Stories from Quick Reads and Germany
Court Fines the Taiwan Immigration Authority for the Denied Entry of a Foreign Visitor Ahead Anti-nuclear Protest
Two years ago in March 2013, Daniel Andres Helmdach was detained and deported from Taiwan because the immigration suspected that he visited the country to join the anti-nuclear protest. The German youth had done nothing illegal in Taiwan before, he merely worked as a volunteer on conversation projects back in 2011. He sued the immigration office for the unreasonable treatment and finally the Taipei District Court ruled on July 30, 2015 that the immigration authority should pay a compensation of NT$125000 (US$4200) to Daniel for his plane ticket and as consolation payment.
Daniel's case has been considered a typical example of the Taiwanese authorities abusive use of power in clamping down dissent activities. Two Japanese people from Fukushima were warned by the country's immigration office immediately after they gave a speech at an anti-nuclear demonstration on April 30, 2011 in Taiwan.
Ximena Gutiérrez, a Nicaraguan mother, recovered her child who was detained by his father at the German Embassy in Nicaragua.
Arun was taken to the Embassy's office in Managua by his father, a German citizen. Considering the unwillingness to leave the place, the little child's mother reported to the authorities and media that her child was ¨kidnapped¨.
Immediately, tens of people mobilized in social media in favour of the Nicaraguan mother:
— Jimmy Altamirano (@JimmyATN8) March 17, 2015
Friends and family request Nicaraguan kid's return detained at German customs in Nicaragua.
German ambassador in Nicaragua Karl-Otto König, in his statements to the media, explained that both father and child have German nationalities and this European country's law says that they have the right to consular protection.
According to Gutiérrez, the child legally lives with her in Nicaragua since August.
— ivett blandon (@TeviTorrez) March 17, 2015
A man kidnaps his own son (what?!) and he took refuge at German customs. He had to be from Nicaragua, of course!
König and Minister of Family Affairs Marcia Ramírez agreed that it is a family and not a political-related issue.
The child was placed in the custody of his mother, according to the ambassador, who did not want to give more details because “it is a merely family issue.”
Women in Germany are outraged over one insurance company's videos explaining different types of policies, in which women are described as passive and naive — a role more in line with the expectations of the 1950s than 2015.
Birte Vogel writes on her blog Thea – Frauen in Sprache, Medien und Gesellschaft (Thea – Women in Language, Media and Society):
Die Rolle der Frau in den Augen der Alten Leipziger ist die der passiven Mutter und Tochter, des Mädchens, das selbst nicht Skateboard fährt, sondern den Jungen anhimmelt und ihn fotografiert, der gut situierten Ehefrau, die keinen Job hat und deshalb den lieben langen Tag am Gartenzaun stehen und tratschen kann, die keine Ahnung hat von Versicherungen, die sich gerne vom altväterlichen Gatten aufklären und belehren lässt und aus Sorge vor einer Scheidung gleich zurück an den Herd rennt, um dem Herrn etwas zu kochen. Eine Frau, die vollkommen abhängig ist vom Mann – wenn der sich scheiden lässt, bleibt ihr gar nichts mehr. Ganz klar: 50er Jahre.
According to the insurance company Alte Leipziger, the role of women is that of a passive mother and daughter, of a girl, who doesn't skateboard and adores and takes pictures of boys, of a wife, who doesn't have a job and has nothing else to do than to stand next to the garden fence all day chitchatting with her neighbour, who has no idea about insurance and doesn't mind being educated by her fatherly husband and who returns to the kitchen to cook him his favourite meal because she is worried over a divorce. A women who is completely dependent on her husband — if he wants a divorce, nothing will be left for her. This is definitely the 1950s.
Following the uproar, the company removed the videos.
Sigi Lieb tweeted in response to the controversy, using the hashtag #aufgewacht (#wakeup):
— Sigi Lieb (@gespraechswert) March 15, 2015
#wakeup in the year 2015. Amazingly stupid commercial video depicts women as dumbly serving and passive.
