Torschlusspanik A friend of mine has lately showed a video in which some statistics are proposed. You know, those served on the empty tables of millions of families: the globe wealthy is owned by just the 1% of the world population. Darrell Huff would probably critic the clip arousing public concern about ‘How to lie with statistics’. However, is the clip really lying? Does the 1% represent the reality? Well, this may be wrong and still may not. The disparity between richness and poverty is tragically increasing. Poor people do not have any key to access some richness. Poverty doesn’t know how to open the gate to the ‘Land of Plenty’. They suffer of what the Germans call ‘Torschlusspanik’, which literally stands for ‘shut door panic’ and indicates ‘fear of being on the wrong side of a closing gate’.Bulgaria, Colombia, Greece, Italy and Poland are just some examples we have pointed out in this number. These are some of those ‘villages’ were the economical regression is on the stage performing a free tragicomedy show, while around the
world Qatar can buy six Greek islands for £ 7.3 millions, a 28 years old kid can decide that nuclear is like playing with Lego, or an Hungarian President can mimic some of the evil deeds already proposed by Berlusconi in Italy. In all this mess, the average world unemployment rate does only know the meaning of the word ‘increment’, which is synonymous of ‘new forms of poverty’, the same predicted by Saint Francis to our anthropological environment of ‘humans & animals’. The unstable political situation of the world, perfectly fittable with the economic and financial worldwide status, is slave of an annoying human attitude towards power and globalized individualism. It is from here, that some humans got tangled up in something known as ‘crisis’. This word comes from the ancient Greek ‘krinein’, which means to separate, and the implications of its etymological origin seem more cogent than ever. Diego Ottaviano
This is our third number; ‘10:25 International’ is growing up and it is doing also thanks to our readers. You guys are a wonderful help. Here’s why we want to say thanks to all our readers. The editorial staff wishes also to express its gratitude to all the writers and collaborators of this project. In the specific, we wish to thank Anastasia, Athena, Maja, Marcela, Natalie, Andreas, David, Francesco, Giacomo, and Todor and the photographers Harris and Paolo. A special thanks also goes to Paolo V., who has embraced this adventure with passion and dedication. A thanks is also reserved to Salvo Ognibene, who was abundantly helpful and offered invaluable assistance, support and guidance. A personal thanks is also reserved to Francesca. Finally, all of us would like to express their sorrow and condolences to our friend Stanley.
The eu: not a nobel, but maybe still worth the price
Bulgaria: the nation that finally woke up
Bitter coffee for colombian peasants
Dare to speak about Homophobia
Crisis and Recession
A catholic loop
Ethical tourism in (post) colonial spaces
THE EU: NOT A NOBEL, BUT MAYBE STILL WORTH THE PRICE Francesco Camonita
There is this memory in my mind, back when my desk was still full of EU textbooks, my dissertation far away from even having a thesis to prove, and my degree was still missing from its frame up on the wall of memories. It is the smile on my face whilst reading one of those smart, illuminating quotes among the flow of facts and datas. It spoke about Italy and Europe, and it suggested that probably the reason why Italians have always been proactive and dedicated to the European cause was due to the weak idea of Nation and the incomplete sense of Italian identity that the country may have been suffering, at least during its relatively “short” history. So, while the above-mentioned theory ended up as a somewhat ironic quote on the endnote of my research’s introduction, I guess that accepting this concept may also implicitly uncover a declaration of guiltiness over my love for the European project. But as love goes, there is no rose without a thorn, and way too many times I have had to wonder “why the hell were they doing this?” at some point inside my studies on the process of European integration. The 12th of octuber 2012 was exactly one of those days. The European Union had been officially awarded the Nobel Prize for peace of the year, and some academics and technocrats were already raising their
glasses. Yet the champain had quite a bitter taste to my flavour. Of course I would have liked to celebrate the successes of a United Europe and have a toast for one of the most peculiar institutional experiments in human history. But could I actually do it, as a young European citizen from the beginnings of the 21st century? My first thoughts ran alongside those of the majority of people I know. They went off to cuddle and protect Southern Europe, which may have even been “offended” by the idea of a Nobel prize for peace. How can you talk about peace when the ultra racist Golden Dawn is spreading out in the Greek cradle of civilization, and the Greeks themselves are paying such a high price? What about the PIIGS countries as a whole? For the sake of justice, what about the whole Eurozone populations affected by the worst economic recession since 1929? How to protect the reputation of a Europe that was not even good enough to release an efficient, united currency and then protecting it jointly from the caprices of the international economy? To make it even worse, I started digging into sources. The Daily Telegraph, following the inspiration of the “Britain-is-not-Europe” political climate on British soil, was extremely sarcastic about élites awarding
themselves in an oligarchy feast. Even more, how useful was the EU in preventing genocide and war right at the door’s entrance to the Old Continent, back in the Balkan Crisis of the 1990s? The African magazine Slate Afrique even had a moral slap ready for Europe, especially quoting this nobel as a stamp on the exit ticket from postcolonial purgatory. After all, even when the ink was still fresh over the first European treaties, some member states were still harshly repressing colonial indipendence by force and violence. Out of the sources and back to the opinions, one of the most common criticisms I heard when chatting over the issue with friends was that the Nobel has to carry over a certain “Maria-Teresaof-Calcutta” style, more appropiated for good souls than political organizations. Be it as it may, and despite the refusal to attend the meeting in Oslo by the Euro-skeptics Czechs and Slovaks, the ceremony still took place on the 10th of december 2012, and the prize was collected by the well-known triad of European leaders composed by Von Rompuy, Barroso and Shulz. Some have tried to justify and clear the criticism around the meaning of the “infamous” award. Out of an example, the Italian La Repubblica held an article where the Nobel was compared to a simbol to draw attention upon the fundamental importance of Europe even at its darkest hour. But I personally don’t agree with that. I think that all those critics are right insofar to the idea that the Nobel was not meant for the EU, or as perhaps some others have argued (surprisingly enough, that very same same African magazine from above as well) it was just not the right time, at least yet. By this point, I have been way too one-sided. And I feel like I need to counterstrike and throw some necessary questions out there. Polish journalist Trouw created the metaphore of peace as the colorless and flavourless air we breath.
