Scientific Conference – Keynote Address, Interview with Dr. Antonia Rados

23. July 2018

Thursday, 11 Oktober 2018 from 11:30 – 13:00 hrs in Convention Hall I A
Turmoil in the Middle East – Consequences for Europe

 

Dr. Rados, what fascinates you about your work?
War correspondents are necessary, although they should be personally uninvolved eye-witnesses. Anybody who might be “fascinated” by war, is certainly not the right person.

You have seen many wars and its terrors at first hand. Are you an opponent of war?
Nowadays fortunately everybody is a war – opponent. Although some militaries and politicians, who oppose it, still make wars. But everybody who observes wars at close distance, will find out: One thing is to be against war. Another is to watch it: It is far more brutal what a distant war – opponent can ever imagine.

Most of your colleagues are male. Do women and men report on war
differently?
In war, men behave often like engineers, women like nurses. Men watch the weapons – whereas women see the victims.

On the occasion of this year‘s SEPAWA Congress in Berlin, you give a lecture on the topic of „Upheaval in the Middle East and its impact on Europe“.
Why is the Middle East so important for us Europeans?
First of all, the Middle East is our neighboring region. Geography alone generates a certain closeness in many aspects: Refugee-flows, import of religious ideas, apart from the resources like oil. Middle East crisis are always at Europe ́s door. But Middle East is before all, the historic corridor. It connected in ancient times Europe and Asia. This has not changed – the 21st century will, in my view, bring a return of the importance of Asian-European relations – with a new role for the Middle East.

World politics are currently characterized by dissent as perhaps never before. Where do you see the cause for their inability to compromise?
The rise of “strong” men – in Europe, in the USA and elsewhere is a new phenomenon. Authoritarian figures are celebrating their comeback everywhere. They are far more interested in their own „ego“ than in compromises. They confuse compromises with weakness. This is dangerous for the world. But with or without powerful men, the current state of the world is unpredictable. I fear, it will take many years before we have a New World Order – how it will look is the big question.

The refugee crisis is significantly linked to trouble spots like the Middle East.
Do you see any chance for a world without or at least with fewer crises?
At the moment, nobody is solving problems. What is even more worrying, not only do crisis remain, they expand. Long unresolved crises lead to flows of refugees because in the end, the population only has one freedom left, and that is the freedom to leave their country. So that’s what they do.
A typical example is the Syrian war, which since 2011 nobody tried to sort out. If it would have been done, we wouldn ́t have seen such a flood of refugees heading for Europe in 2015.

We differentiate between war refugees and economic migrants. Can corruption, mismanagement, undersupply etc. not also be seen as a kind of
war – a war against one’s own civilian population?
It isn’t a war. It’s bad, it ́s not the same. But a young Syrian, or Nigerian, doesn’t understand why his search for a better life is a crime. It is also not only a job they are looking for. It is about living in a different society. Jobs can be created sometimes over night. A new society takes time. The local power – brokers and politicians care since a long time only for their own interests. The West is also not really pushing for change. Not in Africa. Not in Middle East.

Which role does religion play in crises of this world?
The Soviet dictator Josef Stalin once made a cynical remark about the Pope: „How many divisions does the Pope have?“ As a war correspondent, I predominantly count the number of „divisions“: If you don’t have the money or the tanks, you cannot wage a war, be it religious or not….. Even the feared Islamic state, IS, owned little military equipment, despite its Islamic radicalism. That’s why it lost against the Western Alliance. Religion plays the role the politicians attribute to it.
On the other hand, the general search for identity in the 21st century is evident.
Religion is one of the possibilities of joining a group, getting an identity, especially if there is little else.

 

Dr. Antonia Rados
studied political science. She has worked for nearly 40 years as a crisis and war correspondent for different TV stations in the Middle East.

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