< SWITCH ME >

Another week has passed and it's time for us to provide you with another Good Reads post. This time round E&M's Veronica Pozzi is taking up the challenge and shares articles that got her thinking about how IS uses social media and how this particular battle is fought in Berlin. Her final pick is about sexual and religious identity in Europe.

 

9veronicap

Veronica, Sixth Sense

 

ISIS: When the recruitment starts on SoundCloud

 

In a period in which the Islamic State (IS) appears on the front pages of newspapers across different European states, it is somehow frustrating to note the lack of good journalism on the topic. Despite the huge media attention that IS gets, and also in the light of recent events in France and Syria, it seems that there is a general lack of original stories, a lack of journalists who do not only work with press agencies but who have actually been "out and about" and can provide some essential shoe-leather reporting.

 

That is why I was so happy when I stumbled across this article co-written by Anthony Faiola and Souad Mekhennet for The Washington Post. Set in an immigrant neighborhood in south Berlin, the story revolves around a liberal mosque that, for years, has been a progressive and tolerant place where battered Muslim women could seek help in divorcing. But now a further problem claims the mosque's attention: IS and its recruitment of young, European Muslims.

 

Starting around the time that the infamous Denis Cuspert, a Berlin based rapper who started to spread radical views via his songs three years ago before going to fight in Syria, came to prominence, the recruitment process of new Muslim fighters for the IS is now run online. This article by The Local focuses on SoundCloud's jihadi accounts asking young Muslims to go and fight in Syria using the power of music and it connects this trend with Germany's law and efforts to oppose the IS. But this is just an example of how IS uses social media and Internet to spread its radicalism: this recent article posted by BuzzFeed (yes, they do also serious and investigative journalism) focuses on how IS is currently threating Twitter founder and employees after their decision to block several pro-jihad accounts. 

 

Published in Good Reads
Tuesday, 03 December 2013 18:10

GAME OVER, Hate

hate_me_not_small

Brilliant sunshine, Hungarian cats and a ‘gossip box’ accompanied the various talks at the GAME OVER Hate study session in the European Youth Centre, Budapest, at the end of September. What do human rights have to do with art, what happens ‘behind the scenes’ in computer games and why is Europe at the heart of it all?

You might be wondering what GAME OVER Hate is. Unless you have been offline for a year, you can’t have missed the large European campaign against hate speech online. Do you remember a casual encounter with the ‘No Hate’ red heart;? Yes, that’s the symbol of the first youth campaign for the recognition of human rights online. The heart represents the chief European values of solidarity and respect in the context of online communication. 

Published in Snapshot
Monday, 25 June 2012 16:40

Good Reads 25/06/12

Each week, two E&M editors share their favourite European reads. From blog posts to essays, it can be anything that amused them, worried them or got them thinking about Europe.

juliane

Juliane, Diaphragm Editor 

Feminism: It's a girl thing

When I tell people that I'm a feminist, they often shrug and think I'm crazy. What's left for feminists to be mad about? Women can work in almost any kind of profession and the universities are filled with women. We've won the battle, some might say. Well, I beg to differ. The reason we still need feminists to speak up about the way things are is because there still is a problem with the attitude towards women. Unfortunately, it seems that the latest example of this has come from the EU - who apparently have not learned much from their last PR disaster. The video "Science - it's a girl thing" produced to attract more women to the natural sciences proves that we still have a long way to go in terms of changing attitudes towards women. Apparently, the EU thinks women need to believe that science is about pretty scientist girls and hot scientist guys in order to be attracted to it. The EU has withdrawn the video, but for me, the damage is already done. Think about how many people must have reviewed this video before it was released - and not one found it offensive? That's why I'm still a feminist. Read more about why it's a problem to think that girls can only be attracted to science when it involves lipstick here.