And exactly as air, we take it for granted just as long as they don’t deny it to us. Could almost seventy years really erase the realities of one of the most belligerant continents on Earth? Is history that much uncool that we just have to turn the idea of safety, of international peace on our continent into a cheap, common valuable that will never be lost or broken again? But there is even more to that. It’s astonishing how quickly we absorbed the idea of a borderless Europe, with freedom to travel and freedom to live into another EU country at any time in our lives. Hasn’t anyone, at least from the new generation, ever got surprised by international friend’s stories about VISAs and refused residence permits? And despite the desgraceful destiny of the Euro currency at the economic level, hasn’t anyone with some travel experiences secretly appreciated the lack of visits at the bureau of change thanks to the Euro? (Even more so if you had to live in the UK and face the Pound exchange rate, believe me). And how not to mention that very same exchange programme that even The Guardian and the famous Italian writer Umberto Eco have been largely praising? Erasmus is quickly becoming a new milestone in Students’ lives around Europe, being the chance to live and study in another country, the opportunity to meet European and worldwide youngsters and open your soul to multiculturality and the life outside your old little routine back home. Just how many thousands of social linkages (from friendships to relationships) is that building every year? Aren’t we maybe growing up as one of the first European generations? I do believe that we are in difficult times that require much seeked solutions that are late on their arrival. I also agree over the fact tha the EU didn’t deserve a prize now. But I think it is impossible to deny that some of the features at the core of the European Union are just, and please forgive the bad pun, prizeless.
Bulgaria: The Nation That Finally Woke Up Editorial Collaboration
Photo Td/ Plamen Goranov
February 2013 feels a little bit like 1997, at least for people who remember the political and financial crisis of more than 15 years ago. They sure remember four-digit inflation (running as high as 2000% in March on an annual basis), mass protests in the streets and mass bank fails. Most also remember that there was basically no food in the shops and that the average salary dropped to as little as 5$ per month. This period was coined “the winter of Videnov” (the prime minister of Bulgaria at the time). All this happened after the Parliament rejected a second no-confidence vote at the beginning of the previous year. Culmination came with the Parliament coming http://www.youtube.com/ under siege (see video) as citizens marched into the watch?v=08Kdp8vsK6o Parliament building, leading to prime minister Zhan Videnov’s resignation and a provisional government. Then came 15 years of apparent ‘peace and bliss’. Almost… For nearly a month now however, hundreds of thousands of people are out on the streets. The last drop that drove people out of their homes was the infla-
tion of the electricity bills. At first the rebellion ran against the companies distributing electricity in the country. Some of them wanted the government to resign (the ruling party was Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria - abbreviated GERB), till when on February 20 the government did officially step down. Here comes the turning point and not the end of this story. People are still out on the streets: protesting against the monopolies in general, against the political system as a whole, against the banks, until when, it finally turned into a revolution without any clear vision, confused slogans as diverse as the protesting people, and demanding crowds with less and less impact. Some of the demands were also a tiny bit strange (such as nationalization of the electricity distribution companies). At the same time certain cities had a clear vision and they used the protest wave to that goal. A case in point is the “seaside capital” Varna. The citizens were up against the mayor of Varna who was in office for 14 years in a row. On 20 February a young Bulgarian man called Plamen
Goranov set himself on fire in front of the municipality in Varna asking for the mayor Kiril Yordanov’s resignation. Two weeks later he died in hospital and was called the Bulgarian Jan Palach. And finally the mayor resigned. Now another big city – Plovdiv, is also asking for their mayor’s resignation. All this being said, there is an important question for the future of Bulgaria – where is this political theater leading to? All the way since 1997 in a political crisis people were expecting some sort of a
“messiah”. He always appeared – someone who promised anything people wanted to hear and who they were looking up to with hope. And he always came to take political dividend out of it. This time, however, nobody seems to want any power. What matters most is why. Is it that Bulgarians woke up and rose against everything they did not approve of, which makes power just not worth (probably even in monetary terms) as much as it used to be? Or is the reason that no-one is confident enough to lead
Photo Td/ Plamen Goranov
the country through a political crisis that threatens to frighten investors away? Among my acquaintances there is for sure great confusion and they do not know who deserves a vote right now. However, one thing is clear – a vote has to be given. Now look carefully at these two stories and find the differences in both situations. As an insider I might try to help a bit. Firstly, protests have always been used as a political stage for populism. The second
feature in common seems to be the provisional government. On the other hand, the differences are abundant. This time there are no banks failing and no hyperinflation (the currency board making a huge difference here). Another difference is that people are so sick and tired of everything that no-one knows when protests are going to stop. Still one final question remains to be answered – will Bulgaria be the Italy on the Balkans.
