Standort: / Meldung: "On the Fence..."

Riem Higazi

Cultural mash-ups, political slip-ups, and other things that make me go hmmm.

29. 10. 2015 - 16:11

On the Fence...

Reality Check: The Great Austrian Fence Debate, Hot Spots, The Years of Living Dangerously, and Happy Cities

A boy looks on as he waits to board a bus in Sentilj, northeastern Slovenia to continue his journey and cross the Slovenia-Austria border.


A boy looks on as he waits, with other migrants and refugees, to board a bus in Sentilj, northeastern Slovenia, on October 28, 2015, to continue the journey and cross the Slovenia-Austria border.

On the Fence

In case you are not familiar with it, the English phrase "on the fence" means being undecided about something. Things could fall on one side of the fence, or the other, zu Deutsch: unentschlossen.

Kind of fitting when you consider the most recent developments when it comes to the notion that there has been the suggestion that Austria could build a barrier on its border with Slovenia to control an influx of refugees.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann warned that fences were not welcome in the EU. Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said a fence of some sort will go up.

So what's the story? How dangerous (on several different levels, physically and politically) is this type of mixed message? Dr. Reinhard Heinisch gave us his take...

Fence Debate - Reinhard Heinisch

While We're Talking Refugees...

Hot Spots - not a trendy part of town or a packed club. Nope. These days, the term 'hot spots' describes centers where refugees are meant to be registered, fingerprinted and sorted, at their first entry point into the EU. At least this is how the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) is using the term.
Adrian Edwards, of the UNHCR, gave Reality Check more info on current 'hot spots' and Chrissi Wilkens put together an audio postcard, direct from one such hot spot, in Lesbos, Greece.

Adrian Edwards UNHCR
Lesbos Hotspot Feature
Francesca Borri

Francesca Borri

Francesca Borri, 35 year-old war reporter, one of the very few still reporting from inside Syria

The Years of Living Dangerously

Francesca Borri is brave, smart, passionate, compassionate, committed - she is as badass as it gets when it comes to journalism at the fronts of bloody wars. Wherever you hear about alarmingly high statistics when it comes to deaths of journalists while on the job, that's where you will find Francesca. Check out her description of how she stays safe as one of the very few reporters who dare to file their work from inside Syria now...

Francesca Borri
Michael Häupl


I was trying to find a picture that depicts Vienna as happy and I came across this one of Vienna's Mayor Michael Häupl and I just thought, ok, that's the one.

Happy Cities

More than half the world's population now live in towns and cities and by 2030 this number is projected to swell to 5 billion.

While urbanization has the potential to increase economic growth and well-being and use resources more efficiently - cities are also typically home to areas of poverty and deprivation.

Canadian journalist Charles Montgomery is the author of a book called Happy City. He argues that the growth of car-dependent suburbs makes people isolated and unhappy, but that vibrant, well-designed cities can make people happier. Hear him describe how cities and neighbourhoods can be designed to improve our lives...

Happy City - Charles Montgomery