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What is Europe? Is Europe more a geographical, cultural, political or economic concept? What defines the European identity? These are all questions E&M has pondered from the very beginning, and over the years we’ve come up with many very different answers. Indeed, our vision of what Europe is and should be is influenced by many factors. With this new regular feature, My European Bookshelf, we wanted to consider one of those factors: literature. In this space, E&M has invited young Europeans to share the books that have shaped their understanding and perception of Europe.
|Photo: duncan c (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0|
Europe is on the edge. Brexit, the anti-democratic developments in Eastern Europe with authoritarian governments in Poland and Hungary, and the rise of the far-right in Germany with the AfD and Pegida movement as well as in France (Front National) anticipate the imminent collapse of the European Union as the biggest peace project in our common history. Nevertheless, in all the debates on which direction our continent and the world should take, the political elite ignores young people. They fail to recognise that they cannot set the course for the future without paying attention to those who will be most affected by today’s decisions.
Millennial “Liberals” Across the Globe Shocked at Martin Schulz’s Tolerance of a Different ViewpointWritten by Richard Culp Robinson
A few weeks ago, in Brussels, an unpopular fellow named Nigel Farage flouted his Brexit victory in the face of his fellow Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). After boos from Europeans of many persuasions, Martin Schulz reminded the MEPs that “a major quality of democracy is you listen to those even if you don’t share their opinion.” British and American “liberals” are aghast that such tolerance would take place.
“Is that what democracy’s about? I thought it was about protecting the institutions of the EU, no matter what the people say,” a Labour supporter in London reported to your correspondent. He declined to be named for this article, describing himself as “a voice of the people.” When asked if the votes of 52% of British citizens should be overruled, he said, “Yeah, that’s right.”
Our editor Nicoletta Enria points you in the direction of a few articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about refugees who revive a small Italian village in Calabria, the growing trend of “voluntourism” and how European countries deal with non-physical abuse.
Nicoletta, Baby and Legs editor
A non-conventional Refugee story
The other day I had a rather depressing conversation, or more precisely argument with some people I went to school with about the refugee crisis and more specifically refugees in Italy. This really reminded me of the importance of fair representation of refugees, reminding people that they are not just a mass of displaced people making their way through Europe but are humans coming from a variety of cultures, countries, religions and social backgrounds. This article and photo reportage by Al-Jazeera’s Thomas Bruckner really fit this criteria by representing refugees as humans and casting a light on the positive impact they have had on some societies. In this reportage he casts a light on the story of the mayor of the village of Riace, Domenico Lucano who saw the presence of refugees in Italy as an opportunity to save the shrinking community of Riace and thus started the ‘refugees welcome’ project. I found this article particularly important in standing against the majority of articles about refugees that focus on depicting refugees as a mass of people on rickety boats and the societal problems they cause in society. The photographs show the community of Riace which is not ‘hosting’ refugees but rather incorporates them, reminding us that refugees are humans seeking safety. This really made me think of the importance to keep stories like this circulating to fight against prejudice and diminutive stereotypes. When reporting on a phenomenon like the refugee crisis today, it is of vital importance to keep the bigger picture in mind
Photo courtesy: Isabell Wutz;
Unsurprisingly, waking up this morning to see that the people of the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union was a tough pill to swallow. It's not how I voted, and it's not how my lefty-liberal bubble voted. Alas that doesn't matter, and as a progressive Brit, it feels like it's now partially my responsibility to work and campaign to make sure that the scenarios we've all been scared of don't come to pass.
There is something devastating about this though.
My fear now of course is that 'popular opinion' is irrevocably different from my own: That I share very little with the people who have voted to put the UK on an ill-defined, probably isolationist cause. Rhetoric in my comforting Twitter corner had been reassuringly reflective of my state of mind—tired, hysterical, a little desperate but yet again it leaves me beyond apprehensive about the political conversations other people are having.
The Belgian movie Black draws its audience into the unknown and often cruel world of Brussels´ migrant neighbourhoods. Reminiscent of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the filmmakers have adapted the novels of Dirk Bracke and created a film that is a mixture between thrilling action and bitter reality. The young directors Abdil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have made an astonishing film that is timely as it considers the issues of migration and globalisation.
Photo Courtesy of Stronger in Manchester
Our former editor Chris Ruff gives an enriching insight into the experience of those volunteering for Britain Stronger In Europe.
At my first campaign stop, decent-length conversations were at a premium. Somewhat awkwardly positioned outside Manchester Victoria train station, with staff having kicked us out, we were at the mercy of the biting winds characteristic of that part of the world. Yes, even in May.
Photo courtesy: Isabell Wutz; Photo: ais3n (flickr), Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0; Photo: Stewart (flickr), Licence: CC BY 2.0; Photo: Aljeandro De La Cruz (flickr), Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0; Photo: Raimond Spekking (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0; Photo: Nazionale Calcio (flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0; Photo: Adam Kliczek (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0; Photo: Szater (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: no copyright; Photo: Christian Kadluba (flickr), Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; Photo: FrankieF (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Tomorrow, on the second day of the 2016 European Championships, the Xhaka brothers will walk out to face each other. Granit, the younger, is perhaps the more famous and has just sealed a big money transfer to Arsenal. He represents Switzerland, while his brother Taulant will be wearing the colours of Albania.
This situation is illustrative of the way in which migration, which continues to be one of the hot-button issues across the continent, has penetrated sport, too. Mr. and Mrs. Xhaka were Kosovan Albanians who emigrated to Switzerland shortly before their sons were born. Football's occasionally arcane nationality rules meant that the brothers could, in essence, choose who to represent from several options. The Swiss team is a particularly strong example, with stars such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami sharing a similar background too, but sides such as France, Belgium and Germany also present stories on the same inclusive theme. They are European in every sense, sides which have taken in the best and most talented regardless of circumstance.
IN 32 DAYS