was a Wednesday morning, only four days before the second edition of the EuroMed Academy for Young Journalists (EMAJ), when I got that phone call from my boss assigning me to write a story about the detention of the Swedish Journalist Per Bjorklund at Cairo airport with just a few hours until the deadline. Before working on the story, I wrote on my Facebook wall the following status “I am writing about the Swedish journalist Bjorklund, can you help find information about him” and I tagged some of my fellow journalists. I received the first comment on my status just one minute after I posted it from one of the Swedish journalists in my network.
Within one hour my inbox was filled with messages from Marina Ferhatovic, a participant of the first edition of EMAJ, while my status got eight comments from Swedish journalists in my network sending me links and contact information of Bjorklund, while in my newsroom we were contacting the airport authorities and the Swedish embassy. At the end of the day we had every possible piece of available information and from all the sides involved ... and this is what I call “power of the network”. This story is a simple example of what networking in EMAJ means. In EMAJ we work hard to make an old journalistic dream come true by creating a network between journalists from all over the EuroMed region, a network that provides any member another point of view for every story, by having a contact list of sources and fellow journalists in every country. The network started in 2008 by 18 members who participated in the first edition, this year it included 20 new members and every year it keeps growing. There are no rules for-
cing all members to cooperate, however their own belief in the importance of belonging to the network is the real force pushing EMAJ forward. In this kind of relationship between professional journalists certain values as trust, respect, willingness to exchange and real desire to produce high quality journalism is what guides the network. Additionally, members of EMAJ are completely sure that they have different points of view towards everything - even the way they pronounce the name of their network - but when we all agree that everything could be right and wrong in the same time depending on who you are and from where you come from, the chances of cooperation are at its highest point. We strongly believe that the EMAJ network is an important part of the future of journalism in our region, a future that may witness drastic changes in the way people around the world deal with and consume media. Nasry Esmat
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009, Amsterdam
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
Right in the middle Despite a mayor with a migrant background, a close look at Rotterdam reveals a city torn between right wing parties and organizations for migrants. But a closer look shows that everyone is aiming for the same goal. By Adi Halfon
Dawn lights the red-brick houses of Rotterdam with a shivery sun, sending the second biggest city of the Netherlands to another routine day. The streets are quiet and neat. The atmosphere is peaceful, almost mystical. However, under the surface there is war going on: the city of Rotterdam is waking up to another day of struggle about its identity. Around 600.000 people live in the city, almost half of them having a migration background. The mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, is a Muslim migrant from Morocco. A short walk in the urban streets reveals a simple fact: Rotterdam is a very multicultural city. But recently, many voices claiming that multiculturalism doesn’t work have started to appear, pointing out the failures of the system.
Youth organizations One of these voices is Ronald Sorensen, the chairman of Leefbaar Rotterdam, a local party whose support is rapidly increasing. “Multiculturalism failed completely”, Sorensen says. “As a teacher, I witnessed in my school that the pupils were divided by ethnical groups.” He admits that he is afraid the Muslim culture will become the dominant one in Rotterdam, but at the same time, he makes clear with a decisive tone that he is not against Muslims but against a lack of integration, especially among youngsters with a migration background. Many organizations in Rotterdam work with those youngsters, trying to integrate them into society. As a matter of fact, Rotterdam is the European Youth Capital of 2009. Lotte Gunveld, a local 19-year-old student participates in one of these many projects: “We have had problems with
migrants, but the city spent a lot of money trying to solve them, and now they have decreased.” Sorensen believes money is the key to understanding the failure of integration. “All those organizations working with the youth don’t try to solve the problem, they like to keep it going because they are making money out of it.” He has no problem to be more direct: “They get huge salaries, and that is a kind of corruption. Schools are the institutes who should integrate migrants into society.”
The muslim migrants Not far away from the offices of Leefbaar Rotterdam stands SPIOR, an umbrella organization for all Islamic organizations in the Rotterdam region. Marianne Vorthoren, the policy officer of SPIOR, converted to Islam ten years ago. “We hold a lot of dialogue meetings, and I myself am involved in several projects in the field of empowering women”, she says. “We have for example a project against forced marriages or social isolation of Muslim women.” Vorthoren denies the term integration. Rather she prefers to use the term participation. In her opinion, the way to make migration work is by creating participating citizens who contribute to the community. “We are supporting the younger generation to participate, to speak Dutch, to vote in the elections, to be involved in Dutch society.” Ironically, Sorensen agrees to most of those things. Besides objecting to forced marriage, he also notices three elements of integration which are quite similar to those of SPIOR: respecting the law, speaking Dutch and finding a job. “As long as these
conditions are being met, Muslim migrants can preserve their culture.” He takes the Chinese immigrants as an example: “They are not depending on the welfare system, they don’t get involved with the police and they speak Dutch, and that is the reason no one is having problems with Chinese migrants.”
A matter of attitude The need for integration or participation is not the only thing Sorensen and Vorthhoren agree on. The local elections will be held in March, and everyone thinks that the results of the upcoming elections will determine the future of migration in the city. Well, almost everyone. “There is no such thing as racism”, says Farid, a migrant from Lebanon. “Ronald Sorensen is Norwegian, he is not Dutch, so he can’t be racist”, adds Farid and implies it is all just a political show. The sun sets over the horizon. Evening falls on Rotterdam, as another day of identity struggle comes to an end. But what is the struggle all about? Both sides, left wing and right wing, want the same thing: more integration of migrants into society. Is it really just a political show? Perhaps the important issue in this fight is not the final goal, but the way to get there. Leefbaar Rotterdam suggests harsher rules and a much more strict approach in order to achieve integration. SPIOR are trying it the other way, promoting participation in society by teaching about moderate values and being involved in the community. At the end of the day, the difference is in the attitude. “He might have a point”, says Gunveld about Sorensen, “but the way he tries to do something about it is wrong.”
And they lived happily ever after! Children of mixed marriages: what‘s facing them? Driven by romantic incentives like “love is blind” or “love is worth everything we pay”, soul mates from different cultures and religions cross all boundaries for a brand new start, full of challenges. These challenges become unavoidable when their children come to light since they are expected to be the ‘happy aftermath‘. The reality is that they have difficulties in coping with their surroundings. By Elsy Melkonian
Photo by House Of Sims @ Flickr.com
inding a compromise between couples who belong to different societies is a strong challenge for their children because Easterners are known for their adherence to traditions which often contradict Western standards. Yet, the environment in which children of mixed background grow up also contributes to their character formation - those who are raised in two different cultures are different than those raised in one. Born to an Algerian father and a Dutch mother, Momo Zarroue, a producer for Dutch public broadcaster NPS, thinks that his mixed background has given him the chance to celebrate every kind of festivity that exists in the Christian and Muslim worlds. “I think I‘ve absorbed the merits of both cultures. Regardless of the fact that I’ve lived in Amsterdam all my life, I‘m capable of fully understanding Moroccan and Dutch mentalities and to cope with them.”
