Viernes, 2 de mayo de 2014

The European Union is experiencing an existential crisis, as the European elections will soon brutally remind us. This mainly involves the eurozone countries, which are mired in a climate of distrust and a debt crisis that is very far from over: unemployment persists and deflation threatens. Nothing could be further from the truth than imagining that the worst is behind us.

This is why we welcome with great interest the proposals made at the end of 2013 by our German friends from the Glienicke group for strengthening the political and fiscal union of the eurozone countries. Alone, our two countries will soon not weigh much in the world economy.…  Seguir leyendo »

At first blush, the biography of Iranian actress Pegah Ahangarani could read very much like my own. Ahangarani is a working actress who supports social causes in her time away from set.

The difference?

In October, Ahangarani was sentenced to 18 months in prison for her peaceful activism.

In this regard, she is just the latest in a string of filmmakers and actors of Iranian cinema — including acclaimed filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof and actor Ramin Parchami — to be arrested or sentenced to lengthy prison terms in recent years.

Panahi and Rasoulof each were sentenced to prison — the former for six years and the latter for five — and banned from filmmaking for 20 years, accused of making «anti-regime propaganda.» Parchami, a prominent actor, was sentenced to prison after he was arrested in anti-government protests.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace una década, diez países se unieron a la Unión Europea. Hoy todo el mundo reconoce que Chipre, la República Checa, Estonia, Hungría, Letonia, Lituania, Malta, Polonia, Eslovaquia y Eslovenia son países europeos plenamente integrados. Las extraordinarias transiciones políticas que puso en marcha la caída del Muro de Berlín en 1989, junto con el largo y minucioso proceso de adhesión a la UE que le siguió, produjeron esta nueva normalidad, libre en lo esencial de las distorsiones políticas y económicas de la Guerra Fría.

Hoy Ucrania está tomando este camino, sin la promesa de adhesión completa. En este aniversario, cuando nuevamente desciende sobre el continente europeo una era de tensión geopolítica, merece la pena que recordemos lo que significó este proceso para los países que hace diez años pasaron a formar parte de la UE y lo que podría significar para Ucrania.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Man is what he eats.” It was written by a philosopher, Ludwig Feuerbach, in the middle of the 19th century. Originally in German, the verbs in his saying rhymed like a pun (Der Mensch ist was er isst).

Feuerbach investigated the relation between diet and people’s well-being and pointed out that human beings are “equal in their stomachs” in the sense that they are physiologically constructed by the nutrition they have taken in.

What he wrote carries social and political implications. Of course, people get different foods, depending on where and how they live. In this sense, his saying can also be interpreted as emphasizing the differences among regions, countries and social classes as reflected in the difference of diet.…  Seguir leyendo »

One wonders how much further the United States will allow itself to be dragged down into the deepening abyss that is today’s Egypt. Those in the Obama administration and Congress who favor continued U.S. military aid to the dictatorship in Cairo insist that although such aid may run counter to American ideals, it does serve American interests. I would argue the contrary, that American interests are being harmed every day that support continues.

Far from aiding the United States in the struggle against terrorism, as the Egyptian military dictatorship and its supporters claim, the military’s brutal crackdown on Egypt’s Islamists is creating a new generation of terrorists.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the Philippines this week, President Obama took a cheap shot at critics of his foreign policy.

“Why is it,” the president pondered at a news conference, “that everybody is so eager to use military force after we’ve just gone through a decade of war at enormous costs to our troops and to our budget?”

But who is banging the shield, demanding war? Critics of the president’s foreign policy have ranged from human rights activists on the political left to congressional Republicans on the right.

No one is eager for a new war. Indeed, the worry in many circles is that the president’s foreign policy has been so provocatively feeble that we risk war through our own indecision.…  Seguir leyendo »

Se rueda en España la segunda parte de la película Salvad al soldado Ryan. Adaptado el guión a nuestra realidad, la trama recoge los esfuerzos de todo un país para evitar que las consecuencias de la mayor de las catástrofes se lleven por delante a los responsables o a sus herederos.

Me cuentan que hubo un interesante debate sobre el título de la versión española; algunos, más conservadores, se inclinaban por algo castizo, del estilo de Ante todo, la familia, mientras que otros, por aquello de la memoria histórica, defendían algo con reminiscencias épicas como Solos ante el peligro. Finalmente han decidido llamar a las cosas por su nombre y para que nadie se despiste la película se titulará Salvad al soldado Mariano Alfredo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando era niño en la tardía posguerra franquista se puso de moda por parte de los parientes malintencionados preguntarnos a los niños: ¿a quién quieres más, a tu papá o a tu mamá? Una trampa que te ponía en un brete, sembrando de paso la discordia entre tus progenitores, pues no te convenía menospreciar en público a ninguno de ambos. De modo que no te quedaba más remedio que contestar asegurando que no podías decidirte porque querías a los dos por igual.

Pues bien, ese recuerdo me asalta ahora constantemente cada vez que se discute en público sobre el celebérrimo derecho a decidir, reclamado con rotunda convicción por casi todos los actores de la cuestión catalana.…  Seguir leyendo »

No vendamos nuestra auténtica humanidad

«Cómprame del todo!”, se lee en la tentadora oferta colgada en la página web del estudiante holandés Shawn Buckles. Buckles está subastando sus datos más íntimos —correos personales, chats en la Red, historial de navegación, datos de localización, entrenamientos, calendario— al mejor postor. La subasta se cierra el 12 de abril; el ganador obtiene todos los datos de Buckles para todo el año que viene.

Buckles no es un empresario: simplemente quiere hacernos más conscientes de la gran cantidad de datos que ya hemos revelado a Gobiernos y compañías. Pero esta chanza suscita también una cuestión filosófica más profunda: ¿se nos puede permitir vender nuestros datos más íntimos?…  Seguir leyendo »

Se habla mucho hoy, con preocupación, de la voluntad de independencia por parte de alguna autonomía. Es, ciertamente, una cuestión seria . Debemos, por tanto, matizar al máximo el lenguaje, pues ya sabemos la fuerza que tienen los vocablos para clarificar los problemas, pero también para embarullarlos y volverlos insolubles.

Conviene, pues, advertir que el término independencia va unido con el vocablo libertad, que, sobre todo desde finales del siglo XVIII, aparece orlado con la condición de «término talismán». Aludo, con ello, a los vocablos que, por diversas razones, cobraron en ciertos momentos de la historia un prestigio tal que apenas se atrevió nadie a ponerlos en tela de juicio.…  Seguir leyendo »

When I was 13, living in the outskirts of Nanjing, my math teacher molested all the girls in our class, including me. Under the pretense of checking my work, he would lean over me, his face so close that I could smell his garlic breath, and he’d move his hand up my shirt, touching my chest.

Apart from trying to avoid him, we didn’t take any action. We knew what he was doing was wrong, but it never occurred to us to report him. A teacher in a Chinese classroom holds tremendous authority over students, and we didn’t even know the term “sexual abuse.” Most of us made it through the trauma, except for his main target, a plump girl who dropped out of school before she turned 14.…  Seguir leyendo »

In March, the United States sent 150 Air Force Special Operations forces along with military aircraft to Uganda to help capture Joseph Kony, whose Lord’s Resistance Army has terrorized the country for decades. This was the first time American military planes were sent for use in the years-long search for him, though 100 American troops were deployed as advisers to central Africa in 2011 in the fight against the L.R.A.

America is eager for a stable East African partner, particularly following the outbreak in December of sectarian violence in the Central African Republic. After the “Kony 2012” video calling for the fugitive leader’s arrest went viral in the United States, many Americans were convinced that Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »