Illustrating „the Wall“ seemed to be more difficult than expected. Our illustrator Dylan de Craen survived and hopes that his effort will be rewarded with at least 10 free days.
Natasja Chedalal called 100 sponsors and sent estimated three million emails to get this magazine printed.
Niko Papageorgiou used the many meetings as an opportunity to cook his delicious dishes and thus kept everyone motivated and happy.
Dear Reader, ur first issue follows the theme "Walls". For one, because the Berlin Wall fell 20 years ago and a whole theme week on the subject left us with plenty of stunning material to work with. For another, because we sympathise with the idea of crafting a whole issue around one subject. Therefore, you will encounter "Walls" in their positive and negative connotations in this magazine. To highlight the diversity of walls as well as of the magazine, artists and writers from all over the world are featured. This first issue of the IDEAS Magazine will take you on a journey to sophisticated viewpoints on " the fall of the Berlin Wall". Moreover, we will emphazise on "modernwalls" in Palestine and China. And last but not least, we will elaborate on the “walls within” everyone of us. Let the journey begin!
Maxi Häber dug deep in her East German history and inspired everyone with socialist fairy tales.
Enjoy the issue, Niko Papageorgiou Josephine Wilka spent days editing the magazine and will commit suicide if she finds any spelling mistakes.
Index FALLING WALLS
THE WALL WITHIN
MIRROR ON THE WALL
ATMOSPHERES OF EUROPE
PLAMENA SOTIROVAS PRICE WINNING ESSAY
THE GREAT CHINESE FIREWALL
A JOURNEY THROUGH OUR CONTINENT EUROPE
ARTICLE PSYCHOLOGY OF OCCUPA- BRICKS OF COTTON TION AND WOOL
INTERPRETATED BY FRANS TIMMERMANS
A CONFLICT'S DYNAMIC FROM AN AWAKENED ISRAELI.
INTERVIEW EUROPE 20 YEARS AFTER
PAINTING THE WALL
SOUTH AFRICA, BRING ON...
INTERVIEW WITH LUDOLF VAN HASSELT
EXPERIENCES OF A GRAFFITI SPRAYER CHANCES TO OVERCOME RACIAL DIVISION
ESSAY FROM WALL-E TO EWALL STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EGOVERNANCE
FEATURE NEW BEGINNINGS OVERCOMING WALLS OF COMMUNICATION
ARTICLE KEEP YOUR HAMMER READY WHY WE NEED WALLS IN OUR LIFE
TOuCH THE Sky The fact that Hanibal was able to cross the natural walls of the alps leaves us with the notion that any wall, big or small, natural or artificial, can be overcome. It was a day like this, when Hanibal went to cross the alps. What are you doing today?
WALLS by Lay kuen Yee What could be said about walls among society? Some walls make children feel protected at night, others make hide and seek more fun and then there are those that hide our sadness to prevent society from hearing what we actually would like to say. All sorts of people have inspired themselves by using a wall as a scapegoat - whether they are artists singing about rebellion and uprising (â€œAnother Brick in the Wallâ€? by Pink Floyd) or whether they express themselves in the only way they can by using the wall as a source of inspiration for writing or drawing. I believe that we occasionally long for a wall around us to make us feel safe, because we are just too afraid of confrontations. And the only way we can keep pretending that everything is alright is by covering it up but yet not completely destroying it, so we are reminded of the issues we still have, but not want to confront ourselves with. Walls are everywhere we just do not sit down and think about them enough - they are there, mentally and physically. Psychological walls are those that stop us from trying harder, that make us afraid of achieving more in life or that make us shout out loud what we actually feel and think. Physical walls are sources of brilliance that make you puzzled how we as human could achieve certain things, like building the pyramids or the Great Chinese Wall. So I would like each and every one of us to just sit down, wherever you want to, and tear down the mental walls that stop you from expanding your horizon. you can use a pick or an axe, as long as you are encouraged to do something. In the end, it can be guaranteed that you will end up finding at least one more open door inside any wall. People would be more curious to go through them. Last but not least, here is to the pioneers that, without any help, but with a whole lot of passion, conquered those walls to show us that we can do more than we believe.
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL "ViolENcE crEATEs wAlls, PEAcE crEATEs bridgEs." (Shimon Peres, then-Israeli Deputy Prime Minister, July 2005)
MIRROR ON THE WALL PLAMENA SOTIROVAS PRICE WINNING ESSAY
THE FALL INTERPRETATED BY FRANS TIMMERMANS
EUROPE 20 YEARS AFTER INTERVIEW WITH LUDOLF VAN HASSELT
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
Mirror oN THE wAll by Plamena sotirova
C ry for independence, opportunity for meaningful life, the final moment of a hopeless period. What the fall of the Berlin Wall symbolised for the millions of people who happened to be stuck on the East Side cannot be described in a single expression. However, one thing is certain – the fall accumulated a turbulent reaction by the population, an outburst of emotions and an expression of primary instinct to run and save yourself in the safe West Side. This year the European Community is about to celebrate twenty years of the fall of the Wall, two decades of the abandonment of the Iron Curtain, one fifth of a century of going “back to Europe”. These twenty years reflect an immense progress, a time for development, a period of political transition, economic development and cultural alignment. Now the time of the Berlin Wall is finally over and everyone can sigh in relief … or not yet? The Berlin Wall will always stay in the memories of the world nation as a symbol of two polar systems that seem to be incomparably contrast-
ing. Moreover, there is a paradox that can be found around the idea of the Wall. No matter on which side of the Wall we are focusing there is one common character and this is the individual. Capitalism versus communism In capitalism state ownership was replaced by people interacting and having the freedom to make their own choices and mistakes, but also their own profit. This system praised the ‘strong man’. And it is no wonder since the world strives to prosper and advance and who else could do it better than the man himself – ambitious, well educated, and motivated by success and opportunities for growth. Just the opposite philosophy was represented by communism – a system that approves the idea of the working class as a community of people who are in an inferior position to the state and its governors. They were viewed as a society of ‘weak people’. Their potential for individual development was sacrificed and everyone was equal, there was no need for competition. The state perceived the opportunity for equal start as a factor that would make the community satisfied. The consequences of the effectiveness and way of operation of both political systems could only become visible after a certain period of time and the outcome was a rather opposite one. The main disadvantage of the system in Eastern Europe is that power was seized by a small
group of people who had the ambition and willingness to take over the other. And even though this system follows the rules or fairness and equality, at a certain moment the doctrine became so distorted that it affected people in an unfavourable way. Eventually, the regimes in East Europe were overthrown because of decay of principles and twisted beliefs. On the other side, the system of democracy with a functioning market economy did not only prove to be working better, it showed respect for fundamental human rights. So, nowadays we see the praise of the ‘strong man’ and the consequence is a world of progress, advance, and achievements.
