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It's that time for another of E&M's editors to suggest their favourite reads: Chris Ruff reflects on what the female involvement in the Islamic State could represent and how far did social media impact the british elections.
Chris, Heart / Legs editor
The women of IS
A powerful article that caught my eye this week is the latest in the New York Times' "State of Terror" series, focusing on the story of three young girls from London who flew to Syria to join the Islamic State in February this year.
The long read has numerous strands to it, including the identity dilemmas of second generation Muslim immigrants in Britain and other Western countries, and the tactics used by IS to lure young women from their safe homes in the West to their violent and dangerous "Caliphate" in the Syrian desert.
But what struck me most was the links to female empowerment and the "twisted form of feminism" that the IS female brigades represent. Of the 4000 foreign fighters who have joined the movement, 550 are estimated to be women and girls. Yet what is clear is that the phenomenon is misunderstood and authorities still don’t know how they should deal with it. One cannot help but notice that the fundamentalist Islamic critique – young Western girls being sexualised from a young age – has some truth to it. But their solution – the complete covering of the face and head and a life of purity and devotion to one’s husband, not to mention actively supporting a murderous regime – is an anathema to our liberal Western values
Photo courtesy of doppeldenk-spiele
Still can't get enough of European austerity politics? Not afraid of a delicate financial situation in your own living room? Then, "€uro Crisis" might be just the right board game for you! In the wake of the latest Greek crisis, the spotlight has once again been cast on the European financial crisis. E&M author Julia Schulte shares her experience in playing the recently developed board game "€uro Crisis" and explores how it depicts these troubled times.
I just bought the Spanish national football team at a give-away price. When the government had to privatise some of their most valuable possessions, my bank struck gold. Simon has a good run, too: as a major bonds holder of a highly indebted Ireland, his bank expects a nice dividend at the end of the year – unless I stop it.
I rearrange my tokens and think about which card to play next. This is by far the happiest I have ever been about the financial crisis. Simon smiles. He is one of a group of five students who developed "€uro Crisis", the board game which sometimes is so painfully close to reality that it leaves the winner with an uneasy feeling. Still, a lot of people seem eager to gain the title "Best Euro Crisis Gambling Bank". A crowd funding campaign to produce the game on a larger scale finished on 19 July, and provided the five of them with over 15,800 € – a lot more than the necessary 13,400 €, a goal they had already reached six days before the campaign’s official ending.
Spanish party Podemos has been on the rise in Spain gaining popularity in the country's most recent regional elections. E&M author Leire Ariz Sarasketa takes a closer look at the movement and what it means for both Spain and Europe.
When Spanish protesters took to the streets in 2011, they voiced their complaints about corruption and what they considered to be a faulty democratic system. Back then, a few politicians condescendingly suggested that rather than by occupying public spaces, the so-called indignados would be more effective at changing the system by going into politics. "Let's see how good they are in the real world," they seemed to think. Four years on, the new Spanish party Podemos, considered by many an heir of the Indignados movement, has five seats in the European Parliament and recently broke records in the local and regional elections held in May.
This transformation from street protesters to political heavyweights tells a powerful story of the rise of popular movements everywhere. Take for instance in the fact that the new Mayor of Barcelona, known for her fight against evictions was previously arrested by a police force that will now be under her control.
|Photo: GothPhil (Flickr); Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0|
Another week, another selection of journalistic gems, compiled by one of E&M's editors: Frances Jackson on a modern use for ancient philosophy, remembering Srebrenica and a couple of disconcerting developments in Russia.
Frances, Diaphragm / Baby editor
A word of advice from the ancients
In the run-up to last Sunday’s unprecedented referendum, much was written about the future of Greece, not all of it, I fear, especially helpful. One article, however, that seemed to buck the trend was William Irvine’s piece for the BBC on Stoicism and its applicability to the current situation.
