Aren’t we all human?

A distressed vessel discovered by the US Navy (USN) Oliver Hazard Perry Class Guided Missile Frigate USS RENTZ (FFG 46) 300 miles from shore with 90 people on board, including women and children.  The RENTZ provided assistance and took the Ecuadorian citizens to Guatemala, from where they would be repatriated. (SUBSTANDARD)

I thought about the best way to start this post, to be honest, as the subject seems to have sparkled controversy everywhere.

These past weeks have been filled with news about refugees entering Europe. They come mostly from Syria (although there are nationals from other countries as well), fleeing the war.

I must say that my Facebook feed looked like a political discussion show past few weeks. The opinions of Europeans were mixed, some want to help, some think that refugees will “steal” our jobs and are an excuse to let terrorists enter Europe. Same thing on comments on news articles online (I need to stop reading those…). I was a bit shocked with the lack of humanity of some comments.

Now, I’m very pragmatic in these type of things. If we could be letting in terrorists disguised as refugees? Yes, perhaps we are. But what about the people that actually need help? Are we going to close the door and say “sorry, busy”?. We need to put ourselves in their shoes. Can you imagine how desperate you have to be to risk your life and your kids’ life to come all the way here? Very desperate. These people are not coming to Europe for a better life. They come because they’ve lost everything.

We can help. And it is important that we help.

Some say that Europe won’t be able to cope for long. Maybe. Can we stop the Syrian war and other existing conflicts, so refugees can go back? That answer would have enough written material for a lot of blog posts, but let me know what you think.

Please, don’t forget that we are all human. No one is better than you, and you are not better than anyone. Compassion makes us human.


Filed under Europe, International Relations, Others, Refugees

Do you feel safe?

10582094105_4d7d1c3d57_oTerrorism. If you check on Wikipedia, it is defined as (…) violent acts (or the threat of violent acts) intended to create fear (terror), perpetrated for an economic, religious, political, or ideological goal, and which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants.

For those of you that don’t know, I currently live in the UK. 10 years ago, a series of bombings happened in London, killing 52 people. These were terrorist attacks. Another one had occurred the previous year in Spain. We all know about the 9/11 attacks. Several others happened in the last years, a recent one in Tunisia.

The feeling I had on the anniversary of the bombings here in the UK was of profound sadness. How can anyone, despite their ideology or religion, can do something like that? Take out so many innocent lives? The fact is, they can. And it is happening all over the world.

Today, I was reading about the terrorism threat levels in the UK. I must say that I was a bit shocked to find out that the level is “severe” at the moment, meaning an attack is highly likely. Something like this makes you feel uncomfortable. Now, I am usually a very relaxed person on these types of matters, but I’ve been finding myself more worried than usual once in a while. If first we had Al-Qaeda and others, now we have the Islamic State. And even if the latter disappears there is always going to be some other organisation that will come and enforce fear. And the most disturbing thought is that an attack can happen anytime, anywhere.

So, my main question here is what should be done? As far as we know the war on terror is still ongoing, is that enough/good? Or should we address the issue in a different way?


Filed under America, Asia, Europe, International Relations, Others

Cante Alentejano – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

1959684_748760901825878_902386179099073528_nThis post is a bit different from my usual ones.

Most of you know, from my “about” page, that I’m from Portugal. What you don’t know is that I’m from a nice small town called Serpa, in the Alentejo Region (south of Portugal). I’ve always been a proud alentejana (person from Alentejo), but what happened on Thursday at UNESCO made me even prouder.

This week in Paris, UNESCO evaluated around 46 proposals that wanted to become part of the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Portugal submitted one of those proposals (Serpa, my town, was the head of it). I can now proudly say that after this week, cante alentejano, the typical singing of my region is part of that list. I must say that I jumped, I cried, I danced with emotion when I heard the news (I followed the result live).

So what is cante alentejano?

And here is the video of the delegation that went to Paris (which included my brother and some friends :) )


Filed under Europe, Others

Have a lovely Friday :)

lifeThe man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”  – Confucius

I wanted to thank all the readers that wrote me asking about my absence. A lot of things happened in these past 2 months, but now I am back and I will be writing new posts soon.

Have a lovely Friday and a wonderful weekend :)


November 21, 2014 · 5:00 pm

It has to start with each and every one of us!

During the summer, everyone saw/heard about the ice/water bucket challenge. The purpose of this challenge was to raise awareness for different health issues (depending on the country). Although it is good that we are raising awareness for these issues, doing it with water really bothered me.