Photo Td/ Plamen Goranov
Bitter Coffee for Colombian Peasants Marcela Guerrero
“En la mesa diaria se coloca al frente de cada persona de este país la historia de dinámicas sociales y productivas de gente con capacidades enormes y dramas terribles” (Carlos Salgado, Colombian Economist).
Colombian coffee has become, as many things about Colombia, a cliché. It is recognized for its quality, aroma and taste. For this reason and for its significant contribution in world trade, Colombia has been called the coffee nation, a name that refers to the golden era in the middle of XIX century when Colombian coffee reached the top of the international market. Coffee was introduced to Colombia by Jesuit priests whom imposed their parishioners to sow coffee trees as penitence. Because of this Colombia experienced a great increase of coffee plantations. This aided Colombia into achieving the position as one of the main coffee producers in the world. This was reflected in the Colombian economy and the empowering of coffee sector. Towards the end of 60’s the participation of coffee in the Colombian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was 25.0%. However, this situation changed about 20 years ago. For 2011 the impact of the coffee production in GDP sharply dropped to 6.0%. This percentage indicated that the times were changing for coffee growers. In the last decade the crisis started to show its most worrying side and managed to expose to Colombians eyes an issue that had been ignored.
The most recent expression of the Colombian coffee crisis is this year national strike of coffee growers. From the 25th of February during 11 days more than 70.000 coffee growers stopped theirs activities. They left their farms and marched throughout the main highways of Colombia, demanding attention from the government to their issues. Especially to the low national and international prices of their coffee. How did such a viable sector manage to get in trouble? What happened to the golden times of one of the main economical forces in Colombia? To answer these questions one requires careful attention and analysis. Many people think that the coffee crisis is the result of a weak instance in the national and international economy, but this explanation is as superficial as it is simplistic. The loss of economic importance of coffee in Colombia and internationally is due to the fall of productivity of coffee. This has structural reasons, such as the impoverishment of Colombian peasants, age of coffee trees, slowness in adapting to new technologies, resistant varieties and reduction in fertilization. The crisis began towards the end of 1980’s with the breaking off of international agreements that used to benefit the Colombian coffee exportation. Unfortunately, Colombia was not ready for a free market. The country could not take advantage nor neutralize the disadvantages of this circumstance. As a result, Colombia lost 7.0% of worldwide participation in
coffee production between 1989 and 2011, while Brazil increased it to 13.0%. During this time, others countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia took up an important place in the production coffee worldwide, ousting Colombia from its second place as a producer of coffee. A title that Colombia had for a long time. This is just another historical example of the politic, economic and institutional neglect that Colombian peasants have suffered and the evidence of an absence of agrarian politics which take care of the needs and issues of rurally located populations. Paradoxically, this happens in a country where 25.64% of its population live in rural areas. This indifference to the rural sector goes beyond the production of goods. The root of this situation is the poverty and lack of education of the peasants, whom do not have the resources to maintain production registers and have old and inappropriate practices of planting coffee. Authors such as Perdomo and Mendieta (2007) have found a positive relationship between education, productivity and age in relation to coffee production. New generations have more capacity to incorporate technological innovations in their production process. Duque (2005), another Colombian author argues that the probability to incorporate new coffee varieties into production is greater with peasants that have enjoyed more years of formal education. Nonetheless, these ideals conditions which to mentioning by the Colombians academics, look like utopia for Colombians peasants. The reality is that the producers of coffee are aging and poor, their farms are small and they have had little education. This closes many of their opportunities to improve, especially their chances to get financing. Situations that clearly would improve their productivity, keeping in mind that a big percentage of the Colombian coffee comes from small producers who use manual techniques of production. In these conditions and when the peasants are outside of a financial system because of their poverty, they do not have the possibility to be efficient and thus are very vulnerable to the changing of prices. According to coffee growers that participated in the last strike, the production costs for one arroba of coffee are between 60.000 and 70.000 Colombian pesos (around 27 Euros), however they are not able sell it in the market for more than 50.000 Colombian pesos
(21 Euros). Abstrusely, thanks to the fall in the national production of coffee, Colombia has started to become a coffee importing country. In the last year Colombia imported 900.000 coffee bags for internal consumption.
Knowing the issues of growers coffee and valuing the wealth of the Colombian rural sector are factors indispensable to reactive the insertion of this social group in the Colombian economy. This would generate more than 631.000 jobs in the year, which would contribute to a very important increase in the GDP. The kind of farming that makes the biggest impact on the nations GDP is coffee production by means of manpower. This means that the activities of peasants are essential to reduce poverty and to distribute the national income to the rural population. Despite these serious issues, Colombia has some advantages in the international coffee market. A good example of this is that although Brazil is the main coffee producer in the world in absolutes terms and that Vietnam and Indonesia lead Colombians exports, Colombia is the first producer of mild coffee, considered as the best of the world. This says that although Colombia has an inferior production system, Colombian coffee has a superior and excellent quality. One that is not easy to replace with others kinds of coffee. In addition, thanks to its climate Colombia is able to produce coffee during the entire year and is therefore able to fresh coffee all the time. In conclusion, agrarian politics are a big challenge for the Colombian government. Workers in this sector have been ignored for many years, but they refuse to go away and shout one more time to be heard, despite the overwhelming noise of the industry and the international market that threatens to extinguish them.
