The Diplomat EUphoria or EUphobia?
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Note from the Editor People of UNSA
Maastrichtâ€™s best kept secrets Has the EUROphoria run out? The European project is worth fighting for!
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Expectations for the European Championship
Is the EU better off without the UK..? Fashion Goes Democracy Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?
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Jakub Biernacki Layout Designer 1st year BA European Law
Dreams within reach
The Island Nation
All The Presidents Men: Film Review
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Fear and Loathing in South Limburg A New Theory of Depression So you graduated from University? Euphoria (poem)
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Note from the Editor drawing by Marie-Isabel Theuwis
“May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground” In this very last printed edition of the Diplomat, we discuss all these topics and many more. Are cultures slowly growing closer to each other or is the opposite taking place? What is happening across the ocean in the States? And lastly, in a more personal way, what is this opposite feeling of euphoria called depression so many talk about?
This quote can not only be referred to when trying to get over a former beloved one or the death of a closely related one, but also –very simply put- when looking at many conflicts in this world. The past has shown that the old ways we tried to solve arguments did not work- wars are still ongoing, and even though the past century has seen many unifications and peace treaties, it has also triggered many ongoing discussions and feuds. Hatred has been created by our generation’s great-grandparents and grandparents, our parents have carried it with them and it is now also in our minds.
With summer coming, it is also time to say goodbye to Maastricht for some months. Time to say Goodbye to an intense year with the greatest team that could have possibly been chosen as the UNSA Journal committee. We hope you enjoy our last work and our words make you think about the European phenomenon while sipping cocktails and turning nights into days.
How else could the rise of right-winged parties all over Europe be explained? The creation of the EU has brought many advantages such as Schengen and closer integration, yet it is constantly being doubted. Brexit and Grexit are a very Enjoy the read and have a good summer! likely possibility. The EU-phoria that could be observed in the last two decades is slowly being replaced by some sort of EU-phobia it seems. chief editor
“Despite finally going home for the summer, I’ll still feel home-sick. Maastricht is home now too and I’ll miss all the memories I made over the past 3 years.”
Meet the new Board In front from left to right: Secretary – Lioba Gasser, Head of Delegations – Sabrina Brooker, President – Bram Vandermeulen, Head of Events – Esther Klaps, Secretary General – Nicole Pop In the back from left to right: Head of Development - Ole Spillner, Head of Marketing & Communication – Thomas Devine, Head of Journal – Jakub Biernacki, Treasurer – Flavia Grosshennric
We wish them them all the best in the upcoming academic year! 7
Maastricht’s best kept secrets: cool for the summer Is there anything, apart from the Swedish winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, that screams euphoria louder than everyone’s favourite season, summer? We think not. But when those first rays of sunshine finally reach the practically Nordic city of Maastricht, you spend your time sipping over-priced Hugo’s or beers on incredibly crowded terraces on the Vrijthof. Why, oh sweet summer child, why?
1. Café Zuid (Plein 1992, no 15) First rule of Discovering The Real Maastricht 101: ditch the Vrijthof. Trade those inner-city flat beers and watered down cocktails for the real deal across the river. Visit Café Zuid and its enormous terrace, where the nachos are heavenly and the mojitos served strong. What more could you need on a muggy summer night? 2. Burgerlijk (Rechtstraat 37) The smell of summer is that of freshly mown grass, sun-lotion, and barbecues! However, since the majority of Maastricht’s student body is not blessed with the joys of having a garden, and thus an open-air grill, at its disposal, we propose the next best thing. Burgers at Burgerlijk, ranging from meat overdoses to fish or veggie. Dig in!
There is a whole world outside your safe, but honestly down-right boring, comfort zone. Luckily, The Diplomat once again has your unadventurous backs. Under the rubric ‘Maastricht’s best kept secrets’, we will explore and introduce you to our 3. Sint-Pietersberg beloved city’s hidden gems and upcoming hotspots. Sadly, apart from longer nights and warmer days, June also brings finals. For the poor souls among us who are living on a diet of cafFor this school year’s last edition, The Dip- feine and energy drinks and who are dangerously close to having lomat put on its favourite pair of sunglasses a severe mental breakdown, the Sint-Pietersberg forms the perfect and hunted down the best sunlit hubs our get-away. Grab some lunch at the closest supermarket, head out city has to offer. You’re welcome. towards the green hills or the fort, and enjoy a sun-lit picnic, free of any concerns about possibly falling short on credits this year. All this on a mere ten-minute-walk from the inner-city library!
Lize de Potter 2nd year BA European Law
4. Gelateria Luna Rossa (Hoogbrugstraat 45 or Graanmarkt 4) Ice-cream! Tons of flavours! And it is not Pinky’s! We now consider you convinced of Luna Rossa’s perks and benefits. 5. Peter’s Irish Pub (Kleine Gracht 40-42) Once every four summers, the continent comes together in a proper display of euro-phoria at its finest. The UEFA European Championship. When and if the Netherlands finally recover from the disgrace of not qualifying, Maastricht is bound to set up some big screens and organize public viewings of this year’s events in France, so stay tuned. Until then, we will have to settle for the TVs at Peter’s Irish Pub. 6. Complex Maastricht (Griend 6-7) Danny and Sandy from Grease already knew what summer is really all about. Oh, those summer nights! Complex is a brand-new music venue/club across the river, opened just in time for some underground summer lovin’. Because sometimes, the Alla just does not cut it. Now go enjoy the summer sun! Until next time…
Paddy Bruell 1st year BA European Law
Has The EUROphoria Run Out?
When it comes to Europe and the European Union, there is one topic that has led to discussion, arguments, compromises, threats and problems for an incredible amount of time: money. Only one example is the British budget rebate, which occurred in the late 1970s and early 1980s. However, the European Union has also approached the fundamental concepts of money in a completely new perspective and one of its proudest achievements is the introduction of its very own currency. It was the first time in the modern era that multiple nations shared a currency, thereby facilitating trade and increasing the harmonization within the EU. The Euro as a common currency was and still is a symbol and embodiment of the integration, progress, and harmony that the European Union has managed to achieve within Europe. On a personal level, I belong to a generation that has completely accepted the fact that there is only one currency throughout Europe. Whilst our parents relied on German mark, Italian lira, Greek drachmas, French franc or Spanish pesetas, 90s kids might only have faded memories of a time when the Euro was not the standard of the day. We have become so used to dealing with it, that we do not question its heritage anymore or consider alternative solutions. I cannot imagine a European Union and a Europe, where each nation once again returns to its own currency. It is, therefore, without a doubt, that the Euro is one of the objects of EUphoria. Or is itâ€Ś The relatively recent global financial crisis and the following Euro crisis have demonstrated the fragility of the system; a system, where the exit of several states and its entire collapse were a very real possibility. Is it then so surprising, that the Euro and the monetary union have become the objects of Euroscepticism and people are viewing it with EUphobia? Absolutely not.
The European Union currently stands at a difficult crossroads: should it integrate further and continue to use and improve the currency system or should it abandon it and instead return to a system where each state has its own currency, which would, in turn, mean that not every state is linked to each other, so further ‘Eurocrises’ would be averted. In order to be able to make an informed opinion, however, it is important to know more about the Eurocrisis and what brought it about. By simply reading the headline news, one could think that the crisis was caused by sloppy Greek accounting and that the meticulous Germans saved the entire European economy. There are two elements that led to the collapse of the Euro, the first of which is often overlooked. Firstly, the mistakes that were made when creating the monetary union, which set the entire system up to fail, and the global housing collapse, which simply provided the trigger for said failure. The introduction of a common currency was made possible by the so-called Economic and Monetary Union. This integration had been an item on the EU’s agenda already since the 1970s. The idea was that all member states of the EU should pay in the same currency, as this would make trade and commerce easier.
