CHARLIE n’est pas mort!

Protester in Paris commemorating the victims.

Protester in Paris commemorating the victims.

After 6 hours at work listening to the incessant news of the deadly attack at Paris head-office of Charlie Hebdo-the known French satirical magazine-I finally reached Place de la Republique where hundreds have gathered to commemorate the 12 victims and to show freedom of expression still lives.

In few hours Paris’ most active citizens have organized a peaceful manifestation which quickly turned into a giant mourning gathering-as I am sure most of you have seen in the news! As I was approaching the crowd I remained astonished by the amount of people present in the square that shows the touching and “rebellious” spirit of protest French people have always been proud of.

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The Case of Burkina Faso: a Stimulus for Sleeping African Revolutions?

Photo Credits: : http://www.gdp.ch/

Photo Credits: : http://www.gdp.ch/

It all started last October 21 when the government of Burkina Faso, with a bill, attempted to transform Article 37 of the Constitution. The objective? To increase the number of presidential terms from two to three, so that the head of state in charge, Blaise Compaoré could recur in November of 2015.

The Blaise Compaoré curriculum tells one of the many sad stories of post-colonialism. He became president after the assassination of Thomas Sankara, the Marxist leader of Burkina Faso who publicly denounced the dirty tricks of the banks and Western governments to subjugate African countries with debt.

The President had already changed the constitution twice, in 1997 and 2000.
The people down in the streets marched on October 31 for the resignation of Compaoré. The outcome of the events is at was thirty dead and dozens of others injured.
The proposed constitutional amendment was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but how did it come to this?

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Senkaku/Diaoyu : A Dangerous Game

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During the previous months, Japan has made some positive changes in its attitude towards China concerning the issue of the disputed islands of Senkaku/Diaoyu , in an attempt to solve territorial disputes at sea.

It has been reported that Japan may accept the existence of the dispute, but it will still support that these islands are indeed part of Japanese territory.

There were talks about an official meeting between the Presidents of the two countries- Abe and Xi- for the first time at the APEC summit that will be taking place next month, which would be a turning point in the Sino-Japanese relations. This meeting would also play a major role in reversing the “cold politics” between the two countries and may lead to a peaceful resolution of the dispute in the future; but we should not raise our hopes too high, as the two leaders have been known to make harsh and rash statements in the past.

Why are these islands so significant for China and Japan and why has their dispute not been solved? These questions raise significant issues that characterize the East Asian Region.

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Recycling part 2: Not Good Enough

9.5 Kalundborg

After my last article came out seeming rash and unsubstantiated, I knew I needed to write another. As such, for two things I need to apologise. Firstly, that I built the article solely on my knowledge of recycling from personal research and research relating to my masters, so this time I shall go into more detail about the base rather than make it anecdotal. Secondly, I employed a sensationalist title for the sake of it, leading up the point that recycling, especially in its current state, is a solution of the “less bad” variety rather than “good”.
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The Republic of Turkey: a Troubled Path from Gezi Park to the Security Council

Photo Credits: IB Times

Photo Credits: IB Times

It was the 28th of May in Istanbul, Turkey, when protests and sit-ins started to protect Gezi Park near the then-famous Taksim Square. Over the night between the 27th and the 28th the dismantlement of the park began as the basis of a plan that would eventually lead to the eradication of about 600 trees in order to build a shopping centre and rebuild the Ottoman Taksim Military Barracks. The new local strategic plan also envisioned the construction of a cultural centre, but this did not reassure the citizens who saw the destruction of one of the symbols of the European side of Istanbul as a despotic and unjustified act.

Photo Credits: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Photo Credits: Dado Ruvic/Reuters

What initially started as an underestimated environmental protest rapidly opened the Pandora’s box of an authoritarian administration and riots expanded to Ankara, Izmir, Bodrum and many other cities all around Turkey. All attempts made by the government to downplay the situation clearly failed, defying the facts 33 journalists that were imprisoned in the first 10 days of protests and more than 15 thousand websites were banned. Also, CNN-Turk was criticised for broadcasting a documentary on penguins on Saturday 1st June instead of covering the protests in Taksim Square, so as to avoid any hard consequences. Despite all of that, information about the series of events happening in Istanbul reached every corner of the world. Supporting protests spread in important cities like London and New York, where thousands of protesters demonstrated respectively in Hyde Park and in Zuccotti Park on the 1st June, just three days after the first rallies in Gezi Park. The protests were then covered by the mainstream media until the situation seemed to finally cool down. However, in reality, the protests never ended. Western media showed us how riots stood against the corruption scandal in December 2013, but they failed to cover the harsh demonstrations organised last March for the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15 year old boy who passed away after 269 days of being in a coma for getting hit on the head by a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park protests in June 2013.

Photo Credits: Osman Orsal/Reuters

Photo Credits: Osman Orsal/Reuters

Now, Turkey finds itself once again under the scrutiny of the public eye due to the ISIS occupation of the Syrian city of Kobani, located right at the border with Turkey. The raising of black flags in the city has had two main effects on the internal scenario of the Republic of Turkey: it gave a pivotal role to the country in the management of the crisis in Syria while also reopening the Kurdish issue, as Kobani is populated mainly by Kurds.

This comes at the wrong time for Turkey since the country is one of the three candidates for the two non-permanent seats assigned to the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) in the UN Security Council.

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Youth Unemployment: Scourging the Eurozone from it’s Base

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Youth was meant to be the vision of a prosperous and thriving European society, which, undoubtedly, in the last five years is in recession and is struggling to stand against a complete collapse. As long as the regulators of the zone do not try to attempt some sort of adjustment towards a final solution which will enforce the pulley to start over again, the percentages of youth unemployment will continue to increase until the whole generation will be called the ‘lost generation’, an opinion that has already been expressed by a wide range of people.

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The Issue of Palestine Seen Through the Eyes of a Gazawi

© Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives

© Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives

For the next season at the Global Oyster I will be dedicating myself to forgotten tragedies around the world. I will report on wars that are less covered by mainstream media, providing analysis on hidden violations of humanitarian law and attempting to voice different points of view by involving affected citizens, mainly young students, to speak up.

With these high objectives in mind, I thought there was no better way than to start with the issue of Palestine.

The question of Palestine is not a hidden one, everyone knows something about it, yet many times ideology and demagogy tend to cover facts and lead the discussion elsewhere. Over the past months, I have been accused of being a Nazi for openly supporting Palestinian positions.

This highlights one thing: the Western perspective on the question of Palestine is totally distorted. If, on one hand, it is true that you cannot take into consideration the issue of Palestine without looking at the Shoah and the post-WW II history, on the other hand these facts – very tragic facts to which everyone should show compassion, remembering how miserable human history has been and putting all the efforts in avoiding similar situations – well, these facts are often taking our eyes away from the pivotal aspects of the question itself. But I won’t talk about this.

What I will try to do with this interview is to offer answers to objective facts about life in Palestine. I will do this thanks to Yasmeen Rabah, a 24-year-old postgraduate student at the London School of Economics from Gaza who collaborated with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA). Yasmeen has worked alongside a team of refugee youth to advocate for inclusive development and participatory approach. At her young age, she has experienced two Israeli military operations, two Intifadas and one internal conflict- in addition to seven years of blockade.

Hearing from Yasmeen helped me understand the truth and I hope this interview will be helpful also for all the people who read it.

Hello Yasmeen, thank you for allowing me this interview. I will mainly ask you to clarify some aspects of real life in Palestine and specifically in Gaza. I want to start with something that remains unclear to many: What is the citizenship status of Palestinians? And how does your passport and visa process work?

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