“both political systems distinguished the human being as their core value” What Europe should not forget, however, is the fact that both political systems distinguished the human being as their core value. We, humans, are living things that aspire for benefits and comfort, but also individuals who fear of failure on the way to accomplishing their goals. The person is neither strong, nor weak; he embodies the collective image
of all these characteristics. For decades various political systems were experimenting with human capabilities, but now Europe is finally on its way to unification. The European union has also put the citizen in its core. The organisation has seen failure and success, rise and fall, but this time it sets different rules. Now it is trying to unify East and West in attempt to both erase the differences and highlight the unique characteristics of its nations. And maybe the 20th century turmoil and both World Wars, the building of the Berlin Wall and the division into east and west were a necessary evil; because if all of this had not happened at all, humankind would not have realised its strengths, weaknesses, and capabilities for change. unification in progress This year Europe is celebrating twenty years of attempts to unify its countries. Special attention is paid to the integration of Eastern states that have been significantly affected by the communist systems. However, unity is an abstract notion and its accomplishment is perceived differently by every nation. For the Eastern countries participation in European institutions such as the European union or NATO is perceived as a great advance in the process of integration. At the same time Western countries take participation in intergovernmental bodies for granted. Achieving equal participa-
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
tion in such institutions was the first step taken leading to unification and has not yet been achieved. Nevertheless, more steps have simultaneously been taken in order for Europe to become a more united continent. What could be pointed out as a hindrance to the progress toward unification, however, is the constant strive of Europe’s countries to keep their national characteristics and highlight them whenever possible. It is certain that one cannot forget one´s nationality and would rather confirm one´s sense of belonging to his own country first.
within the individual. One may ask oneself what has changed in the Eastern European countries after twenty years. What is the situation nowadays? After the replacement of political systems in 1989, individuals hoped that change will come and it will designate a new starting point. Whether this enormous change has achieved its objectives is an arguable question and again depends on personal perception. To realise what has been achieved so far one has to be able to observe the situation in both Western and Eastern states.
sion in the atmosphere. The circumstances people have lived in twenty years ago are still clear and painful memories of a handicapped form of life, as people were literally inhibited by the state. To a certain extent I believe people still cannot realise and believe times are different, they still fear going back to the old regimes is a reversible process. Seeing that the European Commission is constantly setting new regulations, they realise the way to achieve a stable state is long and full of obstacles. But there is also an unexpressed fear – that the European union will stigmatise these states as incapable of an effective change and they will once more be placed behind a borderline, left to evolve depending on chance and faith solely. People have not forgotten those times, but I stand firmly behind the idea: people should not try to forget, but remember That is why I ask and avoid such radical mismyself: What is, at present takes happening in the times, the main difference modern world again. between the country I have Now, twenty years lived in for 19 years and after the fall of the Berlin the one I am currently Wall, if I had the chance to studying in? People are all build a monument symbolthe same – involved in ising past times, so that we their everyday activities, remember that period, it aspiring for a better life. would be a double-sided What is different is that mirror. No matter at which Eastern people are conside we are looking, there is stantly trying to prove they one thing you see and that is deserve their place in a – yourself. yourself in terms new Europe. Attempts for of what you represent – the integration can be seen country, the system, the naeverywhere and still there tion. you see yourself and is a certain feeling of ten-
“The person is dual in nature and that n Europe, probably as a consequence of historical is what development, people prefer to identify themselves with makes him the country they originally come from and the feeling unique”
of being European is far less important. While being European, one still continues to hold and rely on his nationality from his country of origin. And even though nations share common practices and values, people tend to be proud of their national, distinctive characteristics and differences. This makes the unification process extremely difficult. Naturally, twenty years is a very short time period and the hope is that eventually change of mentality will come as an initiative from
nothing else, as you cannot get a glimpse of what is on the other side and compare. Reflection, image, representation – the mirror is a wall, but is the reflection of the person in the wall or the wall within the person? Twenty years after The Wall is a time for change, a call for personal involvement, an impetus for praising the individual. The person is dual in nature and that is what it makes him unique – a blend of strength and weakness, eternity and mortality, soul and body, a blend that will always leave a trace and it depends on us to make it a remarkably positive one.
PLAMENA SOTIROvA, a native of Bulgaia won this year the essaycontest at the Europalesing conducted by the European Commision. The text is a refined version of the awarded essay.
