ODENSE ISSUE N.1
Table of Content DROI - Life Gets Better Togehter
ENVI I - Acceptance Through Understanding
LIBE - Cyperbullying, Crime or Punishment?
AFCO - Euroscepticism? Turning the Tide
ITRE - The EU, Potential Energy Union? Or just the EU 12 CULT - How To Cook 14 ENVI II - The Value of Life
Life gets better
LGBTQ+ rights is a topic that is often discussed and which owns a particular place in the EYP world, as it is all about diversity, acceptance and understanding of the other. Whilst the debates within EYP encourage the highest tolerance towards this community, it does not seem to be as easy in our actual world. Indeed, as one of the actual most powerful men on earth is a consistent opponent of marriage equality and keeps contradicting himself in his declarations about gays and lesbians rights as well as in his opinion about transgender people, regularly denigrating them and sporadically affirming that he holds them in high regard, this community has every right to feel unsafe and even rejected. However, it has not always been this way. Let’s go way back in time : interesting enough, in the earliest ages, individuals that showed a multigender personality or opposite physical gender as the one that they were born with were considered powerful and were venerated for their wisdom. In Ancient Greece, relations between men were common and even Pharaohs had young men in their harems. Homosexuality was not considered as abnormal, nor were transgender persons, as they were part of the everyday life. So how does it come that now they have to fight for the right of using the bathroom of their choice or get married to the person that they love? The response is at the same time obvious and alarming: as the societies got more modern and complex, the class divisions became more rigid and a patriarchal way of ruling was established, crushing women’s role and impact power. The traditional family comporting two parents from opposite gender was strongly encouraged by influential religious figures. From this moment on, tolerance towards transgender people and homosexual people suffered a major setback, and their influence was no longer reported in history books. At present, it is possible to measure and witness this backwardness all over the world through testimonies spread more easily by the Internet. Indeed, it happens quite often to come across young video makers or blog writers trying to defend themselves in a society that stigmatizes them and marks them as different and abnormal. What I am now wondering is, what factors currently influence someone’s personal vision about the LGBTQ+ community? Some studies show that higher education leads to a higher tolerance towards difference, but not necessarily towards the LGBTQ+ community. It is rather difficult to prove a direct link between one’s level of knowledge and academic studies and his opinions about this community. Also, religious beliefs appear to play a huge role as well as being born and raised in an open-minded family and environment. You may object and ask: “Well, there is nothing we can do about it then?” My answer is that of course, there are plenty of things that need to be done and maintained. Tolerance encouragements need to be spread. It may seem obvious, but in light of recent events, it is not. We need to keep debating and discussing these topics, as it is our privileged way of sharing this acceptance message. Young people taking the lead and guiding the whole world to equality, this is what we aim for. Young people are suffering from this discrimination every day, and if we do not do anything every day they see their rights shrink as narrow-mindedness expands. However, over the past few years, attendance levels of Gay Prides Parades have constantly increased, women’s march are happening all over the globe and more and more persons make the decision to stand up for what they believe is right. What I believe is that we, engaged and motivated individuals, have the power to change things and help the world to be more kind, tolerant and open-minded. Last but not least, do not forget, that love trumps hate. By Camille Bertholet
“ On October 17th, 2006, Megan Meier hanged herself. During the months before her death, she was being humiliated and publicly insulted on the social network by her neighbors. However, no criminal charges were filed, because such crime not known at that time there wasthat no evidence the cyber bullying Ignorance leads to fear. Nowas matter how many times weand hear or read sentence,that it stays true, but that does directly led to the suicide.’ not mean we learn from it. Society’s knowledge of mental illnesses is lacking at best if not downright inexis-
