20 years since Rwanda: What did we learn?

ImageWell, nothing really. People are still killing each other, and it seems that is going to stay like that for a while. Or perhaps we did learn something: how to pass the impression that the governments and ourselves are doing something to change the problems of the world. Well my friends, the ugly truth is: we do almost nothing and the majority of people just don’t care.

For the ones that don’t know, the Rwandan genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority. 20% (!) of the Rwanda’s population – yes you read it well – was killed like that. A series of crimes against humanity were perpetuated, including war rape. Until today, it still amazes me (negatively) how such a massacre could have gone without someone doing something about it. How can you/our governments watch people being killed with machetes (or whatever weapons they could find) and still be immune to it? 

And still, after 20 years, we still see people being killed in cold blood, and I am not talking about Rwanda. I am talking about Syria, Palestine, Sudan and all the countries that suffer some kind of armed conflict. And we are still doing very little. 

 

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

“We can not all succeed when half of us are held back” – Malala Yousafzai

I was wandering around international news when I spotted this article about girls and education.

Malala Yousafzai gave an amazing speech at UN about universal education. She asked the UN “to fund new teachers, schools, books and recommit to getting every girl and boy in school by December 2015″. She focused her attention mostly on the gender gap related to the access to education. You can learn more about Malala and help her in her quest for universal education in here.

Despite being one of the Millennium Developmental Goals, universal primary education is far from being a reality, especially when it comes to girls (lack of gender equality – another thing the MDGs address…). At the same time that we have kids throwing a tantrum because they don’t want to go to school, we have kids that walk kilometers just to go to class. A lot of children don’t have access to school at all, especially if they are girls.

According to the UN, 123 million youth (aged 15 to 24) didn’t get primary education. 61% of them are women. This happens because women are not viewed as equals, have to stay at home, have to get married at an early age or simply don’t have means to go to school. We all know that the increase on the education level leads to a more developed country. It doesn’t seem to convince the people that are holding girls back. When it is not a matter of people, it is a matter of money. There is still a lot of financial aid to be raised so we can tackle all the obstacles that are stopping girls from going to school.

So how can we help? You can start by consulting the list of organizations that address the issue of girls’ education here.

So, help. A least by speaking of the issue. And please don’t forget that education is a right that belongs to everyone, regardless of gender.

8 Comments

Filed under Others

People are not numbers

I’m going to start this post saying that one refugee is already too many. No one should be obliged to run from his country.
Yesterday, 20th of June, it was “celebrated” the world refugee day. According to UN newest report, there are 7.6 million refugees due to conflict or persecution, at a rhythm of 23000 people per day (!). These numbers are shocking. Pakistan, Iran and Germany are the major host countries to refugees and Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan were the countries that created the largest quantity of refugees.
The number keeps rising. In a world that should be all about acceptance and peace, we have this major problem. So, why should you care? Imagine yourself being displaced from your house, your belongings, your friends, being forced into a country that (most of the time) doesn’t speak your language, or even a home-country town away from yours, were you have no job, no family, nothing. You wouldn’t know if you could ever return to your home country/town and to the comfort of your previous life. How would you feel? Helpless and lost, right? This is how a refugee feels.
At this moment you are asking: “But if they are going to a better life, how should I care?”. A lot of them don’t get a better life, they just get away from the immediate threat.
How can we help them? First of all, care about them. They aren’t just numbers. There are a lot things you can do – like this.

If you want to find more information about refugees, consult UN’s report about the matter.

Give me your opinions below :)

29 Comments

Filed under Others

Elections in Iran – A time for change?

First of all, shame on me.

I’ve been completely busy with thesis (almost done!) and work and the blog was “abandoned” without any pity. After receiving a lot of emails, I’m back (part-time for a while, I think).
So, today I’m writing about Iran. As some of you may know, last Saturday Hassan Rouhani won the country elections with a little bit more than 50% of the votes. It was a big surprise for everyone: Rouhani favours political openness, as well as re-establishing relations with the west, which may shock with the politics developed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

So, is this election a way to open Iran’s politics? Well, maybe. Rouhani is definitely a good diplomat and he may be able to developed more consistent relations with the west, especially the US. On the other hand, we still have the Ayatollah as the most important and influent man in Iran and he doesn’t like western countries that much.

