Monday, 20 June 2016 11:26

Café Cinema: Black

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Photo: Nicolas Vigier (flickr); Licence: CC0 1.0  

The Belgian movie Black draws its audience into the unknown and often cruel world of Brussels´ migrant neighbourhoods. Reminiscent of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the filmmakers have adapted the novels of Dirk Bracke and created a film that is a mixture between thrilling action and bitter reality. The young directors Abdil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have made an astonishing film that is timely as it considers the issues of migration and globalisation.

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Photo Courtesy of Stronger in Manchester 

Our former editor Chris Ruff gives an enriching insight into the experience of those volunteering for Britain Stronger In Europe. 

At my first campaign stop, decent-length conversations were at a premium. Somewhat awkwardly positioned outside Manchester Victoria train station, with staff having kicked us out, we were at the mercy of the biting winds characteristic of that part of the world. Yes, even in May.

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Photo courtesy: Isabell Wutz; Photo: ais3n (flickr), Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0; Photo: Stewart (flickr), Licence: CC BY 2.0; Photo: Aljeandro De La Cruz (flickr), Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0; Photo: Raimond Spekking (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0; Photo: Nazionale Calcio (flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0; Photo: Adam Kliczek (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0; Photo: Szater (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: no copyright; Photo: Christian Kadluba (flickr), Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0; Photo: FrankieF (Wikimedia Commons), Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0

Tomorrow, on the second day of the 2016 European Championships, the Xhaka brothers will walk out to face each other. Granit, the younger, is perhaps the more famous and has just sealed a big money transfer to Arsenal. He represents Switzerland, while his brother Taulant will be wearing the colours of Albania.

This situation is illustrative of the way in which migration, which continues to be one of the hot-button issues across the continent, has penetrated sport, too. Mr. and Mrs. Xhaka were Kosovan Albanians who emigrated to Switzerland shortly before their sons were born. Football's occasionally arcane nationality rules meant that the brothers could, in essence, choose who to represent from several options. The Swiss team is a particularly strong example, with stars such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami sharing a similar background too, but sides such as France, Belgium and Germany also present stories on the same inclusive theme. They are European in every sense, sides which have taken in the best and most talented regardless of circumstance.

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Photo: Bernt Sønvisen(Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0

Our editor Fernando Burgés points you in the direction of a few essays and articles guaranteed to make you ponder. Read about former Prime Minister of Sweden Olof Palme, democratic confederalism, the Kurdish question and what we can expect from the economic developments in the coming years.

Fernando, Brain and Heart editor

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Between Olof Palme and Murray Bookchin, Democratic Confederalism is the Bysectrix

I recently spent a few days in Stockholm, where I finally had the chance to follow the steps of one of my greatest political heroes, Olof Palme, the former Prime Minister of Sweden, assassinated in 1986. His life, as much as his death, is shrouded in a smoke of mystery and romanticism, worth of a book. Indeed, several have been written, and yet I cannot affirm which is the best, I can certainly recommend the brilliant piece of investigative journalism, Blood on the Snow, by the historian Jan Bondeson. 
For those not very acquainted with this man, I highly recommend a documentary A Life in Politics as an introduction. Besides the most famous episodes of his career, it is particularly interesting the policies implemented by him years before taking over as Prime Minister of Sweden. When Palme was the Education Minister, he carried out reforms that revolutionized the country deeply: he replaced student grants for a minority with a student loans system for a larger number of people; expanded further education facilities for adults; integrated preschool into the whole education system; expanded day-care centres and introduced classes on sex and procreation in a straightforward and comprehensive way. Above all, his biographers say, in the kindergartens, Palme revolutionized the prevailing mindset, promoting collectivist values.

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