News and Opinion From a Team of Young People

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Europe

Austria needs to stop trying to erase parts of its dark history

in Europe/History by

When I went to Auschwitz this summer I wanted to write a piece on the experience but just couldn’t think of anything to say, until I read that Hitler’s birthplace (an Austrian city called Braunau) is to be demolished by Austrian authorities in an attempt to prevent the site from acting as a focal point for Neo-Nazi ‘pilgrimages’ worldwide. This is a completely ridiculous solution, a futile attempt at addressing the symptoms of a decaying society. It’s almost as if the Austrian interior minister doesn’t realise that other much more important sites pertaining to Hitler exist. Should we knock those down to for the sake of crossing off one more stop on the neo-Nazis road trip? There is more than mere historical value in this…

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Liberty with Caveats: France’s Move Towards Fascism

in Europe by

Liberté, égalité, fraternité. These are the words behind the 1789 French revolution, a movement that abolished the monarchy and established a secular and democratic republic and the liberation of the people from monarchist repression. Recent events concerning the banning of the ‘burkini’ have thrown these values and France’s ‘secularism’ in to question. What must be discussed now is whether or not the French government is really committed to these values. French Prime minister, Manuel Valls, stated on the 18th of August that wearing a burkini was “not compatible with the values of the French Republic”. Calls to ban Islamic religious symbols in public have risen since 85 people were killed by a truck on Bastille Day in Nice last month, such bans have been imposed…

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Brexiteers’ Reaction to the Olympic Games Has Been Deplorable

in Europe/UK by

Billions of people around the world see the Olympics as a noble example of international cooperation and the indomitability of the human spirit. For once, the Olympics offer us a chance to set our political beliefs and agendas aside, and instead come together to celebrate our common humanity. For some of us, that is. Of course the Olympics will never be free of political agendas. Since it’s earliest days the event has been seen by countries as a chance to show some form of superiority over their neighbours. This is as true in 2016 as it has ever been. Ever the opportunists, Brexiters have taken the triumph of British athletes to demonstrate the natural superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race; despite this year’s team GB having…

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The Refugee Crisis and the Importance of Action in International Relations

in Europe/World by

In international politics, as in life, it can seem easier to stand back and allow others who want to, to deal with the world’s problems. On an individual scale, sometimes that’s the best decision. However, on the international scale the people who want to deal with the world’s problems are exactly the people you wouldn’t want dealing with them. The only way to ensure that we achieve what we want is to go out and get it. It’s ridiculous to assume that doing nothing is going to get us the solution we want – because when we’re doing nothing, others are most certainly not. The first issue that we can apply these ideas to is the refugee crisis. The UK has done little to nothing…

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Putin’s Unlikely New Friendship

in Europe/Middle East/World by

A few days ago, after visiting a local Chinese restaurant, I received an ominous message from a fortune cookie: ‘An unexpected friendship will turn out to be permanent.’ Of course, I interpreted the prediction as applying to me, despite the fact that it is not specified. However in an unexpected twist in the tale of modern international politics, the anonymous writer may have for once made a successful foretelling. A few days ago, Turkey’s foreign minister announced deepened defensive cooperation with Russia, establishing a joint military and intelligence mechanism with their former foes. It was only last year when Turkey and Russia were at each other’s throats after the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish forces. More recently, Erdogan began to consciously push for…

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Europe Needs Pragmatism and Unity, Not Delusions

in Europe by

For a long time, I’ve been hesitant to express my thoughts about the EU. Months ago I published a short piece on the topic, but in it I simpered and tamed my ideas to make them more palatable to those who may be undecided on the issue of Europe. That was before the referendum. Now, those of us who supported EU membership have been proven right. The warnings we issued to the British public were not heeded and the suffering we predicted is materialising. People don’t need to be persuaded by sugar-coated arguments, they are demanding truth – and the truth is what I will give you. Brexiters even now continue to peddle the fantasy of a ‘global Britain’. A Britain engaged in the world,…

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Banning Foreign Funding for Mosques: A Purely Political Move

in Europe by

This week the French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, has made a statement that supports the idea of banning foreign funding to all mosques. This idea has been raised in an attempt to improve the security of France, a country that has been the target of multiple high-profile terror attacks which have been claimed by the so-called Islamic State. This Islamic extremist terrorist group recruits some individuals for its cause through local mosques where preachers prey on and eventually radicalize people living in the West. It is thought that by cutting off the money from extremist groups, the incentive for a mosque to turn a blind eye to extremism, or even to actively encourage it, will be diminished and so will the number of radicalized individuals.…

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The Bad Penny Debates: Are Religious Freedoms and a Liberal Society Contradictory in Modern Europe?

in Europe by

  Emily Religious freedom, to me, is the right to act as you please in regards to following your own personal religious beliefs. Many liberals would argue that it is necessary to have religious freedom to function in a liberal society. However, within certain religions, not only does it dictate how the religious follower should act, but how the religious follower should respond to someone else breaking that religions laws, such as adultery or homosexuality. The resulting question raised is: to what extent may someone act out their religion and have the right to religious freedom, even if it removes the freedom of another citizen? Throughout history, the state and church have acted as one. This usually means that there is one main religion within…

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The Nice Attacks: A Disproof of J.S Mill’s “On Liberty”?

in Europe/History by

Two days ago, a man in Nice drove a truck through a crowd killing 84 victims and injuring countless more. His actions have had wider repercussions than the ending these innocent lives, they have bought immeasurable pain to families and friends and hit of the French public with another collective loss. He has catalysed the unraveling of French liberality. Already there have been calls for all people under suspicion, but yet to commit acts that warrant arrest to be tracked more closely, even to be taken into custody. Muslims as a whole have been blamed, by some, for having a religion that perpetuates unhealthy radicalism, or that is not compatible with the West at all. Litigation and the government are the only elements that the…

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Europe Just Outplayed Us on an Astronomic Scale

in EU Referendum/Europe/World by

As a believer in the creation of a federal Europe you may expect me to be disappointed with the result of the referendum. On the contrary however, I am really quite pleased – and impressed. Many heralded yesterday’s Brexit vote as the death knell of the European project; the end of the 50 year attempt to unite the continent after 30 years of war. It was assumed that with Britain’s departure, other states would follow and the EU would collapse. Of course, this is a distinct possibility, but if Europe can weather the current storm (and from the looks of things, it can), then Brexit might just have been exactly what the European Project needed to finish the job. Since it joined in 1973, Britain…

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