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An Election Film Week in Lebanon to Say #NoToExtension of Parliament Term

What better than the seventh art to mobilize? In another effort to push for Elections in Lebanon and prevent an extension of the Parliamentary term #NoToExtension, Lebanese NGO Nahwa Al Muwatiniya (meaning Towards Citizenship) held an “Election Film Week”.

Six works from Chile, Iran, China, Ghana and the US, varying between documentaries and fiction are being screened between August 28 to September 2 at Cinema Metropolis (a theater promoting indie movies)  in collaboration with the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE).

On the Facebook Page of the event, where the programme is listed, the organisers note:

We have been struggling with a fragile democracy in Lebanon, ever since its independence. Today, more than in the darkest days of the civil war, the foundations of our democracy are at risk. But we’re not alone in this. The world is full of stories about the human struggle for self-determination and democratic participation. Broadening our perspective serves our effort to improve the quality of the political system in Lebanon. 

The films we picked share stories from different countries, all which portray the election process. Collectively, they reveal a combination of human values and ideals and the efforts politicians make to win an election.

To see a glimpse of the movies, check out the trailer posted on Nahwa Al Muwatiniya Youtube Page.

The current parliament extended its four-year stay for the first time in May 2013. And like a year before, various parties are supporting the move this time around under the pretext of security conditions.

The end of the parliamentary term comes amidst a period of turmoil in Lebanon. The country has lacked a president since May 25 after parliament failed to elect a new head of state and top officials could not reach political consensus. A general strike by syndicates demanding to approve a new enhanced wage scale for civil servants has threatened to paralyze the entire country. Lebanon has experience instability on both Syrian and Israeli borders after soldiers were kidnapped by members of Islamic militant organization ISIS.

Reflections After 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014

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Image from Flickr, with CC license.

Mexican student Álvaro blogs about his sentiments and opinions about 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. He reflects on the poor performance of Mexico and Brazil national teams, but highlights what he considers a strategy failure of Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff.

Días antes del comienzo del mundial, Dilma se imaginaba este lunes 14 de Julio como el día en que ganaría anticipadamente las elecciones presidenciales de octubre, un Brasil campeón en su tierra hubiera sido suficiente para sofocar las protestas civiles que se han alzado en contra de su gobierno, o al menos hubiera logrado distraerlas por un rato.[...] Sin embargo, es evidente que el plan no salió según lo esperado, sino todo lo contrario; de manera similar a lo ocurrido en Sochi, Rusia para las Olimpiadas de Invierno, el enfoque mundial sobre Brasil solo sirvió para exponer los graves problemas que enfrenta el país en todo ámbito. No hubo escasez de reportes de la prensa internacional sobre el mal estado de las calles, las acomodaciones, la gente y hasta los estadios, mismos que se derrumbaron o que ni siquiera pudieron terminarse antes del evento.

Just days before the World Cup started, Dilma was imagining this Monday, July 14 as the day she would win in advance the Octobre presidential election, with Brazil champion on its own land would suffice to calm down the civliian protests against her administration, or at least, it would be useful as a distraction for a while. [...] However, it's evident that didn't work as expected, but on the contrary; just as it happened in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympic Games. The world approach to Brazil only exposed the serious problems the country faces. There were many reports by international press about the bad roads, accommodations, people and even stadiums, that collapsed or weren't even completed before the tournament.

You can follow Álvaro on his Twitter account.

“About Separation” by Mariangel

Mariangel from the blog El Ovario shares her poem “About separation“, about the end of relationships:

DE LA SEPARACIÓN
Ahora que ya todo acabó
lo miro con su extraño caminar
con nuestras soledades a cuestas
dos cuerpos ahora tan extraños
ajenos y alejados
dos almas que un instante
se [sintieron] gemelas
ahora tan lejanas
Nos unieron nuestras soledades
nuestras minucias
solo fuimos dos que un día
no quisieron sentirse solos
y se quisieron
y vivieron juntos
para acallar el vacio
para silenciar las voces
para creer

ABOUT SEPARATION
Now that everything is over
I look at his unique way of walking
carrying our own solitudes
two bodies, now so strangers
distant and remote,
two souls that for an instant
[were] mates
now too apart.
Our solitudes brought us together
our trifles
we were only two that one day
didn't want to be alone
and they loved each other
and lived together
to quieten the void
to quieten the voices
to believe

You can read the rest of the poem on the original post in Spanish. On the blog there are more poems as well as essays and anecdotes, from a female point of view. You can also follow her on Twitter.

This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 7, 2014.

