Since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union at the end of June, a discussion has been unfolding regarding the direction which this project should take. Regardless that such change only ever occurs after the fact — in this case, the belief that the EU needs reform was only publicly acknowledged by those in power after the UK referendum, although this has surely been apparent for a long time — the content of these discussions is both interesting and promising. And despite the divide which is slowly etching its way through public and private spheres alike, severing the propagators of an ‘ever closer union’ from those who wish to regress, politically speaking, to the smallest functional (national) unit, there is something distinctly opportunistic about the current societal ethos.
Title: Thoughts for a New Social Contract (2nd edition)
The length of our work is around 43,000 words.
From the Series: “Days of Independence”
From a collection of photographs taken on the weekend after the british EU-Referendum in Berlin and London.
As the weather continues to improve and another summer is almost upon us, the number of migrants dying in the Mediterranean Sea in a desperate attempt to reach the western world is on the rise once more. In just one week alone, reports claim more than a thousand drowned, their lifeless bodies now washing up on the sandy beaches of Libya, Greece and Italy. As this mass influx of migrants into Europe, from Africa and the Middle East in particular, is slowly ebbing into the second year, we can, once again, witness an underlying problem suffocating modern-day politics: the short-sightedness taking hold of decision-making.
Underlying the thoughts and considerations that are to follow are two main emotions. For one, unease; a feeling which stems from a failure to understand how it is possible to support two contradictory ideologies, and still believe them capable of coexisting peacefully: libertarianism on the one side; socialism on the other. For another, anger; a feeling which stems from the lack of consistency with which current rules and conventions, which we are all expected to follow, are being made.
Finally some space. With two quick steps she shuffles forward onto the ramp, her right foot leading the way restlessly, knocking into the trailing leg of the tall man just ahead. He turns his shiny head ever so slightly, an indication, surely, that he wishes not to be kicked again. Head bowed, she moves her focus elsewhere, onto the red and white plastic stripes aligned at regular intervals along the wooden planks. It is an established tactic of hers, trying to supress the waves of overwhelming impatience, rising rapidly from her toes upward like the water in a clogged sink. The wind slaps her across the face as soon as solid ground reappears beneath her. Hastily she swings a leather pouch across her right shoulder and settles into her walking pace, fast enough to distance herself from the fellow passengers. She despises walking behind people, forced to adapt to their constantly changing speeds. But this afternoon is especially bad. Ever since the news broke out everything has been chaos, and all she desires now is the comfort of her small flat, a sage tea and a cigarette. Give it time, Marie. These things always blow over in the end.
The word ‘idealistic’ is becoming increasingly linked to dogmatism, to extremes that few wish to identify themselves with. In this sense it is becoming dirty, foul, insulting; the hidden, or perhaps no longer hidden connotations associated with it suggesting a mindset of being undemocratic and irresponsible. Yet idealism may also be used in a very contrasting way, in the sense of political consistency: a fight against double standards and unjust, situational treatment of citizens. Idealism in this sense is a worthwile pursuit, because it allows not just the determination of underlying principles reflected in certain value-based needs, but far more the homogenous installation and application of these principles in a system that represents all citizens, and not just those who happen to find themselves in a specific jurisdiction at a particular moment in time.
BY MARIANA TORRES
Versão em português (English version below)
Ei, Cabral, cadê o Amarildo?
Essa foi a pergunta gritada por dezenas de pessoas nas ruas do Brasil durante alguns meses em 2013.
Amarildo Dias de Souza é um ajudante de pedreiro brasileiro que ficou conhecido nacionalmente por conta de seu desaparecimento, no dia 14 de julho de 2013, após ter sido detido por policiais militares, na Favela da Rocinha, em direção a sede da Unidade de Polícia Pacificadora do bairro, ironia que essa mesma polícia que foi elaborada com os princípios da polícia de proximidade, um conceito que vai além da polícia comunitária e tem sua estratégia fundamentada na parceria entre a população e as instituições da área de Segurança Pública. Atualmente quem está no comando das Unidades de Polícia Pacificadoras é o ex-comandante do Batalhão de Operações Especiais (Bope) da Polícia Militar (conhecida sua pela maneira “efusiva” de atuação).
Since the founding of the EU in Maastricht in 1993, the European idea has surpassed mere economic cooperation to both political and social spheres, and beyond. Citizens living within any of the countries encompassed by this label increasingly identify with ‘being’ European, and certain European ideals have begun to crystallise out. Values such as human rights, freedom of speech, the acceptance of racial and religious diversity; the list is long, and the shared support of such values, indeed their implementation, universal. Through its creation the European idea has opened the door for a shift away from extreme forms of nationalism that ultimately lead to conflict, and offered the possibility of collectively solving previously untouchable problems. This extension of human cooperation into the field of politics that was formerly kept isolated between nations thus presents us with a real opportunity for meaningful change. Such potential has quickly become reality, and European citizens have seen their average quality of life rapidly augment: open borders; a reliable and trustworthy judicial system; the establishment of vast safety nets by the state, to name just a few.
Europe over the last decade was confronted with the worrying development of uprisings by young people without any sort of apparent political goal. As we approach the 10-year anniversary of the 2005 Paris riots, we would like to ask whether lessons have been learned from these events. Considering the fast pace of today’s media, which barely allows for the consideration of a problem before covering us with a mountain of ‘newer’ issues, have politicians pushed through those promised measures, with which we were appeased in the immediate aftermath of each period of unrest? Did they tackle the actual causes, which include mostly a lack of opportunities and social inclusion of young disadvantaged people- or was the issue left to fade slowly from our memories? Too often do we forget pressing issues of the more recent past, and therefore fail to ask whether the problems that we were briefly so concerned with have actually been solved.