tent. Ailments that do not leave physical traces like a broken limb or a car accident would are therefore seen Megan Meier is a moods slut. Megan Meier fat.” as whims or bad rather thanisconsidered as real illnesses. A lack of education as well as persistent but The story of Megan started quite innocently. An unfamiliar boyof started to chat to with on social network and entirely false myths make it very difficult to expose the reality the situation theher public. The mainstream wanted to her get to know her.mental It all went well until he sent Megan a couple of insulting and posted media representation of most illnesses is grossly caricatural: when not ignored, messages these afflictions are many abusive posts about her. The boy was a hoax, created by one of the neighbors with the sole purpose – depicted in books and TV shows as dangerous conditions that turn people into murderous psychopaths. Far to have fun,this notimage caringdoubly about the consequences. though they were noitcharges, legacy ofbeing this case from truth, affects people who Even live with a mental illness: preventsthe them from taklives on as the legislation changed. en seriously and shows them as dangerous for others, when they are often more of a danger for themselves. Despite affecting six times more people than mental disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolarity, depresA bit is different is characterised a story of RyanasHalligan. Ryan was bullied for many years, both online and at with school. His sion yet often a romanticised and dramatic sadness rather than a disease, scientific classmates firstly pretended to befriend him and then shared their online conversation with others in order causes and consequences. to mock him. It all became so serious that one of the alleged online friends responded to Ryan´s suicidal thoughts bare “It´s about time” It is yet again a case with no charges because there was relevant law Fear leadswith to isolation. Constantly pointed out as different, without being able to identify to ano social group, at that time. incapable of getting the psychological support they need: patients suffering from mental illnesses start “What the guy did was he went online to the kids who went to an theanorexic, new school and said that he condition was going to defining themselves through their diagnosis. A schizophrenic, a depressive. Their be a new student“ becomes a part of their identity. After that, imagining themselves living without it is tough and the whole Fake internet friendship is slowed. not the only that cyber bullies use. Anothertofamous story issupport the story of healing process is thereby The mean impossibility for mentally ill people get society’s causes Amanda Whenwithdraw the girl was 12 years old, strangerlack persuaded her to capture naked andofthen them to, Todd. very often, intojust themselves. Theageneral of consideration for theher seriousness their blackmailed her about posting the photos online. The blackmailing got to the point when picture leaked struggles can cause a deterioration of their state and, in extreme cases, even push patients to harm them-to all social media and if shetreatments, changed schools, alwaysheavy foundmedication a way to leak photo to help, her selves. Moreover, theeven medical most ofthe thestranger time involving orthe psychiatrist new friends who then joined him with the bullying. The story is similar to Jessica Logan, in that case, howevstill have the reputation of being debilitating and the last resort of those too weak to combat their illness. er, was misused own boyfriend. girls committed suicide. Forthe thenaked peoplephoto who choose to askby forher help, it means to beBoth ready to eventually face the public’s judgement, as harsh and Can the cyber bullying be the cause of suicide? misinformed as it is. The same can be said for medical facilities, seen more as barren prisons than as professional centres that can play a crucial role in the remission of a patient that needs care and appropriate Even though the suicide stories are those who make it to the headlines, with many ongoing researches, that support. suicide is not directly related to cyber bullying. Given that people who are not cyber bullied also commit .Isolation Considering it is also that those who exposed doesthe notmore haveprofound to lead todata, anything. It isproven possible to change the does light commit in whichsuicide, mental are illnesses are to more stress factors than just bullying such as family issues or mental disease. Cyber bullying is without shown, and it is also a necessity when so many are affected by them, so often in silence. As we fought for doubt factor that a role one´sjustice. suicidal behavior, however, is not only factor and it isas genderaequality, wemight need play to work forin health Illnesses, leaving scarsitor not,the deserve to be treated hard prove that to there was a direct causal link the cyber bullying and suicide. The morality here such;to the patients be respected; the public to between be informed. A fair and accurate representation in popular still lies – direct link or not, it is still a factor and it is up for the bullies to take the blame for their actions. culture is essential in ending once and for all the spreading of fictions in favour of facts. Action leads to acceptance.
