city:brussels

  • Europe Should Let Italy Win – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/11/14/europe-should-let-italy-win


    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini attends a press conference at the Italian Embassy in Bucharest, Romania, on Oct. 23.
    Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

    #barbichette

    The current standoff between the Italian government and the European Commission in Brussels—in which Italy is pushing for greater spending resulting in a larger deficit, which the commission claims violates its rules—seems at first glance like a replay of the game of chicken that drove the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Then, like now, debt and politics were intimately intertwined, with an indebted nation trying by any means necessary to gain leverage on the eurozone institutions that have a say over its economy. On the one hand, Italy has been emphasizing its geopolitical importance, arguing that it has a critical role to play in maintaining Libya’s stability. On the other, it is sending a subtle message that, if placed under pressure, it has the power to blow up the eurozone.

    Who will flinch first? The answer will likely turn on two differences that distinguish the current case from that of Greece. […]
    […]
    It is not difficult to see how a compromise might be found in which Italy and Europe could agree on infrastructure investment financed through deficit spending, but the escalation of the political conflict means that as time passes any productive outcome becomes less and less likely. The European Union must find a solution before the politics become completely poisonous.

    On the face of it, the budget dispute, which turns on Italy’s proposal for a 2.4 percent deficit, looks puzzling. Isn’t 2.4 percent less than 3 percent, the (admittedly overly simple) deficit to GDP ratio rule stipulated in the EU’s Maastricht Treaty and its Stability and Growth Pact? In truth, the dispute is fundamentally about the link between fiscal positions and growth.
    […]
    The problem is that everyone knows that Italy’s bootstraps narrative doesn’t fully describe its motives. The importance of the budget for the Italian government goes far beyond its numbers: Its basic purpose is political. The fiscal package represents not only an overall stimulus for the Italian economy but also an attempt to tie together the two quite disparate parties in the government coalition. […]
    There is also a very obvious national, not to say nationalist, element. This is a budget designed to defy Europe and to make the point that in a democracy people should, in voting for their government, have a say over their tax rates and their fiscal regime. The budget also includes some savings, in part from reduced spending on the housing and management of migrants.


  • #fade #to #pleasure Vol 8.2
    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-vol-8-2

    Mr. Statik Rusalka feat. Nastya Mr. Statik Rogue Cherub feat. Dave Aju Insect O. Pan de Azúcar Insect O. Ghosts In Space Berllioz Piège Colm K Seeing BreachTurtle Dance Breach S.O.S.T Catz ’n Dogz Don’t (Roman Flügel Remix) Third Attempt Control Third Attempt Serve Chilled Sonny Plastic Worlds Len Leise Leaving Llucmajor Felbm Tandem

    Broadcasted on Panik (Brussels-Be) Grenouille (Marseille) Canal B (Rennes-Fr) C’rock (Vienne-Fr) Diversité FM (Dijon-Fr) You FM (Mons-Be) Woot (Marseille) Campus FM (Toulouse-FR)

    Put together carefully own selections are listing emotional depth balances between retro and modern, sub and universal, warm and cold, Ice and spice… make the listening experience an infectious, surprising night & day. So you’re seriously up for dancing, (...)

    #snooba #pleasure,snooba,fade,to
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/ftp/fade-to-pleasure-vol-8-2_05668__1.mp3


  • Emission spéciale International Anthem
    Sur Radio Panik 105.4 FM une émission spéciale International Anthem (Makaya McCraven, Irreversible Entanglements, Ben Lamar Gay and more) avec une interview de Scott Mc Niece le fondateur du label by myself aka Dj Brut Brute. Dans cette collaboration Chadek’s deck/la 5eme semaine on parlera aussi de WHPK 88.5 FM et de Lumpen Radio. Stay tuned !

    http://www.radiopanik.org/emissions/la-5e-semaine/speciale-international-anthem

    Et lien pour télécharger l’émission
    http://www.radiopanik.org/media/sounds/la-5e-semaine/speciale-international-anthem_05617__1.ogg

    #chicago #shameless_autopromo #jazz #benlamargay #makayamccraven


  • Europe is using smartphone data as a weapon to deport refugees

    European leaders need to bring immigration numbers down, and #metadata on smartphones could be just what they need to start sending migrants back.

    Smartphones have helped tens of thousands of migrants travel to Europe. A phone means you can stay in touch with your family – or with people smugglers. On the road, you can check Facebook groups that warn of border closures, policy changes or scams to watch out for. Advice on how to avoid border police spreads via WhatsApp.

    Now, governments are using migrants’ smartphones to deport them.

    Across the continent, migrants are being confronted by a booming mobile forensics industry that specialises in extracting a smartphone’s messages, location history, and even #WhatsApp data. That information can potentially be turned against the phone owners themselves.

    In 2017 both Germany and Denmark expanded laws that enabled immigration officials to extract data from asylum seekers’ phones. Similar legislation has been proposed in Belgium and Austria, while the UK and Norway have been searching asylum seekers’ devices for years.

    Following right-wing gains across the EU, beleaguered governments are scrambling to bring immigration numbers down. Tackling fraudulent asylum applications seems like an easy way to do that. As European leaders met in Brussels last week to thrash out a new, tougher framework to manage migration —which nevertheless seems insufficient to placate Angela Merkel’s critics in Germany— immigration agencies across Europe are showing new enthusiasm for laws and software that enable phone data to be used in deportation cases.

    Admittedly, some refugees do lie on their asylum applications. Omar – not his real name – certainly did. He travelled to Germany via Greece. Even for Syrians like him there were few legal alternatives into the EU. But his route meant he could face deportation under the EU’s Dublin regulation, which dictates that asylum seekers must claim refugee status in the first EU country they arrive in. For Omar, that would mean settling in Greece – hardly an attractive destination considering its high unemployment and stretched social services.

    Last year, more than 7,000 people were deported from Germany according to the Dublin regulation. If Omar’s phone were searched, he could have become one of them, as his location history would have revealed his route through Europe, including his arrival in Greece.

    But before his asylum interview, he met Lena – also not her real name. A refugee advocate and businesswoman, Lena had read about Germany’s new surveillance laws. She encouraged Omar to throw his phone away and tell immigration officials it had been stolen in the refugee camp where he was staying. “This camp was well-known for crime,” says Lena, “so the story seemed believable.” His application is still pending.

    Omar is not the only asylum seeker to hide phone data from state officials. When sociology professor Marie Gillespie researched phone use among migrants travelling to Europe in 2016, she encountered widespread fear of mobile phone surveillance. “Mobile phones were facilitators and enablers of their journeys, but they also posed a threat,” she says. In response, she saw migrants who kept up to 13 different #SIM cards, hiding them in different parts of their bodies as they travelled.

    This could become a problem for immigration officials, who are increasingly using mobile phones to verify migrants’ identities, and ascertain whether they qualify for asylum. (That is: whether they are fleeing countries where they risk facing violence or persecution.) In Germany, only 40 per cent of asylum applicants in 2016 could provide official identification documents. In their absence, the nationalities of the other 60 per cent were verified through a mixture of language analysis — using human translators and computers to confirm whether their accent is authentic — and mobile phone data.

    Over the six months after Germany’s phone search law came into force, immigration officials searched 8,000 phones. If they doubted an asylum seeker’s story, they would extract their phone’s metadata – digital information that can reveal the user’s language settings and the locations where they made calls or took pictures.

    To do this, German authorities are using a computer programme, called Atos, that combines technology made by two mobile forensic companies – T3K and MSAB. It takes just a few minutes to download metadata. “The analysis of mobile phone data is never the sole basis on which a decision about the application for asylum is made,” says a spokesperson for BAMF, Germany’s immigration agency. But they do use the data to look for inconsistencies in an applicant’s story. If a person says they were in Turkey in September, for example, but phone data shows they were actually in Syria, they can see more investigation is needed.

    Denmark is taking this a step further, by asking migrants for their Facebook passwords. Refugee groups note how the platform is being used more and more to verify an asylum seeker’s identity.

    It recently happened to Assem, a 36-year-old refugee from Syria. Five minutes on his public Facebook profile will tell you two things about him: first, he supports a revolution against Syria’s Assad regime and, second, he is a devoted fan of Barcelona football club. When Danish immigration officials asked him for his password, he gave it to them willingly. “At that time, I didn’t care what they were doing. I just wanted to leave the asylum center,” he says. While Assem was not happy about the request, he now has refugee status.

    The Danish immigration agency confirmed they do ask asylum applicants to see their Facebook profiles. While it is not standard procedure, it can be used if a caseworker feels they need more information. If the applicant refused their consent, they would tell them they are obliged under Danish law. Right now, they only use Facebook – not Instagram or other social platforms.

    Across the EU, rights groups and opposition parties have questioned whether these searches are constitutional, raising concerns over their infringement of privacy and the effect of searching migrants like criminals.

    “In my view, it’s a violation of ethics on privacy to ask for a password to Facebook or open somebody’s mobile phone,” says Michala Clante Bendixen of Denmark’s Refugees Welcome movement. “For an asylum seeker, this is often the only piece of personal and private space he or she has left.”

    Information sourced from phones and social media offers an alternative reality that can compete with an asylum seeker’s own testimony. “They’re holding the phone to be a stronger testament to their history than what the person is ready to disclose,” says Gus Hosein, executive director of Privacy International. “That’s unprecedented.”
    Read next

    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn
    Everything we know about the UK’s plan to block online porn

    By WIRED

    Privacy campaigners note how digital information might not reflect a person’s character accurately. “Because there is so much data on a person’s phone, you can make quite sweeping judgements that might not necessarily be true,” says Christopher Weatherhead, technologist at Privacy International.

    Bendixen cites the case of one man whose asylum application was rejected after Danish authorities examined his phone and saw his Facebook account had left comments during a time he said he was in prison. He explained that his brother also had access to his account, but the authorities did not believe him; he is currently waiting for appeal.

    A spokesperson for the UK’s Home Office told me they don’t check the social media of asylum seekers unless they are suspected of a crime. Nonetheless, British lawyers and social workers have reported that social media searches do take place, although it is unclear whether they reflect official policy. The Home Office did not respond to requests for clarification on that matter.

    Privacy International has investigated the UK police’s ability to search phones, indicating that immigration officials could possess similar powers. “What surprised us was the level of detail of these phone searches. Police could access information even you don’t have access to, such as deleted messages,” Weatherhead says.

    His team found that British police are aided by Israeli mobile forensic company Cellebrite. Using their software, officials can access search history, including deleted browsing history. It can also extract WhatsApp messages from some Android phones.

    There is a crippling irony that the smartphone, for so long a tool of liberation, has become a digital Judas. If you had stood in Athens’ Victoria Square in 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, you would have noticed the “smartphone stoop”: hundreds of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans standing or sitting about this sun-baked patch of grass and concrete, were bending their heads, looking into their phones.

    The smartphone has become the essential accessory for modern migration. Travelling to Europe as an asylum seeker is expensive. People who can’t afford phones typically can’t afford the journey either. Phones became a constant feature along the route to Northern Europe: young men would line the pavements outside reception centres in Berlin, hunched over their screens. In Calais, groups would crowd around charging points. In 2016, the UN refugee agency reported that phones were so important to migrants moving across Europe, that they were spending up to one third of their income on phone credit.

    Now, migrants are being forced to confront a more dangerous reality, as governments worldwide expand their abilities to search asylum seekers’ phones. While European countries were relaxing their laws on metadata search, last year US immigration spent $2.2 million on phone hacking software. But asylum seekers too are changing their behaviour as they become more aware that the smartphone, the very device that has bought them so much freedom, could be the very thing used to unravel their hope of a new life.

    https://www.wired.co.uk/article/europe-immigration-refugees-smartphone-metadata-deportations
    #smartphone #smartphones #données #big_data #expulsions #Allemagne #Danemark #renvois #carte_SIM #Belgique #Autriche


  • L’Austria esce dal patto Onu per le migrazioni: “Limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”

    L’accordo internazionale che punta a difendere i diritti dei rifugiati entrerà in vigore a dicembre. Prima di Vienna, anche Usa e Ungheria si sono sfilati. Il governo Kurz: “Migrare non è un diritto fondamentale”.

    L’Austria esce dal patto Onu per le migrazioni: “Limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”

    L’accordo internazionale che punta a difendere i diritti dei rifugiati entrerà in vigore a dicembre. Prima di Vienna, anche Usa e Ungheria si sono sfilati. Il governo Kurz: “Migrare non è un diritto fondamentale”

    L’Austria annuncia il suo ritiro dal patto delle Nazioni Unite sulle migrazioni, e segue così l’esempio di Stati Uniti e Ungheria, che prima di lei sono uscite dall’accordo internazionale, in controcorrente con gli oltre 190 Paesi che l’hanno firmato. Lo ha comunicato il cancelliere Sebastian Kurz, motivando la scelta sovranista come una reazione necessaria per respingere un vincolo Onu che “limita la sovranità del nostro Paese”. Non ci sarà, dunque, nessun rappresentante di Vienna alla conferenza dell’Onu a Marrakech, in Marocco, il 10 e 11 dicembre. Mentre all’Assemblea generale delle Nazioni Unite dell’anno prossimo l’Austria si asterrà.

    COSA PREVEDE L’ACCORDO

    Il patto per le migrazioni era stato firmato da 193 Paesi a settembre 2017 ed entrerà in vigore a dicembre con la firma prevista al summit di Marrakech. Prevede la protezione dei diritti dei rifugiati e dei migranti, indipendentemente dallo status, e combatte il traffico di esseri umani e la xenofobia. E ancora, impegna i firmatari a lavorare per porre fine alla pratica della detenzione di bambini allo scopo di determinare il loro status migratorio; limita al massimo le detenzioni dei migranti per stabilire le loro condizioni, migliora l’erogazione dell’assistenza umanitaria e di sviluppo ai Paesi più colpiti. Facilita anche il cambiamento di status dei migranti irregolari in regolari, il ricongiungimento familiare, punta a migliorare l’inclusione nel mercato del lavoro, l’accesso al sistema sanitario e all’istruzione superiore e ad una serie di agevolazioni nei Paesi di approdo, oltre che ad accogliere i migranti climatici.

