All across Europe, unemployment is about about 11.8% . When I saw that figure, I actually thought, for a recession, that is not so terribly bad. I have seen it before and country's recover. Across Europe, about 23 million people are unemployed. Divide that by the 27 member countries and we all have about one million unemployed. Oh, if that were only the truth. If only misery was mathematically allotted.
The suicide of Aaron Swartz, 26, on Friday was something that caught me completely off guard. He was someone who was in the periphery of my awareness. He was an American facing a 35 year jail sentence for distributing academic information in bulk digital form. His accusers liked to refer to him as a hacker breaking into databases - the vague threat of danger that taints any digital rights action that runs contrary to government demands and is the equivalent of calling every criminal a terrorist. Both words are loaded with immediate prejudice.
Digital rights are going to return to the front pages again and again. I am actually quite grateful for Instagram and this misspeak. For 48 hours, there was the opportunity for digital rights to be discussed at just about any table in a way that everybody could understand. An infringement on digital rights caused outrage and anger and frustration across the spectrum. It has loosened the issue, made a space for discussion and to advance the more complex issues as we address the larger vision and the clear need for better guidance and control.
There are laws for road traffic. There is an opportunity to do something to ease, if not stop, this situation. But, in all my years on the road, I have never seen a police officer indicate a reprimand to a car parked in a bike lane. Never seen a car stopped who has just almost knocked down a cyclist with their irresponsible behavior.
Unlike the American leadership that seems, for now, to have cast aside their greenwash policies in favor or recovering the US economy as the first and foremost goal (read: at almost any cost), the Greens have called on Europe to pick up the mantle that has been so easily put down.
There is a fundamental gap in public understanding of information technology and potential. And the gap extends into legislation and legislative needs. There was no shortage of speakers demonstrating the contradiction of Europe, the European Union, so quick to advocate human rights and civil liberties while doing little to nothing to prevent the sale of technology that allows regimes to track online critics, violating liberties, often in the most violent forms.
There has been one event, and only one event, that has turned the UK financiers into born-again climate change advocates. The New York city financial district closed, the city was pummeled, billions were lost on the markets.... or not made... or made another day... No matter what, now that the bottom line has been affected, climate change is real. It might even indicate a real tipping point. A chance for a radical change.
By next Council, we must have moved further in our informal communications and contact with each other. We have to participate in the visual effort, the smaller communications. We need to take and post more images, tagging them for the EGP, for the national parties, for campaigns, for policies, for votes. We need to attach messages to the images, so, when they filter into the internet, the Green voice will be far more visible.
So far today, apart from the running about and the resolutions and the updates, Joline and I managed to coax Mar Garcia Sanz onto the rooftop for a few personal images as she is now on the EGP Committee. I also managed to set the seed for her to write a blog for her term. I managed to get time to discuss torture and intimidation at a personal level with a delegate this morning. I have posted the press releases, checked the stats, updated Facebook pages, captioned images.
Blog: He has been given recognition at this Council, such as when European politicians reflected on the choice of being Green. Philippe Lamberts reflected on the Greens, and Liaquat in particular, who make their choice when their lives actually are in danger. That being a Green in Europe, by comparison was an easy choice. Being a Green in Pakistan "takes guts".