Tag Archives: Europe

Helllo Austria?

Fuckerdyfuckerdyfuck.
And we’re in Vienna. Boarding the night train to Hamburg.
When we arrived in Budapest in the morning we took a 2 hour rest till the train to Vienna came as we were starving. And of course it was nice to sit around and take in the beauty of the train station of Budapest Keleti.
After we got ripped off in an exchange shop (Hungarian Florints are a bitch) we took off to Vienna. Ass the plan was to start hitch hiking from Vienna onwards we already started planning in the train. We needed carton to write our destinations on and we needed to find the place where, we found through the internet, was the easiest to hitch a ride to Germany and then Denmark.
Easiest? My Arse!
We stood 4 hours in the freezing cold. Waving at cars. SMiling the crap out of ourselves. Doing some crazy dances to keep warm. Begging out-loud in the hope a driver would hear them. And nothing.
Nobody stopped. Well, somebody actually stopped but that was to taek with another hitch hiker who arrived later than us.
We didn’t get a ride. But by god we can say we got spit upon. From a car that was passing a guy got his head out and frankly spit upon the cardboard Esra was holding. Thank you Austria for you hospitality! See you next time!
We’ll just take the train to Hamburg and proceed from there!
bubai!

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Crossing the Bridge – the sound of Istanbul

CDN Summer Camp 2009

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I have to admit it; it was nuts. Thirty-five hours on a fucking bus. It was nuts. And that was only the way there. It took us another 34 hours to get back to Istanbul. Nuts, I say.

Being dropped kilometers before the Georgian border whilst you had bought your ticket to Batumi. A Laz taxi driver who told the story of the Iron Curtain and his people’s separation by it. Children begging for their life at the Batumi bus station. The matroeska between Batumi and Tiblisi breaking down.

Stressful to say the least. But then there they were. Ten days in Georgia. First and Executive Committee Meeting and then the CDNEE summer camp.

The CDNEE summer camp as such is every year a great experience. Only the pretext of having so many countries assembled and being able to experience so many personalities is already a big hurray. But considering it was a summer camp with the big topic of ‘Green Values’ it was worth a Mexican wave. Seven days long we discussed in workshops on gender, non-violence, democracy, anti-militarism, human rights, etc..As if we couldn’t get enough from discussing we would also continue during the evening and nights sitting under the stars in the middle of nowhere and drinking some cheap Ukrainian vodka mixed with sprite. Emotional discussions. Rational discussions. Content wise discussions. Pragmatical discussions. We had them all. Even discusssions on whether or not playing a killing game was ‘responsible’. And it was great. F*cking great even.

I might have to forget how sick iIl was during 8 out of 10 days, how i couldn’t keep in food, how the toilet bowl was my best friend or how i got easily annoyed by the differences between EU and non EU countries. But still it was great.

And then the busride back to Istanbul. After that I’m quite sure I will never ever set a foot again in a long distance bus. NO way. No No Never. F*ck no. From the women with magical expanding powers to the unfriendly and sexist bus driver till the bloody aircirculationthingy that didn’t work and no sleep for 34 hours, I’ve had it with buses.

And then we touch the ground

Like always I was too nervous to actually fall asleep and take upon those brief hours in bed to rest. But no, the adrenaline of leaving for Turkey wouldn’t let me sleep.  So therefor I kept unpacking, repacking all night long. Finally deciding to leave a few books and a whole suitcase behind. It just felt too much like a capitalist move  rather than something essential to ones self growth. In the end I still managed to stuff 35 kilos in my luggage witch made some eyebrows twitch behind the check-in counter. But thankfully my innocent and angel like smile can solve any problem possible.

Flying is as such always an adventure. Firstly because I have a very strong dislike against being put in such small boxes without the ability to move, but foremost because of the stressed people you can find on airports. It says something about the nature of people who are already stressed out whilst they are using the transport that will bring them in the fastest manner to their destination. This behavior is as much disturbing as it sounds when the fact is that those people are leaving on holidays. Holidays they will most probably spend with their arse on a beach and cocktail in their hand. Capitalist society has indeed its negative connotations 😉

But this time it didn’t disturb me that much since I was leaving for Turkey. What bothered me a bit was the security measures that I always have to endure as a person with a Turkish name and a Belgian Passport. In Budapest I was questioned during half an hour how this fact would be possible. I distinctly got the feeling they were at the point of thinking that I was a terrorist with a fake passport. This whilst the Belgian Passport is, since a few years, an item that can not be easily be forged. But well, xenophobia and racism are on the rise in Hungary so there should be some kind of explanation for this behavior. And at the same time I shouldn’t complain much since the people with a Turkish passport have more difficulties coming to the EU than I have going to Turkey.
I was already happy not to be spending that much time in Budapest as it was soon time to board that plane in direction of Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

A smile emerged after landing and putting my first steps on the concrete. It was turkish concrete stupid.

But that smile was quickly put to rest when I passed yet again passport control. As always this boot was manned with a very unfriendly person witch as always asked me where my Turksih passport was and gave me a very judging look when i responded that that was not a doom i wanted to hail upon myself. It left me wondering why this turkish identity/ nationality mattered so much  both for me but also for the turkish autorities. Probably a wondering that will come back in those next two months. Happily there is a duty free shop for the arrivals on the airport where i stocked up on raki and gauloises. Thnak the lord for that.
After a demonic busride through Istanbul the contors of Taksim square made me even smile more as it was utter happiness that emerged in my brain. Taksim square has a such an influence on me as it is questionable symbol of turkeys history, present and future. Questionable since everything in turkeys history, present time and future is questionable as far as it goes. But it made me feel like i’ve come home for once.

