Eurovise October 2021

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a publication of the study association for european studies


exodus october 2021 / /


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Editorial Arianne Zajac

Dear reader, As the days grow shorter and it becomes steadily colder outside, we retreat into our homes. We search for warmth and cosiness, physically and mentally, as to provide some respite from the gradual onslaught of winter. During these very moments we cannot help but observe our surroundings. We see the leaves diminish, until they are brown husks on the floor, we notice our breath dissipate into the chilly air, and we take stock of the icy wind, as it bites and snaps around us. It becomes apparent that the easy-going, ever-lasting nature of summer has gone. Consequently, I find this time of year is one full of reflection, and I believe that our writers have not held back with their articles, as they analyse and question the world around us.

eurovisie Volume 17 Issue 1 October 2021

Imprint Editorial office: Kloveniersburgwal 48, room E2.04/2.05, 1012 CX Amsterdam Editor-in-chief: Arianne Zajac Editors: Nicolae Odagiu, Órlaith Roe, Frederique de Ridder, Julius Sieburgh, Arianne Zajac, Lara Kristjansdottir, Emilia Juchno, Renata Rîmbu, Irina Petrescu, Sophia Bombeld Design: Irina Petrescu, Nicolae Odagiu

Renata is battling for equality. She has recognised the sexist undertones in the sports world and challenges why they have been taken for granted for so long. Emilia and Órlaith lament over the European Union’s refugee policies - they discern where our own and our countries’ positions and responsibilities may lie. Finally, Frederique has broken into the long neglected housing market, where she has analysed the current crisis and the movements that seek to change it! Dear reader if, like me, you find yourself wondering how we have ended up here? Marvelling at how quickly the bright light of day, succumbed so easily to the night? Or questioning why we our living our lives this way? I implore you to take on the determined and courageous nature of our writers who seek to contest and scrutinise what happens in our everyday. Affectionately, Arianne Zajac, editor-in-chief

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REWILDING: REASONABLE OR REBELLIOUS? The Fight to Protect Europe's Wildlife

Arianne Zajaç


ewilding is characterised by conservative efforts in restoring or protecting natural processes and wilderness. There is an emphasis (interestingly, as it involves humans intervening) on stepping back. It has become increasingly popular over the last few decades to the point that the UN claims it is necessary in the fight against climate change. However, rewilding is not as plainly institutional as it first appears. Rather than simply being a process taken up by governments and organisations to resolve the current environmental crisis, it is an act of contention. Sometimes rejected by organisations as not scientific enough, it also has a history of radicalism and activism.

The group sprouted out from RARE II, which they felt to be a sell out to mainstream activist movements. However, it was refined by conservation biologists Michael Soulé and Reed Noss in a paper published in 1998. The concept had been first established somewhat earlier in 1967 by R.H. MacArthur and Edward O, however organisations have been slow to pick it up and the approach has been academically criticised. According to Rewilding Europe, rewilding is built on the idea that ‘nature knows best’ and humans are simply there to give a ‘helping hand’. Within rewilding, keystone species and top predators are reintroduced; consider wolves in Europe or large grazing mammals.

The term rewilding was originally coined by Earth First – a radical environmental advocacy group and movement, founded in the 1980s.

There are many examples of successful rewilding, Castle Knepp being one. The Castle was formerly agricultural land, inherited by Sir Charles Burrell, 10th Baronet, from his grandparents at age 21 in 1983. As he struggled with managing the farm, he transformed the estate into nature reserve and the area became the first major lowland rewilding project in England.

