Category Archives: Europe

U.K. News | Underrepresented Communities

U.K. elects most diverse parliament in history
  • 51 MPs of color (black and minority ethnic, or BME) were elected to the House of Commons, an increase of some 25% from the 41 elected in the previous election cycle.
  • 208 women were elected, an electoral record though still only 32% of Parliament, and more than 40 LGBT MPs now form the largest cohort of openly queer politicians in the history of the House of Commons.
  • The new parliament also features the first Palestinian, first female Sikh, four black female, first turban-wearing Sikh, and four openly disabled MPs.
Read

Election results: Record number of black, Asian and ethnic minority MPs elected to parliament” (The Independent | June 2017)

The New Parliament Has More Black, Asian, And Women MPs Than Ever Before” (BuzzFeed News | June 2017)

Election 2017: Record number of female MPs” (BBC News | June 2017)

(Image Credit: Facebook, via The Independent)

Ireland News | Gay Asian-Irish

Irish governing party elects first out gay, Indian-descendent PM
  • The Fine Gael voted Leo Varadkar its new leader, a gay, half-Indian man set to become the youngest PM in Irish history.
  • Varadkhar, 38, was born to an Indian immigrant father and an Irish mother and has become a polarizing conservative firebrand in Irish politics since his first election in 2007.
  • The election has been lauded as a monumental moment for the predominantly Catholic country that in 2015 became the first in the world to codify marriage equality into law through referendum.
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Varadkar becomes Irish PM-in-waiting in social, generational shift” (Reuters | June 2017)

Leo Varadkar wins: Ireland set to install first openly gay Prime Minister” (The Independent | June 2017)

From Enda (66) to Leo (38): Ireland set to replace oldest EU leader with youngest” (The Irish Times | June 2017)

(Image Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters)

France News | Black Women

Paris mayor backtracks after threatening to ban Afro-feminist festival
  • Mayor Anne Hidalgo originally threatened to prohibit the Nyansapo Festival, alert police, and sue for discrimination, repeating far-right accusations that the event was “prohibited to white people” despite no such language appearing in the organizers’ materials.
  • Festival organizers, part of the Mwasi Collective, planned to reserve certain events for black women, others for black people of all genders, others for women of color in general, and others still for the general populace in an attempt to provide open discussion spaces free of judgment for minority participants.
  • The mayor eventually backtracked, although she and right-wing activists claimed victory for having “established a solution” as a rest of Hidalgo’s “firm intervention.”
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Paris mayor vows to halt black feminist festival, then backtracks” (France 24 | May 2017)

Aux origines de la polémique sur le festival afroféministe Nyansapo” (Libérationin French | May 2017)

Comme au Nyansapo Fest, pourquoi certaines associations prônent la non-mixité” (Huffington Postin French | May 2017)

Visit

Festival Nyansapo

(Image Credit: via Libération)

Europe & Eurasia Research | Religious & Belief Minorities

Religion and National Identity in Eastern Europe and Eurasia

The Pew Research Center recently conducted a survey on the relationship between religious and national identity in Eastern European and Eurasian countries, noting changes in the way that religious identification has influenced national identity since the fall of atheist fundamentalism with the USSR. For religious and belief minorities—now including atheists—the relationship can be a troubling one, particularly as resurgent nationalism in the region has been accompanied by xenophobia and religious discrimination.

Here are highlights from the findings:

70% (Orthodox-majority) / 57% (Catholic-majority)

Average among countries who believe majority religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

82% (Armenia)
81% (Georgia)
78% (Serbia)
76% (Greece)
74% (Romania)
66% (Bulgaria)
63% (Moldova)
57% (Russia)
51% (Ukraine)
45% (Belarus)

Percentage within Orthodox-majority countries who believe Orthodox religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

64% (Poland)
58% (Croatia)
56% (Lithuania)
43% (Hungary)

Percentage within Catholic-majority countries who believe Catholic religious identity is very or somewhat important to national identity

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Religious Belief and National Belonging in Central and Eastern Europe (Pew Research Center | May 2017)

U.K. News | Muslims & Ethnic Minorities

Reported hate crimes double in Manchester in aftermath of bombing
  • Some 56 hate crimes were reported in the two days following the bombing in Manchester by a Briton of Libyan descent, a twofold increase over the 28 in the two previous days (the average amount, according to law enforcement).
  • Incidents included bomb threats, intimidation, slurs, and racist graffiti across the city.
  • Community members noted a significant number of incidents had gone unreported and expressed frustration at the expectation of apologizing on behalf of all Muslims while being subjected to anti-Muslim abuse.
Read

Manchester attack: Hate crime ‘doubles’ after incident” (BBC News | May 2017)

Muslim leaders in Manchester report rise in Islamophobic incidents” (The Guardian | May 2017)

Manchester sees rise in hate crimes after attack” (Al Jazeera | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters, via The Guardian)

Italy News | Black

Italian MEP convicted of defamation for racist remarks
  • Mario Borghezio was convicted for comments against former Italian MP Cécile Kyenge, Italy’s first black national minister.
  • Borghezio had stated in a 2013 interview that Kyenge, who immigrated from the DRC, wanted to “impose her tribal traditions from the Congo” and was “a good housewife, but not a government minister.”
  • Kyenge has faced numerous racial attacks as a result of her political visibility, and the ruling is the latest in a series of successful defamation cases she has brought.
Read

Northern League MEP must pay €50,000 to ex-minister over racial slurs” (The Local | May 2017)

Italian in Europe’s Parliament Convicted of Defamation for Racial Insult” (The New York Times | May 2017)

Italian MEP Cecile Kyenge: ‘I feel vindicated’” (BBC News | May 2017)

(Image Credit: Gianni Cipriano/The New York Times)

Italy Feature | Women & Migrants

The Enduring Exploitation of Italy’s Grape Harvesters

Two years after the plight of its grape harvesters crashed into the global consciousness, Italy continues to struggle to uproot the labor practices that have been called “modern-day slavery” by human rights and labor rights advocates. Recent legislation has prioritized the eradication of exploitation, but underground organizations continue to take advantage of the dire conditions of Italy’s most vulnerable. Overworked, underpaid, and subject to extortion by recruiting and transportation agencies, the migrants and poor Italian women enduring the strenuous work of picking and cleaning grapes continue to struggle with difficult choices between precarious work, personal health, and acquiescence in a system designed for their failure.

Read

A Woman’s Death Sorting Grapes Exposes Italy’s ‘Slavery’” (The New York Times | April 2017)

Additional

Fire kills two in Italy migrant farm workers’ ‘ghetto’” (Reuters | March 2017)

(Image Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York Times)