On El mago del balón (The magician of the ball), Spanish journalist José Eduardo Carratalá analyzes the national teams that played the final match on 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014, Germany and Argentina, where the European crew won, and compares how the German presented a mainly offensive team againt the defense of the South American team, who were finalists because they didn't receive any goals:
Alemania ha marcado 18 goles en 7 partidos (2,57 por encuentro). Suya es la mayor goleada del torneo (7-1 a Brasil en semifinales). También goleó a Portugal (4-0) en su debut. Ha marcado al menos un gol en todos sus partidos. […]
[Los argentinos] llegaron a la final gracias precisamente al buen hacer de su portero y su defensa. De hecho, el único gol que ha recibido Romero desde la primera fase fue el de Götze en la final. Hasta ese tanto, el meta argentino llevaba 486 minutos sin recibir un gol.
Germany scored 18 goals in 7 matches (2,57 per game). They own the widest margin of the tournament (7-1 with Brazil in semifinals). They also defeated Portugal (4-0) on their debut. They have at least one goal scored in each of their matches. […]
(Argentinian) made it all the way to the final match due to the good performance by their goalkeeper and their defense. In fact, the only goal Romero got since the group phase was the one by Götze on the final match. Until that goal, the Argentinian goalkeeper hadn't received a goal in 486 minutes.
Among the many records broken on this World Cup there is Miroslav Klose as the highest scorer in World Cups (16 goals) and the crew trained by Joachin Löw becoming the first European country to win in South America.
The French blog Rue89 analyzes the results [fr] of the Pew Center Survey on attitudes toward immigrants and minority groups in the European Union. Rue89 highlights that Roma population are the most ostracized minority group, especially in Italy and France :
It also highlights that negative opinions about Roma, Muslims and Jews are “consistently more common among people on the ideological right.” It is to be noted that it is forbidden for a french public institution to collect population data based on ethnicity [fr] or race.
Human remains who were killed during the colonial war (early 20th century) were returned to Namibia by Germany in March. However, Namibians still demand a formal apology from the German government as Tendai Marima, a post-doctoral researcher in African literature, wrote on the Think Africa Press website :
The skulls and skeletons that made their way home this month were seized by Germany back when Namibia − then ‘German South-West Africa’ − was one its colonies. Namibia was first occupied by the European power in 1884, and in 1904, the Herero and Nama peoples − dispossessed of their land and livestock − rose up together in an attempt to expel the Germans.
In an early revolt, over 100 German settlers and soldiers were killed, but the ensuing repression of the uprising was relentless and brutal. Over the three years it took to suppress the uprising, an estimated 65,000 Hereros and 10,000 Nama were killed, representing some 80% and 50% of those entire populations respectively. It is considered the first genocide of the 20th century.
The organizers of Re:Publica in Berlin, Germany have extended the deadline for submission of papers for speaking topics to February 7, 2014. The topic for this year's conference, which typically attracts around 5,000 people, is INTO THE WILD, exploring the unknowns of a post-Snowden era. Submit your papers today! The event will be held on May 6-8. Expect to see Global Voices there too. #RP14
As Berlin and Tokyo mark 20 years of friendship as sister cities, representatives of two creative industries, including Chairman of the Club Commission of Berlin Marc Wohlrabe and Takahiro Saito, a lawyer and member of Let's Dance, a consortium that fights against Japan's dance regulations, will come together for the AFTER 25 conference on March 1, 2014 in Tokyo to discuss how creative culture can contribute to the socio-economic development of both cities:
After the fall of the Berlin wall, extreme social, cultural and economic changes transformed the city into a unique playground. Today, 25 years later, it attracts creatives, tech startups, social entrepreneurs, and investors from all over the world.
Berlin recognized its creative sub-cultures as part of its identity and history, which now act as key drivers for tourism and economy. This transformed Berlin into a unique, successful city demonstrating how supporting creativity can grow into key economic and social factors fueling innovation and growth.
This dramatic yet positive change that Berlin went through leads us to the question: what role can Tokyo’s creative cultures play in laying the foundations for the city’s next phase? How can we paint a brighter future by aligning the creative potential of these two cities?
“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.
The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative – a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:
Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.
A short video presents the campaign:
Coolpolitics in Portugal announces [pt] an open call for European journalists who want to go on a reporting trip to Brazil in 2014. Twenty-one young reporters from Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom and Bulgaria will be selected to take part of three different groups that will cover events in Brazil, before and after the World Cup, while collaborating with Brazilian peers.
