Stories from Quick Reads and Western Europe
While the European immigration crisis is not showing any signs of dying down, the EU has been taking some much needed measures related to saving the lives of the people who are trying to enter Europe trough the Mediterranean. Aside from the Mediterranean Sea, migrants have also been fleeing their home countries by way of the now familiar ‘Balkan Route’, traveling from Kosovo and war-torn Middle Eastern countries. One of the key entrance points to European grounds is the route from non-EU Serbia into neighboring EU member Hungary. Hence, to keep immigrants out of the European Union, the Hungarian PM is planning on erecting a 4-meter-high, 175-kilometer-long fence along the border with Serbia.
Victor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, said during the Globsec Bratislava Security Conference:
Mađarska ne vjeruje u europsko rješenje pitanja ilegalnih imigranata, a zid prema susjedima gradi jer je to “obaveza države”.
Hungary does not believe in the European solution of the illegal immigrant problem and the wall towards our neighbors is this country's obligation
There were more than 50,000 illegal entrances to Hungary since the beginning of January 2015. At the same time, 47,000 migrants have entered Italy. Austria and Germany will return 15,000 illegal immigrants to Hungary and, by the end of the year, there could be some 150,000 immigrants in that country by the end of the year, Al-Jazeera reports.
A podcast by photojournalist Mauro Prandelli describes first-hand what is it like to be an undocumented person and to stay at the immigrant camp in Hungary, an immigrant calling the country “a dead zone for immigrants”. The interview was recorded in Bogovajda bush, 70 kilometers from Belgrade, Serbia.
In global terms, illegal immigration is a growing issue and governments are searching for a permanent solution. According to UNHCR's report ‘Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2014′, displaced persons now roughly equate to the population of Italy or the United Kingdom. The top three countries of origin of the immigrants are the Syrian Arab Republic (3.88 million), Afghanistan (2.59 million), and Somalia (1.11 million). However, many do not see building a wall between countries in the 21st century as a proper solution.
“Too Black to Be French” is a documentary made by Isabelle Boni-Claverie, a French-Ivorian writer and filmmaker. Boni-Claverie's goal is to provide unexplored ideas and start a conversation on French society's inequalities and discrimination.
The documentary includes commentary and analyses from renowned Francophone thinkers such as Eric Fassin, Pap Ndiaye, Achille Mbembe, Patrick Simon and Eric Chalaye, along with testimonies from anonymous people of color. Some of the main arguments in the documentary are the conspicuous lack of minorities in the public media sphere, the lack of acknowledgment of colonial history in the fabric of the nation and the absence of quantitative data on discrimination at the workplace.
The documentary ignited a trending hashtag #TuSaisQueTesNoirEnFranceQuand (Translation: You know you are black in France when…) on Francophone social media.
The year 2015 is especially important for our planet’s climate. One of the highlights is the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) that will take place from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris. Diplomats from all over the world will gather to discuss global policies and France is intent on making a success out of the event.
Civil society groups, as well as journalists and bloggers are also gearing up to push for what they see as a last chance or a first step for our planet's survival, as summed up by French blogger Jack Tenin on Club Mediapart.
If you are longing to be an active part of the discussion on the side of the civil society and you are willing to come to Paris during the event, you could participate in the event at a new media information factory that includes a co-working space and can provide affordable places to stay, as well as connection to the venue.
The project aims at manufacturing a different storytelling on climate change, by
- QUESTIONNING the misconceptions of our times on the climate and sustainability topic with artists, journalists, scientists, bloggers, hackers, poets…
- COMMENTING the news and debates happening simultaneously at COP21.
- CO-CREATING new methods and tools to change positively the storytelling around «climate».
- CO-HABITING with 600 storytellers from all over the blue planet and create new connexions.
A youth hostel, St Christopher Inn, located near the Gare du Nord, with its ground floor Belushi’s bar, will exclusively host Place to B throughout the COP21.
Registration for Place to B is here. You may even meet some Global Voices contributors during this busy and massive event.
The growing migration crisis has recently also affected countries in southeastern Europe, with new issues arising almost daily. Reacting to the inhumane treatment of migrants who pass through Republic of Macedonia, renowned human rights activist Suad Missini started a hunger strike in front of the Parliament building in Skopje. He began the strike immediately after publishing his three demands in a Facebook post on Sunday, June 14, which garnered almost 300 likes and over 90 shares in just the first day.
I am just starting a hunger strike.
In front of the Parliament.
I demand urgently and immediately:
- Urgent adoption of the changes of the Asylum law, that would enable safe transit or temporary stay of refugees passing through the Macedonian territory, as well as free use of all publicly available means of transport.
- Concrete and publicly announced measures by the Ministry of Interior in view to safeguard the life, security and possessions of refugees passing through Macedonia.
- Immediate liberation of all refugees and migrants detained in the Gazi Baba center and its immediate closure.
The strike will not end unless these demands are fulfilled.
Thousands of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Nigeria and other war zones pass through Macedonia, traveling from Greece towards Serbia on a path to try to reach Germany or other well-off EU countries. The migrants used to follow the railway tracks on foot, suffering horrific “accidents.” Lately the migrants buy bicycles, reportedly at inflated prices, in southern Macedonian towns and cycle on the main highway. Many of them fall victim to human trafficking rings and gangs of robbers. Some of the refugees are held as “witnesses” in the Reception Center for Foreigners “Gazi Baba” in Skopje in what Macedonian Ombudsman Idzhet Memeti has called “inhuman, unhealthy, and undignified” conditions.
