“People here are a whole lot more rational than they give themselves credit for. They all think they are more moderate than the norm; they don’t realize they are the norm.”
Kurt Bassuener has been working on the issue of Bosnia for over 15 years and in that time has figured out what many people inside and outside the country have not – what is wrong and what can be done about it. That is, in fact, one of the key lessons to take home from this Bosnia 101 conversation; there is hope, there are things that can be done, if specific actors would be willing to change the status quo.
“If the external actors would recognize in their own interests, that with very little change in their approach… they could actually end up with a durable solution.”
At a time where Bosnia seems plagued by corruption and stagnation, Kurt sees things as politically and economically going backwards. Creating a scenario that will do further harm to people inside the country, in the region, and across Europe.
“People saw the social fabric unravel once, and it was bad enough the first time, they don’t want to go there again.”
What is different about Bosnia-Herzegovina in 2013 compared to 1995? Who makes up this complex nation today and what do they think of the traumatic past, the frustrating present and dour future?
“It took a lot of engineering to destroy this country, it was not something that just happened one day… There was a lot of effort to create a sense of inevitability and a sense of fear.”
Over the past years alot of half-assed information has been spread by a combination of poor journalism and rumors via social media, which states that foreigners can no longer buy cannabis in coffeeshops in Amsterdam. Though this is untrue, word about an experimental policy in the south of the Netherlands has travelled. Many, both outside and inside the country, believe its only a matter of time before prohibition becomes a national reality. But the truth is, that is still only one of many possible futures for the Netherlands. Beyond that, research and reality shows the experiment is a failure, yet politicians remain locked into their white-washing campaign to clean the image of the nation. My returning guest is Frederik Pollak, a researcher and policy expert who has been following the discussion for over a decade, and has alot to say about what is really going on in the Netherlands and around the world.
You’ve heard the story before, especially over the past decade: a European university announces sweeping reforms because of the legendary Bologna Process and EU requirements. This discussion often comes with the introductions of new fee’s for students, tighter controls on how long a student can study, and the move into a bachelor-masters structure. While all these changes come into effect, students as well as faculty are told that it has to be this way, with limited if any, consultation.
Recently it was the University of Fine Arts in Vienna that tried to make this move. But unlike many Universities where students might have disagreed, protested, and eventually gave up the fight – students in Austria have taken matters into their own hands; They have occupied their school. Highy organized, their occupation is now more than 24 days old and has spread beyond the borders of Autria into Germany and other neighboring countries.
My friend and uni student Marty joins me on this podcast from Vienna, to explain how this all started, how the occupation works, what the demands are, and what we can expect in the coming days and weeks.
Sitting in as far East as geographic Europe goes, questions about where we are and how things here differ from things over there arise. While in Western Europe issues regarding climate change are high on the public agenda, how does that issue fair in the East? On this particular night in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, I sit down with Sergio of Eurotopics.net to hear about what their project is about and how he sees the concerns of Europe, from West to East and everything in between.