In the European political climate today, more than sixty years since the end of WWII, eastern European experiences of subjugation are often glossed over. This creates misunderstandings that could be avoided by an awareness of a common European history, argues Timothy Snyder. Then, solidarity rather than national prejudice would motivate public opinion on matters of European politics.
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The Bush-Putin summit in Bratislava could make one think that Slovakia is a country without spirit and influence. But Samuel Abrahám turns the attention to another meeting at the eve of the summit. There Slovakia is a shining example. Not because of the Velvet Revolution of 1989 or the peaceful break-up of Czechoslovakia of 1993, and not because it hosted Bush and Putin. It is because of 1998, when Slovakia voted out its own autocrat.
Lithuania wakes up to a new social and cultural reality
In the academic and intellectual Lituanian debate, globalisation and Europeanisation is often regarded as a deadly threat to the national culture, an “evil mission”. Almantas Samalavicius looks at the arguments and proposes a completely diffent concept of identity.
There are moments in history when one must think broadly and ambitiously. To secure democracy in Ukraine is certainly in the interest of the European Union, writes Timothy Snyder. It is also a test for a Europe that wishes to play a role in the world.
Ukrainian author Oksana Zabuzhko walks the streets of Kiev and witnesses an unprecedented upsurge of national solidarity. “To put it simply,” she writes, “‘they’ are the power – the most widely hated power in Ukraine since Soviet times. And ‘we’ – we are the people.”
The dialogue of cultures in music
A look at the musical history of Saint Petersburg and the intercultural dialogue between Russian and European music.
The Israeli wall, far from being medieval, is an especially modern response, rife with the remains of Cold War obfuscation that viewed the world divided by the Iron Curtain as an essentially one-sided division.
From the Palestinian side, Raja Shehadeh assesses how life “behind” the walls and checkpoints looks like.
The rapid and drastic process of secularization in western Europe over the last decades has not diminished the continuing unease with which Europe considers the Islamic religion and Muslims in its midst. In this benchmark essay from 2004, José Casanova argues that the “Islam problem” is an indicator of the disparity between liberal and illiberal strands of European secularism.
Lothar Baier (1942-2004)
Since I heard of Lothar Baier’s death, I’ve had the nagging wish to call Lothar in Montreal to try to make sense together of this weird, tragic event.
Interview with Rob Shields
The “city” has become a favourite object of research in academia as well as the cultural mainstream and has spawned the areas of history, geography, sociology, literature and architecture. Rob Shields argues that the discipline has suffered however from its inability to clearly define the focus of its field and sketches out three important research areas for the field of urban studies: The social and economic sustainability of cities, future governance and administrative norms of cities, and finally virtual forms of urban life supported by new information and communication technologies.