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ISSUE 23 november 2017


Dear Readers,

The clocks have gone back an hour, the supermarkets are stocked with pepernoten, and most importantly, midterms are over. This can only mean one thing - Autumn is officially here. With this in mind, this issue of BAISmag has many articles around the theme of self-care, as evident from the knitwear-inspired cover designed by Aurora, a student from KABK (The Royal Academy of Art). As the days get darker, wetter, and colder, hopefully some of the contributions will help students to struggle through this part of the semester and on into the Christmas (sorry, Sinterklaas) period. Other than the recommendations, recipes, articles, and advice to get you through this season, there are also contributions from our newest committees and a collection of street photography from a rainy day out in Rotterdam. You can also check out the second part of Gemma’s interview with Bilal, and a new initiative from Lotte to help you find the literary love of your life. In other words - I hope this issue brings you some entertainment, advice, or simply a form of procrastination until the final issue of this semester in December.

Elsa Court (Editor-in-Chief)

/ table of contents / editor’s note / 2 poem : why is it as it is? / 3 autumn recipe : causa / 4 talking back to anxiety / 5 what’s going on in the world / 6-7 international superstition / 8-9 street photography / 10-11 middle east committee / 12 eurasian committee / 13 hard lessons / 14 eating out at its cheapest, have you been there yet? / 15 between a rock and a hard state / 16-17 books & dating / 18 dear no one / 19



why is it as is? By Kinan Aldaioub (IRO) I was born in Syria but left when I was 6 years old, when my parents and I moved with dreams of living in the West in peace, in privilege and in happiness. So far, it’s been one hell of an experience, but I remain spiritually divided. Only half of me walks the streets of The Hague, while the other half still in my homeland. I am half a human with half a heart. This theme recurs in my poetry, and my recently published book “River of Words”. Another theme accompanying it, is the women who made a strong romantic mark on my life. I have two sources of passion; Love and The Dream.

Why is it as it is? That he who once lived within the walls of your heart Exiled himself and now exists outside of your love And you, outside of his That she who was sovereign over your emotion Is now faceless, like a raindrop in a storm Whether that one or the other lands on you It matters not, you will wet And when you look back It seems saner to blame the tears Why is it as it is? That abounding and daily words of fine-virtue Do not make our souls flinch Yet a single, even strange, comment of foul-intent Not only stings, but scars us What makes it easy to hate the hater And deny the lover his fair-earned glance of appreciation

Why is it as it is? That I should live here, live there Eat here and there and move here and there That I should exist at all That in one’s great journey, you are the guiding star For there is no truer direction than your inner core There is no truer purpose than to conquer your soul And feel your willing touch land to rest upon my cheeks Like the surrender of the dead autumn leaf Yet full of life Why is it as it is? That this dream of mine is exactly what it is – a dream It is likely that our loves will not meet midway like competing roots But I say to the music to play on To play inside me I say to the love to love on I say to this life to live on For it is so



Causa autumn recipes

By Marissa Preston

Here is one of my mother’s family’s recipes from Peru, which makes a great meal to share with friends, full warm flavours.

This is a Peruvian potato dish. In Peru, it is made with a special type of bright yellow potato, but since they aren’t available here, I added turmeric instead. Make sure you don’t put too much/too little mayonnaise in the tuna or avocado, to avoid it being too dry/too soggy. If you prefer not to put a thin layer of mayonnaise on the top, it’s also fine. The reason I add a bit is to ‘glue’ the egg and coriander on it. You can also add any other fillings, such as vegetables, prawns, or chicken. (This cooks for 10 people)

Ingredients: 12 medium potatoes (peeled and cubed) 2 limes (make sure they are soft) ¾ tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp turmeric 1 dessert spoon oil Salt, pepper Filling: 1 tin tuna 1 small onion, chopped (mix with tuna & mayonnaise and sprinkle a bit of pepper) 1 ripe avocado (in small slices, mix with mayonnaise and sprinkle a bit of pepper) mayonnaise pepper Garnish: 1 hard-boiled egg (finely chopped) ¼ cup chopped coriander (mix with egg) 1 red pepper 8 olives a couple of lettuce leaves, sliced


Preparation: 1. Boil the potatoes. When ready, put them through a potato ricer, over a big bowl. Squeeze the limes and pour juice over potato, together with salt, pepper, cayenne and turmeric. Mix well with a wooden spoon. When the ‘dough’ looks yellow and everything is mixed together, sprinkle the in oil and combine. 2. Separate dough into two. 3. On a large, flat plate make the first layer with half the potato mixture. Spread it well, either in a round or square shape. 4.Add tuna and onion mixture as second layer. Spread well. 5. Add avocado as third layer. Finally put the rest of the potato on top. This top layer is a bit difficult to handle. It’s best to divide the potato in 4 or 6 portions, flatten them a bit and put them one by one until the whole causa is covered. 6. Spread a very thin layer of mayonnaise on the top, and cover with egg & coriander. 7. Garnish with sliced pepper & olives. 8. Put the sliced lettuce around. 9. Serve in slices, like a cake

