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Photo: CAFOD Photo library(Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

On Sunday [14 May 2017] the Italian coast guard saved 484 people crossing the Mediterranean, whilst also finding 7 dead bodies. These 7 deaths, have meant that this year 1,222 people have died crossing the Mediterranean – a tragic new record. Yet these figures have not been met with grief by everyone. The news of this record was drowned out amongst criticisms of NGOs operating in the Mediterranean and of refugees as perpetrators of sexual violence. It seems impossible, but the discourse regarding refugees in Italy has taken an even darker turn. Italy’s geopolitical location has meant it has always been at the centre of debates surrounding the "European refugee crisis", especially regarding its rescue missions (or lack thereof, since the rescue mission Mare Nostrum was replaced with the significantly less resourceful Trident). What’s happened, and more importantly what impact will this have on the lives of asylum-seekers attempting to reach Europe and refugees seeking to integrate into an increasingly impermeable Europe?

Published in Sixth Sense

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 Photo: Theophilous Papadopoulos (flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Our editor Justine Olivier points you in the direction of a few essays and articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about how the EU plans to renew itself, the political consequelces of the refugee crisis in Germany  and the risk of Erasmus being a bargaining chip of the Brexit negotiation.  

 Justine, Sixth Sense and Heart editor 

justineTHE RENEWING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

How to make the European Union appealing again? Does the EU need structural reforms? How to tackle our current security, economic and legitimacy challenges? These are the questions that all leaders of the EU keep mulling over these weeks. Indeed, Brexit, in addition to all the economic and political uncertainty it has brought, has acted as a wake-up call no one can ignore. What's wrong with the EU ? On the day of the referendum results, several European leaders called for substantial reforms. But now is the time for more concrete propositions. This was the aim of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the Union speech on Wednesday the 14th of September. Juncker made many propositions, including cutting red tape and boosting investment through the completion of the capital markets union. However, these are neither new nor original. As Tim King analyzes in POLITICO, his speech was not as inspiring as it was meant and expected to be. The speech aimed at being reassuring, as Juncker stressed that in spite of its numerous challenges the EU was strong enough and “not at risk”. The Commission President also emphasized that the way forward is through more union. But at a time of increasing skepticism concerning the positive impact of integration and cooperation among Europeans, there is no certainty that Juncker's words were enough rekindle the much-needed faith in Europe.

Published in Good Reads
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Photo: Clarence (Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0 

Our editor Sam Volpe points you in the direction of a few essays and articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about the lengths the European community has gone to in the name of justice, the stunning work being done by volunteers on Lesvos, and the way in which European myth and history has influenced modern fantasy.

Sam, Diaphragm editor and Project Manager

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One of Europe's longest manhunts

A few months ago, former E&M editor Frances Jackson recommended reading Julian Borger's writing about the anniversary of the Srebenica massacre. In January, Borger was at it again, with a fascinating account of the hunt for Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladic. Borger's writing on the Balkans is rapidly becoming unmissable, and is a fantastic advert for the routinely excellent Guardian Long Read column.

Mladic is one of the more two-dimensionally hideous characters of recent history, and this account of his eventual capture is both nail-biting and bathetic. Dive in to read of the increasingly paranoid manner in which Mladic spent his final days of freedom, and to remember some of the groundbreaking work done by the International Criminal Court.

Published in Good Reads
Thursday, 11 February 2016 17:30

A Low-Cost Trip to Europe.

 
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Photo courtesy of Rosa Vroom

Old woman walks next to a closed road. Behind the scene a truck is collecting lifejackets left on the shore.

It's Christmas in Lesvos, а Greek island 9 kilometers off the Turkish coast. It's too cold to stay outside. The sea is quiet. Not many boats are expected, but volunteers keep their walkie-talkies on. The tent of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is active, the lighthouse illuminates the coast and at the dirt road surrounding Eftalou beaches there are two American volunteers stopping the cars: 'Volunteers of Lesvos, Welcome to Christmas Eve Services!'

Since Lesvos is part of the route of asylum seekers in Europe, thousands of volunteers have also been arriving at the Greek shores. Spanish firefighters, Israeli lifeguards, Norwegian doctors and nurses, etc., some of them under the umbrella of an NGO, others on their own. Organising themselves just by arrival order, their aid has been providing materials needed for the rescue along the beaches of the North and South of the island. Among these materials, aluminium foil and piles of firewood to beat the cold of the migrants that have just arrived.

