Another seven days has passed and here we are again for our weekly round-up of the latest View opinion articles. Amongst the hot topics that have had you talking this week are the world’s elites convening at Davos as well as the veracity of controversial viral videos. Presenting all points of view, we aim to give you a flavour of the opinions that have driven debate across Europe and beyond over the last past week.
Given some of this week’s hottest headlines from around the world, we’ve decided to revisit our theme from last week’s View round-up, which was all about the need to dig further to discover the truth behind breaking news stories.
Perhaps the best example of that in the last week has been the controversy in the United States surrounding students from a Catholic high school wearing Donald Trump’s red MAGA hats and a Native American activist. A video of what many considered to be an intimidating confrontation by a group of students and the Native American veteran went viral at the weekend. The story has since developed, with greater context being given – and as you might expect, it wasn’t as clear cut as it first seemed. Contributor Beau Friedlander wrote about just that this week and what many are deeming to be the use of “the dark arts” to make this polemic dissipate for the students involved. As he writes: “It’s not magic; it’s just PR.”
As with the case of the viral video in the US, things that are in the public eye may not always be what they seem. In Europe, seemingly run-of-the-mill political agreements obscure murky dealings. This week, Dr Theodore Karasik unearthed what he sees as geopolitical power plays taking place behind the scenes in Croatia, an EU member state hoping to join the Eurozone. But, as Karasik writes in his op-ed, Russia eyes this move as a way of influencing the European project through corrupt business dealings in the country. “The EU has remained surprisingly sanguine about the danger that Croatia’s ascension to the Eurozone will only strengthen the ticking time-bomb of Putin’s creeping subversion of the EU,” he writes.
Of course, this is not the only EU-related story causing waves this week. It’s also another potent example of outward appearances being not all what they appear. As Kyrgyzstan looks to cement closer ties with the EU, Human Rights Watch’s Mihra Rittmann raises the case of jailed activist Azimjon Askarov. Having campaigned for human rights in Central Asia’s only parliamentary democracy, the now 68-year-old was detained, tortured and imprisoned despite protests from the UN. Rittmann urges the EU to renew the fight to free Askarov and others like him before the European Parliament ratify an enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the country.
This week sees the reconvening of the world’s movers and shakers at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos. Behind the pleasantries and sweet words of the world’s leaders, there remains many challenges facing the planet, as Jennifer Morgan, the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, explains in her View op-ed this week. She called on delegates to the WEF to do more to prevent further damage to our living planet: “We need significantly more leadership. Right now, climate leadership does not come from industry or government - but from youth, who are acutely aware of the consequences of inaction.”
We also published two articles this week that broached the burning question of race relations, particularly in the US. Marking Martin Luther King Day this week, Americans looked back on his legacy in fighting for racial equality, but as contributor Kaitlyn Byrd argues, it is in danger of being whitewashed to enable the country’s casual racists: “King's legacy has become as segregated as the country he tried to heal.” The Oscars also released their shortlisted nominations this week, which also put increased scrutiny on the telling of the experience of African Americans through the prism of white privilege.
Also worthy of your attention this week is about smallholder farmers - the backbone of global agriculture – and the untenable pressures they are under to produce half of the world’s food supply. Our contributor Benjamin Addom says some 800 million family farms can and should develop high tech methods to become more efficient. But to do so, bodies like the EU have a vested interest in making sure this process is a success.
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