I remember well when in France, in the name of a secular State, was decreed the prohibition of the use of religious symbols in the French public school System. What happened since should make us think about what integration means, and how to deal with such huge cultural differences in the future. The religious cultural impulse of young people from Islamic origin (mostly from Algeria) has gained new forms. While their parents and grandparents generally succeeded in getting integrated in French society, the younger generations are, paradoxically, less and less integrated, although they were born and raised in France.
They are the grandchildren of the French Arabic former colonization at the Diaspora. Their religious background seems to have emerged as a sort of résistance to intolerance and inequality within French austerity days and desacralized society. The way they perceive religion could be seen as a mirror of another form of integrism: the intolerant atheist pragmatism that dominates European post-colonial societies. (more)
PORTUGAL IN HELL [DEC2013]
Portuguese national memory cannot recall an historical moment in Portugal’s contemporary age as hard as the present one – not even the decolonization days back in 1975 (the abrupt landing of over one million national and african refugees) seem to be comparable to what has been happening since the outset of the global financial crisis and the euro political failure. Portuguese philosopher José Gil considers the situation to be without parallel: «Portuguese individuals have been expelled from their own territory, although paradoxally they continue to occupy it as zombies, while becoming spectral beings.» No wonder that when interrogated they declare they do not feel European.
The Portuguese Constitution is being overcome by EU/IMF/ECB driven austerity measures, depriving the country from its more than eight centuries sovereingty and people from human dignity: massive emigration for survival purposes, and for those who stay in the territory – former middleclass citizens turned back into poors – precarity, unemployment, hunger, the poorest surviving on charity, deprived from proper social support as a result of the sudden huge desinvestment on the welfare State.
When joining the EU, Portugal was underdeveloped, as a result of the 48 years dictatorship’s closed economy. Thus, it had to put more investment than other countries, namely into Education, although it wasn’t enough to equal other EU development indicators: between 1993 and 2011 Portugal’s evolution in basic Education (percentage of population aged from 25 to 64 having finished secondary school) grew from 20,0% to 35,0%, as in Spain it evolved from 25,5% to 53,8%, in Greece from 39,1% to 64,5%, in France from 56,0% to 71,6% and in Germany from 79,4% to 86,3% (source: PORDATA). This is why every constitutional right and social protection mechanism that is now taken away means years added to Portugal’s former XXth century underdevelopment. (more)
Sarah Adamopoulos is a Portuguese journalist and writer from Greek origin. She was born in Holland and lived in France, where she studied Literature. She speaks fluently both Portuguese and French, although she writes mainly in Portuguese. In 2012, she was the author of Voltar – memória do colonialismo e da descolonização (Planeta, 2012), an historic-pictorial research on the Portuguese decolonization days back in 1975. As a journalist and a columnist, she has worked for several Portuguese weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines. In 2009 she was awarded the European Prize of Social Innovation in Journalism by the European Union for a story on immigrant integration EU driven policies in Portugal. In 2012 she was asked to contribute to European PACITA project’s magazine voltA on knowledge-based policy-making. She has translated from French to European Portuguese authors such as Albert Cossery, Boris Vian or Thomas Piketty’s best-seller book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. She always has poems and theatrical plays in her mind.