DARE TO SPEAK ABOUT HOMOPHOBIA
Władysław, father of a gay”, My daughter has taught us how to speak openly. Aneta and Rafał, parents of a lesbian”, “My daughter has taught me how to be brave. Elżbieta, mother of a lesbian”. One of the faces of the campaign is a famous Polish actor, Władysław Kowalski, and his son, Kuba. Posters are displayed in five Polish cities: Warsaw, Kraków, Poznań, Wrocław and the Upper Silesian Industrial Region, in a total of 140 locations. The campaign’s aim is to encourage parents of homosexual or bisexual children to accept and support their children but also to give advice and support to parents whose children are homosexual. For the purpose of the action a webpage was created (www.odwazciesiemowic.pl), in which one can find some basic knowledge on homosexuality, answers to many questions that parents of gay, lesbian and bisexual persons are concerned with, as well as a short film featuring parents.
“My son has taught me how important it is to be yourself. Władysław, father of a gay”
1st March 2013, a campaign “Parents, dare to speak out!” against homophobia has been launched in Poland. The campaign is promoted with three posters depicting parents with their adult children. Each poster is accompanied by a slogan which illustrates perfectly the intention of the campaign: “My son has taught me how important it is to be yourself.
According to the research conducted by The Campaign Against Homophobia, 41 per cent of LGBT (initials that refer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community) keep their sexual orientation a secret from their families. In Poland, where majority of society declares to be Catholics, there is a great degree of intolerance of people who are not heterosexual. The Polish Church, which has a strong influence on political decisions in the country, holds that homosexuality is sinful and deviant. Gays and lesbians admit that they often face discrimination and even violence, therefore, they prefer to hide their sexual orientation. The discussion concerning the rights of homosexuals has been absent from the Polish politics almost completely. However, recently the PO party (Platforma Obywatelska) decided to put to the vote
in parliament a draft bill of registered civil partnership law which would give unmarried couples range of benefits which currently are only granted to married heterosexual couples, including protections and responsibilities, inheritance, pension funds, notary, and medical rights. The campaign spurred a heated debate in parliament. The idea met with fierce opposition especially from the Church. According to the Church, the civil partnership cannot be accepted because it will lead to the destruction of the institution of a family and it might open a legal loophole for the legalization of homosexual couples. As one could expect, the three drafts laws on the civil partnerships have been rejected. Many harsh words have been said about homosexuals during the debate, even though the bill was mainly concerning heterosexual unmarried couples. The most striking and shocking opinion was given by an ex-president Lech Walesa, the Polish democracy icon and Nobel peace prize winner. Few weeks after parliament rejected draft laws, Walesa said in a television interview that gays have no right to a prominent role in politics and that as a minority they need to “adjust to smaller things.” He also said that gays have no right to sit on the front benches in parliament and, if represented at all, should sit in the back, “and even behind a wall.” With that words Walesa, the leading figure in Poland’s successful democracy fight against communism, has jeopardized his legacy. As Janusz Palikot, leader of the anti-clerical pro-gay rights party said, “Lech Walesa up until now was known for tearing down walls, not building them,” and “his words contradict democracy because that form of government is based on protecting minorities.” As it can be seen, there is a huge need for more campaigns such as “Parents dare to speak out” in order to fight with the wide-spread homophobic spirit in Polish society. Homophobia in Poland is largely caused by ignorance, lack of education and knowledge about other sexual orientations. It might also be a result of fear in Catholic society, perpetuated by the Church stating that homosexuals are sick, sinful and deviant. It must be said though that the campaign “Parents dare to speak out” is not a first one organized in Poland to fight with homophobia. The organization
“My daughter has taught us how to speak openly. Aneta and Rafał, parents of a lesbian”.
Campaign Against Homophobia exists from 2001 and with many debates and social campaigns it tries to fight with discrimination of LGBT. Probably, thanks to such actions, something started slowly to change in Polish society. A watershed moment came in 2011 when a new progressive and anti-clerical party — Palikot’s Movement — entered Parliament for the first time. Taking seats for the party were Anna Grodzka, a transsexual, and Robert Biedron, who is openly gay. However, these are only single examples and even these people face discrimination from other members of parliament. The struggle with homophobia in Poland probably is going to be long and difficult but hopefully such actions like the one described in this article will raise the awareness of society about LGBT and help to enhance tolerance towards minorities.