A ‘hands-off’ naturalistic grazing system was adopted in 2002, which allowed free-roaming herds of old English longhorns, Exmoor ponies, and Tamworth pigs as proxies for the aurochs, tarpan and wild boar that would once have roamed the British countryside, as well as red and fallow deer. Nevertheless, there are many tensions within the process of rewilding. Often farmers and landowners can be resistant and feel alienated. Many feel it is irresponsible to abandon productive land when the world’s population is growing, but the fact of the matter is most farming can no longer keep up with the now globalised industry. As farming is increasingly intensified, it frees up land which can be turned into conservation areas. This is not the only contention with rewilding. If done in an ill-thought-out manner, it can have dire consequences for the present wildlife. There are worries in Scotland of re-introduced wild boar carrying the antibiotic-resistant strain of MRSA, that is potentially lethal to humans. However, as the clock ticks on climate change and the reduction of natural habitats increases at an alarming rate, many criticise that not enough is being done. In this camp, the radical, activist origins of rewilding shine through. Often, it is mainly men who take it upon themselves to carry out the work that they feel conservationist organisations are failing to do. Conservationists often focus on habitat reconstruction, rather than simply reintroducing individual species, meaning they must work with the area as a whole.

Not to mention, the time-consuming nature of collecting data, funding, monitoring, writing reports, and other bureaucratic processes. The result is people are taking matters into their own hands. Martin White was one of the most notable rewilders in the United Kingdom. He has had a passion for butterflies his whole life and took it upon himself to stop their declining numbers. He has used data his consistently to guide his reintroductions and has even been grudgingly credited as the saviour of certain butterfly species, such as the Purple Emperor. Notwithstanding, conservationists tend to highlight the damaging nature maverick rewilding has on data collection and method testing, meaning there is no way to determine what is working or not. Not that this seems to stop people like Martin, who feel that they have public opinion on their side and are challenging the establishment. On the flipside, to the maverick rewilders, who tend to work out of their own back gardens, you have millionaires getting involved as well. Often able to buy up land, or transform their own, and they can then carry out rewilding as they please – as successfully demonstrated with Castle Knepp. While this philanthropic effort may appear to be praiseworthy, it raises various points of interest. In terms of accountability, it becomes unclear who is directing the project, under what advice it is carried out, and who is the focal point for the success or failure of the project? Furthermore, what are the implications of this kind of land ownership on greater class difference? The UK government is seeking to enclose common land further and make trespass a criminal offence, thus limiting significantly who has access to green space. When such land is already under threat, what are the ethics behind rewilding private land that is unavailable for public use? As can be seen, rewilding has a rich history. It has caught the imagination of many different groups in society; activists, scientists, wealthy philanthropists, and the general public. With many new nature policies being labelled rewilding, it appears, despite its controversies, to be a mobilising and influential force. It seems that rewilding is here to stay.

THE MORALITY OF OUR SHORES The Mediterranean’s Money Wall and European Apathy

Órlaith Roe


ithin the deepest and darkest environment of human suffering lies a familiarity, a devastating pain that is unknown to those of us privileged enough to escape the confines of unspeakable tragedy. It is a movable tragedy, one that washes up on our European shores with sinister frequency, one often ignored. In recent times, it seems as though many of us have placed the European refugee crisis within the parameters of 2015, tucked within those twelve months and revisited via news reels and photography documenting the unspeakable events that ravaged human life. The crisis of migration in our modern era cannot be restricted to a twelve-month timeframe. Approximately 1.3 million refugees claimed asylum in Europe throughout 2015, the highest number since World War II, but the grave problems surrounding migration and displacement are only growing, and they have stretched themselves into this new decade. The Covid-19 pandemic, naturally, shifted and narrowed the world’s focus regarding societal crises and the so-called ‘hierarchy’ of issues to address.

