Is the European Union kaputt?

 by Laura Vilaça

I moved to Germany – more specifically to Hamburg – little over a month ago. And you know what I realized? I haven’t been able to prove a single stereotype I got about Germany from the media in my Southern European country. And along with me, many others agreed on this. So why does the media from my country – and that of the other PIGS (acronym for Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain, the European countries in financial trouble) – insist otherwise?

I’ve realized that people are foolishly patriotic. And more than being that, they’re patriots who choose to trust ignorance instead of facts. And the question is: why? Because they are not necessarily given the facts. The media, much like the average citizen, has proven to have little knowledge of economy and, being so, is not capable of translating the heavy economic jargon. And this interests the heads of state, because blaming someone else is always less of a hassle than having citizens mad at you. They vote, they choose who gets what (or at least they are led to believe so) – and this misinterpretation of the political play helps supporting floating promises and inflamed speeches about Europe. The European political scene is a circus – and everyone juggles it the best they can.

merkel

Continue reading

Advertisements

12 mistakes to avoid if you’re a disaster traveling alone

by Laura Vilaça

I am a disaster traveling alone. I’ve been avoiding this confirmation because of my self esteem as an independent-grow-modern-woman, but facts keep proving me otherwise. Not even a year ago, I ‘forgot’ my checked luggage at the airport and happily went all the way home, only to realize – three hours later – that I had to go back 30 mins by bus to get it. It was a big red suitcase, almost my size. I kid you not.

76 x 31 x 43 cm. Sadly enough, not a sexual reference.

76 x 31 x 43 cm. Sadly enough, not a sexual reference.

Continue reading

Havens on the Wane

By Camy Roch

States are like people. At least, sometimes they do have the same survival instincts, especially when it comes to money. I mean, what would you do if  you’re short on money but still craving  a refreshing beer? You desperately rake up your pockets. And if you still can’t find any, then you go rake the neighbour’s. At least, that’s what I would do.

Let’s leave the metaphor there. It seems like today, due to economic hard times, states are struggling to afford that goddamned beer. Leading the European Council to gather in Brussels two days ago, with the firm intention to scrape some money together. Here to understand: tackling once for all tax evasion, and putting an end to the reign of tax havens and bank secrecies. (As I said, if you can’t find coins in your own pockets, go for the neighbours’).

As sad as it may sound, not every tax haven does look like that.

As sad as it may sound, not every tax haven does look like that.

Continue reading

Pambilinho

by Michael Seckler

My knees are close to my chin, and I’m canting my head because of the low roof. The bus that is racing into the Ecuadorian rain forest is a converted truck with benches and a roof made of wood. While the Salsa-music is trying to drown the sound of the branches hitting the truck, I think about what brought me into this nothingness. My destination is the house, Pambilinho, home of two Ecuadorian brothers who actually did what generally stays a thought: leaving society behind and moving into nature. Into the Wild. I love this movie.

After three hours I see the Pambilinho sign at the side of the road and pound my hand against the roof to tell the bus driver to stop.

IMG_0807

Continue reading