Crisis & Recession Itâ€™s been three years now since the Greek government in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union has imposed on Greek people many ineffective austerity measures including extreme increases of all kind of taxes and excessive cuts in salaries of the public and the private sector. The sale of some basic parts of the public sector for degrading amounts with the alibi of their rescue from failure they were facing, seems to Greek people as a failed joke. The truth is that some government officials and certain groups of employees in the public sector were receiving outrageous salaries but the ugly truth is that this group of people are certainly the most unaffected from the austerity measures which have overwhelmed the lower social strata. Moreover, the most humiliating part for Greek pe-
ople is not the reduction of their salaries. It is the way , this reduction was done and its side effects on their living standards. The continuous collapse of the public health system, the deficiencies in schools and universities, and the general reduction in public services shows discordance with the amount of taxes Troika requires from them with the blessings of their own government. Unemployment rates are probably the highest Greece has ever faced (30% as the Hellenic statistic services estimate). This percentage is definitely fictious as it does not include university students, freelancers, citizens serving the Greek army and young people who are trying to get a job for the first time after completing their studies. Objectively, it is impossible to make a living in a European country with a salary of 510 euros and it is certainly a worldwide derogation for the whole
European Union. The great irony is the fact that although famous economists worldwide are constantly repeating that austerity leads to stagnation and contraction â€“not expansion- and that spending cuts in a depressed economy just makes the depression deeper, Troika goes forever on. The recurrent statements of certain German politicians concerning the debt in Greece as if this was a financial issue only between these two countries,both members of the European Union - brought back memories and scenes of the conflict between these two countries during other historical time periods, especially for the elderly people. As a result, a general negative spirit has been spread across the country, not for the German people, but for certain political persons. It is pure indignation and it is undoubtedly justified. We do not forget that Germany as an im-
migration country has been accepting and integrating â€œguest workersâ€? from our country. Moreover, as all countries with more resources, Germany siphons off academic talent from poorer countries thus successfully recruiting its scientific posts, hospitals and clinics with Greek doctors, dentists and scientists. We do not also forget that thousands of German tourists prefer our country as one of their top holiday destinations every year, facts which prove the good relations between German and Greek people. Crises and recessions will inevitably recur in the future as they have throughout history. However the true poverty is the poverty of hope, spirit and human relationships artfully imposed to the European South by some wealthy merciless technocratic systems. That is what we must fight, survive and recover from.
Pope’s dope Giacomo Savani
Never pay attention to the rumors and what people assume. I didn’t resign because I was old or sick or whatever. Maybe I was a little bit tired, that’s fine. Being a pope can be kind of tense, no doubt about it. But I could have worked it out, I tell you, as I have always done. Not for nothing was I called the diehard of Marktl am Inn when I was a kid. No regrets, no second thoughts. I did it just right. They keep saying I was kind of scared because the world is changing too fast and I couldn’t keep up with it. I let them talk, I don’t care. Maybe it’s true, the world is changing, as it has always been changing in the last 2000 years. But I’m not scared at all. I like to consider myself a pragmatic person. I know exactly how deep is our crisis and I know that the church will have to change to get out of it. Nobody can do anything about that. Not me, not my successors, definitely not my good cardinals. Eventually we will be forced to give them something, like condoms, women priests or whatever. These kind of trifles to please the Pharisees. Fair enough. Nevertheless, our pretty hard core will still be there: hell and heaven, sin and absolution, all the fancy stuff. Our Poor Creaky Holy Church will survive and rise once again. So don’t trust every rumor out there. My
choice was kind of rebellious, it’s true, but it will not affect the future of Christianity. What really made me upset was the idea that my faith was not strong enough anymore. This is rubbish. I do believe as I have always done and my faith is a bulldozer. It’s just that I started to feel a kind of estrangement between my personal creed an my role, between what I was thinking and what people expected me to say. Once again, this is part of the game. I wish I would have figured it out sooner, but it was not a big deal. I could have get over it, working in the shadows to serve the light. So, why did I do that? I think I owe you an explanation. The truth is that I resigned because I wanted to bother them. I mean, all those people around me, whispering and conspiring, cardinals, assistants, crawlers. They just sent me crazy. And so I did it. And I did it well. Man, you should have seen their faces that morning. You should have seen their gray, mellifluous eyes wide open, looking at me like I was some kind of freak. For the first time I left them wordless. No kind pieces of advice, no unselfish suggestions. Not this time. Old good cardinals, in their bright red dresses, completely annihilated. I gave ’em hell, literally. And it was just great fun. Benny
A catholic a catholic loop loop Diego Ottaviano
Although, on the 12th of March 2013 Catholicism had chances of renovation catching up a bit with our globalized era, I still see the Catholic Church as a reflection of mystery, unreliability and broken reputation. All was in the air. The abstract spirituality of a funeral was missing. Smiles replaced tears and millions of people were expecting a change, like it happened in 2008, maybe in Chicago, probably in Washington D.C. An innovation was important by many aspects, even for Mr. and Mrs. DNA and their scientific environment. Many of those figures were Monsignor Peter Turkson, a man from Ghana, the Nigerian Monsignor Francis Arinze, the Vietnamite Cardinal Jean Baptiste Pahm Minh. Men whose countries are devastated by poverty. New identities, new personalities, new cultures. Nevertheless, the choice was different. In the first instance, Jorge Mario Bergoglio may reflect the meaning of a new face. He is the first Latin American to be Pope. He is from Argentina, from the ‘South of the world’. He is the first Jesuit and he picked ‘Francesco’ as name. Bergoglio doesn’t sit on the throne. He paid the bill of the hotel. He asked forgiveness for the Cardinals. He incarnates an interesting degree of ‘humilitas et caritas’. In other words, the perfect Pope. However, we know, Francesco is human and as such, he also has a skeleton in the closet. Horacio Verbitsky, a famous Argentinian writer, defender of Human Rights, described Bergoglio as a far-right wing populist, collaborator of the militaristic regime of Jorge Rafael Videla. In his book ‘El Silencio’
Verbitsky accuses Bergoglio to be involved in the controversial kidnapping of Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, two subversive priests against the regime. The ecclesiastical environment has already denied any Dirty War allegations. However, the doubt arises a question: with all the public outrages that the Catholic Church has lately offered, why they didn’t go for a less controversial figure? The writer Vittorio Messori may have an idea. Because of Latin America, Spanish is the most spoken language of the Catholic Church. In fact, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and the rest of Latin American countries provide an impressive mass of believers. Nonetheless, this whole heap of people, the Spanish countries of Latin America together with Brazil, are ‘donating’ a strong hemorrhage of followers. Origins, human quality and theological background make of Bergoglio the most fittable geopolitical strategy already in line within the political austerity proposed by his predecessors, Wojtyla and Ratzinger. To conclude, we may not be sure about his past, but the Church seems to know how he will clean up the sexual mess ‘discussed’ by some colleagues of him and how to deal with transparency, money laundering and IOR (Vatican Bank). The San Lorenzo supporter seems the perfect man for the Church, also because, he has already opposed liberation theology, abortion, the ordination of women and he is not the biggest fan of the Argentinian left-wing President Kirchner and her same-sex marriage law.