By Solène Hababou
CYBERBULLYING CRIME OR
“ On October 17th, 2006, Megan Meier hanged herself. During the months before her death, she was being humiliated and publicly insulted on the social network by her neighbors. However, no criminal charges were filed, because such crime was not known at that time and there was no evidence that the cyber bullying directly led to the suicide.’ Megan Meier is a slut. Megan Meier is fat.” The story of Megan started quite innocently. An unfamiliar boy started to chat with her on social network and wanted to her get to know her. It all went well until he sent Megan a couple of insulting messages and posted many abusive posts about her. The boy was a hoax, created by one of the neighbors with the sole purpose – to have fun, not caring about the consequences. Even though they were no charges, the legacy of this case lives on as the legislation changed. A bit different is a story of Ryan Halligan. Ryan was bullied for many years, both online and at school. His classmates firstly pretended to befriend him and then shared their online conversation with others in order to mock him. It all became so serious that one of the alleged online friends responded to Ryan´s suicidal thoughts with bare “It´s about time” It is yet again a case with no charges because there was no relevant law at that time. “What the guy did was he went online to the kids who went to the new school and said that he was going to be a new student“ Fake internet friendship is not the only mean that cyber bullies use. Another famous story is the story of Amanda Todd. When the girl was just 12 years old, a stranger persuaded her to capture her naked and then blackmailed her about posting the photos online. The blackmailing got to the point when picture leaked to all social media and even if she changed schools, the stranger always found a way to leak the photo to her new friends who then joined him with the bullying. The story is similar to Jessica Logan, in that case, however, the naked photo was misused by her own boyfriend. Both girls eventually committed suicide. Can the cyber bullying be the cause of suicide? Even though the suicide stories are those who make it to the headlines, with many ongoing researches, that suicide is not directly related to cyber bullying. Given that people who are not cyber bullied also commit . Considering the more profound data, it is also proven that those who does commit suicide, are exposed to more stress factors than just bullying such as family issues or mental disease. Cyber bullying is without doubt a factor that might play a role in one´s suicidal behavior, however, it is not the only factor and it is hard to prove that there was a direct causal link between the cyber bullying and suicide. The morality here still lies – direct link or not, it is still a factor and it is up for the bullies to take the blame for their actions. By Jana Soukupová
EUROSCEPTICISM Turning the tide?
I have a very vague recollection of the introduction of the Euro currency in my country. I was but a kid - on the floor playing with my little cars. On the screen of the TV I could see a politician praising the Euro. My mother, who was watching it, was nodding passionately. She had very little knowledge of monetary affairs, nor of geopolitics for that matter, but she supported the EU regardless. Today, the EU has lost much of its positive image. When you ask people on the streets what they associate the EU with terms like “Bureaucracy” or “Waste of money” come up, and this makes sense. One only needs to look at the circus involved with moving the entire European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg (or vice-versa) every month. To ordinary people this makes no sense at all. To those who are more knowledgeable about the EU, it still makes but only very little sense. Add to this the generally poor handling of the refugee crisis in the EU, the recent financial crisis, the unpopular bailouts of Greece – unpopular both in the Member States and in Greece itself – and the recent terrorist attacks which leave citizens feeling anxious of the open borders. Something the EU has always prided itself in. In 2002, Politician A would say “I like the EU. We should cooperate. Peace is good. We are the world, we are the children.” In 2017, Politician A would say “I dislike the EU, but the trade is good. Jobs! We should renegotiate more favourable terms for our country.” In fact, politicians do not just refrain from promoting the EU, they even use it as a scapegoat for unpopular policy. Politicians suffer from very selective memory loss, when they forget that they in fact ARE the EU, that Member States’ ministers seat in the Council of ministers and that THEIR parties vote on proposals in the European Parliament. So, what to do? Good question – no clue. Okay, that does not help you much. Let me try again. In some way, the peoples of Europe need to be reconvinced that the EU is something worth fighting for. That, despite all its flaws, the EU has guaranteed peace and stability EU-wide for many decades. That the benefits are not just economic – do not get me wrong, many are economic in nature – but also cultural and political. And that that is something to cherish. However, many of the Eurosceptic criticisms are just, and those need to be addressed. Maybe the EU intrudes on too many fields? Maybe some of the EU competences should be rolled back, and handed to the Member States again? Or maybe we need to push forth now more than ever – maybe the only answer to Euroscepticism, as ironic as it may seem, is to make the EU stronger and more effective, by increasing its means and powers. Or is there a different way? Good luck. By Arne Van Rooijen
Potential Energy Union? The EU
Or just the EU?
