Tag Archives: international

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?

7 Comments

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

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?

36 Comments

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!

46 Comments

Filed under Environmental, Uncategorized

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

“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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Filed under Others

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