Reminding us that the word crisis comes from the Ancient Greek for "decide" (a point that was incidentally also made by German polymath Joseph Vogl at a discussion I went to last week in Munich), Irvine disabuses his readers of the misconception that the Stoic approach is merely that of the stiff upper lip and highlights instead its inherently practical, vigorous nature even.
Though Irvine focuses on how the Greek people might achieve a degree of control over events in their country, I suspect that we could all probably benefit from the wisdom of the Stoic school of philosophy. You never know – taking time to consider how things could be worse might actually give us some much-needed perspective on this issue and others.
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.
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. On the blog, we host a photo competition called Europe Through a Lens and regularly publish a selection of our readers' photographic work. All you have to do is submit images that you think best represent our selected European theme.
This time around, we've gone with "European cityscapes" and you're welcome to interpret the topic however you wish. Whether taken in the place you grew up or just a holiday snap, entries can be images of anything from vertigo-inducing skyscrapers to the view from a rooftop, bathed in the light of the setting sun – so do feel free to let your imagination run wild!
Photo: Timothy Beyer
View from the hotel rooftop bar
The devastating news of the Nepal earthquake this April was a shock to everyone around the world, destroying vast numbers of ancient temples, endangering millions and killing thousands. E&M author Timothy Beyer gives us a unique insight into the reality of the earthquake and its repercussions.
When the noise started outside the window, I idly wondered what such a big lorry could be doing in the narrow road leading to our office. When the rumbling became a shaking, my colleagues and I looked up as one; with a collective, silent "Oh sh**", we left the room and ran down the shuddering stairs and out of the building.
This is not what you are meant to do in an earthquake. You are meant to hide under a table. If you do leave the building, you are advised to take all the obvious things, including the bright orange "go bag" filled with essentials. My colleagues and I did none of this. We just legged it, leaving behind go bags, phones and, in some cases, shoes.
The sensation of the earth shaking violently underneath you is hard to convey: there are no easy comparisons. Like night following day, one thing you can usually depend on is that the ground will stay put; and it’s deeply unnerving when it doesn’t. For a few moments, your mind constricts in a way that most of us never experience, focusing on one goal: escape.
Photo: Suzanne Alibert
What's it's like to leave your home behind and spend months visiting very nearly every country in Europe? E&M editor Rosamund Mather speaks with Suzanne Alibert about her project "Europe Next Door" and how it helps promote European values and reach out to young people in Europe.
E&M: Hello Suzanne! Could you briefly explain what exactly the project "Europe Next Door" is?
Suzanne Alibert: It’s a tour of Europe to meet young Europeans. I will be visiting 26 countries in the EU, plus Turkey and Iceland. During my travels, my aim is to see what the situation for people is like in each country and what they think about the European Union. I’m writing articles on my website during my trip, and when I’m back in France, I will write a book and do some conferences and photo exhibitions.
In this week's edition of Good Reads, the new editor of Sixth Sense Nicoletta Enria shares some articles about reversing gender stereotypes in Lithuania, the "rescue" mission Triton in the Mediterranean and the importance of appreciating street names when visiting a city.
Nicoletta, Sixth Sense editor
"They won the lottery"
The tense geopolitical atmosphere in Lithuania due to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has meant that the government has reintroduced conscription, which had been previously outlawed in 2008. I found this article from the Guardian’s Nadia Khomami particularly interesting, as it deals with a moving photography project by Lithuanian photographer Neringa Rekašiūtė and actor and TV host Beata Tiškevič-Hasanova in response to the reintroduction of conscription entitled "They Won the Lottery".
The photographs are truly arresting, portraying men in tears as a result of having been called up. However, what I found most fascinating is the reversal of male gender stereotypes, whereby the men in the photographs appear to be crying due to societal pressures for them to “man up” and not be cowards in the face of conscription. This piece casts a light on the rigid male stereotypes in Lithuania, which can be compared to those of many other European countries, and the aims of the project are to subvert and criticise them.
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