As I said before in my previous posts, water is a scarce resource that should be saved, not wasted.

I came across with the picture on top (Arab News), and, as usual, it got me thinking. As shown in the image, several people have to walk a lot only to get water. According to Charity Water, in Africa they spend around 40 billion hours walking, just to get water. Usually is either women or children that go get the water, which can be contaminated or unhealthy to drink. For women, these long walks are not safe, they can be sexually harassed and they lose time when they could be working. For children, this means loosing time that could be used to go to school or to study. Not to mention all the diseases that come from unclean water and the dangers of the trip itself.

Now, let’s take a moment to imagine your life with no water or limited access to it. Imagine that you want to go to the toilet, and you don’t have water to flush. Imagine that you want to take a bath and there is no water to do it. Imagine that you are really thirsty, and you have to walk 3 km to get the water that you and your family will drink (which can be contaminated). It is very hard to imagine, isn’t it? Now imagine what the 780 million people that lack access to drinkable water and the 2.5 billion people that don’t have adequate sanitation have to trough every day. Unfortunately for them, it is also hard to imagine how it is to have access to clean, drinkable water and good sanitation. This is a major problem that gets limited attention.

So what I am going to propose here is instead of using water to raise awareness for different causes, let’s raise awareness for water. It has to start with each and every one of us.

Please let your thoughts below!


Filed under Environmental

The day that everything changed

4af416d7e9966New-World13 years ago something changed in the world.

I remember arriving home (in Portugal) to have lunch and seeing the images of the attacks in the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, and I didn’t quite understand what was going on at the time (I was 11 years old). I remember having this feeling of sadness, the shivers down my spine. I understood that a lot of people died and a lot more were suffering.

As some of you know, both my Bachelor’s and my Master’s degree were in International Relations. It was almost impossible to be a student of IR and not talking about this particular event. I remember discussing how it affected the world, what changed. We analysed it, talked about it.

Unfortunately, I think it was the first time that the USA felt that it could be hit in its own territory. The feeling of being safe ended, and the war on terror started. Since then it has spread to other countries as well, however this expression hasn’t been used in a while and has been substituted for others more “friendly”. All of a sudden, terrorism was being used for almost everything, and I feel that it still is like this, at least a bit. Many wars were fought and many lives lost because of this. Are we any safer now?

This is a controversial topic, I know. And it will be for many years to come. My opinion is that many mistakes were made in past few years. But I don’t disregard the effectiveness of several decisions… What I often think is how many terrorists has this war on terror created? And how many has it destroyed? It is hard to know.

And I must say that it is one of those subjects that I honestly don’t know what to think about… What do you think? Do you feel safer now?


Filed under America

Your ecological footprint – what?!

green-footprint-shutterstock11I could start with the typical “save the earth, it is the only we have”, which is completely true, but I will start to tell you that we, as humans need to stop acting like the planet is infinite and it is never going to run out of resources, if not for the earth we share, for ourselves. It will. It is already… And still, it passes us by like it is nothing. Why? Because we don’t see it truly in front of us. If we see war, we see dead people, we see injured people, we know it is happening, we know we need to do something. We don’t see the impact of our actions in our planet, at least clearly. But it is happening.

Yesterday, according to the Global Footprint Network, was the Earth Overshoot Day. For those of you who are not familiar with this, the Earth Overshoot Day is the date our Ecological Footprint exceeds our planet’s “annual budget”. That means that we already spent what Earth can regenerate during this year. In practical terms, we need a planet and a half to produce the resources that we are spending in one year. If you want to know your ecological footprint, click here. In the link you will also find tips on how to reduce your ecological footprint.

In 1961 we used 3 quarters of the Earth’s capacity. Now, we didn’t even got to the end of the year, and we already need a new planet. As you can imagine, in the long term, this will lead to several problems: climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, lack of food, lack of water and lack of other resources essential and non-essential to human life. It will also bring, in my opinion, conflict over these resources, if the situation continues to escalate like this.

So, how can we make Earth sustainable again? Well, first of all, we need to stop acting like it is something for others to deal with. Reducing the ecological footprint is a responsibility of everyone. We also have to realise that it is not easy and that it won’t happen fast. But, if we try, we can make a better planet.

What do you do to reduce your ecological footprint? Tell me below!


Filed under Environmental, Uncategorized