Vanessa Steinke, Larisa Anna-Maria Szekely, Ekaterina Frakueva, Carla Roberta Sabau, Lilya Petrova and Luka Anik Greiner have chosen to study societal or ideological issues. First of all, Steinke wants us to think about the meaning of cohesion in our world. Then Szekely challenges us to come out from the virtual world to face the ’real’ problems. Frakueva introduces some respected and also some underrated professions of her home country. Sabau speaks out for feminism and Petrova for values that should be guiding our life goals. Last but not least, Luka Anik Greiner discusses terrorism and some means to prevent it.
Cohesion is important
Cohesion is something I guess everyone of you has heard in his or her life once and everyone knows what it is. But even if everyone knows what cohesion is, everyone has got different imaginations of this word.
Many people know cohesion from their family or their friends. „Friends have to stick together and work together“ or „Family first!“ – cohesion is import in a family or in your clique.
Other people think cohesion is more than just stick together with his family or his friends. These kind of people say it is important to work with people you do not even know. It is sad that only less people think like this. People often can be really conceited and only think about theirselfes and their wellbeing. They believe that they can reach more if they go their own way and do not work with other people, who might have the same goal. But in groups of people, in a team, everyone could reach their goals faster and with a better feeling after. Together, people can reach everything. Maybe someday, people can stop hunger and wars and much other suffering in this world. Hopefully, people will someday start to think like this.
As you can see, cohesion can make this world a better place someday. Many people believe in this dream – I am also one of these kind of people. I think you should learn to work with others, to stick together with stangers, to respect and listen to each other and not to hate people you never really talked to. People should understand each other but sadly there are too many people who only think about their wellbeing and do not care about other people. It is going to be seen what will happen in the next 20 or 30 years, but hopefully our next generation will learn how important cohesion in this world is!
Vanessa Steinke, Bernstorff-Gymnasium, Germany
Do you care?
People have come to rely on technology for most of the things they do. Today’s young generation miss out on critical social skills development because they spend the most of their free time connected to and interacting through a screen. I think we should be worried because we let ourselves fall in the hands of those who created the system.
Most of the people allow themselves to be changed by the technology and their perspective upon the world becomes superficial. Because of this, they are very affected by the small things that don’t actually matter at a larger scale, like how they look or what society thinks of them, when, instead, they should be concerned about the problems that the world is facing.
Teens, nowadays, are hypersensitive and they are offended by the most trivial things, feeling sided in the real life, then, through social networks, they create their own virtual world where they start to “live”. They lose contact with reality and they are too concerned to pity themselves, the reason being that “they are not accepted in society”. They can also get lost in a world of unrealistic comparisons, cyber bullying, and feeling left out. Any person that is not happy with her life tends to tell people all of her or his complaints.
I‘m not saying Internet is not useful and that we need to throw the computer out of the window or to start to live in the woods. My opinion is that teenagers should be careful because the Internet, being a very dangerous place, can easily manipulate you.
If teenagers cry and hurt themselves for these odd trifles, then how would they react when a major problem would enter their life? You are not accustomed with the “war”, you are familiarized with the term itself because you heard or read information about it. The information that you have cannot be compared with the experiences that someone lived. So, tell me; do you really care?
Do you care that, nowadays, people are destroying each other, killing themselves in wars. Do you care? Or are you just pretending to do?
Recently, I’ve read a book called “First They Killed My Father” written by Loung Ung (Cambodian author and human rights activist). Her book gave me the opportunity to compare the childhood that we lived with Loung’s. Ung recounts the horrors she suffered as a child under the rule of the deadly Khmer Rouge, at only 5 years old. She didn’t have much power left in her body as she was forced to work as a slave. Did you work as a slave at 5 years old? So think again, is your life that bad? Is it worth it to be preoccupied to the most trivial problems? The evolution of Earth is more important in my opinion.
We should get out of the virtual world and face the problems of reality. Many individuals don’t get a chance to make it as far as you did. Don’t let the Internet manipulate you.