Ethical Tourism in (Post)Colonial Spaces A Review of Jamaica Kinaid’s A Small Place
www.npr.org Jamaica Kincaid’s novel A Small Place – a story set in Antigua, a small Caribbean island plagued by centuries of colonial administrations and current forms of neo-colonial corruption – forms an aesthetic argument that questions the end of colonial forms. Kincaid defines and deconstructs the idea of the tourist gaze – a mystified form of perceiving foreign people and spaces – to open a discourse that moves well beyond tourism, but appreciates it as a telling feature of a neo-colonial contemporary reality. Scrutinizing this variable adds new ways of analyzing the residues of colonial power structures while appreciating the kaleidoscope effect of global capitalism: that is, its diffusion of responsibility through evolving adjustments. The central issue that remains however is the maintenance of differential rates of development to ensure an unequal playing field between
nations. Kincaid aesthetically points out that this is a crucial feature of contemporary global capitalism: continued dependance on (post)colonial spaces to support the economic success of OECD countries. Yet, this dependance is too often obscured through the imposition of political systems and through the fabrication of what I think has sadly become the new ideal of freedom in contemporary global political policy, that is, freedom seems to be inextricably bound to the theoretical principles of unregulated international markets. Analyzing tourism increases the ‘visibility’ of these contradictions and how they maintain unequal wealth between nations. A step towards challenging these historical power structures is the initiation socially responsible policy through the creation of independent regulatory bodies that scrutinize the ethics of multinational business and
www.npr.org the flows of global capital. However, this is very difficult now, especially in a time of financial crisis as it would decrease corporate interest levels of post colonial spaces whose profits from vulnerable markets we are all complicit in to some degree. Yet, it is quite elitist to say we can afford not to be complicit by purchasing products that do not use shady labour practices. Theoretical Implications of the Tourist Gaze: Kincaid’s narrative outlines that colonial legacies have not been destroyed following decolonization, but rather, have persistently evolved. She tackles this issue through a comparison between tourists and natives in Antigua. She writes that tourists “feel even more free” while on the island, and immediately contrasts this with Antiguan’s celebration of tourism degrees, an achievement she equates to learning “how to be good servants” . In appreciating this intricacy, Kincaid represents how historical colonial conquests and the resulting disparities in global wealth have contributed to the change of colonialism to neo-colonialism. The results enable the maintenance of preferential treatment to Westerners. Kincaid illustrates the functioning of this gap right from the onset of the text, stating that Westerner’s visiting Antigua “move through customs swiftly” while Antiguans coming home are humiliated by consistently have their bags searched.
Although Tsvetan Todorov’s seminal publication, Discovery In The Conquest of America works with the foundation of colonialism, his theorization of the functioning of the ‘discovery self’ – an erroneous means of ‘understanding’ people from distinct cultures through the projection of elements of the self onto others, leading to ‘mystification’ and therefore, restrictive identity categories – assist in understanding Kincaid’s deconstruction of the ‘tourist gaze.’ Todorov’s theory underlines how the potency of social constructions through story, be it through cinema, narrative, or oral the (re)telling of a ‘good’ vacation, forms specific expectations and ideas about people in ‘far away’ or ‘exotic’ places. Kincaid challenges the persistence such blanket narratives by pointing out how certain tourists cling to ‘idealizations’ of the ‘noble savage,’ – that is, the “union these people have with nature” – to bolster the narrative quality of their vacation and thereby obscure the realities within post-colonial spaces . To illustrate her frustration with how these narratives of beauty distort reality in Antigua, Kincaid begins the last chapter of the text with the statement that “Antigua is beautiful”. Yet, in the final few pages that follow, she intentional overuses the word ‘real’ (thirty one times, to be precise) to encourage questioning of the stability, circulation and over application of the process that constructs identity, projects ‘truth’ and consequently, silences voices of Antiguan subjects.
