On a sunny terrace on the borders of the river Oder, which flows between Germany and Poland, a small group of activists, journalists and politicians from different European countries decided in the late summer of 2011 to start a new magazine that would contribute to building a European public space and at the same time empower the green movement. The real architect of this project was its future and first editor-in-chief, the journalist and philosopher Benoît Lechat, who died much too young at the beginning of this year.
The European Project lacks any significant ingredient of emotional bonding. In the absence of a “European soul”, the existing rational, bureaucratic structure is doomed to remain a distant presence for the citizens of Europe.
Inequality is back on the agenda. French economist Thomas Piketty has drawn attention to it again with his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, and that is a good thing. Green and Left-wing parties are drooling over the book, but I have heard few suggestions as to how we should fundamentally tackle that inequality. To do that, we need an idea from a completely different world.
Stories about the Great War are usually confined to a national perspective. The war of 1914-918, which decimated a whole generation of Europe’s population and marked those who survived for life, is hardly ever commemorated jointly. This ought to change.
Nelson Mandela personified the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and became a worldwide symbol of hope in the face of discrimination. Although apartheid was ended, racism and discrimination still remain present in our society and that needs to be remembered.
Now that Merkel has triumphed in the German elections, one of the opposition’s main aims, the establishment of a national minimum wage, is likely to miss the boat and be left behind. Prospects are bleak for the growing numbers of working poor. A report from the Ruhr.
“Barbarians” still provide us with a way out of our own frustrations, identity-conflicts and forbidden feelings.