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A lot has happened, and is still happening, in the year 2011, and Libertas has been trying to keep up with it all. Politically speaking, it has been a year of revolutions and uprisings, most of which drew inspiration from the Arab Spring. In the October issue of Libertas we have covered important facts that were happening around the world at the time, and now the focus is to cover and talk about all these movements of change - and some of movements from the past that shaped the countries today. You’ll be able to read about most of what is on the news, from people who are actually living it. And you might even find out that there is more going on around the world than the mainstream media shows. Some might appear closer and some further away from your reality, but all these movements have one thing in common: they’re about people fighting for a better world to live in. Also in this issue, we are starting a partnership with EMAJ Magazine. It’s the Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists, and you can view their website here. So check out what these prominent journalists have to say about what’s happening in their countries, and be sure to keep an eye out for EMAJ. Last but not least, the Libertas team would like to wish you all a great holiday season and a wonderful new year - and we see each other again on the 5th of January!
_contents 04 A man and his fream of freedom: gun채rs astra 06 the 15m movement in spain 08 the english riots 2011 10 make a difference: no to police brutality! 12 the carnation revolution 14 14 muting the sound of the 99 percent 16 jihlava international documentary film festival 2011 18 revolution from the perspective of armenia 20 15th may, the day the spaish revolution started 22 bahrain: the assassination of the pearl 24 tunisian women still standing in new tunisia 26 Pigs in maputo 27 Lest we forget 29 another day, another struggle Libertas 27 Protests, riots, revolutions and uprisigns published december 2011
A man and his dream of freedom:
GUNĀRS ASTRA text Ieva Baranova
Autumn, November in particular, is the time when Latvians commemorate the important dates of their history. This year it is also the 80th birthday of a person who sacrificed his freedom, health and life for his idea of a free Latvia. Gunārs Astra (1931 – 1988) was a Latvian dissident and human rights activist during the Soviet Regime. Arrested for “high treason and anti-Soviet agitation” in 1961 and also in 1983, he spent altogether more than 20 years in work camps in Siberia. He died only 2 months after his second release under unclear circumstances. Gunārs Astra played a significant role in Latvia’s independence. But this story is actually not about him. It is about how powerful truth can be and how much a single person can do for his or her country. For the Soviet regime Gunārs Astra was “an extremely dangerous recidivist”. However, today his actions could seem as nothing special. He was reading, copying and spreading books and
magazines (for example, „1984” by George Orvel and magazines “Time” and “Newsweek”), that now can be seen on many book shelves in many people’s houses. In order to understand the nature of his deeds, one has to understand the situation in 50 years during the Soviet occupation of the Baltic States. Not only people didn’t have a right to read what they wanted – they were not allowed to say or even think what they wanted. And the few people who dared to say something against the Soviet Union were in danger of prosecution. Everyone was forced to be a part of this system that reminded an absurd dream, but in fact was a gloomy reality. Most of the people fit in it, because it was their life – their childhood, their youth, their social environment and everyday life. As human nature is designed to adapt to different conditions, the majority even stopped thinking of it as a nightmare. Superficially people were ok – they had food, they had
education, jobs and they were not in constant danger, unless they said something that didn’t fit in the communist framework... On 15th of December in 1983 legal proceeding against Gunārs Astra, the defendant was allowed to say the final words before his sentence was carried out. This speech of course didn’t change anything about his sentence, but it changed the perspective of thousands of Latvians in Latvia and abroad that heard and read this speech afterwards, thanks to some people who were secretly recording it in the courtroom. This speech is still a symbol of Latvian resistance against the Soviet regime. During the period of great stagnation, when people where sentenced just for having different views, a man, not afraid of his destiny, stood up and told a very logical and intelligent speech about what he saw happening to his country and his people since the Soviet invasion in the 1940. He spoke openly about the aggression of the Soviet state and the Molotov-Ribentrop pact that divided Eastern Europe. He expressed his regret about Latvian culture and language being suppressed by the stronger Russian influence. The prosecutor interrupted and asked the judge to stop the speech. The judge allowed Astra to continue. He also spoke openly about russification and assimilation carried out in Morovia, Ukraine and Belorussia. He pointed at the absurdities within the Soviet system itself. He also emphasized how absurd the charges against him were when all he was doing was using the human right to search for and receive information. He explained that the Soviet Union wanted people to stop thinking, because intelligence and truth were the worst enemies of any totalitarian regime. People without independent thoughts are slaves and manipulation objects. Gunārs Astra ended his speech with words that people still quote today: “I believe that this time will disappear like a nightmare. This gives me the strength to stand and breathe here. Our nation has suffered a lot and thus has learned
to survive even this dark age.” Thoughts once expressed cannot be erased or sentenced to Gulag. The words started living their own lives – not only in Latvia, but also among Latvians emigrated to USA and other Western countries. This speech is now considered the beginning of the liberation of Latvian nation from Soviet Union. But Gunārs Astra continued fighting even after his death. His funeral in April 19th, 1988 was attended by more than 5 000 people who used their bare hands to fill his grave with sand. Also the usage of Latvian National flag and singing of the national anthem during the ceremony was outrageous for the time and truly marked the beginning of the Latvian “Singing Revolution”. The “singing revolutions” - political movements in the Baltic States at the end of eighties – were only possible thanks to the presence of national self awareness within these nations. However, there had to be visionaries like Gunārs Astra, who reminded their countries that there is still hope and optimism and a need to fight the existing situation. His story proves that one man can do a lot if his nation and the truth are on his side.
] ! [
The movement of 15M, a nod to the book
Indignados! by Stéphane Hessel, was also the story of an extremely long delivery, and full of complications. Until then, the most common response was wondering “what the hell happened to the Spanish, I thought that they only care about football and trash TV”, “how can theu endure falling and not adopt another strategy to bury their head in the ground like ostriches?” Then began the propaganda machinery: people had been irresponsible and borrowed above their means. Suddenly, the staggered system: employers need more flexibility (carried out successive labour reforms, with the consent of the majority unions, suitably primed for substantial government subsidies, and numerous benefits for their release), health was unsustainable (despite having surplus) and had to carry out reforms, privatizations, so was education (teachers working too little education was essential to the service of the company, maybe it was essential that all sections were public education ...), the officials, of course, they are privileged, and had to reduce their salary (some even acknowledged that the government had some truth, etc.). Each day we discovered that a new law had been squandered; further reforms were always at
the expense of the weaker party, as expressed in the same media. High incomes remained untouched: it was wrong to punish savers. The country suddenly came into the adolescence, and all were great and rashes: in one year, we believe in kings, we find that our idyllic transition was strewn with corpses, which had never been rich, the billet and tourism could get us out of our miserable condition of the country the third or fourth division, that democracy was a lie, that bipartisanship was a joke, that, while our wages were on the tail of Europe, our politicians were rewarded generously (on google you could see a colourful map of corruption, sown with the logos of all parties, especially Psoe, Pp and CiU). And suddenly, after a few attempts, as the failed general strike of September 2010, the day was saved in extremis by the pickets and squatters in Barcelona, which is the place from which to speak, as well as different manifestations of “spirit “, organized mainly by unions Covenanters, the Assembly of Barcelona and the international Left, the people felt represented the cry of” We do not represent “: May 15, the streets were filled with protesters in Spain that ran peacefully. Outrage was felt across laden banners infinite reason.