At this juncture, I would also like to tackle a potential criticism this article may receive regarding a simple centre – historically colonizing powers – and margins – postcolonial spaces – structure from people familiar with the theoretical work of Arjun Appadurai. Although Appadurai correctly points out that the terms centre/margin overlook cultural and ideological flows by forcefully stressing homogeneity on (post)colonial spaces, I do have to maintain that the power to dictate the flows of capital – a power that has severe deterministic consequences – largely remains concentrated in historically colonizing nations. Kincaid reminds the reader of just how influential economic determinism can be by referencing the Barclay Brothers – ‘successful’ slave traders that formed the Barclay’s bank after their ‘business’ was outlawed. As such, Kincaid clearly puts forth the idea that market advantages and political influence remain in the hands of the few, or as she writes it, create and maintain global power structures in which “all the laws . . . mysteriously favour” former colonial powers. Yet, the need to regulate businesses with lacking ethics remains muddled due to a widely accepted narrative that they are bringing opportunities and freedom to impoverished spaces. This cunning ‘emancipatory’ narrative constructs a position of superiority and assumes a helplessness of ‘other’ nations – that is, it constructs a narrative that supports the idea that if it was not for foreign investment, people in the developing world would not find a means of economic sustainability – to sway public opinion towards subtly supporting or ignoring the economic colonization of far away places. This
‘story’ is especially potent because ‘the action’ is occurring far away from power pockets, and indeed, things happening far away become ‘less real’ and are influenced by political packaging by news networks – or in this context, the retelling of essentially the same narrative of a good all-inclusive vacation – that in turn, constructs the voices we hear and defines the otherness of the other. The other crucial problem with initiating increased regulation is the consistent attributions of incompetence of governments in developing nations. This is certainly a large part of the truth, but over attribution of this variable distracts attention from the corruption of continuing forms of colonization. In other words, if we recognize that it is our own governments that are contributing to the corruption of spaces far away, perhaps it would force people to think about the “exploitation . . . [that] could ruin [their] holiday” (Kincaid, 10). Broader Implications: Kincaid’s deconstruction needs careful consideration as not that all forms of tourism and inter-cultural exchange are ‘bad.’ It is just certain methods of tourism that should be ethically questioned. When faced Kincaid’s ardent accusations, all inclusive resorts in post-colonial spaces lose their appeal and trouble arguments that there is not much subjects can do about their ancestor’s horrific history. Rejection of these forms of tourism is just one method of resistance. Yet, as I mentioned above, a feature troubling greater resistance is the enforced complicity in neo-colonial forms, as it would be an elitist argument to state
that all subjects within certain power pockets can all afford to purchase products not using shady labour practices. Yet, it also is the perseverance of narrative based xenophobic sentiments that enable exploitative economic policy and free individual actors from feelings of guilt. The implication here is the residual hierarchical classifications that have exchanged the buzzwords of ‘levels of civilization’ to the euphemism of ‘levels of development.’ This logic maintains economic power structures that are blatantly exploitative, humiliating and do not respect the dignity of subjects elsewhere. It is not enough to force the installation of democracy as a kind apology for past wrongs as this manoeuvre confirms a hierarchical relationship and more often than not creates cheap labour sources rather than a method of creating a level playing field. Again, I think that a potent way to challenge these problems is through strict and independent international business regulations. I acknowledge that much more than needs be done, that this suggestion is purely economical, overlooks the pain of (post)colonial era, and the variable of corrupt
governments. Yet, I have to maintain that increased regulation is a single step in the right direction, especially considering that such regulation would buffer suffering due to economic issues and improve standards of living through greater access to basic human needs. Although I may be criticized by people arguing that Kincaid’s point is to stress communication and evoke sympathy, I do not think the central goal of subject’s elsewhere is for their ‘other’ to feel sympathy towards elements of suffering. Although this can be a channel to initiating social responsibility, it is not enough and could perhaps stop short at taking any real action by functioning to pacify colonial guilt. Instead, we must appreciate that in a capitalist world, the power of acquiring money is quite central to ‘freedom’ and access to basic ‘inalienable’ social rights (food, shelter, education and so forth). Thus, we need to challenging corrupt economic policy in any way we can – even if that means avoiding all inclusive resorts and their catered buffets in spaces where large portions of the population are experiencing food shortages. www.virgin.com
Maja Michaliszyn comes from Krakow in Poland. Having been raised in the cultural capital of the country, with numerous museums, galleries and theatres, it was inevitable that she became interested in art. Recently, she has graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland receiving a first class degree in Art History and Italian. During her studies, she spent nine months living and studying in Bologna, where she developed a great passion for Italian culture. She is particularly interested in Italian art especially Venetian art on which she wrote her dissertation and the twentieth-century Italian art. While being a student, she has written publications, for instance for Radiius, an online art journal. Moreover, she has been working in various museums such as the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, Mackintosh House in Glasgow and recently she completed her internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. She is planning to continue her career in the museum context.
