Monday. 27/6/2022

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Opinion / Carolina Abbott Galvão

Catching the wave

Latin America has historically had some of the world’s strictest abortion laws but there have been a series of progressive shifts over the past two years. Argentina and Mexico have legalised the procedure and more recently Colombia, traditionally a conservative country, decided to permit it in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, giving it one of the most liberal reproductive health laws in the region.

The “green wave” movement – named after the scarves worn by Latin American abortion campaigners – is spreading. For Brazilian feminists like me, however, there’s still a long road ahead. For the past five years I’ve lived in the UK, where the procedure has been legal since 1968; my friends here are often shocked to hear that Brazilians who seek abortions face up to three years in prison. Exceptions are made when there is a threat to the mother’s life, if the pregnancy is the result of rape or if the foetus has anencephaly – but even in those circumstances people often struggle to prove their case. Last week news that a judge had denied an abortion to an 11-year-old rape victim spurred lengthy debates between activists and pro-lifers. Meanwhile, in the US, the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs Wade on Friday ended 50 years of federal abortion rights. Almost half of the country’s 50 states are expected to outlaw or severely restrict the procedure as a result of the decision.

But even as the US retreats into regressive thinking and swaths of Brazilian society continue to back president Jair Bolsonaro’s brand of social conservatism, others are displaying increasingly progressive attitudes. A recent poll in Brazil found that those who believe that abortion should be illegal in every case had dropped from 41 per cent to 32 per cent since 2018. This might not seem particularly significant on the surface but, if the past three years of Latin American politics have taught us anything, it’s that circumstances can quickly change. Overturning draconian abortion laws in Brazil – and now in the US too – is an arduous task but the shifting tide in countries such as Mexico and Colombia allows me to feel quietly hopeful.

Carolina Abbott Galvão is a researcher for Monocle in London.

Image: Shutterstock

Diplomacy / Germany

Too little too late?

The last time the G7 summit was held in Germany – in 2015 at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria (pictured) – Russia and Ukraine weren’t major discussion topics. “We talked about other conflict points much longer and much more intensively,” then-chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters. Considering what we know now, that looks to have been a mistake: Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and invasion of eastern Ukraine looms as a foreshadowing of this year’s devastating war. G7 leaders are back at Schloss Elmau today and circumstances have changed drastically. New German chancellor and summit host Olaf Scholz warned ahead of the conflab that leaders must prove to Vladimir Putin his “colossal misjudgement” of Ukrainian and Western resolve. Scholz promised more heavy weapons from Germany. It’s a decisive stand that will no doubt be repeated at the Nato summit in Madrid later this week – but one that could have been taken far more easily in Bavaria seven years ago.

Fashion / France

Homme fires burning

A real sense of optimism has been running through the spring/summer fashion season and reaching a crescendo at the Paris Men’s Fashion Week, where designers are putting on shows to remember. A younger crop are adding a new dynamism to a city mostly known for its storied luxury houses. ANDAM prizewinner Bianca Saunders was among the entrants who impressed with her collection of relaxed tailoring.

A celebration of Paris as a city is also in the air: Antwerp-based Dries Van Noten made his catwalk comeback at the top of a Montmartre carpark, offering panoramic views of Paris’s Haussmannian buildings, while Ami’s Alexandre Matiussi treated his audience, including Catherine Deneuve, to a spectacular show (pictured) at the foot of the Sacre Coeur cathedral. “Montmartre is a concentration of the spirit of the city’s candour and intertwined bourgeois and bohemian identities,” Matiussi tells The Monocle Minute. “It perfectly echoes the values of Ami: love, friendship and inclusion.”

Check out Monocle’s own Paris summer style celebration in the July/August issue of the magazine, which is on newsstands now, or subscribe today.

Image: Getty Images

Society / Canada

Anger management

Canada Day on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill is usually a jubilant affair that’s packed with cheerful, red-and-white-clad partygoers but this year the capital is once again preparing for protests. Beginning on 1 July, several groups are expected to amass in the latest in a series of demonstrations that have targeted the city’s downtown core since the first “Freedom Convoy” arrived in February. Where the original protests were focused on vaccine mandates, the objective this time is more ambiguous – after all, most coronavirus restrictions were lifted last week.

Much of the anger is instead directed at government overreach, after new police powers were used to break up previous crowds. Prime minister Justin Trudeau defended his handling of the demonstrations in a recent interview with CBC. “Any time you’re going to take a strong position, especially one that is contested in society, there are going to be people who feel that you are against them,” he said. So sit back with a bowl of poutine and watch it all unfold. You can’t win everybody over.

Image: Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

Culture / China

Back in business

Gallery Weekend Beijing, one of China’s major contemporary art events, began with a VIP preview at the weekend and public viewing opens tomorrow. It’s the show’s biggest iteration yet and one of Beijing’s first major public events since loosening coronavirus restrictions. This year’s theme is “sharing” and about 40 exhibitions, studio visits and private-collection tours will be taking place in galleries and non-profit spaces across the capital. Exhibitions include a retrospective of paintings by Chinese artist Luo Zhongli.

There will be international exhibitors too, such as New York-based Gladstone Gallery, which will show new works by Thai artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and German pop art icon Thomas Bayrle. “As the first large-scale offline contemporary art event successfully held in mainland China, Gallery Weekend Beijing shoulders an important responsibility,” Amber Yifei Wang, director of the event, tells The Monocle Minute. “I hope our successful staging can be a turning point for the industry this year.”

Image: Jan Søndergaard

Monocle 24 / Monocle On Design

Danish Embassy in London

Marie-Louise Høstbo, creative director of Fritz Hansen, reflects on the Danish Embassy and the design pieces featured there.

Monocle Films / Global

Welcome to the Auberge Monocle

Monocle has so far resisted the temptation to open a hotel – but that doesn’t mean that we don’t spend time thinking about who we’d hire to oversee a renovation, run the bar or design the uniforms. With this in mind, here are the six house rules we’d strictly enforce to keep things civil and serene around the pool, in the lobby and on the balcony.

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