read.
Sam, Project Manager and Diaphragm editor
I am bored of reading why 2016 has been the worst year. It has been difficult. It has been occasionally traumatic for those of us of a particular political persuasion. It has seen a number of wonderful celebrities and public figures die. Frankly, it has been a little bit shit, but you knew that by now.
Therefore, in this, your festive edition of Good Reads, I have decided to make it my mission to pass on some writing that will, at the very least, distract you over the holidays.
Sit in a comfortable armchair and put your feet up. Imagine you're in a secluded library with a roaring fire. The world is not doomed, and here, in hyperlink form, are a few reasons why.
Photo: Ana Röell
Fans celebrate after the Netherlands' opening victory against Spain
Ana Röell looks back on an emotional night of football during the World Cup and reflects on the power of sport to unite people of all backgrounds.
Whenever I start thinking about a more united Europe, I like to look for unifying elements around me. And last month there was one particular aspect that could be neither missed nor ignored: the football.
I'm from the Netherlands and when a huge loss was predicted for our first World Cup match, I felt naïvely positive that this would be the case (we were playing against the former champions Spain, after all). I decided to watch the match in a popular cafe down the street – one that is usually known as an alternative place and attracts a large variety of people. Young and old, well-heeled or practically homeless, businessmen and hooligans, and even several street "gangs"; an unexpected crowd had prepared itself for the game by dressing up in our national colour and drinking loads of beer.
At first, I was surprised to see the supporting crowd bound together in orange and I began wondering how things might turn out. After the opening ceremony and my first beer, some intense squabbles broke out behind me, and the tension between a number of individuals began to grow. Then it was time for the kick-off, and the game began. Eyes glued to the screen, everybody was watching as if they were the ones on the pitch, embodied by our players. For a moment, we were all one and the same; one great happy nation.
Photo: Tobias Melzer (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Not even German supermarkets could resist showing their colours
E&M reader Stefan Kreppel gives his personal take on Germany's World Cup win in Brazil.
It’s the morning after Germany won the most prestigious title in the footballing world. I’m sitting on the train on my way to work, slightly hungover. The woman next to me has got herself one of those special issues that newspapers produce on such occasions and is reliving the most important moments of this World Cup for the German team.
The smile on her face reflects the feeling most Germans are experiencing after four weeks of soccer: satisfaction. Having fallen at the final hurdle in the previous four international tournaments, the title seemed long overdue in the eyes of the team, its fans and especially the media. Being the odds-on favourite to win transferred a lot of nervousness to the players, as well as to the people watching the match on one of the countless big screen televisions set up at public venues back home in Germany.
The imprisonment and alleged maltreatment of the Ukrainian politician Yulia Tymoshenko have, to some extent, overshadowed Ukraine's role as Euro 2012 host. Officials from Germany and the UK decided to boycott the tournament and José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, cancelled his trip to Ukraine. But what is the political effect of boycotting a sporting event and what are the implications for EU foreign policy?
When former Prime Minister Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of office over a natural gas import agreement signed with Russia in 2009, she became a personified symbol of selective justice in Ukraine. Moreover, she has reported incidents of physical abuse during her time in prison and began a hunger strike, which increased international attention before the upcoming Football Championship. Simply ignoring these political developments for the duration of the tournament was impossible for European states, given that they have pledged to protect human rights.