“The past two years have offered a new form of refugee crisis, one with added suffering, increased human rights abuses, and an even blinder eye turned by European powers.’’ In April of 2020, over the Easter week, the Mediterranean Sea lay claim yet again to tragedy of the highest magnitude, of which was barely spoken of or addressed at the time. 10 Eritreans and 2 Ethiopians died in circumstances that can credibly be attributed to the negligence and malice of European and Italian authorities, while the surviving 51 refugees were forcibly taken to Libya to be imprisoned in the Tarek al Sika detention centre, one of the most infamous camps in Tripoli. Statewatch documents the events as follows: “The raft with the 63 refugees leaves the evening of Thursday, April 9 from the coast of Garabulli,

east of Tripoli, heading north. The next day it isin difficulty and launches requests for help. Volunteer Alarm Phone operators intercept the messages and immediately warn the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) in Malta and Rome. The dinghy was also sighted, together with four others roughly in the same stretch of sea, by a reconnaissance plane of the European agency Frontex, which in turn reports its presence both in Valletta and Rome, for the interventions of the competent authorities, it being clear - as the agency itself will later specify - that the task of organizing any rescue operations is not up to Frontex but to the competent maritime authorities, duly notified. The position of the dinghy - from which the requests for help are multiplying - is known from the beginning: it entered the Maltese SAR zone but it is much closer to Lampedusa than to Malta. Hours and days pass but no intervention is recorded to reach it and rescue the shipwrecked.” A combination of exhaustion, hypothermia, drowning, and desperation contributed to the death of twelve refugees, with negligence and slow intervention by the competent authorities being the overall cause of death. With the entirety of these events taking place less than thirty miles from Lampedusa, the endorsement of the abandonment of the shipwrecked refugees for five days at sea is evident through the silence and inaction of Italian maritime authorities, who were duly notified of the boat’s status, and their complicity in the senseless loss of life of twelve migrants. The events over the Easter week of 2020 in the Mediterranean Sea were nothing the region had not experienced before, no surprises or one-offs, and they were far from the final time. But the arguably guilt-free mindset of the relevant European authorities, comfortably excusing themselves from responsibility, is harrowing. But perhaps what is more pertinent than the questionable morals of maritime affairs and ‘crisis-mode’ decision making, is the money wall harnessed by the European Union in order to pay their way out of inevitable problems. Moreover, a money-wall that is creating temporary solutions to a longer-term issue that should be of growing concerns to the entirety of Europe.

The New York Times published a report in September of 2019 detailing the various forms in which the EU has effectively paid-off other countries to deal with refugees and potential asylum seekers along with the stark lack of consideration for the most basic of human rights afforded to such people. The EU has paid billions to Turkey in order to prevent the country from allowing refugees to cross the border into Greece and has funded the Libyan coastguard to guard Mediterranean waters and detain migrant boats, forcing them back to North Africa. Moreover, the Union has also reached further afield and has established detention centres in Niger in order to process asylum seekers; while these centres are labelled as positive EU and UNHCR funded ‘safe havens’ for vulnera- ble refugees, they are cruel and rotten places with

scarce resources, opportunities, or rights for those it detains, with its decision makers a continent away. After the 2008 Friendship Treaty between Italy and Libya was renewed in 2018, Italy’s ability to block Libyan migrants was reactivated after being suspended during the overthrow of former Libyan leader Gaddafi in 2011. As outlined by The Migrant Project, Libya was promised 4.2 billion euros of Italian investment as compensation for colonization and in exchange for stopping migrants from embarking for Europe from its shores. In what many commentators have lauded as a reparation-led treaty, Italy have simply utilised the pact to achieve controversial and highly questionable goals pertaining to anti-migrant policies and shrouded their moves in friendship.

