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Veronica Pozzi

Veronica Pozzi

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.

 

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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. 

 

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Photo: Matthias Ripp; Licence: CC BY 2.0
 
Love for all 

 

Being in a love relationship can be at times complicated, right? Besides the ups and downs of a "regular" story, those who are in a long-distance relationship may find it way harder to overcome misunderstandings as well as to share nice moments. Broadening the topic,we wanted to go deep inside the feelings and thoughts of a young European couple currently split up into two different places, unveiling their fears, their struggles and their hopes for a future together. E&M's Veronica Pozzi tells the story of Marta and Johannes, an Italian-German couple who have grappled with national stereotypes and modern technology as part and parcel of their relationship.

 

"I was terribly late. It took me a while to get from my flat to the underground station and the way to get there had been quite weird, featuring a soldier from the German army who paid my bus ticket as I had run out of coins. After getting lost and adding more minutes to my already huge delay, I managed to arrive at the place. And he was there. With his blond hair, drinking a rather big beer. Looking very German indeed. Without taking my eyes off him, I started to talk to an Italian friend, who arranged the evening together, and as I was talking to her (read: very loud and with lots of gestures) I thought I must look truly Italian. And then the show began".

 

The memories Marta tells us are a strange but clear mixture of funny and sad bits. Her willingness to be abroad brought her to Germany, but she never thought that she was going to be so involved with that country as she is now. She was in that situation when you are not really on the look-out for a new story. But the guy she met there impressed her a lot and the dates that followed made her feel so comfortable, interested and happy that she felt she didn’t want to miss out on him. So, almost two years ago, their relationship started –  more as an emotion-driven decision rather than a totally rational one. But here they are, and, in these two years, they have gone through quite a lot.

Ready for some Good Reads from Europe and beyond? This time Veronica Pozzi, one of our Sixth Sense editors, takes up the challenge and shares with you some multimedia content. Follow this intriguing mixture of media, from an article about the way we structure European cities to a podcast on the Berlin Wall.

 

Veronica, Sixth Sense

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Modern Ghettos in Civilized Europe

 

Strolling around in Berlin's Museum of European Cultures, I once saw pictures of doorbells being used to show the social changes different cities have undergone. I was rather interested by the idea of demonstrating how waves of immigration have changed European cities through the years, so that doorbells have slowly started to feature not only local surnames, but also last names typical to other countries as well. 

Since then, whenever I visit a city I cannot resist the temptation to have a look at some doorbells here and there, daydreaming about what brought immigrants there and whether they feel integrated in the city's society. It's an easy way to grasp how a city has organised itself, how it copes with its past and current social issues and what kind of social mix characterises the quarter you are in at the moment. It is no surprise that if you are in the outskirts or deprived areas, you will most likely stumble across many doorbells of immigrants, let alone prisons or mental hospitals, as society tries to hide or not to think about these realities. 

On this topic, I was intrigued by the views that the Italian architect Guido Morpurgo shared on Eutopia magazine. His article poses the question of social identity in European cities and does not forget how European society is still far from having an integrative – and integrated – society. As Morpurgo argues, Europe has a long-standing tradition of ghettos, mostly associated with Jewish communities and the Third Reich. 

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