The movement had been planned over several months of intense activity online: Real Democracy Now, Youth without a future, they don’t vote, discomfort and other groups had co-hosted on a platform that called for general mobilization. The theme of the call as claimed in request form. That the system complies with its own rules, in a nutshell In Barcelona, the manifestation of 15 M was pregnant with a design that some of us were familiar with. These same professional activities that abounded in the first assemblies were soon aborted by students and unemployed people of all kinds (or outraged, as they were called, also said they were young, but always appeared as “sympathetic grandparents” making statements), so action could unfold and continue. Working committees were formed in different areas, while neighbours came regularly to provide food or material. And then violence broke out. Felip Puig, minister of defence, attempted to evict the wild Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona. “We had to cleaning it,” was the reason given. The Autonomous distributed blows from a multitude of angry resisting peacefully sitting on the floor. There were numerous injuries and camera phones disproved the official version that spoke of violence and proportionate response to the violence by the protesters. Puig was put in evidence, but did not resign In Madrid they lived authentic night hunts by the police, but the protesters occasionally retreated,
recovered after positions. The police was used particularly hard (imaging agents appeared walking sticks and handing discretion: the elderly, women, journalists, for the sole purpose, apparently, to sow fear.) The police complained of receiving commands such as “there are no prisoners”. The fight had moved to neighbourhoods: uncountable assemblies were formed in almost every town in the country. But activity eased somewhat during August (closed for some holidays). However, the government rested, approved labour reform, and reform of the constitution that made the society in a book entry: social rights were affected by debt. Moreover, in Catalunya numerous ambulatory emergencies closed due to not being profitable. Will you open in September? We would see. After several months, the day of the 15 O seemed to revitalize the collective indignation, with the first day of worldwide protests, boosted authentic Occupy mainly Wall Street, United States, like most striking action, even if it was difficult to determine exactly its scope. Currently, 15 M confronts the absurdity of the election looming, which provides that the right to take over right-wing economic policies of the politicians A part has chosen to organize political alternatives more or less strategic, one by openly supporting any anti-capitalist left, while others openly advocate abstinence as the only approach really consistent with the principles of the movement. ] ! [
The English Riots 2011
A Confusing and Unanswered Story Daniel John Carter
In August 2011 violence, riotting and looting broke across the major cities of England, the largest country within the United Kingdom. In the beginning of August, a police confrontation in Tottenam, London resulted in the death of Mark Duggan. Following this incident family of friends of the deceased started a peaceful protest against the police’s actions. Somewhere, somehow along the way a riot began, a riot that spread through London for three days and then spread throughtout the cities of England. London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Salford, Glocester, Wolverhampton and West Bromich had the major problems, but small areas of disorder occured in other English cities What was unusal about these riots is they lacked all reason of protest. Instead what began was mindless rioting and looting of their own communities. Within three days looting occured
throughout England and PM David Cameron had declared a state of emergencey with and imediate COBRA meeting. Another unusual aspect was that they did not occur thoughout the United Kingdom, they only occured in England. Besides one or two incidents of trying to incite a riot, nothing like a riot happend in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. Two major questions arised from these riots: Why did they happen? Why only England? Approximately 1800 people have been brought to court, of them 90% have been male, 17% being aged 10-17 years old and 30% aged between 18-20. Justice securatary Kenneth Clarke claim’s up to 73% of the convictions given to adults were previous offenders. This figure falls to 55% for juvinile convictions, but what does this tell us? That sentences in the UK aren’t tough enough? Reabilitation programs
aren’t supported to the appropraite degree? Some have claim that the riots highlight underlying social tensions within the country, some claim it was a lack of discipline installed in young people for several decades. England has fast growing gap between rich and poor. Statistics on the young people involved in the riots (over half convicted were youths) show that two thirds were classed as having special educational needs and one third were excluded from school. In England the rich-poor gap is growing, in this econmic climate caused by the rich, the poor are paying the price. Libaries, youth centres, schools benefits, pensions, substadies, transport support and until the riots, police all face massive cuts. None of which will effect the elite rich (aprox. 7% of the population) who all indulge in the private facilities. Bang goes the Etonian prime minster Davidi Camerons catchphrase of ‘we’re all in it together’. The final question is what made Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland different? I personally can give a Welsh perspective. One major social difference is that the rich-poor divide is a lot lower in Wales. Since the partial independece movement of 1997 the general socialist politcal stance has stood out saving many publics services that would face dramatic cuts in its neighbours country.
Street based youth workers were praised for preventing the riots in the Welsh capital Cardiff by the local paper. ‘Youth workers who have taken to the streets to speak to teenagers have been praised for helping Cardiff remain free of any large-scale disorder’ South Wales Echo, August 2011. I myself was one of those yout workers and can state that no particular prevention was needed. There was no feel potential rioting in the air and the only young people I encountered who talked about it I knew all too well they were too lazy and all mouth! The fact it was more than that, it is claimed by some English reporters it is because the towns and cities are much smaller and easier for the police to control. Well the fact is nothing like a riot was even stated to control, a few mouthy youths whose fathers gave them a slap for talking rubbish. Wales has always been different and never conformed to typical British society, it has always had a sense of strong community. A reporter Peter Collins describes it best; ‘People in the community as a whole were reluctant to see what they had built up destroyed. Indeed, the vast majority of them, from whatever ethnic background, realised that rioting was morally and practically wrong. That moral sense, or what some call a moral code or compass, remains strong in Wales, even among young people’. The riots are the unanswered question that was dealt with using harsh penalties and forgotten due to media attention taken to foreign revolutions. Sooner or later the government with have to try and understand what happened, before it happens again.
] ! [ Globallove Youth Trust www.globallovetrust.org.uk
Information and image sources:
www.walesonline.com www.guardian.com www.bbc.co.uk www.politics.co.uk/news/2011/08/09/ london-riots-britain-on-the-abyss
10 You only live twice. Once when you are born and once when you look death in the face. IAN FLEMING, You Only Live Twice
5th of June. Macedonian citizens reelected the (old) new Prime minister! Night full of promises for better future, so many reforms planned for the next four years, so many balloons, fireworks, flags, songs, happy faces ...there were enough reasons to be alive. Or… maybe not? That night, 22 year old boy died. He was murdered. Besides that, the celebration kept going on. Everything was under control, seemed like nobody saw what has just happened in front of thousand people in the middle of Skopje City Square. Politicians left quietly, just few minutes after hospital assistance came. But it was all in vain. They only confirmed that young Martin lost his life under mysterious circumstances. And I mentioned murder, right? Well, the murderer… was police representative. This incident was crossing every single line of tolerance. Not only youngsters, but everyone was revolted. As soon as news was spread via Facebook and other social media, people decided to unite themselves and finely raise their voice. Peaceful protests were organized in Skopje, Bitola, Veles and Prilep. No matter of age, gender, social, ethnical background,
economic status, people gathered to say NO to police brutality. Allied and deeply distressed by the composure government and Ministry of Interior showed, people paraded through the streets and stopped in front of Parliament, Government, Ministry of Interior, Law institutions. They were seeking for democracy and justice through the slogan: ” We are not party”, or “Peace please”, or “Justice for Martin”. If you ask what happened that night you can hear various scenarios. Witnesses say that all at sudden two men start running through the crowd and stopped when Martin fell down. Then the man (police representative of the Special Forces “Tigri”) got into a rage and beat Martin to death with 5-6 punches. When he realized that body was not reacting, he lost among people leaving Martin on the ground. Later, two men (cups probably) removed the body few meters away. When doctors came, they were trying to reanimate Martin, but all efforts were hopeless. Two days later, murderer confessed his act. On the other side, Ministry of Interior and namely all followers of the ruling party are claiming for their non- involvement in the incident. Their excuses are based on the sayings that the night
when murder happened police representative was not on his duty. This statement enraged protestors. They became more organized than before and singed a petition sent to the Ministry and other law institutions. They were demanding for total lightening the case, stiff penalty for the accused, a resignation for the Ministry of Interior, restricted police power, human rights abiding. There were also accusing that the party in opposition organized the protests, but protestors refused all these misinformation. Protestors became frustrated from both political parties and from the system in their society…
sooner they fractionated and situation became still. Youngsters didn’t calm at all. They reorganized again for Martin’s birthday and there are announcements for further protests. But still there are more questions people didn’t find answer. So many ‘whys’ are waiting for its ‘because’. No words describe the pain and the revolt to all those who knew or didn’t know Martin. Besides we all sorrow for his lost, we are proud for those who finally dare to say:
NO TO POLICE BRUTALITY! ] ! [
Guangzhou International Documentary Festival The Guangzhou Internati onal Documentary Festival see s talented directors compet e for prizes in categories like best Chinese Director and the Focus competition, which is based around a pre-set the me. Public screenings take pla ce in cinemas and theatres acr oss the city.