In order to make a common currency possible, the economies of the member states needed to be converged, or ‘made similar’ if you will, so that the Euro would affect all states equally. The first problem arose in some states cheating, by engaging in ‘creative accounting’ and making their economy look stronger than it actually was. Secondly, structural faults within the monetary union meant that governments could only influence their economy to a certain degree, whilst EU institutions controlled other parts of it. The Euro was then squeezed like a straightjacket on all EU economies and boundaries were set that the economies of all states had to observe. Now, usually when boundaries are set, you could expect that someone would enforce them right? Well, take a guess what happened…
Despite the fact that the boundaries existed on things like inflation and debt, no EU institution enforced them. It was, therefore, no surprise, that national economies soon all breached at least one. The dream that one currency could fit all national economies soon turned out to be a nightmare. National economies drifted apart, and different solutions for different problems were needed. How unfortunate, though, that the solution for a member state only worsened the problems for another. The problem was that the EU held one reign of stateâ€™s economies and the national governments held the other. When two people try to steer a horse in one direction, it usually ends up going very badly wrong. This inability to control and balance an economy made the European market very susceptible to any form of external shock-waves. The collapse of the global housing bubble, created by American subprime mortgages, provided the trigger for failure. When the housing market crashed, it either ruined national economies or showed the true state of them. Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland all faced massive debt and needed to be bailed out. The Economic and Monetary Union had failed. This economic phenomenon has demonstrated to the world but also to the EU itself the shortcomings of its EMU. Whilst emergency bailout funds and safety nets have now been created, it is time to look for a long-term solution to the problems that made the collapse of the Euro possible in the first place.
The question remains, however, if this really is the correct solution? Should the countries just not simply resort back to their own individual currencies, which they can regulate themselves and thereby keep their economy stable? As already mentioned previously, this is the crossroads at which the European Union currently finds itself. Should it create a better and more complete EMU; one that is capable of making the Euro a viable common currency? Or has European integration gone too far and should governments be able to regulate their economies themselves? These are all questions that our current generation must ask itself. The truth of the matter is, that I cannot give a correct answer to all these questions. European parliamentarians cannot give you an answer to these questions, simply because they are now deciding on the future and only afterwards do we know if we chose the correct path. Whilst Euro-sceptics are firmly of the opinion that we should return to a system of â€˜every state for themselvesâ€™, I believe that the Euro should continue to be used as a common currency throughout the EU. I believe that we can learn from the mistakes that have been made and that a proper and functional monetary union can be established. Only time will tell what approach the European Union will take and we will have to wait and see whether the result will leave us in a state of EUphobia or EUphoria.
The European project is worth fighting for! Leon Heckmann 2nd year BA European Studies When was the last time you heard something positive about the European Union, be it in the media or in a personal conversation? If you have a hard time remembering, you are probably not alone: The public image and reputation of the EU has suffered considerably in the last months, and arguably without interruption since the beginning of the Eurozone crisis in late 2009. A year ago, the negotiations on another billion Euro bailout package for Greece and a potential “Grexit” dominated the headlines and did not only cause severe criticism on the European monetary union but also on the unequal roles played by its member states and a lack of legitimacy and responsiveness to the needs and concerns of its citizens. More than a few regarded the final agreement with Greece on a new bailout package, under the condition of implementing harsh austerity measures for several years to come, as nothing but extortion by the leading member states of the Eurozone, taking advantage of the fact that a “Grexit” would most probably not have been a sustainable economic alternative for Greece.
From late summer 2015 then, the refugee and migration crisis in Europe took over the daily headlines. To many, this crisis was not just a pathetic display of the EU’s practical incapacity and political unwillingness to react timely and effectively to a humanitarian crisis unfolding at its borders, but also sad proof of the widespread lack of solidarity and disenchantment with the European project apparent in a majority of its member states. Almost a year after the beginning of the large refugee flows into Europe, the EU has not yet been able to agree on a proper replacement for the Dublin system, which has proven absolutely deficient in the current crisis, let alone a functional, fair, and legally binding distribution mechanism for refugees in Europe. On the contrary, by returning to nationalistic and isolationist policies of closing borders and building fences, the Union has not only fundamentally weakened itself as a unitary international actor but also further undermined its more and more negative popular approval. Apparent through the rise of Eurosceptic and populist parties in the vast majority of EU member states and further aggravated by the potential “Brexit”, i.e. withdrawal of the UK from the Union, many citizens have lost their confidence and support for the EU and some spectators even declared the European project dead altogether.
As a European Studies student, looking back at these facts makes me angry and sad at the same time. For my generation and younger ones in particular, I got the impression that many do not see and value the benefits of the EU in the everyday life of European citizens, simply because they have grown up with them. For someone who has never paid with anything but Euros and has never experienced how burdensome it was to cross a European border prior to the Schengen agreement, these fundamental benefits are simply taken for granted.
EU’s biggest problems at the moment was that these are ultimately self-inflicted: If all 28 member states would commonly share the burden of the refugee crisis in a fair manner and with solidarity, Europe would certainly have fewer problems to deal with the crisis adequately and would not have been that dependent on the cooperation with Turkey as it is the case now. The same goes for the cross-border cooperation of member state’s police and intelligence agencies, which turned out to be severely deficient following the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels. Together, Europe is strong enough to deal with these common One of the strongest proponents of the European pro- problems – given the political willingness to do so. ject is certainly the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz. When he spoke at the Univer- To me personally, it is obvious that a return to nationsity of Aachen, Germany in spring this year, hundreds alistic policies as advocated by populist right-wing of young people turned out to listen to him. Disen- parties all over Europe is certainly no viable alternachantment with politics, especially in the younger tive to European integration. Global challenges such generations? Not really – Schulz himself claimed as the refugee crisis, terrorism or tax evasion cannot that it was certainly not a lack of interest in politics be tackled on a national basis – and isolation behind in general which accounts for the difficulty of the EU fenced borders is simply not an alternative, neither to approach and actively integrate its citizens in the economic nor political, in today’s globalized world. democratic process. Despite the rise of Euroscep- Undoubtedly, not everything is fine about the political ticism even in traditionally pro-European member system of the EU and there are absolutely legitimate states such as the Netherlands, he declared himself concerns of European citizens, for example about confident that the majority of European citizens still the democratic legitimacy and perceived detachment believed in the project of European integration. Part of “Brussels” from the every-day life of Europeans, of the reason for the EU’s bad public reputation at the which have to be taken into account by their elected moment, according to Schulz, was that this pro-Eu- representatives. But these issues should rather moropean majority is too passive and “silent” compared tivate Europeans to preserve and improve on their to the EU opponents, who rally actively with anti-Eu- unique political project that is European integration. ropean, nationalistic and partly also xenophobic pro- A revision of history cannot be the answer – othergrams. wise, we might see the EU’s greatest benefits which younger people have simply experienced as given reHe thereby referred explicitly to the more than 100 alities, seriously endangered in the near future. MarMEPs in the European Parliament, which belong to tin Schulz ended his talk at the University of Aachen far-right or populist Eurosceptic parties. In this con- with the same bottom-line: The European project is text, Schulz also claimed that the cynicism of the worth fighting for!
Change The EU is weaker than ever. The possible exit of certain member states is a reality. Terrorists undermine the cohesion of our multicultural society. Thousands of anonymous migrants are coming in our direction. Here, where unemployment is still high after the financial crisis. Wars seem endless in the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe. Not to mention all the forgotten conflicts throughout the world. The faith in democracy is declining. At the same time, the EU makes deals with autocratic leaders such as Omar-al-Bashir and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Viruses and diseases are spreading. We find a cure for one, while a new one is already circling around. Our climate is changing. The poles are melting and extreme dryness causes food shortages in subtropical regions. We have much to fear. Everything seems to slip through our hands. The world goes in the wrong direction while we are helplessly observing its destruction from the sideline. “Everything was so much better in the past!”, I hear many people shout. That might be true. Europe has been a relatively stable and peaceful continent for decades. But why is the future necessarily so sombre? Why is there a general tendency to pity our generation? Yes, times they are a changin’. Exactly. And they always are. These are times to change the deep-rooted state structures. To review our definition of what democracy now actually is and can be. To make it clear that corrupt governments are not acceptable. To review this soft and internally divided form of the EU. To step up and resolutely change our environmental behaviour. To accept the fact that we live in a multicultural society and to do everything in our power to make it work. Our generation is not doomed. Our generation simply faces much more challenges at a time than past generations. Therefore, we will have to roll up our sleeves and envision our future together. Our generation’s job is to stop moaning and fearing and rather focus on what is possible. It is us and only us who can make that change.
