< SWITCH ME >
The Ukrainian people, especially the young generation, have always felt European, they always wanted to be recognised as Europeans and saw their future in Europe. They share the values of rule of law, freedom and democracy. For them Europe was a promise of hope, and when the Ukrainian government refused to sign the Association agreement at the summit in Vilnius, people took to the streets to fight for their future.
The escalator at Maidan Nezalezhnosti metro station in Kiev is the longest I've ever seen. It takes a few good minutes to reach the top, which leaves plenty of time to form expectations about what lies at the end of the climb. Yet nothing you read in the news or see in pictures truly prepares you for what happens after you come out of the underground. The Independence Square (or Euromaidan) is a kind of Hemingwayesque resistance city. It smells like burnt wood and rusty iron and improvised kitchens. Here and there fires lit in old trash cans give rise to grey columns of smoke. A few hundred people are already on the Maidan at 9 am in the morning, most of them holding tall Ukrainian flags.
In the centre of the main boulevard, a festival-like stage hosts speeches from opposition leaders and public figures, as well as live performances by popular Ukrainian artists. On the left hand side, there is a large banner of Yulia Timoshenko's elegant portrait looking towards the sky. People are silent and still, listening to the words coming from the stage. I can't understand a word of Ukrainian except when they say "Slava Ukraini!" (Glory to Ukraine), to which people reply unwaveringly, in perfect sync "Heroyam Slava!" (Glory to our heroes).
Next to the stage, on the Trade Unions House - now a bastion of the "revolution" - a huge screen displays a pixelated livestream of those speaking into the microphones. On the other side of the boulevard, a tall metal Christmas tree is now covered in Ukrainian flags, posters made by protesters and cartoons of Ukrainian politicians and Vladimir Putin. No sign of police or the feared Berkut officers anywhere. No sign of traffic or anything that doesn't serve the purpose of the protest. The Maidan belongs to the resistance.
When the bigwigs of international politics meet to discuss climate change, most people only shrug: too bulky, too distant, too untrustworthy. Not Laura Führer. As an observer for the international student think tank CliMates, she had the chance to take a closer look from the scene. Here she reflects on her experience in the negotiations jungle in Warsaw and on the role of young people within and outside these negotiations.
Winter is our favourite season at E&M: workshop time! For the third time after Hamburg (January 2011) and Berlin (December 2011), the European online magazine organised a workshop to spread the word on transnational journalism and at the same time bring together a select bunch of European ‘Me’s with the ‘Me’s of E&M. With 400 applications, the selection was tough, but certainly worthwhile. The workshop brought four E&M editors together with 18 top-notch participants, whose backgrounds in journalism were both diverse and ambitious, ranging from European press review to euro|topics, Al Jazeera, Radio France International, BBC, Café Babel magazine, and Cosmopublic.eu. (And of course, some had contributed to E&M itself.) Ages spanned from 19 to 30, and 15 countries were gathered around one table.