Guangzhou International Documentary Festival
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Guangzhou, China 5th to 9th of December http://www.gzdoc.com/
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Seoul Inpedendent Fil Festival
Seoul, South Korea ber 8th to 16th of Decem /
For some revolution is the way to peace. For the other it is the way to death.
images: http://www. porcelainsandpeacocks. com/2011/02/carnationrevolution-when-flowers.html
The history shows us that disagreement will always exist, but it’s on ourselves how we respond to the discrepancy. In nowadays there are more nonviolence or bloodless revolutions then violence. One of the first nonviolence revolutions took place in India, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, who guide the people of India to independence from Britain. Mahatma Gandhi led the Dandi March on March 12, 1930. This Dandi Marchi is also known as The Salt March or Salt Satyagrahah. It was an important part of the Indian independence movement. It was the campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly in colonial India. Thirty years after World War Two, three big Southern European countries, (Greece, Spain and Portugal) were still living under oppressive, fascist dictatorships, supported by the West because they more or less shared the antagonism for communism. In 19741975 all of those regimes came to an end. Portugal is the last country among these three where the dictatorial government collapsed. Collapse of the government began with The Carnation revolution in 1974. It is remembered as one of the most peaceful revolutions ever documented. The Carnation revolution is named due to the fact that the soldiers exchanged bullets for a carnation, placed in the barrels of their guns. Many civilians held or wore carnation just to show to the government that they are all united in bringing peace and democracy to Portugal and its colonies only with the flowers in their hands. Years under General Antonio Salazar’s and Marcelo Caetano’s dictatorship were the worst years for Portugal ever. In the beginning of the Salazar’s leadership, the country did indeed begin to flourish. Many things were to change under his rule.
As an example, all Portuguese citizens were given the right to an elementary education and Salazar invested huge amount of money into the educational system. But all good things come to an end. Salazar was a dictatorial leader. His beliefs were based upon Portugal living under a Catholic social dogma. Due to his reforms, and to taxes introduced by Salazar to pay off national debt, Portuguese became among the most impoverished people in Europe. After Salazar’s death, he was replaced by Marcelo Caetano. The colonial war continued. The army was over-extended. The ruling administration was finding itself progressively more cut off from the rest of the world. In this country the people were becoming increasingly disenchanted and the war had entered into its second decade. The country faced high rate of inflation and trade deficit. In April of 1974, the country staged a military coup. On the night of 23rd April, at 12.25 a.m. radio Renaissance played the forbidden song “Grandola”, which was the signal for the rebellion. The armed forces came into action. By 3 a.m. they had occupied the television and radio stations, airports and the centre of Lisbon. This revolution will also be remembered because four persons lost their lives. Few years after this revolution in Portugal, there were similar revolutions all over the world, such as The Singing Revolution in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, The Velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia, People Power (Yellow) Revolution in the Philippines, Color Revolutions which took place in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine and one of the recent revolution is Arab Spring Revolution in February 2011 occurred in Tunisia and Egypt. Such great revolutions without blood and violence requires a major effort, renunciations, mental strength and endurance of a group of people.
Once Mahatma Gandhi said: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” ] ! [
Por la Calle Design Circuit Argentina’s fashion design industry is always two steps ahead. The Por La Calle Design Circuit pops up in Buenos Aires’ Palermo, Recoleta and San Telmo neighbourhoods three times a year, drawing fashionistas into their boutiques. Enjoy discounts and DJ tunes.
Por la Calle Design Circuit
where when website
Buenos Aires, Argentina 10th of December http://www.xlacalle.com/
photo by Alexandre Fonseca
At the helm of the attempt to discredit the “Occupy” movement sweeping the globe are the “53 percent,” a group of American citizens defying any logical interpretation of percentages by claiming they are not part of the “99 percent.” Their overarching argument rests on the following assumptions: hard work universally leads to success and the Occupy movement is so homogeneous that it cannot entertain a variety of ideas to spur change. By the 53 percent’s collective understanding of the Occupy Wall Street movement and all surrounding protests, those who are struggling to survive and blaming Wall Street are not successful because they haven’t worked hard enough. It may have been difficult to argue against this theory in the early days of the Occupy movement when media images and videos only showed young people protesting in the streets. Today you don’t have to look with a microscope to see several generations of Americans holding up signs and sharing their stories of inequality. Whether you are for or against the Occupy movement, it may be hard to accept that the 99 percent contains a group of wideranging opinions for nationwide transformation towards progress. Not all occupiers are anti-capitalist, but some do indeed want to see capitalism fall. Some tailor their message towards change in Congress; some focus on a broader message of inequality made possible by greed and over-leveraging on Wall Street. Some can’t wait until November 2012 to vote President Obama back into office; some want to see libertarian Congressman Ron Paul take the Oval Office. I am quick to write off the 53 percent at a gratuitously angry group with no concrete solutions for change, but I am likely wrong. I may disagree with their suggestions - as they would with mine - but our polarization will undoubtedly lead us nowhere fast if we aren’t willing to turn our ears toward each other.
With that said, I selfishly request they hear this point: the movement has caught on. It may have started as an American movement, but it has shaped into a global step towards recognizing and solving vast inequality. One reader, a member of the 53 percent, recently wrote the following comment on my blog: “The 99 percent is not a part of the 53 percent, yet you claim the other way around is correct. We (the 53%) are too busy living our lives working and living the American Dream. Our Founding Fathers and living Constitution only allows us a ‘pursuit of happiness,’ not guaranteed happiness via “providing the general welfare” if something doesn’t go our way. People get laid off all the time, they rebound and find another job, even if it wasn’t the same standard as the previous one. The “We are the 99%” group doesn’t have a vision or a purpose. This is why they will be short-lived because they only see an opportunity NOW to protest, and won’t actually take action when it is required by them in the coming months (aka, 2012 election).” This survivalist instinct perpetuates income inequality, but I fear he may be correct on the latter point. Some occupiers may not consider voting an integral part of changing the system. These individuals argue the whole system is
broken, so why vote for the party that is merely the lesser of two evils? The system is broken because money is a blood diamond in politics. Our ability to enact change will only work if we embrace a long-term strategy to support candidates at the grassroots level who will actually fight for the middle class and the poor... rather than pretend to fight for us on the Sunday morning talk shows. With politicians dedicated to passing legislation that puts revenue towards creating jobs and spurring investment while cutting spending for costly wars and massive tax cuts and enacting Wall Street reform and bank regulations, our country could begin to fulfill the demands of the Occupy protesters and the 99 percent as a whole. This is merely one idea; many occupiers and conservatives alike will not agree. However, I can suggest a great space for you and I to share our thoughts, ideas and grievances - one of the many meetings held at Occupy protests across the country. You may want to downplay the rising volume of the noise from the 99 percent, but the last several months have shown their voices are only getting louder. If we begin to offer up and listen to a range of opinions and anecdotes, we might even grow pleasantly accustomed to the sound.