What do you think will happen?

17 Comments

Filed under Middle-East

Water is the driving force of all nature – Leonardo Da Vinci

So…Water issues. Quite a big deal. I’m writing my master’s degree thesis and it regards water issues and the Israeli-Arab conflict. My argument is that when together with other factors, water issues, although not directly, lead to conflict. I’m using the Theory of Relative Deprivation as a theoretical base, by Homer Dixon.

Anyway, water issues. According to the Millennium Development Goals report 2012, 11% of the world’s population remains without access to a reliable water source. Imagine being yourself incapable of drinking a glass of water when thirsty or don’t having water for a bath. Well, these 11% go through that everyday.

In a world of shared resources, we need to have access to (at least) 1700m3 of water per capita per year in order to have enough water for our needs. When we don’t, things start to get complicated and people choose one of two paths: conflict or cooperation. If we’re sharing water (re)sources with an ally or neutral country it’s easier to cooperate and try to fix the problem. But when we’re sharing with a country that isn’t exactly in our circle of friends things can get nasty, not only at a state level but also among the population.

The truth is water is getting scarce. Not only because of environmental changes but also because we haven’t yet learned to consume water in a responsible way, even though it is one of the most essential resources.

Water is important. You can’t live without it. In the next few years we’ll have a decline of the quantity of available water. Does that mean we’ll have conflicts only based on water? Share your thoughts below!

61 Comments

Filed under Environmental

Have yourself a merry little Christmas…

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” T.E. Lawrence

I wish to all my followers and viewers an amazing Christmas and an extraordinary  new year full of dreams!

29 Comments

December 23, 2012 · 10:08 pm

The “why”, not the “what”.

I was thinking about writing something related with Christmas, since it is only one week away. Several ideas crossed my mind, but they seemed so over-explored that I didn’t want to be another person that writes about it. I also though about addressing the “Mayan apocalypse” and, again, it was so over-posted that I refused the idea. Then, I though about why I wanted to write about these two subjects and I realized: because of the quantity of information there was written about them. So I figured, why not join both? I want to address the “why” not the “what”.

Since many of my friends are leaving for their hometowns this week, I tried to meet them before they go. As a joke, I kept saying to my friends “Merry Christmas or happy end of the world, depending on the case”. Of course, they all knew what I was talking about: the 21st of December. Then, it crossed my mind: they all knew because of the media.

I ended up thinking about the influence of media on our life. The media plays a major part on the formation of our opinion, and it’s up to us to choose what is true/right or false/wrong. In the past few weeks, we either heard about the “end of the world” or Christmas. The sites about the two subjects are numerous, the TV programs are filled with stories about them and other sources of media are also referring them.

So, is it good or bad to have access to these huge amounts of information? Well, both. It depends of what you do with it. Being a non-believer of the end of the world on 21st December, pretty much everything that defends the “prophesy” passes me by without doing any harm. Sure, I talk about it, but it will be a day like any other. But, for some people, the amount of information can be overwhelming and can bring consequences. For example, it is believed that more or less 3 million of people (“preppers”) are preparing for the end of the world. And, of course, there is a TV show about it.

Well, and about Christmas… Every year is the same thing. The commercials start in November and the Christmas shopping follows. I’m a major fan of Christmas, but I consider that consumerism is over the top. In the past few years, the Christmas commercials stopped being only for kids and slowly started to introduce several products for adults. Again, even if not on purpose, people tend to more quickly buy a product if they already saw it on the advertisements.

So, Media. Yes, they do influence us. It is up to us to choose not to go down that path.

To finish, I would like to invite you to visit two very interesting blogs: http://ricardolopes.net/blog/ and https://ujhelpshimself.wordpress.com/

51 Comments

Filed under Others