Going Home?

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I must say that I’ve been wanting to write blogposts on several occasions these past few weeks. I could have written something on the Iran Elections, the re-newed head scarf’s discussion in Western Europe, the tragic death of our pop king, etc. .But I didn’t. Why? Because mentally I’m already somewhere else.

I’ve found myself in the land of my father whilst I haven’t even left the country of my mother. The debate Turkey versus Belgium keeps on taking brain parts on a high. This even more so as I’m leaving for Turkey on the 1st of July and this for 2 months.

This 2 month stay is quite existential for me as I haven’t spend that much time in Turkey since I was 16. Now 8 years later I’m going back to hopefully find my roots and origins back. It has to be specified that with roots and origins I certainly do not mean my biological family as more than once I’ve gotten the question if I would be visiting or as that would be the only explanation why I would choose to go to Turkey for at least 2 months. For shit sake no. I’m not that stereotypical, neither would I survive such an encounter.

But the truth is that I feel very much disconnected with those roots and origins. I do not even feel like I have any roots or origins. With self identification those problems are vastly whipped off the table. But reality is that I do need a feeling of belonging. For the past few years I’ve refused to believe that I belonged to neither the Belgian nor the Turkish society. The mere fact that one of my parents had one of those nationalities did not change that. I’ve always thought of myself, quite ego-centric, as a citizen of the world, a European blabla. But the notion that society in itself does not think that way has changed that. There is apparently a certain need for stereotyping and putting people into boxes. As much as I would love to do that not, it is reality. And no matter how naieve I believe I am, that reality I can not ignore. No matter if I would like it or not people will always put an label on me as being either Turkish, either Belgian or just rather a bastard child of 2 rather ridiculous people. It is as such taunting me.  And since I have been living in Belgium for the past 24 years it’s Turkey that I need to discover. Not as a touristic holiday where I would spend most of my days on a beach filled with other whales, but in life itself. I desperately need to feel that connection to a culture, to a society. I’m just not that kind of an individualist that I could survive otherwise. And where better to do this than in Istanbul; the city that is situated both in Europe and in Asia.

So I’m going. With probably way to many expectations. But I’ll survive. And I can’t wait for that 1st of July. Only 1 day left.

World Refugee Day

Last Saturday, the 20th of June was the World Refugee Day and in times where climate refugees are such a hot topic one should take the occasion to take a moment and reflect upon the existence of fortress Europe.

One often thinks that the whole world would like to seek refuge on our European continent whilst the largest amount of refugees actually are found on the African continent and those people do not even have the intention to ever cross the Medditeranian.
But somehow there is this misconception that the European Union is overflooded with refugees in search of a better future either for political or economical reasons.

This misconception has led to the belief that we are in need of shutting our borders off for economical refugees and that we use very subjective criteria to determine if somebody is entitled to the status of political refugee and thus makes a chance for that much needed and hoped for better future.

It is only human to be in search of something better as it is understandable that every person on this globe would like a life that is not only about surviving but also about living.

And then comes the question why there is a belief that there should be criteria to determine if somebody has the right or not to be entitled to a better life. An answer is yet to be given to those who are returned to their country of origine and to those who live in the European Union and are being considered as illegal. This whilst it is hard to actually understand how a human being as such can be illegal.

Green up this Grey Institution

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With the last European elections 10 more members than with the elections in 2004 for the Green/EFA Group will take place in the European Parliament which accounts for a 23,5% increase of Green representation in the EP. The Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) would like to thank all youngsters who went to vote and especially the ones who thought Big, voted Green and thereby expressed their wishes to further strive towards a progressive and ecological alternative to our old model of society1.

Not only are the Greens the only political group in which more women have been elected than men2, it is also the political party in which many young representatives have been elected. This powerful youth green team will shake up this institution and undoubtedly do their utmost best to bring this still unpopular institution closer to young people all over Europe. Ska Keller (27), Franziska Brantner (29), Jan-Philip Albrecht (26) from Germany and Karima Delli (28) from France are the ones who will make the young voices heard. FYEG believes that their participation in the decision-making processes is of the utmost value, not only for youngsters but for the whole of Europe, because of their different perspectives and progressive visions.

Unfortunately these elections also revealed two problematical issues. The first one being the low turn-out rate, breaking the record of abstention (57%) since the European Parliament has hold elections. This result is disturbing and once again shows the democratic deficit that the European institutions suffer from. It is sad that both media, nation-states and most of the other political parties do not seem to take their responsibility and properly explain the EU to the citizens, but instead present it as an uncontrollable monster that infiltrates in national affairs. FYEG distances itself from this and will continue to spread a fair representation of the EU and its value and hopes that other parties will join them in the soon future.

The second one is that unfortunately the Green MEP’s are faced with a Blue-Brown wave of conservatives, extremists and nationalists which will compose 56% of the parliament. This situation makes it all the more important for the Young European Greens to commit themselves to fight against politicians who use fear as a political instrument rather than to face the complexity of today’s society and to constructively work on creating a common respectful future.

Finally however, this new legislature brings hope for young people that with a stronger Green presence in the parliament, justice for all human beings and its essential environment will be even harder and more effectively fought for than in prior years. They will green up this grey institution!