"A home for pregnant women who were talked out of abortion by ‘pro-life’ activists in Gozo, a small island which is part of the Maltese archipelago. According to the owner more than 500 women have passed through over the last 30 years".
Women in Malta may not only risk to end up in jail, but also to put their own lives in danger. Abortion in the Mediterranean island is still illegal. If you're wondering where in Europe abortion is so stigmatized, to the extent that it's so enchained to the most conservative legislation, then there you are.
Our cross-border team went there to investigate how and if things have changed, and to talk with women who shared their own experiences. Like Julie: "After I found out I was pregnant, I tried everything to have a ‘natural abortion’. I took a week off work and did research online. I took loads of aspirin, drank persil juice, ate papaya seeds, and drank tons of ginger tea. I was having sex as well. But nothing helped. I didn't have feelings about the pregnancy, only about my relationships and my own body. I think I’ll feel the consequences of this stress later in life."
“What I do is linked to the wellbeing of patients. Women will get an abortion anyhow, no matter if it’s legal or not. They shouldn’t risk their lives for that" says Elena Saliba, a doctor who in 2019 joined the first ‘pro-choice’ network for women’s rights for abortion.
"Fabiola Foti, 37, is the editor-in-chief of the Catania-based, digital news site 'L’Urlo'. For years she has investigated how local mobsters have managed to infiltrate the local festival of Saint Agatha, one of the country’s most popular religious celebrations. She has been threatened for her work".
How safe are journalists in... Europe? To what extent might their lives and careers be jeopardized in a continent where, in theory, media freedom is among its foundations? What if we narrow the focus and look at Sicily, "the Italian region with the highest number of reporters killed in mafia or terrorist attacks since 1960"?
Leandro Salvia is an Italian reporter who wrote about connections between mafia families and local authorities. He's portrayed below. And he says: “I know that, geographically, I live at the borders of Europe. But San Cipirello and Sicily itself are a piece of Italy and a piece of Europe, so whenever someone breaks the law here, it’s correct that the Italian state intervenes and local reporters need to document it. (...) When you work here you expect to be subjected to retaliation by those you write about. (...) Often the costs are higher than the earnings, but it’s a question of civic duty. I have a responsibility to the community.”
Have you already had the chance to check out #blueborder website and its stories?
Below there's Anne-Laure Cristofari, the main character in the reportage set in Corsica, one of the five islands framed within the #blueborder project. We will gradually roll downwards: before reaching Cyprus, we will share quotes and pictures drawn from stories set in Sicily, Malta and Crete.
"Anne-Laure Cristofari, 41, is the spokesperson for ‘Donne di Manca’ (‘Left-wing women’), a feminist and socialist independence movement campaigning for Corsican self-rule."
CORSICA - Sisters in arms Journalist: Audrey Lebel 🖋 Photographer: Marco Panzetti 📸
We're now happy to publish another #MeetTheTeam piece, featuring Hélène Pillon and Barbara Braun. As our local experts, they supported us along the way and during the process of the vernissage organization that unfortunately had to be cancelled - and they'd have been ready to help us even more, if the event would have regularly taken place 🌊
🎤 "I was really looking forward to transforming the Centre Social Bernard Du Bois – a place where people come to seek advice, to bring their kids, to meet, to do activities together, to discuss, etc. - into a nice exhibition hall and seeing the pictures in big format hung on its walls. Unfortunately it only lasted one day, but it was still nice", Hélène says.
🎤And according to Barbara: "It would of course be great if this project was a first step to a series of others dealing with boundaries – physical ones and those in our heads. Because with the ongoing crises, we all will have to deal with the new borders we are (unconsciously) building in our heads. We will have to redefine our personal and collective boundaries and make sure to leave no-one behind."