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talking back to

with gandalf

In the Lord of the Rings, there is a scene where Theoden, the king of Rohan, is sitting on his throne, an old and broken man. To his side there is a particularly dark, slimy, and disgusting character, Gríma. He influences Theoden to remain passive and gloomy, ultimately serving the agenda of the wizard Saruman. For me this figure of Gríma could be seen as a metaphor for the nasty voice of anxiety. That little voice in the back of our head that tells us that we are not good enough, not valuable, that others constantly judge and dislike us. And there are days we just blindly believe this voice and repeat its lies. Telling yourselves that, yes, we are not capable enough, not beautiful enough. That, yes, others look down on us and talk about us behind our backs. But this just leads to a downward spiral in which we put ourselves down and follow the increasingly negative whispers of Gríma Wormtongue. While it is sometimes tempting to believe him, to succumb to anxiety, it is dangerous to do so and it is not the only option. In the Lord of the Rings, Gandalf appears as a saviour that exposes the intrigues of Gríma and shows him as the liar he is. Freed from his insidious spell, Theoden rises up and expels his intrigant advisor from town. Talk back! Argue with that negative voice. Debunk its dismal lies with facts. When you hear “Nobody likes you“, you can reply with “Well, I have many friends who actually do!“. When the voice nags “You are not intelligent enough!”, tell it that “My grades tell otherwise!“. Or, just tell it to shut up or consciously look back to fond memories. While at first your brain might not seem to recall any good times,

don’t give up, dig deeper and eventually they will surface and light up the darkness of the day. Sometimes it also helps to visualise things. Imagine the voice of anxiety being consumed by a large fire or as a cloud that is cast away by a bright ray of sunlight. Imagine it as a debate where you can bring up every kind of strategy and defeat your opponent. But just like real debating it needs practice. Initially you might struggle coming up with arguments, with positivity to counter the negative voice. But by trying again and again, over time your voice of self-affirmation will become stronger and stronger. It takes baby-steps but one step after the other you’ll get there. It will take some time, but be persistent and you will develop a toolbox of arguments and methods as well as a habit of talking back, of countering feelings of anxiety with positivity. Don’t let anxiety win the argument, talk back! Don’t listen to Gríma, bring in Gandalf to kick his ass! It is important to note that this is not the only way and only solution and it never has to be a lonely fight. It is not always possible to win such fight alone. When anxiety becomes overwhelming and too strong, it is always legitimate and important to seek help from people you trust and from professionals.

Written by Mathis Gilsbach Illustration by Lotte Timmermans



what ’s g oi n g on i n t h e worl d ? South-East Asia: Who are the Rohingya and what is really happening? The Myanmar army’s actions against the Rohingya population have resulted in more than 582,000 people fleeing the country as refugees. Almost one million Rohingya were living in the state of Rakhine, in North-western Myanmar. They are Sunni Muslims in a country that is 90% Buddhist. A 1982 law, introduced by the military dictatorship, made the Rohingya ‘stateless’. Not recognized as one of the thirty-five ethnic groups of Myanmar, where the government still only recognizes “national races”. In late August, an outburst of violence in Rakhine began after rebel militants attacked 20 border controls. In response, security forces supported by Buddhist militia launched a “clearance operation”- resulting in a long and painful crisis that is ongoing today. On October 12, the head of the army, General Min Aung Hlaing, stated that the international community was “exaggerating” the extent of the Rohingya situation. Meanwhile, Amnesty International denounced in a report, published on October 18th, “a systematic, planned and ruthless campaign of violence against the Rohingya”, carried out by “murder, deportation, torture, rape, persecution, and other inhumane acts such as deprivation of food.” Europe: Why do Catalonians want independence? On October 10th, Carles Puigdemont, president of Catalonia, declared that his region had “gained the right to be an independent state” and thus to leave Spain. However, as the Spanish government banned the referendum, this will not happen so easily. The government says that Spain cannot be divided since it is written in the Constitution. Despite the ban, Catalans conducted the vote, which led to a violent intervention by the Spanish police. Being that Catalonia is the richest region in Spain, its population thinks that Spain benefits from them, collecting the majority of their taxes to distribute them between the country’s Baismag