] ! [
An unapologetic news nerd, Claire lives and works in Washington D.C. A native of Chicago, Illinois, she left the midwest to study journalism, political science and business in Boston, where she recently graduated from college.To fulfill her politically charged personality, Claire blogs at Pantsless Progressive, which she started in early 2010. Since then, she has appeared on Al Jazeera English and has received mentions in Mother Jones, Mashable and Mediaite. After interning in state government and for an international news website, she returned to Chicago to work for an energy efficiency firm and now works for a non-profit in D.C.
About the author
Festival 2011 Vladimira Bravkova
16 About the author
Traditionally in the end of
Vladimíra Brávková is a freelance journalist and youth worker. She studied economics, tourism, linguistics, TV/film production. For several years she had been working at the Czech Radio (public service broadcasting) and at the College of Polytechnics Jihlava. During her European voluntary service, she worked as the coordinator of Libertas+ magazine.
October there is a documentary film festival in a town in the middle of the Czech Republic... This sleepy town changes to a city full of VIPs from film industry and visitors who love documentaries. The Jihlava IDFF is the largest festival of creative documentary film in Central tand Eastern Europe. For last 15 years Jihlava is a meeting place of directors and audience and an important crossroad of the documentary business. In 2011 the main theme of this festival was dedicated to the world crisis. Empty shopping baskets and reminder of Jafar Panahi (banned Iranian director) on the festival poster, burning bushes and a man on fire in the festival trailer. Of course, the documentary films should work as a mirror of the real world and the visitors of this festival were curious what the directors from whole the world will serve them.
This time the audience had the chance to watch 229 films (from a total of more than 2500 submissions); feature, short, experiments... from 41 countries, and attend various workshops, master classes, discussions, exhibitions, concerts, theatres etc. 56 films had their world premiere in Jihlava, 13 their international and 7 European premiere. Jihlava IDFF 2011 special guests: The Spanish cinema director Basilio Martin Patino, the famous video artist Woody Vasulka, the legendary figure of avantgarde film Peter Kubelka. The key guests of the Inspiration Forum were: Cuban poet and writer Carlos A. Aquilera, Indian expert in education development Y. A. Padmanabha Rao, members of provocative Russian Art Group Voina Alexei Plutser-Sarno and Yana Sarno.
Competition sections and winning films: Opus Bonum – Best World Documentary: James T. Hong, the single juror of the section, awarded the film LOST LAND by Belgian director PIERRE-YVES VANDEWEERD. Between the Seas – Best Central and East European Documentary: the jury, composed of Paolo Benzi, Pavel Jech, Necati Sönmez and Aida Vallejo, awarded the film BAKHMARO by Georgian director SALOME JASHI. The jury further awarded the Film New Europe Visegrad Prix 2011 to KAREL VACHEK for his film OBSCURANTIST AND HIS LINEAGE OR THE PYRAMIDS’ TEARFUL VALLEY. Fascinations – Best Experimental Documentary: the jury composed of members of one family awarded the film ENDEAVOUR by Austrian director JOHANN LURF. Czech Joy – Best Czech Documentary: the Czech jury awarded the film SOLAR ECLIPSE by MARTIN MAREČEK. The members of jury mentioned that they were deeply impressed by the films Obscurantist and His Lineage or the Pyramids‘ Tearful Valleys and A Catapult of Fate. Special Mention for a different approach to film went to the Rafani Art Colective and their film 31 Endings / 31 Beginnings. The Audience Award went to MARTIN MAREČEK for SOLAR ECLIPSE as well. Lost Land (Territoire perdu, Belgium, 2011) by Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd. FilmSAND, with its rough 8mm texture, exists on the boundary between art-house meditation, philosophical-ethical reflection, and social documentary listening to the people of the Western Sahara, whose difficult life on this contested piece of Africa, partially ruled by Morocco and partially controlled by rebels, is marked by struggle, kidnapping, and refugee camps. (synopsis from the Jihlava IDFF 2011 catalogue). Bakhmaro (Georgia, 2011) by Salome Jashi. FilmAPATHY uses a restaurant in the western Georgian town of Chokhatauri to symbolize the decline of the southern Caucasus and the people’s weariness from economic failure and political ills. The owners are patient, but there are few guests. Election posters and TV ads promise a better life, but it looks like nothing can change. (synopsis from the Jihlava IDFF 2011 catalog) Solar Eclipse (Czech Republic, 2011) by Martin Mareček. FilmAFRICA follows two Central Europeans on an adventure to Zambia to repair village‘s solar panels. They are aware of the value of their work, whose purpose they see in helping the villagers – these, however, are not satisfied with their lives. Black and white mindsets subtly, humorously, and touchingly collide. (synopsis from the Jihlava IDFF 2011 catalog)
Where to watch documentary films legally: www.dafilms.com This website offers access to more than 600 documentary and experimental films. Audiences and film professionals from around the world can legally watch all the films; for a small fee, they can view the films directly on their computer or download them. Every month, DAFilms.com expands its catalog with the addition of 20 new titles chosen by the five partner festivals involved in Doc Alliance (CPH:DOX Copenhagen, DOK Leipzig, Jihlava IDFF, Planete Doc Festival Warsaw and Visions du Réel Nyon).
Sources: www.dokument-festival.cz www.dafilms.com
] ! [
Revolution from the perspective of
Armenia text and photos
many post-Soviet countries, Armenia is not entirely emotionally stable nowadays. For centuries Armenia had no independence and was divided into several countries (following the fall of the Roman, Byzantine and ancient Persian empires, they were ruled by Russia, Turkey and Iran). Nationalism and longing for freedom arose in the mid 18th century. The Armenian people were longing for change. When the foreign rulers neglected the problems of Armenians, the Armenians started thinking about self-government. The revolution in the minds of Armenians started thanks to closer connections with Europe. Youth studied abroad and then returned to Armenia inspired with a vision of a better future for their homeland. Armenia experienced several revolutionary movements, starting with the trials in Western Armenia (Eastern Anatolia) at the end of 19th century. In Eastern Armenia, governed by Russians, people yearned for change as well. In 1918, after Tsarist Russia fell, many independent republics were established, including the First Republic of Armenia. Three years of trying to build democracy followed; historical analysis of this period is open to various interpretations. In 1921, the Second Republic (Socialist) was imposed upon Armenia (that is how Armenians see it nowadays, while Soviet Russia, of course, proclaimed it as an emancipation). The Soviet
author Sevak is 22 years old enthusiastic activist that believes in human rights, human relations, spiritual/individual revolution and some other things. He works in a non governmental organisation mostly being preoccupied by LGBT human rights, queer theory and LGBT history and modern perceptions in modern world.