Check out the rest in the link below 👇 And once again, thanks Hélène and Barbara! 🙂 ... See MoreSee Less
Il y a deux semaines, le 13 mars, nous aurions dû organiser le vernissage du projet #blueborder à Marseille avec nos journalistes et photographes, pour lancer l'exposition itinérante et le nouveau site web avec tous les reportages et photos. Malheureusement, comme un premier train de mesures a dû être mis en place par les gouvernements européens en raison de l'épidémie de #coronavirus, l'événement a été officiellement annulé. Le Centre social Bernard Du Bois, qui accueillait l'exposition, a confirmé cette annulation, tout en nous faisant savoir qu'il était possible d'accueillir les visiteurs qui avaient encore envie de voir les photos exposées. Nous sommes maintenant heureux de partager quelques instantanés de cette soirée puisque notre coordinatrice locale Hélène Pillon, ainsi que quelques visiteurs, ont eu la chance d'être là et d'apprécier le travail extraordinaire de nos équipes transfrontalières. La seconde étape de cette exposition itinérante, Palerme, prévu initialement en avril, a également sûe être annulée. Nous nous adapterons à la situation sanitaire pour les événements suivants à Chemnitz (Mai) et Bruxelles (Juin)
ENG - A couple of weeks ago, on 13th March, we were supposed to have the #blueborder vernissage in Marseille with our journalists and photographers, launching the itinerant exhibition and the brand new website with all the stories and photos. Unfortunately, as a first package of measures had to be set up by the European governments due to the #coronavirus outbreak, the event was officially cancelled and the participants had to stay at home. The hosting venue Centre Social Bernard Du Bois did confirm that, while letting us know that it was possible to welcome visitors who still felt like having a look at the exhibited photos. We're now happy to share some snapshots of that evening as our local coordinator Hélène Pillon, together with some visitors, had the chance to be there and enjoy the amazing work of our cross-border teams. The second step of the initinerant exhibition, Palermo, originally planned for April, has to be cancelled too. We will adapt to the situation for the organisation of the next events in Chemnitz (Mai) and Bruxelles (June)
In time of (self)isolation and rumination of what we're all going through, as the #coronavirus outbreak goes on, we might have the chance to slow down, reduce the speed of our daily routines, and look at some parts of the world from another perspective.
What if those parts of the world are pearls floating in the Mediterranean? What if those islands could offer us some sparks in terms of reflecting on social and geographical isolation, people's identities and struggles?
#blueborder is a new transnational and cross-border project. It's a set of gripping stories from journalists and photographers who guide us through topics such as threatened old traditions, migrants living in a sort of limbo, abortion rights in a country of conservatives values, journalists endangered by mafia, and independence movements. ⬇️✍️📸🌊🔵 ... See MoreSee Less
Thanks to our translatoAre We EuropeQ Code Magazine Brüning, Veronica Monti, Daniel Schwahn, Christian Capone, Taghi Bigdeli, Jaleh Ojan, Irene Dominioni, Christophe Dennaud, Alexander D. Ricci, Christian Capone, Zoe Locher, Jessica Devergnies-Wastraete 🙏🏻
#Corsica Audrey Lebel 📝 Marco Panzetti 📸
#Crete Alex King 📝 Angelos Christofilopoulos 📸
#Cyprus Maureen Murori 📝 Anne Ackermann 📸
#Malta Eva Hoffmann 📝 Maria Jou Sol 📸
#Sicily Cecilia Buttini 📝 Ksenia Les 📸
Web design by Johan Giraud
Editor-in-chief Prune Antoine
Director Sébastien Vannier
Translation coordinator Mei Rage
Editors Jamie Mackay, Benjamin Wolf, Léa Marchal
With the magical support of
Allianz Kulturstiftung ✨
OFAJ DFJW ✨
Babel International NGO
#Translators: Courtney Anderson, Irina Brüning, Veronica Monti, Daniel Schwahn, Christian Capone, Taghi Bigdeli, Jaleh Ojan, Irene Dominioni, Christophe Dennaud, Alexander D. Ricci, Christian Capone, Zoe Locher, Jessica Devergnies-Wastraete 🙏🏻
Cafébabel is #EuropeInRealLife
Are We Europe
Q Code Magazine
10th mars 2020
🧐 You may already have read Cecilia's written sneak peek, but what about knowing more regarding her experience in Sicily along with Ksenia?
🎤 "At this time of great talking about the future of Europe, I find it crucial for media makers to dig deeper into issues and places that show what it’s really like to live in Europe – not only in big cities but at the borders, too."
Cecilia Butini is an Italian freelance journalist currently based in Berlin. She has covered migration issues, human rights, politics and the environment for a variety of English-language publications...
8th mars 2020
📸 We now move to Sicily and share photographer Ksenia Les' words on her experience for #blueborder with her #TeamSicily colleague, Cecilia Butini:
🎤 "Coming from Russia myself, the word “border” has a special meaning for me. The blueborder reminds me that although Europe is kind of united and free, there are still borders in the minds of people."
Ksenia Les is a Russian documentary photographer and storyteller. Having moved to Germany, she has had the opportunity to see her former home and its people’s mentality from a different perspective....
7th mars 2020
📸 We've already given some space to our #TeamMalta experience through Eva's words, and now we're sharing photographer Maria Jou Sol's insights too:
🎤 "It has been the first time that I’ve done a project like this, I find it a grateful way to work, both journalistically and photographically. Sending two people who don’t know each other to a place that they are unfamiliar with to investigate a topic which they have to find yet, has been very enriching. In our case, the theme we were going to do was quite a taboo on the island and it has been a challenge to do so."
