A letter from the underworld, from a hole dug out beneath hundreds of metres of rock and coal. It’s June. Josè Antonio Perez and six other comrades have been holed up in a tunnel of the Santa Cruz del Sil mine for three weeks. They send word to say, “We’ll only come out when the government has given us an answer”.
Many young people see Europe as above all offering an opportunity to move to other countries and change their perspective. Thousands of Spaniards, Greeks and Italians are migrating north in the hope of a brighter future. This migration wave – for many an opportunity but for others a necessity, not a choice – could affect the current structure of various countries.
A year ago it was a country receiving immigrants, rich and prosperous. Now the Irish are emigrating once more, like a century ago. They choose Australia, a rich continent still full of dreams. They are ready for anything in order to survive, even work as a lollypop person holding signs on the street. Mary works on George Street holding a sign that says “Slow down”.
In Viktor Orban’s Hungary, support is growing for the anti-Semitic and anti-Egyptian far-right Jobbik party. Fascist gangs terrorise the Roma people, while the party’s ‘acceptable faces’ head for the European Parliament, teaming up with the British National Party and Le Pen’s National Front. Italy’s far-right grouping, Fiamma Tricolore, is also present, in anything but a minor role.
In Italy, life is often faced lightheartedly; dramas and problems are handled as if they were comedies. This is a very disconcerting attitude for people from the severe northern regions, where the difference between drama and comedy is clear and unquestionable.
Rete G2 Seconde Generazioni is a national organisation run by the sons of immigrants who were born or reached Italy as small children. They define themselves as sons of immigrants, not immigrants: the ones born in Italy have never experienced a migration, and those who were born abroad but brought up in Italy did not emigrate, they were brought to Italy by their parents.
The economic crisis is rekindling migratory movements, but this time the immigrants leave countries like Italy, Spain or Greece to head north or go back home. “Many Chinese people are returning home”, says a restaurant owner who’s been in Italy for 21 years. “There’s no work”. In four years, the number of immigrant arrivals in Italy has dropped by over 75%.
For Kurds March 21st is a national holiday, it announces the arrival of Spring, a festival of awakening. Abdullah Öcalan chose the Nowruz festival to announce the cease fire and invite PKK militants to leave Turkey and return to the their fields in Iran and Iraq. Peace between Turks and Kurds is the successful outcome of the secret talks Erdogan has been holding for years.
In order to obtain the same rights as men, Albanian women take a vow of chastity, a tribal practice that still lives on in mountain communities. Forsaking sex grants women the right to inherit property, smoke in public and travel. In a family without men, a woman can become the head of the household and enjoy the same authority as a man.
Despite internal turmoil that has included the resignation of a president, Berlin seems focused on Greece alone. While tabloids assail Chancellor Angela Merkel for making exaggerated concessions, few leading Germans see a more practical way out of the euro crisis than the path she’s chosen.