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When the EU originally began to funnel money into Libya in order to lessen the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea, there was hope and positivity in the Union’s promises to improve the deplorable and notorious detention centres in the region infamous for abuse, and to curb the flow of human trafficking. On the contrary, little progression has been made in the region and the plight of migrants in Libya has steadily worsened in recent years with the establishment of various EU funded businesses enabled by the United Nations. According to a report by the Associated Press in December of 2019, the EU has sent more than 327.9 million euros to Libya, with an additional 41 million approved in early December, largely channelled through U.N. agencies. As indicated by the outlet, “The AP found that in a country without a functioning government, huge sums of European money have been diverted to intertwined networks of militiamen, traffickers and coast guard members who exploit migrants. In some cases, U.N. officials knew militia networks were getting the money, according to internal emails.” The AP investigation further exposed the brutality of life within EU established camps; relentless torture at the hands of the militias, extortion and abuse toward migrants is commonplace. “The militias involved in abuse and trafficking also skim off European funds given through the U.N. to feed and otherwise help migrants, who go hungry.” With migrants at the forefront of public consciousness yet again with recent events in Afghanistan, Europe’s inability to handle its migrant policy humanely and effectively is growing into a larger problem that is bound to spiral out of the Union’s control if it does not act with swift effica of vulnerable Afghan refugees, and the Union’s lack of consensus only serves to blur the EU’s collective response. cy. The EU’s tense relations with Belarus seem to be only worsening with recent threatening actions on behalf of Lukashenko and his manipulation. For years the Mediterranean Sea has laid claim to human life, vibrant potential, and new hope. While many tragedies that took place at the water’s shores were accidental and unavoidable, too great a number of stolen lives were due to European apathy and selfishness.

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“The paradox of the Mediterranean as a place of beauty and northern-European relaxation against the harsher reality of the harrowing journey so many migrants are forced to take is representative of the selective realities we choose to see.” The EU’s money wall and the shaking-off of responsibility is not sustainable – and its crumbling is imminent. Institutions such as the Union and the United Nations, priding themselves on humane policies and equality, are failing at their most fundamental foundations, protecting vulnerable human life. More than that, they are actively funding the abuse and neglect of those they vow to protect. As a born optimist, I deeply hope we find ourselves on the most humane side of history’s refugee journey, and protecting the lives of those traversing our shores.


A Look at Female Sexualisation and Double-standards within Sports Renata Rîmbu


ourteen athletes kneeling down side-by side. Seven men, seven women. The men are wearing long tank tops and shorts. The women- bikini bottoms and a sports bra. The difference in exposed skin is immediately eye-catching. The photograph I am describing circulated the internet and news outlets this summer, when during the Euro 2021 tournaments, Norway’s women’s beach handball team decided to forgo their normal uniform and play in shorts instead of bikinis. It was a protest against the uniform regulations of the sport, with the women making use of their platform in the bronze medal match to make an important statement: (female) athletes should be allowed to wear what they deem comfortable while playing, and not be dependent on a sexist standard. The consequence? They were all fined 150 euros by the European Handball Association’s Disciplinary Commission, adding up to a sum of 1500 euros for the entire team, on grounds of “improper clothing”. The uproar which followed is easily imaginable. Female athletes came forward with countless stories of unfair treatment, joined by women working

in other fields who shared their experiences. Pop singer P!nk offered to pay the entirety of the fine, and all others that may follow. The reaction of the International Handball Federation was less decisive to say the least, with a spokesperson claiming they did not know the actual reasons for these rules and that an internal investigation was to be conducted. Once again, this goes to prove that a statement and subsequent scandal are needed in order to even proceed in the direction of changing the status quo. It makes one wonder, however, why no one questioned said rules before--some food for thought. The “bikini controversy” sparked a heated debate, with some critics arguing that any institution, in sports or otherwise, is at liberty to impose a certain dress code. A reasonable argument to a certain extent, but then the situation must be presented in its entirety. While male players are allowed to play in tank tops and shorts no longer than ten centimetres above the knee, the regulations state that women have to wear bikini bottoms “with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a maximum side width of 10 centimetres. If men can play in shorts without being inhibited, why can’t women? The Norwegian team explained the bikini bottoms aren’t practical in a sport where one has to repeatedly dive into the sand, beyond them being degrading and culturally insensitive to certain countries. Why then, we might ask again, is it acceptable for men to be covered, but for women it is labelled as “improper clothing”? Many have argued that rules ought to make sense to the sport they refer to and help the athletes achieve the best results possible. Clearly, the Norwegian women’s team has a different understanding of what helps them achieve successful results. The deeply rooted problem of socially-ingrained sexism is one side of this story, with a matter of institutional abuse of authority being at play as well. Sports associations and federations have the power to set very clear rules regarding aspects