Maria Jou Sol studied Image and Sound in Barcelona and graduated in documentary photography. Using photography as a form of self-expression and a tool for social transformation, her projects always...
3rd mars 2020
Reporter Cecilia Butini and photographer Ksenia Les are telling the stories of some of the Sicilan journalists who have received intimidation or threats for their work on the ground.
“Though I had done a lot of homework on our topic before setting off for Sicily, including phone interviews with all our characters, I thought that the best way to return the reader a striking sense of their stories was to immerse ourselves in their environment.”
They drove more than 1000 km in four days, meeting four journalists in person and visiting the places where a fifth one had reported. Read the sneak peek below 👇 ... See MoreSee Less
We flew into Palermo on a windy Monday afternoon in December, ready for four days of almost non-stop driving, reporting, photographing on all three sides of Sicily. It felt like a challenge from the...
1st mars 2020
🔎 Let's keep the focus on our #TeamMalta as we're sharing Eva Hoffmann's reflections on her #blueborder experience:
"We were covering a very controversial topic that is still a taboo in Malta. Therefore, the outcome of our story might also influence the discourse on the island itself and hopefully push the debate about reproductive rights and women’s rights all over Europe a bit further."
Eva Hoffmann strives to work outside her comfort zone, questioning power structures, portraying people at the margins of society and following the political movements of our times. After studying...
25th février 2020
🇲🇹 Abortion in Malta is still illegal. Our #TeamMalta, journalist Eva Hoffmann and photographer Maria Jou Sol, went there to investigate more. However... how difficult can it be to find a person that you really need to meet as she can turn out to be an essential piece of your reportage-puzzle? 🤷♀️
“When we took the ferry towards the north west of the main island in order to speak to a certain Maria Attard, founder of a women’s shelter on the small island of Gozo, we had no phone number, no e-mail address or direct way to contact her in advance. It was our last day of research, but we were determined to find her. After two weeks in Malta, we were also confident that there might be other ways to find her.”
🧐 Curious to know how this story ended? Read more below as we will share more about Eva’s and Maria’s reportage soon! ... See MoreSee Less
🇬🇷 To come full circle, let's share now words and thoughts of #TeamCrete's photographer, Angelos Christofilopoulos.
"We see countries across the continent closing their borders and an initiative like #blueborder counters that trend. It starts a discussion about how we relate to borders. How identity transcends borders and how we can resist being defined by physical divisions."
Angelos Christofilopoulos was born in Duesseldorf in 1970 and moved to Athens at the age of 25. He studied photography at the FOCUS School of Photography in Athens and has been working since 2000 as...
21st février 2020
Our #teamsicily, Ksenia Les (photographer) and Cecilia Butini (journalist) have been in South Italy to investigate about a delicate topic and talk to journalists who have been intimidated or threatened by the mafia.
Stay tuned to get more details about their reportage. #blueborder website's release is almost around the corner!
From Cyprus, Maureen Kajuju tells us about her first meeting with her colleague Anne Ackermann in the Turkish side of Nicosia, one of the few divided capitals in the world. She shares what happened during the first hours of her professional partnership: thoughts, emotions, hints to some of the protagonists of the story that soon will be available on the #blueborder website.
"What interlinks the hopes and trials of the African community on the island is meeting people who have had challenging experiences on the island including low pay for so much work, mistreatment, sexual harassment as well as neglect by family members back at home. What do you offer broken people who are feeling stuck in the inside as well as outside? We give them a voice."
We keep on walking on the Cretan island as we share once again Alex King's words - this time focusing on his thoughts regarding #blueborder and his working session along with Angelos Christofilopoulos. ✍️🇬🇷
🎤 "My focus has been Greece for the past few years but I have travelled extensively around Europe to work and report. During that time, I have seen firsthand how Europe’s response to the global recession, refugee crisis and Brexit has exposed the limits of understanding, empathy and meaningful dialogue across the continent — with much of this both explained and reflected by shortcomings in Europe’s media. I believe in the European project but this is under threat without a media capable of performing the vital role of fostering greater connectivity and understanding of the (often global) dynamics that impact all of us."
✍️📸 Journalists Alex King and Angelos Christofilopoulos have both lived in Greece for years. Yet, they struggled to put together the different pieces of reporting collected during their stay on the mythological island, Crete.
