Stories from Quick Reads and Western Europe
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.
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.
On April 17, the French government unveiled a national campaign to combat racism and anti-Semitism in France. The objective of the campaign is to fight all prejudices, raise awareness and get citizens engaged in the conversation.
One hundred euros will be allocated over three years to educate and promote cultural diversity. The hashtag #planantiracisme (the plan against racism) was the number one trending topic on Twitter on the day of the announcement.
According to the Report on Racism and Antisemitism by the Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme CNCDH (National Comission on Human Rights), there was a 30% increase in racist acts in 2014 (from 1,274 in 2013 to 1,662 in 2014). Anti-Semitic acts went from 423 in 2013 to 851 in 2014, including the attack on the kosher store after the Charlie Hebdo shooting.
A 13-year-old boy was killed by a shark on April 12 near Les Aigrettes on Reunion island.
Elio Canestri was a promising surfer and a member of the local surfing club. The local community is shocked by the tragic news. A Facebook page was set up to commemorate his life, with already more than 3,500 fans within a few hours.
Soon after the events, the local authorities activated the post-attack measures, which include specific fishing targets in the area.
Unfortunately, shark attacks have become a repetitive event on Reunion island: There have been 16 shark attacks off the island since 2011. In February this year, island authorities extended a law prohibiting swimming and other water-based activities except in special areas in response to the high number of attacks. The measure has resulted in a dramatic decline in tourism.
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.
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.
Read more of our special coverage: Streams of Refugees Seek Sanctuary in Europe
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.
Former French Defense Minister Finds Excuses for the Alleged Rape of Central African Children by French Soldiers
Afrique Info reports that JP Chevènement, a former defense minister of France, stated on public radio Europe 1 on May 3 that the challenging conditions that French soldiers face in the Central African Republic could explain “behavior of that kind” (see video above). Chevènement was referring to the allegation of child sexual abuse by French troops posted in the Central African Republic. The allegations surfaced after disciplinary proceedings were taken against a United Nations employee accused of leaking the allegations to the French authorities.
On March 5, 2015, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that the reduced value-added tax (VAT) established for printed books should not apply to digital books, considering everything distributed or delivered electronically or via Internet as a service. Amalia Lopez questions the resolution on the Blog Sinerrata Editores:
Lo que más me ha llamado la atención es que refuerzan la decisión utilizando el argumento del soporte, […] que igual tuvo sentido en algún momento del pasado pero hoy en día me resulta completamente absurdo. Es verdad, el libro electrónico es un archivo no un objeto pero, ¿es un libro menos libro porque lo guardo en mi ordenador o mi lector electrónico en vez de en la estantería? ¿Cuándo leo un libro digital la experiencia cultural es menor que cuando es un libro de papel? Es decir, lo que este tribunal ha sentenciado (o esa es mi interpretación) es que lo que hace de un libro un producto cultural y por tanto merecedor de un impuesto reducido (y un menor coste para los consumidores) es el papel en el que está impreso.
What struck me was that they used the format as an argument to reinforce their decision, […] which maybe could have made sense at some point in the past, but nowadays, I find it completely absurd. It is true, an e-book is a file and not an object, but does it make a book less of a book if I keep it on my computer or my e-reader rather than on the book shelf? When I read a digital book, is the cultural experience lesser than when a read the book on paper? That is to say, what this court has ruled (or, at least, that's my interpretation) is that what makes a book a cultural product, thus deserving reduced tax (and a lower cost to its consumers), is the paper on which is printed.
The sentence includes books downloaded or viewed online and encompasses electronic formats for computers, smartphones, e-readers or any reading devices.
On April 2, 2015, at least 147 people were killed by gunmen on the campus of Garissa University in Kenya, according to Kenya's National Disaster Operation Centre (KRCS). The center also reports that 79 people were injured and 587 people were evacuated at this stage.
The suspected mastermind of the massacre is the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab militant group, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
The tragic accounts of the shooting by survivors triggered a show of solidarity worldwide. The francophone world, still weary after the Charlie Hebdo attack, responded by showing solidarity with the Garissa victims on social networks with the hashtag #JesuisKenyan (to mirror the hashtag #JesuisCharlie). It was the second most trending topics on Twitter in France on April 3.
Here are a few of those posts:
— #BPM Nouveau single (@TEAMBEOZEDZED) abril 2, 2015
147 died in the horrific #terrorist attack against education and our future. Let's show solidarity #JesuisKenyan
Trop peu de médias ne parlent de l'attentat terroriste de l'université Kenyane, 147 morts ce n'est pas suffisant?! L'HORREUR #JeSuisKenyan
— Lorphelin Marine (@MarineLorphelin) April 3, 2015
Not enough talk in the media about the terrorist attack at the university in Kenya, are 147 dead not enough ?! HORRIBLE #JesuisKenyan
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
Not only can artists live off their work, but the Internet can actually be a lifeline for them in today's increasingly competitive marketplace. The blog RamGon looks into opportunities for painters in social media and, more importantly, into how the medium can help artists to publicize and market their work.
In an interview with RamGon, the artist known as Goloviarte — Gregorio Lopez Vicente — explains the risks and benefits that social media offers today's artists:
Para la publicación en esos canales, a grandes rasgos, ¿qué estrategia de publicación de contenidos sigues? ¿qué herramientas y criterios usas para llevar a cabo determinadas acciones?
Roughly speaking, in order to publish in these channels, what content publishing strategy to you follow? What tools and criteria do you use to complete specific tasks?
El único criterio que sigo es ser visto, por tanto, participo en todas aquellas redes sociales en momentos en los que veo que la gente esta participando más, como puede ser un evento, o un post con muchos comentarios en facebook, etc. Los hashtags en Twitter son muy importantes para tener visibilidad, y en cuanto a herramientas no uso ninguna, lo hago todo controlando manualmente todo desde el navegador.
The only criterion I follow is to be seen, so I take part in all those social networks in which I see people getting more involved, like when there is a particular event or a post that has lots of comments on Facebook, etc. Hashtags on Twitter are very important for visibility, but as for tools I don't use any—I do everything manually from the browser.
Here are a few examples of how Goloviarte takes advantage of social networking to market his work:
— goloviarte (@goloviarte) March 7, 2015
How about a mural for your hotel? or office? Talk to me
— goloviarte (@goloviarte) diciembre 31, 2014
Mi paintings are available to all my followers