I’d even go as far as saying this degree of unity is unparalleled in the modern history of Lebanon. There was chanting, singing, dabke (folk dancing). Patriotic ballads filled the air. Food and coffee were available for all. Strangers greeted and came to the assistance of strangers. While the exasperations and frustrations are very much real the energy on the ground is positive and inspiring through and through. Women, in particular, have played a substantial role in this revolution, at the levels of organizing and mobilizing and sustaining that positive energy.
A lot of political art is about criticizing the world we live in today and that´s necessary but what is also necessary is to envision the world we want to inhabit. Activists have a hard time doing this and often artistic activists have a hard time doing this but we think it´s essential. Unless people can imagine the world they want to be a part of in the future they never will join with you in the present.
Let alone the pressure from society because of the regime’s propaganda against women. I think Iranian women are one of the strongest in the world. They are highly educated and very successful in their lives despite all the things they’ve been through.
There is a perception by many people that the economy is doing well under Trump, and I think that this is perhaps the most dangerous thing that people think, “Well, I don't like what he talks about, but he is good for the economy and so I will vote for him.” I don't agree with that analysis. I feel like the Trump economy has been riding on the tail winds of the economy that Obama basically saved from another Great Depression.
I know that my handicap puts some people off, some find it disgusting to see someone like me at the beach or the pool, how I move on the ground or even when I am lying on a deck chair. I decided very quickly that I am already handicapped enough and that I won´t allow society to restrict me further.
There have always been interchanges, one country drawing inspiration from another, one culture influencing others. Architecture, art, music, royal dynasties, the Middle Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, two World Wars, democracy, peace, equality, and social welfare. Great ideas were born in Europe. Big catastrophes took place. If you try to write about Europe you can never write about all that is important. Therefore, this issue can only crack the surface.
Politicians and policymakers are fond of suggesting that the present day welfare crisis might be “solved” by placing more responsibility on the shoulders of private actors, notably voluntary associations and families. Such claims are based on the widely shared but mistaken idea that state welfare has diminished the role of social action, as well as families’ self-reliance, and that therefore both must be reinvigorated.
Ireland is obviously and proudly very Irish place. But it is also a very European place. That sense of Ireland wanting to be a part of the European family is very strong. You could see that again in the recent European elections. There is very steady and strong support for Europe, and it has become even stronger.
Until we can resolve and learn how to deal with the different narratives and acknowledge that different people and different groups had different experiences and there is hurt and blame on all sides; until we can do that I don’t know if we can ever really move on.
A large part of the intellectual culture came via Arabic. A lot of the classical Greek and Roman texts were preserved by Arabic translation, which was then rediscovered by Christian Europe in the late Middle Ages.
In fact, what we know is that the whole of the majority of people who are arriving in Europe are people who are fleeing from conflict or violence. There are not choosing to come because of generous assistance.
Brexit was the most fantastic marketing campaign. They tapped into that emotion. Take back control, our money, our borders. It sounds cool. Brexit, an interesting word. But Remain sounded boring.
„My ideal Europe is one in which we care about each other even though we are from different countries“
We have come so accustomed to living together that we don´t think anymore in a national identity but a European identity. If we reach this state of caring about each other even though we are from different countries, this would be my ideal Europe.