Author: Augusta Spiro Jaeger

ملاذا عائم

Timeline of the Mediterranean

50 millions years ago: continental drift creates over 10’000km of coastline around a relatively calm sea.

2’000 – 250 BC: Egyptians trade by sea with the Minoans in Crete. Phoenicians found merchant colonies throughout the Mediterranean, are followed by the Greeks, their rivalry is well established by the 5th Century BC.

1st Century BC – 6th Century AD: By 30 BC, the Mediterranean becomes one political unit – Rome. By the 5th Century AD, Germanic tribes, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, and Vandals control various coasts.

7th – 16th Century: With the rise of Islam, Mediterranean is divided between Christianity and Islam, Spain vs. Anatolia. Frequent fights over Cyprus, Crete, and Sicily. In 12th Century, Barcelona, Genoa, Venice, and Constantinople build extensive trading empires, despite threat from Muslim pirates. In 1453 the Turks capture Constantinople. 1516 – 1574 entire eastern Mediterranean is controlled by the Ottoman Empire.

16th Century: Mediterranean loses some of its importance to the Atlantic coast of Europe, because of the safety of long distance sailing and trade routes going to America. There is a balance of power between Spain and the Ottoman empire until the 18th Century.

20th Century: the Mediterranean is one of the main battle areas in WWII between Axis and Allies. The Cold War splits the sea into pro america and pro soviet factions. Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy and France are part of NATO, while Syria is pro soviet, Egypt is at first pro soviet and then bought out to be pro America.

Now: Joseph Muscat, the prime minister of Malta, says the refugee crisis has turned the Mediterranean sea into a “cemetery”, as more and more refugees drown (2013)


Socioeconomic structure

Domestic political pressure in Europe is leading to the EU putting more pressure on stopping migrants from coming into Europe. They want to push the problem back to land, and are empowering Libya by giving them the necessary funds to strengthen their coast guard. Libyan coast guards patrol the sea, far beyond their own borders into international waters, and take migrants back to Libya. They use unprofessional and dangerous intimidation tactics. Despite the money they receive from the EU, their organizational structure isn’t very well developed, making the situation more dangerous. The refugees that are taken back to Libya are treated as criminals in a famously broken justice system, many prisoners have reported horrendous conditions, torture, and rape. Although there is a bit of a drop in migrants crossing the sea, it is not because of this pressure, but because of a deal between the EU and one of the major militias in Libya to stop trafficking. They are paying the militia not to smuggle anymore, while at the same time accusing rescue missions of collaborating with smugglers. More refugees are being locked up in detention centers in Libya, because there aren’t any less refugees trying to reach Europe. With less NGOs able to effectively work in the area, more people will drown, because the root cause is not addressed, and so there are still as many people finding different ways to reach the mediterranean. NGOs operate in international waters off the coast of Libya, which according to Maritime Laws is legal, but Libya has “asserted its right to operate well beyond the territorial limit of 12 nautical miles, defending the move as necessary in order to control the rescue operations” (1). NGO boats are still allowed to continue their rescue operations, however, it has become increasingly unsafe to do so, and so many of them have stopped. Some NGOs have been accused of collaborating with smugglers as an attempt to stop their operations too. Italian authorities drew up a code of conduct for NGOs, 5 out of 8 did not agree to this code. MSF objected to the requirement that they must themselves take the migrants to a safe port instead of transferring people, as it would hurt their effectiveness, as they cannot rescue more people in the area while other refugees are being brought to safety. They have, along with other organizations, questioned the necessity of having to allow police officers on board, as this damages their goal of neutrality. Save the Children agreed to the code of conduct, saying they already operated in this way, and yet they too had to stop their mission due to Libya’s increased presence. Italy had threatened to shut its ports to NGOs that did not agree to the codes, but the most they can do is institute more checks and investigations on their vessels. Right now, there is only one large NGO boat and a few smaller ones rescuing refugees in the Mediterranean.


A Christian Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in the Mediterranean, April 13 2015

Flexible Families Community

House Plan, Image by Augusta Spiro Jaeger

Surrounding Area, Image by Augusta Spiro Jaeger


Flexible Families Community


How have you overcome issues within your family as one?

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Who do you want to move in with in your apartment and why? Please also mention the nature of your relationship to each other. 

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Who do you want to share a garden with and why? Please mention at least 3 individuals or groups, and the nature of your relationship. 

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Circle one:

1 – strongly dislike 2 – dislike 3 – don’t mind 4 – enjoy 5 – strongly enjoy

Moving houses: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 ___________

Sharing a garden: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 __________

Living with older generations: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 __

Frequent change of neighbors: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 _

Living with blood relatives: _____ 1 _____ 2 _____ 3 _____ 4 _____ 5 ____


Signatures of all prospective members:

____________, ______________, _____________, ____________, ____________,

______________, _____________, ____________, ____________, ________________.


My ideal family is one in which everyone knows they can rely on each other, no matter what. This family doesn’t emphasize agreement or having similarities, instead it values trust and some level of care that is completely unconditional. The idea behind this family is that you don’t get to fully choose who is a part of it, but must learn to trust and care for them regardless, and that you also know that there is a group of people to fall back on, whether or not you share the same values or opinions. It teaches ultimate reliability. At the same time, there is always room for growth in this family, and one individual can be a part of more than one family. This leaves room for choice of who you want to have in your closest circle, who you not only trust, but also see eye to eye with. Ideally, this creates a family which both teaches its members to be there for each other even when there is no agreement, and is at the same time still a safe haven, where you can find people that you love and can relate to; a family you can come back to no matter what.

The architecture of my family community creates a large web of families, all of which are intertwined or related somehow. Although the core of each family is defined by blood relations, or adoption, as each apartment is connected to two communal gardens, there is also room to become a family with people of your choice. Each cluster of 4 apartments that share a garden are a family, which means that each house is part of two families. The community is flexible because as families grow and change, the configurations of individuals within the apartments will change, and as all apartments and all families are interconnected, this will require regular moving throughout the entire community. As the entire community can feel the change of even just one household/apartment, this creates a feeling of connectedness throughout the entire utopia. All the apartments have the same layout, however they vary in size, so that different family sizes are accommodated. The inhabitants can choose who they want to live in their apartment with, for example their young children, and who they want to share a garden with, such as their elderly parents or adult siblings. However, there is no emphasis on mutual control, unlike in many utopias, as interconnectedness should not have to stand in opposition to privacy and having your own space.