#3 2011

Children to dissidents in Russia

“You no longer have a son”

What happens to the children of dissidents? To tell an unwelcome truth or to protest against oppression takes a lot of personal courage. But only too often the authorities tries to silence dissidents by threatening their children. Oksana Chelysheva, Russian journalist living in exile, tells the story of six-year old Ivan Aksenov.

Hungarian Democracy in Tatters

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his party Fidesz controls over two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. Now they are putting the country through a thorough makeover. The Canadian-Hungarian historian Éva S.

Fear and Self-Censorship

In 2010, the Hungarian parliament voted for a new media law that gives great powers to a new Media Authority to impose fines and revoke licences, with no possibility of appeal. There have also been cuts in public media


On 23 February 2009 a Roma man and his 5-year-old son were shot and their house burnt down, seriously injuring the other two of the children and their mother, in Tatárszentgyörgy, some sixty kilometres from Budapest. The

Requiem for pigs

The Egyptian revolution showed us how people with very different backgrounds could work together for one cause: to fight a totalitarian regime. But who were they? And how can the conflict between the Christians and the

Statelessness in Kuwait

Being stateless means that you do not have any civil rights such as personal documents, education, employment, or access to medical care. In Kuwait there are currently around 100 000 stateless people. Anyone who wants to

Citizens in need of a homeland

Far away from media attention there are people stuck in oppression, who never will be known or mentioned. This text is written by a Saudi writer under pseudonym and tells about ethnic and bureaucratic conflicts that can

Forbidden poetry in Vietnam

“Vietnamese poetry is created through the left cerebral hemisphere; it knows what it is doing”, writes the author and literary critic Kristoffer Leandoer about the state of Vietnamese poetry today. Below we present poems

The ICORN-relay—Sepideh Jodeyri

The ICORN-relay has now left Scandinavia and landed in Italy, where the Iranian poet, translator and journalist Sepideh Jodeyri currently lives. Jodeyri has written three collections of poetry; two have been published, one


How could we understand what is actually “taking place?”

A well-known, if slightly worn quote by the Swedish historian and poet Erik Gustaf Geijer sum up the mission of any scientific endeavour: “to see what takes place in what seem to be happening.” As one scans the world’s current political landscape—one that is rapidly changing—it is easy to wish for a ‘grand theory’ that could precisely explain what is taking place in what seem to be happening. On the one hand, demo­cratic rebellion against corrupt regimes, and on the other, new threats of terror directed towards the opposition, and towards writers and journalists.

The “Arab spring” is already a concept that invokes scepticism in some circles. Has this spring really offered a democratic opening? Simultaneously, a dictatorship like the one in Burma is at least beginning to mime a perestrojka. And, at the time of writing, demonstrations are taking place in the streets of Moscow in protest against election results that are being contested by the opposition. In Hungary a develop­ment towards a more restricted freedom of speech continues alongside growing racist tendencies that the representatives of the regime are doing nothing in order to stave.

How could we then possibly understand what is actually “taking place?” An eagle’s perspective—one we often come across in media—can be highly misrepresentative. From this perspective one often sees only the map but not human beings. I am not implying any critique of media here; to summarise and to generalise is often the first step in the understanding of any event. However, in order to pass beyond these generalisations it is necessary also to listen to real peoples’ individual voices—to their narrations of factual experiences, which incorporate things that do not fit neatly into any simple truths.