Nonetheless, coping with the environment is not as easy as it seems. The first confrontation with the reality of ‘we are different’ begins when children are born and when parents have to make decisions related to their lives, halfway between both backgrounds. The clash also extends to the surrounding society that abides by the West or the East. “I lived in Lebanon until the age of sixteen”, says Nada Mounzer, a music researcher at NPS. “Born to a Lebanese father and a Dutch mother, we had an intimate atmosphere at home where I enjoyed my family life with parents, two sisters and two brothers. My elder sister, however, was unable to become integrated into Lebanese society as far as traditions are concerned. When we moved to Amsterdam we couldn‘t accept certain values as well, as they were contradictory to our upbringing”, she adds.
A drama or a trauma? For Momo, who has curly black hair, and Nada, a typical Lebanese brunette, physical appearance has never caused them dramatic or traumatic problems. “I‘ve attended both white and black schools and I’ve always received criticism for my hair. I was never bothered by those comments”, Momo says. Nada thinks that people are influenced by the large disputes in the media concerning race and immigration and by the way in which these are transmitted to mass audiences. “I‘m not pre-occupied with the fear of how people
look at me. Without the media, people wouldn’t have such attitudes about race”, she comments.
But still: who am I? In an attempt to achieve harmony between one’s inner and outer self, the question of belonging arises originally from the child‘s name. “I was raised in Lebanon and that‘s why my parents chose Nada, an Arabic name, to match the society. When I think about who I am, I sympathize with Lebanon when I hear about disputes of the Middle East and the pace towards the peace process, and I also side with everything in the Netherlands”, she explains. On the other hand, for Momo the definition of identity has no existence. “When I am asked about nationality, I say that my father is Algerian and my mother is Dutch. However, I don‘t think that such mixed marriages are successful. In our house, there are fifty quarrels a day when my parents try to impose their contradictory mentalities on each other“, Zarroue adds. Annette van der Linden, one of the authors of the book ‘De Steniging’, Dutch for ‘The Stoning’, thinks that the search for identity is based on the concept of loyalty to one society. “At school, and at an earlier stage of character formation, such kids receive the comment: “He is not one of us”, be it for his name, colour, or whatever. However, children of mixed background are versatile in finding a way out of the problems facing them in life.”
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
Running with a fever TVN journalist and EMAJ guest speaker Maciej Woroch talks about intercultural journalism, responsibility, personal commitment and “freaky sensations” in his work as a war correspondent. By Pawel Krzysiek Orange: What does it mean, “making intercultural journalism”? Woroch: You will never get rid of your own culture, so the deal is to do your best to translate to your audience what you see and understand from other cultures. Understanding when covering the others is the main issue. Good news can bridge the gap. Good news reflects your awareness of a culture, history, and tradition. Sometimes deep research is required. Sometimes, as my grandmother used to say, “better than reading books is to talk to the people.”
running with a fever. So many things happen at the same time and you need to give your viewers the compilation of 24 hours. So you choose. There is a constant discussion about what we have to choose and what we will try to show tomorrow. Migration is put off to tomorrow every single day…
Orange: Then, how to not miss these stories?
Orange: The topic of the EMAJ this year is migration. Every war has stories behind it: thousands of refugees, never-ending displacements, post-war trauma. Focusing on the war-show, mainstream media in time of conflict often miss these stories.
Woroch: Well, remember them! Temporary journalism is not allowed. It is an obligation of each war journalist to remember a story that has a strong impact on him or her during the war, but you need a personal commitment for that. We cannot remember everything but we must fight for our personal topics until we finally close the story.
Woroch: It is true that running after main topics casts a shadow on many other issues but only for some time! I agree that we have to always consider the people who are trying to escape from war zones. The question is what goes on the news first. When you start covering the conflict you feel like
Orange: EMAJ brings together twenty journalists from two culturally different regions. What is the main challenge for the Academy? Woroch: This meeting is an opportunity to work on dialogue and to listen to
each other. Through participation we interact, exchange knowledge, and try to understand; even if we don’t agree. The dialogue is a question of tolerance. We don’t tolerate things when we don’t understand them.
Orange: Do you have any advice for those young journalists who want to follow in your footsteps? Woroch: At the beginning you have to verify what is important for you in this job. What pushed me to this job was a freaky and egoistic sensation that I wanted to witness situations that are influential for people all over the world with my own eyes. I thought it would have been a great fun, but then I realised soon that it was not fun at all. But this experience also changed my life. I understand more. I see more behind the scenes and it is worth to dream about it. At the end of the day, this job is not a chance for yourself only. Having a potential to influence the people, you have a responsibility to your audience. So if you feel you can do war journalism, just go for it. You have a chance to change the world!
Integration and radical Islam in the Netherlands Imam Mehmet Yúrek Photo by Alessandro Di Maio
How to integrate the new immigrants into Dutch society? Why it is so hard and how come some people on both sides turn radical? Since September 11, 2001, the magic Dutch integration experiment has gone through some changes. By Alessandro Di Maio “On September 11, 2001, I was ten years old. I do not remember the situation of the Islamic community in the Netherlands. I only know how it is now”, admits Ugur, a 20-yearold Dutch Turkish guy I meet in the subterranean hall of the Fatih Camii Turkish Mosque situated in the centre of Amsterdam. Tall and with the typical peaceful Mediterranean face, Ugur speaks English very well, while moving his big hands in the air just in front of a brick wall with the Turkish and Dutch flags. Ugur is part of the Second Generation, one of the hundreds
of thousands sons and daughters of immigrants who came to the Netherlands many years ago to find a job and better living conditions. “I have a 50-50 feeling, I love both countries and I feel totally integrated into Turkey as well as into the Netherlands. I speak Dutch with my dad and Turkish with my mum and I spend my days studying economics at the university and enjoying the company of my friends here in the mosque.” The subterranean hall of the mosque is a meeting point for young and old people who want to find a small corner of the culture which is still in their hearts. Talking, playing games, drinking tea and watching Turkish television. Most of them are Turkish but there are also some Somali, Pakistani and Moroccan believers because, as Ugur explains, “this place is for everyone, and the imam is always ready to meet and help everyone”. Ugur takes care to say that the Turkish community is very moderate. “We do not recognize radical Islam, we don’t apply Sharia and we are not in touch with those small radical groups who are still existing in this country”, he says. “But people and the media don’t know Islam and confuse a radical minority with the peaceful majority.”