to said rules. Let us frame the aspects I’ve already mentioned above in a shorter form: in the case of the scandal surrounding Norway’s women’s beach handball team, the European Hand-ball Federation fined all the players before even conducting an investigation. Their first response was to claim that they did not know why these rules existed or what their purpose was. The team was even threatened with disqualification from the tournament by the federation, but decided to protest against the measures anyway during their last match. All of this goes to show that, unfortunately, there are cases of disregard for the well-being of the athletes and punishments are conducted without even looking into the circumstances of each case.

Double standard in sports does not stop at uniforms, however. Female athletes get paid less, to start with. Women’s sport only gets 7% of media coverage and barely 0.4% of commercial investment goes to women-only sport. Women are held to a much higher standard when it comes to attitude, composure and mentality while competing. If male athletes can win over audiences by employing a “bad-boy” or “rule-breaker” attitude, women cannot get away with it. Many deemed Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, two of the most prominent athletes in the world, weak for prioritising their mental health over competition earlier this year. A vital issue is at stake here: the way women are perceived within society and their working spaces. From clothing to attitude towards mental health, it has ‘‘Why do associations become obvious to many and and federations know been reminded to many others that the place of women is better what is more shaky at best. Yes, progress is convenient and prac- slowly being made, but there is still a lot of ground to cover.

During the same week in July when this was taking place, track and field two-time Paralympic world champion, Olivia Breen, talked about how during the English Championships, a volunteer said her sprinting shorts were too tical than the athletes This is precisely why I have short and inappropriate, so she themselves?’’ questioned so much already. should think of changing her attire. Even if the answers might sometimes feel too For many women in sports and otherwise, these dire or overwhelming to think about, it is our duty unrelated, yet telling situations showed that wo- to keep asking the questions. The importance of men simply cannot win, due to the immense pres- sport, both culturally and socially, is immense. You sure put on their shoulders to look and perform a don’t have to even be remotely interested in it, certain way. This is all part of a much larger issue not to mention an avid fan, to be exposed to its concerning the sexualisation of women and the existence. What we see remains ingrained in our double-standards existing within sports. perception of what society should look like, what 2011: the Badminton World Federation states that women have to dress in skirts or dresses so as to revive interest in women’s badminton. 2012: the Amateur International Boxing Association wants to make female boxers wear skirts instead of short, in order for people to better tell the difference between female and male boxers. 2015: after qualifying for the Australian Open semi-final, Canadian tennis player Eugenie Bouchard is asked during an on-court interview to give the audience a twirl. 2021: the German Artistic Gymnastics team decides to compete in full-body leotards at the Summer Olympics to make a statement about the sexualisation of women in the sport world. These are only four examples I stumbled upon, and they were not remotely hard to find. In fact, there are many, many more out there. What is even more worrisome is that these are only the cases that re-

is considered acceptable and what not. Even more importantly, precedents in one part of society can hopefully lead to a questioning process and finally changing the norms. If ten centimetres can help create a more equal and positive environment for everyone, maybe we should give it some serious thought, and look towards examples such as the one of the Norwegian women’s beach handball team--they show the bravery of going against the current, of standing up for your rights and questioning authority when it needs to be questioned. These women do not just literally move for a living; they actively choose to partake in the movement for equality so many of us reach for.

WHERE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO RUN? Afghan refugees refused entrance to Poland at the border with Belarus as they flee the Taliban regime.