    LE RAGIONI DI VIENNA

    Un documento di 34 pagine, per politiche in favore di chi lascia il proprio Paese che promuovano una migrazione sicura. L’Austria in un comunicato respinge tutti i criteri stabiliti da quella che è stata ribattezzata la “Dichiarazione di New York”. Kurz, che da giovanissimo ministro degli Esteri fece il suo esordio mondiale proprio all’Assemblea generale dell’Onu, decide così di strappare e imporre il suo giro di vite sui migranti, spinto dal suo alleato al governo, l’ultradestra dell’Fpö di Heinz-Christian Strache, il quale a margine dell’annuncio del ritiro ha aggiunto: “La migrazione non è e non può essere un diritto fondamentale dell’uomo”. Il governo di Vienna, in particolare, spiega che “il patto limita la sovranità nazionale, perché non distingue tra migrazione economica e ricerca di protezione umanitaria”, tra migrazione illegale e legale. “Non può essere - continua il governo Kurz - che qualcuno riceva lo status di rifugiato per motivi di povertà o climatici”.

    “SEGUIAMO IL LORO ESEMPIO”

    Il patto, in realtà, non è vincolante ai sensi del diritto internazionale, una volta firmato. Si delinea come una dichiarazione di intenti, per mettere ordine nelle politiche sulle migrazioni a livello mondiale, all’insegna della solidarietà. Per questo, la mossa di Vienna assume un valore simbolico, sull’onda delle dichiarazioni di Kurz e i suoi che vorrebbero chiudere le porte dell’Europa all’immigrazione e controllare i confini. Trascina dietro di sé la lodi di altri partiti populisti europei, uno tra tutti l’AfD tedesca, con la leader Alice Weidel che non ha tardato a twittare: “Anche la Germania non aderisca, il Global Compact apre la strada a milioni di migranti africani e legalizza l’immigrazione irregolare”.

    https://www.lastampa.it/2018/10/31/esteri/laustria-esce-dal-patto-onu-per-le-migrazioni-limita-la-sovranit-del-nostro-paese-GbGo3HsbsGygjZ3aOjVfkJ/pagina.html
    #Global_compact #global_compact_on_refugees #migrations #réfugiés #asile #Autriche #Hongrie #USA #Etats-Unis

    • Austria to shun global migration pact, fearing creep in human rights

      Austria will follow the United States and Hungary in backing out of a United Nations migration pact over concerns it will blur the line between legal and illegal migration, the right-wing government said on Wednesday.

      The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was approved in July by all 193 member nations except the United States, which backed out last year.

      Hungary’s right-wing government has since said it will not sign the final document at a ceremony in Morocco in December. Poland, which has also clashed with Brussels by resisting national quotas for asylum seekers, has said it is considering the same step.

      “Austria will not join the U.N. migration pact,” said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative and immigration hard-liner who governs in coalition with the far-right Freedom Party.

      “We view some points of the migration pact very critically, such as the mixing up of seeking protection with labor migration,” said Kurz, who argues that migrants rescued in the Mediterranean should not be brought straight to Europe.

      U.N. Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour called the move regrettable and mistaken and said the compact simply aimed to improve the management of cross-border movements of people.

      “It is no possible sense of the word an infringement on state sovereignty - it is not legally binding, it’s a framework for cooperation,” she told Reuters.

      Vienna currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, a role that usually involves playing a mediating role to bridge divisions within the bloc. Instead its move highlighted the disagreements on migration that have blighted relations among the 28 member states for years.

      The Austrian government is concerned that signing up to the pact, even though it is not binding, could eventually help lead to the recognition of a “human right to migration”. The text of a cabinet decision formally approving its move on Wednesday said it would argue against such a right.

      “We reject any movement in that direction,” Freedom Party leader and Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache told a news conference after the weekly cabinet meeting.

      Arbour said such concerns were unfounded.

      “The question of whether this is an invidious way to start promoting a ‘human right to migrate’ is not correct. It’s not in the text, there’s no sinister project to advance that.”

      Austria took in roughly 1 percent of its population in asylum seekers in 2015 during a migration crisis in which more than a million people traveled to Europe, many of them fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

      That experience dominated last year’s parliamentary election and helped propel Kurz’s conservatives to power. He has said he will prevent any repeat of that influx and has implemented policies that include restricting benefits for new immigrants.

      The U.N. pact addresses issues such as how to protect people who migrate, how to integrate them into new countries and how to return them to their home countries.

      The United Nations has hailed it as a historic and comprehensive pact that could serve as a basis for future policies.

      Austria will not send an envoy to the signing ceremony in Morocco and will abstain at a U.N. General Assembly vote on the pact next year, Kurz’s office said.

      In a paper this month, the Brookings Institution, a U.S. think tank, said the pact “reflects widespread recognition, among even the most skeptical member states, that managing migration effectively is in the common interest”.

      Amnesty International criticized Vienna’s stance.

      “Instead of facing global challenges on an international level, the government is increasingly isolating Austria. That is irresponsible,” the rights group said in a statement.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-migrants-austria/austria-to-withdraw-from-u-n-migration-agreement-apa-idUSKCN1N50JZ

    • Communication Breakdown in Austria – How Far-Right Fringe Groups Hijacked the Narrative on the Global Compact for Migration

      Yesterday Austria announced its withdrawal from the UN Global Compact for Migration (GCM), thus joining the United States and Hungary. The decision was met with little surprise. It followed an announcement in early October that Austria would reconsider its continued participation in the GCM process. And it followed weeks of efforts by the right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ) and other far-right actors to discredit the GCM.

      As the Austrian decision gained media attention, many outside the world of migration policy wondered what the Global Compact for Migration is. This post is both for newcomers and long-time observers. For the newcomers, I explain how the GCM came about and why it is significant. Long-time observers may want to skip to the section discussing the context and implications of the Austrian decision to withdraw.
      What is the UN Global Compact for Migration?

      The short answer is that it is a non-binding agreement on migration at the UN level. The lengthy intergovernmental negotiations concluded in July, which means that the text of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is already available. The text lays out 23 objectives covering a wide array of policies, including objectives on addressing the drivers of migration, better data gathering, border management, enhanced regular pathways and more. In December, states will adopt the GCM in Marrakesh, right after the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

      The long answer is that the Global Compact for Migration encompasses more than the final text. The process leading up to the agreement is just as noteworthy. The negotiations between states and with close participation of civil society actors stretched over eighteen months. At several thematic sessions, states, non-governmental organisations, researchers, grassroots organisations, and think tanks came together in New York, Vienna, and Geneva. In the sessions, actors mostly read out their condensed two- or three-minute statements. But intense discussions happened during panels, outside, at side-events, and during breaks. And parallel to the global proceedings, there were regional and, in some cases, also national consultations. It was thus also a process of learning and coalition-forming.
      Why did Austria decide to leave the Global Compact for Migration?

      The official Austrian critique of the Global Compact for Migration rests on two points. First, it argues that the GCM would eventually be a legally binding document. Second, the GCM is portrayed to diminish states’ national sovereignty. Neither of these statements holds true. Already in the preamble, it clearly says that it is “a non-legally binding, cooperative framework” and that it “upholds the sovereignty of States.” And during the lengthy negotiations, states overwhelmingly emphasized their sovereignty. The decision to leave therefore appears to be much more about short-term domestic politics than about the above-stated concerns.

      Already during the parliamentary election in 2017, the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) outdid each other with anti-immigration rhetoric. Now that they form the current governing coalition, they have passed increasingly restrictive migration and integration policies. Their recent measures stretch from budget cuts for language courses parallel to restricting welfare based on language skills. In light of this, the Austrian decision is not surprising.

      But until recently, the Global Compact for Migration had not been a point of contention for the Freedom Party. In fact, the Austrian foreign ministry – currently headed by a minister affiliated with the FPÖ – took part in the negotiations. The timing of this withdrawal therefore merits attention. Some weeks ago, fringe groups on the far-right started to mobilize against the GCM. With online petitions, posters, and a protest in front of the UN headquarters in Vienna. The websites contain close to no information on the GCM. Instead, they make the baseless assertion that it would lead to “limitless migration” and repeat the alarmist imagery that Nigel Farage used for his “Breaking Point” banner ahead of the Brexit referendum. At the helm of this disinformation campaign is Martin Sellner, leader of the far-right Identarian movement.

      Shortly after, the Austrian Freedom Party also started to publicly criticize the Global Compact for Migration in widely read Austrian tabloids. During the evening news on the day of the official withdrawal, Armin Wolf confronted FPÖ Vice-Chancellor Strache with the question why the FPÖ had only begun its criticism after far-right fringe group activism had started. Strache denied any connection in the timing. Meanwhile, Martin Sellner celebrated the success of the imitative. Instead, Strache argued that it took time to reach a judgment on the final product. However, the text had been in its final shape for months.
      What can be learned from this?

      To be clear, one should not be tempted to overstate the significance of fringe actors. But one also should not leave the debate in the wider public about the Global Compact for Migration in their hands. The GCM negotiation process has been inclusive to those actors wishing to participate and all previous drafts of the agreement had been available online. The efforts were thus comparatively transparent. But, nonetheless, the communication with the wider public was not proactive.

      In the months that I had been involved with the GCM process, I was repeatedly surprised how many people within the world of migration and integration were unaware of the negotiations, even less so the wider public. And while it is not necessary to indulge in the technicalities of such a lengthy process, it meant that many people in Austria heard about the GCM only when far-right groups brought it to the fore. In the absence of wider public engagement, there was no counter-movement to challenge the misinformation that was spreading.

      What are the implications of this decision? And what is next?

      There is already talk of other countries following the path of Austria, Hungary, and the US. But instead of getting stuck in speculations about who else may withdraw, efforts should concentrate on the majority that upholds the Global Compact for Migration. This incident provides an opportunity to start a conversation beyond those tightly involved in migration policy.

      And it is important to remember that December will just be the beginning, not the end. Ahead lies a long road of implementation. Then, inclusiveness – especially of those directly affected by the GCM – and proactive communication will remain crucial.


      https://www.compas.ox.ac.uk/2018/communication-breakdown-in-austria-how-far-right-fringe-groups-hijacked

      –-> et sur cette image, le fameux slogan australien #No_Way (you won’t make Australia home)
      #modèle_australien #Australie

    • Le Pacte de l’ONU pour les migrations divise le parlement

      Le gouvernement souhaite signer, avec une réserve, un projet de traité international sur les réfugiés. Des commissions parlementaires délivrent des messages contradictoires.

      Le Conseil fédéral doit-il approuver le Pacte mondial des Nations unies pour les migrations les 10 et 11 décembre à Marrakech ? C’est son intention. Il l’a annoncée le 10 octobre. Mais cette perspective fait des vagues, à tel point qu’une commission parlementaire émet de sérieuses réserves à ce sujet alors que d’autres sont divisées. Comme il l’avait promis, le gouvernement les a consultées avant de prendre une décision définitive.

      La Commission des institutions politiques du Conseil national (CIP-N) s’est manifestée la première. Le 19 octobre, elle a adopté une motion qui demande que la décision d’approbation soit soumise aux Chambres fédérales. Une semaine plus tard, la Commission de politique extérieure du Conseil des Etats (CPE-E) a adressé au Conseil fédéral une lettre annonçant son intention de déposer une requête similaire. Vendredi dernier, la CIP-N a franchi un pas de plus : par 15 voix contre 9, elle a formellement décidé de recommander au Conseil fédéral de ne pas approuver ce traité migratoire. Cette revendication sera discutée en séance plénière du Conseil national le 6 décembre.

      Ambassadeur actif et décrié

      Lundi, la CPE-N a émis un avis différent. Par 14 voix contre 10, elle recommande au Conseil fédéral d’apposer sa signature au bas du pacte de l’ONU. Dans des proportions similaires, elle a refusé de soumettre celui-ci au vote obligatoire ou de recueillir formellement l’avis des Chambres fédérales. La commission sœur du Conseil des Etats n’a pas encore rendu son verdict. Elle se réunit une nouvelle fois lundi prochain.

      C’est l’UDC qui a ouvert les feux. Mi-septembre, alors que personne à Berne ne se préoccupait de la prochaine signature de cette convention migratoire, elle a condamné ce texte, contraignant politiquement mais pas juridiquement, avec la plus grande virulence. Celui-ci prône une « migration sûre, ordonnée et régulière ». Selon le Conseil fédéral, ses objectifs recoupent les siens : réduire la migration irrégulière, renforcer l’aide sur place, lutter contre la traite des êtres humains et le trafic des migrants, sécuriser les frontières, respecter les droits humains, faciliter le rapatriement, la réintégration ou l’intégration durable dans le pays d’accueil. La Suisse a même joué un rôle moteur dans l’élaboration de ce texte, puisque l’ambassadeur auprès de l’ONU, Jürg Lauber, en a été l’une des chevilles ouvrières avec son homologue mexicain, Juan José Gomez Camacho, et la représentante spéciale de l’ONU pour les migrations internationales, Louise Arbour.
      Plusieurs pays ont renoncé

      L’UDC fait de ce document une lecture très différente. Elle y voit un moyen de permettre « aux migrants d’accéder plus facilement aux pays de leur choix, indépendamment de leurs qualifications ». Elle brandit la menace d’une immigration massive vers la Suisse. A quelques semaines du vote sur l’initiative contre les juges étrangers, et en vertu de l’article constitutionnel qui dit que la Suisse doit gérer son immigration de manière indépendante, l’UDC exige le rejet de ce pacte. Elle n’est pas seule. Le projet est aussi controversé au sein du PLR.

      Pour le Conseil fédéral, la situation n’est pas simple. Les Etats-Unis, la Hongrie et l’Autriche ont déjà fait savoir qu’ils ne participeraient pas à la signature. Comme l’ambassadeur Lauber, sur qui l’UDC tire à boulets rouges et qui est aussi la cible d’une campagne sauvage de la droite identitaire, a contribué activement aux négociations, un refus de la Suisse serait considéré comme un affront au sein de l’ONU.

      Par ailleurs, on rappelle volontiers que les fondements de ce texte, dont l’élaboration a débuté en 2016, recoupent la politique migratoire défendue par Didier Burkhalter et Simonetta Sommaruga. Or, le premier nommé a quitté le Conseil fédéral et c’est son successeur Ignazio Cassis, à qui l’on reproche de ne pas défendre suffisamment son émissaire auprès des Nations unies, qui a repris le flambeau. Début octobre, le gouvernement a proposé d’approuver le pacte assorti d’une réserve portant sur le traitement des mineurs âgés d’au moins 15 ans.

      https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/pacte-lonu-migrations-divise-parlement


  • 530 vols annulés à Brussels Airport depuis jeudi : l’incertitude demeure quant à la durée de la grève Belga - 28 Octobre 2018 - RTBF
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/economie/detail_greve-spontanee-chez-aviapartner-plus-d-un-vol-sur-cinq-a-nouveau-annule

    Plus d’un vol sur quatre a été annulé dimanche à Brussels Airport en raison de la grève du personnel de la société d’assistance aéroportuaire Aviapartner, qui dure maintenant depuis jeudi après-midi, a-t-on appris auprès de l’aéroport bruxellois. En tout, 530 vols ont été annulés depuis jeudi. Contrairement à ces derniers jours, aucun passager n’a dû y passer la nuit.

    Au total, ce sont 150 vols sur 550 qui ont été annulés dimanche à Brussels Airport, alors que l’aéroport était censé accueillir un total de 74.000 passagers au départ et à l’arrivée en ce deuxième jour du premier week-end des vacances de la Toussaint.


    La grève du personnel d’Aviapartner (bagagistes et assistants aéroportuaires) a commencé jeudi après-midi et, malgré plusieurs réunions de négociations, aucune solution satisfaisante n’a encore pu être dégagée. La direction a dès lors appelé à une conciliation vu l’urgence de la situation. Les discussions doivent ainsi reprendre ce dimanche dans les locaux du SPF Emploi, Travail et Concertation sociale, à Bruxelles, et non pas à l’aéroport de Zaventem comme cela a été le cas samedi. Il ne semble toutefois plus certain que la réunion débute à 10h00 comme prévu initialement.

    Quelles sont les demandes ? 
    Lors des négociations, les trois syndicats (CSC Transcom, FGTB-UBT et CGSLB) ont davantage concrétisé leurs exigences. Mais lorsqu’ont été abordées les compensations financières et indemnités, le fossé s’est creusé entre les deux parties. Les syndicats ont notamment demandé que les intérimaires reçoivent un contrat à durée indéterminée.

    Aviapartner a proposé l’engagement de 78 intérimaires, le paiement d’une prime de 250 euros par personnes « dans le contexte d’une sortie de grève immédiate », et le renforcement du middle management, notamment, a fait savoir l’entreprise dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche. Elle a ajouté regretter que les syndicats aient refusé ces offres.

    Les discussions portent aussi sur le matériel et les vêtements de travail. Les pauses déjeuner sont également un point important pour les syndicats. Les travailleurs d’Aviapartner se plaignent en effet de ne pas savoir en début de service quand ils pourront profiter d’un temps de repos durant leur journée de travail.

    A en croire Sandra Langenus, de l’UBT-FGTB, les syndicats ont jusqu’à présent obtenu une réponse satisfaisante à « quelques petits points mais pas les principaux ».

    Brussels Airport, de son côté, recommande de consulter la liste des compagnies touchées par la grève sur son site internet avant de se rendre à l’aéroport et de contacter celles-ci le cas échéant.

    Les bagages des vols annulés ne sont eux pas encore disponibles. « Ceux-ci seront envoyés vers leur destination », précise Brussels Airport. « Nous conseillons dès lors d’introduire une demande de récupération de bagage à destination auprès du service Lost & Found local de la compagnie aérienne. Si vous décidez de ne pas partir, vous pouvez vous adresser au service Lost and Found ’Welcome services’ à Brussels Airport. »

    Les bagages des passagers à l’arrivée ne sont pas non plus disponibles. Les voyageurs recevront un code qu’ils peuvent utiliser pour introduire une demande de récupération de bagage.

     #grève #travail #luttes_sociales #lutte #low_cost #transport-aérien #avion #transports #aéroports #conditions_de_travail #Bruxelles #Belgique


  • MEP: Reality of my three days in occupied Western Sahara

    In December 2016, the European Court of Justice reaffirmed that Morocco had no sovereignty over Western Sahara.

    Therefore, the EU-Morocco trade agreement had been illegally applied to that territory.

    This ruling, a mere statement of fact, brought the frozen conflict of Western Sahara to the forefront of the EU agenda, after more than four decades of European passivity or even discreet complicity with the illegal occupying force in Africa’s last colony.

    Rather than complying with the ruling and negotiating a separate agreement with the UN-recognised representative of the people of Western Sahara, the Polisario Front, the Commission chose to prioritise at all costs the preservation of its relationship with its partner in Rabat.

    In a diplomatic whirlwind, the commission and Morocco negotiated a solution that would allow Western Sahara to continue to be part of any successor agreement and it is now holding its breath while the European Parliament assesses this proposal.

    Rather than securing the ECJ-required “consent of the people of Western Sahara”, the commission travelled to Rabat in order to “consult” representatives of “the people concerned by the agreement” and to evaluate the potential benefits for “the local population”.
    Demographic engineering?

    The latter objective de facto gives credit to an illegal and massive process of demographic engineering by Morocco, resulting in the indigenous Saharawi population to become a minority in its own territory.

    The overwhelming share of the “consulted” stakeholders was composed of Moroccans or local representatives with a direct interest in preserving the status quo ante.

    It was estimated that out of the 112 stakeholders that the commission claims to have consulted, 94 of them rejected taking part in the consultation or were never even invited to such talks.

    Following repeated prodding from the Greens/EFA parliamentarians, the commission has had to concede that it does not dispose of any data whatsoever on the existing trade with and from Western Sahara.

    A delegation from the committee on international trade (INTA), including myself, visited the cities of Dakhla and Laayoune in September.

    The programme of the visit had been fully agreed with the Moroccan authorities, who accompanied us alongside a fleet of “official journalists” to every single meeting.

    Moreover, the INTA delegation did not travel outside the part occupied by Morocco.

    We did however learn that the Moroccan authorities are adamant about their intention to continue labelling products from Western Sahara as Moroccan, even though the ECJ ruling clearly states that Western Sahara and Morocco are “two separate and distinct territories”.

    The reality check came when I decided to have an additional meeting with some Saharawi activists.
    Strange incident

    The Moroccan authorities used a textbook method of harassing the human rights defenders: the activists were arrested for reportedly not wearing their seat belt.

    After hours of discussions with an inordinate number of plainclothes police officers, definitely more than needed for a minor traffic infringement, and after being told in quite an aggressive way that I should not have meetings outside of the mission, we managed to leave and hold the meeting in the early hours of the morning.

    I wonder how traffic police had so much information.

    The Sahrawis we met explained that their daily lives are full of such episodes. They showed us several videos of a demonstration that took place on that same day.

    Some of the activists ended up in the hospital after suffering from police brutality. All this happened while the parliamentary delegation was enjoying lavish food from the Moroccan-installed local authorities presenting the extraordinary development prospects of a new agreement negotiated with a benevolent Moroccan administration.

    Some in the parliament claim that “we should not oppose development” in Western Sahara and that opposing the proposed agreement would be to the detriment of the population bringing trade, jobs and income.

    This statement ignores the very fundamental fact: this agreement would consolidate the illegal annexation of Western Sahara by Morocco and run directly against the UN-led peace efforts, by dividing the territory of Western Sahara in two and strengthening one of the parties of the conflict.

    What is the incentive for Rabat to engage genuinely in the UN peace talks foreseen in early December, when it has the EU’s blessing to continue to disregard international law and when it stands to gain from further benefits from a new trade agreement with Brussels?

    If the European parliament gives its consent to this agreement, the ECJ will most likely strike it down.

    We need to stand by the principles of international law instead of signing agreements that clearly violate the rule of law and the right of Sahrawi people to reunite and enjoy their right to self-determination. Our reputation and the fate of a people is at stake.


    https://euobserver.com/opinion/143054
    #Sahara_occidental #occupation #Maroc



  • Migration: the riddle of Europe’s shadow population
    Lennys — not her real name — is part of a shadow population living in Europe that predates the arrival of several million people on the continent in the past few years, amid war and chaos in regions of the Middle East and Africa. That influx, which has fuelled Eurosceptic nativism, has if anything complicated the fate of Lennys and other irregular migrants.

    Now she is using a service set up by the Barcelona local administration to help naturalise irregular migrants and bring them in from the margins of society. She is baffled by the anti-immigrant rhetoric of politicians who suggest people like her prefer living in the legal twilight, without access to many services — or official protection.❞

    The fate of Lennys and other irregulars is likely to take an ever more central role in Europe’s deepening disputes on migration. They are a diverse group: many arrived legally, as Lennys did, on holiday, work or family visas that have since expired or become invalid because of changes in personal circumstances. Others came clandestinely and have never had any legal right to stay.

    The most scrutinised, and frequently demonised, cohort consists of asylum seekers whose claims have failed. Their numbers are growing as the cases from the surge in migrant arrivals in the EU in 2015 and 2016 — when more than 2.5m people applied for asylum in the bloc — work their way through the process of decisions and appeals. Almost half of first instance claims failed between 2015 and 2017, but many of those who are rejected cannot be returned to their home countries easily — or even at all.

    The question of what to do about rejected asylum applicants and the rest of Europe’s shadow population is one that many governments avoid. Bouts of hostile rhetoric and unrealistic targets — such as the Italian government’s pledge this year to expel half a million irregular migrants — mask a structural failure to deal with the practicalities.

    Many governments have sought to deny irregular migrants services and expel them — policies that can create their own steep human costs. But authorities in a growing number of cities from Barcelona to Brussels have concluded that the combination of hostile attitudes and bureaucratic neglect is destructive.

    These cities are at the frontline of dealing with irregular status residents from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere. Local authorities have, to varying degrees, brought these populations into the system by offering them services such as healthcare, language courses and even legal help.

    The argument is part humanitarian but also pragmatic. It could help prevent public health threats, crime, exploitative employment practices — and the kind of ghettoisation that can tear communities apart.

    “If we provide ways for people to find their path in our city . . . afterwards probably they will get regularisation and will get their papers correct,” says Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona. “It’s better for everybody.”

    The size of Europe’s shadow population is unknown — but generally reckoned by experts to be significant and growing. The most comprehensive effort to measure it was through an EU funded project called Clandestino, which estimated the number of irregular migrants at between 1.9m and 3.8m in 2008 — a figure notable for both its wide margin of error and the lack of updates to it since, despite the influx after 2015.

    A more contemporaneous, though also imprecise, metric comes from comparing the numbers of people ordered to leave the EU each year with the numbers who actually went. Between 2008 and 2017, more than 5m non-EU citizens were instructed to leave the bloc. About 2m returned to countries outside it, according to official data.

    While the two sets of numbers do not map exactly — people don’t necessarily leave in the same year they are ordered to do so — the figures do suggest several million people may have joined Europe’s shadow population in the past decade or so. The cohort is likely to swell further as a glut of final appeals from asylum cases lodged since 2015 comes through.

    “The volume of people who are in limbo in the EU will only grow, so it’s really problematic,” says Hanne Beirens, associate director at Migration Policy Institute Europe, a think-tank. “While the rhetoric at a national level will be ‘These people cannot stay’, at a local community level these people need to survive.”

    Barcelona: cities seek practical solutions to ease migrant lives

    Barcelona’s pragmatic approach to irregular migration echoes its history as a hub for trade and movement of people across the Mediterranean Sea.

    It is one of 11 cities from 10 European countries involved in a two-year project on the best ways to provide services to irregular status migrants. Other participants in the initiative — set up last year by Oxford university’s Centre on Migration, Policy, and Society — include Athens, Frankfurt, Ghent, Gothenburg, Lisbon, Oslo, Stockholm and Utrecht.

    A report for the group, published last year, highlights the restrictions faced by undocumented migrants in accessing services across the EU. They were able to receive only emergency healthcare in six countries, while in a further 12 they were generally excluded from primary and secondary care services.

    Some cities have made special efforts to offer help in ways that they argue also benefit the community, the report said. Rotterdam asked midwives, doctors, and schools to refer children for vaccinations, in case their parents were afraid to reveal their immigration status.

    The impact of some of these policies has still to be demonstrated. Ramon Sanahuja, director of immigration at the city council in Barcelona, says authorities there had an “intuition” their approach brought benefits, but he admits they need to do a cost-benefit analysis. As to the potential for the scheme to be exploited by anti-immigrant groups, he says Europe needs “brave politicians who explain how the world works and that the system is complicated”.

    “A lot of people in Barcelona are part of the system — they have [for example] a cleaning lady from Honduras who they pay €10 per hour under the counter,” he says. “Someone has to explain this, that everything is related.” Michael Peel

    https://www.ft.com/content/58f2f7f8-c7c1-11e8-ba8f-ee390057b8c9?segmentid=acee4131-99c2-09d3-a635-873e61754
    #naturalisation #villes-refuge #ville-refuge #citoyenneté #sans-papiers #migrerrance #régularisation #statistiques #chiffres #Europe #Etat-nation #limbe #pragmatisme #Barcelone

    cc @isskein

    –----

    Au niveau de la #terminologie (#mots, #vocabulaire), pour @sinehebdo:

    Belgian policy towards irregular migrants and undocumented workers has stiffened under the current government, which includes the hardline Flemish nationalist NVA party. It has prioritised the expulsion of “transmigrants”— the term used for people that have travelled to Europe, often via north Africa and the Mediterranean and that are seeking to move on from Belgium to other countries, notably the UK. Several hundred live rough in and around Brussels’ Gare du Nord.

    –-> #transmigrants


  • In residence: Mia Melvær
    http://constantvzw.org/site/In-residence-Mia-Melvaer.html

    From October until the end of 2018, Constant will share its studio on the 25th floor of the WTC building with Mia Melvær. Mia is a Norwegian visual artist working with the intersection of sculpture, technology and ways of archiving. Often in collaboration with the Brussels-based collective Just for the Record, investigating how gender is represented in the way history gets written, recorded, archived, sung and (...)

    And more...

    #And_more...


  • As the World Abandons Refugees, UNHCR’s Constraints Are Exposed

    The U.N. refugee agency lacks the funding, political clout and independence to protect refugees in the way that it is supposed to, says former UNHCR official and refugee policy expert #Jeff_Crisp.

    Over the past three years, the world has been confronted with a number of major new refugee emergencies – in Myanmar, Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Venezuela, as well as the Central American region. In addition, existing crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Syria have gone unresolved, making it impossible for large exiled populations to return to their own country. As a result, the global refugee population has soared to more than 25 million, the highest figure ever recorded.

    This means that the role of the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, which is supposed to protect and find solutions for this growing population, is more important than ever. But is it up to the task? The proliferating crises have stretched it to the limit. Funding, most of which comes from a dozen key donor states, has not kept up with the rising numbers the agency is expected to support. In April, UNHCR said it had received just $2.3 billion of the $8.2 billion it needed for its annual program.

    Things look unlikely to improve. UNHCR is losing the support of the United States, traditionally the organization’s most important government partner, whether under Republican or Democrat administrations. Since Donald Trump’s election, the country has slashed the number of refugees it admits through its resettlement program. In his final years in office, Barack Obama had raised the annual quota to 110,000 refugees. That is now down to 45,000 and may yet be reduced to 25,000.

