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Acts of Democracy 1: Refugee Counselling, Democratic Governance and LGBTQ Rights

From freshly-published books, current exhibitions, digital exploration journeys, arts & culture projects, podcasts, films, essays and studies, we’ve hand-picked fifteen acts of democracy for you to explore and get curious about this month.

By Ioana Casapu

6 Tips For Treating Refugees With Respect And Support

“Help for self-help is the mantra in refugee counseling. As simple as it sounds, it is difficult to implement. Support others to solve their own problems. Don’t create dependency. Nothing is more beautiful and sustainable than experiencing your own self-efficacy and mastering challenges alone. With you as a backup in the background. Doing good rocks, so does self-care”, writes Nina Hartmann in TBD*

With 100 Million Refugees, the Migrant Crisis Has Barely Begun

Andreas Kluth (Bloomberg) has never been a refugee, but as a journalist, he’s occasionally witnessed the human toll of migration. “The biggest refugee crisis in history is still ahead of us. War, famine and plague will not only stay around, but spread and become worse, because of climate change. What will that do to our societies, and to us as individuals?”, he writes in the Washington Post. 

Platforms Need to Work with Their Users – Not Against Them

How can platforms keep producers making new investments in building for environments whose undemocratic governance systems cannot credibly promise to reflect their interests in the long run? In HBR, Ethan Bueno de Mesquita and Andrew Hall outline that by granting governance tokens to producers that give them the unbreakable right to vote on key decisions about fees and rules, platforms can give producers the ownership and assurances they need to unleash their innovation — to the benefit of the platform, its users, and its creative partners.

Democracy Must Practice Self-Defense

Unless democracies defend themselves, the forces of autocracy will destroy them, writes Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic.

86 Percent Of Young People In Germany Worry About Their Future 

The younger generation wants to get involved politically, but three-quarters feel that German democracy is too cumbersome to solve current and future challenges, shows a representative survey by the Vodafone Foundation Germany.


Cancel Culture in 1832 Sounded Pretty Fierce

Jamelle Bouie shines a light on overlooked writing, culture and ideas from around the internet. Tocqueville wrote, “the majority draws a formidable circle around thought.” Within those limits “the writer is free,” but “unhappiness awaits him if he dares to leave them.”

Past and Future

Writers have found in Ukraine the great stories that define good and evil. Traveling across territory recently retaken from the Nazis, Vassily Grossman was one of the first to describe the holocaust first-hand in ‘Ukraine Without Jews’. “The poet Paul Celan, who heralded from my father’s home town of Chernivtsi, came up with perhaps the darkest and most resonant line about the war in his Death Fugue: Death is a master from Germany. The leitmotif of Ukrainian poetry is resilience in the face of oppression.”

Art and Political Action

At the University Museum of Contemporary Art (MUAC), Mexico City, the art/activism group Colectivo Cherani presents a large installation in support of Indigenous rights.

A Philosopher On The Complicated Role Of Forgiveness In A Polarized Society

Lucy Allais, a philosopher at Johns Hopkins University, studies forgiveness and punishment, and she brings a unique life experience to these sorts of questions. She talked to VOX about the limits of forgiveness in a deeply polarized society, why she thinks forgiveness and accountability are compatible, why it’s important not to define people by their worst manifestations, and whether she believes a democracy can survive without forgiveness.

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