Marie-Isabel Theuwis 2nd year BA European Studies
Expectations for the 2016 UEFA European Championship Eszter Sailer
1st year BA European Studies
Imagine that you have won the previous World Cup. You may think that the European Championship is rather easy to win right after a World Cup? Can you pull a ‘Spain’? To be honest, I was optimistic for Germany. What could stand in their way of winning? I now know how naïve I was to believe this. I went to their friendly against the US national team in 2015. I thought, if they win, that is a great plus. They surely will. But if they do not, it is just a friendly after all and the European Championship is still a year away. They lost. I shrugged my shoulders, thinking that it will get better, even though deep down I knew that they have already struggled in the qualifying rounds of the European Championship. So, still optimistic, I went to another friendly. This time against England. Again, it was only a friendly, and Germany has already qualified for the 2016 tournament. The pressure was there, though. Of course, one would expect Germany and England to put out their best sides, preparing for the tournament, given the rivalry that has been going on between the two countries over the years. The game, however, was not that spectacular for Germany, even less so for my optimistic self. Germany lost. Again. Naturally, the team has changed. Three key players have retired, many others are injured, so the fans can only hope that by the time the tournament kicks-off, key players will be healthier and Germany will not have to rely on a completely new and young team. If all else fails, the team can count on the eleventh field player, Manuel Neuer in goal, and the one clumsy player that is always at the right spot, Thomas Müller. The great thing, for me at least, is that Germany is still one of the favourites, along with the host, France.
Les Bleus’s squad has hosted both the World Cup and the European Championship before. And they won both of their hosted tournaments. Therefore, expectations are high for them as well, especially at home. In fairness, those expectations are not far-fetched. Although there could be issues in the backline - not as much as in the German team though -, both the midfield and attacking line contains players of great talent. Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and Anthony Martial are just a few of the impressive Les Bleus to look out for.
The most notable absentees, of course, are the Netherlands. De Oranje failed to qualify despite being in a group containing the likes of Iceland and the Czech Republic as most dangerous opposition. The Dutch hardcore care little for the national team these days: Supporters of the Oranje are referred to as ‘clowns’ by the hooligans of Ajax and Feyenoord, two of the largest clubs in the Netherlands. The animosity between these two ‘camps’ in the Dutch national team is seen as one of the key reasons for the failure to win a cup since 1988.
Another strong team, even with a chance of winning, is England. Defeating Germany in a friendly is a great ego-boost, but that is not the only way England have succeeded in progressing this year. The Premier League has been dominated by English players, not by foreign ones, as was the case for a long time; therefore, the top competing teams might actually have contributed to the national team. Even Wayne Rooney, who has had a bad 2015, and, according to the English media, is usually has been a let-down at international tournaments, but could well prove himself this summer, in what might be his last chance at international success.
Speaking of beers, Maastricht can absolutely guarantee you a nice variety of drinks to enjoy the live matches. Throughout the year, games are regularly shown at Shamrock or Pete’s Irish Pub, but I am certain that open-air screenings will take place around town for the Euros, despite the lack of Oranje in the tournament. They have yet to be announced, but one thing is for sure – matches will be lively, wherever you watch them. Until then, watch the last matches of the national leagues, and hopefully, see you in front of a screen!
Then, there is Belgium, with its top ranking. Italy, with its well built-up back line and Graziano Pellè. Portugal, with the one and only Cristiano Ronaldo. Poland with their super-striker Robert Lewandowski, and, of course Spain, with some recollected pride from the last 16 months. However, smaller countries might have something up their sleeves too. Take Hungary – for the first time in 44 years, my national team has managed to qualify itself, even if it did so through the play-offs between the third-ranked teams. We sure are proud, with tears falling at the mention of the European Championship, and beers already on the table.
Is the EU better off without the UK..? Elysia Rezki 1st year BA European Law
As the ‘Brexit’ referendum swiftly approaches, the spotlight shines on whether Britain will be better off ‘in or out’ of the European Union. Whilst this is only natural considering it is exclusively the Britons who will be (politely) queuing at the polling booths come June 23rd, the referendum also imposes major significance for the remaining EU countries. Despite the evermore ridiculous scaremongering stories in mainstream press, one cannot help but contemplate a Brexit being of benefit to the EU in at least some ways. The UK has never been a wilful or enthusiastic player in EU matters. One must only look to their history of obstructionist tactics and ‘special treatment’ status reluctantly granted (refusal to join the Euro, rejection of the Schengen Agreement, dismissal of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and so on…) to realize a differentiation in common values and goals. With all of the crises accumulated and thrown at the EU this past decade, it is not completely unreasonable to see political integration as a plausible solution, if not a necessity! Many look desperately to the EU for a solution which will best come about through a more comprehensive political union. Yet this is precisely what Britain has continuously been adamantly
against. Whilst it is fair to say the original federalist dream perished a long time ago, the commitment to an ‘ever closer union’ as enshrined in the EU framework has been generally accepted among all other member states. For a world experiencing globalisation at a rapid pace which prompts increasing interdependence between states, Britain’s insistence on regressive and conservative ways may be holding the EU back from a progressive and revolutionary agenda. Although it is undeniable that Britain certainly does offer the EU various benefits, such as a strong diplomatic and international standing, a substantial economic boost, and greater military power…At times like this, solidarity and a willingness to cooperate are crucial if the EU is to continue effectively. I must now admit that as a British citizen myself, I would most certainly not wish to see a UK-EU divorce. As President Obama recently reiterated, Britain would be left in a rather futile position. However, if I were to put such allegiance aside, it is not completely unfathomable to see brighter prospects for the EU in the absence of Britain.
Fashion Goes Democracy Marie Peffenköver
2nd year BA European Studies
With this year’s early autumn approaching quickly, guys and girls all over the world are already dreaming of names such as Alexander Lewis, Huishan Zhang, and Bregazzi. Indeed, London’s fashion week, starting on September 16 this year, is tantalizingly close. Mulberry, Erdem, Burberry - this time, the organizers are rolling out the heavy artillery. For five days, the entire world of fashion is once again going to be dominated by flashlights, extravagant dresses and snap chats of the well-known (and not so well-known) VIPs eating apple pies and blueberry scones in front of the Big Ben or the Towerbridge. The muss, the fuss – but, what for actually?
summed it up nicely at a fashion event in Tel Aviv in 2013 when she said that “fashion makes luxury available for people and I think this is wonderful and very democratic.”
At least since Wintour, McCollough, and Lazaro Hernandez, fashion has left the upper-class bubble of shine and glamour and has made the claim of becoming democratic – la mode pour le peuple. And indeed, trendy clothes that are payable by Mr. A. N. Onymous without ruining him financially for the rest of his life appear to have opened a market gap. Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t go to H&M, New Yorker or Mango to do their shopping? Jessica Parker, who became famous through Sex and the City,
Most obviously, fashion and democracy are both about the freedom of expression; as the designer Edison Chen once put it, punching the audience “into their faces”. States that restrict the freedom of thoughts and the creativity of art are considered to be authoritarian. Equally, fashion, the most powerful art of expression, comes without limits. Brash, crazy, conspicuous – you name it, you be it. The more different you are from the rest, the better. If anyone owns individualism to its absolute, it is fashion.
Democracy and fashion appear to be two antipodes. Ever since, fashion has been the playing field of the rich and influential, an espace elitaire, the selective club of the high society. In fact, however, democracy and fashion might be much more alike than the first glimpse might make us believe. Following Dahl’s (1971) minimalist definition, democracy contains three basic elements. Let’s examine them one after another.