Larisa Anna-Maria Szekely, Liceul de arte vizuale “Romulus Ladea”, Romania
Most Respected and Most Underrated Professions in Bulgaria
Ever wondered what to do for a job but you gave up your idea because there is no money in the field or there is no chance of development? Or you didn’t give up because there is money and rise in that field? In Bulgaria the respected professions are may fewer than the underrated ones and this isn’t convenient for any person living in the country.
A lot of young people are interested in law or medicine not only for the money but for the respect they’ll earn by working in those fields. Both law and medicine need a lot of years to learn the ropes and way more years for practice and for gaining experience. For example within the medicine field you can be a doctor, a GP, a dentist and etc., and you need to be patient to become a professional in whichever field you choose. Those jobs are well-paid and usually are or at least should be some of the most respected professions. Such is the case with the fields in law -you can be an a judge or you can even combine medicine and law by becoming a pathologist.
Another respected profession is a gym instructor. It may not seem very likely but those instructors are locked up by a lot of young and adults, at least that’s the case in Bulgaria.
Even though being a sportsman may sound healthy that does not mean that your profession is a respected one. For example, yoga teachers or dancers in our country are not taken seriously. Such is the case with other creative professions. For example editors, writers, teachers, journalists are underrated professions. There is no field for development, the money is not enough or there is a lack of respect. Here in Bulgaria young people lither decide to study and work something different form their dreams and interests or go to study and live abroad. A lot of professions are bypassed just because they are underrated.
When there’s no field for development and no money in the profession, people are just not interested in those jobs and professions. Here in Bulgaria teachers, policemen, writers are underrated and aren’t well-paid. But those professions are important for the country’s culture, economics and young people’s developments.
For those important professions to become underrated the focus for the Bulgarians has been moved to different cultures, social media, other countries and of course money. The social media has impact on our culture, money from different countries go for only the most respected professions, the underrated jobs are looked down on seen as unimportant. In order those jobs to become significant, respected and well-paid, people should pay more attention to them and take part in giving them the remark and respected they need.
Our country is imitating other countries in so many ways, so why don’t we take their ways of developing their professions and follow them? The respected professions are becoming less and less and the underrated ones are the most popular. We should take matters in our hands and give the chance to people to do what they like and are good at and give them respect they deserve.
Ekaterina Frakueva, SU za HNI ”Konstantin Preslavski”, Bulgaria
Feminism and All Its Friends
Have you ever wondered what feminism really is? Have you been curious to know what is behind this movement and what it stands for? Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish and achieve political, economic, personal and social equality of sexes. This includes seeking to establish educational and professional opportunities for women that are equal to those for men.
Firstly, in different regions of the world, there are extreme inequalities between sexes. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive vehicles, not even bicycles, and men are not allowed to have female passengers in their cars whom are not their relatives. Also, the right to divorce is treated with inequality, men having the possibility to easily divorce their wives, while women’s access to a divorce is very limited, these having to face unbearable legal and financial obstacles, in this approach. Moreover, the access to education is another problem that women have to deal with in many regions from Afghanistan, these being often removed from school when they reach puberty. Multiple problems have been caused by these rules. Another issue is unequal pay between men and women. Women are paid less doing the same work as men, which is absurd.
However, there is the radical feminism, which is a trend in the context of feminism, which focuses on the theory of the patriarchate as a system of power that organizes society in a complex of relationships based on the hypothesis of “masculine supremacy”, used to oppress women. This trend argues that the differences between men and women are not natural, as male socialization is made socially by men through politics, economy and religion. The fact that women can give life is not a weakness, but rather an advantage. This would be one of the reasons why women are more inclined to life, having a biophilia essence, and men with a cruelty, being attracted mechanically and artificially, attracting conflict, violence and, of course, war.
Moreover, feminism has become something widely commercialized, and can be found printed on many products made by top brands, such as clothing, accessories or others. Also, social networks are full of pages that support this movement.
I consider that gender inequality is a serious problem worldwide. Women should not be marginalized simply because they are women. Gender equality should be stabilized around the world, especially in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, where there are absurd laws that injure women in a barbaric way.
In conclusion, feminism is a positive movement, as long as it is not taken to the extreme. Women should be equal to men in all regions under any circumstances.