    There is also the prospect that the Trump administration will demonstrate its disdain for the U.N. and limited interest in the refugee issue by reducing its funding to the agency, as it has already done with UNRWA, a separate agency that supports Palestinian refugees. Given that the U.S. currently contributes almost 40 percent of the UNHCR budget, even a modest reduction in its support will mean serious cuts in expenditure.

    The agency therefore has little choice but to look for alternative sources of funding and diplomatic support, especially from the European Union and its member states. But that may come at a price. One of the E.U.’s top priorities is to halt the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers who have transited through nearby countries such as Libya, Morocco and Turkey. Populist political parties throughout much of the E.U. are reaping the electoral benefits of taking a hard line on the issue of refugees and migration. Several European governments have shown little hesitation in violating the international refugee laws they have signed in their desperation to seal Europe’s borders.

    The E.U. thus looks to UNHCR for two things: first, the expertise and operational capacity of an organization that has years of experience in responding to mass movements of people; and second, the legitimacy that E.U. policies can acquire by means of close association with an agency deemed by its founding statute to be “entirely non-political and humanitarian.” In this context, it should come as no surprise that E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has been at pains to point out that the E.U. and UNHCR “work together” and have a “close partnership” – and that the E.U. remains “the strongest supporter of UNHCR.”

    But this partnership (which involved $436 million in funding from Brussels alone in 2017) also involves an important element of compromise on the part of UNHCR. In the Mediterranean, for example, the E.U. is funding the Libyan coast guard to intercept and return any refugees who try to leave the country by boat. Those people are subsequently confined to detention centers where, according to Amnesty International, they are at risk of torture, forced labor, extortion and murder at the hand of smugglers, bandits or the Libyan authorities.

    The U.N. high commissioner for human rights has publicly chastised the E.U. for its failure to improve the situation of migrants in Libya. By contrast, UNHCR has kept very quiet about the E.U.’s role in the process of interception, return and detention, despite the fact that these actions violate a fundamental principle of refugee protection: that no one should be returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

    This reveals a fundamental tension in the organization’s character. Ostensibly, UNHCR enjoys a high degree of independence and moral authority. As part of the U.N. system, it is treated with more respect by states and other actors than NGOs doing similar work. It has regular access to heads of state, government leaders, regional organizations, the U.N. security council and the secretary-general himself (who was previously UNHCR chief).

    But in practice, the autonomy enjoyed by UNHCR is at best a relative one. Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The organization can operate in a country only if it has the agreement of the government, which also has the ability to shape the scope of UNHCR’s operational activities, as well as the partners it works with. In countries such as Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan and Syria, for example, the organization is obliged to work with government departments whose priorities may well be different from those of UNHCR.

    Almost 90 percent of the agency’s funding is provided by states, much of it earmarked for specific programs, projects and countries. UNHCR’s governing board consists entirely of states.

    The tensions at the heart of UNHCR seem unlikely to diminish. Throughout the world, governments are closing their borders to refugees and depriving them of basic rights. Exiled populations are being induced to repatriate against their will and to countries that are not safe. As epitomized by the E.U.’s deal with Turkey, asylum seekers have become bargaining chips in interstate relations, used by political leaders to extract financial, political and even military concessions from each other.

    Given the constitutional constraints imposed on the organization, UNHCR’s options are now limited. It can try (as it has done for many years) to diversify its funding base. It could assume a more assertive stance with states that violate refugee protection principles – and in doing so risk the loss of its already diminished degree of diplomatic support. And it can hope that the recently completed Global Compact on Refugees, a nonbinding declaration of principles that most U.N. member states are expected to sign, will have some effect on the way that governments actually treat refugees.

    A final option available to UNHCR is to be more transparent about its limitations, to moderate the relentless self-promotion of its branding and marketing campaign and give greater recognition to the efforts that refugees are making to improve their own lives. In that respect, UNHCR’s favourite hashtag, “We Stand #WithRefugees,” could usefully be changed to “Refugees Are #StandingUpForThemselves.”

    #UN #ONU #HCR #UNHCR #crise #indépendance #fonds #financement #it_has_begun


  • From Split Sheets to the Streets
    http://constantvzw.org/site/From-Split-Sheets-to-the-Streets.html

    Contribution to symposium organised by Q-02, Brussels. With: Christian von Borries, Prodromos Tsiavos, Femke Snelting, Melissa E. Logan, ooooo, Yoni Van Den Eede The one-day symposium and reflection day From Split Sheets to the Streets: how we credit, share and collect for intellectual property today and tomorrow will examine the worlds of intellectual property and ownership of music – beginning from the present and extending into models for the future. It aims at dissecting and (...)

    And more...

    #And_more...


  • #Books_with_an_Attitude @ FLAT
    http://constantvzw.org/site/Books-with-an-attitude-FLAT,3044.html

    At the FLAT Art Book Fair of Torino, Femke will present Books With an Attitude. Books deserve their hallmark “with an Attitude” when they are made with Free, Libre and Open Source Software and published under an open content license by Constant. This Brussels’ based association for art and media, collaborated with different designers to experiment the interrelation between tools, design and content. After almost ten years, the catalog now includes e-books, manuals, software-releases, (...)

    Books with an Attitude


  • Hôtel Wolfers : Henry van de Velde’s frozen ruin | Buildings | Architectural Review

    https://www.architectural-review.com/buildings/htel-wolfers-henry-van-de-veldes-frozen-ruin/10035389.article

    A wolf in sheep’s clothing: designed by Henry van de Velde, Hôtel Wolfers is frozen in a state of ruin, an artwork in its own right

    Conspicuous in a genteel southern suburb of mild-mannered 19th-century townhouses in Brussels, the round-cornered, Roman-bricked Hôtel Wolfers was designed in 1929 by Henry van de Velde. A staunch Modernist and director of the Bauhaus’s predecessor – the Grand Ducal School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar – he must have flinched at the neighbourhood’s chocolate-box trinketism.

    #architecture #Henry_van_de_Velde

    • Mais aussi :
      Quel avenir pour la façade de l’hôtel Aubecq, oeuvre majeure de Victor Horta ?
      https://www.rtbf.be/info/regions/detail_quel-avenir-pour-la-facade-de-l-hotel-aubecq-oeuvre-majeure-de-victor-ho

      Avec quatre œuvres inscrites au patrimoine mondial de l’Unesco, le Belge Victor Horta (1861 -1947) est aujourd’hui considéré comme un architecte de génie. Ce que l’on sait moins, c’est que nombre de ses réalisations ont été détruites ou abîmées, car considérées comme démodées après la seconde guerre mondiale.

      Parmi les oeuvres détruites, on compte l’hôtel Aubecq, l’une de ses trois plus célèbres réalisations. En 1950, une de ses façades a survécu à la démolition. Depuis lors, l’avenir de ces quelque 650 pierres taillées dans les moindres détails n’a cessé d’être questionné.

      Aujourd’hui, la Région bruxelloise a finalement décidé d’en faire quelque chose. Stockées pendant des années dans un hangar à Schaerbeek, les pierres vont être placées dans un nouveau lieu : le musée Kanal.

      Seize pierres emblématiques ont déjà été placées. Et d’ici le mois de juin, architectes, archéologues et urbanistes décideront si la façade entière restera au musée en pièces détachées ou sera reconstruite.
      C’était quoi, l’hôtel Aubecq ? (avant-après)

      L’hôtel Aubecq porte le nom d’un riche industriel pour lequel il a été construit au 520, avenue Louise. Il s’agissait d’une maison privée construite de pierres taillées dans les moindres détails et de puits de lumières. En 1950, Horta le moderne ne plaisait plus et le fils d’Octave Aubecq a pris la décision de démolir la maison construite sur mesure pour son père.


  • EU steps up planning for refugee exodus if Assad attacks #Idlib

    Thousands to be moved from Greek island camps to make space in case of mass arrivals.

    Children walk past the remains of burned-out tents after an outbreak of violence at the Moria migrant centre on Lesbos. Aid groups say conditions at the camps on Greek islands are ’shameful’ © Reuters

    Michael Peel in Brussels September 14, 2018

    Thousands of migrants will be moved from Greek island camps within weeks to ease chronic overcrowding and make space if Syrians flee from an assault on rebel-held Idlib province, under plans being discussed by Brussels and Athens.

    Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU’s migration commissioner, is due to meet senior Greek officials next week including Alexis Tsipras, prime minister, to hammer out a plan to move an initial 3,000 people.

    The proposal is primarily aimed at dealing with what 19 non-governmental groups on Thursday branded “shameful” conditions at the island migrant centres. The strategy also dovetails with contingency planning in case Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Russian-backed regime launches a full-scale offensive to retake Idlib and triggers an exodus of refugees to Greece via Turkey.

    The numbers in the planned first Greek migrant transfer would go only partway to easing the island overcrowding — and they are just a small fraction of the several million people estimated to be gathered in the Syrian opposition enclave on the Turkish border.

    “It’s important to get those numbers down,” said one EU diplomat of the Greek island camps. “If we have mass arrivals in Greece, it’s going to be very tough. There is no spare capacity.”

    Syria’s Idlib awaits major assault The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said this week that 30,000 people had been displaced from their homes by air and ground attacks by the Syrian regime and its allies in the Idlib area, while a full assault could drive out 800,000.

    Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission president, this week warned that the “impending humanitarian disaster” in Idlib must be a “deep and direct concern to us all”.

    17,000 Number of migrants crammed into camps designed for 6,000 The European Commission wants to help Athens accelerate an existing programme to send migrants to the Greek mainland and provide accommodation there to ease the island overcrowding, EU diplomats say.

    The commission said it was working with the Greeks to move 3,000 “vulnerable” people whom Athens has made eligible for transfer, in many cases because they have already applied for asylum and are awaiting the results of their claims.

    Migrant numbers in the island camps have climbed this year, in part because of the time taken to process asylum cases. More than 17,000 are crammed into facilities with capacity of barely 6,000, the NGOs said on Thursday, adding that Moria camp on the island of Lesbos was awash with raw sewage and reports of sexual violence and abuse.

    “It is nothing short of shameful that people are expected to endure such horrific conditions on European soil,” the NGOs said in a statement.

    Mr Avramopoulos, the EU migration commissioner, told reporters on Thursday he knew there were “problems right now, especially in the camp of Moria”. The commission was doing “everything in our power” to support the Greek authorities operationally and financially, he added.

    Recommended The FT View The editorial board The high price of Syria’s next disaster “Money is not an issue,” he said. “Greece has had and will continue having all the financial support to address the migration challenges.

    ” The Greek government has already transferred some asylum seekers to the mainland. It has urged the EU to give it more funds and support.

    EU diplomats say the effect of the Idlib conflict on the Greek situation is hard to judge. One uncertainty is whether Ankara would open its frontier to allow people to escape. Even if civilians do cross the border, it is not certain that they would try to move on to the EU: Turkey already hosts more than 3.5m Syrian refugees.

    The EU secured a 2016 deal with Turkey under which Brussels agreed to pay €6bn in exchange for Ankara taking back migrants who cross from its territory to the Greek islands. The agreement has helped drive a sharp fall in Mediterranean migrant arrival numbers to a fraction of their 2015-16 highs.

    https://www.ft.com/content/0aada630-b77a-11e8-bbc3-ccd7de085ffe
    #Syrie #réfugiés_syriens #asile #migrations #Grèce #guerre #réfugiés_syriens #Moria #vide #plein #géographie_du_vide #géographie_du_plein (on vide le camp pour être prêt à le remplir au cas où...) #politique_migratoire
    cc @reka


  • Time for EU to stop being bystander in Western Sahara

    The Western Sahara conflict is at a turning point.

    UN peace talks towards a negotiated settlement are expected as early as November.

    With the recent appointment of a new UN secretary general’s special envoy, former German president Horst Koehler, and the upcoming renewal of the UN peacekeeping operation (MINURSO) in a conflict that has been frozen for nearly 40 years, there is a rare window of opportunity to change the status quo.

    It is in the interest of the EU, and the future of the Maghreb region as a whole, for decision makers in Brussels to stop being a bystander in the political process and use their effective policy options to create the conditions for meaningful negotiations.

    This is not about the EU doing the UN’s job. But instead about the EU being an active player in the security and stability of its Southern neighbourhood.

    Unfortunately, the EU’s current approach is defined by a narrow and misguided focus on trade with Morocco at the expense of the Saharawi people. This has clear negative implications for the UN political process.

    In successive judgements, the European Court of Justice ruled that EU-Morocco trade agreements could not be applied to Western Sahara – which in line with international law is deemed “separate and distinct” from Morocco.

    But the EU has continued on a course of undermining its own legal rulings and somehow finding a process that would support the illegal trading of Western Saharan resources through Morocco.

    As the prospects of renewed UN peace talks approach, the EU cannot continue to ignore the grave consequences of its actions. As the recognised representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario is duty bound to protect the interests of our people and of our natural resources.

    We are left with no choice but to go back to the courts, which will only tie up our and the EU’s bandwidth, all at the same time when the UN and UN Security Council members are asking us to focus all our resources on the political process.

    The negative impact of the EU’s actions goes further.

    While the Polisario has stated clearly and publicly our position to negotiate with no pre-conditions, when the talks likely resume in November we will be sat opposite an empty chair.
    Happy with status quo

    Put simply, Morocco will not come to the negotiating table to agree to peacefully give up its illegal occupation of Western Sahara while the EU continues to sign trade deals which implicitly help to strengthen the status quo.

    The uncomfortable reality for the EU is that Morocco neither wants negotiations nor a genuine political process; yet it is being rewarded for the illegal occupation and exploitation of our natural resources.
    What about Saharawi?

    A key missing element in the EU’s approach has been the will of the Saharawi people.

    The EU has sadly afforded preferential treatment to Morocco’s illegal occupation of Western Sahara including by knowingly excluding from the trade talks the thousands of Saharawis forced to live in exile in refugee camps as a result of the occupation.

    To highlight this, 89 Saharawi civil society organisations wrote to EU leaders earlier this year to highlight their deep concerns over EU’s trade negotiations, the absence of consent, and to remind EU leaders of the dire human rights situation under Morocco’s brutal and illegal occupation.

    This leaves the Polisario with no other choice but to pursue all available legal avenues to ensure such agreements do not continue to violate our rights under international and European law.