“I Increasingly See More People Looking Like Zombies”

Its aim is to make you think a little, or at least, get a smile. This is the description of the blog Se hace camino al andar (You make the road as you go) managed by Andres Mayorquin who from Merida, México, explain us why some people look today so much as a zombie:

Seres humanos profundamente insatisfechos con lo que han sido, con lo que son y con lo que parece, serán, pero intentando a toda costa aparentar que todo va bien. Pero les ves los ojos y estos no brillan. Platicas con ellos y se quejan de todo. Miras su facebook y sólo lees dramas, personales o ajenos. Convives de cerca y notas cómo se dedican a perjudicar al prójimo, o por lo menos a ignorarlo. Más preocupados por tener que por ser y estar. Seres sin conciencia de lo que son.
Muchos hemos olvidado, por el diario trajín, por el exceso de información que nos rodea, por la llegada de un estímulo externo tras otro, qué es lo que le da sentido a nuestra vida. Tenemos memoria pero no tenemos historia; contamos con recuerdos y anécdotas, pero desconocemos el hilo conductor que los une e integra; vemos un árbol, y otro y otro más, pero somos incapaces de darnos cuenta del bosque en el que estamos.

Human beings unsatisfied with what they have been, with what they are and what it looks like, they will be, but trying hard to look as if everything is OK. But you look at their eyes and they don't shine, You talk to them and they complain about everything. You look at their Facebook accounts and there is oinly drama, personal or other people's. You live close to them and you realize how they engage themselves in affecting their fellowmen, or at least ignoring them, They are more worried for having to being. They are not conscious of what they are.
Many of us have forgotten, due to daily life, the excess of information that surrounds us, for having an outside incentive after another, what gives sense to our life. We've got memory but not history, we have memories and accounts, but we ignore the thread of the story that unites and integrates. We see a tree, and another and another but we can't appreciate the woods that surrounds us.

You can read other interesting stories on his personal blog or in his Twitter account.

This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs in GV) on July 7, 2014.

The Pleasure of Friendship

Karla comments on Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building) about her weekend meeting with some girlfriends, and her reflections on changing decades and friendship:

He reído con muchas ganas y creo que eso es lo que me ha llenado de vitalidad, de jovialidad y de ganas de continuar tomando todo de forma positiva.[...] En contra de lo que muchas mujeres piensen, este año es una preparación para recibir mi si siguiente decada de vida buscando lo mejor…y si es con todas esas lindas amistades creo que ya tengo más de la mitad ganado.

I've laughed out loud and I think this has filled me with vitality, jolliness and with the disposition to take everything positively.[...] Opposed to what many women think, this year is a preparation for me to receive my next decade of life looking for the best…. and if it will be with these beautiful friends, I think I am more than halfway.

This post was part of the ninth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on June 30, 2014. 

Mexican Cartoonist Compares James Foley's Execution with Presidential Interview

Flowers laid for American journalist James Foley - Arlington

Flowers laid for American journalist James Foley, Arlington Cemetery. Photo by Cynthia Rucker. Copyright Demotix (20 August 2014).

On August 21, Mexican cartoonist Francisco Calderón raised controversy after publishing on his daily cartoon section on Grupo Reforma, an image depicting president Enrique Peña Nieto wearing an orange jumpsuit and kneeling down in front of a masked executioner. The image is a clear reference to the brutal murder of reporter James Foley in Syria, on August 19, by the jihadist group Islamic State that was later published on video as a warning to the United States.

Thursday August 21, 2014 THE INTERVIEW THE ALL THE TERNURITAS WOULD'VE LOVED.

The title of the cartoon plays with the idea that an execution like the suffered by Foley would have been the kind of “interview” the “ternuritas” (cuties) would've loved. Ternurita is the name some people use for Peña Nieto government opponents.

Some Twitter users reacted to the cartoon:

Your cartoon is a total disrespect to the life of James Foley. Let's hope it's just your ignorance.

Because being firm when questioning is the same thing that beheading. Right, right winger cartoonist?

It's a shame that Francisco Calderon makes a cartoon with a beheading. Will he make one about dead children in Gaza?

Only Mexico can gather the necessary dose of insensitivity and numbskullness to make fun of James Foley's death.

The Maya Nut, a Nature Giant

In the Guatemalan department of Petén, a group of local women market natural products prepared with Maya nut, well known as natural medicine. The president of the producer association, Benedicta Galicia Ramírez, notes they “pick up the seed and then dry it, toast and grind it to make fluor”, and that the Maya nut enhances children growth, with food values higher than maize, beans, cassava and plantain.

This species grows in many American countries, from Mexico to Peru, and is very appreciated for its medicinal and nutritious attributes:

Video: Here we introduce the project “Selva Viva”, by a group of women who produce food items from the Maya nut tree.