The second element of a democracy that Dahl mentions is the opportunity for effective participation. What would democracy be if citizens could not make their views known? Albeit through elections, initiatives or the right to protest, democratic states have to grant their citizens the raised forefinger when enough is enough. Similarly, the fashion world advertises with its infinite openness. Street Styles and one-season stars which get famous via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram seem to make everyone’s dreams come true. Now, let’s not mix this up with reality. First and foremost, fashion is a business and in this pond, you’d better be a shark than a fish. Or to put it differently: nomen est omen. Although popularity can certainly open doors, it is the name on your card (or the one of your manager) that counts in the end. From rags to riches? Sorry, not in the fashion biz. Next to participation and the free speech, equal representation is the final part which makes our puzzle complete. By exercising their right to effective participation under the freedom of expression, citizens in a democracy elect representatives who govern in their name. Of course, it would be utterly weird if designers, models, and managers would now start to elect their own body of representatives (although Germany and the UK have started to elect Fashion Design Councils to increase their global competitiveness). But, to bring it down to another level: fashion should be accessible and thus representative of the entire population. And exactly this is the linchpin. When seeing the most bizarre costumes and clothes, did you ever wonder who the hell is going to wear that on the street in day-to-day life? Here is the clue: Haute couture is not made for the dusty streets of
Berlin, the crowded alleyways of Amsterdam or a quick walk to the supermarket. First and foremost, fashion is an art, it is movement, design and architecture all in once. And would you ever wear a painting? There is also one more problem to this: The increased representativeness of fashion has led to the popular claim of all-round accessible luxury at low costs. Yet, the all too well-known trade-off between quality and a low price has given birth to a-dime-a-dozen clothes giants like H&M and Primark whose commodities are produced in third-world countries under dubious working conditions. To a certain extent, this collides with the very idea of democracy which is based upon the universality of human rights in all cultures, countries and circumstances. Comparing the London fashion week to stores such as H&M would of course be a trendy affront. Both are worlds apart. But bringing trendy and creative clothes closer to the ordinary people is one of the pillars of Great Britain’s greatest fashion event. Indeed, designers have lowered the costs of their regalia to almost payable prices. Crinkle Patent, for example, designed a jacket which is already obtainable for only 628£ (and yes, that is cheap!).
However, above all, let us not forget that fashion is still made by the rich for the rich. It is a space of creativity for a trendy art (or the “Arty trend”?) where designers present their fashionable topography to a very selective audience which is able and willing to let a few greenbacks roll. Although fashion has and is in practice experiencing a small democratization, it is up to the on-tops of how many chunks they are flinging at the bourgeoisie. Fashion goes democracy – but it goes slowly.
The Native American headdress was a prevalent choice for attendees of last year’s Coachella
Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation?
2nd year BA European Law
Ah, summer is on its way, which means one of many things: music festivals. With Coachella and Glastonbury sharing the limelight this spring/summer, not only for their heavily anticipated musical line-ups but also for their fashion, it is a time where festival-goers want to experiment with style. This can often mean borrowing cultural garments from other countries in order to stand out from the huge crowds that will make their way to these venues. Over the years, this has been in the form of Native American headdresses, bindis, henna tattoos, and kimonos – to name but a few. Wearing such clothing has been growing in popularity in the music scene, turning them into wardrobe staples, so not to look out-of-place at such events. However, wearing such garments has been a contentious issue, particularly for minority groups. They see this as a form of cultural appropriation. The root of this lies in the fact that the people who wear such pieces don’t understand the history behind them and just think, “oh, this will make my outfit look cute”. Then again, what is the effect of having a “cute” outfit for the people who wear such garments on a daily basis? For one, the Native American headdress is symbolic of spiritually, as it is a garb that is only worn by elders in the tribe who have earned the right to do so. It takes years of selflessness, leadership, and great respect for a Native American to be adorned with a sacred headdress. Therefore, when a non-Native American wears it as a costume piece, it feels like a slap in the face to Native Americans. It is not just understanding the symbolic significance that is a problem, but also appropriating stereotypes about Native Americans. In last year’s Coachella festival, many celebrities were snapped wearing these headdresses, which resulted in huge uproar from the Native American community. As a minority group in America, they perceived “privileged white folk” wearing the traditional headdress as an insult to their history and culture.
This anger was also voiced concerning the bindi of the Indian community. Though, the meaning of the bindi is highly dependent on the style and colour, it most commonly represents wisdom; a type of third eye. When pictures arose of well-known celebrities, such as Selena Gomez, sporting the bindi for purely decorative purposes, many South Asians were quick to accuse her of not understanding the religious connotations behind the bindi. This led to the ‘reclaim the bindi’ movement, whereby Indians around the world took selfies of themselves wearing bindis as a way to regain what “truly belonged to them”. However, there were some Indians, notably Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra, who supported Selena’s use of the Bindi. Chopra considered it more as an appreciation of Indian culture rather than an ignorant fashion statement. This leads to the question: where does one draw the line between appreciating another’s culture to appropriating it? It is especially difficult to make such a distinction since the use of ethnic garbs has been a common occurrence in mainstream fashion for decades, which has of course influenced the music scene greatly. Just opening any fashion magazine, it is easy to spot pieces of clothing which are clearly inspired by Asia, Africa, and parts of America. This then inspires the high street to recreate these looks at an affordable price, making it accessible for the mass market. From this point of view, it might not seem proper to make profit from another’s cultural clothing, but who can blame a 15 year old girl for liking that paisley print dress or that kimono styled jacket – right?
Well, it may be a little cliché, but it really depends on the situation. It would seem that, in general, most cultures accept the wearing of clothes inspired by their culture e.g. an Aztec print scarf. What does not seem to be as agreeable, is when a person wears an item of particular cultural and /or religious significance, with no knowledge of its symbolism. As mentioned above, this could be as small as wearing a bindi or as large as wearing a Native American headdress. In both instances, the history of these communities has been one where there has been a relationship of subordination. Meaning, the minority has had to endure the heavy burden of colonialism. Hence, certain members of the community feel uneasy about other cultures wearing their garments. This uneasiness dissipates when the wearing of such garments is done in order to get a full blown experience of the respective culture. To elaborate, it seems acceptable to wear cultural garments if one is actually invited into that community to celebrate that culture or its people. In this sense, it does not look like one is mocking that culture if one tries to wear attire typical to that culture. It is viewed as a form of appreciation by dressing up in the attire of your host community. As of current, the demarcation between cultural appropriation and appreciation is still one which is hotly debated, but what we can take away from this is that one should learn about the symbolism of the cultural garments that one decides to wear. In this way, one can make an informed choice as to whether a specific cultural garment is really appropriate to wear.
Angelle Stamper 2nd year MA Medicine
Dreams within reach Many of you, like me, have dreams that have been sitting on your shelf since forever. A couple of years ago, I took one dream out of my shelf and turned it into a project. In beginning, the process advanced at a very slow pace, but the work was still mind-numbingly intense. Slowly, but steadily I saw all my work become tangible, something I could build on and hold on to for the years to come. I fell into a cycle of writing and rewriting, reading and rereading, making lines intertwine, but also hiding treasures in between them. I worked from early in the morning until midnight, sacrificing time with family and free time. Even though the passion was flowing like river, I was always being taunted by the shadow of uncertainty. Will this project ever reach light of day? Will it ever meet targeted eyes? Will my efforts be in vain? If only it would, by mere luck, be recognized. Ignoring the cold touch of doubt, I continued my endeavor at maximum speed. Blissfully enough, having walked on this rocky road for so long, I started seeing an end. Finally, I have written the last chapter, and soon my dream will be resting on shelves, in the form of a book. As one writer once said: â€œA book is a dream that you hold in your hand.â€? I cannot agree more. Nevertheless, this project was just another chapter in my life, different from the career I am also working on. So, what is the benefit of this achievement for my future? Would have I better invested the valuable time in something with a more certain outcome? What has this experience taught me? Even if sometimes we do not achieve the primary goal, we can always learn from the work done for it. Interesting aspects about this journey is that it would have been impossible to do it alone. One thing I learned was to strengthen my team-working skills. The operation required me to reach out to and connect with people of different vocations, backgrounds and personalities. I had to commit myself to the project, but most importantly, I had to commit myself to the team I gathered to work with in order to reach the ultimate goal. This way, I felt more motivated to finish a work I did not even have to start in the first place. Working with many different people separately, taught me to appreciate the diversity of human creativity. Everyone has its own ideas and by this they helped me understand many different interpretations of my work. I learned to listen carefully and mindfully and be the messenger between different parties, making sure we are all on the same page. What I admired of these professionals, was the patience they dedicated into each minute detail of the project, focused and wholeheartedly. Without their enthusiasm, commitment, and diligence, I would still be standing in the shadows empty-handed.