Emilia Juchno


or the past 20 years, Afghanistan has been haunted by a war between the Taliban - the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ (IEA), an Islamist religious, political and military organisation based in Afghanistan - and the Afghan government along with the US-led coalition of NATO member states. Invasion of Afghanistan by the US had the aim of abolishing the rule of the oppressive Taliban and installing a democratic government there. However, as the world has recently bared witness to, they have failed to do so and the last American troops withdrew from Afghanistan on the 30th of August, 2021. That war, similarly to relatively recent wars of the mid-20th century, was not just a series of battles between armies of well-equipped soldiers. It has become as much a humanitarian crisis as it was a political one, claiming over 46.000 lives of Afghan civilians, a number which is most likely underestimated. I referred to the war as ‘haunting’, because, from the perspective of the Afghan people, it was not only about being a witness to it. They have experienced what the word ‘war’ holds deep within itself on a full scale, having fallen victims to famine, water crises, and other indirect consequences of it. The US

explained that they were left with no choice but to abandon the Afghans in order to safely bring home their own soldiers, and the judgement of that decision requires extensive analysis. What is certain, however, is that the Taliban has regained its power over the people and is introducing an authoritative regime as we speak, threatening, in particular, the progress achieved in women’s rights over the last twenty years.

“I don’t know is my answer. I don’t know where you can go. I don’t think America will help anymore. No, I don’t think they will give you or your brother or my former driver from 11 years ago a visa.” - Lynsey Addario for The Atlantic

As the Afghan people woke up to a new reality just this August, the burden lies on Europe to make the right decision and help prevent a further humanitarian crisis. We

have the power to do so, seeing as it is our door the Afghan refugees have come knocking at. They were invited, according to the European Union, by the authoritarian president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, who is said to try to destabilise the EU and apparently promises the incoming refugees that directly beyond the border they will find Germany and enter Western Europe where they will be helped. And that is how the Afghans have fallen victim to “the political game between countries”, as said by Aleksandra Fertlińska from Amnesty International Poland. The promises of help are, undoubtedly, false and Poland, Belarus’s real neighbour, has no intention of allowing the refugees in, leaving them with no choice but to stay caught up between the two countries - because while trying to get back, the Afghan men and women are met with violence from armed Belarusian soldiers. Right there, at the border between Belarus and Poland, death takes its toll on those who face freezing temperatures, hunger, and lack of access to clean, safe drinking water. Medics, lawyers and human rights campaigners found it difficult to enter the “area under a state of emergency”, where thirty two Af-

ghans have been camping out for over a month now, guarded by Polish security forces, despite calls from the European Court of Human Rights to let them in. As a result, several people have been found dead, either from starvation or freezing. According to the European and international refugee law, Poland is obliged to assist asylum seekers, but the right-wing Polish government continues to ignore its duties as an EU member. In response to the crisis, the government introduced changes to national law, stating that people trying to cross the border “irregularly” will not be allowed asylum. What could be the reasons for Poland’s antipathy and the EU’s ignorance?  Poland is infamously known for its anti-foreign attitudes, as seen in the right-wing Law and Justice party’s xenophobic migration policy, which states that the immigrant must accept polish ideological and religious values as their own and reject those values that would “threaten Poland’s national identity”. The authors of the document’s draft, which has leaked in 2019, argued that Muslims in particular, are problematic due to their inability to integrate with the host society. These attitudes, along with the fear of the

“foreign” and, essentially, the “different”, prevail in the conservative, Christian, or less-educated part of the Polish society. According to activists and Polish opposition politicians, declaring ‘a state of emergency’ at the border with Belarus has only made it more difficult for medics and lawyers to reach the Afghan refugees. Journalists have also been banned from the area, so it seems that the Polish government is doing everything they can to limit access to the refugees - including that of independent media, which has been monitoring the situation - while not offering any form of assistance themselves. For the men and women stuck in the political game between two authoritarian governments, acting childishly while trying to shift the blame onto each other, the only hope is NGOs and independent lawyers. Members of the Polish foundation Ocalenie have been using megaphones to communicate with the refugees and preparing in their names applications for international protection - the Afghans had to shout their approval in English, because the lawyers were not allowed anywhere near them. Although help received from independent sources has been crucial for many people seeking immediate medical and legal assistance, it is the Polish government’s decision-making that weighs the most. Unfortunately, the prospect of the Law and Justice party taking responsibility for this humanitarian crisis is overwhelmingly blurry. It is difficult to predict what comes next. While international disapproval has been expressed, the governments of Belarus and Poland seem to have no intention to give way in the near future. For those who are able to help locally, NGOs