In Alex’s own words: "It is a bit of a cliché that things move at their own pace and in their own mysterious ways on the Greek islands. But this story on Crete served to prove many of the old clichés correct." 🧐
You can read a preview of the upcoming reportage story by our #TeamCrete Alex and Angelos dealing with young shepherds retrieving ancient traditions in the era of globalisation on our #blueborder Tumblr blog 👇 ... See MoreSee Less
It is a bit of a cliché that things move at their own pace and in their own mysterious ways on the Greek islands. But this story on Crete served to prove many of the old clichés correct. After...
5th février 2020
🤩 L'heure des grandes nouvelles ! “Mars est synonyme de printemps, les fleurs s'épanouissent et le soleil apparaît plus souvent. De plus, le printemps nous apportera une raison supplémentaire de sourire : Le site web du projet #blueborder va être lancé !”
Ce n'est que le début de l'article que nous partageons ci-dessous, où vous trouverez en fait beaucoup plus d'informations sur nos événements hors ligne, personnes, activités et lieux ! 🙌
Un indice de plus : Marseille ne va pas être la seule ville européenne à accueillir nos événements 😉
March is synonym of spring, flowers blossom and the sun peeps out more often. As well, spring will bring us another reason to smile: #blueborder website is going to be launched! While we’re working on...
29th janvier 2020
Let's still stay on the coasts of Corsica, as we share Marco Panzetti's words: "I think we managed to come home with an interesting project".
Marco and Audrey, both working together as #TeamCorsica 🇫🇷, explored independentism and its relationship with feminism.
He added: "I'm excited about the exhibition in Marseille, and I'm looking forward to seeing the other team's projects". Wait, what? Marseille, exhibition? 🧐
You read it right indeed: we are going to reveal more about it on Friday! But please, in the meantime have a read at Marco's viewpoints 👇 ... See MoreSee Less
Marco Panzetti is a freelance documentary photographer, multimedia journalist and visual artist whose work focuses on contemporary issues related to social and environmental (in)justice, migration and...
27th janvier 2020
What did our #teamcorsica 🇫🇷, Audrey Lebel, journalist, and Marco Panzetti, photographer, work on during their stay in the French island?
Following Kajuju, we now would like to feature her #TeamCyprus 🇨🇾 colleague Anne Ackermann, as our series #MeetTheTeam goes on.
🎤 "An island to me is a very two-sided experience: on one hand it offers the possibility to realise dreams freely, on the other hand, it holds the experience of isolation. In the story that I worked on with Maureen in Northern Cyprus, both of these emotions played a huge role in the lives of the young Africans that we followed".
Anne shared further insights and thoughts: please, follow the link below to find out more! 👇 ... See MoreSee Less
Anne Ackermann is a documentary photographer and photojournalist based in Germany but working worldwide. She focuses on women’s issues across broad topics like migration and its aftermath, skin...
23rd janvier 2020
Customs and traditions have accompanied humankind for centuries, in every corner of the globe. If we zoom in what's going on in Europe, and especially focusing on the mythological Greek island of Crete, we realize that modernization brought along many great things, but also threats.
Our #TeamCrete 🇬🇷, Alex King and Angelos Christofilopoulos, went through misty landscapes, blue coasts and... nomad shepherds. Young generations have been choosing traditional shepherding, that is actually jeopardized, as a form of living and sustainable activity.
👉 As promised some days ago, our #MeetTheTeam series returns! This time, a second phase is going to be presented. We will feature the journalists and photographers behind #blueborder, our heroes-on-the-fields who have worked to make it happen.
We start the series with Kajuju Murori, journalist and writer who teamed up with Anne Ackermann. They are #TeamCyprus 🇨🇾
🎤 For Kajuju, #blueborder is "a wider opportunity to tell the story shared by many young Africans who left their continent to pursue a better life through education on the European Island".
Maureen Kajuju Murori is a passionate Kenyan writer based in North Cyprus- an Island in the sun, surrounded by massive blue waters and a vibrant culture. Kajuju was drawn to storytelling at an...
17th janvier 2020
👇 A glimpse of Nicosia, or Lefkosia as it is called on the Turkish side, from our #TeamCyprus 🇨🇾 Anne Ackermann, photographer, and Maureen Kajuju Murori, journalist and writer.
"Well, just a corner of Nicosia. We spent all our time in Kirenya/Girne at the most Northern point of Cyprus, by the sea side. We just made a trip to Nicosia once. The picture is taken on the Turkish side of the city nearby the place where I had to say goodbye to my friend and co-reporter Maureen who with her Kenyan passport cannot trespass into the Greek Cypriot part of town/island. I told her that when I was back from my “excursion” to the European side, it felt so much more hectic, crowded and busy. The picture mirrors the slow and somehow nostalgic feeling I got back in the Northern part of the city."
