2013 June | FREE

Archive the month of June 2013

June 25, 2013

Language skills required

Europeans enjoy freedom of movement, but they don’t make enough use of it. The European labour market could benefit tremendously from a higher degree of mobility. If it was not for the language barrier. But in times of crisis, people – especially qualified young people from Southern Europe – no longer hesitate to accept the challenge.

Even if that means learning German. Which is the case for an increasing number of Spaniards. The language courses in the ‘Goethe-Institute’ between Barcelona and Sevilla have been reporting record registrations for three years already. Almost 30,000 Spanish citizens have emigrated to Germany in 2012. According to the federal office of statistics this represents an increase of roughly 50% for the second year in a row. Contrary to their predecessors of the German ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ in the 1960s and 70s, most of them are highly qualified. And whatever their destination – a big multinational like Daimler-Benz in an international city, or one of these innovative Mittelstand champions with a factory in the middle of nowhere – many of them report that the language issue is key to integration (next to putting up with very different meal times and a lesser dose of sunshine).

Two highly-skilled Spanish migrants: Pep Guardiola, 42, from Catalunya, famous football coach, Bayern Munich; Alba Morell, 25, from Galicia, young engineer, Daimler-Benz.

But none of them had to face a language test like the most famous of these migrants did yesterday: Pep Guardiola, the former Barcelona coach who signed for Champions League winner Bayern Munich, mastered a one-hour press conference in the Allianz-Arena, live on television in front of a jury of 240 international journalists and, later that same day, thousands of YouTube users.

Post by : Albrecht Sonntag in the category : Posts, Public Sphere - No comment

June 4, 2013

An energy drink, rather than the opium of the people

It is difficult to imagine fiercer football rivalries than the ones between ‘The Big Three’ of Istanbul – Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, Beşiktaş. The clashes between their supporters – often violent, always noisy – are legendary. Yet many of the (mainly foreign) media and eyewitnessess report that the current protests against the authoritarian turn of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government have produced an unprecedented unity among Turkish football fans of all colours.

The Big Three merge their emblems and proclaim their unity on Twitter

In his excellent blog ‘The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer’, James M. Dorsey describes the supporters of the Big Three as ‘militant, street battle-hardened soccer fans’, who contrary to many other protesters have had plenty of occasions to learn how to deal with teargas and police brutality in the past.

A whole series of websites quote the almost solemn statement issued by the Fenerbahçe supporters group ’12 Numara’ (‘Number 12′), which praised the newly found unity of football fans by alluding to the colours of the Big Threee clubs: ‘We have come to the conclusion: yellow without navy blue and red, black without white is impossible. With them, it is stronger and more beautiful’.

Another oft-repeated quote is the tweet by the songwriter Feridun Düzağaç, renowned for being a Beşiktaş fan:’The pride I had when Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe fans were shoulder-to-shoulder walking to the district shouting “Beşiktaş, you are our everything” was worth everything. I am grateful.’

In a hurried E-mail message from his phone, another die-hard Beşiktaş fan, our friend and colleage Özgehan Şenyuva related how football fans were ‘fighting arm in arm’: ‘Galatasarary and Fenerbahçe fans are also fighting their way to make it to Beşiktaş, screaming “We are coming, brothers!” Historic days in Turkey!’

Post by : Albrecht Sonntag in the category : Competitions, Identities, Posts - No comment