such as Caritas Poland have organised collections of water, warm clothes, food, sanitary materials, and blankets, that are being sent directly to the refugees. Amnesty International Poland is conveying a public petition to the Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, calling on him to grant asylum, as well as medical and legal assistance to the Afghan refugees, effective immediately. Europe has seen and witnessed its share of wars, humanitarian crises, and human tragedies. Since the late 19th century, our ancestors have been migrating beyond their countries of origin, fleeing political instability and persecution, also, because of terrible prejudices towards their race or religion - 60 million people between the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Today, we are reluctant towards inviting immigrants, who come from distant, not rarely unfamiliar lands - we feel that same hesitance that Americans, Canadians, Brazilians, or Argentinians felt towards increasing numbers of refugees seeking stability in their homelands. Europe, especially Eastern, is now acting as if they were not once those who needed help - those who were no less hesitant and scared of entering a country they have never been to, where a language is spoken that they do not know. Poland, with its undoubtedly tragic history of mass annihilation, keeps its eyes and its heart closed, despite the fact that the 20th century wars and previous annexations, years of being left out of the European map due to military and political conflicts, are such important parts of the public conscience.

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MOVED BY MOVING Frederique de Ridder


he fundamental right of having a home is universal, which makes its protection a common crucial concern at all costs. It is commonly known that parks, forests and other natural environments, are beneficial for one’s mental well-being. After having worked from homes, having socially distanced by forcibly staying inside, spending time outside has become something to long for. Not for long, when the peace one used to encounter around the edges of the city, has seemingly disappeared. Unavoidable overstimulation intervenes one’s moment of selfcare when a mind full of drilling noises dominate, caused by jackhammers combined with sputtering engines of wheelbarrows, bulldozers and dump trucks. Not having mentioned the visual pollution; the outskirt of Amsterdam North transformed into Dutch dupe of a ‘Manhattan’. It is actually fair to ask oneself whether the skyline of Amsterdam would still be in a recogniseable state, considering the

city gained nowadays besides the “Zuid-as” a similar-looking “North-as”. What is moving Amsterdam to actively invest in pursue this reshaping? In what way is imposing the new style, affecting the city’s embodiment of its true identity? The pace of the change comes across as rather impressive. Impressively alarming actually.

‘‘Irreversible segregation veiled under gentrification is namely literally set into concrete.‘‘ Movements are often defined as a hype. The ongoing movement that is taking place concerning the housing crisis however, is not reducible to a fashion trend. The irreversible segregation perceived amongst the public, is feeding the shared aspiration to stand up against it. During the housing protest of the 12th of

September in Amsterdam, more than 15,000 people voiced their disagreement upon an alienated interpretation of normal. The reason behind what is making the current situation alien, is the fact that having a home is rapidly becoming unprecedently impossible. The demand for housing in the Netherlands is high, but the possibilities are increasingly scarce and unaffordable. Social rent offers the opportunity to have a home according to convenient measures, however the waiting lists offer a hopeless perspective. Waiting for ten years in order to achieve a position to become qualified, is becoming nowadays namely a crucial requirement. This consequences plans, which were supposed to be subordinate under the category “back-up”, being pushed to the front. The crisis drives students into such extreme circumstances, in which living in tents has become a more respectable solution. Let alone the option of returning to your parents’ house after having studied in a completely different environment. Or not being

able to leave one’s birthplace at all. Also general perspectives upon living situations have been shaped because of the conditions. Being forced to live together, whilst benefiting from having multiple incomes can consequence the establishment of relationships. However, will these instances never meet the amount of the already existing relationships and friend groups that broke, because of it. Desperate needs demand desperate measures, while the private rental sector profits from the manifested mess. On top of that, in the past ten years the amount of homeless people in het Netherlands doubled. The crisis is of general concern and affecting almost all groups in society. Hence, the march in Amsterdam was followed by the organisation of a rising on 17th of October in Rotterdam of which participated more than 7000 protestors, of which eight were arrested by police. Demonstrators united within 201 different communities, declared solidarity towards the people who have been arrested