The Beyond Your World website explains the application process and the expected outcomes of this international reporting and training opportunity:
Ongoing demonstrations, the upcoming World Cup, preparations for the Olympic Games and approaching elections; 2014 is considered to be a very important year for Brazil. Consequently, many beautiful stories are out there and are waiting to be covered. Beyond Your World would likes to make a big contribution with this special project. We want to take this incredible opportunity to explore and tell stories in and from Brazil, not only by giving young journalists the chance to gain experience overseas, but also enabling them to work together with colleagues from different countries.
Deadline for applications is on January 10, 2014. This project – a cooperation between Lokaalmondiaal and the Brazilian media organisation Canal Futura – is part of the training program Beyond Your World which “seeks to inspire and enable the next generation of journalists to cover international development issues”.
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.
Read more of our special coverage: Streams of Refugees Seek Sanctuary in Europe
More than once, screenwriters have found inspiration in reality for their fiction. This time, it seems reality was inspired by fiction. The news that the co-pilot of German airline Germanwings‘ Flight 9525 is suspected of intentionally crashing the plane, taking the lives of 149 people with him, seems to be one of these cases.
The tragedy shares some similarities with Argentinean-Spanish film “Wild Tales“, directed by Damián Szifrón. The movie compiles six episodes connected by the topic of the relief of anger and the violence contained by different characters. The first of these stories is about a mentally disturbed pilot named Pasternak, who decides to commit suicide by crashing an airplane — which is filled with everyone who has harmed him since childhood — into his parents’ home:
On Twitter, several users from different countries could not help but notice the similarities between the air disaster and the movie:
Es inevitable, para quién haya visto @rsalvajes_ok, recordar ahora la primera escena. La realidad supera siempre la ficción.
— Jose Aceituno (@aceituno_jos) marzo 26, 2015
For those who have watched the movie @rsalvajes_ok it is inevitable that they remember the first scene. Reality always exceeds fiction
— Daniel Delgado (@warmth) marzo 26, 2015
— Bernd Schusky (@bschusky) marzo 26, 2015
The tragedy is more and more reminiscent one of the episodes in the movie Wild Tales #unconceivable #Germanwings
IP addresses inside the Russian government continue to be active on Wikipedia, where a computer at the Russian Secret Service, the FSO, revised the German entry for Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, changing the word “separatists” into “rebels.” The Twitter bot @RuGovEdits, which automatically logs all Wikipedia edits made from Russian government IP addresses, caught five separate attempts by an FSO computer this morning to make the “rebels” language stick. The effort failed. German Wikipedia editors reverted the article's language to the original text, every time.
Algeria and Germany national teams are set to face up on June 30 in Porto Alegre in the knock-out round of the FIFA World Cup. The match will revive plenty of strong emotions from both sides because of their previous game in 1982 at the World Cup in Spain. In their first World Cup ever, Algeria shocked heavy favorites Germany in a 2-1 victory that is still recalled fondly by Algerian supporters to this day. However, Algeria was still eliminated in the first round because Germany and Austria conspired to get a draw that would send both team through and Algeria home. The match is known around the football world as the “Disgrace of Gijón“. Here are highlights of the 1982 Algeria-Germany fixture :
People from around the world, including Germany, are posting photos of themselves with bananas on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to protest racism following an incident during a football match in Spain in which someone in the crowd threw a banana at FC Barcelona player Dani Alves.
The Brazilian footballer responded by picking up the fruit and eating it. The banana thrower was banned from the stadium for life.
This heralded an international wave of solidarity and a new selfie trend using the hashtags #WeAreAllMonkeys, #SayNoToRacism and #BananaSelfie. It began in the world of sport, as here in a photo of young players for the football club 1. FC Köln with player Mišo Brečko:
— 1. FC Köln (@fckoeln) 30. April 2014
Anti-racism workshop at #effzeh Kids Club with Miso #Brecko. #Weareallmonkeys #SayNoToRacism
The trend then took off in the world of politics, seen here in a photo of politician Kai Gehring and his fellow party members from the 90/Die Grünen coalition, who at the same time called for protests against right-wing extremism on May Day in Germany:
— Kai Gehring (@KaiGehring) 1. Mai 2014
love bananas, hate #racism – fly your flags today for a united, open-minded Europe!
Protesters also took up the selfie trend during May Day anti-racism protests:
— SPD Essen (@SPD_Essen) 1. Mai 2014
We're in #Altenessen. #weareallmonkeys #spd #essen
A group of young volunteers from southern Germany, many of whom have lived in Africa, are calling for photos, essays, videos, blog posts or poems by locals of five major African cities: Lagos, Addis Ababa, Gaborone, Kigali and Kinshasa.