Carla Roberta Sabau, Liceul de arte vizuale “Romulus Ladea”, Romania
Nowadays every human around the world has different goals in different spheres of life. Some of our goals contribute to career or money, while other people have more moral goals such as having a big family and giving love to others.
I will start with Bulgaria as my home country. People here have many goals. But the most essential one is creating a family. Family is thought to be biological, consisting of two parents and their children. However, our closest friends also can be taken for our family. The most important thing between us is love and taking care of each other. Families are important because human beings cannot live alone. For instance, when we have a job interview and feel nervous or we have just broken up with our boyfriend we rely on our friends and our family. They give us support. Without them life would be harder. Because of this Bulgarians are very friendly and open-minded people. They have good relationships with others and always try to make a good impression. People from smaller countries have also the same goals in life.
Of course, there are other countries, which have different goals, such as The USA. People are more concerned about their career and making more and more money there. Yes, it is true that money give us things as food, water and clothes, better life conditions, but in my opinion we shouldn’t put them before family, love and trust. Nowadays more and more countries are becoming like that. This is in strong connection with the world we live in now. Everything has become so expensive. It’s not like before when everything was cheaper and with a small amount of money we could buy a lot of things. Whereas now with the same amount of money we can buy only one or two things. Also the change in people play an essential role. They started to want more expensive telephones, bags, flats. And the worst thing is that this is not good for them. They respect their personal possessions more than they respect people. Most of them just want attention. And they get it, because people are attracted by wealth. People like that don’t make a good impression and are often reserved, stubborn, miserable and tired of work.
On the one hand, from this article we can see that countries, which are smaller can have more value oriented goals. But on the other hand, it can be seen that people from bigger countries prefer having a luxury way of life. It would be good if someone could make a project to attract them and show how we should appreciate the ‘real’ things in life that cannot be bought with money – love, trust, hope, family, values. I have been abroad and I have seen the way people have fun. Bulgarians are happier and more positive. I have met Americans, Canadians who talk about only for work and their salary. My personal vieabout them is not good at all.
In conclusion, I want to tell that we have only one life. It is true that everyone has the chance to live it the way they want. But people were born surrounded by love and they should live their life surrounded by love too. Money is just for making a living, people are who we live with. Schools and parents have to learn their children which goals to follow in life.
Lilya Petrova, SU za HNI ”Konstantin Preslavski”, Bulgaria
Is terrorism a brandnew phenomenom in Europe?
During the last years terrorism seems to be the most omnipresent issue in Europe.
Almost every month newspapers and TV stations report on terroristic incidents. Terror-stricken people admit these occurences and fear, hatred and black despair convulse the European community. But is terrorism really a brandnew problem of the twenty-first century? Has there never been terrorism in the years before? Does terrorism only implicate groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban or Jihadi-inspired extremists? What can Europe do against terror attacks, terror attempts and terror plots?
When you look at the European history you can find out that there has been terrorism in Europe in earlier times, too. The incidents often were motivated by nationalistic, separatistic, religious or political thoughts, including e.g. far-right/ far-left extremism or anarchism. When we try to give a definition for terrorism it is important not to mix together what we call terrorism and other forms of conflicts e.g. civil wars like in Ireland, Yugoslavia or the Chechen Wars. The “National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Reponses of Terrorism” , a well-known research group of the University of Maryland gives a definition of terrorism: “Terrorism is the threat of force or usage of violence of a private person to reach a political, economic, religious or societal purpose. A terror attack is a wilful act of violence.”
In the 1950ies the “Irish Republican Army” (IRA) fought for its ideas within the United Kingdom. The republican paramilitary organisation fought for the end of British rule in Northern Ireland and the reunification of Ireland. A split in the IRA due to widespread use of violence divided it into an official and a provisional wing. The “Provos” believed that it was a necessary part of their struggle to use violence. In 1970 they carried out bombings, assassinations and ambushes in a campaign they called the “Long War”. Between 1969 and 1994 the IRA killed about 1800 people, including 600 civilians.