Brace yourselves: The festival season is coming

For me, summer equals festivals. Some people might not agree with me, but a dirty field, loud music, sleeping in tents and drinking beer all day spells happiness to me. I've already been to two festivals this year - Distortion Festival in Copenhagen (which The Rolling Stone magazine dubbed the European version of SXSW, the largest music festival in the world) and Northside Festival, the German Southside Festival's little sister in Aarhus, Denmark. In a few days, I'm going to Roskilde Festival for the 7th year in a row (hint: Keep an eye out on the blog...) - but there are dozens of other opportunities to enjoy the music, the beer and the beautiful people all over Europe. Here are a few options to choose from and be inspired by.

Tweet, tweet: I'm crazy

I love the idea. I really, really do. The Swedish government turns over a twitter account (@sweden) to different citizens each week, the idea being that the best people to showcase Swedish culture and mentality are the Swedes themselves. Well, it worked fine... Until Sonja got to make the calls. I'm not quite sure if it's for real or not, and some of the things are just outright offensive, but I can't help but think that her photoshopped picture of Freddie Mercury ogling a strawberry salad entitled "hungry gay with aids" is the most absurd (and possibly, if she actually means what's she tweeting, the most offensive) thing I've seen online in ages. Check out the story here.

Published in Good Reads
Friday, 04 May 2012 06:02

Alla Franca, Alla Turca

For the first time we crossed an actual border: passports, customs, vehicle check. It was all very exciting and we felt somewhat more abroad once we were on Turkish ground. Our first impressions? For one, nationalism showed its face right away with enormous flags at the border post. Then, we were surprised by how little developed rural areas are (even on the European side). And when we hit Istanbul we were overwhelmed by the culture, the size, and the contradictions of this city that is literally at the edge of Europe. (This article was originally published for the Euroskop project, a travel blog about today's Europe.)

Following our routine, we try to discover some fun facts about the upcoming country. Turkey's economy grew twice as fast as Greece's shrank in 2010, we read. Istanbul has doubled in population over the last 20 years; and the city was European Capital of Culture (sic!) in 2010. Since we are now leaving the EU, we also consider the German Federal Foreign Office's website. With regard to driving in Turkey it recommends: traffic rules are rarely respected. Behave defensively and don't get involved in fights as drivers might react agressively. We comply and drive carefully through the night, towards Asia. 

During our two-day visit to Istanbul we have the privilege to be invited by Okan University and the Turkish Policy Quarterly for a discussion with Turkish students and professors. We are also able to talk to Mustafa and Eda, two friends of our host Jasper, as well as to a few young Turkish people in the streets of Taksim. We have Kebaps, fresh fish sandwiches, smoke a water pipe, drink chai, and cross the Bosphorus by ferry. Turkey on a shoestring. But what about our findings? What do young Turkish people think about the EU and the accession process? In a nutshell, there are three stories to be told from Turkey. The first one is about why Europe is crucial to the Turkish population, the second one is about why it is not. And the third one explains why Turkish politics is more complex than most people think.

With over 100 journalists and academics in jail, the human rights situation is anything but satisfactory. "There is no free speech, people are afraid," says Mustafa, a young law student. When he launched a political website a couple of months ago with a friend, the friend's phone began to be checked by the secret service. Mustafa is lucky to study at a private university where arguments can be expressed more openly. Similarly, the participants of our discussion at Okan University complain about imprisoned colleagues and the general lack of democratic standards. The Kurdish population continues to have a hard time, too, as the government refuses to accept them as a minority. Professor Ayakon describes the situation as a "deadlock". As a consequence of all the human rights assaults, Professor Alemdar argues that orientation towards Europe is definitely needed. "Europe can and should be a norm exporter," she says. There are numerous other examples of how the military, the judiciary, and the political elite abuse their powers in the supposedly secular, democratic state. As part of the accession process these questions must be addressed. So the first story is: the EU is important for Turkey because it has the capacity to push the country towards better human rights standards.

Turkey is trying to find its place in international relations and is carefully balancing its interests in its neighbouring countries. Europe is by no means the only candidate for strategic alliances.
Published in Reader Submissions
NEXT ISSUE
IN -785 DAYS