By Amy Sahb

17 regions. Besides economic reasons, separatists also want Catalonia to be its own nation as it has its own language and historic identity. It once had independence, until 1932, when Franco suppressed the region’s culture; speaking Catalan and nationalist symbols were banned. It became autonomous again in 2006, when the Spanish Parliament defined it as a nation, but the next government in 2010 cancelled this decision. The humiliation felt by Catalonians has caused protests ever since. Even though the referendum this year was successful, the region still has to go through a long process of negotiation with the Spanish government before seeing any changes. Eurasia: Kyrgyzstan’s new president - fair and square. Former Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekevov has won what is considered the fairest election for the presidential position in Eurasia on October 15. Winning 54% of the votes, the results are in strong contrast to neighbouring countries where elections are often corrupted (with one person winning 100% of the votes). The previous president, Atambayev, peacefully transferred his power, ending his six-year term. As a former Soviet Republic region, Kyrgyzstan is exceptional: it is considered the most democratic country in Eurasia, where the reign of authoritarian presidents-for-life is often the rule. The country achieved independence in 1991 but was shaken by several episodes of violence, with two revolutions in 25 years, firstly the ‘tulip revolution’ in 2005, and a second one in 2010. That year, Atambayev was elected for a sixyear term. Under his presidency, the country joined the Eurasian Economic Union (the free trade zone created by Moscow which sought economic support from China.) His term was spared the violence, thus securing the democratization of the country. With the new president being supported by Atambayev, the country’s political future seems to be on a good path.


South America: Venezuela’s Crisis explained. Fifteen years ago, oil resources made Venezuela the richest country in South America. The popular President Chavez used the income to finance social institutions and healthcare. However, oil prices decreased drastically in 2015 and President Maduro (Chavez’s successor) suppressed social institutions. Inflation reached 800% in 2016 and famine now dominates the country; Venezuelans must queue for hours for a loaf of bread. Starvation has led to an increase in violence, as well as the population’s discontent against Maduro, now considered a dictator. Today, the country is considered one of the most violent in the world, and major protests against the regime have been happening almost every day since April 2016. In March 2017, the Supreme Court seized legislative power, giving Maduro executive, legislative and judiciary power. This decision was annulled two days later as citizens resisted immediately, but the leader of the opposite party, Henrique Capriles, was declared ineligible for 15 years. After this move, the opposition embarked on an impeachment procedure, but the party has been suspended. Maduro will complete his mandate in 2019. Meanwhile, the international community has condemned the violence and call for a return of peace - but protests will probably continue to ravage the country.

fy an increase in military budget. Only time will tell whether the constant threats will lead to real attacks. Middle East: Will Syria finally see an end to ISIS? After 9 months of violent combat in Raqqa, the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurds and Arabs, regained control of the city in October. The extremist group ISIS has controlled the capital since 2013. But since June, the SDF, with the help of the U.S., has gradually regained the city. Negotiations have been ongoing between Syrian forces and the extremists were forced to evacuate the city. Trucks were waiting outside the city to drive extremists who had given up their weapons back to the province of Deir ez-Zor, largely controlled by ISIS. Deir ez-Zor, on the border of Syria and Iraq, is occupied by two separate offensives: in the West, Syrian forces and Shiite Muslims- supported by Russia. They have almost retaken the city from ISIS and are now targeting the city of Mayadine, a city which has been under ISIS control for three years. In the East, the military council of Deir ez-Zor, an Arab militant group attached to the SDF and helped by the US., have regained 500km of the region since September. This progression in the Euphrates Valley is an issue of competition between Syrian forces and ISIS. The Assad regime does not hide its determination to recapture the entire province, which is rich in oil fields, and restore its legitimacy on all its borders.

North America: Atomic Tensions Since the war between North Korea and South Korea ceased in 1953, tensions between Washington, ally of South Korea, and Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, haven’t lessened. But why have the tensions between them increased recently? Firstly, both countries possess sophisticated weapons. Not too long ago, North Korea managed to make a miniature version of the atomic bomb. Affirming that they can reach America using ballistic missiles, North Korea is now trying to put this miniature atomic bomb inside such a missile. Even though they have not succeeded yet, it is a big threat for the U.S. As President Trump didn’t show much patience regarding political issues, his tweets about North Korea escalated the tensions. Provocations between the national leaders keep on intensifying, especially since the 4th of July, when Kim Jong-un released a video clip simulating an attack on the U.S. In response, Trump sent aircraft careers in the Japanese sea and organised military exercises in South Korea. It seems that both leaders benefit from the situation: Kim Jong-un maintains his political popularity and Trump uses the situation to justi-

Africa: A green revolution? The African Development Bank revealed on October 19 a new strategy for the development of agriculture. It aims to modernise the region’s agriculture through the use of new technologies to increase productivity. Africa has more than 65% of the still-cultivable land in the world, so has the potential to become a global agricultural power. This is at the heart of debates concerning its transformation, combating hunger and food insecurity. A quarter of the population faces famine, posing an obstacle to better overall health and development. This new strategy aims to give small farmers more insurance to invest and expand their business and more technologies to be able to deal with climate change, therefore transforming the economy and improving life in the region. If Africa takes control of its agricultural growth and focuses on modernizing cultivable lands, the suppression of hunger in the continent could improve a lot. An ongoing evaluation of progress will be presented at the African Union in January 2018.



