Germany’s fractured twentieth-century history gives racism a different meaning there than it has in the United States, Great Britain or France. The lack of an unbroken colonial legacy and the immigration to which it inevitably leads made people of African and East Asian descent relatively uncommon. Those who did settle down came primarily as guest workers or asylum seekers. And the Holocaust further complicated matters. (More…)

When I was a teen, a boy I loved left me. I was heartbroken. Yes, it was something every girl experiences, but still, it hurts every time it happens. Nothing could fix this feeling, or make things better. My friend Mandy told me about a wonderful fortune teller in our neighborhood, who was reading tarot cards, coffee cups and giving advice to anybody who would pay her. (More…)

After the sad reality of the extreme and populist right-wing gains in the European elections last May, a sober look at the European Union, and what the left should do, is long overdue. (More…)

I was writing a long SMS to a man who was once a powerful political figure in Georgia. He was a progressive reformer and fighter of corruption and subsequently has become a major source of political knowledge here and abroad. I was expecting a reply packed with just enough wisdom to be used for a good article quote, when suddenly I received a one short note: “What a Twit.” (More…)

It took us a few seconds to figure out what was happening. One minute my host brothers had been hurling snowballs towards the roof of an apartment building, and the next we were being assaulted by a blur of a man, shirtless but a little sweaty despite the fierce cold. He landed one punch, missed another, then turned to charge at me. “I don’t have insurance,” I shouted in German, (More…)

What was once unthinkable has become a reality. Nigel Farage will be partaking in the TV debates in the run up to the 2015 election, alongside David Cameron, Nick Clegg, and Ed Miliband. Perhaps the mainstream media concluded that the only way to keep political discourse alive was to inject Farage, and report on the consequences. The lesson is obvious: It’s impossible to ignore UKIP, and its rise to fourth party status. (More…)

Heroes are hard to come by in Europe. Even as the nightmare of two world wars recedes farther into the distance, the sense that they were the product of excessive belief persists. Had there been less passion to mobilize, the reasoning goes, the flames of nationalism would have petered out a lot sooner. But it is proving increasingly difficult to keep the continent bound together with “post-passion.” (More…)

On September 3rd, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a “surprise declaration” – as it is still sometimes referred to – that he would bring his country into the new Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) alongside Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Of course, it should have been anything but that. (More…)

Meyer Habib was clearly shocked when describing a Jewish woman who has joined Islamic State. “It’s the end of the world,” the Jewish MP declared. Habib was using colourful language, but his tone was appropriate. (More…)

The lady in Clacton-on-Sea’s library says she’ll be glad to tell me who she is voting for in the by-election taking place today. “I’m white, I’m English….he’ll help us get out of Europe. Obviously I’m going to vote for Carswell! Who do you vote for?” (More…)

“Daredevil” is not a word that many people associate with Germany these days; certainly not the nation’s military. And that’s probably a blessing, even if its allies long for less hesitant support. The history of Germans acting boldly took a wrong turn shortly after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door. Does anybody want to risk urging them to act now and think later? (More…)

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister, apparently took a decision that shocked many across Europe last week. He announced that the representatives of the Right Livelihoods Award, who bestow the yearly Alternative Nobel Prize, were banned from announcing this year’s winner at his ministry, something they had been doing for 18 years. (More…)