Here, the consumption of the Maya nut seed gets promoted.

Third Festival in Santa Catarina, Tláhuac, Mexico

festival

More and more people are sharing their content on Medium, and Ximena Arrieta, consultant in Strategic Communications, is using her content as an additional medium and coverage for the connection between communication, citizen participation and technology, as does the “Movement for the Earth” in Santa Catarina Yecahuízotl, that with its “Festival for the Sierra”, held on July 12, aimed to promote and build connections of coexistence and social cohesion within its community:

El objetivo del Festival es construir un espacio de colaboración, expresión y sobre todo, reflexión de las problemáticas que afectan a la Sierra de Santa Catarina, espacio natural y reserva ecológica del Distrito Federal, constantemente amenazada por proyectos mineros, inmobiliarios, contaminación y sobreexplotación.

Está dirigido a la población infantil y joven de la comunidad, sin embargo, también es un mensaje concientizado para el público adulto.

The aim of the Festival is to build a space for collaboration, expression and, above all, reflection on the issues that affect Santa Catarina highlands, a natural space and ecologic reserve of Mexico City, constantly threatened by mining, real estate projects, pollution and overexploitation.

This is meant for the children and youth of the comuunity, but it's also an awareness message for the adult audience.

You can read Arrieta on her blog in Spanish on Tumblr, Punto Crucial or by following her account on Twitter: @borjaxime

This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on July 7, 2014.

Featured Posts on #RedViajAR This Week

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Every week, Argentinian blogger network Red Viajar posts a review of the most important articles of the week. This time, among the recommendations is this post dedicated to Amatlan de Quetzalcoatl in Mexico:

Amatlán de Quetzalcóatl es un pequeño pueblo que se encuentra en el municipio de Tepoztlán (Morelos) De su vecino pueblo con título de pueblo mágico, Amatlán no tiene nada que envidiarle. Debe su fama a que varixs historiadores (y por supuesto las personas que allí habitan) consideran que aquí nació hace unos 3 mil años Cé Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcóatl, uno de los dioses más importantes de las antiguas culturas mesoamericanas.

Amatlán de Quetzalcóatl is a small town located in the municipality of Tepoztlán (Morelos). Amatlán is just as good as its neighboring town with a magic name. It's famous because several historians (and, of course, people who live there) think that it was here where Cé Acatl Topiltzin Quetzalcóatl, one of the most important gods of the ancient Central American cultures, was born 3,000 years ago.

This post was part of the tenth #LunesDeBlogsGV,(Monday of blogs on GV) on July 7, 2014.

Gender is “Not the Same as Sex”: #CPMX5Incluyente

#CPMX5Incluyente

Image by Twitter user ‏@Valeriaggaona.

Recently held Campus Party in Jalisco, Mexico, duscussed about a wide range of discussions, not always related with the topic of this kind of meetings. Claudia Calvin founder of the collective Mujeres Construyendo, writes on Animal Político some of her conclusions, noting that sexism and women objectivization lays the foundations to exert violence again them.

She explains:

En primer lugar, las características que las sociedades atribuyen a cada sexo son construidas social y culturalmente y, además, van configurando un sistema de relaciones de poder. Esto implica que en cada cultura y contexto se asume que hombres y mujeres deban desempeñar funciones sociales específicas

In the first place, the characteristics societies give to each sex are socially and culturally created, and they set up a power relationship system. This means that in each culture and context it's accepted that men and women must carry on specific social roles.

She then offers a overview of inequalities, gaps and gender barriers on events such as Campus Party and ICT ecosystems:

Hay más hombres que mujeres en todos los niveles de toma de decisiones y en el universo del desarrollo de software y contenidos sucede lo mismo. En el mundo de la computación, según datos de The Atlantic, solamente el 25% de los puestos son ocupados por mujeres. A nivel de CIOs (Chief Information Officers) en el listado de 250 empresas de la lista de Fortune, solamente el 20% ocupa ese cargo. Por ellos los nombres de Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer y Blanca Treviño son tan importantes. Son, literalmente, gotas de agua en el desierto.

There are more men than women at every decision making level, as it happens within the universe of software and content development. In computer world, according to The Atlantic, only 25% of positions are taken by women. For CIO (Chief Information Officers) on the list of 250 firm on Fortune lists, only 20% of women have that position. That's why names as Sheryl Sandberg, Marissa Mayer and Blanca Treviño are so important. They are, literally, water drops in the desert.

To read more about international relationships, politics, gender and ICT, you can follow Claudia Calvin on Twitter.

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