international s upe rs t i t i o n s


By Jitze de Vries

here are some celebrations that you can never have enough of. Don’t we all wish Christmas lasted all the way into January, or that we had birth-weeks instead of birthdays. In the same way, I haven’t been able to shake the Halloween mood yet, so why relapse on the drug of sending shivers down your spine. To accurately cater to the needs of a community as diverse as we are, I’ve decided to lay down some folk tales and ghost phenomena from places across the globe (yes, ghosts are very diverse too). This way, there is no place on earth where you will be safe from the terrors that loom in the dark… Russia Slavic folklore is full of interesting creatures which are as eerie as they are weird. One of these is Baba Yaga, a deformed witch who flies around in a mortar and lives in a hut standing on chicken legs. Famous for the repulsiveness of her nose, Baba Yaga is known to be able to smell the “Russian scent” of her visitors. She can also be rather bipolar, as it is unclear whether she helps people or hurts them. Another creature which lives in the same forests as the Baba Yaga is the Leshy. Leshy is a human-like figure with horns on his head, who lives in pine trees and is surrounded by wolves and bears. Some say he also has a wife, Leshachikha, and a child, Leshonky. Anyway, he is most famous for misleading travellers and abducting children so it is probably best to stay away from him. Others claim, however, that he is more like a fairy. Place your bets. Finally we have the good old Domovoi, which literally means “he from the house”. Domovoi is a creature who lives in every household and who is essentially the guardian of the home. When the family in the house behaves well, the Domovoi will help out around the house, but when they are slacking the Domovoi acts as a poltergeist. Furthermore, the Domovoi can predict the future which is good or bad depending on the warmth or coldness of his touch. A Kazakhstani friend, who grew up in Moscow, told me that the Domovoi used to scare him and motivate him to clean up his room. Besides this, he was also scared of the Leshy, which kept him from wandering off as a child. South Africa Having lived in South Africa myself, I can confirm that there is one creature which made a lasting impression on me, a disturbing creature called the Tokoloshe. South African fellow First Year Britt confirmed that this creature does indeed haunt many South Africans throughout the country and has led to some strange practices. In short the Tokoloshe, Tikoloshe, or Hili, is a gremlin which was supposedly invented by shamans and which is known to visit people at night, at which time he will bite off sleeping people’s toes or decide to rape them. There are a few ways to get rid of a Tokoloshe once it has decided to target you. There are medicines which you can take to send it to someone else, and it is common practice to put your bed on piles of bricks so that the little Tokoloshe cannot reach you. There is even a website with a phone number which you can call to have it removed. This will cost you 150 euros though. If you think this is all bollocks, there are actually numerous news articles about Tokoloshe sightings and encounters, including some very disturbing pictures. So don’t say I didn’t warn you if you ever visit South Africa and feel something by your toes at night. Baismag

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Singapore/Indonesia/Malaysia Last but not least, my friend from Singapore, Alvin, let me in on one of the scariest folklore’s I’ve heard so far. It is about a creature which resides in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore and which is called Pontianak. The word stems from the Malaysian “perempuan mati beranak” meaning “woman who died in childbirth”. Yes, the Pontianaks are said to be ghosts of women who died while giving birth and if that doesn’t creep you the hell out then I don’t know what will. They are pale skinned women with long black hair, red eyes and a white dress on which is often covered in traces of blood. Known to come out at night during a fool moon, a Pontianak finds its victim by sniffing out the smell of laundry which is hanging outside. Once it has laid eyes on a victim, the Pontianak will tear open the victim’s stomach with its long nails and proceed to rip out and eat all the organs. On top of this, if the victim’s eyes are open, the Pontianak might choose to literally suck their eyes out of their sockets. But fear not, there are ways to avoid being assaulted by one of these bad girls. Step one would be to not leave any laundry hanging outside at night, because this is sure to attract the Pontianak. Secondly, invest in getting a dog since dogs are known to recognize when a Pontianak is nearby and will whine if it senses one. If all else fails, you could also follow the example of the famous Sultan of Potianak, who in 1771 drove the Potianaks away with cannon shots. To this day, the Indonesian city of Potianak is named after him and cannonballs are shot on public holidays to celebrate his achievements.

