In light of the recent Paris attacks, countless politicians have expressed their opinions about the current refugee crisis. It’s interesting to see the different ways that the United States government and the European Union are handling the aftermath of the attacks. Several American governors have openly stated that they will refuse entry to any refugees, because in their opinion there are bound to be ISIS militants in the incoming groups. They say that America should mainly worry about its own safety, because the influx of refugees could pose a future threat. While members of the European Union have a similar opinion on the matter, stating that Europe needs to increase security for fear that ISIS militants may infiltrate the group of incoming refugees. Both the U.S. and the EU have allowed fear and generalization to cloud their judgement about an innocent and desperate group of people. By definition, a refugee is a verified asylum seeker meaning the person is fleeing from persecution and immediate conflict. Innocent Syrian civilians have had their country and homes destroyed. They need the world’s help, and America needs to begin helping Europe by sheltering these refugees. In 2015 alone more than 750,000 migrants arrived solely by sea. This doesn’t include the thousands of migrants that filtered through landlocked countries in the EU. It’s not only a crisis that affects Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa anymore: it’s the world’s crisis. Read more
One weekend in the wake of the tragic Paris attacks, I was in Vienna and I happened to walk past the French embassy where the front gates had been carefully decorated with flowers, fallen leaves, posters, and candles meant to express support for the country of France, while all over the world, social media has become inundated with people sharing their opinions on militant extremism and the flood of migrants searching for asylum from the violence and devastation in their home countries. Despite there being a number of other bombings and violent attacks in multiple other countries near the same date as the Paris strike, the major outpouring of support from the United States and the majority of the western world has been focused on Paris. This is strikingly illustrated in Facebook’s controversial decision to only supply the option to temporarily change one’s profile picture to France’s flag, rather than Syria’s or Lebanon’s or any other country that has suffered a devastating extremist attack. Read more
I could easily write a vitriolic think piece on why we mourn Paris and not Syria, Egypt, Beirut, Japan, or Mexico. It would take no effort for me to point out that we have a moment of silence every year on nine eleven for all the individuals who died in, and fighting for, the United States, but not for the 146,596 Iraqi non-combatants that died in the war on terror. Being a member of western civilization seems to be a prerequisite for death to be tragic. Writing that article would just add more anger to the world however, and these attacks have taught me that there is enough of that in the world. Read more
Shahidul Alam and Salima Hashmi came to Villa Sassetti as part of “The West and Global Muslim Communities” dialogue. Shahidul Alam a Bangladeshi photographer, writer, and curator spoke about his photography project, which focused on Hajera’s work in Bangladesh. Salima Hashmi shared two feminists poems and shared her thoughts on the role of the artist in society. Read more
For half of the working group, the EU in Focus trip to Brussels began with a 5:00 am meeting time at the Florence airport. Once we arrived in Brussels we were given the opportunity to explore the city for the remainder of the Saturday, making the early morning flight seem inconsequential. The city was as lively as expected, especially for a weekend. After spending an entire day roaming around downtown and enjoying all the Belgian waffles and fries that Brussels could offer us, we reconvened at the hotel for dinner as a group and were able to listen to two guest speakers from the EU, one of them an NYU alumna. Our hotel was located in the government sector of the city, which meant that on the weekend there was little traffic on the roads and very few pedestrians. This completely changed on Monday when each establishment reawoke to keep the European continent fully functioning, until the next Saturday came around five days later. Read more
Chris King, founder of Food Is…, said his exploration of food waste has been meaningful and productive, and has been involved with numerous organizations designed to prevent food waste such as Food Cycles, Plan Zheroes, and The Dinner Xchange. Chris believes the best way to reach people is to focus on the positive with his photography.
Chris informed the audience of shocking truths about the food we waste. 20-40% of food produced doesn’t get eaten. “Ultimately, it’s criminal,” said Chris. According to The Washington Post, the United States is wasting $165 billion of food, and The Guardian says the United Kingdom is topping the charts of European food waste. Approximately 25% of food and beverages the average American buys is thrown away and 15 million tons of food in the U.K. is thrown out. In 2014 48.1 million Americans (32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children) lived in food insecure households. Chris said food insecurity is a lack of food supply due to economic or other issues preventing easy access to food. On a global scale, nearly 1 billion people are malnourished. In 2013 500 thousand people were forced to access food banks and other sources of food support. Read more
The influence and infiltration of the mafia and small time criminals in food industries is rising in Italy. Guiseppe Vadalà (Italian National Forestry Corps) and Roberto Iovino (Italian General Confederation of Labor, Farm Work Confederation) discussed, in their dialogue The Mafia in the Food Chain on September 30, 2015, these criminal organizations fabricate food and use forced labor. Vadalà said there are five main mafia groups in Italy; 52.3% of agri-corporations are owned by the mafia and 19.8% of that are farm fields. It is estimated the mafia makes 9.8 billion euros through agriculture each year. Read more
Does creativity strike like lightning, a blaze of inspiration? Or is it a process that draws from one’s experiences: a reaction to a collection of memories and situations?
As Martino Marangoni explained his approach to the creative process in an interview about his photography book Alone Together, I gathered that although inspiration is spontaneous -similar to a strike of lightning- creativity is a process that requires time, patience, and an innate curiosity for something.
By Palak Mistry, NYU Florence student
Shirin Ebadi, named by Forbes Magazine as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2004, is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. She was awarded the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote human rights, in particular, the rights of women, children, and political prisoners in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and only the fifth Muslim to receive a Nobel Prize in any field. Read more