Venice is a beautiful and unusual creature to behold. At its core, it is nothing but a series of islands in the middle of a swamp. Yet each of these islands has its own special kind of magic, and together, in the middle of the swamp, they are La Serenissima.
Our story began serendipitously on one of these very islands. The Lido di Venezia is a long, narrow sandbar, forming a natural barrier between the Adriatic Sea and the Venetian lagoon. On this skinny island, there is a monastery. That monastery became our unexpected sanctuary for six months in 2016. It was in this monastery that we witnessed the Colombian peace process, the election of Trump, the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo. It was in those echoing hallways that we ate and wrote and talked and talked and talked.
We are eleven privileged and fortunate human beings. We studied human rights in arguably one of the most beautiful places on earth. We had the opportunity and the means to do so.
It is this privilege and fortune that brought us here, to this moment, this blog. Not only this, but also the endless debates we had over pizza and spritz. The points that we discussed for days on end whilst sipping coffee in the courtyard. The messages we exchanged and the essays we proof-read for each other in the middle of the night. The unfinished conversations that we are forever longing to continue.
If there is one thing that we have learned in the past year – and which we are learning more every day – it is that there is strength in solidarity. Human rights are increasingly under attack in every corner of our world, and we watch these attacks unfold in horror and disbelief. They range from incendiary tweets to systematic practices of ethnic cleansing.
Yet in the face of such darkness, we have also witnessed light, and the resistance to these abuses has been fervent, fast and furious.
We are out in the world now, and we hope that this blog can contribute to the resistance.
We hope that by joining us on the Nasty Blog you are with us; or that you soon will be.
Being Nasty means speaking up for what you believe is right, and speaking out against what you believe is wrong. We believe steadfastly in the defence of human rights: all human rights, of all human beings. We believe in the indispensability of intersectionality. We believe that climate change is real and that no human being is illegal.
If the world sometimes feels like a swamp, our time together in Venice made us believe that maybe we could be the islands. We are here to write, to debate, to share.
We value humanity and dignity. We value the freedoms of speech and expression. We hope that you do too, and we hope that you find something of value here.
Welcome to the blog.