When I was younger, I considered addressing climate change to be comparable with my dietary habits - 3 days of eating healthy always guaranteed a direct increase in my chocolate consumption afterwards, what totally destroys the achieved dietary results. The government always acted as if that was the way to consider tackling climate change. Only a short effort would do enough, to return to the routines of neglecting the issue. However, I started getting to know more about climate change. I discovered that this is not the way to approach this issue. And this statement is not fake. It is real. Throughout the years, more and more scientific articles about the effects of climate change were published. As a result of climate change, the global temperature increases (NASA). This phenomenon causes a rise in sea-level, which will put coasts and islands at risk. Some other effects are that superstorms will become more frequent, and 1 in 6 of earth’s species will be threatened. Citizens are rightly worried about this. Many of them have already tried to change the state of affairs. For example, in 2015 a lot of citizens cycled to Paris to point out that they considered the addressment of the problem very important. Also, on a more practical level EU citizens have showed their concerns about the climate. Take Germany, 51% of the green energy is owed by her citizens. So, the citizens have already tried to take initiative regarding the combatting of fossil fuels, and so, the climate change. Then, to what extent has the EU already taken her responsibilities here? Obviously, the EU is involved in solving such a serious, global problem. Many plans and guidelines have been hatched. The most important of these are the 2020, 2030 and 2050 energy goals. For 2020, the aim is to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels, to have 20% of energy coming from renewable sources and improve our energy efficiency by 20%. By 2030, the share of renewables should reach 27%. This is binding on a EU level, but not for separate Member States. In the long run, emissions should be reduced by 80-95% when compared to the level of 1990. However, the realisation of those guidelines isn’t really working out. Neither the Member States nor the EU are currently legally bound to meet the 2030 target. The same applies to the 2050 goal. There are no Directives from the EU that assure the implementation of those goals, nor is it in the EU’s power to force her Member States to do this. Legislation and infrastructure is, after all, a shared competence. And since the Member States aren’t legally bound to the implementation of the goals, it’s more appealing to them to answer to invest in fossil fuels, than in sustainable energy resources. As our current economic system is based on fossil-fuel energy use, a transition away from this would demand massive restructuring and new investment in infrastructure and capital stock. Long story short, let’s hope for a future in which the EU Member States will focus more on a long-term sustainable energy supply, than on short-term returns. Certainly, now research shows that this is also benefical in an economical way, since this causes economical independency in energy supply. And so, maybe, our EU should consider to become, on top of a European union, an Energy Union. By Marie Sanne van Vliet
HOW COOK TO
Education – a word we use more common than ever. There are different ways to be educated, but the main deal is formal education. As it takes more or less 16 years of a human being’s life, it ought to guarantee quality and contemporary access to students. This massive learning process phenomena is a stepping stone in the further way of life – indeed, to require a specific position in the world of employment you need to learn specific things and mostly – have that beautiful paper with a stamp on it, called a diploma. Although the world itself is developing exponentially, it seems that education doesn’t follow this same pattern of exponantial improvement. Not all the countries adhere to this pattern however. For instance, the Finnish miracle – an unbelievable reform in the field of the learning process and how it should further be evolved. Altough this model has shown to be a great success, it seems that everyone else is scared of major innovations in their education system. Changes – it takes time, money and flexibility which are the key factors that keeps everything in stagnation, which further leads to problems such as unemployment, low level of knowledge and understanding, and the lack of critical thinking. The EU is taking small steps by adapting the Education and Training 2020 framework. As the EU, as chief assistant, can only suggest what ingredients should be taken into consideration the main chiefs are Member States. The necessary sources are next to us, now it is time for