On both sides of the Mediterranean the younger generation struggles to access to jobs and to have a say in decision making processes. Its voice remains unheard in the political debate. On both sides of the Mediterranean this generation has been active in the contestation of the establishment and the functioning of the political system: the revolutions in Northern Africa and the citizens’ mobilisations in Europe (Indignados, Notre Dame des Landes in France).
Two preparatory public debates
Two debates have already taken place in France in this framework, they brought together, during public events activists from the both side of the Mediterranean.
In May 2012 in the framework of TRANSEUROPA Festival entitled: When people demonstrate in the Streets: is Democracy winning? with Imad Houssari, member of the Syrian National Council and Speaker in France of the local coordination committees and Jade Lindgaard, journalist for Mediapart, who has followed Indignados and Occupy movements and via Skype, Bassem Samir, director of the NGO Egyptian Democratic Academy. The debate was organised in partnership with the Institut des Cultures d’Islam. You can see more in this short video (in French).
In February 2013, we organised a debate providing a reading of the state of mobilisations in Europe and Egypt in the framework of the International Festival of Human Rights Films, with Sarah Anne Rennick, PhD student working on social movements in Northern Africa,
The debates focussed on young demonstrators from Egypt, Spain and France and focused on their hopes, disappointments and plans for action in the context of contestation of power.
Numerous questions arose from the debates, in particularly those regarding the eventual improvement of activists’ chances to see their mobilization lead to a democratic re-launch and those concerning a possible comparison, despite the profound differences of situations, between Egypt and Europe.
The starting point for the discussions in April will be the article From Tahrir Square to Puerta del Sol: what unites Arab and European social movements by Sarah Anne Rennick written after the February debate.
There were also debates on this topic in Prague, London, Bratislava and Barcelona in May 2012 as part of Transeuropa Festival 2012 and the projection of movies on Political Engagement in Northern Africa before the revolution selected by Cinémathèque de Tanger in all Transeuropa Festival cities.
One week of exchanges in April in Paris and Strasbourg
In April, the project will bring together for one week activists and cultural actors who will learn from each other and exchange solutions on how to pursue action and activate change in politics.
By sharing in a small group for a whole week, the participants will be able to create long lasting relationships and continue working together in the future.
The question of Democracy and of democratic transition will be central to the exchange, as will be the one of creative solutions to find means of living and sustaining oneself in a changing employment environment.
Appointments will be made both in Paris and Strasbourg with civil organizations, academics and Members of the European Parliament who work in these areas.
Social media will play a key role in this project. That is why we invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@Euroalter).
Short video interviews of the participants will also be made available on European Alternatives You Tube Channel in the course of the project.
Egyptian Revolution and the question of Indignados in Spain are apparently very different from each other’s and France seems far away from these events, but if we look closely the movements can learn quite a lot from each other and will be reinforce each other if they are in dialogue.
Looking forward to the results
In conclusion, through this week of exchanges, we want the participants to find together some of the keys that will help them accompany or even lead the democratic transition processes or improvement of democratic systems in their countries, may it be in Egypt, France or Spain.
We are still looking for participants, if you are interested check the event and the program and send us a motivation letter and a short paragraph about you and your main activities at a.michelini(@)euroalter.com
This project is co-financed by the European Union, within the programme Youth in Action.