Picture by Carla Hariga

To conclude, ghosts are common in almost every culture. Some are definitely scarier than others, although fear is quite subjective. One thing is certain, if, like me, you cannot get enough of the thrill that fear gives you, there is plenty of good stuff out there that will give you the trip your heart desires. But be careful, fear is addictive, and once you are in over your head there is no way out. Trust me.



rotterdam / streets rotterdam / streets rotterdam / streets

by t i m d e n d u l k

rotterdam / street p

rotterdam / streets rotterdam / streets rotterdam / streets

by t i m d e n d u l k rotterdam / streets Baismag

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otterdam / streets

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by t i m d e n d u l k

otterdam / streets otterdam / streets


BASIS Middle East Committee

Clashes in Kirkuk By Stanley De Coster

On September 25th, the referendum for the independence of Kurdistan was held in the Kurdish Region of Iraq. This event was heavily motivated by Massoud Barzani, the president of the KRG (although since 2013, he really shouldn’t have been) but Iran, Turkey, Syria and Iraq heavily opposed the referendum and called for compromise out of fear for the aspirations of their own Kurdish minorities. There was also little support from the United States and the European Union, leaving Barzani completely isolated (though they did get support from Israel) in his decision. On the 19th of October, despite reassurances from the central Baghdad government that there would be no attack toward the KRG, Iraqi Security Forces and members of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) advanced toward Kirkuk. This city and region has only been under KRG jurisdiction since 2014 following the surge of the Islamic State in Iraq, and is of major importance to the Iraqi government as it holds a large amount of oil and has a high production capacity. The reaction of the KRG to these advances was not well planned, and despite claims that they would never lose Kirkuk, they lost it in just about three hours. The loss of the city and its oil facilities were due to internal political disputes within the KRG, since one of its many flaws is that the major internal parties have tribal affiliations, and even have their own Peshmerga units. In Kirkuk, the Baismag

PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a major party in the KRG) Peshmergas suddenly left their defensive positions and fled to the surrounding areas, quickly followed suit by KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party, the leading party) Peshmergas. The PKK, the same organization that is active in Turkey, then swept in and tried to mount a defence of the city to score some PR points, but they too, were forced to leave the city. Subsequently, it was taken by the Iraqi Central government. Despite all of the defiant rhetoric that came from the KRG about the defence of Kirkuk, it seems like it all happened with very little reports of serious clashes and casualties. It is important to note that the United States, a traditional ally of the KRG, was eerily quiet on these events, just as the European Union was. So what has happened in the days since the take-over of Kirkuk? Since then, the Iraqi Government has received tacit understanding and support for its reassertion of national integrity. The Iraqi Security forces have also taken over large areas that were under jurisdiction of the KRG since 2014, and some that had been since 2003, leaving us with the question of what borders the Iraqi government will actually recognize for the KRG - if any. If you’d like to find out more about the region, find the BASIS Middle East Committee on Facebook!

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BASIS Eurasian Committee

the curious case of the dog and the Bear

By Casper Gesmar Madsen Illustration by Lotte Timmerman To say the least, there is both a limited interest and understanding of domestic Russian politics in international media. Specific misinterpretations include the hilarious idea that Putin rules Russia like a tsar on a flying bear. Although, he is the vanguard of law and order, an important point later, so don’t forget it. Here is the Eurasian Committee’s short guide to understanding the basic dynamic of Russian politics. To introduce the story, we must start with the pied piper of activistism, Alexei Navalny, a lawyer turned activist blogger. He’s been arrested on charges of “corruption”, (ironic since he is notorious for exposing corruption online), and is not approved to run in the next elections. The next character is President Putin, though there is speculation about whether he will pursue a fourth term. Then we have the approved opposition candidate, Russia’s Paris Hilton, Ksenia Sobchak. She is relatively critical of the government and can run for the next Presidential elections come March 2018 (though, this should not be surprising considering her father was Putin’s). She is a protest vote and has no real policy plans whatsoever. So why the analogy of the dog and the bear? Because of the little dog- Navalny and/or Sobchak. They cannot change much. The Russian bear is the complex relationship between the ruling elite and the vested interests of all parts of Russian society, and will not allow extensive reform. It is the dynamic between authoritarianism and democracy that is at play in Russia. Russia is an unequal society; it is a game designed for no single party to win

too much. Navalny can bark all he wants. This is the curious case of Russian politics. Minor reform is occasionally possible, but extensive? No. It is an unending struggle - when one front is closed, another is opened. Neither democracy will win, nor a complete totalitarian state- Russia isn’t that simple. The demise of auditor Sergei Magnitsky reveals this dynamic. He found out about a massive tax fraud, only to find himself accused of fraud, and died in prison after suspected torture. The opposition reaction to that was people accused of tax crimes could not be jailed, and a few other things. But crucially, minor blowback. These small skirmishes stay skirmishes, the fear of the pure anarchy and economic devastation of the 90s looming over Russians. Law and order cannot be threatened. The restriction on Navalny’s election campaign is strategic. Sobchak gets people interested to vote for Navalny, to vote for her. She can voice complaint, but does not want to overthrow the system she is part of. Concessions and consolidations are in order if the interests of the state and the rich are threatened. With the right amount of people satisfied or terrified of the possible alternative, such as another devastating socio-economic disintegration (or revolution, depending on your perspective), Russia will stay hybrid, partially reformed, and trapped. If you’d like to gain a deeper insight into the region, or have a craving for sour cream, find the BASIS Eurasian Committee group on facebook!