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL FRANS TIMMERMANS IS THE DuTCH MINISTER OF EuROPEAN AFFAIRS. FOR IDEAS MAGAzINE HE REFLECTS ON THE EFFECT OF THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL ON EuROPE
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
et me start with a question: Who was born in 1989? And who was born after 1989? For me, 1989 is probably the most important year in my life. Because that was when the Wall fell and the European divide came to an end. To almost all of you this is ancient history. But to me it is a very vivid memory. I was trained before 1989 as a soldier to fight the Soviets if they were planning to invade the West. I was trained to understand the workings of that dictatorship. In the way people were oppressed in Eastern Europe. And I was trained also as a diplomat, to use diplomatic tools, to make sure that communism did not prevail worldwide. This ideological confrontation that had lasted since the end of the Second World War slowly came to an end in 1989, 20 years ago. --To me, at that moment, everything changed. And I still remember this enormous feeling of optimism we all felt in 1989 because we knew certain things would come to an end. Certain confrontations. This looming threat of a nuclear disaster would come to an end and new opportunities would arise. Especially for all those tens of millions of Europeans who lived under repression since the Second World War would now know - like we have known for many years - what freedom was. And this is a huge achievement. It is something we should remember and celebrate, 20 years later. Even those of you who were born in 1989 or afterwards. 1989 did not bring an end to history, like Fukuyama said, because ideologies would no longer clash and democracy would prevail. With hindsight we can now say that another confrontation replaces the confrontation between ideologies. And that is the confrontation between identities. Between cultures and between nationalities. And I do not mean this in the sense that is used by Samuel Huntington, in his book ‘Clash of Civilizations’, where he describes
this as a necessity, as a normal development. I mean it in a different way and I will try to expand on this, because it is so important for Europe. What we have seen if you look at the newly free and independent countries in Central Eastern Europe and who have since 2004 joined the European union - is that especially the younger generation is very optimistic. Looking forward to being part of this European community of peoples. Looking forward to being part of this European union as a political instrument. And looking forward to the economic, personal and social opportunities this offers. At the same time you see that many people with a memory of the communist regimes, many people who have not seen the benefits of this newly found freedom come their way, those people have a feeling of nostalgia towards the past. Times were easier on them, things were clear, life was relatively comfortable. It was a prison with many comforts. And there is a group of people that have not been able to grasp the opportunities freedom brought. In Germany, they call this ‘Ostalgie’, nostalgia to the east. Since 1989 we have paid a lot of attention to Eastern Europe. We saw ethnic strife. The conflicts in many
parts and we tried to do something about it, sometimes with success and sometimes we failed. But by now, I think the integration of the newly free states in Europe is a tremendous success. What we didn’t do since 1989 is look at the development in Western European societies. Always assuming that nothing would change there. That everything would stay the same. And that the only part of Europe that would actually change would be the East. But if you look at Western European societies today, you have to come to the conclusion that this clash of identities, or this translation of political strife in terms of cultural strife does also effect many people in Western European societies – specifically also the Netherlands. So no longer this ideological confrontation but a new confrontation with sometimes it’s artificial or which is exacerbated by socioeconomic developments which are not seen as such. Let me expand on this very briefly.
dentities are becoming a political tool. To come to grips with the fact that the world has become extremely small is very difficult for many people in Western societies who have in their perception nowhere to go. News reaches us in all corners of the
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earth 24/7, and influences the way we live. But we still have a feeling that we cannot influence what happens elsewhere in the world. So what you see is this globalising atmosphere where everything has an influence on what we do, but we have a feeling that we have little influence on those developments. And then you suddenly discover in many societies like the Netherlands that for some time we have had ‘guests’ - as we have called them in the Netherlands -. People came here from elsewhere because we needed them in our economy. We have always treated them with benign neglect. They came here and gave us their economic potential. We used it and paid them the salary they deserved. But we never paid attention to the fact that there was a new generation coming available. People who were born here who are an integral part of the society. Since about ten years this identity confrontation has been introduced in our society and now, all of a sudden, we discovered that we have a lot of new Dutch people. All of a sudden we discovered that we need to find a way to make sure that those people we still treat as guests are actually part of our family. And this is a fundamental notion I want you to think about.
f you have a guest at your table, you will accept strange behaviour. you will not want to say that their eating habits are a bit strange, because that is not how you treat a guest. But you will also not accept them having a say in how to run your household or how you run your table. Because they are guests. So on the one hand you are polite, not saying what you do not like. And on the other hand you are distant, not accepting that they have a say. Now if we understand that the people at our table are not guests but part of our family, this attitude will fundamentally change. And this is exactly what we need in Western societies. Because when you see someone not as guest at your table but as part of your
family, you tell them “Listen, this is how we do things in this family. This is how we want you to behave. This is how we want you to be part of our society.” And at the same time, the person at your table, when she or he is a member of your family, will have a say in how the family is run: “Ok, you behave like this but you also have a say in how we live together.” This confrontation between identities in the West is preventing us from understanding that culture is not something set in stone. But is always developing through the contribution of newcomers. It brings oxygen to a culture. It makes a culture more vibrant. It makes a culture more interesting for everyone in that culture. This is a lesson Western Europeans should learn today. Because what is the main challenge the European union is facing today? We will have to define a new relationship between man and his natural environment. This is a fundamental task of any politician, of any society, of any citizen, who thinks about his or her future and the future of their children and grandchildren. Secondly, we will have to come to terms with the fact that economic relations in the world are changing very rapidly. Asia will have a far bigger say in world affairs in terms of the economy than in the past. This is not a bad thing, it is a good thing. But it means that things will change, relationships will change, and we need to adapt to that. Thirdly, whenever economic relationships change and some parts of the world become more influential and others less, this will have an implication for the geopolitical position of these parts of the world. Also here, we will have to look for a new – worldwide - architecture. And we can only do this in a discussion between continents. The nation-state as political actor is no longer in a position to have the impact necessary to act on behalf of our citizens. To make sure we grasp the opportunities that will present themselves. This is – I think – the best plea for ‘Europe’ I can
put on the table today. Europe needs to be our instrument to act globally. To prevent climate change and the rapid rise in temperature. To prevent catastrophes like food shortages or energy shortages. To redefine the relationship between man and nature, so that we do not kill the earth by our consumption patterns. But that we create a sustainable way life. Which is certainly not less interesting or less comfortable than today, but different. I am optimistic because all these changes are possible. The technologies are out there. Inventions have already been made. All we need is for everyone, for you individually, to make the choice to embrace this change. To make the choice and say: yes, I want to be part of a world where we live in harmony with other people and with the earth that provides us with the things we need to live. If you make that choice and you act upon that choice - in your own personal life but also politically we can make Europe the leading continent in changing this world. For yourselves, for your children and grandchildren. We only need to act.
FRANS TIMMERMANS IS THE MINISTER OF EuROPEAN AFFAIRS IN THE NETHERLANDS.
THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL
How DID euroPe cHange after tHe faLL of tHe berLIn waLL, Mr. van Hasselt? an Interview with the Dutch representative of the european commission in the netherlands Conducted by Josephine Wilka & Maxi H채ber Photography by Nikolas Papageorgiou
it was a rainy wendnesday afternoon when we paid the talkative Mr van Hasselt a visit in his office in the representation of the European commission in The Hague. He surely is a politician that gives great importance to the opinion of young people. so we then took advantage of having the opportunity to interrogate Mr. Van Hasselt about his own experiences and current European issues.
idEAs Magazine: First of all we would like to know what Europe is for you and where you would draw the walls of Europe, the borders of Europe basically? Hasselt: Well, the beauty of the treaty and of the founding fathers is that they have not defined an end goal to Europe. That is why Europe will develop in ways that were not anticipated 50 years ago. So Europe can develop in every way its member states consider relevant and important. The same goes for the borders of Europe. you can not define the borders of Europe, nor can you define the border of its development. Maybe, in 50 years
got the significance quicker. But I can't say that I jumped in the car and raced to Berlin to be part of this historic moment. idEAs Magazine: Looking back, how far has Europe come since 1989? In how far have the former western and eastern part of Europe really grown together? Hasselt: It has been a roller-coaster ride, hasn't it? And if you look back 5 years, there were lots of objections against enlargement, people did not believe that this countries would be able to catch up. So I think for me the development has been so rapid, not if you are in it but if you look back. But if you look a few years back you see a time, we are a federal state in Eurapid development. So are they on rope, because that is what we want equal foot? Not every member to be. There is not a limitation. Had state. Rumania and Bulgaria only we defined it or if we define Eujoined 2 years ago, they are in a rope now we risk that we make it huge reformation process still and irrelevant for future generations, they have a long way to go. But I'm because it can not develop in the sure, they will have an equal develway we want. opment as Poland. I mean they are now in joining the Euro, Slovenia, idEAs Magazine: Mr van HasSlovakia. An enormous developselt, can you still remember when ment. and where you exactly were when the Berlin Wall fell? idEAs Magazine: Let's do a little Hasselt: I was just starting to work bit of imagineering. The fall of the for the European Commission in Berlin Wall was, as said already, an '89. And I think for all of Europe, unlikely event for many in 1989. initially, we didn't quite get the full So what do you think? Where impact of what happend. I think it would the European union be took a while before people really today if the Berlin Wall would still realised that something historic had be in place, if the Eastern bloc happend. Mind you, it was an event would still exist? in the series of events, it did not Hasselt: Well, I think the situation come as a total surprise, it didn't of peace and stability, we currently come out of the blue sky. We were enjoy, would not be here. I think we all very surprised, hopeful and I would then still have a military zone think if you work in this Brussels and a military border on our Eastern environment with many German side and I think the Russian threat colleagues, for whom it was of would be much more visible, much course much closer than for us, you more felt her in Western Europe. I
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think the Russians would have enormous difficulties keeping those countries under control, because in the Baltic's there has been so much unrest.
on complaining about Europe is interfering in our lives, Europe is too costly, the Euro has made our lives expensive, the open borders lead to immigration and things like that. Quite often these idEAs Magazine: However, now that things are not even due to Europe but Europe is reunified, many European are an effect of globalisation in gencitizens seem to have developed a eral. growing dislike against the Eu. So what does the European Commission idEAs Magazine: But aren't national do to combat these negative attitudes governments partly responsible for this and show people the advantages of this behaviour of Europeans? institution? Hasselt: I find it too easy to blame Hasselt: That is a subject you could member states's governments for that. write a book about. I think the speed of I am sure they have a huge responsibilthe developments that I just described ity to sell Europe, to explain Europe. from 1989 to now, has taken many of But they also have a huge responsibilthe European citizens a bit by surprise. ity to explain their own government. I think nobody could really anticipate So that is the first step and Europe is or understand the need for all these re- the second step. yes, they have do that forms and we have not explained that and perhaps they could do that with a well. There was no choice and we had bit more vigour and a bit more enthuto give the new member states a roof, siams. But we in Brussels should also, a geo-political home and that implied I think, better explain the need for our treaty changes, that implied enlarge- policies. We also understand that not ment, that implied their political inte- everything we do is good for everyone. gration, that implied the development The one thing we do is we try to comof the Euro. European citizens by a municate better. But at this moment large cash-in what Europe does for there are 500 million Europeans, so them and object heavily to anything what can you do. So you can develop that disturbs them slightly. The balance what we call better regulations, make practically for every citizen is positive, sure that whatever we do in Brussels the balance what they get out of Eu- can only be done in Brussels. you get rope and the balance what they pay and to an important issue for me: I believe what disturbs them in Europe is prac- we should put Europe much more in tically always positive in favour of Eu- the historical context. We are too much rope. However, they forget that. They lost in day-to-day policies but we forget that you can have cheap roam- should tell people over and over and ing faires, they forget that you can over and over again that for five/sixhave your medical treatment abroad, hundred years, Europeans have they forget that you could study in The smashed each others heads. And every Netherlands without any difficulties. twenty years there was a war someThey forget all these things. They keep where in Europe. It is only now with
the Eu that we stopped being each other's enemies. Peace and the absence of war is a good justification. It needs to be explained much clearer every time, every day by Europe whatever it does. idEAs Magazine: And to come to the last question about a very recent development. A very important position has been filled last week by Mr van Rumpoy. What are your thoughts on this appointment? Hasselt: Well, I certainly think that Mr van Rumpoy is the right person to do the job. I mean he is in the press, pictured as a grey mouse, not a very ambitious person, not very visible person. But imagine they would have elected a flamboyant person, someone whose photos would be taken on the pool side with nude girls, like Berlusconi or a Putin, who would be fishing with his torso nude. I mean we donÂ´t want a president like that! For a president of the European union that would be devastating. Devastating for Europe. So we need someone who is intelligent, who is integrated, who seeks compromises. Mr. van Rumpoy is meeting every sort of condition required. But he is only chairing the Council meeting, he is not more than that. So it is not a sort of new, big figure and I do not think Europe wants a new, big figure. idEAs Magazine: No Obama effect? Hasselt: No Obama effect! No I do not think we want that. We are not ready for that yet. idEAs Magazine: Thank you very much for the interview.
