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Tuesday, 10 September 2013 19:54

The City of Living Poets

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E&M has not been to Russia. 

Christian Diemer is not reporting from Chernobyl.

It is not cold here.

Half an hour from the EU's border in Romania, at the foothills of the Karpathians, we are at the heart of Europe. What is now the smallest and remotest regional capital in today's Ukraine, was the Eastern outpost of the Austro-Hungarian empire; home to some of the most important German-speaking poets of the 20th century, and the epitome of multiculturalism and multilingualism for centuries. "A region in which lived humans and books", as Paul Celan put it.

For the fourth time now, region, humans and books have been reanimated. The past weekend, the big names of Ukrainian literature met authors from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Israel, Poland, Japan to light a firework of languages and arts. From the 6th to 8th of September, the International Meridian Czernowitz Poetry Festival was held - in the South-Western Ukrainian city of Chernivtsi.

Monday, 08 July 2013 13:13

How tolerant is Europe?

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17th of May was the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. Why were hate crime and discrimination hotly discussed across the continent in May? And how is tolerance related to a dynamic economic situation?

Mid-May we saw the results of two important surveys. One was published by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, the other was conducted by two Swedish professors and analysed by a foreign affairs blogger on The Washington Post. The EU Agency questioned LGBT people about their experiences of hate crime and discrimination, while Berggren and Nilsson’s survey explored the correlation between tolerance and economic growth and wellbeing. Although not apparently connected, the results of the two surveys could give an indication of Europe’s progress on the way to racial, gender and sexual orientation tolerance. 

For some 20 days straight, tens of thousands of Bulgarians have taken to the streets, protesting against the newly-elected government, in office for only a month. Riots brought down the previous government in February – what has happened to make tensions mount once more?

Friday, 28 June 2013 10:38

EVERY DAY I’M CHAPULLING!

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Facing tear gas and water cannons, Istanbul's youth gets creative over the Gezi Park events.

wallwritings_small
Photo: Julia Schulte
Anti-Erdogan slogans on walls

Recently, Istanbul's biggest Open Air Festival took place. For six days, young people turned the city's main square into a party area. There was camping, there were concerts and discussions. Families with young children joined as well as tourists, who took pictures on barricades and demolished cars, turning a revolution into a fun park site. The mobile traders, always business-minded, sold grilled fish and köfte, sesami rings, tea, coffee, water – and also diving goggles and simple face masks against gas attacks. You could get Turkish flags and Guy Falkes masks. The square was overcrowded during the day but even at about 4.30 am, when the Muezzin chants for the first time, you'd find people wandering around, chatting, eating. Also, someone always had to guard the barricades and claim territory by spraying new slogans on walls and streets. Starting with 'Tayyip istifa' (Tayyip resign) and 'Her yer Taksim' (Taksim is everywhere), people got more and more creative.

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