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By Julia Moore

“moving across an ocean made me realize that I only want friendships of positivity, where we focus on lifting each other up.”


Recently, I’ve had the time to reflect on what I deserve in my life. Not what I want, rather what I deserve. Because I’ve found that too often, these two things are very different for me. It occurred to me that I have spent the majority of my life trying to please other people, to fulfill everyone else’s needs before my own, and truly never doing anything that is genuinely and solely for me. I decided recently that this is going to stop. The first thing I decided is that I am going to start putting myself first. Not in a selfish way, but in a way that allows me to form a relationship with myself before anybody else. This is becoming more and more important to me as I realize that I must rely on myself to find positivity and happiness, not on other people to bring those things to me. I have to learn how to trust my instincts when something isn’t right, to listen to myself when I have a feeling in my heart, and to find freedom. Putting myself first means taking time out of my day to write a poem, read a chapter of my favorite book, take a trip somewhere just because I want to without asking for anybody’s permission or opinion. I deserve it. The second thing I want to do is remove the negativity from my life. Some days this is easier said than done, but it begins with a promise to myself. This promise for me is to clear out anyone and anything who is not having a positive influence in my life. I was put on this earth to feel joy and to feel loved; I deserve that. So I plan to extract negativity in my life wherever I see it. I no longer feel the need to dwell on things that make me feel bad about myself. Moving

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across an ocean made me realize that I only want friendships of positivity, where we focus on lifting each other up. I deserve it. Thirdly, I want to start a journey to nowhere. This might sound quite odd, but what I mean by this is a journey with no end in sight. I want to travel while I am abroad and find what I am looking for, even though I may not know what that is yet. I booked a trip to Dublin, Ireland with my friend Yara for after midterms and a trip to Cologne, Germany with my friend Salka to explore the Christmas market. I am open to learning new lessons about myself and about the people and places I am falling so in love with. Booking these trips made me feel freer in a way, because I just kind of did it without thinking. I felt it in my heart, so I did it, and I plan to do a lot more of that. I deserve it. I am now on a mission to live the life I know I deserve to live; a life where I come first. Nothing feels as good as finally giving yourself the love you deserve after putting people first who will never be happy with what you can give them. It’s really hard to accept that you might not be living the life you deserve, that maybe you’re settling for way less than you ever should have in any aspect of your life. But I promise that giving yourself what you deserve feels like finding a streaming river after walking through an eternal desert. Goodbye negativity and a warm welcome to the new journey I am starting; a journey of self-love, close friendships, happiness, exploration, and learning. I deserve it. [If you liked this, you can find more of my writing at]

eating out at its cheapest By Arianna Conte

TheFork & Het Laaste Tafeltjes However, If you are caught by an irrepressible mood at the last moment there is TheFork or Het Laaste Tafeltjes. On these sites/apps you can easily get discounts in many restaurants. The former also provides ‘Yummy’ points for every reservation, and once you have a certain amount of points you get twenty euros to spend ‘for free’, a further incentive to eat out more often! The latter corresponds with a special offer with which you get also a free ticket for the cinema. Even more gezellig, toch?

The midterms are finally over, the weather is getting even more rainy and sad, and you are not in the mood to do anything but lie in bed. Why would you go out when this means spending money and most likely getting wet and cold? A cup of tea on the couch while watching Netflix just seems the best thing to do... but you do not need to give up! There are plenty of ways to spice up your week and spend time with friends without make your wallet even emptier!

Groupon What about a warm meal worth looking forward to? Something to dream about while dealing with the deadlines of your course? Then Groupon is the right app for you! You can check your menus and prices in advance, only requirement is booking one day ahead.

Winter in The Netherlands, if you haven’t already noticed, is cold, wet, and windy. Once daylight savings kick in, it feels like there are only a few hours of light a day, and those hours are never guaranteed to have sun. However, cheer up, as The Hague does have a few cosy and affordable corners to settle into (or even to take someone you’d like to impress thanks to the success of our dating tips from last issue).

The Brunch Spot (Pim Coffee, Sandwiches & Vintage Prins Hendrikstraat 113 and Wagenstraat 144) The cakes are great, the decor is perfectly kitsch, and the smoothies make you feel like you’ve surpassed 500% of your vitamin recommendations for the week. The breakfasts are huge and the omelets in particular are delicious. There’s even avocado toast to spend your student loan on.

The Cat Cafe (Ditjes & Katjes Piet Heinstraat 66)

Dumplings Galore (Full Moon City Raamstraat 75)

Here’s your chance to escape the crowds of Wijnhaven for coffee, cake, and cats. The cats, which have been selected from The Hague Animal Shelter, are quite happy to nestle beside you as you munch on toasties or even have a glass of wine. Though, if you’re taking someone else here, it’s probably best to check for allergies first.