MODERN WALLS "The fall of the berlin wall was expected to open possibilities for building a world of peace, free from the stigmas of the cold war. it is sad, though, to see other walls going up so fast." (President of Brazil Luiz Inรกcio Lula da Silva, September 2008)
THE INVISIBLE WALLS THE GREAT CHINESE FIRE WALL
PSYCHOLOGY OF OCCUPATION A CONFLICT'S DYNAMIC FROM AN AWAKENED ISRAELI.
PAINTING THE WALL EXPERIENCES OF A GRAFFITI SPRAYER
FROM E WALL TO WALL E STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF E-GOVERNANCE
The Invisible Walls by Mr. H
“History is written by the victors”
It has been 20 years since the fall of Berlin Wall. For many of us, it symbolises the ultimate victory for human beings fighting for their freedom. The fall of communist winter in the Eastern bloc has awakened the spring of democracy. However, little or unknown in the west, is that in the far eastern corner where the Great Chinese Wall stands, a invisible great wall of censorship has never been so strong. Many of us, who were born around early 1980s in China, may still remember the turbulent event in June 1989. A pro-democratic demonstration was brutally handled by the Chinese government costing the lives of many. The actual death toll is still unknown and proba
bly will never be known. When showing the famous “tank man” picture to university students in China, do not be surprised that many of them have no clue what one is on about.
“The Great Chinese Firewall” This event is literally erased from Chinese history books, barely mentioned in two, three lines as an ‘anti-revolution movement’. The revolutionaries are being described as ‘violent mobs who attack civilians and soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army’, and the PLA was ‘forced to defend itself.’ Ironically, they ‘defended’ themselves successfully with tanks, machine guns and bayonets, where the uprising students just wanted their voice to be heard. Cases like these are known to the Chinese people; they are
aware that any open criticism to the government will result in severe retaliation. until today the Chinese government is controlling the media, by restricting the flow of information. A typical example is the infamous ‘Great Chinese Firewall’, that blocks popular social websites such as Twitter, Facebook, youtube etc in China. Even Google has to obey the regulations and filter out information censored by the Chinese government; otherwise they would need to shut down their operations in China.
“There is also a wall of cultural barriers between China and the Western world“
Not only is there a wall of censorship in China, there is also a wall of cultural barriers between China and the Western world. Freedom of speech, democracy, fair elections, criticism on government’s policies etc. - people in the west are so used to this. So when they meet Chinese people, they usually do not comprehend why many of them cannot bare to hear anything negative about the Chinese government. On the other hand, many Chinese people do not understand why their Olympic slogan “One world, one dream” does not sell in the west, and is rather considered as a cheesy propaganda message. They are infuriated by the protests along the Olympic torch relay in the west and agitated by the fact that many westerners still do not grasp why Taiwan or Tibet is part of Greater China. Despite the issues themselves, discussing them is very unacceptable to many Chinese and is usually interpreted as an insult to the entire nation.
“How many people know, or want to know about China?”
What many westerners fail to understand is: how could one discuss issues that one knows little or nothing about? How could one reason with someone who knows only one side of the story? Take a look at the Chinese education system, teachers are authority figures and it is unthinkable to criticize them; during exams, there is only one correct answer to each question, and all you need to do is to remember it. Sounds familiar? Just replace the teachers with the Chinese government and exam questions with issues such as the Tiananmen Square or Tibet. I’ll let you imagine the rest. It is difficult to picture the conformism in China as a westerner who lived in a democratic society his or her entire life; one needs to learn about Chinese history, its Confucianism and collective culture in order to comprehend, that is, if one wants
to. However, just how many people know, or want to know about China?
“It is difficult to picture the conformism in China as a westerner”
Because of globalisation the world is becoming ever-smaller. The recent financial crisis has taught us that there are no ‘isolated problems’ anymore. We are all in the same boat and need to work together. It has been proven that we are capable of breaking down the physical wall that separates us, however, what about the invisible walls that imprison our minds and that create communication barriers? History will tell, but it will only be written by the victors.
Psychology of Occupation - A conflict’s dynamic from an awakened Israeli By Guy Romm
One cynical term forms the heart of Israeli ethos: “Shoot and cry”. The soldier knows he is doing wrong, but is told it is for a greater good. “It is them or us”, “Israel cannot afford to lose a war” and “they have 23 countries, we have one” are just some of the clichés. An objective attempt to stack up the amount of “evil” versus “good”, caused by Israel’s actions, shows a different picture. Quantitatively, the removal of a million native Arabs from the 1948 borders, weighted against the exchange of a similar number of Jews from the Arab world with the resettlement of millions of homeless Holocaust refugees seems like a fair, yet violent event. But the further occupation of Gaza and the West Bank in 1967 is not an Arab population that is being put under martial law, being oppressed time over time, that constructs colonies to grab its land and renders reconciliation difficult. So the trend is a gradual moral degradation of Israeli actions. From balanced to mere harmful events in chronological order: a bloody war of independence displacing a million Palestinians, but settling more Jewish refugees (1948), a pointless colonial aggression against Egypt with UK and France (1956), a pre-emptive Blitzkrieg resulting in a 40 year long occupation (1967), an opportunistic bloody invasion and occupation of Lebanon (1982-2000), and the constant repression of Palestinian uprisings (1970´s, 1st intifada, 2nd intifada, Gaza operations) without providing a viable alternative. Throughout this path of degradation in Israel’s collective morality consciences, Israelis rallied public opinion against major future problems. Sharet and Eshkol were afraid of the consequences of occupying the West Bank and Gaza. “Peace Now” was objecting the invasion of Lebanon and West Bank settlements for forty years, and finally, a left-wing government concluded the 90´s Oslo accords.