Published in Sixth Sense
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Photo: Marvin (PA)(Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0 

In the first Good Reads of 2016, former editor Frances Jackson shares a few articles that have got her thinking about Europe over the last few days.  Read about contrasting efforts to integrate asylum seekers in Germany and Finland, the publication of a new annotated edition of Mein Kampf, and why the AZERTY keyboard could soon become a thing of the past.

Frances, former Diaphragm / Baby editor

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IN search of a common ground

I suppose it’s inevitable that, in the face such a torrent of depressing news stories and seemingly insurmountable hurdles as is the case with the ongoing refugee crisis, we are drawn to examples of journalism that give us hope for the future. Certainly, I think that is what made Herbi Dreiner’s recent guest post for the Guardian stand out for me.  He is part of a team at the University of Bonn that has started putting on physics shows with Arabic explanations to help engage young asylum seekers who are still finding their feet in Germany.  I love the simplicity of the idea, its optimism and the way it encourages us to find a shared understanding, rather seeking to emphasise differences and deficiencies.

Published in Good Reads

With Euroscepticism on the rise, what can be done to get Europeans to start debates around constructive criticism about Europe?  E&M editor Nicoletta Enria met Paola Buonadonna, director of the Wake Up Europe! campaign run by the Wake Up Foundation for a chat about the challenges of creating a transnational discourse, Brexit and how to create a conversation about together building a Europe we want to see. 

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Photo courtesy of Paola Buonadonna 

E&M: Hello Paola! To begin with can you let us know what the Wake Up Euope! campaign is?

Paola: The whole thrust of the Wake Up Foundation is educational and awareness-raising, the starting point is that there are trends that threaten our way of life that we don’t realize yet. The motion of these tectonic plates is something that we should be aware of now and be talking about now and you know Europe is one part of this.The idea behind Wake Up Europe! is to get people together to start thinking, talking and acting about Europe. It’s an interesting mix, we want to use the Great European Disaster Movie to promote this transnational conversation and this will happen for most of the time online on various channels such as social media. The interesting thing I think about it is that we don’t just want people to download the film and watch it, we want people to organise events so that they can meet face to face with other people and talk about these things. The idea is that it’s the face to face sort of activism of that kind that is slightly missing at the moment. Europe is what the media, politicians , think tanks say and they give you a version of what Europe is about and they interpret and percolate for us how we should look at Europe. Depending on where you live and depending on what’s in the news that can be a very highly skewed or narrow perspective or you’ve got, as my colleague James, calls it, click activism – various petitions websites that send you constant requests for very pointed, limited action. But you sit on your own in your house and you click a button, you are not really connecting in any meaningful way with anybody else. The idea behind this is to use the film to bring people together both physically, face to face, and with an online conversation that continues after they watch the film, we ask them to get back in touch with us, tell us what they thought and tweet throughout with the #WakeUpEurope.

Published in Sixth Sense
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Photo: The U.S Army (Flickr); License:  CC BY 2.0

In this week's edition of Good Reads, the new editor of Sixth Sense Nicoletta Enria shares some articles about reversing gender stereotypes in Lithuania, the "rescue" mission Triton in the Mediterranean and the importance of appreciating street names when visiting a city. 

Nicoletta, Sixth Sense editor

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"They won the lottery"

The tense geopolitical atmosphere in Lithuania due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has meant that the government has reintroduced conscription, which had been previously outlawed in 2008. I found this article from the Guardian’s Nadia Khomami particularly interesting, as it deals with a moving photography project by Lithuanian photographer Neringa Rekašiūtė and actor and TV host Beata Tiškevič-Hasanova in response to the reintroduction of conscription entitled "They Won the Lottery".

The photographs are truly arresting, portraying men in tears as a result of having been called up. However, what I found most fascinating is the reversal of male gender stereotypes, whereby the men in the photographs appear to be crying due to societal pressures for them to “man up” and not be cowards in the face of conscription. This piece casts a light on the rigid male stereotypes in Lithuania, which can be compared to those of many other European countries, and the aims of the project are to subvert and criticise them.

Published in Good Reads
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