Within Spain the “Euskadi Ta Askatasuns” (ETA) a Marxist-Leninist, separatistic, Basque-national underground organisation drew on terroristic means to fight for Basque self-government in the 1960ies. ETA has struggled for almost 60 years to get an own state in the North of Spain and in the Southwest of France. 853 People died in Spain and France.
In 2011 the group declared truce and started to give back its guns. In the year 2018 ETA announced that it will completely disperse the organisation.
The “Red Army Fraction” (RAF, Rote Armee Fraktion) was founded in 1970. This West German organisation around Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin, Horst Mahler and Ulrike Meinhof tried to enforce its far-left ideas with militant terror like bombings, kidnappings, robberies, shootouts and assassinations. The RAF was responsible for 33 murders on politicans, policemen, solidiers and customs officials. About 200 people got injured and 24 members of the RAF died due to suicides or hungerstrikes. In 1998 the RAF declared its self-disbandment.
In the twenty- first century there might has been an increase in attacks that were motivated by islamic extremism. To fight terrorism “Europol” (European Police Office) was founded in 1999 which is the main transnational organisation in Europe. Europol published an annual trend report on terroristic attacks since 2006. They divided terrorism in five categories: jihadist-terrorism, ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism, left-wing and anarchist terrorism, right-wing terrorism and single issue terrorism.
The “Global Terrorism Index” calculated by “The Institute for Economics and Peace” says that there has been an increase of terror-victims during the last 14 years in Europe, but worldwide the terror attacks decreased by 13 percent. The countries that suffered the greatest impact from terrorism in the 2017 Global Terrorism Index were 1. Iraq, 2. Afghanistan, 3. Nigeria, 4. Syria, 5. Pakistan, 6. Yemen, 7. Somalia
8. India, 9. Turkey and 10. Libya.
The report emphasizes that terrorism in Europe has reached the highest level: In 2016 Europe had to bewail the most victims of terrorism since 2002. There were 826 dead victims and 658 of them died in Turkey. The worst attacks are conducted with very simple means, e.g. with a lorry or knife. There were approximately 15 attacks with cars or lorries in Europe, like in London, Nice or Berlin. The highest increase of terror attacks is to be found in industrial nations. The number of victims during the years 2007 and 2016 has multiplied by ten in OECD -nations. Particularly Turkey, France, Belgium and the USA were affected of severe terror attacks.
European countries try to protect themselves from terror by several laws, precautions and regulations. France introduced a legislation to fight against terrorism by stricter laws according to extrem islamistic activities, e.g. anti- Semitism Internet sites were blocked and France prohibited 600 people with terrorist sympathies to go to Syria in 2014, because these people wanted to fight for the IS. The United Kingdom introduced “CONTEST” in 2005 which improves the work between public and private organisations and security services. The four main topics of this strategy are: 1. pursue, 2. prevent, 3.protect and 4. prepare. Other European countries have adopted similar strategies and so the European co-operation is much more effective in terror issues.
This short elaboration about terrorism in Europe is meant to give a once-over a giant topic. During my inquiries I almost lost the thread, because terrorism is such a widely ramified and comprehensive topic. When we look back at my first question the answer is definitely “no”, because terrorism in Europe is not brandnew. In all times there have been private groups that wanted to force an political, religious, economic or societal issue by violence and terror.
Terrorism is not always combined with Al Qaeda, Taliban or Jihadi-inspired extremists. There have been terror organisations in a lot of European countries and there are still organisation that went underground and plan terror attacks in this moment.
The most dangerous terrorists are the people who use everyday things to harm others. It is very difficult for the police to prevent us from these haphazardly attacks, because they happen in a flash and so they are unpredictable.
Nevertheless Europe is zealous for a change. New laws and regulations are introduced to pursue terror activities, to prevent terror attacks, to protect the European community and to prepare the countries for an terror plot. If people would talk to another and accept that there are e.g. different religious or political opinions, it would not be necessary to fight against each other and to plan terror attacks. If Europe and the rest of the world practises more tolerance, acceptance and respect terrorism would disappear.
I have a dream ! That all people can live in a terror-free and peaceful world! Soon!
Luka Anik Greiner, Bernstorff-Gymnasium, Germany