I think I’ve studied this menu more thoroughly than I have for most of my readings over the past two years. Though the restaurant offers other dishes, the dumplings are what it’s known for, and the types on offer are so varied that there really is something for everyone. As the bamboo baskets of joy that the dumplings arrive in pile up on your table, you will forget life’s troubles/responsibilities/deadlines and settle into a state of pure bliss.

! ? t e there y


By Elsa Court

- 15 -


BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD STATE: Growing up as a Political Prisoner By Gemma La Guardia The second part of my interview with Bilal, a 29 year old Palestinian living in Dheisheh Refugee Camp. He has spent in total seven years and four months in imprisonment, since the age of fourteen and a half. He is an activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a revolutionary socialist party founded by George Habbash and described as a terrorist organisation by the US and the EU. Bilal has recently enrolled to become a law student. What happened the fourth time you were arrested? “After they gave me 6 months of administrative detention, they kept me inside the cells, the individual cells (solitary confinement) because I was against the administrative detention. And then I started a hunger strike. After 32 days I found out that another 5 men were doing it too.” How did you find out if you were in solitary confinement? “Through someone who had entered the cell beside me in isolation. He told me that a hunger strike had been started to protest the administrative detention, and that the media knew about him and the other five men. When I heard this, I called the admin and told them that I wished to strike in unison with them.” How did the authorities react to the hunger strike? “Firstly, when you first inform them that you are going on a hunger strike, they immediately start moving you from isolation to isolation to try and tire you out. They moved me to Ramla isolation, then they moved me to Askalan isolation, then to Hermon isolation, the Tzalmon isolation, the Shata isolation, then Jalbu’a isolation, then back again. They also enter your cell almost every night to check if there is any food in it. Ramla isolation is an old place, like a place for the horses. You can’t even shower, you can’t shave your beard. And then they transfer you every 3-5 days to make you tired. And they try and isolate you from the news and the outside world or how people are listening to your case. There is just one hour every Saturday that you can go outside and walk in a field, but with your hands and feet chained.”

- 16 -

What were the effects of your hunger strike? “There was a big problem for me because the administration was not replying to my requests to be released from solitary confinement, and therefore I decided to start eresh hunger strike [without water]. I did it for 6 days and almost died. This damaged something in my kidney and until today I have problems with my kidney. When I did the eresh hunger strike, they told me: ok, we will release you, but you will spend the rest of your sentence in isolation and not in the normal jail with the other prisoners. I said, this is the reason for which I am doing the hunger strike. When I started not to take water I started to collapse, and so they forced me to take injections to compensate, but whenever I woke up I would tear the IV drip out of my hand, so I was insisting to go back to the normal jail or to be released.” What is the hardest part of a hunger strike? “The hardest level of a hunger strike is the very beginning. Because I was not prepared. Normally, before the strike, prisoners take soup and milk and honey to make everything inside liquid and then you go to the bathroom and your stomach becomes clear. Otherwise things inside the stomach become tough and and they will hurt you. So I was not prepared for this because I suddenly found myself in isolation and not in the normal jail. It was horrible because I was not psychologically ready and I was scared that no one knew that I was on a hunger strike. It was a risk to do it like this, but it was what I had to do. After 2 weeks, I felt that I was dying. I wasn’t even expecting from myself that I could last that long, but the idea of freedom helped me keep going.” How did it end? “On the 48th day, I was almost about to die, so I was about to call the intelligence of the prison to tell them that I wanted to stop the strike. But in that moment, they came in and told me that they accepted my demands. When I went to the normal jail, I was tired and it took me long days to fit in with the new situation, and I was destroyed psychologically and physically. My brother was by chance the administrator of Fateh inside the jail, and noticed how much I was isolated and how I could not participate with the people and how I was thinking so much by myself, but it was good to be among people.” So what do you do now? “Now, I am working at the Shepherd’s Hotel as an Italian chef, and when I come home I am here and see friends and go out etc.. And this year I will start university again.” Where do you want to be in 10 years? “No, where do I want to be in 7 years and four months?” Ok, where do you want to be in 7 years and four months? “I want to have a lawyer’s card, a small house in al-Walaja, and a library and a small farm, with one animal from each kind, with two children, and a wife.