The integration paradox Ugur is the result of the immigration and integration experiment which took place in the Netherlands in the last thirty years, when the number of immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East
increased. Some people could call Ugur the exception that confirms the integration paradox, illustrated during an interview with Atef Hamdy, a researcher and political scientist at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations Clingendael, specialized in the migration phenomenon. “Young people of the second generation are those who have more facilities and, at the same time, difficulties to integrate themselves into society”, says Mr. Hamdy. “There are two levels of non-integration, one external and one internal”, the researcher continues. Many Dutch don’t recognize the immigrants as real Dutch citizens and some new citizens don’t considers themselves as Dutch.” “There is a generation gap between these young new citizens and their parents. Most of the times they speak different languages and even if they all try their best to integrate themselves into the Dutch society, they will walk into the wall of Dutch society”, Mr. Hamdy says. Then 11 September came, opening Pandora’s box. From this moment in The Netherlands, being a Muslim started to be a problem. “Many Dutch began to think that maybe the Muslims were too much for a small and peaceful country like The Netherlands. Others thought it was too late to resolve the problem because the ‘enemy’ was already within”, Mr. Hamdy explains. Influenced by radical Islamic groups already present in the Netherlands, some lonely unintegrated sons of the second generation became Islamic radicals, answering to the fears of
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
Prayer at the Fatih Camii Turkish Mosque in Amsterdam - Photo by Alessandro Di Maio
Dutch society. Social conflicts carried out by the economical crises, riots, intimidations and killings - like those of politician Pim Fortuyn and director Theo van Gogh - have characterized the period from 2001 until now. “But these conflicts”, Mr. Hamdy adds “gave the Islamic community the possibility to rethink its position in Dutch society, to understand that instead of the victim feeling, they should consider themselves as an active part of the Dutch society, economically, politically and socially. The white Dutch citizen understood this change”, Hamdy notes.
The Turkish imam and the moderate Islam With two fingers Ugur holds the small glass and with a final sip he finishes his Turkish tea. Mehmet Yúrek, the imam of the Mosque, has just arrived. “Radicals are everywhere, in every community and society, in every religion and political ideology, but Islam is a peace-
ful religion”, says imam Yúrek, inviting me to go into an old church converted into a mosque many years ago. “We have isolated radical Islamists. In our mosque and in Dutch society there is no space for them. They are unable to respect the others because they use the Koran to hate and not love the others”, continues the imam standing next to the Qibla, the wall which the believers face during prayers. The imam is putting on the ceremonial white clothes necessary for prayer. In less than one hour, hundreds of Muslims will come here to pray and listen to the sermon. “We live together and help each other. In this way every problem is solved and eventually radical ideas are suppressed”, he says. When I ask how the Dutch society reacted when they converted the church into a mosque in the centre of Amsterdam, he said that “it was not a problem before, they knew we are peaceful, but maybe today it will be harder to accept.”
Islam: the controversial issue of today But if September 11 is far, if the Islamic community has began to understand its new role in Dutch society and if white Dutch citizens are happy about this change, why are there always more citizens that are supporting the radical right-wing party? Why should converting a church into a mosque be a problem now? Richa, a 40-year-old Muslim Algerian economy consultant, says that “the economic crisis, as every crisis in every age and country, creates conflicts with those who are different from the majority. This is very natural human behaviour. What we can do, is to fight against ignorance because it generates intolerance”, he adds. Taking as an example the Moroccan community in the country, he says that “most of them have a very low education which makes it harder to find a job and integrate into society.”
Something more than an office cleaner This June, children from Amsterdam’s IMC Weekendschool acted out a crisis situation: what would they do if Amsterdam were flooded? As a big surprise for the children, the mayor of Amsterdam - with the city’s symbolic chain around his neck - suddenly arrived to resolve the emergency with them! The chance of meeting famous people is one of the ways in which IMC Weekendschools try to encourage immigrant children to fulfil their dreams. By Inga Springe “Love! Love! Love!”, 12-year-old Ayman is shouting, sticking his head out of the train window. The couple on the platform stops kissing and looks confused. Ayman seems very satisfied with the result. More self-possessed is Ayman’s twin sister, Imane. She is watching me with an inquiring look and smiling such that you can see the dental plates on her teeth. The twins, together with 22 other pupils and class coordinator, Lise ten Holder (31), are going to the Netherlands’ biggest magazine publishing house: ‘Sanoma’, in Hoofddorp, outside Amsterdam. For the last five weeks they have been working on their own magazine project. Imane is working in the group which is preparing articles about friendship and internships at secondary school. Other children are making stories about fashion, comic book figures and relationships. At the beginning of the magazine project, the kids came up also with such “nasty” items as cancer treatment, suicides, “lover boys” and shooting on the street. Coordinator Lise says she was “quite shocked” about these topics. After discussion with the pupils, she discovered that some of them were linked with the kids’ own experience. One girl told how her friend sometimes thinks about suicide. Another remembered the shootings this year in which in total three people were killed. On being asked why people are shooting so much, one girl answered that “it is because so many immigrants live around there.” Twins Ayman and Imane are Moroccans. They live in Amsterdam’s South East, in Bylmermeer, which has a large
immigrant population from Surinam, Algeria, Ghana, Bolivia and Indonesia. Youths from deprived neighbourhoods are the target audience for a total of nine IMC Weekendschools in the Netherlands. In each school are around 100 pupils. The school’s essential aim is to broaden the horizons of immigrant children. For three years, children have had the opportunity to meet professionals from such fields as medicine, law, journalism, philosophy, science and expressive art. The schools are supported only by private companies (mostly insurance and finance firms), therefore all “teachers” work with kids as volunteers.
Only for motivated kids For Ayman and Imane this is their third year in the IMC weekend school. To get there, the twins took part in a relatively tough competition. “It is good that both the twins are here. Imane is more focused so she motivates her brother, too”, Lise thinks. She regularly tries to visit the children’s families and to see their backgrounds, too. In the near future she plans to visit the twins’ parents’ house. “They asked me to warn them before arriving for dinner. The twins’ mother wants to cook a national meal of couscous in the Moroccan way,” Lise laughs. Not all parents are so welcoming. Lots of them have little education and are poor. It is common practice that at the end of the month some parents are impossible to reach by telephone: they have been cut off because of unpaid bills. According to Weekendschool
research conducted in 2008, parents’ support is very significant. It showed that those children whose parents are not supporting their kids, could loose their interest about weekend school quicker than others.
Shame about parents’ job Cute Imane and energetic Ayman already know what they would like to do in the future. Imane is interested in medicine, but Ayman would prefer a job related to “some technical things”. Weekendschool research shows that 46% of alumni (17 students) acknowledged that the guest teacher had an impact on their choice of career. Numbers also demonstrate that weekend school children develop broader perspectives and feel more connected to mainstream society. Still unachieved is the third aim, to strengthen self-confidence. Lise says it is hard to compare ten-year-old boys’ self-confidence with that of fourteenyear-olds, because “the teenage world seems so big” and self-assurance diminishes. Journalist and education expert Anja Vink is more sceptical. “What I see a lot in my work is that the expectations of the results with this sort of project are too high.” Despite this, coordinator Lise strongly believes that she can offer a wider view to the world for kids like Ayman and Imane. She remembers that in one class the kids didn’t even want to say what their parents do. Lise asked them to write down their parents’ occupation if they feel ashamed to say it out loud, but some of the children didn’t even want to do that.
