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Italian vespa in Durham, UK
Immigration is a hot topic in the UK and the current political campaign is no exception. In the run-up to the general election, scheduled for 7 May 2015, politicians from different wings are getting tougher on EU migrants. Focusing mainly on migrants coming from Southern Europe and, especially, on the Italian community living in the UK, E&M's author Nicoletta Enria takes us through some of the scenarios about how this election could affect EU migrants and their lives in a country where they don't have the right to vote.
From the time of the Roman Empire to Ellis Island and now taking to the streets of London, Italians have always been known to migrate and make their presence known throughout the world. As youth unemployment in Italy soars, hitting a staggering 43.9% in November 2014, young Italians cannot help but feel anger, disappointment and resentment towards a system that offers them no hope and begin to look for a brighter future abroad. This swarm of educated youngsters, the "escaping brains" as they are known in Italy due to the fact that many of them have university degrees, are now predominantly settling in the UK. Officially, there are said to be 600 thousand Italians today in the UK, of which 60% are under the age of 35. What is life like for all these hopeful young Italians in the UK and how will the potential outcomes of the UK General Elections in May affect them?
In Italy, partially due to the role of the press in glorifying the UK and Germany, young Italians are brought up believing that all hope lies in migrating there. More and more hopeful Italians are travelling to the UK and finding themselves living in squalid, cheap hostels to avoid transport costs and expensive rent. Paid minimum wage, sometimes even less, they are ideal for low-income jobs as they provide big companies with cheap labour. In their dream for a better life not just Italian migrants, but also Portuguese, Spanish and Greek youngsters are facing this similar unexpected economic hardship, in an attempt to escape the financial crisis in their home countries. There is also a large community of young Italians studying at British boarding schools and universities in an attempt to profit from one of the best education systems in Europe and broaden their opportunities to obtain jobs in more places around the world. With a growing anti-immigration discourse in the UK, seen in articles such as this one by the Sun referring to Portuguese, Italian, Greek and Spanish migrants as "PIGS [that] are here to stay", integration is a privilege that not all of these young migrants have. Despite this, plenty of Italian migrants I have spoken to, myself included, thoroughly enjoy living the UK and feel fully integrated in their home away from home.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we've set out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe and are pleased to announce the winners of our January / February competition.
We had a good feeling about the topic for this edition of Europe Through a Lens and were not far wrong. Our readers responded imaginatively to the theme "European landscapes", showing the continent in all of its natural glory. With entries ranging from verdant valleys and rolling hills to desolate, wind-swept scenes, the judges faced their toughest challenge yet in deciding which photo should claim top honours.
In the end, though, it was Junyuan Chen, a Chinese photographer and winner of the competition back in November last year, whose image The lonely tree was awarded first place. Junyuan, who lives in Glasgow, captured the shot in the late afternoon at Loch Lomand, just in time for the last light of the day. He believes that the centrepiece of his prize-winning composition is probably the most photographed tree in Scotland. You can find more of Junyuan's work on his Flickr account.
Another week has passed and it's time for us to provide you with another Good Reads post. This time round E&M's Veronica Pozzi is taking up the challenge and shares articles that got her thinking about how IS uses social media and how this particular battle is fought in Berlin. Her final pick is about sexual and religious identity in Europe.
Veronica, Sixth Sense
ISIS: When the recruitment starts on SoundCloud
In a period in which the Islamic State (IS) appears on the front pages of newspapers across different European states, it is somehow frustrating to note the lack of good journalism on the topic. Despite the huge media attention that IS gets, and also in the light of recent events in France and Syria, it seems that there is a general lack of original stories, a lack of journalists who do not only work with press agencies but who have actually been "out and about" and can provide some essential shoe-leather reporting.
That is why I was so happy when I stumbled across this article co-written by Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet for The Washington Post. Set in an immigrant neighborhood in south Berlin, the story revolves around a liberal mosque that, for years, has been a progressive and tolerant place where battered Muslim women could seek help in divorcing. But now a further problem claims the mosque's attention: IS and its recruitment of young, European Muslims.