Back in Soviet reality, a newspaper named “Pravda” (Truth) was the regime’s voice. Everything it published was, unsurprisingly, true, and citizens believed or were made to believe that. However, as soon as a sceptical individual would uncover a lie, the path was short to a full realisation of the extent of absurdity, whitewashing & vicious lies that were Soviet media. This observation represents the rigid state of affairs in the USSR - from the first cracks in the wall of lies, the road to a total collapse of the system of beliefs wasn’t long. Coming from a system with such a plain perception of reality, for Soviet immigrants such as myself comprehension of the Israeli ethos was hard. In contrast to the USSR, Israel is a pluralistic society that debates human rights and moral values, criticises itself, and has no strong censorship. However, unlike the USSR, which was in theory established on universal foundations of class justice, equal wealth distribution, scientific progress and departure from religious and ethical sectarianism, the goal of the State of Israel is the well-being of a single, well-defined group. So how can it be, that a moral and open society, comprised of intelligent, free thinking individuals successfully commits wide scale ethnic cleansing? Though Zionism predates the 20th century atrocities committed against Jews, the movement’s success is largely reactionary. More precisely, wrongs committed by individuals acting for Israel were justified in the name of the greater good of the Jewish people, who without having a country of their own were massacred in East European Pogroms and the Holocaust. The existential threat is easily drawn on to the Arabs, who would without any doubt “throw the Jews into the sea if they do not protect themselves”.
Despite all this, how did the Israeli Right manage to hold on to its gains, sabotage concession initiatives and further expand, against International pressure, public outcry, growing military spending that fell on a secular middle class?
Through the cultivation of an apparatus far more sophisticated than the Soviet “Pravda” - not an absolute truth, but many debatable, subjective ones. No big lie to uncover, but endless many semi-truths. To begin with, over 400 Israelis die on the roads every year. That is a total of 3,556 deaths between 2000 and 2008. The Intifada casualties total for that period - 1,115. Three times the people died in manmade circumstances, which are as much preventable as violence is. A focus is made on Israeli suffering. Each of the thousands of Qassam rockets fired, killing a total dozen over the last five years is mentioned in the news, while the continuous hardships of closure, siege and freedom prevention are being reported in Israeli media only occasionally, usually following cases of outright murder of Palestinians by the army or settlers. Daily army incursions, administrative jailing, targeted assassinations and home demolitions are a unreported reality, although widely known, it is a norm. An emphasis is being made. Jewish Holocaust trauma and fear of extermination is used to downplay others’ suffering, and cries for the Israeli right to self-defence are made, against terror actions which are in the first place reactionary to its establishment. Israeli military provocations resulting in deaths of scores are downplayed, whitewashed as unavoidable “collateral damage”, while showing Palestinian terror attacks in all their gore, ignoring that these people have no ways left to channel frustration but to blow themselves up - because they are locked, starved, degraded and have no hope. “And if they blow themselves up, they are inhuman” is often implied. A gentle alliance is being formed, between Islamic fundamentalists and the Israeli Right. They all speak the same language. The Palestinians are a perfect adversary in this asymmetrical war on minds. They are made to perform expected and predictable actions. Their attempts to take revenge and “regain honour” in face of Israeli provocations time after time end up fuelling Israeli national consensus. “This is the Middle East, not Switzerland”, “They understand only force” and “They will never accept our presence here” are the final excuses by which peace is rejected in Israeli internal dialogue. Israel is delighted by the rule of Hamas over Gaza - it shatters Palestinian unity, while providing the Israeli Right its needed dark image of an enemy. How convenient it is to forget that Islamic rebirth among Palestinians was encouraged just three decades ago by none other than the IDF Civil Administration. And in order to sustain its Holocaust paranoia, Israel requires an insane adversary – who would suicidally go against a nation with the capability of wiping out the region. Surely, pulling this off in Switzerland would have been way harder...
ABOUT THE WRITER Guy Romm is a Russian-born Jew who resides in Tel Aviv and writes software for a living.
How I painted the Palestinian - Israeli wall Niels Bakkerus
HoPE In the beginning I was not really interested in the middle eastern conflict. I knew little about it. I saw what everybody sees on Tv: stone throwing Palestinian kids and houses being demolished by the Israelis. But this depiction is very shallow. I found out myself when I actually walked
through the streets of Jenin. I won a design contest, which gave me the opportunity to paint my winning design on the wall itself. The design was chosen by a class of school kids whose school playground is a battlefield and was divided by the wall. With my design I wanted to show
that this wall demolishes its entire surrounding. I wanted to show that everybody from young till old is being affected by the wall. This is why I painted a mother with her child, who will grow up in hatred and a child (on the left) who has the body of a senior wearing a Palestinian
scarf to show that there is no growing up. Their childhood is being taken away. One can see a figure spraying the wall as well, in silent protest, and in the middle one can see a figure with its fist in the air, the symbol of resistance. This shows that entire families are smashed apart, but they are willing to fight for a better cause. The trip was organised by united Civilians for Peace (uCP). As a special guest, famous Dutch rapper Ali B and Daryyl joined the trip as well. We all wanted to go to Palestine for the same reasons: to feel and to see with our own eyes what the hell was going on. To see and experience it for yourself is totally different. To actually sit in a sweaty crowded cab waiting for a random roadblock. To walk the streets filled with posters of martyrs on the walls. To talk to the people. Only then you see how bad it is. My goal
was to paint the wall at the school where pupils chose the design. Plus we had loads of meetings with all kinds of people., from ex-terrorists to exsoldiers, diplomats to citizens. The first thing you see is the enormous difference between Israeli ground and Palestinian ground, as soon as you cross the roadblocks where you can see the random humiliations, you enter a different world. The streets are filled with holes, the houses look like the favelas in Rio de Janeiro for instance, but everywhere you can see graffiti, but this graffiti is different than anything I have ever seen - very intense and exciting. Painting the wall was one of the weirdest things I have ever done. It was pretty surreal, here I am, painting a huge wall in the burning sun in a crowded refugee camp. I did my best trying to get