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
House squatting, the right of living together The squatting movement has created a new way of living as it gathers people of different nationalities under the same ceiling and provides a precious chance to live in a melting pot where all differences and stereotyped ideas disappear. By Abdellah Aoussar To squat a house in the Netherlands, one needs to make sure the house has been empty for twelve months and its owner has not shown any plan to use it. Once done, the squatter or the kraker, as called in the Dutch language, brings a table, chair and bed, then sends a letter to the house owner and invites the police to inspect the squat. Only then, the house can be considered legally squatted. “This house has been squatted to create a new social space of intercultural understanding”, says Teun, who lives in the ‘Middle East’ squatted house in the centre of Amsterdam. Obviously the name of the house brings to mind the image of the Middle East region and suggests the idea of finding Middle Eastern people living there, mainly as the name is written in Arabic letters. However, Teun explains that the first squatters were Dutch people, living in the middle of the eastern region of the Netherlands, and some migrants from Middle East countries joined them and wanted to create their own peaceful Middle East to stand against the conflicts and the disputes the region witnesses. Teun is a Dutch student who left his small city of Nuenen to get his MA in Philosophical Studies in Amsterdam, and found it hard to enjoy his ‘right of living under a roof ’. Having contacted some squatters, he decided to join them and experience their lifestyle and share their ideas. ‘’I have discovered many things. The squatting movement defends the right of living, rather than the right of the house owners who want to make a profit of these empty buildings. We are six people living in this house: three from the Netherlands and four from the US, Germany and Turkey. Some of us are students, while others have got jobs. We all believe in the
value of sharing a communal life form free from authority.”
Break up with stereotypes Only a few meters away from the Middle East house stands a four-story building painted in yellow and orange colours and a drawing of a giant colourful snake. “Before we started squatting this house, it had been empty for six or seven years”, says Mark, a Dutch movie maker living in the building. “We took it over in 1983”, he adds, pointing to a yellow label hanged close to the door of the house and trying to explain its meaning. “This building was squatted in 1983. In 2008, it was purchased by a housing company. But, we are still trying to convince the Amsterdam City Council of the importance of this building on the ground that it is the oldest squat house in the city and because it combines together a group of ten artists from different countries: the Netherlands, Norway, Afghanistan, Australia and Poland.” Mark and the other residents insist on the idea of a world without borders. “How can we understand the world without giving a chance of knowing each other and exchanging ideas and thoughts and break up with all stereotypes?”, he wonders.
The world is for the people Livor has a flat in the same house where Mark lives. She came from Norway to study in the Netherlands and went back to her country, but her love for the cultural and ethnic diversity of Amsterdam brought her back to the city. For her,
living in a squat house was not a choice at the beginning since it was not possible for her to rent a flat. Yet, what she experienced during the last few years she spent in that building, paved the way for her towards a better understanding of the world to the extent that she does not feel herself an immigrant, saying that “we are all people because we share the space.” She adds that “there’s a guy from Afghanistan living in this house, and he’s ten billion times more integrated than some of those guys in the [city] council.” Livor feels offended about the fact that some political parties, mainly the Liberal party, the Christian Democratic party and the Christian Union, have introduced a bill to ban squatting. She says: “I hate it. It’s the most ridiculous suggestion I’ve ever heard.” She keeps silent for a while, then says: “The idea of a diverse world where we can live together cannot be difficult.”
Photo by Abdellah Aoussar
Irregular migrants in the Netherlands Between 75.000 and 150.000 irregular migrants live in the Netherlands today. In the past two decades the country has strengthened its immigration policy, increasing the pressure on asylum-seekers and irregular migrants to leave the country. By Elif Kayi and Cristina Rojo Teenagers playing baseball and a few open shops and fast food restaurants. On this rainy Sunday afternoon, the streets of Zuidoost, a district located in South-East Amsterdam, are almost empty. No coffee shops, no fancy clothing shops and no tourists like in the trendy centre of the city, which is only twenty minutes away by metro. Here you will find African hairdressers, Caribbean food and Indian corner-shops. In Zuidoost, the population is mainly “allochtoon”, a Dutch term to refer to persons with at least one parent born outside the Netherlands. Zuidoost is also a place where many migrants without residence permit or “illegal migrants” live. Finding this kind of migrants may however turn out to be a tough task. “Illegal migrants are very discrete and never say what they do nor where they go”, comments Humphrey, a 55-year old pensioner of the Dutch army, who was born in Curacao. “I don’t know any illegal migrants. I’m sure there are, but I don’t know them personally”, adds Pavel, a 20-year-old student who came to the Netherlands from Russia
when he was five. According to the Dutch Ministry of Immigration, about 75.000 illegal migrants live in the Netherlands. In its latest statistics dating from 2007, Amnesty International reports not less than 150.000, which would make about 10% of the general migrant population and 1% of the total population of the country.
General Pardon After decades of laissez-faire policy, the Netherlands started to opt for a stronger immigration policy in the 1990s. The Aliens Act 2000, which came into force in April 2001, introduced several new provisions for immigration authorities, such as carrying out house searches and broadening the scope for stopping people in the street to ask for their identity and nationality. A turning point for this situation was the murder of the populist politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, which led to a wave of antiimmigration sentiment in the country. The
former secretary of state for immigration, Hilbrand Nawijn, who was on the list of Pim Fortuyn’s party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, suggested that illegal migrants should be locked in army barracks pending deportation. In December 2006, the Dutch government, under the pressure of the socialists in the coalition, agreed on an amnesty for all immigrants who had been rejected as asylum-seekers but refused to leave the Netherlands or could not do so because their embassy did not cooperate. 26.000 irregular migrants were therefore granted a residence permit. This action is known in Dutch as the ‘General pardon’, the general amnesty. Unfortunately, this did not solve the entire problem, since several thousand illegal migrants were left out of the legalization process. Frank de Nederlander, columnist at the daily local newspaper ‘Het Parool’, was one of the participants at the “Nacht van de vervanging”, the night of replacement, celebrated in September 2009, a protest where famous Dutch people hosted migrants for
How did the EMAJ change your view of the Meda region?
Dániel Manhalter, Hungary In many different ways. The most important realisation is that I can’t work as a good journalist if I don’t meet with and talk to colleagues of Meda countries in person. You can always read or hear about it in the news, but it’s best to hear the stories in person.
Sophia Pfisterer, Germany Getting to know people personally and having a personal connection to them made me realize that the picture that the media paint of the Meda region cannot be trusted.
Larisa Stanciu, Romania I knew about the situation in the MiddleEast, but here I found out that there is much more to it. Later, when I will have a leading position in Romanian media, I will make sure that there is more news about the Meda region in our national media.
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
one night in order to denounce the possible closing down of the shelters where many of the irregular migrants live. He received Mohamed, a young man from Chad, whose several applications for the refugee status had been rejected, leaving him in an irregular situation for years. “Now he wants to go back to his home country. But since his father is an enemy of the Chadian regime, the Chadian government does not allow him to enter. Now he is stuck here between two chairs, without status, work nor money. He has to leave but he cannot”, the journalist says. According to de Nederlander, parts of the Dutch population is getting reluctant towards the issue of irregular migrants, assuming that this issue was solved through the ‘General pardon’. “In the Netherlands as well as in the rest of Europe, the growing tendency is to show irregular migrants as trouble-makers”, explains de Nederlander.
