Category Archives: Others

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.

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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?

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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 🙂 )

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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 🙂

10 Comments

November 21, 2014 · 5:00 pm

First World War centenary and the state of the world

This morning I had a conversation about the state of the world. It is something that has been on my mind for quite some time, as the number of conflicts keeps increasing. If you look around in the news you will see articles about the Syrian War, about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about problems in Iraq, about the war in Ukraine

The world is a complete, total mess. And how? How did we arrive here?

Last week (28 July 2014) marked the 100 years of the beginning (28 July 1914) of the 1st World War. You can click the link if you want a simple explanation about it. There are several ceremonies around the world regarding WW I, remembering all the sacrifices made, all the lives lost. You can check more here. It is not rare finding a monument to the WW I and II causalities. There is this need for to world not to forget the horror of such a war. So why does it keep forgetting?

In this conversation that I had, I said that I “feel” that something is coming. Now, I don’t like to be a misfortune prophet, as it is really not my style, but I do think that in the next 5, 10, etc years there will be some kind of turning point in these conflict areas. Could be good or could be bad…But there has to be one.

With the experience of the two previous world wars, I try to think that the international community is now too smart to let a 3rd World War start, but I am wrong? Tell me what you think!

 

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Filed under America, Asia, Europe, Middle-East, Others

Do you wish it wasn’t a girl?

multicultural_kiddos1Being a girl in the world. This is a controversial topic, so I just want to let you know that I am not here to attack any country’s politics, culture or others.
I’ve always been a strong advocate on women rights. No, I don’t hate men or anything like that, that is absurd. I just want the same rights for both sexes (and yes for good and for bad as well!). We are different psychologically and physically, but we all deserve to be treated equal. However, there are still situations happening to women that need to be addressed and stopped, and they aren’t, unfortunately.

I watched a documentary called “It’s a girl“. For those of you who don’t know it, this a documentary about what it means to be a girl in men-oriented cultures like India and China (in some parts of these countries). So what is it like? According to the documentary, you are treated like property. If a boy is born to a family that is a motive for celebration; if a girl is born to a family, it is considered bad luck. Some of the girls are killed even before birth, some after birth (by their own mothers…) and even if they survive this, they are not well fed or treated. If they reach teenager years/adulthood, they are promised to other families (arranged marriage or not), and the girl’s family will have to pay a dowry to the husband’s family. Many families can’t pay this dowry, so sometimes the brides are killed in “revenge”. So, in summary: a daughter means spending money and losing a family member to other family; a son means gaining money and gaining a new member in the family (daughter in law).

Besides this treatment, there is also the threat of rape (by one or more men), which really gets to my nerves. Being a Portuguese girl living in Belgium, I never felt really threatened by this possibility. Sure, sometimes I get those very annoying comments and some whistling, which scares me sometimes, but I was never in real danger (at least I think so…). I do feel vulnerable, though. These girls are in real danger, because they are “property”. And don’t even get me started on girl mutilation or child marriage, with little girls being married to men old enough to be their fathers….

I am angry with this. Is being a women less than being a man?

Even in countries where men and women are considered equal, there are wage gaps, employers tend to consider men first than women (you know, the whole pregnancy and motherhood thing…). Also, if you are a women in a management job or similar, sometimes you get less respect than a men (and I’ve felt it first hand). Please be aware that with this I am not saying that men don’t get discriminated or raped or threatened in any way. They do, unfortunately.

My point here is, why does this keep happening in a world that is so “advanced”? Shouldn’t we all be treated equals? Wouldn’t that make a happier/stronger society? Please leave your thoughts.

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“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.

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