Category: Europe

France’s Hateful New Gesture

A new gesture called the “quenelle” has been making its way into the pictures of French adolescents, writers, and footballers alike. The quenelle is almost militaristic in appearance, and unlike typical poses such as the thumbs up, it carries an implicit political message, though the meaning of that message is still unclear. It has been… Read more »

How New is the New Pope?

On paper, the Pope is not a very powerful head of state. He rules over a tiny country, less than one square mile with fewer than one thousand residents. His influence and soft power, however, extend to well over one billion individuals throughout the world. Because Popes rule until they die or resign, the ascension… Read more »

A Tale of Two Countries

The grim scenery of Stakhanov, Ukraine somehow fits the city in an appropriate way. The former industrial boomtown now plays home to a rapidly aging set of workers, where pensioners outnumber tax-paying workers three to one. The city relies on Russia to buy up to 90 percent of its industrial goods, with many factories barely… Read more »

Ghost of the Caucasus: Doku Umarov and the Russian Jihad

Russian President Vladimir Putin lost control over the narrative in Sochi long before the athletes arrived. The Winter Olympics, originally intended to showcase Russia’s resurgence under Putin, have been derailed by controversy over newly passed laws against “homosexual propaganda,” endless debate about Edward Snowden, and, above all, growing fears over terrorism. Explosions and smoke have… Read more »

Jobbik: Hungary’s Fearsome Party

On Sunday, January 26th, Britain braced itself to receive some controversial visitors. Led by Gabor Vona, members of Hungary’s Jobbik Party planned to hold a rally outside of the Holborn tube station. What might have been seen as a standard expression of free speech instead became a highly conflicted event due to Jobbik’s status as… Read more »

Scotland and Catalonia: Europe’s Ballot Box Revolutions

There are 193 member states of the United Nations, and probably a few more countries in the world depending on who you ask. Although this is no meager sum, the global political landscape has changed significantly, considering a few centuries ago there were as many as 1,000 countries in modern day Germany. However, the trajectory… Read more »

Ukraine in Flames

The Olympics regularly goes to great pains to celebrate the togetherness of the world. Sochi was no different: both the opening and closing ceremonies proudly displayed all 2,873 athletes participating. The athletes came from 88 countries in total, with athletes hailing from everywhere from Russia to Timor-Leste. Yet for skier Bohdana Matsotska, the Olympics’ togetherness… Read more »

The Authoritarian Utility of Homophobia

We in the West do not expect much from Russia. In our diplomatic dealings since the Cold War, we have gotten used to Russia’s grudging compliance, at best, and gleeful defiance, at worst. Most of us do not pay much attention to its domestic affairs, besides shaking our heads every time Vladimir Putin fudges an… Read more »

Boring and Proud

Visiting Berlin speaks volumes about Germany’s experience with the 20th century. The hauntingly beautiful Holocaust Memorial, a sea of different sized concrete blocks arranged in a grid pattern, occupies an entire block in central Berlin. No more than 2 blocks away, the Brandenburg Gate, center of the original Berlin wall, towers over the entire city,… Read more »

A Not So Golden Dawn

The Greek fascist movement Golden Dawn is thriving on austerity and xenophobia. Greek society must act swiftly to prevent history from repeating itself.