3 Things I learned from working with Human Rights

In 2010 I left my comfortable life in Sweden for a job opportunity in Belgium that I could not resist. I wanted to move out of my comfort zone and live abroad. I started working for the largest European network of civil society organizations, advocating for human rights. Before moving on, I would like to share three valuable things I have learned.

Once upon a time we went to the video rental shop…

The digital development has changed the way we watch movies. We are far away from the time when we used to go into an actual physical shop to rent VCR-movies. While the online world has made consumer’s life much easier, video-on-demand, private copying and piracy has made the screenwriters and directors reality much more complex.

Homonationalism against Muslims and Migrants in Europe

Recent years terrorist attacks has led to a political ‘fight against terrorism’, which is fuelling a European populist and nationalist image of a secular and progressive western culture that is being threatened by Islam and migration. LGBT-people and women are being used as part of neoliberal rhetoric to argue that these groups have to be defended by modern nationalism, writes Sörberg.

Why you should care about the Muslim headscarf ban

Why should you care about the Muslim head scarf ban? One could argue that I shouldn’t bother as at it does not concern me. Some would say Muslims would not agree with my Jewish background, sexual orientation, or my lack of religious faith. I care because when we speak up against discrimination and exclusion of others, we speak up for ourselves too.

Moving the Middle

Instead of focusing on the few but loud voices on the extreme side, we should move our focus to the middle when designing a campaigns. Although we would like to win the most radical over on our side, we should ask if it in fact isn’t a bigger audience we would like to reach, those that can be ‘moved’ by our messages.

Tipping Point: How to Go Viral

‘The Tipping Point’ by Gladwell is about going viral, in real life. The simple recipe is valid even online, you need a few people, a sticky message and the right context and circumstances. The epidemics ends when we become immune, as with emails: the more we get the more selective we become and the shorter we reply.

Taking Fear Seriously

In the aftermaths of the terrorist attack in Paris and the security threats in Brussels, reading Kahneman has struck me as timely insightful to further comprehend the way fear works; due to the attacks and threats as well as the disturbing spill-over effects it has had on immigration and racism.

Expat and Migrant: Same but Different? 

Perhaps Brussels have made me more European and less Swedish, or maybe it is the idea of reinvention that attracts me. Both ways, as an EU-citizen expat I am privileged and don’t face the challenges my migrant parents did as third country nationals. A difference worth putting in question.

Too Slow for Fast Populism?

Reading Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ (2011) has helped me to better understand how come human rights lobbyists in the European Union (like me) – despite our solid arguments – often lose against populists and eurosceptics that seemingly effortlessly glamour voters with their simplistic rhetorics and appealing emotions.