With a forthcoming exhibition called “Sichtwechsel,” their goal is to show another face of Africa than what typically appears in German media — modern, urban, rapidly developing societies.
See their website at Missing-Images.com in English, French and German. The deadline for submissions is March 31, 2014.
In order to alleviate the lack of student housing available across Europe, a few universities in Denmark, Germany, France (Le Havre) [fr] and Spain have tried to turn containers into student dorms. Containers appear to be the structure of choice because they are less costly and readily adaptable to include the necessary amenities. However, a few associations have already raised a few issues [fr] regarding thermal isolation and safety in the containers.
Berlin is welcoming the digital intelligentsia to a conference this weekend (January 25-26) on “self-empowerment in the age of digital control”. Speakers at the event, As Darkness Falls, include Jacob Appelbaum, Bruce Sterling, Micah Sifry, Evgeny Morozov and from Global Voices, Asteris Masouras (@asteris).
“Abita”, an animated short film about Fukushima children who can't play outside because of the radiation risk, delicately illustrates their dreams and realities. The film, produced by Shoko Hara and Paul Brenner, won the award for Best Animated Film at the International Uranium Film Festival in 2013.
Shoko Hara, a student in Germany who was born in Okayama in the western part of Japan, wrote about the metaphor she used in the film.
We used Japanese symbolism in our film. The Dragonfly represents the Japanese island, because of its form. It also symbolizes hope, perspective, dream, energy in Japan and it unites all the natural elements like water, earth and air. These were destroyed with the Fukushima disaster, they don't have any perspectives for their future. Furthermore dragonflies in japan are carriers of fertility. The Dragonfly represents the inner world of the child, that it wants to be free in the nature, but it can't. Dragonfly is a popular symbol in japan and we often use it in arts, poems and in literature.
Despite scarce media coverage in Japan, the film has been shared widely on social media.
Radiation remains a serious problem for residents in the area surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since the plant suffered a meltdown following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
Being a street vendor is not an easy job, especially in Senegal. Yet this is the choice that Sebastian Prothmann, a native of Germany, made after he arrived in Dakar, Senegal a few months ago. The following video shows Prothmann at work [fr]:
Prothmann explains in an interview for the Dakaroiseries blog how he came to this unusual job [fr] in a western African country :
Au début de mon séjour j’ai rencontré un jeune homme qui a lors de notre premier contact manifesté son désir ardent de quitter le Sénégal. J’étais curieux de comprendre son ‘’monde vécu’’ pour aboutir à des interprétations socio-culturelles sur son envie d’émigrer. Il était marchand ambulant. Donc, un jour je lui ai demandé si je pouvais l’accompagner dans sa routine quotidienne. Ce qu’il a accepté. Il m’a donc fait faire un premier tour, soi-disant pour mon apprentissage. Il en était réjoui, car on a fait de bons bénéfices [..] Avec cet engagement, j’ai eu plus des prises de conscience dans le secteur informel, communément appelé aussi « Dóor waar », qui joue un rôle fondamental pour la jeunesse sénégalaise. [..] j’étais souvent confronté à une incrédulité frappante quant à mes origines. La plupart des personnes n’ont pas cru qu’un homme blanc peut s’investir dans un tel travail. Plusieurs fois j’étais aussi confronté à une confiance plus élaboré á mon égard. Il y avait des considérations selon lesquels moi en tant que Blanc devait vendre des produits de bonne qualité.
At the beginning of my stay (in Senegal), I met a young man who at our first meeting expressed his longing to leave Senegal. I wanted to understand why he wanted to leave and how his everyday life was so I could comprehend the socio-cultural interpretations of his desire to leave. He was a peddler. So one day I asked if I could accompany him in his daily routine hhich he accepted. After he made me do a round as a vendor, supposedly for my training. He was glad because he made some good profits [ ..] With this new work, I had a better understanding of the informal sector here, commonly known as “door waar ” which plays a fundamental role in the lives of Senegalese youth . [ ..] I was often faced with disbelief when it came to my origins. Most people did not believe that a white man can get involved in such work here. Several times I was also granted more trust about my products than the other street vendors. There was a prevailing line of thinking that suggested that a white person must be selling good quality products .