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Rape and Sexual Violence in Syria’s Civil War

The sheer brutality of the ongoing Syrian civil war is often demonstrated by two figures: 70,000 killed people and over one million refugees since the conflict´s outburst in March 2011, after an angered crowd went on the streets to show their disgrace about the arrest and torture of teenage boys who were bold enough to spray anti-Bashar slogans on a ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: Turkey 3

Even though many Europeans consider the touristic cities at the Mediterranean Sea as ‘Western’ and, therefore, as an extension of their own country – which is true to a certain extent, as you can talk in any language you desire with the local population – there are some striking differences between the ‘real’ Turkey and Western Europe. Foremost, it could ... Read More »

Marriage as Last Resort

After two years of on-going war in Syria news from crisis area leave us increasingly indifferent. But the suffering continues for those affected, whether in Syria or in the refugee camps in the neighbouring countries. Coping with the refugee life is a struggle and some families have to opt for drastic measures to ensure an income. Child marriage is becoming ... Read More »

The Successful UN Intervention

After thirteen years, the UN peacekeepers are leaving East Timor. Their job is done; peace has found its way again to the small country and seems to have taken firm root. Sadly, this is far from always the case after a peacekeeping mission – what made East Timor such a success? East Timor, 20th of September 1999. After a referendum, ... 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 »

Turkey is, but are the Turkish ready for peace?

“Watch out for Kurds, they bad. They steal you. Me no like Kurds.” The trucker that gave me a ride is telling me this with an expression of disgust on his face. “They different, bad people.” The unilateral ceasefire declared by the PKK last Saturday is a step in the right direction and gives the impression that after 30 years ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: TURKEY 2

A common expression in Turkey is ‘smoke like a Turk’, since cigarettes are abundantly present in Ankara. Actually, I still need to meet the first Turkish man who is not smoking. An additional expression  linked to Turkey can be introduced: demonstrate like a Turk. In the first couple of weeks I was surprised by the number of people discussing politics. ... Read More »

Studying Abroad: TURKEY

Imagine a regular week day in a city where the majority of the almost 5 million inhabitants needs to travel to their work. I can summarize it in one word: chaos. But would it not be more interesting to learn about the Turkish approach to this fact of life? I hereby present you the five main rules a Foreign Student ... Read More »

Pollution in space

A few days ago, a report came out that the debris (= wreckage) from China’s Fengyun 1C meteorological satellite – which was deliberately destroyed in an anti-satellite weapons test in 2007 – may have hit and severely damaged a Russian spacecraft on January 22, 2013. This Russian nano-satellite was launched in 2009 and was expected to last five years in ... 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 »