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Articles in "International"

There are two separate and irreconcilable Europes that can’t live together.

Their capital cities are not divided by rivers only…

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) published its 2015 Global Peace Index Report. According to this report “the cost of violence around the world reached a record $14.3 trillion (€12.7 trillion) in 2014, equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.” This figure equates to 17 per cent of World’s GDP and 43 per cent of it is military expenditure.

The report continues on to state “Middle East and North Africa — where several countries suffered from an upsurge in violence related to sectarian strife and civil conflicts, as well as a rise in actions by Islamist extremist groups, now ranks as the most violent region in the world”

Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma suffered a lot.

During most of her political life she was under never-ending of arrests/house arrest; she was a direct target of the brutal military oppression.

Speaking at a commemoration in Cobh, Co Cork, to mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Cunard liner by a German submarine U-20, President Higgins said: “The sinking was an immense human tragedy with the loss of almost 1,200 lives and that should never be forgotten”.

Today, as the reactions to the deaths of more than 1100 migrants in two separate incidents continue, we are reading the enthusiastic headlines referring to the EU Joint Foreign and Home Affairs Council meeting and reporting the good news. It seems the EU is finally acting to bring an end to this crisis.

"Record number of migrants expected to drown in Mediterranean this year" says the headline of a Guardian article (*). It is the word "expected" that I have a problem with. Who is expecting and why?


Almost five in every 1,000 children born in the UK die before the age of five.

The mortality rate in Ireland for children under five is 4.6 deaths per 1000 births, almost double that in Iceland, which was the lowest recorded at 2.4 deaths per 1,000 births in 2014.

Malta has the worst record with 7 deaths per 1,000.

In Ireland there were 17,699 babies born in the first quarter of 2014. The total number of births in 2013 was 68,930. That is 317 dead children before reaching the age of 5.

The Oxfam report, published ahead of Davos 2015 World Economic Forum, a gathering that brings world’s billionaires and politicians together, could not be named any better. “Wealth: Having it all and wanting more”. The work Oxfam did and the data they have collected is an eye opener and the report contains not only summarized information but also detailed numerical data to back up the findings.

The French state wants all religious practises of Muslims to be in private out of the public’s view. According to the French framework of 'laicité' religious code of conduct must not infringe the public area, but a lot of things that supposed to be private to Muslims are rapidly becoming  part of political-racist public debates as well as filing magazine covers. 

There is no doubt that the US presidents and British prime ministers are at the top of ‘world’s most powerful leaders’ list. Therefore, their actions have always had long lasting global consequences. These consequences are not just a matter for local domestic politics but for the entire world. The governments of Bush and Blair were no exceptions and the entire world had to live with the consequences of their decisions and actions.

Looking back at the world of last 10+ years, Bush and Blair should be declared as ‘international criminals’ and put on trial for the very serious problems we are facing today.

Why do migrants die at sea?

First of all let us agree on one thing: No one, no mother, no father, no child should be labeled as ‘illegal’ because they are running away from war, death, oppression, hunger or poverty. It is far too easy to feel sad while watching on TV a 5 year old kid crossing the desert on his own to reach the refugee camp, or to see a mourning women for the death of her children. But the real test is about what we say and what we do when these people get up and run for their lives and for the lives and safety of their children.

In a few days’ time millions of living rooms around the world will be filled with the intoxicating sound of football stadiums. Like modern day gladiators, special elite forces of the nations will battle in grand arenas for the biggest sporting trophy in the world. Thankfully, these battles won’t be a fight for life or death. There won’t be wild animals, brutal fighting, blood and killing at the end but there will be something else that is wild about these games and actually has brutalised the lives of millions in Brazil and around the world. That beast is called neoliberal market economy, or simply ‘capitalism’. Like the gladiator battles of the ancient times, these modern day games will be a fight for more wealth, not for the millions in their living rooms and thousands filling the stadiums but for a few who are in the business of football.

The Irish Times published an article by Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, titled “Trade missions are not the place to raise human rights”.  In his article, Mr. Bruton responds to the criticism of the Irish government not raising the human rights issues during the Irish trade mission to Gulf States Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE.

Jim Cusack of Irish Independent reports that “the barrister wife of former Fianna Fail minister Barry Andrews received more than a €1m for briefs from the Attorney General's office to fight asylum applications in the past five years.”

A new year message...

If you are rich, powerful, at the top, racist, ruling countries and waging wars, you get to meet Mandela and tell on TV stations how much you ‘love’ him. If you are poor, exploited and oppressed, you fight for the things he fought; against the very same people above, who ‘love’ him so much.

Our world is an exciting, upsetting, joyful and a hopeful place. There are disasters, wars, oppressions and exploitations in a lot of places but there are also fight-backs, humanity, resistance and revolutionary struggle as well.

At times, it seems that all good things are lost and struggles are defeated. But nothing -fortunately- is just black and white. Defeat and victory seem to be co-existing in many places.

But a struggle goes on everywhere.

Gezi protestors in Turkey were denounced by the Turkish government as 'terrorists', 'foreign agents trying to break the stability in the country', 'looters' etc.

Starting with the Arab Spring, social media has been the focus of many political debates and analyses. Books are written about social media and its role in social movements. Facebook and Twitter, among other platforms, have become the key focus of social and political analysts, as well as the new generation 'communication experts'.

Discussions on racism often focus on education as a tool in fighting and eliminating it. One of the most repeated explanations for the cause of racism is identified as the ‘lack of education’ and therefore the lack of ‘understanding’ by racists of why racism is such a bad thing.

Just for a few minutes:

Think of a country, where a consistent austerity program is ongoing for a number of years. Cuts are hurting people in every aspect of life and more and more people are becoming unemployed.

Switzerland: Double racism, double standards

Last week we read two seperate news items on racism from Switzerland...

The first one was about asylum seekers: “The town of Bremgarten in the Swiss canton of Aargau has banned asylum seekers from public swimming pools and sports facilities. The decision is symptomatic of Switzerland's increasingly restrictive asylum policy.... In a move described by the Swiss Refugee Council as "indefensible in both legal and humanitarian terms," the town of Bremgarten in the Swiss canton of Aargau has introduced several "exclusion zones" for asylum seekers, including public swimming pools, sports facilities, church and school grounds.”

Mass revolts and uprisings are, among many other things, also great fun, a very liberating experience.

Suddenly, a lot of things have happened in our lives, just as we were all getting ready for our hot Turkish summer lethargy.

The environmentalist agenda that emerged with the Gezi Park protests evolved into a much broader political struggle after the initial first few days of the protests. Police brutality and the dismissive political arrogance of the government, only served to anger many thousands and bring them out onto the streets. In the process, a lot of stereotypes were broken and a lot of clichés were proven to be totally wrong.

We will continue to discuss and politically analyse the events, but there are already a lot of lessons learned from this complex, multi-dimensional, full of contradictions, full of Byzantine games – struggle, that started almost a month ago. These were both practical and political lessons.

Berna Kirmit isimli Radikal Blog yazarı ''İdam cezasını savunacağım hiç aklıma gelmezdi' başlıklı bir yazı yayımlamış. Yazıda ortaya konan fikirlerin ve iddiaların aslında hiçbir tarihsel, sosyal ve hukuksal dayanağı ve idam tartışmaları açısından bir orijinalliği yok. Ancak 2012'nin Türkiye'sinde idam cezasını savunan bir yazı yanıtsız kalmamalıdır. Zira, idam cezası gibi toplumların vicdanını, hukuk algısını ve demokratik sürecini yakından ilgilendiren bir konuda yazılan herşey, yazılan satırların da ötesinde bir öneme sahiptir.