People protesting next to the French Embassy in Yerevan after the beatings and alleged murders that same night. Then, a bigger clash between the protesters and the police, where many were injured and some lost their lives.
Despite the brutalities, many would gather later to protest (March 21).
Republic brought, more or less, financial, political and economic stability, in contrast to the harsh times of the First Republic. However, many new problems arose in Soviet Republic of Armenia, and some Armenians still blame many current problems on this time. It lasted for seventy years; years of material growth, but also spiritual censorship and vacuum. It is possible that Armenia would no longer exist, were it not for the Soviet Republic of Armenia, given that the former Republic had no assistance from, nor friendly relations with Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The spirit of revolution was felt once more after seventy years of stable growth and decades of forced transformation. More than a million of people protested and demanded freedom. They say more people perished in the name of freedom than because of diseases and natural disasters. And some people were ready to die for their dreams. And, in fact, many did just that, all around the world, in all times, including Armenia in the 1990s. Result was independence. People were inspired and hopeful once more… yet some people still claim that Armenia is too young to sustain itself and to offer the freedom and justice that Armenians had fought for. This argument has continued for thirty years now. In the 1980s Armenia’s population was calculated to be about 3.2 million. Today a horrifying number is suggested by non-official sources – 1.8 million permanent inhabitants. We are in a crisis, and we are looking for ways out. Some changes are happening, partly thanks to civil society and some NGO-s. While these organizations are sometimes accused of being “grant eaters”, they, in turn, accuse their accusers of being “credit an loan eaters” (this includes the Armenian state itself). March 1st of 2008 was another zenith of hope for many wanting a new revolution. It all started that night when protesters in Liberty Square were attacked by police and army, after days of peaceful protests against alleged electoral
fraud. Then thousands of people re-gathered in another square which resulted in further clashes and deaths of at least ten people. That movement came to be seen by many as the beginning of a new era. Many people still speak about the revolution. We have a political left and political right, as well as other political positions now. Some speak about the “inner revolution”. Others are creating revolutions in their own lives and in lives of others, importing new ideas and actions from the maligned West, whilst also introducing their own ideas and visions for a better, brighter future. Some people just hope to replace one leader with another – that’s the meaning of the revolution for them: crowds shouting the name of their supposed Messiah who will change the world. Others want more vibrant and sensitive changes for everybody in the system. I am not a linguist, but I will now provide my subjective, unprofessional and sarcastic interpretation of the word we use for ‘revolution’ in Armenian: It is հեղափոխություն which can be divided into two parts: հեղել – to pour / to shed, and փոխել – to change. And thus, it suggests that people shall shed something, and then change something. Historically blood was the thing which was shed, and people hoped that the man sitting on the throne (the Armenian word for president is նախագահ – literally ‘prethrone’) would be changed. Maybe others realise that we need to shed and to change other things. Interestingly, as the elections approach (many of us believe we are doomed to repeat the scenario of Russia), people rethink the past and try to make new revolutions or try to understand what went wrong before, when we didn’t have any democratic revolution at all in our lives. ] ! [ Police closed major squares in Yerevan (March 2 and following days).
Silvia Pérez Felipe
In Spain things have been going bad for a
long time. The unemployment rate was getting bigger and bigger. Everyone knows in Spain the unemployment is 20%, and 50% for the young people. Many people owe a lot of money to the bank because during the “real state bubble” 3 years ago everybody wanted to buy a house. They were victims of capitalism. But all of this doesn’t seem to be important enough for the Spaniards because there still hasn’t been a big demonstration. The country seemed to be waiting to finally explode. Despite, the most unexpected moment one group called ¡Democracia Real Ya! (Real Democracy now!) appeared on stage. They called a big demonstration on the 15th of May against politics and the banks and it was a big success. The Spaniards started to spread the appointment through social networks like Facebook and especially on Twitter. Since that day more and more people have joined the movement. In the beginning it was called “15M”, after it was known by the world as the “Spanish Revolution” and its followers were called indignant. During the demonstration some of them flew Icelandic flags because they wanted to host a revolution
like the Iceland which brought those who were guilty to prison. On the same day of the big demonstration they pitched a lot of tents in the most important square in Madrid, “Puerta del Sol”, and from that day this place was converted into the meeting point for the “indignant”. Every afternoon for one week people arrived at 8pm and all together screamed against the political system. This was covered in the most important newspapers in the world. There you could see the main square full of people and the Spaniards are proud of it. At the same time, the rest of the cities in Spain did the same. They pitched tents in the main square of a lot cities and it was fill with protesters (most of them youngsters). The most amazing aspect was that the revolution was peaceful; nobody used violence at any moment, even when on the 27th of May in Barcelona the police acted with violence against the “indignant”, the people were really peaceful. Little by little, the camps around Spain were disappearing but the spirit continued. They created a lot of commissions of people in every neighborhood to be able to speak about the local
problems of the people there. On the 20th of June a march began from different places in Spain with the focus to arrive by foot to Madrid. They needed 34 days to arrive to Madrid and the arrival of everybody from different points of the country was a big and amazing party. A lot of things have happened since the 15th of May, and the last and most important event happened on the 15th October. They called another big demonstration not only in Spain but all of Europe joined and Spain was a big success. Now in Spain the current government of Zapatero called for early elections and on the 20th of November (the same day that the dictator
Franco died) there is a good chance that the Spaniards are going to vote for a right-wing government. But the indignats, as each day passes, realizes that this is not the solution, thatâ€™s why they will continue fighting for their rights and try to build a fairer world. The current Zapateroâ€™s government in funtions brought the elections forward and the 20th November (the same day that the dictator Franco died) the Spaniard decided to vote for a rightwing government. But the indignats, that every day are more, knows this is not the solution, thatâ€™s why they will continue fighting for their rights trying to build a fairer world. ] ! [
event! Burning the devil celebrations Guatemalans empty all their rubbish onto the streets in vast heaps and set alight to it every year on 7 December. The traditional Burning the Devil Celebrations takes place on the Feast day of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception.
Burning the devil celebrations
Guatemala 7th of December
The Assassination of the Pearl images from the site http://emajmagazine.com/2011/10/23/bahrain-the-assassination-of-the-pearl/
The Pearl monument in the Bahraini capital,
Manama, is now the most patriotic monument in the world because it does not exist anymore. Less than three decades ago, the Bahraini government held the Pearl at the centre of Manama in exalted position. Unlike real pearls, it was not protected inside a shell. Six pillars supported the Pearl, but could not let it go. Those pillars represent Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Bahrain itself. The six members of the Gulf Confederation Council took an oath to protect each other, and defend the Pearl from any foreign attacks. In order to protect the Pearl, they trapped it for more than twenty years; attempts to free the Pearl lead to its brutal destiny. The tragedy of the monument started on February 14. Thousands of Bahrainis camped in the roundabout taking shelter under the Pearl. Singing their patriotic rhymes, they announced their demands to end the discrimination practiced by the ruling Sunni minority against the Shiite majority. Watching Youtube videos of protests, I could hear the Pearl chanting with the Bahraini demonstrators: “People want to overthrow the government.” I heard it saying: “Bahrain is free, Al Khalifa will flee.” The Bahraini forces, with Saudi and Emirati troops, attacked protestors for several weeks, killing and injuring hundreds while detaining more than a thousand. The Pearl was an eyewitness to the massacre. The
Pearl allegedly supported the protestors, and planned to overthrow the government. The Bahraini government had no other choice but to assassinate it. The Pearl must be dead before freeing itself from the engulfing pillars. The Pearl must be dead before telling the world the tragedy of Bahrain. The Pearl must be dead before showing us the stains of blood on its six pillars. The government of Bahrain would take any action to stop peaceful protests. Those actions could even include demolishing the throne of the Kingdom. Clearing the roundabout from protestors’ traces meant razing the holy Pearl. On March 18, the Bahraini forces, with the Saudi and Emirati troops, encircled the monument, forcing the Pearl to surrender. A Bahraini official announced the success of the mighty mission by saying: “The roundabout is cleansed.” I heard his eloquent “cleansing” speech on Bahrain TV. I thought they’d done a great job combating foreign guerillas. I imagined Martians landing on the roundabout in Manama. The military opened fire on the invading aliens. The invaders were all shot and their spacecraft was demolished. As the news anchor was announcing the toughest task that the Bahraini, Saudi, and Emirati troops have ever undertaken, I saw the footage. There was nothing except tanks, and military machines combating the Pearl. There were no guerillas. There were no foreign invaders. There were no aliens. Demolishing the Pearl took few seconds.