The Government is supposed to discuss the amendments to the Asylum Law on June 16.
On April 8, on the occasion of the International Romani People Day, the organizations that form the Romani People Council started a campaign using social networks to request the Royal Spanish Academy to change the definition of the word gitano (Spanish word for gypsy) in the dictionary.
The purpose of the campaign, which is using the hashtags #YoNoSoyTrapacero and #YoNoSoyTrapacera (I'm not a swindler, in both grammatical genders), is to raise awareness of the discrimination against ethnic Romani people. The campaign video is being widely shared on social networks.
It's worth noting, though, that in the definition that appears in the Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary, the word trapacero doesn't appear, but the fourth definition states “that swindles or acts with tricks”, as noted by user @MonicaEHM:
— Monica EH (@MonicaEHM) Mayo 14, 2015
The campaign “I'm not a swindler” is a good idea, but could someone tell me where in the dictionary does the Royal Spanish Academy use that term?
— Maite (@Maitenaiz) Mayo 12, 2015
I'm not a swindler.
— mabe molnar (@mabemolnar) Mayo 10, 2015
Worth listening to these children. I'm not a swindler. Stop discrimination, even in language.
Liese Van Der Watt, a South African art writer based in London, writes about 53 Echoes of Zaire, exhibition of popular painting from Zaire that is going on in London:
The exhibition was curated by Salimata Diop from the Africa Centre in London in cooperation with the Sulger-Buel Lovell gallery. It comprises 53 paintings by artists Louis Kalema, C. Mutombo, B. Ilunga, Ndaie, and Tshibumba Kanda Matulu, belonging to the Belgian collector Etienne Bol whose late father Victor Bol collected these works while spending time in Zaire in the 1970s.
The artists are all self-taught and the exhibition shows a series of works all executed in a style similar to what is sometimes called the Zaire School of Popular Painting. The most famous of this so-called school is probably Chéri Samba, who shot to fame after he was included in the Magiciens de la Terre (Magicians of Earth) show at the Pompidou in 1989. These works are painted on flour sack rather than canvas, often with a limited palette of poster paints and with thick brushes.
Herve Cornara's Relatives Want Him to Be Remembered as a Great Guy, Not the Beheaded Victim of a Lunatic
Herve Cornara was the manager of ATC, a delivery company in Chassieu in the suburbs of Lyon, France. More importantly, he was a father of a young man and loved by his relatives and colleagues.
Cornara was killed and beheaded by Yassin Salhi next to a ISIS flag at a factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, in the Isère region. Salhi is a truck driver and father of three. He was born in Pontarlier, France; his mother now lives in Morocco and his late father was Algerian.
Il était investi, c'était quelqu'un qui voulait toujours aider les gens. Je vais continuer ce qu'il a commencé
He was invested in his community. I will continue the work he started
Pascal Servino, a friend of Cornara, adds:
C'était un homme affectueux, généreux. Il était strict sur le quartier : dès que quelque chose n'allait pas, il se mobilisait pour résoudre les problèmes. Il va nous manquer.
He was an affectionate, generous man. He was relentless when it came to the community: when something went wrong, he would get involved right away to solve the issue. He will be missed.
Two suicide bombings killed at least 23 people Monday (June 15) in Chad's capital N'djamena. Chad government stated that four attackers belonged to extremist group Boko Haram and were killed by the blast which targeted police. More than 100 people were also injured in the incidents. Chad has committed his army against Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has repeatedly threatened to attack Chadian interests before monday's bombings. Chadian activist Abdelkerim Yacoub Koundougoumi Egrey announces that a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with the victims will take place in Paris, place de la république on June 16 at 18h.
“Humanely…” That is the sarcastic headline of a photoblog that narrates how the French police dismantled and evicted a large makeshift camp of migrants in Paris starting June 2. The camp occupied an open space underneath a railway viaduct near the Porte de la Chapelle in the northern part of the city. By June 6, several dozens of migrants still lacked accommodation.
Zachary Rosen interviews photographer/poet Amaal Said. Amaal was born in Denmark to Somali parents and is currently based in London:
AIAC: Your photographs are remarkable in how they challenge and evolve notions of beauty in mainstream Western media by featuring intimate portraits of melanin-rich young people – with piercings, in headscarves and with natural hair. What experiences inform and shape the content of your photographs?
Amaal Said: I try my hardest to keep close to beauty. I grew up in a neighbourhood referred to as a ghetto in Odense, Denmark. I went back two years ago and all I can remember is how many shades of green I saw. I wish I had captured more of it. My own memories of Odense are at odds with what I read about it and hear from family. It’s always been a beautiful place to me, which doesn’t mean that a lot of sadness and tragedy didn’t happen there, it just means that both elements can exist at the same time.
I’ve spent most of my life in London and I’ve had the pleasure of being in communities with other artists who are doing really important work in the world. I never felt alone in that case. Negative opinions of the countries we came from and the communities we lived in existed. I was in classrooms with other children who claimed that people that looked like me were dirty immigrants who stole jobs and cheated the system. I feel like I spent a lot of time at secondary school fighting people’s opinions. And I’m not in those particular classrooms anymore, but I’m still trying to combat those negative portrayals.
I never saw the documenting I did as particularly hard work. I asked to take people’s pictures because I found them beautiful, because I recognised myself in them. I realise now how important the work is and how necessary it is to push against the images that do not represent us in our best light.