Blogging Kosovo, Erasmus and poetry

Article published on March 13, 2008
From the magazine
Article published on March 13, 2008
Existential crises in Berlin, self-critical French and new nation states - the best of our babelblogs this fortnight

Existential Berlin folk

Discovering a city doesn't just mean exploring it's architecture and hanging out in its cafés. A city is first and foremost it's inhabitants and their little idiosyncrasies - often on first sight shocking to an untrained eye. To minimise culture shock, our editorial team in Berlin have launched a new series of articles exploring the Berlin people's subconscious and trying to come to terms with their eternal indecision and such existential questions as why not cross the road if there is a red light but no cars are coming?

French, but self-critical all the same

Across the Rhine, the French are asking questions about their own country. Writers in the La Parisienne blog, be they French or not, are lashing out at the French national health system, reportedly the best in the world. A particularly cutting article questions the government's interventionist strategy in the economy. We could ask ourselves why the central European office for chose to set up their headquarters in Paris

Kosovo independent: huge reaction

As is the nature of current affairs, some subjects covered by babelblogs can be more serious. Kosovo, and it's recently declared independence on 17 February provoked a big reaction from surfers. On Zinc de l'Europe ('the bar table of Europe'), one blogger is disappointed by the European Union's attitude and suggests an idea which would better justify a cross-European 'brainstorming' than a simple posting. The subject? Going beyond the idea of a nation state and the concept of ethnicity, two concepts which have been devastating the Balkans for centuries.

Meanwhile, the blog from Serb neighbour Budapest discusses Hungary's position in the Kosovo story. The post comes into its own when you take into account that a third of Hungarians live outside the country's borders

(Read the blog in French)

Erasmus: from one city to another

The Eurogeneration blog has launched a new series sharing university students experiences of living and studying in different european cities. The first stop in this Erasmus City Guide is Budapest, with Roberto Yanguas's contribution, a Spanish law student. With tips and insider knowledge, you'll find everything you need to get quickly integrated in your life as an expatriate in the Hungarian capital

Change the world through poetry

Europe also rhymes with culture. Luckily the Poetry blog is there to remind us thanks to an interview with Spanish poet Antonio Gamoneda. Despite being interviewed by babelians, he's unashamed to tell us that he has never 'seen a single Internet page'. He talks about the reasons for the very existence of poetry. Is its purpose to change the world? The elderly poet gives a clear answer Poetry is not able to inspire social or historical change. What it does very well is to refine and intensify consciousness

(Read the blog in French, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish and Italian)

It's a 'see you soon', not a 'goodbye'

On coffeefactory, the official blog by the editorial team in Paris, you'll find a post from Vanessa, the community coordinator who has left her role behind for pastures new. She will, however, stay in a European context as she becomes the new secretary general of the European Youth Press. Don't worry if you're a Vanessa fan - she'll still be part of the Brussels editing team!

Photos: homepage (Aussiegall/ Flickr), in-text: Berlin (abbilder/ Flickr), Kosovo (ianturton/ Flickr), poetry (Giuvax/ Flickr)