I realized that in order for goals to be accomplished, they should be set within oneâ€™s personal reach. The clue is here to pick the right dream out of the shelf and turn them into projects you are capable of finishing. When goals are too big, it becomes more difficult to work towards them. Nevertheless, sometimes it only becomes clear afterwards that the project you started might be too burdensome or it will require more time than planned, like when you have to go back and forth between meetings, emails, and alterations. That is the exact point where you will have to explore the possibilities of expanding your boundaries. You might have to take action and explore opportunities for better resources to fund the project, or going that extra mile to make it receive the adequate attention. You cannot just sit and wait to become lucky. You must develop different skills that helped convince other parties that the outcomes will be fulfilling and useful for all.
comfort bubble, you always have to return with building blocks to expand it. When your bubble grows, only then you will grow. Roaming too far away from the comfort zone, will only lead to panic. It is all about learning to practice flexibility. The more challenges you learn to handle, the better you start accommodating to the inevitable discomfort. Slowly building your comfort zone to overlap and overpower your panic zone is how you generate more potential. With this book, I had to overcome the panic of uncertainty by exercising determination.
This journey was of indispensable value to my personal development. I learned that you have to convince others to believe in you, but most importantly, that you have to learn to believe in yourself, set aside feelings of insecurity and just keep your mind focused on the fact that I will reach and end. That is why I would like to close with a message for you, The popular believe is that you have to get reader and dreamer: delve into your shelf out of your comfort zone in order to achieve and keep expanding your horizons until your things. I believe that when you leave you dreams are within your reach.
1st year BA Arts and Culture
The Island Nation A short guide to Brexit from a UK Expat The United Kingdom of Great Britain, a union of 4 countries that once dominated one quarter of the globe, once was the most powerful nation on the earth. Maybe this ego boost has made us collectively terrible at being told what and what not to do (unless it’s invade the middle east…) by a collective union of even more countries: The European Union. On Thursday 23rd June, the British people will go to the polls and decide whether or not to stay a member of the European Union. Seeing as I have been living in the Netherlands for just under a year now, I have only noticed now when writing this article, how completely out of the loop I am when it comes to this debate; and to be quite honest, the debate has me very confused. To stay or not to stay? That
is the burning question that I will attempt to answer… The referendum looks to be a very close vote, with polls suggesting the the general public are near to evenly split down the middle. And while most political parties have a clear position, within there are politicians for and against in nearly all of them, obviously except for UKIP who are firmly on the leave campaign. The referendum was put in motion after Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold it during his general election campaign last year. Despite his personal views of staying within the EU, he was under pressure from the rising UK Independence Party, who gained 13% of the overall vote in the last election.
Those who want to leave, are arguing for a nation not restricted by European bureaucracy and that is free from European laws and not be under rule of the European Court of Justice, and rejecting the free movement of people within the EU and obligatory budget contributions. However, they still want a free trade deal based on the examples of Norway and Switzerland. Many in the UK believe that Britain is under some kind of dictatorship rule from Brussels and that enough is enough. The Conservative Secretary of State for Justice, Michael Gove, even went as far to state that Britain is a “hostage” of the EU, suggesting that the stay campaign is suffering some sort of Stockholm Syndrome. It can be said that there is some truth in these beliefs. The European Union is mainly dominated by the biggest economic power, Germany, who are notoriously bureaucratic and strictly sticking to the rules. As much as this does work well for Germany, this is definitely not what the UK is used to working with, which has caused tension within the Union. What I know from having a German significant other, is that they believe that the way they do things is the best way and everyone should do it like them, which made me realise that there is this problem within the EU. Whilst I do not believe that we are “hostages”, I do believe that there should be more collaboration between the countries within the EU, without money ruling over everyone else; what I think should change is the way we collaborate and discuss ideas and rules, as this would help everyone and not just the UK.
Nigel Farage, a member of the European Parliament and leader of UKIP, has stated that he wants no political union with the EU, only a neighbourly and cooperative friendship. He believes that the EU has failed in it’s handling of the refugee crisis, as we have turned only 300 away, and now endangered our countries by letting in “5000 ISIS recruits.” Britain would leave the EU so that we can control our immigration and keep our country safe. This is where the leave campaign loses my vote on a grand scale. Many in our country seem to have the audacity to decide who our country should be there for, as if we have the greater claim than anyone else just because we were born there. Michael Gove has even stated that, “We could welcome talented people from across the world but block those whose presence here isn’t in our interests,” with a new points-system on immigration that Australia use that would be implemented if Britain leaves the EU. Is that really the attitude that we should have towards immigration? It’s not as if immigration hurts our country, especially because of the fact that most immigrants live normal lives with jobs and contribute to society and are not the benefit-scrounging lay-a-bouts that the media portray. We can’t let Farage’s fear-mongering influence the vote. We should be voting on the facts that we have and be thinking rationally, not letting fear, or any other emotion for that matter, drive the fate of our country. The far right feeds off of fear and bigotry and we cannot let that prevail.
This is the issue that affects me the most in this debate because I myself am a migrant. Through the free movement that is allowed in Europe thanks to the EU, I was able to study abroad here in the Netherlands and have this new and exciting experience that would’ve been more difficult (financially and legally) if the UK were not part of this Union. I have financial support from the Scottish Government and was encouraged by my school to study abroad. How can we as a nation hold onto this anti-immigration attitude when we fully support our own people becoming migrants in other countries? It’s no surprise that most of the 2.2 million British expats living in the EU are concerned about the consequences of leaving, as there is no guarantee that they would be able to secure living and working permits, thus jeopardizing their careers.
So to conclude my babbling train of thought, if I haven’t already made it obvious, I support the UK staying within the European Union. Although I do acknowledge that some changes should be made to the way the EU is governed, I believe that we have a better position and better opportunities within the Union. I want to acknowledge how complex this issue is, I haven’t even covered half of all the complicated issues that surround this decision, but I have touched mainly on the issues that affect me, as an expat, the most. So you may argue that my decision is a selfish one, but I firmly believe that what I stand for is a shared belief with many others that will hopefully prevail (probably one of the only times I will ever agree with David Cameron that’s for sure…). Please keep me in Maastricht, UK!
Johannes Schroeten 2nd year BA European Studies
The Gamechanger 2016 has been dominated by the fight for the presidency in the United States. No caucus, no debate that was not at least worth a comment in international news. Trump, Cruz, Clinton and Sanders - they are the stars of US politics right now. All eyes are on them and what goals they will pursue, once being elected. In this heated atmosphere, Barack Obama has become rather quiet. Some describe him already as a lame duck, an elected official without significant incentive or power to set the political agenda. The nomination of a justice for the Supreme Court is an example of such lame duck politics. Indeed, Obama has been accused of having achieved too little. Guantanamo, for instance, is still not closed and with a blocking congress, this is unlikely to be achieved in the last months of his presidency. Many attest the President a weak record. Few things have actually been done compared to the great promises made beforehand. Let’s have a closer look on the political legacy of Barack Obama. For such a purpose, this analysis should be divided into several parts, starting with
The Economy Very few years would have been worse to become President of the United States than 2008. Experiencing a heavy economic crisis after the downfall of Goldman Sachs, the US economy was far stronger hit than any other in the world. Unemployment soon rose to 10 percent and, by now, has reached the pre-crisis level of around 5 percent. After two years of shrinking, the economy grew by 2 per cent on average annually and the Gross Domestic Product has exceeded the account of 2008. However, all these numbers overshine the means with which the recovery has been financed. Under the Obama administration, Gross Debt has increased from 8 trillion dollars to more than 14 trillion dollars. Furthermore, wages have only slowly increased, putting many workers worse off. President Obama’s economic policy, characterised by extensive expenditures and the low interest rates of the Federal Reserve has led to a recovery of the economy. And yet, the burden for future generations should not be underestimated.
Turning to Foreign Policy, one could observe a major shift from the previous Presidential policies. Important to notice here is not what Obama has done, but rather what he has not done. Cleaning up the mess (there is no other way to call it) that George W. Bush created, the careful approaches to foreign policy issues have given Obama more respect in the world, yet were often interpreted as a weakness by his political opponents. Many things can be criticised about the President’s policies, such as the heavy increase of drone air strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the persistent pursuit of free trade agreements and the systematic surveillance of allies all over the world. To his credit, the Obama’s terms have fallen into difficult times for the United States’ hegemony in which China is pushing into the South Chinese Sea, Russia is testing how far she can go in Ukraine and Syria and the whole Middle East is a completely destabilised region, out of which the new great terror threat ISIS has emerged. That has partly to do with two exhausting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which sucked immense resources, and were yet a complete failure. But also, because the United States have not the political will, mandate and capacity to lead the whole world.