    Against this backdrop, an urgent change of approach is needed, which would see the EU finally play a genuine, impartial, and constructive role in supporting peace – including by suspending all ongoing trade negotiations and agreements which concern the territory or territorial waters of Western Sahara, appointing an EU envoy to support the UN political process on Western Sahara, and using preferential trade agreements as a peace dividend to incentivise the successful conclusion of a peace agreement.

    During his recent visit to the region Koehler was clear: the ultimate goal of the political process is the self-determination of the Saharawi people.

    International law is unequivocal on this.

    It is high time for the EU to get behind this international objective for the sake of a sustainable future for the Maghreb built on democratic stability, prosperity, and the rule of law.

    https://euobserver.com/opinion/142566
    #Sahara_occidental #conflit #Sahraoui
    cc @reka


  • Neurocapitalism | openDemocracy
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/ewa-hess-hennric-jokeit/neurocapitalism

    There is good reason to assert the existence, or at least the emergence, of a new type of capitalism: neurocapitalism. After all, the capitalist economy, as the foundation of modern liberal societies, has shown itself to be not only exceptionally adaptable and crisis-resistant, but also, in every phase of its dominance, capable of producing the scientific and technological wherewithal to analyse and mitigate the self-generated “malfunctioning” to which its constituent subjects are prone. In doing so – and this too is one of capitalism’s algorithms – it involves them in the inexorably effective cycle of supply and demand.

    Just as globalisation is a consequence of optimising the means of production and paths of communication (as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels predicted), so the brain, as the command centre of the modern human being, finally appears to be within reach of the humanities, a field closely associated with capitalism. It may seem uncanny just how closely the narrow path to scientific supremacy over the brain runs to the broad highway along which capitalism has been speeding for over 150 years. The relationship remains dynamic, yet what links capitalism with neuroscience is not so much strict regulation as a complex syndrome of systemic flaws.

    At this point, if not before, the unequal duo of capitalism and neuroscience was joined by a third partner. From now on, the blossoming pharmaceutical industry was to function as a kind of transmission belt connecting the two wheels and making them turn faster. In the first half of the twentieth century, mental disorders were treated mainly with sedative barbiturates, electric shock therapy and psychosurgery. But by the 1930s, neuro-psychopharmacology was already winning the day, as Freud had predicted it would.

    Is it a paradox, or one of those things that are so obvious they remain unobserved, that the success of Freud’s psychoanalysis and that of modern neuroscience are based on similar premises? Psychoanalysis was successful because it wove together medically relevant disciplines like psychiatry and psychology with art, culture, education, economics and politics, allowing it to penetrate important areas of social life. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the neurosciences seem to be in a position to take on a comparable role in the future.

    The ten top-selling psychotropic substances in the USA include anti-depressants, neuroleptics (antipsychotics), stimulants and drugs for treating dementia. In 2007 one hundred million prescriptions were issued for these drugs with sales worth more than sixteen billion dollars. These figures illustrate how, in an environment that is regulated but difficult to control, supply and subjectively perceived need can create a market turning over billions of dollars. What is more, it is a market that is likely to expand into those areas in which a performance-driven society confronts the post-postmodern self with its own shortcomings: in others words in schools and further education, at work, in relationships, and in old age. Among the best-selling neuro-psychotropic drugs are those that modulate the way people experience emotions and those that improve their capacity to pay attention and to concentrate, in most cases regardless of whether there is a clinically definable impairment of these functions.

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    Neurocapitalism
    Ewa Hess and Hennric Jokeit 3 March 2010
    Despite the immense costs for healthcare systems, the fear of depression, dementia and attention deficit disorder legitimises the boom in neuro-psychotropic drugs. In a performance-driven society that confronts the self with its own shortcomings, neuroscience serves an expanding market

    Today, the phenomenology of the mind is stepping indignantly aside for a host of hyphenated disciplines such as neuro-anthropology, neuro-pedagogy, neuro-theology, neuro-aesthetics and neuro-economics. Their self-assurance reveals the neurosciences’ usurpatory tendency to become not only the humanities of science, but the leading science of the twenty-first century. The legitimacy, impetus and promise of this claim derive from the maxim that all human behaviour is determined by the laws governing neuronal activity and the way it is organised in the brain.

    Whether or not one accepts the universal validity of this maxim, it is fair to assume that a science that aggressively seeks to establish hermeneutic supremacy will change everyday capitalist reality via its discoveries and products. Or, to put it more cautiously, that its triumph is legitimated, if not enabled, by a significant shift in the capitalist world order.

    There is good reason to assert the existence, or at least the emergence, of a new type of capitalism: neurocapitalism. After all, the capitalist economy, as the foundation of modern liberal societies, has shown itself to be not only exceptionally adaptable and crisis-resistant, but also, in every phase of its dominance, capable of producing the scientific and technological wherewithal to analyse and mitigate the self-generated “malfunctioning” to which its constituent subjects are prone. In doing so – and this too is one of capitalism’s algorithms – it involves them in the inexorably effective cycle of supply and demand.

    Just as globalisation is a consequence of optimising the means of production and paths of communication (as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels predicted), so the brain, as the command centre of the modern human being, finally appears to be within reach of the humanities, a field closely associated with capitalism. It may seem uncanny just how closely the narrow path to scientific supremacy over the brain runs to the broad highway along which capitalism has been speeding for over 150 years. The relationship remains dynamic, yet what links capitalism with neuroscience is not so much strict regulation as a complex syndrome of systemic flaws.

    Repressive late nineteenth-century capitalism, with its exploitative moral dictates, proscriptions and social injustices, was a breeding ground for the neurosis diagnosed by scientists in the early twentieth century as a spiritual epidemic. This mysterious scourge of the bourgeoisie, a class which according to Marx, “through the rapid improvement of all instruments of production [...] draws all, even the most barbarian nations, into civilisation”, expressed the silent rebellion of the abused creature in human beings. It was, in other words, the expression of resistance – as defiant as it was futile – of people’s inner “barbarian nation” to forceful modernisation and civilisation.

    To introduce here the inventor of psychoanalysis and neurosis researcher Sigmund Freud as the first neurocapitalist practitioner and thinker might be thought to be overstepping the mark. Yet people tend to forget that Freud was a neuro-anatomist and neurologist by training, and saw himself primarily as a neuroscientist. What distinguished him from his colleagues was that he was more aware of the limitations of the methods available for studying the brain at the end of the nineteenth century. Having identified neurosis as an acquired pathology of the nervous system for which there was no known treatment or way to localise, he decided instead to take an indirect route. The means he invented in order both to research and to cure this mysterious illness was psychoanalysis. Fellow researchers like Oskar Vogt, who continued to search for the key to psychopathology and genius in the anatomy of the brain, were doomed to fail. From then on, psychology served the requirements of everyday life in a constantly changing capitalist reality. As a method based on communication, psychoanalysis penetrated all spheres of social interaction, from the intimate and private to the economic and cultural. In doing so, it created new markets: a repair market for mental illness and a coaching market for those seeking to optimise capitalist production and reproduction.

    Delayed by the Second World War, the repressive capitalism of the nineteenth century was eventually replaced by libertarian, affluent capitalism. Conformity, discipline and feelings of guilt – the symptoms of failure to cope with a system of moral dictates and proscriptions – gave way to the new imperative of self-realisation. The psychic ideal of the successful individual was characterised by dynamically renewable readiness for self-expansion, which for the subject meant having a capacity for self-motivation that could be activated at any time and that was immune to frustration. Failure now meant not being able to exhaust the full potential of one’s options. This development brought a diametric change in the character of mental illness. Neurosis, a disorder born of guilt, powerlessness and lack of discipline, lost its significance. Attention shifted to the self’s failure to realise itself. Depression, the syndrome described by Alain Ehrenberg in The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age, began its triumphal march.

    Depression, however, was also the first widespread mental illness for which modern neuroscience promptly found a remedy. Depression and anxiety were located in the gaps between the synapses, which is precisely where they were treated. Where previously there had only been reflexive psychotherapy, an interface had now been identified where suffering induced by the self and the world could now be alleviated directly and pre-reflexively.

    At this point, if not before, the unequal duo of capitalism and neuroscience was joined by a third partner. From now on, the blossoming pharmaceutical industry was to function as a kind of transmission belt connecting the two wheels and making them turn faster. In the first half of the twentieth century, mental disorders were treated mainly with sedative barbiturates, electric shock therapy and psychosurgery. But by the 1930s, neuro-psychopharmacology was already winning the day, as Freud had predicted it would.

    Is it a paradox, or one of those things that are so obvious they remain unobserved, that the success of Freud’s psychoanalysis and that of modern neuroscience are based on similar premises? Psychoanalysis was successful because it wove together medically relevant disciplines like psychiatry and psychology with art, culture, education, economics and politics, allowing it to penetrate important areas of social life. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the neurosciences seem to be in a position to take on a comparable role in the future.

    What cannot be overlooked is that the methodological anchoring of the neurosciences in pure science, combined with the ethical legitimacy ascribed to them as a branch of medicine, gives them a privileged position similar to that enjoyed by psychoanalysis in the early twentieth century. Unlike the latter, however, the neurosciences are extremely well funded by the state and even more so by private investment from the pharmaceutical industry. Their prominent status can be explained both by the number and significance of the problems they are attempting to solve, as well as the broad public recognition of these problems, and by the respectable profits to be made should they succeed. In other words, they are driven by economic and epistemic forces that emanate from the capitalism of today, and that will shape the capitalism of tomorrow – whatever that might look like.
    II

    In Germany, the USA and many western European countries, it is neither painkillers nor cardiovascular drugs that now put the greatest strain on health budgets, but rather neuro-psychotropic drugs. The huge market for this group of drugs will grow rapidly as life expectancy continues to rise, since age is the biggest risk factor for neurological and psychiatric illness. All over the world, whole armies of neuroscientists are engaged in research in universities, in projects often funded by the pharmaceuticals industry, and to an even greater extent in the industry’s own facilities, to find more effective and more profitable drugs to bring onto the market. The engine driving the huge advances being made in the neurosciences is capital, while the market seems both to unleash and to constrain the potential of this development.

    Depression, anxiety or attention deficit disorders are now regarded by researchers and clinical practitioners alike as products of neuro-chemical dysregulation in interconnected systems of neurotransmitters. They are therefore treated with substances that intervene either directly or indirectly in the regulation of neurotransmitters. Given that the body’s neuro-chemical systems are highly sensitive and inter-reactive, the art of successful treatment resides in a process of fine-tuning. New and more expensive drugs are able to do this increasingly effectively and selectively, thus reducing undesirable side effects. Despite the immense costs for healthcare systems, the high incidence of mental disorders and the fear of anxiety, depression and dementia make the development of ever better neuro-psychotropic drugs desirable and legitimate.

    However, the development and approval of drugs designed to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders also open the gates to substances that can be used to deliberately alter non-pathological brain functions or mental states. The rigid ethical conventions in the USA and the European Union – today the most profitable markets for neuro-psychotropic drugs – mean that drug development, whether funded by the state or by the pharmaceuticals industry, is strictly geared towards the prevention and treatment of illness. Few pharmaceutical companies are therefore willing to make public their interest in studying and developing substances designed to increase the cognitive performance or psychological wellbeing of healthy people. The reason is simple: there is no legal market for these so-called “neuro-enhancers”. Taking such drugs to perform better in examinations, for example, is a punishable offence in the USA. Yet sales figures for certain neuro-psychotropic drugs are considerably higher than the incidence of the illnesses for which they are indicated would lead one to expect. This apparent paradox applies above all to neuropsychotropic drugs that have neuro-enhancement properties. The most likely explanation is that neuro-enhancers are currently undergoing millions of self-trials, including in universities – albeit probably not in their laboratories.

    The ten top-selling psychotropic substances in the USA include anti-depressants, neuroleptics (antipsychotics), stimulants and drugs for treating dementia. In 2007 one hundred million prescriptions were issued for these drugs with sales worth more than sixteen billion dollars. These figures illustrate how, in an environment that is regulated but difficult to control, supply and subjectively perceived need can create a market turning over billions of dollars. What is more, it is a market that is likely to expand into those areas in which a performance-driven society confronts the post-postmodern self with its own shortcomings: in others words in schools and further education, at work, in relationships, and in old age. Among the best-selling neuro-psychotropic drugs are those that modulate the way people experience emotions and those that improve their capacity to pay attention and to concentrate, in most cases regardless of whether there is a clinically definable impairment of these functions.

    Attempts to offset naturally occurring, non-pathological deviations from the norm are referred to as “compensatory” or “moderate enhancement” – in the same way that glasses are worn to correct the eyes’ decreasing ability to focus. The term describes a gradual improvement in function to a degree that is still physiologically natural. By contrast, “progressive” or “radical enhancement” denotes a qualitative improvement in function that exceeds natural boundaries. To return to the optical metaphor, we could say that the difference between these forms of performance enhancement is like that between wearing spectacles and night-vision glasses.

    In all ages and cultures, producers and purveyors of drugs and potions purported to enhance the individual’s cognitive state have been able to do a tidy trade, as the many references to magic potions and fountains of youth in literature and the fine arts testify. Nowadays, one substance with this kind of mythical status is ginkgo. Billions of dollars worth of ginkgo-biloba preparations are sold in the USA every year; and if ginkgo really did have any significant effect on cognition or memory, it would be a classic case of the widespread, unchecked use of a compensatory neuro-enhancer. As it is, however, the myth and commercial success of ginkgo are more a testament to the perhaps universal human need for a better attention span, memory and mental powers, and to the willingness to pay good money to preserve and enhance them.

    For the attainment of happiness as the aim of a good life, Aristotle recommended cultivating a virtuous mind and virtuous character. This is precisely what some neuro-psychotropic drugs are designed to do. The virtues of the mind are generally understood to be instrumental traits like memory and attention span. The extent to which these traits are innate or acquired varies from person to person. After adolescence, their efficiency gradually goes into decline at individually varying rates. Inequality and the threat of loss are strong motivations for action. The current consensus on the ethics of neuro-enhancement seems to be that as long as the fundamental medical principles of self-determination, non-harm (nil nocere) and benefit (salus aegroti) are adhered to, rejecting pharmacological intervention in the instrumental traits of the brain would be at odds with a liberal understanding of democracy.

