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The Maastricht Diplomat

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Daunting Elections and Global Chaos

Last week has been tumultuous - to say the least. While a flood of majoritarily daunting news may already overflow your social media pages, this short run-down of some important global events will give you a short sum up of what has been happening in the last week: 

Daunting Election Results - Are We in a Truman Show?

Anyone with some sense of democratic grain in their head must have woken up this morning hoping that what happened yesterday would be nothing but just a very absurd and badly scripted nightmare. What most people had been worried and scared about - the rise of the (alt) right across the EU - has come true. 

185 million votes in 27 countries, and the result is: European Conservatives are euphoric. As of right now, the center-right force is deemed to have around 184 delegates, amounting to a quarter of the 720 policymakers. Blatantly said: If they were to form a single group, it would be the second largest force in Parliament, behind the already conservative dominant European People´s Party. Exemplarary of this shift to the right are the results in France. Indeed, the ultra-right party “Rassemblement National” headed by Jordan Bardella raked about one-third of the votes, twice as much as president Macron´s Renaissance party. Responding to his humiliating loss, Macron quickly announced the dissolution of parliament and, with it, new elections at the end of this month. Motivated by a hope to settle a clear “majority in serenity and harmony”, he runs a huge risk of offering the far right a shot at real political power. On the Italian front, Meloni´s party, Fratelli d´Italia, scored similarly high, with more than a quarter of votes backing up the current Prime Minister. The European Greens, which are fighting for their ideals as expressed in the “European Green Deal”, have, with some Danish and Dutch exceptions, seen substantial losses. Especially in Germany, which until recently had been understood as the epicenter of the Greens, the party´s vote share has halved (losing 8.6 percentage points) since its last elections in 2019. Pushing from fourth to sixth place, skeptics voice raising fears that the continent may be on the verge of revoking the internationally much-appraised European Green Deal. While it would be easy to go on speculating what these provisional election results may mean for future European legislation, I actively want to abstain from drifting into a rabbit hole and leave you with this: settle your buckle seats for probable degrading migration policies, lenient climate regulations and a revision of relations with giants such as China and Russia

(Palestinian) Academic Trouble-Maker

After a week-long censorship controversy, the prestigious journal "Columbia Law Review" and, with it, the much-discussed article "toward the Nakba as a legal concept" came back online. In it, Palestinian human rights lawyer Rabea Eghbariah proposes a new legal framework to help understand the complex regimes governing the Palestinian people. Indeed, the word Nakba, translated from Arabic as "catastrophe", but mostly known as the mass displacement and dispossession of Palestinians in 1948, is a central concept in Eghbariah's article. Student editors at the academic review had stated to have been pressured by the board of directors to halt the publication, resulting in the shutdown of the entire review's website due to "maintenance" reasons. Accordingly, critics of the article argued that a shutdown had been necessary in order to subject the article to extensive review and editing. 

An Addition to Guterres Blacklist

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has officially added Israel's military to a global list of offenders that have violated children's rights. Specifically, the Israel Defense Forces, alongside Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have been added to an annual list criticizing the killing of children in conflict and denial of access to aid, as well as the intentional targeting of schools and hospitals. This step comes after eight months of violence in which, after the attack on October 7th and the bombardment of Gaza, thousands of Palestinian children have been killed, and thousands more still are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Palestinian envoy to the UN clarified that while the addition of the Israeli military will in no way restore normal life, “it is an important step in the right direction towards ending the double standards and culture of impunity … that left our childeren vulnerable”

Continuation of Violence in Sudan

Sudan's civil war has been claiming an increasing amount of casualties, and yet last week's pro-democracy protests in Khartoum carried out by military forces have marked a new point of violence. Aimed at dispersing a sit-in calling for democracy and civil rule in front of the military headquarters in Khartoum, the massacre claimed the deaths of at least 150 people. Witnesses described renewed scenes of horror as a dozen armed vehicles embarked on the village, firing heavy weapons on its inhabitants. Indeed, reporters recount that it has not been the first attempt by Rapid Support Forces (a paramilitary group fighting the army) to control Wad al-Noura, the village that has since become an epitome of ravaging violence. Responding to the outbreak of violence, the Sudanese Transitional Sovereignty Council described the attack as yet another "crime added to the series of crimes committed by this rebel militia”, reflecting a systemic behavior of targeting peaceful civilians. 

Temporary Border Closure

A sweeping executive order by US President Joe Biden announces that a ban on migrants who enter the country illegally, as well as a facilitated deportation back to Mexico, will soon be put in place. Claiming that the new order will "help gain control over the border", analysts interpret the tough move by Democratic president Biden as an attempt to move closer to Trump's border policies. With the presidential elections coming closer, polls have shown that the issue of border control has heavily influenced Biden's chance of re-election. Unsurprisingly, critics such as chief political and advocacy officer at American Civil Liberties Union Deirdre Schifeling have been outraged: "…the administration's planned executive actions will put thousands of lives at risk”, “they will not meet the needs at the border, nor will they fix our broken immigration system”. 

While I admit that these news may seem everything but hope-inducing, I want to refer to political activist and icon Angela Davis and remind us that “it is only in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism”.

Article photo credits: Photo First published in Der Spiegel, Germany, May 20, 2019 | By Chappatte



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