Last stop: Schiphol In order to avoid new massive regulations, the Dutch government is putting great effort into encouraging irregular migrants or rejected asylum-seekers to go back to their home countries on a voluntary basis, providing them with a plane ticket and a small amount of money to take with them. For Moriska Cheret, press officer of the Dutch Refugees Council, returning voluntarily is the best way out for people who will not be legalized in the Netherlands. “But one has to keep in mind that people who flew away will do everything to stay”, she explains. For most irregular migrants not willing to go back to their country, the experience in the Netherlands often ends up at a detention centre. Around 20.000 of them go through
the five Dutch centres every year. In the Netherlands irregular migrants are considered as having committed only an “administrative offence”, to which the penalty is to leave the country and be deported. “If a migrant enters the country with fake documents, he can be considered as a criminal suspect”, explains Gerald Roethof, a lawyer working at the court based in the detention centre of Schiphol. Ironically, in these detention centres, hundreds of cocaine smugglers are detained every year together with irregular migrants. Even though they do not share the same rooms, they are treated in the same way. The centre of Schiphol airport became the most infamous after a fire took place in October 2005, killing eleven detainees. A Lebanese detainee was accused of having caused the fire after having thrown a burning cigarette on a blanket, but his intention could not be proved, so he was finally released. Months after the fire, survivors claimed that the guards had been very slow at reacting, ignoring the screams of the people. Schiphol Detention centre allows detainees to be visited between 10 am and 1 pm. It is already late in the afternoon, but a young man, armed with a big suitcase, is still waiting in front of the reception. “It’s for my brother, he needs some clothes”, says Luis, a twenty-one-year-old visitor that came to the Netherlands with three of his brothers from the Dominican Republic. The eldest brother is going to be deported the next day, but as Luis arrived too late today, he will not be able to see him. “I don’t know what he is going to do there in the Dominican Republic. He left so long ago, he doesn’t know the country at all”, confides the young man with tears in his eyes.
Schiphol Airport detention centre Photo by Cristina Rojo
“The Netherlands pursue a strict but fair alien’s policy” quotes the website of the Repatriation and Departure Service, which is ruled by the Ministry of Justice. But for Moriska Cheret from the Dutch Refugee Council “the government is actually pursuing a discouraging policy to put migrants under pressure and make them go back.” Until the adoption of the Return Directive by the European Parliament, limiting the duration of detention to eighteen months, the Netherlands was one of the European countries without a legal limit of time. Despite this, Luis’s brother decided to go back to the Dominican Republic. “He was afraid of staying for months at the centre”, explains Luis. This “discouragement policy” however does not seem to work out well. In less than twenty years the number of illegal migrants living in the Netherlands tripled.
What is your impression of Europe?
Hossam Hussein, Egypt I really love Europe, because every country has its own historical background. I love the canals and old houses like in Amsterdam, because it takes you back to older times. Europeans are also very cultured and civilized and know how to deal with other people.
Adi Ovadia, Israel Europe is quite similar to the Middle East, but it has colder weather, many more rules and nicer architecture.
Hanan Abousamra, Egypt Europe has a long colonial history with the Middle East, but it’s still a source of enlightenment. It’s too liberal for me, though. I prefer America.
The secret to EMAJ’s success Terrorism, xenophobia, clash of civilisations… Those are some of the topics one might associate with intercultural dialogue between the West and the East. But the participants of the second edition of the Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists (EMAJ) have shown that it can also be about simple things like group hugs, salsa dances, bike rides outside of the bike lane and a shared devotion to good journalism. By Marina Ferhatovic
ant some halal candy?”, Kim Nordberg, a journalist from Sweden, asked, entering the big hall of the Goethe Institute of Amsterdam. Open laptops, half-full tea and coffee cups spread out on the tables, on chairs and even on the grand piano. The office of the project coordinator is cramped with people trying to reach NGOs, detention centres for refugees, representatives from political parties, you name it. The young journalists from 18 different countries in the EU, Middle East and Northern Africa, have taken over the old, monumental building of the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam and turned it into a fullfledged news room. “We come from different regions but we work together perfectly, both as journalists and people, each adding its own special flavour to the project”, a surprised Hossam el Din Hussein from Egypt, said after finishing a project together with Spanish colleague Cristina Rojo. They all met only a week before, set out to take part in the Euro-Mediter-
ranean Academy for Young journalists or EMAJ, a 10-day training course on journalism, intercultural dialogue and migration.
Combating prejudices And so it began. The first awkward handshakes. The first session on immigration. The first adventure: dressed in bright yellow rain coats on yellow rental bikes, the EMAJ participants explored Amsterdam together, risking to lose each other on each corner and getting frowned upon by the locals for not staying in the bike lane. The first meals, prepared in the common apartments. The first party, the first heated debate, the first group hug. Of all the firsts, perhaps the most important one was the first crack in the wall of preconceived ideas about the other region. For Sophia Pfisterer from Germany, getting to know colleagues from the other side of the Mediterranean was an important tool in combating prejudices: “In having personal connections, you could more easily understand a point of view that differs from your
own. This experience has really broadened my horizon and made me realize how focused and limited national media sometimes can be.” Just by his appearance, dark haired Kim Nordberg proved that not all Swedes are blond. Hossam El Din Hussein showed that Egyptians are not only about pyramids and sphinx, but can also dance some mean salsa. Alwin Helmink from the Netherlands impressed everyone by showing the collection of Arabic music he had on his phone and by singing along to the songs without actually speaking Arabic. As words like “halal candy”, “habibi” and “yalla” became part of the everyday chatter, the stereotypes about the other region did not disappear, but perhaps the picture got slightly more complex. Or as Sophia Pfisterer puts it: “My perception has changed because of the people I met. They were all different from how I thought they would be and we became friends in a very short time. Therefore, my belief has grown that we might have more in common than we usually assume.”
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
A long way to go for Dutch Muslim Party The new Dutch Muslim Party (NMP) aims to be a political haven for Muslims with different backgrounds. Coming November, the NMP wants to challenge Geert Wilders, the Dutch popular anti-Islamic politician, in his own backyard of Venlo. The different Muslim communities in the Netherlands however are reluctant to join. By Marion Bacher lots of plans. “We want to do local politics, hence we have to go directly to the communities”, says Kreeft. One of his main concerns are youngsters living in troubled areas. “We will go there and ask them what they need.” Another instrument of raising awareness of the party will be to visit Islamic communities, visit mosques and speak to the imam: “He should convince the people.” Henny A. J. Kreeft - Photo by Marion Bacher
The unknown party
Henny A. J. Kreeft is anything else but a charismatic populist. The tiny Dutch man sits quiet in the restaurant of the Apollo Hotel in Lelystad, a small city northeast of Amsterdam. He chooses his words carefully; it takes him long to get to the point. His hanging shoulders are moving rarely, the golden dolphin around his neck never shivers because of his moves. “We want to work respectfully with other religions.” The leader of the Dutch Muslim Party (Nederlandse Moslim Partij, NMP), which was founded in 2007, is the complete opposite of his greatest opponent: Geert Wilders. The right-wing populist of the Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) has created lots of public uproar with his anti-Islamic statements. The NMP now wants to balance his outcries, enhancing the image of Islam and building a bridge across the increasing gap between Muslims and non-Muslims in Holland. The first challenge will be to get at least two seats in the City Council in Wilders’ hometown, Venlo. On November 18th people will have the chance to vote for NMP party members with Moroccan, Turkish or Pakistani backgrounds. In order to attract the people’s attention, Kreeft, who converted to Islam in 1995, has
The spirit of the party, which is so far without a party program, has not yet arrived in Bos en Lommer, a post-war suburb in Amsterdam. It’s quiet and empty on this Sunday afternoon. The area, where lots of Muslims live, is clean and bleak. Lots of houses are protected by sharp metal thorns. Not far away from a slip road is a small building of a Turkish community. Old men are sitting outside, drinking tea, buying fruits. One building unites a fitness club, a mosque and a recreation room. Halil Malkoc is standing in front of big windows, Turkish flags are dangling from the ceiling inside of the building. He doesn’t know the NMP, but he supposes nobody will vote for them: “Even in Turkey Islamic parties are excluded. They will not get the power to change anything.” Ronald Kroon, an English and political science teacher at the Hogeschool of Amsterdam, also doubts the NMP will be successful: “My main concern is that many Muslims are not participating in politics from an Islamic point of view.” How many of the 850.000 Muslims in the Netherlands are not voting, has not yet been researched. However, according to statistical data gathered over the last fifteen years from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Arnhem, Turkish turnout in local elections is higher than that
of Moroccans. Four men of Moroccan descent are standing close to the Moroccan mosque on the pavement of the Bos en Lommerweg, a tenminute-walk from the Turkish community. Cars are passing by, the men are ready to enter the mosque. One man in his mid-twenties is holding the Koran in his hands. They answer the questions very friendly. None of them knows the NMP. They wouldn’t vote for them anyway. “It’s forbidden to vote”, says one man, who was born in the Netherlands. “We don’t believe in a system which has been made by human beings.”
Filling a void Putri Gayatri, who is a Muslim with parents coming from Indonesia, thinks in a completely different way. In order to change something you have to vote. However, she can understand that it is difficult for Muslims to vote for conventional parties “since they cannot identify themselves with these political parties”. Recently she discussed with some friends whether the Muslims in the Netherlands need a Muslim Party or not. It seems to be a mixed blessing: “On the one hand it’s not a good thing for integration, because we should not distinguish ourselves from the others on a political level. On the other hand, if you look at the whole range of the political parties – why shouldn’t there be a Muslim party too?” Henny Kreeft is sure that his party is filling a void. He would even change the party’s name, if it would create any problems. His blue eyes are following the Dutch flag outside of the hotel. If the NMP will succeed in the upcoming elections in Venlo, it might be the first step to one of his goals: one day becoming a nationwide party.
14 NUMBER CRUNCHING
The total number of applications that was received upon the call for the EMAJ 2009. The applicants hailed from 45 different countries.
200 mln 18
The estimated number of international migrants in the world today.
The number of represented countries in the EMAJ 2009.
Exposed body, hidden face
Photo by Stuck in Customs @ Flickr.com
In order to prevent a dove from flying, you cut its wings when it is young. People pass by those pigeons and act in various ways. Some mistreat and others feed them, most of the people just pass by. Those doves are afraid in the beginning, but they can’t fly away. When the wings grow again, they don’t even try to use them to flee very far. They are simply used to the new way of easy life.
Aline (false name) is one of these human doves of Amsterdam. Aline is 20 years old and came from Bucharest to work as a prostitute in the red light district. “I had no other choice, I was top of my class, but I needed the money before I went to university.” She had no option but coming to work as a prostitute and in order to do that, she was smuggled.
When most tourists come to Amsterdam and get a map in their hands, the first thing they do is spotting where the Red Light District is. Although the city is packed with tourist sites and beautiful scenes, the sex pleasure attracts most of the men, and sometimes women. By Assaad Thebian Human Trafficking Human trafficking is the illegal commerce and trade of people. The victims of human trafficking are used for prostitution, forced labour and other forms of involuntary servitude. The Report on Trafficking in Persons carried out by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) indicates that the most
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
The amount of money, in dollar, you should pay to get the World Migration Report 2008 from the International Organization for Migration.
common form of human trafficking (79%) is with the goal of sexual exploitation. In 2007, Amsterdam’s mayor, Job Cohen, announced a “big step” plan to voluntarily clean up the red light district storefront windows and transform them into apartments and commercial centres. The 15-millioneuro plan was described as an effort to reduce “trafficking of women, exploitation and all kinds of criminal activity.” Although prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since the 1830s, the new law introduced in October 2000 subjected prostitution to municipal regulations on the location, organization and the practice of business. The year 2008 witnessed a new episode in the sex business industry when six people were convicted in what prosecutors called the worst case of human trafficking ever brought to trial in the Netherlands.
“Say please” When I pass with my Romanian friend in the red light district, one of the hookers is smoking outside. She throws her cigarette towards us by mistake. My friend is surprised and the prostitute apologizes. I ask if she is allowed to smoke, and she shouts in my face: “I am allowed to smoke wherever I want!” A man is trying to fetch himself a “50/20” (50 euro for 20 minutes) good time and grabs the hooker inside. She pushes him away and says: “Say please”. A young lady waves to us - four guys - to approach. When we come closer and ask her about her natio-
60 000 49.6 The shortage in the budget for the EMAJ 2009, euro.
nality, she answers she is from Hungary. One of us is Hungarian as well. When she finds out, her eyes pop out. She manages to stand straight and says: “I enjoy what I’m doing”, before her Romanian friend steps in to free her from the blush.
Window shopping “Most men act like women in front of shopping mall windows, they look, they gaze and they leave”, says Aline. Most of those who go inside don’t necessary finish their “job”. The average number of customers ranges between 5 and 10 a day. She asks them to leave after twenty minutes because she might have other clients coming. Robert came with his friends to celebrate his last bachelor days. He is going to get married in a few days and thought of “enjoying the window women shopping”. A few other women who walked with me to the red light district thought that was disgusting. The Lebanese lady described the women as “whores”, Cristina from Spain was shocked and Romanian Larisa thought they had no feelings. “I am now more comfortable with the argument that true respect for women includes respecting their choice of whether or not to charge admission occasionally for access to intimacy moments”, says Heinrich on the website amsterdam-red-lightdistrict.info. Other people write more about their “veni, vidi, vici” experiences. The La Strada Association is a network of nine independent human rights NGOs based in Amsterdam. The association helps women who
Percentage of global migrants who are female.