Giacomo Savani -(Jack) is a freelance writer and cartoonist (http:// taccuinofarcito.tumblr.com/) as well as a PhD student in Roman Archaeology at the University of Leicester. After spending more than half of is life in quiescent state in his sleepy hometown, he woke up, started University in Bologna and tried to face his disastrous lack of self-confidence with dignity. At the moment he lives in England and he is quite
Stanley Okurut Chairman of Pallisa Community Development Trust (Pacodet) since 1989, with a Graduation with honors in Zoology, today Stanley is Program Director of Pacodet. His job focuses in the research and organization of developing plans for the improvement of the area of Pallisa in Uganda. Pacodet The community-based organization Pallisa Community Development Trust (PACODET) serves a rural population of about 60,000 people in the Pallisa district, Eastern Uganda. PACODET involved online volunteers in the development of its project proposals in the areas of health care, community-based-adaptation to climate change, food security and civil rights. www.pacodet.org Athena Zapounidi completed her BA in English studies at the University of Athens and got her MA in English Language and Culture at the University of Amsterdam by researching and surfacing the sociopolitical narrative of Charles Bukowskiâ€™s poetry. Her academic background in the literary and cultural field has enhanced her critical, analytical and creative skills. She writes academic essays, articles, poetry, scripts, and enjoys painting in her spare time.
Born and raised in Provence, in the South of France, Hugo is graduated from the Institute of Political Studies of Aix-en-Provence. He particularly focused there on the European left-wing parties. After his study in France and an exchange in Stockholm, he is studying now political communication in Amsterdam.
Natalie Shapiro is a Holistic Health Advisor working in California, United States. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from San Francisco State University, a Certificate of International Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam, and a certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition: New York. Natalie works to guide individuals towards healthier, balanced nutrition and lifestyles. She has researched the link between food and: quality, deficiencies, (mal) nutrition, production, corporations, government, environment, animals. Contact Natalie at: Natalie@thriveonhealth.com. Paolo Zapparoli is native of the of North of Italy. At the age of 25, he started his adventure in the photography environment, discovering new views of the world as well as of himself. His focuses are people, which he likes portraying with the extravagant and unexpected style of Street Photography. He counts several collaborations with the online magazine Diecieventicinque.it and with the cultural group of Zerocinqueuno. To highlight ‘No Fixed Abode’, a cooperation with a group of international photographers in Bologna, and ‘Appunti di Viaggio’ a personal project developed dedicated to Turkey and its populations.
Harry Mouhtaris studied marketing and photography at Technical collage GYMEA, Sydney Australia. In 2004 worked my way to Europe being based in Athens for 8 years till moving to Amsterdam. Photography to me is capturing the moment, lifestyle/people, travel, food/ still, scenic, night and documentary. Always looking for the right shot.
Francesco Camonita is from Catania, Sicily. At the age of eighteen, probably too tired of the beautiful, cursed reality of his island he left Italy in what he defined a “voluntary exile”. He successfully completed in 2012 a career in International Relations with Spanish at Swansea University, Wales (UK), getting a First Class Degree. He currently lives and is lucky enough to work as an Administrative Research Assistant for the Autonomous University of Barcelona, specializing in academic project management and European studies. Francesco’s fields and academic passions space contemporary history, international relations, the European debate and languages. He dreams of a career at a European Institution to try and change things for the sake of EU society, and hopes the day of a renewed 3rd Italian Republic will eventually come true. T. Bashev completed an M.A in Literature and Culture at UvA Amsterdam and a Dual BA in Literature and Psychology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Canada. His primary academic interest lies in the intersection between (post)colonial theory, contemporary literature and public policy. His personal interests include philosophical comic books, long distance running and attempting to play the guitar.
David S. Muñoz Cuenca was born in Mexico in 1989. During his life as a student, he became more and more involved in the international environment, focusing on topics related to political, social and environmental issues. For these interests, he studied International Relations at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, finishing his last year at the University of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. This opportunity enriched his knowledge and changed his views, which is now trying to share.
Salvo Ognibene was born in Livorno and he grew up in Menfi, Sicily. In 2008, he moved to Bologna, where he studies law at the University of Bologna. Because of his passions for journalism, politics, sport and antimafia, in 2011 he founded the online magazine www.Diecieventincinque. it. Finally, he collaborates with the network ‘I Siciliani giovani’ and the television ‘Telejato’.
Natasha Doupkari was born in northwestern Greece and currently she is studying Dentistry in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. In her spare time she is a columnist at one of Greeceâ€™s most popular voluntary e-magazine, www.maga.gr.
Marcela Guerrero is Sociologist and journalist from Rosario University, BogotĂĄ - Colombia. Has participated in researches groups as young researcher, analysing topics about rural sociology and social representations in medias. Marcela is interested in rural sociology and investigative journalism. Is lover of photography and contemporary dance.
Diego Ottaviano. Writer and collaborator of Diecieventicinque since 2011, he is now attending a research master program at the University of Amsterdam. He also works with the publisher CaracĂ˛.it with which he develops pedagogical project for high school. He studies Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. He is the coordinator of Diecieventicinque International.
Paolo Vicenzi is a freelance creative designer. For three years he lived in Milan where he attended the professional School of Comics. It is during this period, that Paolo cultivated passions such as, edit design and art design. After his experience in Milan, Paolo moved to Bologna, where he started collaborations with several cultural groups. In Bologna, Paolo also entered the international environment, which has led him to a short stay in the Netherlands.firstname.lastname@example.org
April 28, 2013 Logo and comic strips by Giacomo Savani Web site created by Carlo Tamburelli Layout and cover by Paolo Vicenzi
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Published on Mar 24, 2013
The unstable political situation of the world, perfectly fittable with the economic and financial worldwide status, is slave of an annoying...