the proportions right, but it's pretty hard when you have to watch your spray paint so it is not being stolen. you have no idea what everybody is shouting and it felt like any minute things can get out of hand. Since the wall was at the playground, and I painted while the kids were at school, it was mayhem. Whenever the bell rung, the kids stormed out of their classes towards me. Luckily there was a fence and when things got really out of hand, a old school principal appeared with a stick. I was on a really tight schedule, so I could not wait for the kids to calm down and start over again. I stood on my wobbly ladder trying to get everything into position with my lousy paint while behind me hundreds of kids where shouting, screaming and throwing rocks. I heard the rocks bump off my the ladder and the wall. I
spent three days painting the wall, but I could never finish as I wanted. The impact the wall has on the people, the shit you see, the humiliations, the killings, it does not leave you unaffected. Some parts are as high as 10 metres, it is like a huge snake crossing Palestine separating families and friends. you can not imagine what impact the wall had on me, and the strange thing is, it is happening right now, even as we speak. It is happening on our watch, while we celebrate the crash of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago. The Berlin Wall is nothing compared to this monster, and this one is still there. Niels bakkerus IS A GRAPHIC DESIGNER AND ILLuSTRATOR IN EINDHOvEN. vISIT HIS WEBSITE: WWW.BAkkERuS.NL
THE WALL WITHIN "we are products of our communities. The walls between which we developed are the ones we tend to assume to be the limits of our experience, of our development. but think for a minute… if Martin luther King Jr. would not have addressed the issue of racism in the face of many risks, would society have made steps forward? (Christina Opris, Exchange Student at The Hague university, November 2009)
ATMOSPHERES OF EUROPE A VISUAL JOURNEY THROUGH OUR CONTINENT EUROPE
BRICKS OF COTTON AND WOOL WEARING WALLS
SOUTH AFRICA, BRING ON... CHANCES TO OVERCOME RACIAL DIVISION
CHOOSE YOUR WESTERN NAME OVERCOMING WALLS OF COMMUNICATION
KEEP YOUR HAMMER READY WHY WE NEED WALLS IN OUR LIFE
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south Africa, bring on That rainbow! by Maxi H채ber
15 years after the official end of Apartheid, the country still remains racially divided. After all, identifying with political parties is largely determined by the complexion of one's skin and inequality in income between whites and people of colour still exists. However, the country seems be at the brink of change.
t was 20 years ago that Nelson Mandela was released from prison after having spent there almost three decades. Only with his policy of reconciliation and ubuntu, an African philosophy of sheer humanity, was it possible for South Africa to peacefully overcome the transition from white supremacy rule to the creation of a democratic country guaranteeing equal rights for everyone. And it was he who promised a peaceful living together of all people and the eradication of poverty. unfortunately, Apartheid has left its marks that Mandela and his party, the African National Congress (ANC), were not able to fully remove. Racial division nowadays is especially manifested in voting turn-outs. There is still a tendency to identify oneself with one's ethnic group rather than with political attitudes. According to a survey conducted before the general election in 2004, 91 % of all non-zulu blacks
support the ANC. Whereas zulus, the biggest black ethnic group, only support the ruling party to 61%, and the rest vote for the Inkatha Freedom Party, a zulu National party. Interestingly, Asians and Coloureds in South Africa remain unsure about whom to vote for: the latter seem to support the ANC more, whereas affiliation with the ANC and the Democratic Alliance (DA) is almost even among the former. yet, it is especially the whites that are reluctant to vote for the ruling party. 82% of them, an overwhelming majority, support the DA. Feeling left-out in the new South Africa and being intimidated by affirmative action and black empowerment, a great amount of whites also seeks a more radical approach: they leave the country. Since 1996, 800,000 out of four million whites emigrated to other countries, especially to the uSA, the uk and Australia. As this ethnic group still owns most capital and most means of production, their flight is being followed by a brain-drain within the country worsening the economic situation Breaking up the dominant party system. yet times are changing. The 2009 general election marked the deepest division in who should become the next leader of the country. And disputes over how the country should be run do not only arise from the white population. The ANC's legacy is deeply doubted throughout all ethnic groups. Being a liberation party does not necessarily constitue for a good governing party. And indeed, poverty has risen, from 1,9 million people living from less than 1uS$ a day in 1999 to 4,2 million in 2005. The current president Jacob zuma even catalysed the growing dislike against the ANC: having been accused of corruption, raping an HIv positiv women, and being convinced that taking a shower afterwards protected him from getting AIDS clearly made people question his credibility
and ability to lead the country. This even lead to the foundation of a new party that seceded from the ANC: the Congress of the People (COPE). The newly founded party as well as the DA's success in the western Cape, the only area governed by another party than the ANC, could eventually lead to the breakup of the dominant party system as established by the ANC. A process that is desperately needed, for a democratic country has to turn into a multiparty system at some point to ensure the diverse representation of society. In this way, parties could eventually function as platforms for different political opinions rather than for different ethnic groups in South Africa. Obviously, change in attitudes among South Africans is needed in order to faciliate this process. People will have to decide whether the glass is half-empty or half-full. Thus, the focus should rather be on what the country has gained since 1994 instead of solely looking at which aspects have worsend Only when people realise what they have in common and what they have mutually achieved will South Africa become a true rainbow nation that will serve as a home for all ethnic groups. One similarity is already anticipated by millions of South Africans: the soccer world cup 2010. In 2006, it helped Germany to partially overcome the country's non- patriosm and to, at least temporarily, heal the wounds with the large Turkish community in the country. May the world cup in South Africa also give the country the opportunity to create a stronger togetherness and a bonding athmosphere between the different ethnic groups. In this spirit: South Africa, bring on that rainbow! MAxi H채bEr IS AN EuROPEAN STuDIES STuDENT IN THE HAGuE uNIvERSITy.