By uprooting the six pillars, the Pearl lost its balance. The Pearl fell to the ground like a shot bird. The statue turned into pieces. The troops were successful in their task. After the videos of the demolishing mission, the anchor said: “The roundabout is now clear. There will be no traffic congestions anymore.” More than twenty years ago, the Pearl was not causing any congestion. Perhaps the government of Bahrain recently discovered that it was troublesome. The roundabout itself is still here, but is now arid and empty without the Pearl. The Pearl had no funeral, but it is commemorated everyday. There are small Pearl models in every Bahraini city and village. Like visiting loved ones, protestors pay visits to the pearls. However, every new pearl stands on less than six pillars now. The pillars are not important anymore, but the
Pearl is the martyred hero. Protesting Bahraini citizens always call for the “Right of Return.” On September 30, Bahraini men, women and children marched to the roundabout to mourn the massacred Pearl after more than six months since the military crackdown. The returners paid no attention to the arbitrary arrests, and brutal crackdown. There determination is above any force, and one day they will be successful in conquering the roundabout. They will rebuild the Pearl, and ignore its violating pillars. The revolution in Bahrain is the Pearl’s revolution. There is an army of pearls marching towards the royal palace of King Hamad Al Kalifa trying to overthrow him. The government can’t kill every single pearl in the world. It can never erase the Pearl sketch drawn on my little notebook.
About EMAJMagazine EMAJ Magazine is an intercultural magazine, made by a network of young journalists from the Middle East, North Africa (MENA) and the EU. EMAJ Magazine focuses on issues related to the European Union, Middle East and North Africa with special regard to the relationship between the regions as well as human rights, intercultural dialogue and immigration. EMAJMagazine is a follow-up project of Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists (EMAJ), led by experienced journalists from both regions.
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Tunisian Women still standing in new Tunisia Kacem Jlidi
Tunisia, a tiny francophone, pro-western country now stands tall, proud of how its revolution has changed the face of the Arab world. The 10 million Tunisians have recently held their first democratic elections since independence in 1956. Apart from being the first country in the Arab world to oust its dictator, Tunisia is also a source of inspiration when it comes to its long tradition of women’s rights, which surpasses all other countries in the region. Katrin Bennhold from the New York Times noted that the Tunisian women were the first in the Arab world to obtain the right to vote, shortly after independence in 1956. They secured abortion rights the same year U.S. women did and have a greater share of seats in Tunisia’s Parliament than women have in the French Parliament. Polygamy is banned, marriage is conditional on female consent. According to UNESCO, Tunisian women are welleducated: The female literacy rate is 71 percent, higher than any other North African country. Women outnumber men among university graduates and are catching up among judges and medical doctors. However, Lilia Abidi, Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Tunisian interim government expresses the opinion that Tunisian women are fragile: “We are in a situation where women’s rights became an issue for political parties to exploit for electoral purposes. Today, if women are not strong enough to impose themselves we could
easily witness a regression and for that reason we are calling upon women to stand up and defend what they have. “ The revolution in Tunisia is sometime compared to Iranian revolution that ultimately marked a start of the Islamic republic. However, Modernist, Feminists and Arab women groups in Tunisia argue that this comparison is not applicable: “The particularity of the Tunisian revolution is that it took place without any ideological leadership and also took advantage of social media tools”, says Lilia Abidi. However, there is a legitimate fear that Tunisia could ultimately follow the Iranian model and become an Islamic state that imposes Shariah law. In the Constitutional Assembly elections recently held in Tunisia, the Islamist Ennahda Party was declared the winner of the election, with 41 percent of the vote. With Ennahda Party taking over the majority, one recalls scenarios in Iran after the revolution of 1979. Until then, many Iranian women wore Western dress. Since then, they have been forced to cover their hair and adhere to a strict Islamic dress code or potentially face arrest. The example of Afghanistan is also brought up. There, under the Soviet Union occupation, women attended universities, while under the Taliban many even feared sending their daughters to primary school. However, careful analysis of the election results
photo: http://www. mideastreports.org/ blog/2011/9/25/riskand-opportunity-womenin-tunisias-transition.html shows that the secular groups, while divided into several political parties, constitute the majority (approximately 58.5 percent) of the total 217seat assemblies. Since the secular parties together control more seats, many scholar argue that the Islamic party is unlikely to be able to implement the Islamic law when drafting the new Tunisian constitution. During the election campaign, the Islamic Ennahda Party declared that it accepts secularism and has promised to maintain women rights in Tunisia. They further said that they will follow the “Turkish model”, stating that they will allow alcohol and bikinis in Tunisia, as a measure of modernity. It might also be important to reflect on the involvement of women in this dilemma. Of the 49 women elected to the 217-seat assembly, 42 belong to Ennahda, the only party that closely followed the official election guidelines calling for parity on political parties’ lists, according to Tom Heneghan, Reuters Tunis. On the question of the co-existence of Islamism and Feminism, Monica Marks, doctoral student in Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford University, concluded that the Ennahda women are not likely to oppose women’s rights legislation: “Ennahda women are, first and foremost, Tunisians. They are well educated, and their brand of Islamism, like Tunisian society as a whole, is relaxed and comparatively progressive. Since the 1950s, Tunisian women have enjoyed
greater legal protections than their counterparts in other Arab states.” Additionally, the Ennahda Party placed ‘Suaad Bin Abdel-Rehim’, a female candidate who does not wear the Hijab (head scarf) on one of their election lists. This would be virtually unthinkable for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic groups, as many of these groups strongly believe that wearing the Hijab is vital for the Islamist ideology and its image. If we want to compare the statements of Ennahda Party of Tunisia to the statements of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt we would observe that the Tunisian Islamic party represents a mutated form of Islam that may have better chances of co-existence with modernity than the form of Islam that is adopted by the Egyptian and Libyan Muslim Brotherhood groups, affirmed Tawfik Hamid, an Egyptian scholar, journalist, and author who advocates a peaceful understandingof Islam that is compatible with universal human rights and intellectual freedom. However, not everyone is convinced. Soon after the election results were shared, a feminist protest took off in the government quarter of the Tunis. “We’re here to denounce all forms of extremism and bans on women’s liberties”, said one of the protesters, Madiha Bel Haj. “We want a constitution that respects women’s rights and doesn’t roll back the advances we’ve made.”