by police. Another similar group of 4000 people that stood up for constructive change concerning the housing policy in the Netherlands, gathered in Amsterdam on the 16th of October. While enthusiasts across the country made their way to the capital to catch up lost time of celebrating the techno scene during the ‘Amsterdam Dance Event’, a different caliber of dancing manifested itself outside of the clubs and bars. Participants of ‘Amsterdam Danst Ergens Voor’ (Amsterdam dances for something) mobilised on the streets on the 16th of October. The fitting theme they adopted for the march ‘monopoly’ reveals how the established situation has become beyond recall. The protestors of the march were joined by the action group “Pak Mokum Terug” (Reclaim Mokum) which initiated the squatting of the former Marnix Hotel at Marnixstraat 328. The building they entered was empty and neglected; a foreseeable scene which was plausibly comparable to

the interior of other 10,700 empty buildings located in Amsterdam, of which around 330 are owned by the Dutch branch of the American investor company ‘Blackstone’. The action group renamed the building and is currently known as ‘Hotel Mokum’. The new name for the building is not an accidental coincident since ‘Mokum’, a word originating from Amsterdam dialect in which the term Mokum implies “home”. Mokum term Amsterdam citizens have used over history to refer to their city, their home. For already nine years, the community ADEV advocates for affordable housing and spaces for creative refuges. The music that gained its popularity because of attractions such as ADE, with techno in particular, is remarkably closely connected to the Dutch underground scene which is currently increasingly facing its extinction. The aggressive dirty and gritty repetitive features of the genre, causes its industrial nature of the genre being hard to ignore. It

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reveals its roots of the laboratory of Philips factories. The environment in which the counter to nature was embraced. Compositions evolved out of tape montages based on crafty experimental attempts. Reel-to-reel recorders, audio-frequency oscillators, tube amplifiers and general amplifiers allowed experimenters to compose repetitive raw pieces. It created synthetic noises and stereophonics. Modernity brought movement about. Machines facilitated it, the music embodied it for the people to share it.

‘‘A home, in every definition, is not supposed to be a privilege.’’ ‘Hotel Mokum’ and all other urban creative refuges, function as both a home as a cultural hub. Already existing spaces for refuges have disappeared for mainly the purpose of real estate exploitation. Empty buildings owned by investors hinder the development of identity of the city which is supposed to be in control by its inhabitants. The systematic breakdown of the refuges facilitates this decline of control. Citizens of cities become increasingly deprived from being able to decide for themselves whether they feel like exploring environments of machinery noises, instead of having no control over being disturbed by it. They become increasingly deprived from having a voice in whatever concerns their home, to the extent that they become increasingly deprived from having one at all. More than ever it is time to realise what forces take over shaping norms for a public which has lost track of what to grant itself. It is time for movement to and for the city to protect it from its eroding identity.

october eurovisie | page17 17 eurovisie | |may | page

SES Calendar Think Tank I - 9th of November On the 9th of November between 18:30 and 19:30, SES will host its first Think Tank of the year. The purpose of a Think Tank is that you, an SES member, can give feedback to us, the board, on the functioning of the association and also to propose events and ideas. The Think Tank is also the platform to voice any form of criticism and concerns you might have. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your thoughts live during the Think Tank you can also submit them anonymously on our website, we will then discuss them during the Think Tank. General Committee Assembly - 16th of November On the evening of Noverber 16th, at Spui Library, the General Committee Assembly will take place. As the new committes have been formed, it’s time to get acquainted. Through this event, all newly formed committes will be introduced by their respective chairs, and will have the opportunity to interact and get to know eachother better.


(c) studievereniging europese studies 2021

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