All posts tagged: Sociology

A populist in power in the U.S.

The USA on November 8th, 2016 elected a demagogue and misogynist with no prior political experience, scant respect for liberal-democratic values, an allegedly volatile temperament and next to no knowledge of international affairs to the highest political office in the land and the most powerful in the world. Is it surprising? Yes. But only because almost all opinion pollsters (once again wrong-footed!) anticipated a Clinton victory and in his campaign Trump appeared to have been enmeshed in too many moral and financial scandals and to have antagonized and offended too many constituencies and groups, even within his own Republican Party, to win. But Trump masterfully tapped into and mobilized deep-seated protectionist and isolationist tendencies that dominated US economic and foreign policies until the Second World War, but were buried temporarily by the Cold War with the Soviet Communist block in the ensuing four decades. He rode the rising tide of populism (the glorification of an ethnically and culturally homogenous ‘people’ against an – allegedly – corrupt ‘establishment’) that has gathered momentum and swept the Western world, …

“Fire at Sea”: the italian take on the refugee crisis

“Fire at Sea” (Fuocoammare) by Gianfranco Rosi is the italian film chosen to compete for Best Foreign Language film at the Academy Awards: it’s a brave choice taken by a selected few at the Italian National Film Industry Commission (ANICA). Easier stories could have been picked from the shortlisted ones, but the elitist group of people representing the various branches of the industry decided to stick their necks out for a cause. The cause is a humanitarian and historical one: “Fire at Sea” tells the true story of unimaginable journeys to escape foreign bombs and survive thirst, now, in our highly-civilized, super-progressive and hyper-connected 2016. The choice has received large support by the italian public opinion (#fuocoammare), Italian PM Matteo Renzi was proud and national television screened it on October 3rd: Italy being represented by Fuocoammare for the Oscar competition is a choice seen like a patriotic support to what italian nationals are doing to save lives in the tiny mediterranean island of Lampedusa in Sicily. In fact Italy is the only country to have a National Day to Remember the Victims of Migrations and rise consciousness on Hospitality, and it’s October …

Ethiopia,© Photo by Eric Lafforgue

Sacrificed Ethiopia

Ethiopia is building one of the most important African dams, on the Omo River. According to the government, the dam will double the amount of energy available in the country. “The dam will dramatically change the life of 200 000 people settled in the Omo Valley, says the French photographer-reporter Eric Lafforgue. The government plans to relocate people in new villages by promising access to health care and education. But traditional ethiopian tribes have always lived out of agriculture and cattle breeding. Today their lands have been confiscated and ‘rented’, for 1 euro a month, to multinational companies. Water from the dam is used to irrigate crops owned by corporations. The military take care of people who resist ‘modernization’. Some Suri people work for the multinationals. They earn 30 euro per month. They save to buy cows, but less and less land is available to graze. Situation is tense. The government sent armed troops to ‘control’ tribes. Then central Addis Ababa government organized a kind of dance competition, filmed and aired by  Ethiopian national TV, …