Kacem is a Tunisian activist and Social Media enthusiast with a strong belief in human rights, especially in regards to rights of minorities as well as freedom of speech and press. He is currently a fellow at the American University of Beirut.
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About the author
Pigs in Maputo Pig cartoons of life in Mozambique
for more, every day: pigsinmaputo. blogspot.com/
pigs in maputo.
by Iris Yan
images: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank http://www.knizhniki.ru/author/id=11
Lest we forget Evgenia Kostyanaya
A couple of weeks ago I was in a bookshop,
just of pure curiosity wandering about if I could find something interesting. Then I saw it, the book I had wanted to read for a long time: “Anne Frank. The diary of a young girl”. This is a true story written by a girl who was only 13 when she along with her family had to go into hiding in Amsterdam to escape from Nazis, since the family was Jewish. The book is actually her diary that she kept from June 12, 1942, to August 1, 1944. Anne was hiding in a building of her father’s office together with her sister Margot, her parents, Edith and Otto, the van Pels family, that is Auguste, Hermann and their son Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer, who joined them in the hiding a bit later. Anne wrote about their daily life, her relations with her parents and the other people, how cautious they all had to be in order not to make noise so that no one could suppose that they were living there. Her impressions, thoughts are most valuable as of a witness of the most incredible catastrophe that our humanity had ever experienced throughout its history. But let us not forget that she was a teenager, and she was deprived of a normal life full of joy and carefree childhood so typical for a child of her age. But more than that, she was deprived of a future, of a chance to make her dreams come true, to marry and to have children…She also had her friends, she was also in love, she was also going to school…before that all started. And how can we, sitting safely in warmth in front of our computers, complain of difficulties in our life? Don’t they fade away compared to what she had faced? Living in fear every day and night, listening to all possible noise while they
were in the hiding? Just because she was Jewish. Unfortunately for her and many other people at that time… According to the website http:// w w w. j ew i s h v i r t u a l l i b ra r y. o r g / j s o u r c e / Holocaust/36quest1.html, this is the number of Jews that were murdered in each country and the percentage of the Jewish population prior to the war they constituted:
Austria 50,000 - 27.0% Italy 7,680 - 17.3% Belgium 28,900 - 44.0% Latvia 71,500 - 78.1% Bohemia/Moravia 78,150 - 66.1% Lithuania 143,000 - 85.1% Bulgaria 0 - 0.0% Luxembourg 1,950 - 55.7% Denmark 60 - 0.7% Netherlands 100,000 - 71.4% Estonia 2,000 - 44.4% Norway 762 - 44.8% Finland 7 - 0.3% Poland 3,000,000 - 90.9% France 77,320 - 22.1% Romania 287,000 - 47.1% Germany 141,500 - 25.0% Slovakia 71,000 - 79.8% Greece 67,000 - 86.6% Soviet Union 1,100,000 - 36.4% Hungary 569,000 - 69.0% Yugoslavia 63,300 - 81.2% On the morning of August, 4, 1944, the eight people hiding in the building as well as the two of their helpers, Victor Kugler and Johannes
Kleiman, were arrested and then transferred to different concentration camps. Kleiman was released due to his poor health on September 18, 1944; he died in 1959. Kugler managed to escape in 1945, then he immigrated to Canada and died there in 1989. Of the eight people who were actually in the hiding only Otto Frank, Anneâ€™s father, survived. Anne died of a typhus epidemic in a concentration camp BergenBelsen, presumably in late February or early March 1945. There has been a lot of discussion as to who betrayed them. Just a short time ago, November, 11, marked the end of the First World War and in many countries people thought of those who had lost their lives. Let us not forget that the WWI and the WWII happened, frankly speaking, not so much time ago; and let us not deceive ourselves pretending we are smarter and that such a
catastrophe will never be repeated again; let us not be so self-confident. Looking at all these revolutions and civil wars happening now, despite all the joy and excitement one may have seeing their dictators toppled and old, so much hated regimes fall, let us not forget that in this rush for a better, fairer life a human life still has the highest value. It is so easy to be fuddled with power and authority when you are at the helm, thinking that you can do whatever you want once you are there. It is far more difficult to remain a human. I am a bit scared. Winston Churchill thought that the WWII could have been prevented more easily than any other war. Nevertheless it was not. Thus let us not forget.
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ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER STRUGGLE Milan Smikic With the first light of the new sunny day, in the distance I hear hidden clatter of stones and dull thumps of soil lumps, then a sharp humming of machines, lots of rough, predominately male voices- again, the barricades are being reinforced in the north of Kosmet! Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbian strongest fortress in Kosmet, once a rich medieval town surrounded by the three rivers that rush inexorably towards Serbia, industrial center of the region, now resembles to a lonely, sad island of besiegement and uncertainty of the human existence, yet not surrounded by blueness of the sea but by grayness of the barricades. Instead of going to work, Mrs. Kokeric goes to the barricades, accompanied by her colleagues. She is anxious and concern about the outcome of the overall situation, absentmindedly saying she does not know what will happen to her family, children, a nine year old son Milos, who goes to Belgrade three times a week for the therapy, which is now impossible when all the roads are blocked with timber, gravel, soil and even human bodies. Some time near 18 oâ€™clock, just when the night has covered the high barricades, together with ghastly flights of the KFOR helicopters, women of a different age, exhausted but with smile on their face, greet the arrival of men who will stay
awake the whole night in order to persist in their requests, which include unacceptable idea of Albanian customs officers in the north of Kosmet, Albanian institutions in the north and which remind of the status-neutral position of EULEX, that has already been breached several times which resulted in two killed and several dozens injured Serbs. The protection of lives of Serbs, their homes, churches and monasteries from unilateral actions of Pristina, which forcibly tries to integrate north of Kosovo and expel Serbs from the whole territory, represents the essence of lives of people who day and night come to barricades. They do not think about the improvement or advancement of their lives but the methods to keep at least part of what they have been gradually deprived from by the Albanian authorities in Pristina. However, no one sees life at the barricades as a burden (this is the overwhelming impression from the conversations). It is not an order but substrate of unity and self-organization of Serbs in the north of Kosmet, who cannot allow establishment of the Albanian authority in the north of Kosmet since they believe they have belonged and will belong to the Republic of Serbia. Although, critically speaking, messages from Belgrade, which are often contrary to the best
interests of Serbs in Kosmet, certainly affect current position of Serbs. Evidence of an aspiration of the young people to enrich life at the barricades in spite the painful and bleak situation in “Kupusijada” (competition in traditional preparation of cabbage meals) in Jarinje, which was attended by the soldiers of the German KFOR, as well as a wedding of a young couple, accompanied by all the guests, musicians and others, which took place at the barricade in Leposavic. Monotonous and intense day-to-day reality overwhelms lives of these people. For over ten years, they have lived defending every inch of northern part of Kosmet in order to preserve places of their birth, to protect their jobs. As always, innocent ones submit the ultimate sacrifice, children and true patriots, while others make fortune on very suspicious grounds considering themselves unreachable for any
legal order. At the end of October, on the 27th more precisely, one of the biggest religious holidays Sveta Petka is being celebrated. The holiday of Sveta Petka was, of course, marked too at the barricades throughout north of Kosmet, where all the present with lit candles and boiled wheat were saying prayer for solution which would stop further suffering of the people. “Another day has gone and we are still alive and healthy” – in the background I hear conversation of two friends. The dusk is coming down slowly. Big Serbian tricolor flag is waving in the wind, placed at the top of the barricade near the bridge in Kosovska Mitrovica. The icon of Virgin Mary stands next to it. The shots could be heard, then the bells of the church of St. Demetrius toll, announcing the new day and the new struggle.
