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Thursday, 18 February 2016 16:12

Italy's troubled path towards civil unions

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pic EM Italy
Photo:  SignorDeFazio (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0  

 As the Cirinnà Bill is currently debated in Italy, Nicoletta Enria spells out what this legislative text is about and explains why civil union  is such a contentious topic for Italy

 I distinctly recall observing the beautiful scenes of jubilation when the US Supreme Court ruled gay marriage as legal nation-wide; I couldn’t help but wonder if this could ever occur in Italy. Italy remains the only country in Western Europe that does not recognize civil unions or gay marriage. Italy fosters a deeply catholic society, probably due to the Vatican and the Pope residing in the heart of Rome and a long Catholic history that came along with this. Despite Prime Minister Matteo Renzi having promised to pass a law on civil unions, this never seemed to be a priority. With the European Court of Human rights (ECHR) condemning Italy for failing to provide enough legal protection for same-sex unions, sentiments yearning for change were in the air. The controversial Cirinnà Bill seems to finally be paving the way for Italy to legalise civil unions. 

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.

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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.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016 11:13

E&M proudly presents….

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…the new editorial board. We are excited to introduce Alex from Bulgaria, Isabell from Germany, Justine from France, Sam from the UK and Victoria from France. With five new editors, our board is now complete and everyone is already eagerly working on the upcoming issue for April. But first, we want you to get to know the new faces at E&M.

May I introduce all
Photo courtesy of Isabell Wutz 
 

Alex is from Bulgaria, but currently living in Poland. He used to be a pseudo intellectual of sorts, but after a recent cathartic about-face, he recently started to work in a multi-national corporation in Poland. Brought up by a pack of wolves, he despises cars everywhere and is complimented for his zany remarks in inappropriate moments. For him, Europe means ever so titillating waves of post-traumatic chill. Alex decided to become part of E&M to push towards more sincerity in discussing present-day Europe. While working as editor for Diaphragm, a glass of good rum always seems to do the trick.

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