have been trafficked into the sex industry. The women have low-income jobs and were expecting other jobs when they travelled or were seduced by ‘lover boys’. “Many of them do not go back to their countries because they can only do so by telling the authorities and hence are afraid of their pimps. Others are ashamed because of their career”, adds Suzane Hoff, the head of La Strada, Netherlands. “Migration plays an important role in meeting the demands of the labour market. We demand our governments acknowledge and apply fundamental human, labour and civil rights for migrants”, states the website of De Rode Draad, a consolation organization for and about sex workers. They try to promote the rights of the sex workers and to aid them in their problems. Their page with “tips for workers” seems to be very interesting. The Prostitute Information Centre (PIC) is very much associated with the lives of the women in the sex industry and does the same job like the De Rode Draad. It is located in the middle of the Red Light District. The centre is run by a former prostitute and organizes a weekly tour each Saturday to give a different approach about the life of the prostitutes. Aline still goes back to Romania every now and then. She does not have a boyfriend but dreams of starting a family. “My only option is to go to a far country where I start a new life”, she says. Aline is aware of what she is doing and declares that she doesn’t feel anything for most of the clients: “It is very hard to get intimate with faces I see for the first time in my life, but I do my job.”
Halal… inclusion or seclusion? Riding the wave of the expanding global halal market industry estimated to have reached a worth of US$ 580 billion in 2008 - communication arts company KasehDia will hold this November the first World Halal Forum in Europe. As location for the Forum, which is themed ‘Halal Potential – A Regional Focus’, the organizers opted for the Dutch city of The Hague. By Hanan Solayman and Kim Nordberg Choosing the Netherlands to host this big event didn’t come spontaneously, given that Holland provides a strategic location to serve markets within Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as being known as the gateway for the whole European market through which most of the halal products are channelled. Considering Netherlands as one of the few countries to develop a halal standard for its nearly one million Muslims, it becomes a perfect location for hosting the event, especially when you know that the Dutch government supports and promotes the development of the halal industry. The country of tulips and windmills also boasts the first ever facility of halal storage and warehousing in the world and its significant multiculturalism, liberalism and openness make it a very successful choice.
But… does everyone know what halal food is? “Excuse me?!”, “I don’t know what it is”, “part of religion but difficult to find it in Holland”, “there should be
more restaurants that offer halal food because we have many Muslims”, “it’s like kosher”. These were some of the answers we got from people in the streets when they were asked about halal food. But what is halal? Muslims define halal as “permissible” according to their Islamic teachings and haram for the “unpermissible”. Yet, there is no consensus among Muslims themselves on what is halal due to different interpretations of the Muslims’ holy book Qur’an. However, the main arguments lie within food, lifestyle (as in clothing) and to some extent technology. There’s even a halal journal that reports about business, food and lifestyle. “Some Muslims regard halal food as anything but pork. Like the Turks, for them it doesn’t matter in which way the animals get slaughtered and this is a real problem”, says Sheikh Sami, the owner of an Islamic butchery. This Muslim segment bases its philosophy upon a Qur’anic verse that says “And the food (meat) of the people of the book is lawful for you” (Surah 5 Verse 5). Sheikh Sami agrees, but only in necessities, whereas in Holland, Muslims can easily find halal food.
“Muslims can eat at non-Muslims’, it’s important to build stronger relationships but at least there should be kosher food”, Abd el-Fattah, Islamic Auditor from Halal Correct, says. Apart from Islamic butcheries, shops and restaurants, there are also Dutch butcheries and supermarket chains that have a special section for halal food. In Amsterdam, the biggest Islamic slaughterhouse is Abattoir Amsterdam, which is owned by a Dutch non-Muslim. There are ten Islamic slaughterhouses in Holland, only three owned by Muslims. Large supermarket chains like Albert Heijn (main branches) and Vomar now depend on halal meat supplies from Wahid Ramadan, a Kurdish Muslim businessman from Rotterdam. There are many conditions for food to be halal. It means that animals must be slaughtered according to Islamic rituals by the words “Bismillah Allahu Akbar” (By the name of God. God is great) with sharp knives avoiding stunning the animals or subjecting them to electric shocks. No pork, blood, alcohol or gelatine is allowed either. “Halal meat is healthier because all the blood comes out from the animal
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
Photo by Telstar Logistics @ Flickr.com
when slaughtered, hence the bacteria come out and the meat becomes pure”, Sheikh Sami adds. Halal meat tastes better, lasts longer and is even cheaper than other meat if bought by kilos and this is what makes nonMuslims in some cases look for it. “More than 20% of my customers are non-Muslims”, Sheikh Sami notes.
Candy and search engines Some Critics see the whole halal and haram picture as an exclusion of Muslims from Dutch society, but Sheikh Sami says “Muslims are integrated but are preserving their own identity. Integration doesn’t mean assimilation, or else vegetarians and Jews would also be excluded from society for not eating meat or for eating kosher food.” Some Dutch prisons have already been ser-
ving halal food for the prisoners. Another aspect of halal food is candy and sweets that have no alcohol or gelatine in it. Marhaba Food is a perfect example of that. Erik, product manager of the halal candy manufacturer from Amersfoort, says that only a few Muslims in Holland are after halal sweets “either because they don’t know that the gelatine substance is there and that it’s haram or it’s because they don’t mind.” Erik thinks the halal candy business has a big future in store. However, it’s very difficult to find a purchaser, like supermarkets, because they don’t have halal candies listed, even those who sell halal stuff only do halal meat. Exploring the internet or adapting to technology also has a halal form since you can get lots of inappropriate pictures or texts while doing your search. For that reason, some
Dutch Muslims launched a special ‘halal search engine’ called I’mHalal. com. The site is designed to filter web content so that searchers don’t get ‘haram results’ linked to sex, porn, gay content, or even Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders and terrorism. Yet, it just gives a 3-level warning and doesn’t block content, leaving the searcher the option to continue with his search on that word if he thinks the results will be clean. Only the third level, the most haram, is an exception. A similar search engine targeting Jewish web users was launched in June. Religious Jews who do not want to be confronted by un-kosher words or search results can safely surf using Israel-based koogle.co.il. As Erik from Marhaba Food puts it “let the halal candies be a bridge between Muslims and non-Muslims.”
“I don‘t know whether I lost my way or not” I recognized him the first time I saw him parking his car in front of the Goethe Institute in Amsterdam. I don‘t know why, but inside me I was sure that he is an Egyptian, maybe his facial features led me to believe so. By Ahmed Esmat Aly
Ismail Ahmed El Mazyen
Ismail Ahmed El Mazyen or ‘NINJA’ as his customers call him in Amsterdam, married a Dutch woman, has three kids and he was responsible for the catering of our Halal food. In 1989, after he failed to join the Police University and lost his dream, he decided to travel to Austria, then Czechoslovakia and his final destination was the Netherlands. He became a legal citizen after one year and enrolled in university to study the Dutch language and started
working in a restaurant. Unfortunately, he was not able to do both things at the same time, so he left his studies and concentrated on his job. He put in long hours, working from 2 am to 5 pm for three years. “I don‘t know whether my decision was right or wrong”, Ismail says. “I didn‘t leave Egypt to make money, I‘m from a middle class family from El Mahla”. Talking about the obstacles he faced, Ismail concedes that his inte-
gration into Dutch society was hard at the beginning but that he succeeded in the end. His main concern now is his kids. He doesn‘t want them to forget about their Egyptian identity, which is why he takes them to Egypt twice a year. Now Ismail has his family, owns a house, a successful restaurant and his own car. „I want to come back to Egypt but I don‘t know how things will go, this wasn‘t my lifetime dream but it is where I‘m now.”