The new foreign policy is exemplified in many crises over the past years. Reluctance in dealing with Russia where Merkel and Hollande were granted the negotiation table, the nuclear deal with Iran and the pushing for a solution between Israel and Palestine in which Israel had to face some unusual strong criticism by the Obama administration, stand in complete contrast to former presidencies. And, of course, the Paris climate summit, at which both China and the United States came finally to an agreement, after nearly a decade of complete blocking for a commitment to CO2 reduction. President Obama has turned the USA into a primus inter pares, a guiding figure, yet not a hegemon on the world stage. The United States are now fundamentally different integrated in the international community, carefully weighing the options and cooperating with their allies. Compared to the aspiration to function as a world police since the Second World war, the new foreign policy dogma of the United States marks a 180 degrees turn. Under Barack Obama, the United States have experienced a fundamental transformation of society, perhaps the biggest since the Civil Rights Act of the Kennedy and Johnson administration. Of course, ‘Obama Care’ comes to mind first. The number of uninsured adults was nearly cut in half from 18 to 10 percent. Although already initiated in some states before, same sex marriage has now been legalised all over the country. And, despite being only enacted as executive orders, Gun laws have become stricter. However, to analyse the impact of the Obama administration on the American society, one should again turn to things that were not deliberately initiated. The polarization of society has never been stronger than at the moment. The Presidential race has been dominated by a racist Billionaire on the Republican side and at least strongly stirred by a democratic socialist on the democratic side. That is not just a development of recent months, but could already be observed since the Democrats lost the midterm elections in 2010. The rise of the Tea Party pushed the moderate Republicans to the right and unleashed a Congress which virtually blocked every proposal made by the government. The government shutdown on October 2013, the endless suits against ‘Obama Care’ and the threat to blow the negotiations with Iran exposed a legislature which overstepped one red line after another. Who initiated this dysfunctional congress can be heavily disputed, but no one denies that the Republicans have taken it to another level. The social gaps between urban and rural areas, poor and rich, well and bad educated have widened. But most importantly, racial groups are now more distant than ever before from each other. The Ferguson shooting and the death of Eric Garner who was choked by Police forces are just some examples. Never really exterminated, the racial tensions of the American society have now strongly resurged, impressively personified in Donald Trump. It is worth to ask the question if it is only a coincidence that just when a black man is elected President of the United States, racism becomes a major problem for society again.
However, instead of interpreting these developments as a failure of Obama, one could also argue in favour of the President, considering the recognition of the problems as a first step towards solution finding. Indeed, the denial of social problems, usually blamed on the failure of the individual instead of on a lack of social solidarity, is fading. Under Obama, the United States have come to realise their immense deficiencies and problems, be it in economic and social equality, education, health care or political participation. Not without reason does Donald Trump shout to make America great again. Only, his conclusions drawn from this are dead wrong. Looking back, Obama will not be able to list a lot of achievements. Compared to the high expectations of his voters, the media and also himself, his presidency was rather a disappointment. Too many proposals were stucked in Congress, to few initiatives turned out as envisioned by the President. And yet, his style of governing, his appearance on the international and domestic stage and his public position tell a different story. Obama has changed the image of the president fundamentally, from an almost godfather like picture of an old, white guy to a strident representative of the American citizen. He is someone who is able to crack a joke, both on others and himself. Someone who is not embarrassed to shed a tear when condemning a shooting at a primary school. Someone who supports his strong pragmatism with his convictions. And finally, someone who not only represented a minority, but also showed that race does not in any way influence the political goals being pursued. Not without reason is he the only president who got re-elected in a sluggish economy.
The white, republican elite despised this new approach on the presidency, denouncing almost every political move Obama made, with an unprecedented persistence and consistence via news channels like Fox News. What they eventually lost was the rationality and ability to compromise in fear of the Tea Party. The constant hysteria created the misery the GOP is in now. Ultimately, it opened Pandoraâ€™s box with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz inside. Whatever will happen in November, the Republicans are likely to tear each other into pieces.
adventures. Moreover, the American society may come to realise that the so strongly admired American Dream is a hoax and that the oligarchic structures in politics and business are poisoning their democracy, mirrored in the strong performance of Bernie Sanders, especially amongst young voters. Obama personifies the new American identity, a nation which uses its vast powers in a careful and modest manner, which acknowledges its problems and tries to figure out solutions, re-invoking its inherited optimism.
The legacy of the Obama presidency, however, does not so much lie in content, but in its form. It will be perceived as the founding stone for the United States of the 21st century. A country which understands its role in the world to be more reluctant, carefully mixing diplomatic efforts and a precise use of force to avoid disastrous military
Whatever may happen in November, Barack Obamaâ€™s legacy will be remembered as the president who started the immense task to adept the United States to the great challenges and struggles of the globalized 21st century. He did not play well in the game of presidency but rather changed it altogether.
1st year BA Arts and Culture 2nd year BA International Business
All the Presidents Men: Film Review An unexpected nightly phone call informs Bod Woodward that he must investigate the break-in of five burglars into the Democratic National Committee at Watergate. This seemingly isolated attempt of entering the bowels of the Democratic Party’s power is treated by the public sphere with disdain, tagged as just a bunch of Cuban’s trying to set forth their revolutionary aspirations. The Washington Post, however, with Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) as the leading figures of the investigation, decide to scratch beyond the surface of the event in search of the truth, an uncomfortable and risky truth, which oscillates in the thin line between rigorous journalism and seamless conspiracy theories. Woodward and Bernstein are two disregarded journalists with little experience and generally in charge of trivial undertakings until they start digging deeper into the break-in. Through the investigation of the burglars’ personal agendas, they find a link with Howard Hunt, a CIA worker who apparently works for one of President Nixon’s personal assistants. The accumulation of factual knowledge around the break-in without a consistent relation seems to desperate the reporters, who start losing the support of the Washington Post director. One of Woodward’s anonymous sources, however, part of Nixon’s executive branch and cataloged as “Deep throat” revives the case. He confirms the highly suspicious role of the Republican Party in the break-in and intriguingly tells Woodward to “follow the money” to further understand the case. Thereafter, Woodward and Bernstein find a 25,000$ cashier check of Nixon’s re-election’s committee in one of the bank accounts of the Watergate burglars. The money is the leading hint and the truth starts to unveil itself for the reporters.
In this moment, the imbalance of power is more explicit, as the reporters start to face the dangers of confronting a government in office, having to carefully assess the verisimilitude of every written word to on the one hand truthfully represent the event and on the other to safeguard their own lives. The interrogation of the biggest suspects confirms the reporter’s most recurrent doubts: the facts are powerful evidence of the political significance of the event, but a leading motive is still missing and without the motive the involvement of the Republican Party in the Watergate break-in is too risky to be told. The suspects show a pattern in their responses as if they had been told exactly what to say to avoid incrimination. The question is how to prove a story without the connection of facts. The reporters are indeed confident about the size of the happenings, but their reliance on their gut feeling does not convince the director of the Post. After months of investigation, the case seems to be on hold. Woodward and Bernstein cannot prove their preliminary evidence and the pieces of the puzzle seem to make sense in isolation but not in conjunction. In a desperate attempt to save the case from obsolescence, Woodward meets again with “Deep throat” in a clandestine garage to see whether he can provide more than just mysterious hints. “Deep throat” confirms the gut feelings and tells Woodward that the case not only involves the Republican Party, but also the CIA, the FBI and the Justice department who had been covering up clandestine and illegal activities for almost a year. Before the publication of the scandal, a symbolic image closes the film, a shot of Nixon on television taking possession of his second term as President, whilst in the background Woodward and Bernstein write the case that will signify Nixon’s political death, the Watergate scandal. These two simultaneous happenings highlight one precise thing: Independent and risky investigate journalism can bring down the highest spheres of power, as these two journalists demonstrated. Paradoxically those who hold the source of the most effective power are not necessarily those with the most institutional power, but those who hold the power of truthful information. The typing of the typewriter is the characteristic sound of the editorial staff at any newspaper; it is the sign of healthy journalism in constant activity. The typewriter in its acoustic nature is pres-
ent throughout the entire film, which ultimately revolves around what journalism can exactly be if adequately performed. Woodward and Bernstein decide to enter the inexorable gates of the White House by confronting the power structures of the most powerful man on earth exposing themselves to irrepressible dangers. How to perform rigorous and brave journalism without compromising the veracity of the story whilst standing up against the political elites? All the President’s Men manages precisely to depict the complexities of such task, where care and diligence are equally important as truth and justice. One can clearly see the difficulties in balancing the risks of publishing a major scandal of the White House with the need of remaining truthful to the facts to avoid to endanger the reputation of the Washington Post. The realistic nature of the film sometimes derives in an overwhelming narrative, where the viewer gets lost amidst names, dates and telephone numbers and fails to grasp the overview of the case. The film’s major strength is at the same time its weakness: The depiction of journalism as such is not an intriguing subject for film purposes, as generally good journalism is a complex and often hopeless attempt in making sense of irreconcilable facts. This truthfulness towards journalism in the film can lead the viewer to confusion, who expects a more condensed narrative without such an amount of sometimes irrelevant information. But that is precisely what journalism is and why the writers at the Washington Post perform such a praiseworthy task. Moreover, the film assumes a certain previous knowledge of the viewer, who should be familiar with the Watergate scandal to be able to understand the cyclical nature of the film: Nixon both at the beginning and end of the film taking possession of his second term as President of the United States. This structure highlights the hypocrisy of the Republican government, which amidst the Watergate scandal continued to reign and successfully win elections in the United States. The structure of the film hence proves that Nixon’s smile is nothing but a big lie, a lie sustained through illegal hearings and bugging of the political contrary. If you do not know anything about American politics, the lie will be hard to follow and Nixon’s smile not so irresistibly provocative. In other words, you have to watch this movie if you like journalism and if Americans political past appeals to you!
