Three times during his seven-hour swim, Omar Jabr thought that he was not going to make it. The only thing he could hear was his pounding heart, a sound he tried to drown out with silent prayers. He was helped by the sounds of his exhausted body as it fought its way through the water.
When the boat capsized, he had volunteered to do the swim. After all, he was the best swimmer on board, and he judged the visible stretches of the Greek shore to be just about one hour away. While the remaining 20 people from the boat treaded water somewhere in the Aegean Sea that separates Turkey and Greece, he swam. For their lives and his own.
For the 30-year-old father of five, the water marked the difference between the hopeless situation in his native Syria and a future in the safety of Europe. He knew he couldn’t return to Syria, but he had no idea where he should seek refuge. He did not care either. For the time being he was more than preoccupied with staying alive.
How the HIV/AIDS epidemic has had an unexpected side effect.
By John Ainger
"Where are you from?" I asked.
"Iraq. Kurdistan!" he said, animatedly jabbing with his index finger at the Kurdish flag tattooed upon his gaunt neck. He then engaged in a bit of light-hearted banter, "This guy, this guy is the proper junkie," Hajji laughed, gesticulating to Morten, the man I was talking to. "He calls me the junkie, the garbage man," Morten explains to me, "But he’s not bad for a black guy," he quips whilst wrapping Hajji in a loose and stumbling headlock.
This brief moment of lively animation took me by surprise. I had been talking to Morten, though trying unsuccessfully to get more than monosyllables from him. I would ask a question, Morten would then pause, as if he was about to answer, before placing all of his very limited concentration into how he was going to tie his 'new', yet chipped, skateboard onto his rucksack so he wouldn’t have to hold it. Morten explained that he’d managed to get the skateboard… from a girl… but where she worked? He tailed off…
“You are not allowed to be a victim, and if you are no one will believe you”
"In the beginning there were feelings and then fear and then shame. It is hard for a man to admit he is being beaten by a woman." Maxime Gaget breaks down during a court hearing in Paris, France on May 25th, where his ex-wife is accused of torturing him for six consecutive years.
Zakia Medkour kept forcing her husband to eat sponges, beat him brutally to the degree that he had to undergo eight surgeries to fix parts of his face, denied him access to the toilet and forced him to sleep on the floor.
To put it bluntly, 34-year-old Maxime Gaget is a victim of domestic violence. Yes, he is a man abused by his wife. And if that comes as a surprise, imagine how shocking it would be if you discovered that this is neither a new phenomenon nor a rare one, even if men don’t usually report their abuse. And that’s because behind people’s closed doors, stereotypes disappear, regardless of region or culture.
By David Meffe
This story was originally published on the New African magazine.
In the post-2015 development era, many stakeholders are expected to play a role in the implementation of sustainable development in Africa, including the Nordic countries. But David Meffe asks whether all such engagement has had a positive impact.
The story was originally published on Pandeia.
The internet and its technologies have opened up endless possibilities and changed profoundly the way we structure our lives. The recent and ever growing phenomenon of the sharing economy has generated new online platforms like Airbnb, BlaBlaCar and Jobbatical, just to name a few. However, sharing has always been part of our social life.
Think about all those cookies you shared with friends at school or the many lighters you have used from strangers not to give up smoking that one last cigarette. According to Sharing Economy expert April Rinne "own less, embrace more" represents the slogan of the future.
The potential of the 'sharing economy' might be enormous with benefits for all classes, if it is integrated within the legal market. Policy makers are warned: play it smart and take it to the next level.
A story about Korean adoptee's identity.
By Soyoun Park
The story was originally published in the Huffington Post.
In a dimly lit chamber at the Holt Daegu Community Service Center in South Korea, one man in his twenties and one woman in her fifties are looking at each other in silence. In between the two, there is a man with a name tag indicating that she is from the Holt International Children’s Services, one of the biggest international adoption agencies in the world. The man begins to talk in English, mixing with his mother tongue Danish, and the woman is desperately waiting for the Holt officer to translate what he says to her into Korean, though seen from a distance, it could be assumed that three Koreans are having a conversation. She shows him a photo of a girl who takes after him, then begins to sob. A look of confusion in his eyes is overlapped on her tears.