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A competition organized by Locomotive Organisation
Atmospheres of Europe A visual journey through the stunning continent Europe. We asked young people to send us snapshots of every country in Europe. These are the results: diVErsiTy is ProgrAMME. our coNTiNENT coMPilEs 731,000,000 PEoPlE iN 50 couNTriEs. Europe is generally divided from ...
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...Asia, to its east, by the ural Mountains, the ural River, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, to its south-east by the Black Sea and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. Although, Europe is the second smallest continent by area it consists of an incredible multitude of cultures, languages and believes. This broad diversity is reflected by the ÂŤAtmospheres of EuropeÂť competition that was organised by the Locomotive organisation. But what defines Europe? How can we depict its soul? As diverse as the continent are the contributions of the participants. The visual answers to our questions range from black and white to bright colours, from portraits of hope to faces of oblivion, from wide landscapes to narrow spaces. We have chosen the most diverse photographs out of the pool of contributions and proudly present them on the following pages.
Portugal - Nina de korte
find all pictures on www.ideasmagazine.eu Bosnia - Luk Smits
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Moldova - Nicolaescu-Musteață
Greece -Nikolas konstantin
Ireland - vasilena Ivanova
bricks of cotton and wool? by James Grigg
Every day we wear a wall, we enclose ourselves, just peeking out so we can see, hear, smell, eat, and hold things. And if it is really cold sometimes we sacrifice those abilities too! We decorate our walls with colours, patterns, and textures. We make our wall a representation of ourselves; who we think we are, who want to be, who we want others to see us as. I of course refer to our clothing. To continue the allegory; sometimes it is cold, so you would rather stay behind your walls, in your house, and be nice and warm. Sometimes it
rains, so the walls keep you dry, and likewise block out the wind. We make our walls look pretty, and take pride in them. Sometimes we go to special buildings to do certain things, like swim, or work, or study. yet there is a curious discontinuity in this metaphor, for sometimes it gets hot, and on this day we have two options with our walls. Maybe we will open a window so it is not too hot behind them. Or maybe we will leave the protection of our wall and go out to enjoy the world beyond them. Indeed sometimes, whatever the weather, we just donâ€™t
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want to be stuck behind our walls! But when we remember we are talking not about houses, but clothing, things seem to change. When it gets hot we might open that metaphorical window by wearing a little less, but very rarely, and very few, would leave the confines of their wall/clothing and just enjoy the day, the freedom, the comfort, the entirely natural state, of being naked. We have it seems become prisoners behind our walls. In which case I must suggest dear reader that an injustice has been passed! We must break free of our incarceration; for taking shel-
ter behind our walls should be an option, not a jail! Sometimes it is true, we need clothing, it keeps us alive in the elements, protects us from dangers. But other times we have no requirement for it all, just a curious state in society at large to fear nudity, to take offence at what every one of us naturally is. Take pride not just in your walls, but in what lies behind them. you need not wear a mask to live your life â€“ Be yourself, be comfortable, be free, be naked! --James Grigg, artist, nudist.
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New Names for New beginnings How chinese students tear down walls of communication. by Niko Papageorgiou
or many Europeans, pronouncing a Chinese name is an extreme phonetic exercise – and not many master the subtlety of sounds and precise intonation. Chinese students studying abroad understand that this can be a challenge, and many of them choose to make both their life and that of their colleagues easier by choosing an English name. This practice is not uncommon – especially for those working in an international environment. In fact, even Chinese business books emphasise choosing a “European name” as an essential step for establishing a business relation with the West and thus, demolish walls of communication. But how does one chose an English name? Which criteria should one follow to find a suitable one? We interviewed Chinese students in The Netherlands and came to an interesting conclusion: there are no criteria. Choosing an English name is a creative process that follows no rules. Adopting the name of one’s favourite film star, that of German kaisers out of the history book or simply inventing a new name, such as Rainbow or Sky – there are no limits:
Sky My Chinese name is Heng He, which is difficult to pronounce, so I had to find an English name. I like freedom and doing what I want. Sometimes, I think birds are free; they can fly wherever they want and fly sky-high. Additionally, blue is my favourite colour and the sky is also blue. This is why I choose Sky as my English name. This is not a girly name. Moreover, sky is a very simple name, so it is easier for foreigners to be remembered. I am definitely happy with my English name and will not change it anymore.
LEAH I changed my English name twice already. In primary school the teacher gave me the name Polly. Oddly enough, our school's English books featured a cartoon family of which the mum was called Polly. During middle school I switched again to my Chinese name...but last year my teacher in High School suggested another name: Leah - it has nearly the same pronunciation as my Chinese name.
kEvIN I love basketball. One of my big idols is the American basketball player kevin Garnett. That is why I chose the name kevin. The name sounds nice and I am always reminded of the player and the sport I like.
kHEIRA I chose my English name already in China. My name has been given to me by my friends. It means sunshine and something good. I like it, it sounds good and makes me happy.
Team chief Editor: Niko Papageorgiou writer/ concept: Maxi H채ber illustration: Dylan De Craen Pr/Editing: Natasja Chedalal Finances/Editing: Josephine Wilka
Congratulations! you were one of the first readers of idEAs magazine. we hoped you enjoyed the issue and we are also happy to announce that there will be more from our team and idEAs magazine soon. To bridge the gap in between and to stay tuned visit www.ideasmagazine.eu last but not least we would like to especially express our gratitude towards the following persons, without whose help we would have not been able to put this magazine together:
IDEAS is a platform for young people. It is home to online exhibitions, essays and much more. Take part: ideasmagazine.eu
rajash rawal, Andrew beute, Frans Timmermans ludolf van Hasselt dave van ginhoven The locomotive organization The contributors from all over the world Nelson Mandela Manu chao Josi's Mama Ennio Morricone Anyone in the world who tries to be the best they can, inspires and is not afraid to be themselves if you have any suggestions, remarks or idEAs then send them to: email@example.com
Published on Mar 29, 2010
Published on Mar 29, 2010
The first Issue of IDEAS Magazines is a child of the globalized world featuring contributions from Israel, China, Great Britain and many mor...