The phenomenon of migration is one of the modern-day elements that make the relationship between global flows and geographical culture more symbolically ambivalent. As with the globalisation of goods and information, the globalisation of people – as “naked lives” – is a flow capable of generating risks and opportunities, depending on how it affects territories and the resulting lengthy identity drifts. Immigration as an epoch-making phenomenon can only be tackled by stronger governments, stronger markets and far stronger community involvement. Here are some truths about Italy's situation.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Josip Broz Tito celebrated the "brotherhood and unity" of the six republics that formed his Yugoslavia. Train travel between Belgrade and Sarajevo was a constant and the carriages packed. But ethnic strife and war put an end to that prosperous time. Now, train service between the two cities has resumed after 17 years. Though a sign of hope in a troubled region, the service is slow, the bureaucracy overwhelming, and the passengers few.
Moaning won’t help: it’s the global market that determines migration. It makes more sense to analyse ongoing experiences to try and import the methods that work best. The British model is turning out to be very efficient in terms of managing skilled manpower, while the American model offers interesting ideas for a government-business relationship.
There are too many clichés. Given that people all over the world are moving in search of better living conditions, the issue is to understand how the phenomenon is evolving. Europe, for example, will increasingly require fresh manpower. To achieve this, however, it will have to come up with a reception policy that is both selective and capable of encouraging integration.
The muscle that once characterized Russian underworld growth has been replaced by an emphasis on white-collar financial crimes, many of which get their start in unassuming places, including hotel lobbies. Gangland brutality has yielded to low profile savoir-faire, intended above all to defuse police pressure. At the same time, old-school business in prostitution, drugs and weapons is still booming, with multinational clans taking full advantage of safe havens such as Montenegro as well as lax enforcement on the part of the European Union
Since the late 1990s, the Western Balkans have opened the door to the prospect of joining EuroAtlantic institutions, including the EU and NATO. But unresolved issues rooted in past conflicts continue to impede forwardprogress. Former Montenegrin envoy to Italy Miodrag Lekic admits that the region remains bogged down in animosity, but expresses cautious optimism that the combination of new leadership in Croatia and Bosnia’sproWestern stance may lead to a reordering of priorities with European inclusion as a common regional goal.
Hungary’s Civic Union (Fidez) was the runaway winner in recent national elections, taking power at the expense of the much-maligned Socialists. At the same time, the extreme rightist Jobbik party also posted significant gains. New Prime Minister Viktor Orbán faces the daunting task of consolidating his own party, enacting needed institutional reform, and keeping the IMF happy on debt repayment. In foreign policy, he must decide if the time has come for Budapest to change its longstanding hostility to Russia, which is now a force both in the region and internationally.
The chaotic capital of Albania is like terminally ill patient on a respirator. It is desperately in need of urban reform and development that has been stymied as a result of a political stalemate between activist Mayor Edi Rama, also the country’s Socialist Party leader, and his leading opponent, Sali Berisha, Albania’s longtime prime minister. The loser in this ongoing battle of wills is Tirana, which a decade after 1990s upheaval is still mired in urban chaos.
A fatal January clash between riot police and supporters of Socialist Party leader and Tirana Mayor Edi Rama again brought Albania’s chronic instability to the forefront. Though besieged, Prime Minister Sali Berisha shows no signs of stepping down, leaving the Balkan nation midway between paralysis and chaos. At the same time, Albanians seem determined not to repeated the violence of the late 1990s, which would all but end their chances of joining the European Union, a remote but still widely-held dream.
Latvian-Italian novelist Marina Jarre tires of people calling her Lithuanian. She has strong sense of heritage and powerful memories of her 1920s Jewish childhood in Riga, which she wrote about in an highly acclaimed 2004 reminiscence. Her newest novel is about Valdese life in the time of the House of Savoy. She deplores nationalism, is offended that Latvia has forgotten its years of Nazi collaboration, and thinks computers and new media are bad for the eyes.
China is using its ‘African Method’ to make inroads in the world of European business. It is loaning large sums to states seeking improved infrastructure while using weaknesses created by the global economic crisis to assist those mainstream states in need of an immediate boost, including Greece and Spain. The astute strategy is slowly but surely putting China in a position to make major inroads in European Union economies and also in economic and political policy.
In the midst of the spate of clichés that have accompanied recollections of 1968, few people remember the events in Prague that year. With this portfolio of photographs, eastwishes to pay homage not so much to Josef Koudelka, one of the leading artists of our time, as to the young people, men and women who took to the streets barehanded against the Soviet tank.
Zoika Kapuscinski, now known as Rene Maisner, retains vivid recollections of her distinguished father, the late Polish correspondent Ryszard Kapuscinki. He was private, kind, and pleasant, but ultimately moreinclined to write down his stories down than tell them to family and friends. She and her mother Alicja sat down and offered their impressions of early life with a man that many rank among the great writers and journalists of the 20th century.
As I leave the railway station on a cool morning in September, after a 14 hour overnight trip from Kharkiv, a fascinating film set awaits me. A view emphasised by a surprisingly clear sky, enhancing the clean outline of the floating byzantine domes of the Monastery of St. Panteleimon.
Since joining the European Union in 2004, Poland has been growing at a rate of 5.4 percent annually. That's largely because of its ability to copy Western electronics products and manufacturethem cheaply. But as Poland is gradually forced into line with European Union standards, the advantage it now has may well turn into liabilities, as more skilled states such as China and Vietnam blunt Poland’s advantage. So while the short term looks good, the long term is far less rosy.