Chu nibbles at an unripe mango.The hard chunks quickly disappear in his tiny mouth to later end up in his round belly, distended by hunger. His fragile five-year-old body seems even smaller when he stands in front of the dark green meter-high tea plants that cover a field behind his back. It is February in the Mulanje region in the South of Malawi. Every centimeter of land seems to be covered by growing crops. The next local market, a one-hour walk away, is bulging with vegetables, fruits and dried fish. Still, Chu is chronically hungry. He does not run as much as other children his age and even smiling sometimes is hard for him. Often, a small portion of Nsima, a white watery maize porridge, is his only meal.
Half of Malawi children under 5 are like Chu – stunted: too small for their age. His organs and brain capacity may not develop properly. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) 842 million people are undernourished worldwide – more than the population of the U.S. and Europe together. Every six seconds a child is dying due to the consequences of undernourishment, a quarter of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. They don't make it to the headlines or evening news. Thankfully the times of disastrous famines that alarmed the world society, like Ethiopia in the 80s, are over. Today’s hunger is quiet. It is a daily misery in a world of abundance, hidden in regions like Mulanje, far from electricity and Internet. Despite horror scenarios of a growing world population and upcoming food shortage, today we have more than enough. The existing food is enough to feed the world’s population twice, the FAO scientists calculate. Why is Chu hungry then?
When Felicitas Famulla stopped adding milk to her coffee, she knew her diet had gone too far. Three years before, little by little, she had started to eliminate carbs from her diet. "Carbs are bad for your body," she had read in health-blogs, and that reducing carbs would help her lose weight. At first, she only banned carbs in the evening. Soon after, carbs for lunch followed. Finally, Felicitas decided to cut out even the few remaining carbs for breakfast. What had started as an attempt to lose weight soon developed into an obsession about food and ultimately orthorexia, a severe eating disorder. The result was not a healthy body, but deficiency symptoms she still hasn’t fully overcome. Looking back, the 21-year old student and blogger from Wiesbaden now calls no-carb diets "the worst thing you can do to the body."
Felicitas’s story is different from the stories many other health-bloggers tell. "Going wheat-free has given me the opportunity to live a normal, active life again," reads a success story on William Davis’s "Wheat Belly" blog. "With paleo, I’ve lost 17 kilos and my aches and pains have disappeared," paleo-devotee Constantin Gonzalez assures. Even Gwyneth Paltrow, famous actress and founder of the ‘detox blog’ "Goop", shares her miraculous experience with us: "I feel pure and happy and much lighter. This thing is amazing."
Michael LaCour had a successful career ahead of him, it seemed. He received a PhD in political science from UCLA in spring this year. Prestigious scientific journals published his papers. His CV lists a dozen awards and fellowships. Conference presentations, teaching experience, coverage in The Economist: it is all there.
The study he co-authored with a Columbia researcher, Donald Green, was dubbed one of the most important political science studies in 2014. It found that gay canvassers could change people’s attitudes on gay marriage through door-to-door campaigns, which contradicted findings of previous studies. All the major newspapers in the USA covered it. Meanwhile, LaCour announced on his Facebook profile that he received a professorship offer from Princeton.
Then, a turnover. Graduate student David Broockman wanted to conduct his own research based on LaCour’s study. In the process, Broockman encountered peculiarities that he couldn’t explain. "Some small part of my head thought, 'I wonder if it was fake,'" Broockman told the New York Magazine. The evidence pointed to a single conclusion: LaCour was lying. And now, he is being accused of misconduct in his previous studies as well.
It is hard not to conclude that research misconduct has gotten worse, a recent New York Times editorial stated. Indeed, in the last five years, numerous high-profile cases of scientific fraud occupied headlines of newspapers around the world. The problem stretches across borders, from biology to sociology, from the Netherlands to Japan. False studies provide a false basis for making important decisions, such as how to cure illnesses. They reduce the trust in scientists and hinder the functioning of the wheel of science. But why do scientists cheat?
Circulating less cash might help Denmark’s economy, but will not eliminate the informal market.
Besides studying in Denmark’s second city Aarhus, Mathias works from time to time helping friends renovate apartments. It allows him to earn some money, which he usually spends quickly. Doing that kind of work – which Danes call ‘sort arbejde’ or black work – Mathias gets paid in cash, and consequently does not pay taxes on it.
Reading reports that Denmark is moving towards being a cashless economy, Mathias is not worried that he will not be able to do this work, nor is he worried about the next generations. The 27-year-old student expects that people will find a way or another to go through it.