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Author Archives: Eline Westra

As a language lover and curious IR student, Eline Westra likes to report on interesting stories from all over the world. Don't be surprised to find mostly articles from French-speaking countries though: that is where she is particularly interested in.

The Mountain of Men

Somewhere deep down in the second ‘leg’ of the peninsula of Chalkidiki, Greece, lays a mountain where only men live. Anyone wanting to see the stunning landscape surrounding Mount Athos, must be a man. A man, of course, in the sense of having the stereotypical features of what a man is supposed to be in our current social/societal understandings. Short ... Read More »

A Muslim in Japan

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Islam and Muslim integration have gained a significant place in the public debate in the West. The presence of these terms in Western political discourse seems to contrast with the absence of information about the situation in other parts of the world. Yet, as show the Japanese, ways of looking at and ... Read More »

Houses for Sugar: Trade in Cambodia

The “Everything But Arms” (EBA) agreement of the European Union was once meant as a gesture of assistance. It eliminated the custom duties on all products imported from the world’s 48 poorest countries, arms excepted. Cambodian sugar has undoubtedly benefited from the programme:  since 2006 the exports in this sector have substantially increased. Yet, territorial conflicts linked to the expansion ... Read More »

Queen Beatrix and the Singaporean Masterpiece

It does not happen very often, but in a few days the Dutch Queen Beatrix will visit a country that is smaller than her own. Singapore: the city state that surprised the world with rapid economic growth and chewing-gum free streets. The Dutch can learn a lot from it. Yet, a short ride with the MRT subway would provide the ... Read More »

The Ost-Hippies of the DDR

Flower Power, peace signs and thousands of young people listening to music while sitting in the mud and smoking weed. For many of us, the Woodstock festival of 1969 is a key example of our current perception of hippies. What is often forgotten though, is the generation of flower children at the other side of the Iron Curtain. Yet, these ... Read More »

Christmas in China: from holy day to holiday

Giant Christmas trees, jingle bells playing in every store and children running around to see a glimpse of Santa Claus. Walking through any commercial district in China’s larger cities you can impossibly deny it: Christmas has conquered the People’s Republic of China. Commercial circus or religious influence? It used to be only a small Christian minority that silently celebrated the ... Read More »

Pauline Marois’ Parti Québécois: The Separatist Dream

“We want a country and we will have it.” According to Pauline Marois, the newly elected prime minister of Québéc, Canada, there is no doubt that she will lead the French-speaking region to independency. But how realistic is that? It is clear that some substantial obstacles have to be overcome before the Québécois flag can be risen. Separatist and nationalist ... Read More »

France and Homosexuality : Changing Ideas Under Hollande?

For years and years nothing has changed for the gay community in France. Until the day of today, French lesbians and gays cannot marry nor can they adopt children. It seems quite contradictory that the modern and well-developed state of France is lacking behind on this subject. A quick comparison with other EU states shows that both Northern European countries; ... Read More »