After the last weeks of holidays, we're back! All of us behind #blueborder do hope that you had such a peaceful time wherever you were, gaining some energies back and entering well this new decade.
Now, time to sail again! We're going to share more material in the next days and over the course of the next couple of months, before announcing further important events regarding our cross-border project.
For those of you who joined our ship only recently, below you find the first piece that we shared some time ago. You'll read more details about #blueborder. So, ready to jump on board? 🚤🌊🇪🇺 ... See MoreSee Less
The photo below shows Audrey Lebel, journalist, with Marco Panzetti, photographer. They are #teamcorsica 🇫🇷
They have been investigating on pro-independence movements and its facets. We'll share more in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! Moreover, don't forget to check out our Instagram too: www.instagram.com/blueborder_cafebabel/
🎤 "The message that photos and reports will carry with them, both online and offline via exhibitions, workshops and so on, intends to show to different communities that even though they might be far away from each other, they are not alone: struggles might be diverse, but needs and efforts to overcome them are mutual".
🖋 Francesco Barbati recently joined the Cafébabel community and has the pleasure to take care of #blueborder communication.
Our #MeetTheTeam series has reached an end for the moment. Soon a second phase will start, featuring our cross-border teams. Stay tuned! ... See MoreSee Less
🎤 "Marginalization, exclusion and fragmentation are major social trends affecting the development of our generation. Nevertheless, I believe that these issues become a social problem most of all when they don’t lead to any collective action".
Alexander Damiano Ricci, 31, is the web editor of the Italian version of cafebabel.com, the European magazine. He works as well for the Brussels based podcast production agency, Bulle Media, and is a...
10th décembre 2019
🇬🇷 Our team in Crete, Angelos Christofilopoulos and Alex King, have already worked on their story/reportage. Soon we will be sharing more about their experience there!
🎤 "I think those social issues might either work to shrink the potential for dreaming and looking for innovative solution and so leading to personal stagnation or might explode in anger leading to violent actions".
🖋 Stefano Lippiello, Babelian since a long time and Italian journalist, takes thoroughly care of our administration. Have a read on his thoughts about #blueborder below 👇
Johan Giraud is a graphic designer and web developer who has worked all across Europe including Helsinki, Amsterdam, Brussels, Munich and Paris for different work and life experiences. He has...
2nd décembre 2019
🎤 "I’m convinced that looking at the photographs of the #blueborder project and talk about what you see will most certainly have an impact on the audience - that we’ll try to reach out to in very different ways".
🖋 New post, new episode for our #MeetTheTeam: Christiane Lötsch is our Event supervisor. She's also General Secretary of Babel Deutschland e.V. and a Cafébabel member since 2008. ... See MoreSee Less
Christiane Lötsch likes to work with a mission. Throughout her professional path at Academy of Arts, Kulturstiftung des Bundes, A Soul for Europe she worked as a project manager on the section...
28th novembre 2019
🎤 "#blueborder is the 5th cross-border project in 5 years that I am coordinating after Balkans&Beyond, Beyond91, Borderline, Sisters of Europe and I am very proud of what we all achieved. (...) Cross-border stories/projects are injecting diversity (of subjectivity, of perspectives, of angles…), so they are exactly what journalism needs to answer its current crisis of trust."
🖋 It's now turn to present our editor-in-chief Prune Antoine. Have a read at what she thinks about #blueborder and what her hopes and expectations are.
A vast, blue amount of water surrounds them. The Mediterranean Sea embraces 5 islands that are located at geographical margins of the European continent: Crete, Corsica, Cyprus, Malta and Sicily. How does it feel to live there? How far the rest of Europe is? How do islanders deal with their own identities, and what are their perspectives? How real is the perception of being delimited by a blue… border?
A new, exciting and unique photo-journalistic project is about to start. Conceived by Cafébabel Berlin and supported by Babel International, Allianz Kulturstiftung and the French-German Youth Office, #blueborder is another cross-border editorial project following the success of previous ones, such as Balkans & Beyond, Beyond ‘91 and Borderline.
5 teams of cross-border journalists and photographers will explore societal and generational issues on these 5 islands. As a result, their reportages and multimedia stories will unveil challenges, dreams, feelings and struggles of young people living in a border context.
#blueborder’s goal, however, goes beyond that. Alongside the reportages, an exhibition will be launched over the course of the first half of upcoming 2020. The intention is to build solidarity and empathy between different peripheral European realities. The exhibition will touch cities like Chemnitz, Marseille, Brussels and Palermo.
In the next days and weeks we will keep you updated on how #blueborder unfolds. In fact, very soon we will introduce the Cafébabel team behind the project, as well as the cross-border heroes who will make this editorial adventure possible.