Starting around the time that the infamous Denis Cuspert, a Berlin based rapper who started to spread radical views via his songs three years ago before going to fight in Syria, came to prominence, the recruitment process of new Muslim fighters for the IS is now run online. This article by The Local focuses on SoundCloud's jihadi accounts asking young Muslims to go and fight in Syria using the power of music and it connects this trend with Germany's law and efforts to oppose the IS. But this is just an example of how IS uses social media and Internet to spread its radicalism: this recent article posted by BuzzFeed (yes, they do also serious and investigative journalism) focuses on how IS is currently threating Twitter founder and employees after their decision to block several pro-jihad accounts.
Unfortunately we are experiencing technical difficulties at the moment and our online application is currently unavailable. We would like to apologise for the inconvenience and hope to be able to resume normal service very soon.
Applicants who still wish to apply for our open editorial positions can do so by
- sending their CV
- basic profile: name, nationality, country of residence, contact details
- tell us briefly where they heard about us
- a 300-word essay on the topic "My Europe in 2020"
- describing their motivation for applying to E&M
- a note on which section they would most like to edit
Please send these to application [at] europeandme.eu
In case you have any trouble or questions you can tweet at us at @europeandme or email managing editor Diána (diana [at] europeandme.eu)
Extended deadline for email applications: 5 March 2015
Young journalists at work
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack, not only Europe but the whole world was suddenly reawakened to the power of the media in shaping views and forming opinions. Newspapers and magazines as carriers of new information have the privilege (and curse) to stir emotions. This is all the more true for media that are intended for a youthful audience. E&M author Petya Yankova tells us more about a project she participated in, which focused on how European media represent certain social groups and depict young Europeans as well as on the engagement of young people in Europe with the media.
The main responsibility of the media is to provide a full and impartial overview which is only possible through the diversity of its producers painting a picture as multifaceted and therefore as complete as possible. However, this does not seem to be the case for European media, which is why in 2013 the European Union and the Council of Europe joined forces to develop and implement a training programme for journalists, educators and media managers aimed at improving media quality by promoting an inclusive intercultural approach to news production: Media in Europe for Diversity Inclusiveness (MEDIANE). It offers journalists the chance to pair up with counterparts from another European country and develop a common output on the theme of diversity in media training and literacy, media production and journalism practice.
MEDIANE originated from independent research by multiple sources which revealed deplorable under-representation of certain social groups in European media. Women, immigrants, the LGBT community, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities rarely receive their due attention on European news channels, although, statistically, they make up a huge proportion of the population. For example, a 2010 study by the Global Media Monitoring Project has shown that only 24% of the news items in Europe feature women, although they make up half the continent’s population.
|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".
In this Good Reads issue, E&M’s Diána Vonnák shares with you some articles that got her thinking about our continent. Follow her to discover the multiple ways descendants of victims and perpetrators deal with genocide as well as inside some bits of Bosnian literature about the human facets of the war. And make sure you read it till the end, because there you can find an interesting article analysing Maidan and its revolutionary potential, all framed in a personal way.
Diána Vonnák, managing editor
When Bosnia was at war: self-appointed humanitarians in Sarajevo
Recently I had a chance to visit Sarajevo, this incredible city still somewhat scarred by the horrors of an inhumane siege and yet full of the mundane signs of moving on: the smell of coffee, strolling tourists and lazy stray dogs. Those bloody years in the ´90s were my only childhood exposure to the fact that war could happen so close, and ever since it proved to be a returning theme, as I would assume it has for many of my generation. It came as a coincidence, then, that in the recent issue of Asymptote Magazine I came across a letter exchange between Miljenko Jergović and Semezdin Mehmedinović.
Both of them being in the forefront of Bosnian literature they try to get closer to one of the iconic interactions the Anglophone world knows about the war: Susan Sontag's visits and her solidarity with Bosnian people. Jergović recalls Sontag’s visit to his mother, in search for an ‘ordinary resident’ who could give an honest angle to her understanding of the war. Throwing away and thus wasting barely lit up cigarettes by the dozen in the middle of a war-torn city, Sontag acted as an emblem of failed self-appointed humanitarians: she was incapable of turning the war, the object of her amusement and horror, back to what it was - a challenge of empathy where stepping in requires real silence on your side and a readiness to let others’ lives creep into the place of yours.
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