    A more complex ethical problem would seem to be the improvement of so-called character virtues, which we shall refer to here as socio-affective traits. Unlike instrumental traits such as attention span and memory, traits like temperament, self-confidence, trust, willingness to take risks, authenticity and so on are considered to be crucial to the personality. Pharmacological intervention that alters these traits therefore affects a person’s psychological integrity. While such interventions may facilitate and accelerate self-discovery and self-realisation (see the large body of literature on experience with Prozac, e.g. Peter D. Kramer, Listening to Prozac: Psychiatrist Explores Antidepressant Drugs and the Remaking of the Self , they may also do the exact opposite. We will never be able to predict with any certainty how altering instrumental and socio-affective traits will ultimately affect the reflexively structured human personality as a whole. Today’s tacit assumption that neuro-psychotropic interventions are reversible is leading individuals to experiment on themselves. Yet even if certain mental states are indeed reversible, the memory of them may not be.

    The barriers to neuro-enhancement actually fell some time ago, albeit in ways that for a long time went unnoticed. Jet-lag-free short breaks to Bali, working for global companies with a twenty-four hour information flow from headquarters in Tokyo, Brussels and San Francisco, exams and assessments, medical emergency services – in all of these situations it has become routine for people with no medical knowledge to use chemical substances to influence their ability to pay attention. The technologies that have sped up our lives in the era of globalisation – the Internet, mobile phones, aeroplanes – are already a daily reality for large numbers of people and are interfering with their biologically and culturally determined cycles of activity and rest.

    That is not to say that the popularisation of these findings has had no effect at all. Reconceptualising joy as dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centres, melancholy as serotonin deficiency, attention as the noradrenalin-induced modulation of stimulus-processing, and, not least, love as a consequence of the secretion of centrally acting bonding hormones, changes not only our perspective on emotional and mental states, but also our subjective experience of self. That does not mean that we experience the physiological side of feelings like love or guilt any differently, but it does make us think about them differently. This, in turn, changes the way we perceive, interpret and order them, and hence the effect they have on our behaviour. By viewing emotions in general terms rather than as singular events taking place in a unique temporal and spatial context, the neurosciences have created a rational justification for trying to influence them in ways other than by individual and mutual care.

    The possibility of pharmacological intervention thus expands the subjective autonomy of people to act in their own best interests or to their own detriment. This in turn is accompanied by a new form of self-reflection, which encompasses both structural images of the brain and the ability to imagine the neuro-chemical activity that goes on there. What is alarming is that many of the neuroscientific findings that have triggered a transformation in our perception of ourselves are linked with commercial interests.

    It is already clear that global capitalism will make excessive demands on our material, and even more so on our human-mental resources. This is evident from the oft-used term “information society”, since information can only function as a commodity if it changes human behaviour, and it can only do this if we accord it our attention and engage with it emotionally.

    #Neurocapitalisme #Neurosciences


  • How Far Will the EU Go to Seal Its Borders? | Dissent Magazine
    https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/how-far-eu-seal-borders-khartoum-process-central-mediterranean-migr

    Khartoum used to be a city where you could disappear. Located on one of the key migration trails to Europe via the Horn of Africa, thousands of Eritreans, Ethiopians, and Somalis would enter the sprawling city to hire smugglers to take them north into Libya and then Europe. African refugees and migrants used to be able to travel out from the country relatively easily. But Sudan is now home to one of the European Union’s (EU) aggressive attempts to contain Africans before they can make it off the continent and onto Italian shores.

    A central pillar of the EU’s current migration policy is to pressure governments in Africa and the Middle East to stem onward migration in exchange for aid. With the continued electoral gains of far-right parties across Europe on anti-immigration platforms, these efforts are rapidly accelerating. Now as billions of euros flow from Europe into the Horn of Africa and other regions to stem migration and previously permeable border zones become impassable or more dangerous, the human cost plays out far from the remit of European citizens. How far is Europe willing to go to seal its borders?

    The question can best be answered not from the EU’s headquarters in Brussels, but in countries like Sudan. In November 2017, I spent a month reporting in Khartoum and Kassala, a town in eastern Sudan near the Eritrean border.


  • Vu sur Twitter :

    M.Potte-Bonneville @pottebonneville a retweeté Catherine Boitard

    Vous vous souvenez ? Elle avait sauvé ses compagnons en tirant l’embarcation à la nage pendant trois heures : Sarah Mardini, nageuse olympique et réfugiée syrienne, est arrêtée pour aide à l’immigration irrégulière.

    Les olympiades de la honte 2018 promettent de beaux records

    M.Potte-Bonneville @pottebonneville a retweeté Catherine Boitard @catboitard :

    Avec sa soeur Yusra, nageuse olympique et distinguée par l’ONU, elle avait sauvé 18 réfugiés de la noyade à leur arrivée en Grèce. La réfugiée syrienne Sarah Mardini, boursière à Berlin et volontaire de l’ONG ERCI, a été arrêtée à Lesbos pour aide à immigration irrégulière

    #migration #asile #syrie #grèce #solidarité #humanité

    • GRÈCE : LA POLICE ARRÊTE 30 MEMBRES D’UNE ONG D’AIDE AUX RÉFUGIÉS

      La police a arrêté, mardi 28 août, 30 membres de l’ONG grecque #ERCI, dont les soeurs syriennes Yusra et Sarah Mardini, qui avaient sauvé la vie à 18 personnes en 2015. Les militant.e.s sont accusés d’avoir aidé des migrants à entrer illégalement sur le territoire grec via l’île de Lesbos. Ils déclarent avoir agi dans le cadre de l’assistance à personnes en danger.

      Par Marina Rafenberg

      L’ONG grecque Emergency response centre international (ERCY) était présente sur l’île de Lesbos depuis 2015 pour venir en aide aux réfugiés. Depuis mardi 28 août, ses 30 membres sont poursuivis pour avoir « facilité l’entrée illégale d’étrangers sur le territoire grec » en vue de gains financiers, selon le communiqué de la police grecque.

      L’enquête a commencé en février 2018, rapporte le site d’information protagon.gr, lorsqu’une Jeep portant une fausse plaque d’immatriculation de l’armée grecque a été découverte par la police sur une plage, attendant l’arrivée d’une barque pleine de réfugiés en provenance de Turquie. Les membres de l’ONG, six Grecs et 24 ressortissants étrangers, sont accusés d’avoir été informés à l’avance par des personnes présentes du côté turc des heures et des lieux d’arrivée des barques de migrants, d’avoir organisé l’accueil de ces réfugiés sans en informer les autorités locales et d’avoir surveillé illégalement les communications radio entre les autorités grecques et étrangères, dont Frontex, l’agence européenne des gardes-cotes et gardes-frontières. Les crimes pour lesquels ils sont inculpés – participation à une organisation criminelle, violation de secrets d’État et recel – sont passibles de la réclusion à perpétuité.

      Parmi les membres de l’ONG grecque arrêtés se trouve Yusra et Sarah Mardini, deux sœurs nageuses et réfugiées syrienne qui avaient sauvé 18 personnes de la noyade lors de leur traversée de la mer Égée en août 2015. Depuis Yusra a participé aux Jeux Olympiques de Rio, est devenue ambassadrice de l’ONU et a écrit un livre, Butterfly. Sarah avait quant à elle décidé d’aider à son tour les réfugiés qui traversaient dangereusement la mer Égée sur des bateaux de fortune et s’était engagée comme bénévole dans l’ONG ERCI durant l’été 2016.

      Sarah a été arrêtée le 21 août à l’aéroport de Lesbos alors qu’elle devait rejoindre Berlin où elle vit avec sa famille. Le 3 septembre, elle devait commencer son année universitaire au collège Bard en sciences sociales. La jeune Syrienne de 23 ans a été transférée à la prison de Korydallos, à Athènes, dans l’attente de son procès. Son avocat a demandé mercredi sa remise en liberté.

      Ce n’est pas la première fois que des ONG basées à Lesbos ont des soucis avec la justice grecque. Des membres de l’ONG espagnole Proem-Aid avaient aussi été accusés d’avoir participé à l’entrée illégale de réfugiés sur l’île. Ils ont été relaxés en mai dernier. D’après le ministère de la Marine, 114 ONG ont été enregistrées sur l’île, dont les activités souvent difficilement contrôlables inquiètent le gouvernement grec et ses partenaires européens.

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Une-ONG-accusee-d-aide-a-l-entree-irreguliere-de-migrants

      #grèce #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • Arrest of Syrian ’hero swimmer’ puts Lesbos refugees back in spotlight

      Sara Mardini’s case adds to fears that rescue work is being criminalised and raises questions about NGO.

      Greece’s high-security #Korydallos prison acknowledges that #Sara_Mardini is one of its rarer inmates. For a week, the Syrian refugee, a hero among human rights defenders, has been detained in its women’s wing on charges so serious they have elicited baffled dismay.

      The 23-year-old, who saved 18 refugees in 2015 by swimming their waterlogged dingy to the shores of Lesbos with her Olympian sister, is accused of people smuggling, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation – crimes allegedly committed since returning to work with an NGO on the island. Under Greek law, Mardini can be held in custody pending trial for up to 18 months.

      “She is in a state of disbelief,” said her lawyer, Haris Petsalnikos, who has petitioned for her release. “The accusations are more about criminalising humanitarian action. Sara wasn’t even here when these alleged crimes took place but as charges they are serious, perhaps the most serious any aid worker has ever faced.”

      Mardini’s arrival to Europe might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the extraordinary courage she and younger sister, Yusra, exhibited guiding their boat to safety after the engine failed during the treacherous crossing from Turkey. Both were elite swimmers, with Yusra going on to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

      The sisters, whose story is the basis of a forthcoming film by the British director Stephen Daldry, were credited with saving the lives of their fellow passengers. In Germany, their adopted homeland, the pair has since been accorded star status.

      It was because of her inspiring story that Mardini was approached by Emergency Response Centre International, ERCI, on Lesbos. “After risking her own life to save 18 people … not only has she come back to ground zero, but she is here to ensure that no more lives get lost on this perilous journey,” it said after Mardini agreed to join its ranks in 2016.

      After her first stint with ERCI, she again returned to Lesbos last December to volunteer with the aid group. And until 21 August there was nothing to suggest her second spell had not gone well. But as Mardini waited at Mytilini airport to head back to Germany, and a scholarship at Bard College in Berlin, she was arrested. Soon after that, police also arrested ERCI’s field director, Nassos Karakitsos, a former Greek naval force officer, and Sean Binder, a German volunteer who lives in Ireland. All three have protested their innocence.

      The arrests come as signs of a global clampdown on solidarity networks mount. From Russia to Spain, European human rights workers have been targeted in what campaigners call an increasingly sinister attempt to silence civil society in the name of security.

      “There is the concern that this is another example of civil society being closed down by the state,” said Jonathan Cooper, an international human rights lawyer in London. “What we are really seeing is Greek authorities using Sara to send a very worrying message that if you volunteer for refugee work you do so at your peril.”

      But amid concerns about heavy-handed tactics humanitarians face, Greek police say there are others who see a murky side to the story, one ofpeople trafficking and young volunteers being duped into participating in a criminal network unwittingly. In that scenario,the Mardini sisters would make prime targets.

      Greek authorities spent six months investigating the affair. Agents were flown into Lesbos from Athens and Thessaloniki. In an unusually long and detailed statement, last week, Mytilini police said that while posing as a non-profit organisation, ERCI had acted with the sole purpose of profiteering by bringing people illegally into Greece via the north-eastern Aegean islands.

      Members had intercepted Greek and European coastguard radio transmissions to gain advance notification of the location of smugglers’ boats, police said, and that 30, mostly foreign nationals, were lined up to be questioned in connection with the alleged activities. Other “similar organisations” had also collaborated in what was described as “an informal plan to confront emergency situations”, they added.

      Suspicions were first raised, police said, when Mardini and Binder were stopped in February driving a former military 4X4 with false number plates. ERCI remained unnamed until the release of the charge sheets for the pair and that of Karakitsos.

      Lesbos has long been on the frontline of the refugee crisis, attracting idealists and charity workers. Until a dramatic decline in migration numbers via the eastern Mediterranean in March 2016, when a landmark deal was signed between the EU and Turkey, the island was the main entry point to Europe.

      An estimated 114 NGOs and 7,356 volunteers are based on Lesbos, according to Greek authorities. Local officials talk of “an industry”, and with more than 10,000 refugees there and the mood at boiling point, accusations of NGOs acting as a “pull factor” are rife.

      “Sara’s motive for going back this year was purely humanitarian,” said Oceanne Fry, a fellow student who in June worked alongside her at a day clinic in the refugee reception centre.

      “At no point was there any indication of illegal activity by the group … but I can attest to the fact that, other than our intake meeting, none of the volunteers ever met, or interacted, with its leadership.”

      The mayor of Lesbos, Spyros Galinos, said he has seen “good and bad” in the humanitarian movement since the start of the refugee crisis.

      “Everything is possible,. There is no doubt that some NGOs have exploited the situation. The police announcement was uncommonly harsh. For a long time I have been saying that we just don’t need all these NGOs. When the crisis erupted, yes, the state was woefully unprepared but now that isn’t the case.”

      Attempts to contact ERCI were unsuccessful. Neither a telephone number nor an office address – in a scruffy downtown building listed by the aid group on social media – appeared to have any relation to it.

      In a statement released more than a week after Mardini’s arrest, ERCI denied the allegations, saying it had fallen victim to “unfounded claims, accusations and charges”. But it failed to make any mention of Mardini.

      “It makes no sense at all,” said Amed Khan, a New York financier turned philanthropist who has donated boats for ERCI’s search and rescue operations. To accuse any of them of human trafficking is crazy.

      “In today’s fortress Europe you have to wonder whether Brussels isn’t behind it, whether this isn’t a concerted effort to put a chill on civil society volunteers who are just trying to help. After all, we’re talking about grassroots organisations with global values that stepped up into the space left by authorities failing to do their bit.”


      https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/arrest-of-syrian-hero-swimmer-lesbos-refugees-sara-mardini?CMP=shar

      #Sarah_Mardini

    • The volunteers facing jail for rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean

      The risk of refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean has increased dramatically over the past few years.

      As the European Union pursued a policy of externalisation, voluntary groups stepped in to save the thousands of people making the dangerous crossing. One by one, they are now criminalised.

      The arrest of Sarah Mardini, one of two Syrian sisters who saved a number of refugees in 2015 by pulling their sinking dinghy to Greece, has brought the issue to international attention.

      The Trial

      There aren’t chairs enough for the people gathered in Mytilíni Court. Salam Aldeen sits front row to the right. He has a nervous smile on his face, mouth half open, the tongue playing over his lips.

      Noise emanates from the queue forming in the hallway as spectators struggle for a peak through the door’s windows. The morning heat is already thick and moist – not helped by the two unplugged fans hovering motionless in dead air.

