I’d like to start on an up note, but I have to say that the recent terror attacks in Sydney, Pakistan and Paris made me feel threatened, unsafe and disappointed with humanity. Even from a distance, and without a personal connection to any of the violent attacks, I am affected.
On January 13, I walked along to the vigil for tolerance held at the iconic Brandenburg Gate, where German political leaders and religious leaders of different faiths stood in solidarity to condemn the attacks in Paris and to rebuke Germany’s growing anti-Islamic movement. The event was opened by an imam reciting verses of the Koran to the thousands in attendance. The powerful juxtaposition of the imam’s melodic prayer beneath the symbolism of German unity – the Brandenburg Gate – was powerful and reassuring. I felt as though I breathed in the unanimity, and I walked away empowered and inspired.
Last week I also stood alongside around 30 Australian expatriates for a candlelit vigil outside the Australian Embassy in Berlin. This group, brought together via a Facebook event was protesting the unlawful and inhumane treatment of asylum seekers at an Australian government-managed detention centre on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. I also went along to demonstrate against the Australian and Papua New Guinean governments’ obstruction of access to media and human rights advocates – yet another example of how political actors can seek to control the media, even in societies that supposedly support freedom of both speech and the press.
At Impolitikal, we provide a platform for people to discuss global issues. Why? Because in a media landscape full of noise, we want to make sure the voices of people who are actually living these realities are heard. As a vehicle, activism allows us to demonstrate against atrocities and make governments and corporations more accountable. Simultaneously, we can also gather and distribute socially and politically conscious accounts of human struggle with fewer barriers.
In 2015 I see my role as Deputy Editor at Impolitikal as a chance to tip into the discussions presented and to deepen people’s understanding of international development issues. I’m also going to document my attendance at protests, vigils and demonstrations. I want to practice what I preach, and to stand up for tolerance, solidarity and a global empathy for all people.
If you’re sick of the noise, start your own racket. Welcome to ours.
Evelyn Marsters has a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Auckland (NZ) and is currently based in Berlin. Her focus is global health and migration, and she is Deputy Editor at Impolitikal. Read more by Evelyn.