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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.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so we're setting out to discover what photography might be able to tell us about today's Europe.
Here at E&M, we don't just want to know what young Europeans think about Europe, we also want to find out how they see and feel the continent. So we're introducing a new competition Europe Through a Lens to Sixth Sense and are going to be publishing a selection of our readers' photographic work on a regular basis. All you have to do is submit images that you think best represent our European theme of the month.
With the summer holiday season upon us, we're kicking things off with the theme "Summer in Europe". So think maybe beaches, sunshine, sandcastles... In the end though, it's up to you and your powers of imagination: everyone is completely free to interpret the theme as they wish.
The top three entries will be published on the E&M website each month, but we'll also aim to use as many entries as possible within future editions of magazine, so you can show off your skills and get your photos out to a wider audience.
Our judges will be on the lookout for particularly creative and original images. These might tell a story or illustrate an unusual aspect of European society. One thing's for sure, though; they'll all exhibit a deeply personal approach to Europe.
Closing date for this month's competition: 25 August 2014
Come on, get snapping!
You can send your entries to photo [at] europeandme.eu
Before submitting, please take a good look at our Terms and Conditions.
The Israeli-Palestian conflict has long been a contentious issue around the world
With the escalation of military operations in Gaza, anti-Israel protests are on the rise in a number of European cities. Alarmingly, these protests often appear to have an anti-Semitic tone that is not related to the conflict in the Middle East. According to Laetitia Grevers, instead of criticising constructively, many demonstrators rule out political debate and create a climate of hate.
Europe’s political institutions are enjoying the summer break. Local politics has taken a back seat and citizens' attentions are turned towards more global concerns. Thousands of them have taken to the streets to protest against the military offensive in Gaza. And it is here that anti-Semitism has been flaring up across Europe.
The biggest demonstration took place in London three weeks ago with 10,000 protesters. Some demonstrators claimed that Israel is continuing "Hitler's war of annihilation" and seeking a "final solution". In France riots quickly turned violent: two Parisian synagogues were attacked with baseball bats and sticks and cars were set on fire. Demonstrators shouted: "Death to the Jews!" or "Jews get out!". These views are far removed from the political debate on the conflict in the Middle East. Paris' chief rabbi Haim Korsia is demanding that the French no longer downplay the rise of anti-Semitism within their society.
Photo: Darya Malyutina; Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Members of the Ukrainian diaspora protesting in London
Ukrainians living in London have been very active since the early days of Euromaidan. Motivated by a desire to help compatriots back home and make Ukraine a democratic country, free from corruption, authoritarianism and Russia’s meddling, they have organised numerous protests, the last three of which were connected to the MH17 air disaster. Darya Malyutina, a London-based migration researcher, who has focused on the transnational politics of the Ukrainian activist community, takes us inside their feelings and actions.
Just hours after the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine, a few dozen Ukrainians laid flowers in front of the Dutch and Malaysian Embassies in London. This group of activists then headed to the Russian Embassy and demonstrated there because, according to circumstantial evidence, the plane seemed to have been downed by a surface-to-air missile apparently launched by Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk area. On 20 July, three days after the tragedy, they gathered with flags and banners for another rally in front of the Russian embassy, chanting "Putin is a terrorist!" "Where are the British? Where are the Dutch and the Malaysians? Why aren’t they protesting with us?", they asked. On 21 July, they were at Whitehall, in front of the prime minister’s residence, calling for sanctions to be imposed on Russia.
In fact, since the end of November 2013, when Euromaidan started in Kiev, protesting has become a common way of expressing political agency for members of Ukrainian communities around the world. The MH17 crash, an event which may yet have further massive international consequences, was one of the most critical points in the Ukrainian crisis; the diaspora reacted immediately.