EMAJ 2009 Organizing Team Project Manager: Krystian Lada Project Management Assistant: Henning Radke Organizing Team: Maha Alkahef, Gülsen Devre, Marina Ferhatovic, Letizia Gambini, Ahmed Esmat, Nasry Esmat, Krisztian Gal, Pawel Krzysiek Project Mentor: Dr. Joachim Umlauf Special thanks for their hard work and extraordinary contribution to the success of the EMAJ 2009 Project to: Ruken Baris (Press Now), Barbara Mulzer (Goethe-Institut Niederlande), Michel van Es (Goethe-Institut Niederlande), Erik Hogenboom (NPS).
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists 2009 05 - 16 October 2009 · Amsterdam
The European Youth Press
part in society by fostering objective and independent journalism.
The European Youth Press is an umbrella association of young journalists in Europe. It involves more than 48 000 young journalists less than 30 years of age. Up to now the young association consists of thirteen national youth media associations. The objectives of the European Youth Press are the strong cooperation among national youth media structures in Europe and their support. The overall aim is to strengthen the role of youth media and the freedom of press in Europe. The association sees itself as a service for the national structures and will foster projects of the different partners and projects that are organised by young media makers in Europe. The association provides contact forums and educational seminars for multipliers of the member associations and forces internal and external communication among all partners. With concrete projects, e.g. the international event magazine „Orange“ with print magazines or Blogs, PodCasts and V-Casts, the association wants to give young media makers from all over Europe the opportunity to cooperate directly with each other. Above all, the aim of all member associations and the umbrella structure is to inspire young people to deal with media and take an active
Orange Orange is a Europe based event and theme magazine made by young journalists. This creates learning by doing experiences for the young journalists and also a magazine with a young and innovative view for the reader. The fact that the journalists come from different countries with different backgrounds of course makes this magazine very unique. Oranges have been created on a European basis since 2004 on several different topics and events such as political topics, religion and different festivals. The aim of the magazine is to let young journalists from all over Europe meet, work together and create multi-faced magazines with new and interesting contents. Creating it means having an exciting time in a quite unusual environment. Reading it means getting facts and opinions directly from young and innovative journalists. All in all, our Orange is always fresh and juicy.
Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists The Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists (EMAJ) 2009 is a 10-day, high-quality training course on Journalism and Intercultural
Dialogue in which active discussions on current issues, lectures from experts on relevant subjects and practical assignments are tools in challenging mutual misperceptions. It is the second year that the EMAJ takes place. The first edition was held in the Jordanian capital of Amman. This year’s iteration takes place in Amsterdam and focuses on the challenges posed by global migration - a topic that participants from both regions can relate to. The Academy is a follow-up project of EuroMediterranean Youth Parliament 2007, which brought together 100 young people from 38 countries to discuss their visions for a EuroMediterranean Partnership. Both EMAJ editions were organized with the support of the Goethe Institute. The Goethe Institute is a non-profit German cultural institution operational worldwide, promoting the study of the German language abroad and encouraging international cultural exchange and relations. The Goethe-Institut also fosters knowledge about Germany by providing information on German culture, society and politics. 20 young professional journalists - 10 from Europe and 10 from the Meda region - took part in the Academy. EMAJ 2009 has been financed by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany with financial assistance of the Anna Lindh Foundation and other partners.
EMAJ 2009 partners
IMPRINT This Orange was made by an international group of young journalists participating in the Euro-Mediterranean Academy for Young Journalists taking place in Amsterdam in October 2009. All articles do not necessarily represent the opinions of the magazine. Publishers line: Orange Magazine European Youth Press, Rue de la Tourelle 23, BE-1040, Brussels, Belgium Editor-in-chief: Yannick Brusselmans Editorial staff: Hanan Abousamra, Abdellah Aoussar, Marion Bacher, Alessandro Di Maio, Adi Halfon, Elif Kayi, Elsy Melkonian, Cristina Rojo, Inga Spriņģe, Assaad Thebian, Nasry Esmat, Pawel Krzysiek, Ahmed Esmat, Marina Ferhatovic Photos by: Pawel Krzysiek, Yannick Brusselmans Layout: Dumitru Iovu
This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the Anna Lindh Foundation. The contents of this document can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the Anna Lindh Foundation.
Also take a look at: www.orangelog.eu www.emaj2009.org
I take home from this event… Soumia Alloui, Algeria Rawan Abusrour, Palestinian Authority
Hanan Abousamra, Egypt
… new ideas for my own TV show on immigrants and migration.
… an increased concern about migration issues.
… new skills to cover sensitive issues without hurting the ‘others’.
Abdellah Aoussar, Morocco
Alessandro Di Maio, Italy
Adi Halfon, Israel … the insight that as a journalist you shouldn’t try to change one’s political opinion. Better, start from changing one’s personal believes.
… the notion that even if we all differ, at the end of the day we are all influenced by the same human rules.
Marion Bacher, Austria … contacts, friends, and respect for each other even if you sometimes cannot understand one another.
… confirmation of the vital role of media in creating a common sense and breaking up with prejudices.
Elif Kayi, France Alwin Helmink, the Netherlands … new friends: this was not only the best part of EMAJ but, in a way, the most educational one.
Elsy Melkonian, Syria Kim Michael Nordberg, Sweden
… a necessity to include more commentary and viewpoints in my articles.
… a network that will be very valuable in the future.
… new ideas to cover news topics, new perspectives and a conviction that the issue of illegal immigration is not enough known by the public.
Dániel Manhalter, Hungary … intensive professional practice and understanding of Mediterranean conflicts and problems.
Hossam Hussein, Egypt Sophia Pfisterer, Germany Cristina Rojo, Spain … a network of fantastic journalists from Europe and the MEDA region.
… contacts, good memories and new impressions about the MEDA countries.
Inga Spriņģe, Latvia … new vocabulary, lots of contacts, and cultural experience.
Larisa Stanciu, Romania … nice experiences and a lot of information. I knew most of the topics, but now I want to know more about what we discussed.
Aylin Yazan, Turkey … 25 new friends from almost 20 countries, many questions about stereotypes and depiction of minorities in the press to think about how Turkey is seen by Euro-Med countries.
… amazing memories and valuable experience of working with Europeans.
Issa Shaker, Palestinian Authority … a lot of spiritual feelings and motivation to work more on future projects and to develop the EMAJ via all possible ways. It was a great experience!
Assaad Thebian, Lebanon … knowledge, friends and future expectations for common work.