Fear and Loathing in South Limburg James Mackle
3rd year BA European Studies
Maastricht University has catapulted itself into a European and global setting, riding on the inevitable connotations this city has with the foundation of the EU, as well as South Limburg being a border region. Its students, particularly on the West side of the river, are no different: international-minded, culturally identifying more with gangster rap than Dutch Carnival music, know more about the Presidential election in the US than the local councilors and current mayor. Behind Maastricht though, lies Mestreech, its local identity. Maastricht may have the Limburgish parliament in front of 27 EU stars, but Mestreech despises Limburgish identity and has veered towards the Eurosceptic double act of the eurocitical-eurosceptic political extremes of SP-PVV, that has emerged to “cure” the Netherlands from the Purple Coalition of PvdA-VVD currently in place. Maastricht may have a student community, as well its local Sjengen, but there also lies one of the most aging populations in Europe. In fact, if you include the rest of South Limburg, the population is actually decreasing as young people desert the Deep South of the Netherlands for employment in Germany or the Randstad in Holland. The fault lines in Limburgish society never stopped in Maastricht. Last year bore witness to the first time all four Limburgish football clubs from their main population centers (Maastricht, Venlo, Sittard, and Parkstad). The results in the stadia were death threats using World War 2 analogies, ‘Hollander sympathizing’, xenophobia, casual homophobia, chants about casualties in the mines during Limburg’s Golden Era and, of course, Venlo being referred to as ‘East Brabant’. Despite the varying degree of seriousness, and the competitive context, there was a great sentiment that nationhood on both a Limburgish and Dutch level was a pariah. At the same time, there was this twisted idea of unity in hatred in the largely working-class terraces. Sure enough, when Maastricht’s supporters were fined for referencing their rivals as Nazi sympathizers, the other teams showed solidarity by protesting against the ‘’Hollends Mafia’’.
What usually occurs at this stage is a supposed correlation between the fearful geriatric elderly and the strength of anti-globalist parties or the disillusionment of working class voters leading to populist gains. The reality is different: young to middle aged people account for a far larger share of PVV voters than the elderly in places like Heerlen and Sittard. Geographic arguments expose an ever-present PVV in all four cities of differing nature and political history. The only commonalities to find in the PVV vote is found the wijcken, where low-income housing was built for those who could no longer afford the city centers.
It’s a damning result for a region whose political doyen, Frans Timmermans, is currently vice-president of the EU Commission. A region that presented itself as the birthplace and benefactor of the EU, with the Euroregion included parts of Aachen and Belgium said to be quintessentially Europe. Limburg used to be one of the most productive and industrious regions in the Netherlands. The eastern area of Limburg was deserted before the industrial revolution, and while the postindustrial evolution has filled up the mining pits, European integration was supposed to rejuvenate the region. In some ways it has, with German chemical companies investing, Aachen students profiting from cheap housing in Kerkrade and of course, Maastricht University accommodating students and academics from Belgium, Germany and as far as Italy and Bulgaria. Where did it all go wrong then? The prevailing theory is that this is less about the EU and more about globalization in general, and its winners and losers in particular. Both politicians and academics have ditched the left-right divide as the author has done above and settled for this dichotomy. The prevailing political narrative in Limburg then is one where liberal Holland benefits from globalization while Limburg is a net loser of a liberal phenomenon.
The drawbacks of the EU to the communities around here do not stop at narrative, though. Limburg, with her ‘’squeezed’’ position between Belgium and North-Rhine-Westphalia, has a history of smuggling. In a continent with tariff barriers, South Limburg became a heartbeat for smuggling in cheap imported tobacco, alcohol or even illegal weaponry. Once open borders came through, it hurt the Mafia so much that Maastricht became less known for being corruptly prosperous and more for its asinine Treaty.
© Hendrik Jaschob
Traces of its smuggling past still persist, though. Sjoerd lives in the Nazareth district of North East Maastricht, an area which was somewhat unexpectedly put in the top 10 “problem districts” in the Netherlands. “There is a small strip here near the motorway”, he explains, “every week I see fast cars with no number plates”. These are go fasts, drugs runners who smuggle narcotics across the Spanish Moroccan border. “Nazareth used to be one of the biggest smuggling junctions, but slowly this is fading”. It has not stopped Maastricht from coming second, behind only Amsterdam, in ADs “Unsafe city list”. Sjoerd does not think the statistics tell an accurate story. “Even for drug-related crime, I can’t see Maastricht being worse than Rotterdam or even Heerlen”. Indeed, for the most part, Maastricht’s crime is petty. Rich, careless students, vulnerable elderly, and locals alike make for easy targets for the petty criminal. “Ironically, the only thing keeping the old smugglers alive now is the weed pass”, a local coffee shop owner explains.
al party rather than the city, is a bitter point of controversy amongst Mestreechenaren. The idea was that it would reduce drug tourism, and a similar system implemented in cities like Amsterdam would deter unwanted aficionados of higher-class drugs. Instead, as a law of unintended consequence, the foreign market for marijuana was passed from the coffee shops to the prominent drug dealers. Tuning a soft drug market’s demand underground is a sure-fie way to help subsidize the harder substances, as any Mexican officials dealing with cartels will tell you.
The overall picture for Maastricht though is not one of despair. Rather, it has itself reached a crossroads, but it has limited drugs to bring to the transaction, and it does not know where it is going to set off afterwards. One direction and it could veer towards becoming an international city, modeled around the University. Towards another and it reaches its provincial capital status of yesteryear, hoping that the collapse of a shaky global system in favor of a closed Europe reaffirms its importance in the region. Certainly the electoral results The Weed Pass was ultimately designed to stop cited at the start seem to suggest the latter road is drugs tourism. The idea, cooked up by old CDA the one Mesteechenaren wish to take. What hap(Christian Democratic) Mayor Geerd Leers in pens next is dependent on what Maastricht the lowhat was largely seen as him serving his nation- cals really want.
A New Theory of Depression Louise Arathoon
2nd year BA Liberal Arts and Sciences
Rates of depression are increasing, with approximately 350 million people suffering with the illness worldwide. But what exactly causes depression at a biological level, and why is it becoming more prevalent? Most people are aware of the idea of a â€œchemical imbalance in the brainâ€?, which is primarily based on the monoamine theory of depression. This theory states that there is a pathological reduction in monoamine levels within synapses, which are the junctions between neurons. Monoamines are signalling molecules that include dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin that are responsible for regulating mood, especially feelings of energy, motivation, pleasure and anxiety that are characteristically dysfunctional in depressed patients. Due to this theory, the most common form of treatment for depression is a class of drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that increase the amount of monoamines, and especially serotonin, present in between the synapses. These drugs have shown great success in treating depression, however, as many as a third of patients still show no response at all to this form of medication, suggesting that depression is a lot more complicated than simply a lack of serotonin.