      Police officers with uneasy looks, 15 of them, lean up against the cooling walls of the court. From over the judge, a golden Jesus icon looks down on the assembly. For the sunny holiday town on Lesbos, Greece, this is not a normal court proceeding.

      Outside the court, international media has unpacked their cameras and unloaded their equipment. They’ve come from the New York Times, Deutsche Welle, Danish, Greek and Spanish media along with two separate documentary teams.

      There is no way of knowing when the trial will end. Maybe in a couple of days, some of the journalists say, others point to the unpredictability of the Greek judicial system. If the authorities decide to make a principle out of the case, this could take months.

      Salam Aldeen, in a dark blue jacket, white shirt and tie, knows this. He is charged with human smuggling and faces life in jail.

      More than 16,000 people have drowned in less than five years trying to cross the Mediterranean. That’s an average of ten people dying every day outside Europe’s southern border – more than the Russia-Ukraine conflict over the same period.

      In 2015, when more than one million refugees crossed the Mediterranean, the official death toll was around 3,700. A year later, the number of migrants dropped by two thirds – but the death toll increased to more than 5,000. With still fewer migrants crossing during 2017 and the first half of 2018, one would expect the rate of surviving to pick up.

      The numbers, however, tell a different story. For a refugee setting out to cross the Mediterranean today, the risk of drowning has significantly increased.

      The deaths of thousands of people don’t happen in a vacuum. And it would be impossible to explain the increased risks of crossing without considering recent changes in EU-policies towards migration in the Mediterranean.

      The criminalisation of a Danish NGO-worker on the tiny Greek island of Lesbos might help us understand the deeper layers of EU immigration policy.

      The deterrence effect

      On 27 March 2011, 72 migrants flee Tripoli and squeeze into a 12m long rubber dinghy with a max capacity of 25 people. They start the outboard engine and set out in the Mediterranean night, bound for the Italian island of Lampedusa. In the morning, they are registered by a French aircraft flying over. The migrants stay on course. But 18 hours into their voyage, they send out a distress-call from a satellite phone. The signal is picked up by the rescue centre in Rome who alerts other vessels in the area.

      Two hours later, a military helicopter flies over the boat. At this point, the migrants accidentally drop their satellite phone in the sea. In the hours to follow, the migrants encounter several fishing boats – but their call of distress is ignored. As day turns into night, a second helicopter appears and drops rations of water and biscuits before leaving.

      And then, the following morning on 28 March – the migrants run out of fuel. Left at the mercy of wind and oceanic currents, the migrants embark on a hopeless journey. They drift south; exactly where they came from.

      They don’t see any ships the following day. Nor the next; a whole week goes by without contact to the outside world. But then, somewhere between 3 and 5 April, a military vessel appears on the horizon. It moves in on the migrants and circle their boat.

      The migrants, exhausted and on the brink of despair, wave and signal distress. But as suddenly as it arrived, the military vessel turns around and disappears. And all hope with it.

      On April 10, almost a week later, the migrant vessel lands on a beach south of Tripoli. Of the 72 passengers who left 2 weeks ago, only 11 make it back alive. Two die shortly hereafter.

      Lorenzo Pezzani, lecturer at Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths University of London, was stunned when he read about the case. In 2011, he was still a PhD student developing new spatial and aesthetic visual tools to document human rights violations. Concerned with the rising number of migrant deaths in the Mediterranean, Lorenzo Pezzani and his colleague Charles Heller founded Forensic Oceanography, an affiliated group to Forensic Architecture. Their first project was to uncover the events and policies leading to a vessel left adrift in full knowledge by international rescue operations.

      It was the public outrage fuelled by the 2013 Lampedusa shipwreck which eventually led to the deployment of Operation Mare Nostrum. At this point, the largest migration of people since the Second World War, the Syrian exodus, could no longer be contained within Syria’s neighbouring countries. At the same time, a relative stability in Libya after the fall of Gaddafi in 2011 descended into civil war; waves of migrants started to cross the Mediterranean.

      From October 2013, Mare Nostrum broke with the reigning EU-policy of non-interference and deployed Italian naval vessels, planes and helicopters at a monthly cost of €9.5 million. The scale was unprecedented; saving lives became the political priority over policing and border control. In terms of lives saved, the operation was an undisputed success. Its own life, however, would be short.

      A critical narrative formed on the political right and was amplified by sections of the media: Mare Nostrum was accused of emboldening Libyan smugglers who – knowing rescue ships were waiting – would send out more migrants. In this understanding, Mare Nostrum constituted a so-called “pull factor” on migrants from North African countries. A year after its inception, Mare Nostrum was terminated.

      In late 2014, Mare Nostrum was replaced by Operation Triton led by Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, with an initial budget of €2.4 million per month. Triton refocused on border control instead of sea rescues in an area much closer to Italian shores. This was a return to the pre-Mare Nostrum policy of non-assistance to deter migrants from crossing. But not only did the change of policy fail to act as a deterrence against the thousands of migrants still crossing the Mediterranean, it also left a huge gap between the amount of boats in distress and operational rescue vessels. A gap increasingly filled by merchant vessels.

      Merchant vessels, however, do not have the equipment or training to handle rescues of this volume. On 31 March 2015, the shipping community made a call to EU-politicians warning of a “terrible risk of further catastrophic loss of life as ever-more desperate people attempt this deadly sea crossing”. Between 1 January and 20 May 2015, merchant ships rescued 12.000 people – 30 per cent of the total number rescued in the Mediterranean.

      As the shipping community had already foreseen, the new policy of non-assistance as deterrence led to several horrific incidents. These culminated in two catastrophic shipwrecks on 12 and 18 April 2015 and the death of 1,200 people. In both cases, merchant vessels were right next to the overcrowded migrant boats when chaotic rescue attempts caused the migrant boats to take in water and eventually sink. The crew of the merchant vessels could only watch as hundreds of people disappeared in the ocean.

      Back in 1990, the Dublin Convention declared that the first EU-country an asylum seeker enters is responsible for accepting or rejecting the claim. No one in 1990 had expected the Syrian exodus of 2015 – nor the gigantic pressure it would put on just a handful of member states. No other EU-member felt the ineptitudes and total unpreparedness of the immigration system than a country already knee-deep in a harrowing economic crisis. That country was Greece.

      In September 2015, when the world saw the picture of a three-year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, washed up on a beach in Turkey, Europe was already months into what was readily called a “refugee crisis”. Greece was overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the Syrian war. During the following month alone, a staggering 200.000 migrants crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to reach Europe. With a minimum of institutional support, it was volunteers like Salam Aldeen who helped reduce the overall number of casualties.

      The peak of migrants entered Greece that autumn but huge numbers kept arriving throughout the winter – in worsening sea conditions. Salam Aldeen recalls one December morning on Lesbos.

      The EU-Turkey deal

      And then, from one day to the next, the EU-Turkey deal changed everything. There was a virtual stop of people crossing from Turkey to Greece. From a perspective of deterrence, the agreement was an instant success. In all its simplicity, Turkey had agreed to contain and prevent refugees from reaching the EU – by land or by sea. For this, Turkey would be given a monetary compensation.

      But opponents of the deal included major human rights organisations. Simply paying Turkey a formidable sum of money (€6 billion to this date) to prevent migrants from reaching EU-borders was feared to be a symptom of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude pervasive among EU decision makers. Moreover, just like Libya in 2015 threatened to flood Europe with migrants, the Turkish President Erdogan would suddenly have a powerful geopolitical card on his hands. A concern that would later be confirmed by EU’s vague response to Erdogan’s crackdown on Turkish opposition.

      As immigration dwindled in Greece, the flow of migrants and refugees continued and increased in the Central Mediterranean during the summer of 2016. At the same time, disorganised Libyan militias were now running the smuggling business and exploited people more ruthlessly than ever before. Migrant boats without satellite phones or enough provision or fuel became increasingly common. Due to safety concerns, merchant vessels were more reluctant to assist in rescue operations. The death toll increased.
      A Conspiracy?

      Frustrated with the perceived apathy of EU states, Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) responded to the situation. At its peak, 12 search and rescue NGO vessels were operating in the Mediterranean and while the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) paused many of its operations during the fall and winter of 2016, the remaining NGO vessels did the bulk of the work. Under increasingly dangerous weather conditions, 47 per cent of all November rescues were carried out by NGOs.

      Around this time, the first accusations were launched against rescue NGOs from ‘alt-right’ groups. Accusations, it should be noted, conspicuously like the ones sounded against Mare Nostrum. Just like in 2014, Frontex and EU-politicians followed up and accused NGOs of posing a “pull factor”. The now Italian vice-prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, went even further and denounced NGOs as “taxis for migrants”. Just like in 2014, no consideration was given to the conditions in Libya.

      Moreover, NGOs were falsely accused of collusion with Libyan smugglers. Meanwhile Italian agents had infiltrated the crew of a Save the Children rescue vessel to uncover alleged secret evidence of collusion. The German Jugendrettet NGO-vessel, Iuventa, was impounded and – echoing Salam Aldeen’s case in Greece – the captain accused of collusion with smugglers by Italian authorities.

      The attacks to delegitimise NGOs’ rescue efforts have had a clear effect: many of the NGOs have now effectively stopped their operations in the Mediterranean. Lorenzo Pezzani and Charles Heller, in their report, Mare Clausum, argued that the wave of delegitimisation of humanitarian work was just one part of a two-legged strategy – designed by the EU – to regain control over the Mediterranean.
      Migrants’ rights aren’t human rights

      Libya long ago descended into a precarious state of lawlessness. In the maelstrom of poverty, war and despair, migrants and refugees have become an exploitable resource for rivalling militias in a country where two separate governments compete for power.

      In November 2017, a CNN investigation exposed an entire industry involving slave auctions, rape and people being worked to death.

      Chief spokesman of the UN Migration Agency, Leonard Doyle, describes Libya as a “torture archipelago” where migrants transiting have no idea that they are turned into commodities to be bought, sold and discarded when they have no more value.

      Migrants intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) are routinely brought back to the hellish detention centres for indefinite captivity. Despite EU-leaders’ moral outcry following the exposure of the conditions in Libya, the EU continues to be instrumental in the capacity building of the LCG.

      Libya hadn’t had a functioning coast guard since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011. But starting in late 2016, the LCG received increasing funding from Italy and the EU in the form of patrol boats, training and financial support.

      Seeing the effect of the EU-Turkey deal in deterring refugees crossing the Aegean Sea, Italy and the EU have done all in their power to create a similar approach in Libya.
      The EU Summit

      Forty-two thousand undocumented migrants have so far arrived at Europe’s shores this year. That’s a fraction of the more than one million who arrived in 2015. But when EU leaders met at an “emergency summit” in Brussels in late June, the issue of migration was described by Chancellor Merkel as a “make or break” for the Union. How does this align with the dwindling numbers of refugees and migrants?

      Data released in June 2018 showed that Europeans are more concerned about immigration than any other social challenge. More than half want a ban on migration from Muslim countries. Europe, it seems, lives in two different, incompatible realities as summit after summit tries to untie the Gordian knot of the migration issue.

      Inside the courthouse in Mytilini, Salam Aldeen is questioned by the district prosecutor. The tropical temperature induces an echoing silence from the crowded spectators. The district prosecutor looks at him, open mouth, chin resting on her fist.

      She seems impatient with the translator and the process of going from Greek to English and back. Her eyes search the room. She questions him in detail about the night of arrest. He answers patiently. She wants Salam Aldeen and the four crew members to be found guilty of human smuggling.

      Salam Aldeen’s lawyer, Mr Fragkiskos Ragkousis, an elderly white-haired man, rises before the court for his final statement. An ancient statuette with his glasses in one hand. Salam’s parents sit with scared faces, they haven’t slept for two days; the father’s comforting arm covers the mother’s shoulder. Then, like a once dormant volcano, the lawyer erupts in a torrent of pathos and logos.

      “Political interests changed the truth and created this wicked situation, playing with the defendant’s freedom and honour.”

      He talks to the judge as well as the public. A tragedy, a drama unfolds. The prosecutor looks remorseful, like a small child in her large chair, almost apologetic. Defeated. He’s singing now, Ragkousis. Index finger hits the air much like thunder breaks the night sounding the roar of something eternal. He then sits and the room quiets.

      It was “without a doubt” that the judge acquitted Salam Aldeen and his four colleagues on all charges. The prosecutor both had to determine the defendants’ intention to commit the crime – and that the criminal action had been initialised. She failed at both. The case, as the Italian case against the Iuventa, was baseless.

      But EU’s policy of externalisation continues. On 17 March 2018, the ProActiva rescue vessel, Open Arms, was seized by Italian authorities after it had brought back 217 people to safety.

      Then again in June, the decline by Malta and Italy’s new right-wing government to let the Aquarious rescue-vessel dock with 629 rescued people on board sparked a fierce debate in international media.

      In July, Sea Watch’s Moonbird, a small aircraft used to search for migrant boats, was prevented from flying any more operations by Maltese authorities; the vessel Sea Watch III was blocked from leaving harbour and the captain of a vessel from the NGO Mission Lifeline was taken to court over “registration irregularities“.

      Regardless of Europe’s future political currents, geopolitical developments are only likely to continue to produce refugees worldwide. Will the EU alter its course as the crisis mutates and persists? Or are the deaths of thousands the only possible outcome?

      https://theferret.scot/volunteers-facing-jail-rescuing-migrants-mediterranean


  • House in Opwijk by Marie-José Van Hee Architecten | Buildings | Architectural Review

    https://www.architectural-review.com/today/house-in-opwijk-by-marie-jos-van-hee-architecten/8664492.article

    Highly Commended: The second award winning entry from Marie-José Van Hee Architecten, this home in Opwijk carries an unusual and understated sophistication

    A house for a child psychiatrist sounds like something that Otto Silenus, the terrifyingly austere Modernist in Waugh’s Decline and Fall, might cherish as a dream project, but this psychiatric practice-cum-home in Opwijk, near Brussels, is disarmingly approachable − at least materially. The red pitched roof, shallow red bricks laid with contrasting mortar, and the windows of the facade looking on to the square have the diagrammatic quality of a child’s drawing: this is unmistakably a home. But there is something unnerving about the fenestration.

    One upper window cantilevers out, bug-eyed, into the street, while the house seems to have been blinded in its other eye (in fact this deep recess is a little terrace, affording light yet privacy to a bathroom). The window on the ground floor grimaces, only half-flush with the wall.

