26 September 2012

Euroskepticism - The Debate Continues

I had a great time reading Sikorski's scathing speech on Britain's prevailing euroskepticism.  As the EU moves towards solidarity and strong controls across all member states, the Brits have shuttered themselves out of EU decisions since the infamous veto on reforming EU treaties back in December (though Cameron wielded a veto threat for about two to three months).  That one decision sidelined Britain in a way I'm not sure anyone truly anticipated and Sikorski is essentially saying, "If you think you're better off without us, I hope you thought about how it will affect your international relations, trade, and current government.  Leaving means you have less clout, weaker trade ties, and the same government but without the EU to blame."

24 September 2012

FEMEN Moves to France

FEMEN has now set up camp in Paris, France after their well-publicized stunt in support of Pussy Riot.  The feminist featured in the piece linked above said that they were invited by French feminists, but Inna was also in physical danger after cutting down the Orthodox cross with a chainsaw.  I've featured and discussed FEMEN's protest methods in a post long, long ago, but I think that now Pussy Riot has received international support, American women are increasingly aware of their disenfranchisement, and attention is also being directed at westernizing countries in the Middle East where women are starting to fight back, feminism has come back in a way that hasn't been popular for at least 2 decades.

18 September 2012

So We Extradited An Axe Murderer Con't.

I find it such a shame that the actions of one person can have such a negative effect on entire nations.  The news lately has examples of a single person's impact on politics and civil society.  An anti-Islamic video has sparked riots around the world--no one in America sanctioned that action besides the person who committed it.  Safarov, a man who acted on his own, was welcomed by his people for acting out the hatred that boils between Azerbaijan and Armenia with a murder all his own.  Unlike the offensive video, this man's nation showed its support, unquestionably and assuredly.  He is a hero for a murder.

This article on EU Observer just goes to show what one person's actions can do.  Any hard work that was put towards peace and understanding in the region can be easily lost.  But it wasn't Safarov alone - it was the officials of Azerbaijan that made it an Azeri story, their story.  It's not just that Safarov murdered, but that he was celebrated for that murder by his own people.  Instead of turning their heads in disgust, they threw up their hands in a cheer.  I am sure there are dissenters who do not approve.  There must be.  But they are silent and invisible.

However, the scope of an individual's actions for the worse can be an inspiration for the better.  One person can have an enormous effect, for better or for worse.  It is far easier for poor actions to turn everything sour, but one by one, we can build up again.  This is awfully philosophical, but society is made of individuals.  Nations are made of individuals.  Politics are driven by them.  In order to harness the good of people, we must harness the good of one, and then another one.  And another one.  These are turbulent, uncertain times we live in, and we need to be able to count on good people.

11 September 2012

Albania's "Virgjinesha"

As an anthropologist, I have a real love for cultural systems.  I have often brought up this type of social system/arrangement in conversations because it acknowledges the difficulty of having a rigidly patriarchal society without actually having to cede.  This type of system is not uncommon, though the method of compensating for the rigidity of the structure is often unique.  The gender roles, aligned with sex, are rigidly structured, but fall apart when there is one gender/sex missing to fulfill its role.  This tends to mean that women fill in the place of men.  They are socially acknowledged to be the opposite of their sex, with all the gender roles that come with it.

06 September 2012

Discover Cultural Treasures

I've held onto these links for far, far too long.  My RSS feeds are the best.  I skim the headlines, click on what I want to learn more about, and get several points of view on an issue.  These links come from my feeds and touch on the cultural aspects of Europe.  It's been all politics and economics lately because I simply need a lot more time to research cultural points of interest.  The links are listed after the jump.

04 September 2012

So We Extradited An Axe Murderer

So this happened.  I wish I could speak to international criminal justice laws, but that remains a large mystery to me.  It is suspicious, however, that there was a deal on the table with Azerbaijan and Hungary has been trying to wrangle itself "free" from the EU's political ambit.  Oh, and that it has to go through the EU to get IMF money to make their economy more stable.