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event! WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film Since 2001 W arsaw has ho sted WATCH DOCS , a festival that explores hum an rights is sues through film . A number of the city’s cinem as, includin g the Centre for Contemporary Art, show the enga ging and thou ghtprovoking en tries compe ting for the Marek Nowicki fest ival prize.
what where when website
. Human Rights in Film Warsaw, Pola
nd 2nd to 11th of December http://www.w atchdocs. pl/index.php?l ang=en
Bra z i l :
ch an ge s Rodrigo Silva
When I opened my e-mail box to check it, I saw an
e-mail with the topic for Libertas December Issue, and when I read it, I immediately thought; I will write an overall view regarding the several Arab Uprisings... However, as I was writing my article, I reconsidered it and realized there is an uprising taking place in my own country and nobody sees it, or realizes the potential of theses changes. For starters, let’s take a look at Brazil’s geography and economy in case you don’t know anything about it. Brazil is the biggest country in South America, its coast is along the Atlantic Ocean and for many years we were considered an underdeveloped country. However, few years ago, especially after the 2009 economic crisis, we stepped ahead into the hall of emerging countries, and nowadays we are said to be one of the 10 largest economies in the WORLD. Woww, going from a poor country in the third world to an important international actor in the economic/ political scenery, that is not bad at all. Right? Now, what about the people? Are they prepared for such great and impactive change? That is what I will be aiming at analyzing in this article. I will take a look at some important social changes taking place in Brazil, and their relation to the world. Most of the developed/western countries(and i do know that this term still causes a lot of stir, but let’s consider it here the traditional concept in the political field) have already solved the problem of homosexual union. This year, the Brazilian congress passed an important law allowing and recognizing stable homosexual unions. This certainly means an important step into the world of diversity. You might be asking yourself how come brazil being such a
31 diverse country hasn’t solved this dilemma before. Honestly, i don’t know. However, I do know that this indicates important changes in people’s mindset and the weakening of the Catholic Church in this country. Still speaking of social changes, this year our first female president took office and according to recent studies, more women are playing the role of CEOs and chairwomen in large corporations. These facts also indicate a larger acceptance of the opposite gender into the business world and the prejudiced Brazilian expression; “fragile gender” is rarely used to refer to women anymore. Few weeks ago the wave of movements such as Occupy Wall Street and Indignados arrived in Brazil. The movement Ocupa Rio is led by a group of people who dream of seeing radical political, economical and social maneuvers in this country. The movement represents the uprising of a sleeping society who had conformed to the cruelty of capitalism. These people who have been struggling to build a democracy for the last 26 years realized that their democracy is not democratic at all. Social inequality is one of Brazil’s biggest problem and although it has decreased a lot due to our sudden economic growth, it still haunts the Brazilian population. Recognition of homosexual union, the insertion of women in the labor market and Ocupa Rio represent the efforts of a population unsatisfied with its country trying to improve it. In a changing global world, Brazil’s movements and achievements prove the potential of people as it has been in other countries such as the USA, Spain, Libya by their own population.
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Egyptian Elections, to where? 32
Towards what is expected-to-be Egypt’s first
fair parliamentary election since the overthrow of the former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, exceptions fluctuate. The revolution that sparked in Egypt by the beginning of this year awaits its fate to indicate which way the willpower of the people will lead to. The elections will take up to six weeks, allocated in three rounds dividing Egypt’s governances and districts. The first round will take place on November 28, followed by the second on December 14 and the third on January 3. Each round would have a runoff ballot a week after the initial ballots. This ballot people will select 444 member of the People’s Assembly (Magles El-Shaab), which is the lower house. The elections of the upper house, Consultative Council (Maglis Al-Shura), would follow with the same guidelines, starting late January to last until mid march. The members of both houses would have the task of rewriting the constitution. A demand made by the Egyptian protesters since the revolution. A panel about the Parliamentary elections in Egypt was held in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC.
The panelists discussed the elections and its affects of Egypt’s future. Michele Dunne, the Director of Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, Atlantic Council debated the challenges of the elections. “They choose explicitly complicated electoral system,” Dunne said describing electoral system chosen by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Operating and overseeing the elections is going to be done by the judiciary branch. The Judiciary is an independent body, with vested powers to oversee the practices of both executive and legislative branches. But giving how complicated the elections’ process is; according to Dunne “Even well intended officials could make mistakes.” Fears are rising around the powers vested in the SCAF as an executive power keeps raising the question of the powers the members of a constituent assembly wouldhave? And to what extent would the military interfere in the country’s legislative and executive affairs? The SCAF and the interim government both agree on a proposal that allows generals to appoint 80% of the constitutional committee. This would mean that the SCAF would have the pow-
er over writing the new constitution instead of the elected members. Also, the SCAF had shown interest in keeping more secrets from the people like the defense budget. Since the overthrow of Mubarak, the SCAF maintained ultimate power over the country. The parliament would assume its legislative powers to rewrite the constitution from the SCAF. After the parliamentary elections, the SCAF is going to turn its legislative powers but not executive powers until change of constitution and the presidential elections. The most debatable issue of rewriting the constitution is about whether Article 2 of the current constitution should be preserved or not. The article states the Islamic Shariaa law as the primary source of legalization. Eighty-nice currently established political parties focused on that issue on one way or another. Some parties united under different blocs in order to achieve some specific goals.The goal of preserving Shariaa law in the constitution is a goal, which some political parties have it as one of their main principles. Following the “unite for strength” attitude, a collation between some Islamic parties was established. Two Islamic blocs were formed, the Democratic Alliance for Egyptand the Islamic Alliance. Each of the alliances includes several Islamic parties; on top of the first headed by the formerly banned Muslim brotherhood. Both of the salafi’s party Al-Nour and Al-Gamaa AlIslamiya lead the other bloc. The same attitude of unification was taken by the liberals aiming to establish Egypt as a modern civil state. Headed by the Coptic businessman Naguib Sawiris, the Free Egyptian party formed a collation with other liberal parties and called it the Egyptian Bloc Alliance. Apart from the ideologies of the parties, the majority of parties call for the same things Egyptians chanted during the revolution, Democracy, Freedom of speech, Citizenship, Transparency…etc
As a respond to the rising ideologies around the Egyptian elections the Egyptian journalist Ibrahim Hodaiby says: “Most campaigns are rounded around people, not ideologies.” According to Hodaiby, the elections are a first step. Another Egyptian journalist Magdy Samaan, had a different point of view about the Elections than Hodaiby’s. “This elections aren’t as important as people may try to portray,” Samman Said. Samaan expressed his fears about the powers vested by the military. “We need to eliminate restrictions of freedom of expression, the basic rights are shrinking everyday as the military stays in power in the transitional period,” Samaan Said. As much as many people consider the constitution referendum held in March a success, Samaan considered it a big failure that facts on the ground proved its fail. Samaan’s: “Elections will be another step back from the revolution.”
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About the author Dina Sadek is an Egyptian freelance journalist. She has worked as an ArabicEnglish translator for media in Egypt and in eastern Libya. Dina has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Ain Shams University.
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