    #architecture #pays_bas


  • Netanyahu expands his struggle against EU during Baltics visit -

    Netanyahu said he intended to counterbalance the EU’s ’unfriendly approach to Israel’ through direct contact with European leaders

    Noa Landau
    Aug 24, 2018 4:18 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-expands-his-struggle-against-eu-during-baltics-visit-1.6

    In the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania – his ancestors’ homeland, as he often points out – Benjamin Netanyahu formally thanked the country’s prime minister for helping him wage his all-out diplomatic war on the European Union in recent years.
    Netanyahu lauded Saulius Skvernelis on Thursday for his “strong stand” in support of Israel in EU forums. He said it was refreshing to see Skvernelis stand for “clarity, truth and courage.”
    “I want to thank you, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Linas, for the strong position you have taken in the forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency. Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels. There are many distortions that are leveled at us and it’s refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage. And we discussed how that can be expanded,” he said.

    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Netanyahu said he intended to counterbalance the EU’s “unfriendly approach to Israel” through direct contact with European leaders, as he began a three-day trip to Lithuania, where he is set to meet leaders of the Baltic nations.
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    Lithuania helped Netanyahu visit the EU headquarters in December by getting him a breakfast invitation with European foreign ministers before their monthly session. The move was seen at the time as running contrary to protocol and raised considerable anger in the office of the union’s head of foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini.
    Netanyahu has systematically cozied up to the most nationalistic countries of central and east Europe, with the aim of sabotaging the required consensus among the union’s 28 members to pursue a uniform foreign policy. Now he further revealed his strategy to use sub-regional blocs of states, like the Visegrad Forum and its star from Hungary, Viktor Orban, to sway EU positions on the Palestinians and Iran, or at least prevent a consensus, a tactic that would hinder the possibility of advancing new moves affecting Israel.
    “I am interested in balancing the not always friendly attitude of the European Union towards Israel so that we receive fairer and more straight-forward treatment. I am doing this through contacts with blocs of countries within the European Union, Eastern European countries, [and] now with the Baltic countries, as well, of course, as with other countries,” Netanyahu said before boarding his plane.
    Netanyahu is also due to meet Lituhania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas. Also, Netanyahu is scheduled to attend a commemoration ceremony at the memorial site of the Jews’ massacre in Ponar, meet the leaders of the Jewish community in the Vilnius’ Choral Synagogue, the only in the city to survive the Holocaust, and visit the gravesite of the Vilna Gaon, where he will no doubt tell his hosts yet again the history of his family, descendants from the sage of Vilna.
    “You know, my family’s from here,” Netanyahu told his Lithuanian counterpart a moment before their meeting. “I know, I know,” the host said.
    Israel’s relations with Lithuania and Latvia have been growing warmer in the last few years. Estonia is seen as cooler in its position and leaning toward a neutral stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – especially during its term as the EU’s president. Unlike West Europe’s larger states, the Baltic states suffer from negative migration to other EU countries, which leads to a brain drain, and Israel is seeking to strengthen its relations with Estonia on the basis of this issue. Also, the complex history of the Baltic states and Russia has led to the rise of ultra-nationalistic views, and, since the Russian invasion of Crimea, deep concern over defense and military power.
    Netanyahu emphasized that, too, in his meetings, telling Lithuanian leaders that like Israel, Lithuania has great national pride, while stressing that this quality stood “alongside democratic values and individual rights.”
    Observers in the corridors of Brussels told Haaretz that Netanyahu’s acts indeed have a “chilling effect” on the ability to publish joint statements in the name of the 28 member states. These dynamics are not new but became more prevalent and assertive in the past two or three years. “It’s more difficult for the EU to speak with one clear voice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” one observer said.
    Netanyahu’s cultivation of relations with the eastern European and Baltic states at the expense of the large liberal countries, like France and Germany, comes at a price that some would call ideological and others would call strategic. He is doing all he can to undermine Germany and France in a bid to prevent EU support for the two-state solution, which he himself usually supports in statements made to international audiences.


  • Ceci n’est pas une rue: Brussels to adopt whimsical new street names | Cities | The Guardian

    « An artist’s impression of part of the proposed Gare Maritime regeneration. The competition is part of an initiative to generate interest in the project. Illustration: Courtesy: Tour & Taxis »

    « A new neighbourhood is being built around the Tour & Taxis industrial area in Brussels. Photograph: Simon Schmitt - wwww.globalview.be  »

    In Brussels, the home of surrealism, city officials have given their blessing to rename a street in homage to one of René Magritte’s best-known paintings.

    Ceci n’est pas une rue (This is not a street) is inspired by The Treachery of Images, painted in 1929 by the Belgian artist, who lived in Brussels for decades.

    It was one of nearly 1,400 suggestions made by the public in response to an initiative to generate interest in a regeneration project in a former industrial district in the north of the city.

    #art #urban_matter #urban_planning #planification_urbaine


  • Évolution de la population et climat. Une étude à l’âge du Bronze.
    8 août 2018

    La population a eu une dynamique très diversifiée à l’âge du bronze en Europe centrale et méridionale. Celle-ci est mise en relation (ou non) avec les schémas climatiques régionaux.

    Highly diverse Bronze Age population dynamics in Central-Southern Europe and their response to regional climatic patterns

    Les auteurs ont utilisé un ensemble de données de datations archéologiques au radiocarbone pour reconstituer les tendances démographiques en Europe centrale et méridionale entre 1800 et 800 av. (note : le fait qu’on ait retrouvé soit des corps inhumés, soit que la pratique était à la crémation a été pris en compte).

    À l’échelle macroscopique, une tendance démographique positive est visible jusqu’à ce que ca. 1450 av. J.-C., suivie d’une phase de déclin de la population jusqu’à environ 1050 av. Jusqu’à ca. 1050 av. J.-C.

    La dynamique de la population à l’échelle macroscopique semble être principalement déterminée par les tendances de la circonférence alpine. Au début du XVIe siècle av. J.-C., il y eut une expansion des colonies de Terramare, dans laquelle la taille de toute la zone peuplée de la plaine du Pô avait été multipliée par trois.
    De même, dans les montagnes du Jura français, il est attesté une période de croissance démographique autour de 1500 av. J.-C..

    De manière significative, le nord de l’Italie, l’est de la France, la région alpine riche en minerai était économiquement les régions les plus dynamiques après 1600 avant JC en Europe, avec des preuves évidentes d’une croissance socio-économique.

    La population diminue après ca. 1470 av. J.-C. coïncide alors avec la crise du système de peuplement lacustre dans la région circum-alpine. De même, la contraction démographique entre 1200 et 1050 av. J.-C. se produit dans un laps de temps défini par l’effondrement de la culture de Terramare vers 1150 av. J.-C.[Italie du Nord].

    Un nouvel épisode de croissance démographique à l’échelle macroscopique est visible après env. 1050 av. J.-C., reflétant probablement à la fois les pics de population enregistrés le long de la côte nord-ouest de la Méditerranée et la tendance au rétablissement de la population visible sur le plateau suisse. Notamment, les tendances positives marquantes dans le nord-ouest de la Méditerranée sont liées à l’adoption locale du rituel de la crémation et pourraient impliquer un afflux démographique en provenance d’Europe centrale.

    (...)

    Le climat semble jouer un rôle non négligeable dans la plaine du Pô , où l’abandon généralisé des colonies se produit dans des conditions de plus en plus arides. Bien que des mandataires archéologiques et paléoenvironnementaux indépendants appuient cette connexion, il reste impossible de déterminer si le climat représente le principal facteur de forçage conduisant à l’effondrement des sociétés locales de l’âge du bronze ou si ses effets sont aggravés par la surexploitation du paysage .

    Les communautés sur le plateau suisse semblent montrer une plus grande résistance aux fluctuations climatiques , l’effondrement des tassements ne se produisant que pendant l’intervalle le plus froid de la courbe de température, après des siècles de conditions de plus en plus froides.

    Une chute de population dans le Massif Central est liée à une phase froide et humide particulièrement prononcée (vers 1700-1500 av. J.-C.). En dehors de cet événement, les communautés locales semblent ne pas être affectées par les autres changements climatiques. La stagnation prédominante qui émerge de la courbe du SCPD du Massif Central semble refléter une stabilité à long terme plutôt rare parmi nos reconstructions, probablement liée à une faible densité démographique et à une mobilité élevée découlant d’une subsistance basée sur l’élevage.

    #préhistoire #age_du_bronze #climat #population #Europe
    Les deux premiers auteurs :
    #Giacomo Capuzzo , Laboratory of Anthropology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Science, #Université_Libre_de_Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium, Quantitative Archaeology Lab (LAQU), Department of Prehistory, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Bellaterra (Barcelona), Spain
    #Marco_Zanon Graduate School “Human Development in Landscapes”, #Kiel_University, Kiel, Germany, Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure/image?size=inline&id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200709.g011
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure/image?size=inline&id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200709.g012
    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure/image?size=inline&id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200709.g013

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure/image?size=inline&id=10.1371/journal.pone.0200709.g001


  • Belgium Confronts Its Heart of Darkness; Unsavory Colonial Behavior in the Congo Will Be Tackled by a New Study - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/21/arts/belgium-confronts-its-heart-darkness-unsavory-colonial-behavior-congo-will-

    In February, Belgium admitted participating in the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, Congo’s first Prime Minister, and apologized for it. The motivation for the crime was to avoid losing control over Congo’s resources, but Belgium steadfastly denied any involvement until new evidence collected by a parliamentary commission last year confirmed the direct role of Belgian agents in carrying out and covering up the murder.

    Now fresh light may be thrown on an earlier, still darker, period of Belgium’s reign over Congo. In anticipation of a major exhibition scheduled for fall 2004, the Royal Museum for Central Africa in Tervuren, near Brussels, is sponsoring the first far-reaching review of Belgium’s colonial past, including the period from 1885 to 1908 when, as the personal property of King Leopold II, the Congo Free State is believed to have suffered violence and exploitation that cost millions of lives.

    Guido Gryseels, the director of the government-owned museum, says the purpose of the study is not to pass judgment but to provide information about a neglected past. In addition, he says, the study will address more than the political aspects of colonialism. It will also look at the period through the prisms of Central Africa’s history, anthropology, zoology and geology, disciplines that form part of the museum’s permanent scientific mission.
    Continue reading the main story

    Yet the initiative is daring, since it raises the broader question of a country’s continuing responsibility for unsavory actions carried out in its name generations or even centuries earlier. These range from promotion of the slave trade and annexation of territories to colonial repression and ransacking of natural resources. Further, while the study is not subject to Belgian government control, it will be financed by the taxpayer, which makes intense public debate of its findings even more likely.

    So far, no other former colonial power has shown an appetite for looking back with a critical eye, even though the colonial records of, say, the British in India, the French in Algeria, the Dutch in Indonesia and the Portuguese in Angola all contain examples of human rights abuses and excessive use of force.

    Finally, under British pressure, Leopold sold Congo to Belgium in 1908. In 1919, a Belgian commission estimated that Congo’s population was half what it was in 1879.

    ’’A lot of very positive things happened during the real period of colonization after 1908,’’ he said. ’’Also, I don’t think one should look at the past with the moral standards of today. After all, early in the last century, children of 6 or 7 were working 17 hours a day in Belgian factories. We should look at it with the moral standards of those periods.’’

    #Congo #Belgique #colonisation


  • http://www.autochromes.be/introduction.htm
    Autochromes from Belgium.
    Most autochromes do seem to have the authority of art – that power to rivet our gaze and demand of our eyes that they return again and again, and the power to reward those returns with pleasure and insight. It would be interesting to know what it is about the autochrome that so compels, to know why that soft glow of suggestion, of elegant ladies in lace, of nuance and the Monet-haze of dream is so emotionally gripping, so psychologically arresting. John Wood in The Art of the Autochrome.


    Charles Corbet, Mrs. Corbet and Mr. Sano having afternoon tea c. 1910, autochrome 9 x 12.
    Belgian art photography around 1900
    Around 1890 a number of amateur photographers were dissatisfied with the mere technical merits of photography. They wished to use photography for reproducing beauty and expressing their inner feelings and thoughts. Their vision had been opposed by painters and art critics, who were of the opinion that photography, being the product of a technical device, did not belong in a museum. The invention of a “fuzzy rendering process”, and the introduction of the manipulated image moved photography closer to the contemporary art movements in painting. Previous objections, to allow photography into the holy sanctuaries of museums, gradually disappeared.


    Alfonse Van Besten, Stagecoaches at Gent c. 1912, autochrome 9 x 12

    In 1895 the Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis in Brussels started collecting international art photography. Among the foremost Belgian pictorialists from around 1900 were Hector Collard, Alexandre, Edmond Sacré, Gustave Marissiaux, Léonard Misonne and Edouard Hannon. Like genuine impressionists they were captivated by light, atmosphere and colour.


    Ernest van Zuylen

    It was not until 1907 that colour photography, thanks to the autochrome process, came within the reach of photographers. But from among the above mentioned Belgian photographers, it was only Gustave Marissiaux who fully started to make use of the new technique. Whether his fellow pictorialists have ever applied the autochrome process is uncertain: were they disappointed by the fact that the new technique, in contrast to other known photographic techniques, was impossible to manipulate?

    The autochrome 1907-1932
    For most of us it is quite a surprise to realise that even before the first world war photographing in colour was possible. This was due to the autochrome process invented during the years 1895-1903, by the French brothers Louis Lumière (1864-1947 and Auguste Lumière (1862-1954). It took them four further years to work out and refine the several fabrication processes. Finally in 1907 the autochrome plates came on the market and were an instant succes. Until now, the photographers’ only way to produce colour was tinting the plates by hand which was done by many photographers with breathtaking artistry. E.g.the beach scene below is a hand coloured example of a plate coloured by the Belgian amateur photographer Constant Casters, who had a very refined hand and taste.

    Small guide to do it yourself

    The nucleus of autochrome plates are dyed grains of potatoe starch measuring between 0,006-0,025mm.

    Make three heaps of starch, dye each pile in respectively violet, green and orange.
    Make a mix of these three different coloured grain starches.
    You need a glassplate between 0,9 and 1,8mm thick.
    First you have to varnish the plate with a latex based varnish.
    Blow the coloured mix of grains on the varnished plate.
    Gently brush the plate to remove the surplus grains.
    Next, a fine layer of charcoal is applied to fill the interstices between the grains.
    The whole plate then has to be pressed to reduce overall thinkness of layers.
    After pressing apply a second layer of varnish.
    To finish off, place a panchromatic emulsion layer.
    This is briefly the production process of an autochrome plate, but imagine for all the different production stages industrial machines had to be invented to produce plates on a grand scale.

    J’adore celle-ci. :-)


    The grenata street army photographed by léon gimpel, 1915.