Sarah Wildman

Sarah Wildman is a Prospect senior correspondent and a frequent contributor to the New York Times. She was a Spring 2006 Milena Jesenska Journalism Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, in Vienna, Austria, the first North American to receive this grant, and has been based in Europe since October 2005. Previously, Wildman was a contributing writer for the Advocate magazine and a Pew Fellow in International Journalism at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies. Before accepting the Pew fellowship, Wildman was on staff at The New Republic. Her work has also appeared in Elle, The Christian Science Monitor, Travel & Leisure, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, Rolling Stone, Salon, The Jerusalem Report, and O (the Oprah magazine).

Recent Articles

A Teenager's Asylum Plea Ignites an EU Immigration Debate

A Kosovar teenager's recent YouTube plea to let her stay in Austria is making Europeans rethink some of their immigration policies.

Arigona Zogaj, left, whose father and four siblings were deported from Austria to Kosovo, faces the media during a news conference in October. (AP Photo/rubra, Thomas Leitner)
In October a Kosovar teenager named Arigona Zogaj upended classic Austrian disdain for immigrants. It was a "fairy tale," Gunther Mueller, a reporter for the Austrian weekly newsmagazine Profil told me in Vienna's famous Café Prueckel last week, describing the country's obsession with the girl who ran away from deportation authorities and appealed to the country via YouTube for help to remain in the only home she could actually remember. Arigona, 15, was born in Kosovo to Albanian Muslim parents. Their home was bombed in 1999; Arigona's father, with the aid of smugglers, fled through Montenegro and Italy, ending up in Austria. Mr. Zogaj applied for political asylum and then sent for his family -- Arigona, her mother, two older brothers, and two baby siblings. The Zogajs settled into Frankenberg, a bucolic, typically Austrian, rural town in Upper Austria. They integrated well, Mueller, the Profil journalist, explained to me. They didn't "look" Muslim, they dressed like Westerners. The...

Why Royal Flopped

Her loss to Sarkozy marked merely the latest in a string of missed opportunities for the Socialists in France.

Nicolas Sarkozy's victory over Socialist candidate Segolene Royal in the French presidential elections wasn't a surprise. For a week, nationwide polls showed the UMP's (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire) Sarkozy well ahead of Royal. But the decisive victory of "Sarko" (as Sarkozy's called in France) means that the Socialists of France have now lost three consecutive elections; their latest beating helps underscore just how little power they have had in France since the end of the Second World War. "What is the difference between a rout and an honorable rout?" wondered the headline today in El Pais , the Socialist newspaper in Spain. The worst such "rout" for the party, of course, came in 2002, when in the first round of voting the Socialists were relegated to 3rd place, behind the extreme right-wing National Front, led by Jean Marie Le Pen. Segolene Royal was supposed to be the fix to the embarrassment of 2002; she was billed as the bright, fresh new light in the French political...

Chaos Reigns

In the two months since Basque separatist movement ETA ( Euskadi Ta Asktasuna , or "Basque Homeland and Freedom") ended the "permanent" ceasefire agreement with the government in Madrid by blowing up the Madrid Barajas Airport parking garage at terminal 4, one story has dominated the headlines here in Spain: the tale of a hunger striking ETA terrorist, incarcerated a quarter century ago for murder and then again, almost twenty years later, for terror incitement. On February 5, the Times of London slipped a camera into his hospital room and captured a disturbing photo of the emaciated, wasted man. In Spain the reaction was explosive -- a public relations disaster for the Spanish government, a rallying cry for young Basque nationalists (within hours the image was a poster plastered across San Sebastian), and a full-fledged media scandal. From the signs, you would think the saga of Iñaki de Juana Chaos had all the makings of a Basque Bobby Sands story -- indeed, the political...

Act of Desperation

Anticipating a New Year's travel crush, Valerie Miles arrived at Madrid Barajas Airport early on December 30. As her taxi pulled into Terminal 4 -- the award winning architectural marvel that travelers here love to hate -- it was stopped by police officers. Moments later, the parking garage blew up. Two men were killed and 26 others were injured as 40,000 tons of rubble collapsed and chaos sparked across the massive terminal campus. "At first everyone speculated that it was Al Qaeda because of Saddam's execution," Valerie e-mailed me, describing the panicked drivers and passengers held in limbo in those first hours after the attack. "Nobody knew anything, why they had stopped us... We were one of the first cars to be stopped. Then the smoke was started so heavy and black it was clear that something had happened. But we couldn't believe ETA would actually do something that big because of the peace process." Within a few hours it was clear: the radical Basque separatist group ETA (...

Strain in Spain

All summer long, Spanish television broadcasts were dominated by images of undocumented African immigrants arriving on the Canary Islands. Cameras panned over hundreds of would-be Europeans, emaciated, dehydrated, bewildered -- and dolorous at the knowledge that they were now in immigration purgatory. Spanish authorities led them to and fro, most wearing gloves and masks, which added to the surrealism of the scene. "Subsaharans," the papers anxiously called the immigrants, were trying to penetrate the more open Spanish borders in this tourist enclave. The government was in a panic. In August, boat after rickety boat arrived in a seemingly unceasing flow. Indeed, more immigration attempts were made in August than in the preceding seven months combined. Over 20,000 migrants have made the journey into Spain since January. In response, the Spanish deputy prime minister Maria Fernandez de la Vega and her counterparts schlepped from Brussels to Finland in an effort to make sure the European...

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