In recent years, an intriguing new theory has emerged that posits that depression may not just be purely neurological, but could also be as a consequence of chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a protective mechanism of our immune system necessary to fight infections. The theory linking inflammation to depression begins with the observation that when people fall ill they exhibit a â€œsickness behaviourâ€? that looks a lot like depression. We all know the feeling of being ill, losing our appetite, not wanting to get out of bed and generally not feeling too great when we are sick. It is believed that this behaviour helps our bodies to conserve and divert energy towards fighting the infection. When humans first evolved and were exposed to more prevalent pathogens in the environment, sickness behaviour would have been of great survival benefit, therefore, increasing the genetic susceptibility to inflammation-linked depressive behaviour in the population. Additionally, studies have shown that psychological stress, such as social rejection and public speaking, can also increase inflammation levels in a similar way to infections, meaning that it is possible for the stresses of modern life to provoke the same sickness behaviour as well. However, sickness behaviour is only a temporary phenomenon that people quickly recover from, whereas depression is far more long term. The inflammation theory suggests that prolonged chronic inflammation is causing a persistent sickness behaviour that people cannot overcome. This implies that depression could actually be more like an autoimmune condition that develops due to repeated over-activity of inflammation in our bodies. This theory is supported by mounting evidence, with various studies showing that having increased levels of inflammatory markers in the body is predictive for a person developing depression. In rural societies people are exposed from a very young age to many harmless microbes, growing up around and co-existing with these microbes helps to mitigate the inflammatory response and prevent over-activity of our immune systems. However, in our modern western societies, children grow up in spotlessly clean and microbe free environments, therefore, this control on our immune systems is never instilled. This is the hygiene hypothesis and is used to explain why, as societies become more developed and clean, there is a correlation with the rise of diseases where the immune system goes haywire, such as autoimmune conditions and allergies. Coupling the hygiene hypothesis to the knowledge that inflammation can lead to depression could also suggest why more developed societies have far higher rates of depression. Inflammation could also provide a causative explanation for the monoamine hypothesis. Thus far, conclusive evidence has been lacking as to why an individual might experience a depletion of monoamines. But research is beginning to show that an increase in inflammation can directly influence neurological processes in the brain, including the down-regulation of monoamines like serotonin. This could also explain why a large proportion of people donâ€™t respond to SSRIs; if they have persistent inflammation in their bodies this is going to constantly work against the action of the drugs. Furthermore, inflammation could offer an explanation as to why exercise is shown to be very effective at treating depression, as regular moderate exercise can lower chronic inflammation in the body.
Although the evidence is clear that inflammation is very much linked to depression, it would still be too simplistic to conclude that it is the only cause. Depression appears to be a highly complicated illness, and the cause in each individual patient is likely to differ. Recent clinical trials are beginning to show that co-treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs alongside antidepressants improves outcomes, but only for patients with high levels of inflammatory markers. Conversely, anti-inflammatory drugs can actually give worse outcomes for patients that lack chronic inflammation. Therefore, inflammation is only one part of the story, but it could provide an important diagnostic marker for personalising patient care, and give hope to those who have experienced little improvement from current treatment options alone.
So you graduated from University? How it is to do an internship/ live in London in 10 anecdotes Joost Veth
2nd year MA Economics and Financial Research
For the previous edition, I wrote an article about my experiences with applying for internships. The moral of the story was to just go for it and try things, you never know where you will end up. In my case, this was London, for an internship at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. As by now I actually moved to London and already worked for two months at the EBRD, it seemed time for a follow-up story. How is it to start working after the lazy life of University? And how is it to live in London? My experiences in 10 anecdotes:
Wait, where did the day go?
Let me start by saying that I have absolutely nothing against Jews. Having said that; My arrival in the quarter of the city I live (called Stamford Hill) is one of the most shocking experiences I’ve had so far. It seemed as if I arrived in Jerusalem! Everywhere I looked: men (sometimes even boys!) with long black jackets and those typical hats, not to forget the ‘pipe curls’. Women with long stockings and black dresses. Turned out that London is very segregated, and in my quarter the orthodox Jews clotted together. Nowadays I don’t even notice it anymore (unless I have visitors who are usually as shocked as I was), except for when it rains, and they wear some sort of plastic protection over their hat, and it looks as if they wear a big plastic bag on top of their head. That’s pretty funny.
“You want to go cycling to work? Great idea! You will die”.
Officially you are supposed to spend 40 hours a week on your studies. And sometimes you really feel like you are working probably harder than anyone else in the world. But at least speaking for myself, I only really found out what working 40 hours (or more) a week means since I moved to London. On average I leave at 8:30 home, and I get back around 19:00. Often enough I have to go to bed before I know it. Like today. I watched some television, typed some text, and Living in ‘the capital city of the Jews’ in the UK. suddenly it is 23:00. Where did the day go?
This is what one of my colleagues said when he heard about the idea of cycling to work. It is in no way comparable to the Netherlands. It’s more as if you are in a cycling race. Waiting in front of a traffic light is like waiting for the start. The moment the light turns to green, you go! If not, you end up between cars and you are screwed. Although a little further, you might actually do that voluntarily to pass a whole bunch of cars waiting in line for a junction. And always be aware of cars, buses, other cyclists or pedestrians who don’t care about you, only about getting on time at work. It’s madness! Though I didn’t die yet ;)
on calling left the wrong side). Paying with pounds (Who came up with the idea to make Every day to work in a suit. When your dad the two penny coin so gigantic?). The hour difdoes it, it seems normal, but when you actu- ference with the Netherlands. And the measurally start doing it you realize what it actually ing system. Miles, alright, but yards? Feet? I’m means. Every morning I need to plan 10 to 15 usually clueless. But at least the people here minutes to put it on (not the 3 minutes I used to are all very polite! need when I was in a rush). Every evening first to my room to get it off. Pretty cumbersome es- Days off pecially when I’m starving and just want to get my food! Most inconvenient was when a col- I have about 8.5 days off, and in addition, there league asked me to go to a concert with her af- are some national holidays. Less than what I ter work. Turned out it wasn’t really a concert, was used to in Maastricht (basically days off it was more a performance on a small stage in every week due to few contact hours), but so a pub in some outbound neighborhood. I know much more valuable! Thus far I used one, to come back to the Netherlands for my sister’s what the term ‘overdressed’ means now. graduation. Normally it would already have been a special day, now it was now an amazing Going out Friday night day. Also, the weekends are terrific here (I usuThe clubs in London are not too different from ally have a gigantic lie in on Saturday). Workthose in Maastricht. The people are. Already in ing hard makes you appreciate leisure time a the bus to the center I’ve seen almost empty lot more. bottles of wine. And in the city, I’ve seen people on the street wearing just top and a skirt Camden Market while I wore gloves. Going out here is an exMy tip for those who come to visit London perience! and want to see more than just the London eye and House of Parliament. Camden Market Lunch at work is officially not one market, but several difIf you are lucky, you will find a job with a very ferent markets close to each other. In reality, good lunch facility (like me! :D). At the EBRD, they form one great market. 1001 things are they have so much to offer, that I decided to on display, from souvenirs to old records and have my proper meal during lunch time, and from books to sunglasses. Especially the food, just eat some bread or cereals in the evening. which comes from all over the world, is amazSaves some valuable time. And as I usually ing! But it’s also perfect to just wander around cook an amount for two days at Saturdays, I and to be amazed. For hours. only cook once a week here. The 24th of the month. The 24th of March 2016. An epic day in the A countries’ oddities. life of Joost Cornelis Veth. The day he became The UK is completely different from the Neth- a man… Okay, that’s a bit exaggerated. But it’s erlands. Sometimes this is just in the small pretty amazing to get your first real loan paythings. I mention the driving on the wrong side ment! And ever since, the 24th is a day to look of the road (sorry Brits who read this, I keep forward to! Every day I’m ‘suit’-ining
Euphoria Marta Ziosi 2nd year BA Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
We used to applaude That one feeling which Streamed within bones. Ecstatic we walked, Through terrains of crowds Feeding their screams With our voices Guided by euphoric interludes. Where did we come from? Where did we go? Now, we are hiding, Dreading the disclosure Of the next euphoric vault. 100 years will have passed For the future to whisper His alluring records. But hey, thatâ€™s the feeling! And we like it this way For our bones to be filled With euphoric promises Of foreign terrains.
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