Tag Archives: culture

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

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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Filed under Others

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!

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Filed under Environmental