action. No one has said that we cannot use the help of others, we can always ask Finland for their recipe or Eurydice – a network whose task is to explain how education systems are organised in Europe and how they work - which basically is familiar all of them. But still, we need to keep in mind that it is impossible to cook something if we do not turn on the oven, take the cooking pan and prepare everything for the process as a wise man once said: “The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.” It seems like an unimaginable dream that one day every student in the EU Member States will go to the school acknowledging that every hour spent there is worth it, the efficiency of learning will have raised and the teachers will not be working only for their profit. Educational institutions need to shift from competition to collaboration on a national and international level to reintroduce new contemporary methods of teaching and learning. If not – we will end up in a big delusion. So let’s take out our cooking equipment and bake that education’s cake sweet again. By Toms Pless
Following the recent protests in Poland the debate concerning abortion politics is becoming more and more extensive. Ireland, Poland and Malta adhere to a very strict abortion policy. By doing so they determine and intervene in the life of the affected men and women to a large extend. Not being given another option the affected women seek help in neighbouring states. Does the value of life outbid the freedom of action? Will we ever be able to introduce a joint abortion politics and stance concerning the topic? 42. The ultimate answer to the question of life. At least for Deep Thought, the super computer in Douglas Adams’ science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Most of us will never find a satisfying answer during our life. However, some claim to have found the answer in the question itself, being the “life” as a whole. On the third of October around 100.000 protesters in 60 cities in Europe, mainly Poland gathered to form a „black protest“. On a broader scale, people identify themselves with either the „pro-life“ or the „pro-choice“ movement. The former group opposes abortion while the latter is weighing higher the freedom of choice and the legal right of a woman to choose whether or not she will have an abortion. The “black” protest was supposed to address and oppose the proposal of fully outlawing abortion as presented by the Law and Justice party in Poland. Considering Europe as a whole Ireland, Poland and Malta adhere to a very strict abortion policy. Eventually the protests resulted in the parliament voting down the ban. However, the question remains if a government has the right to interfere so extensively in the life of individuals, what value the foetus’ life has got and if women having an abortion should really be punished. It would be a testimony of failing if in a modern society like ours a woman would be punished for deciding what is happening to her body and her future. In Malta an abortion is not even allowed when the life of the woman carrying the baby is in danger. Is the life of the baby or the foetus more valuable than the one of the mother or does it go vice versa? Human life is an ambiguous term. Technically you are alive when your heart is beating and your vital signs can be measured. Nonetheless, life-sustaining measures are shut down when a patient is not reacting to certain stimulus anymore, even though his heart is still beating. He is “brain-dead”. That shows that we measure being alive not only by pulse and blood pressure but also by something else. The human life is based on memories, experiences, creating connections, analysing, reacting. It is based on our actions having an intrinsic value, developing out of desire-independent-reasons. Consciousness makes our live-worthy. When consciousness is being developed cannot be said with certainty. Some countries say in the 12th week, some earlier, some later. After all, one is for sure. The decision to have an abortion is never an easy one. Facing the arguments of those opposing abortion and considering the countries it becomes quite clear that the religious background very intensly determines the opinion concerning the topic. In Europe we adhere to the laïcité and the secularity of government and state and hence have to take the religious minting of many of the critics into consideration. The question about the meaning of live is just as hard as impossible to answer. Still, there parallels worth noticing. In the end we all just want to be able to realize our dreams, to live life to the fullest, to make memories and to find happiness and love. The way we are striving to reach these might differ but in the end it can and with the most certainty will only be went based on own decisions and convictions. By Marlene Mörig