- 17 -


literary love of your life With all of us adjusting to the Dutch autumn (which is the same as Dutch summer and winter but with even more wind), nothing beats snuggling under a warm blanket, rain trickling softly on the windows, to open the first page of a new book. Unfortunately, after hours of investing emotionally in your favourite characters, every book comes to an end…luckily for you, we’ve found a solution for your heartache! In this brand-new ‘dating section’, your new literarylove-of-your-life is just around the corner! G e o r g e O r w e l l : 1984 At 16, this was first book that I read completely in English (and then a second time in German, just to be sure), and it really awoke my critical thinking and disdain for totalitarian ideologies. I saw scary parallels to reality - at that time (gosh I feel old), the NSA surveillance scandal swept over Europe, enraged many people and then was forgotten as quickly as it came. Afterwards, I deleted my Facebook account and became more aware of related issues like privacy and surveillance. While Facebook has hooked me again, I still value 1984 for giving me an understanding of how societal control and totalitarianism can play out. A l b e r t C a m u s : The Stranger / The Myth of Sisyphus The Stranger was one of these books that completely changes the way you think. I read it when I was 19 in that wonderful, still ongoing, phase of finding and defining your own outlook on the world. It tells the story of Meursault, who goes through life completely indifferent and detached from any emotions or considerations for anyone else. It is written in such dry, cold language that after reading it you too will feel like you are in an absurd and indifferent universe. A scary thought, but also one that carries freedom. If the universe does not care, you can do what makes you happy - a thought he expands on in The Myth of Sisyphus, which outlines why we must imagine Sisyphus as happy. Though his task his absurd, it nonetheless gives him a purpose and meaning to his (after-)life. If you are looking for some absurdity, read The Stranger, if you want to know how to deal with it read The Myth of Sisyphus.

P a s c a l M e r c i e r : Nighttrain to Lisbon Though this did not have the same philosophy-altering effect as the others, I want to talk about it as a representative for all those books that are written so well, that the language alone absorbs you, and you cannot lay the book down until the very last page. This captivated me thoroughly, even though I can’t necessarily identify with the main character. Raimund Gregorius. A teacher of Latin and Greek at a high school in Bern, he finds a book from the Portuguese doctor-philosopher Amadeu Inácio de Almeida Prado, and suddenly decides to take break from his life. He boards the next train to Lisbon, where he follows the traces of said philosopher. While he discovers the life and story of the Portuguese doctor, he recapitulates his own steady and ordered (but also unsatisfying) life. The grand and beautiful language fascinated me, though I read the book in German, so I am unsure about the quality of its English translation.

Were these book choices a perfect match? Or do your own taste in books differ completely? If you’d like to contact our anonymous reviewer, or would like to be featured next issue, email your submission to baismag@basisthehague. nl, or contact Lotte Timmermans.


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dear no one By Warsha Autar Dear No one , How was your month? Hopefully it was better than mine - I felt disappointed I couldn’t add anything to an MUN training, my grades weren’t as high as I had hoped , and I texted the person I liked , only to get friendzoned . Hard . Long story short, instead of feeling like a failure because I didn’t have a plan for my future , I ACTUALLY failed when I was trying to make something of my future . Now before you get worried about my wellbeing, I am fine! I promise . I was able to deal with it all by doing the following, I hope these will help you too. 1) Allow yourself to feel it. The pain , the embarrassment, maybe even a few tears. I know it sucks, but if you ignore these feelings, they will most certainly come back to haunt you later if you suppress them now. 2) Talk to your friends about it. Or mentors, or your tutors, hell , even the strangers at the bus stop will do. If you talk about your situation and explain it, you will be able to gain a better understanding of yourself and how you feel about it. The listeners may even be able to give you some helpful advice on how to deal with it. 3) Listen to music. Whether the songs are sad , or happy, music heals the soul . So put those speakers on blast and sing along. You can even dance a little to shake those worries off. 4) Accept it and move on . This is what happened . You came , you saw, you failed . In life , there are rarely any do-overs, so don’t go sitting around waiting for one . Take a deep breath , say your last words about the whole ordeal , and go on with you life . I can hear your thoughts right now. “Haha Warsha , easy for you to say. But my mistakes are much more terrible than yours and they are much more complicated .” To that I say, BULLSHIT. No matter how terrible your failures are , you shouldn’t get caught up in them. I can promise you this, in three years from now, you’ll look back at this situation and wonder why you were so worried at all . So please , deal with failure in a healthy way. And if you still don’t believe me , let me tell you about something I read a while ago: “ F.A.I.L. is an acronym. It stands for: First Attempt In Learning.” So as a student with years of learning to go, wouldn’t it be silly to get infatuated by only your first attempt?

love, warsha - 19 -


publishing details: BAISMAG

Turfmarkt 99 2511 DP, The Hague

Editor-in-Chief: Layout: Secretary: Treasurer: Head of Online:

Elsa Court Natasya Tunggadewi Kirill Climin Max van Putten Niels Drost


Aurora Navarro Villacampa

All articles were written by students of BA International Studies, Leiden University. The online version of this magazine can be found on:


Profile for BAIS Magazine

Baismag - November 2017 final draft  

This issue is around the theme of Self-Care, to keep you going in these dark and dreary November days.

Baismag - November 2017 final draft  

This issue is around the theme of Self-Care, to keep you going in these dark and dreary November days.

Profile for baismag

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