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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.
Our editor Fernando Burgés points you in the direction of a few essays and articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about former Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme, democratic confederalism, the Kurdish question and what we can expect from the economic developments in the coming years.
Fernando, Brain and Heart editor
Between Olof Palme and Murray Bookchin, Democratic Confederalism is the Bysectrix
I recently spent a few days in Stockholm, where I finally had the chance to follow the steps of one of my greatest political heroes, Olof Palme, the former Prime Minister of Sweden, assassinated in 1986. His life, as much as his death, is shrouded in a smoke of mystery and romanticism, worth of a book. Indeed, several have been written, and yet I cannot affirm which is the best, I can certainly recommend the brilliant piece of investigative journalism, Blood on the Snow, by the historian Jan Bondeson.
For those not very acquainted with this man, I highly recommend a documentary A Life in Politics as an introduction. Besides the most famous episodes of his career, it is particularly interesting the policies implemented by him years before taking over as Prime Minister of Sweden. When Palme was the Education Minister, he carried out reforms that revolutionized the country deeply: he replaced student grants for a minority with a student loans system for a larger number of people; expanded further education facilities for adults; integrated preschool into the whole education system; expanded day-care centres and introduced classes on sex and procreation in a straightforward and comprehensive way. Above all, his biographers say, in the kindergartens, Palme revolutionized the prevailing mindset, promoting collectivist values.
Photo courtesy: Petya Yankova
The opening ceremony of Women Deliver 2016.
It is a disruption as well as a sign of hope to hear babies’ cries during the opening session of the 4th global conference on the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women. It is a reminder that women matter, that their energy and transformative power are changing communities. Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark opened Women Deliver 2016 sharing her vision of “a world where a girl has just as much of a chance to survive, thrive and live her full potential as a boy”. The wish for economic and social equality between men and women was the uniting element which gathered more than 5000 youth leaders and activists, health professionals and human rights advocates in Copenhagen last week.
Native speakers of English, who also happen to know Czech are, I grant you, quite a rare breed, but they do exist. As one of those linguistic oddities (and not even one who can be excused by family ties to the region), the news that the Czech Republic apparently now wishes to be known on the world stage as Czechia certainly struck a chord with me.
Of course, the name Czechia is nothing new. Ever since the Velvet Divorce, which saw post-communist Czechoslovakia split into the Czech and Slovak Republics, the term has been periodically bandied about as a snappier English-language alternative and its origins do in fact go back a lot further than that. It’s also fair to say that the country’s current name can be a bit of a mouthful sometimes. However, for me at least, the lack of a short moniker has always been part of the Czech Republic’s charm. It lets those of us who travel there for more than just the occasional boozy weekend come up with our own pet names for the place (Czecho has long been a personal favourite of mine), not to mention all the fun that can be had with puns on the word Czech. Or czuns as we used to call them when I was an undergraduate.
Exactly six month ago on the 13th of November 2015 Paris and the whole world was disaster-struck. Today we want to remember this terrifying incident and its 129 victims by sharing our stories of how we learned about the attacks and how we experienced the night and days afterwards. Regardless of natinality, gender, ethnicity or age everyone was affected by the terroristic events one way or another and everyone has a unique memory of that day that should be heard. We believe that despite the horros our solidarity, strength and togetherness should not vanish into oblivion but instead be remembered and shared to overcome hate, stereotypes and extremism.
IN 4 DAYS