Stories from Quick Reads and Western Europe
Carlos G. de Juan, blogging on Hacia rutas de cambio positivo (Towards routes of positive change), offers a reflection through a short mute film about the story of many homeless people in big cities, who had a normal life until life struck them so hard they just lost heart:
Esta puede ser la historia de muchas personas que hoy malviven en las calles de las grandes ciudades. Personas que como todxs, fueron niñxs, fueron jóvenes estudiantes, fueron padres o madres, fueron nuestrxs compañerxs de trabajo, fueron nuestrxs amigxs pero algo sucedió en sus vidas que les hizo arrodillarse, abandonarse.
This can be the story of many people that today just live badly in the streets of big cities. People like everybody, who were children, young students, parents, they were our coworkers, our friends, but something happened on their lives that made them kneel down, just let go.
With the question if it was you?, Carlos G. de Juan invites us to sympathize with those who live in the streets, that is, to put ourselves in their place and wonder about the stories of life that made them get to that situation, as well as question ourselves about possible solutions to get them back to the social fabric.
The video was written and produced by Portugues filmmaker Nuno Rocha.
You can follow Carlos G. de Juan on Twitter.
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) was among the very few media to report about an attack on the second anniversary celebration of the center for support of the LGBT community in a cafe in the Old Bazaar are of Skopje. On October 23, 2014, some 20 hooded young men attacked those attending the celebration and vandalized the venue.
“The hooligans entered the cafe and started throwing everything, like bottles, crates… It was a stampedе. One girl was injured and was taken to the accident and emergency center. She is fine, but still recovering,” Uranija Pirovska, director of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Macedonia, a host of the event, said.
Outgoing Dutch Ambassador to Macedonia, Marriët Schuurman, also spoke to BIRN openly about the use of violence to “shut people up” in Macedonia, in particular expressing deep concern about how acceptable such practices had become in the country.
Schuurman says Macedonia faces serious problem when it comes to the rule of law: “Citizens no longer feel protected by the authorities who, under the constitution, should protect their rights, and particularly those minorities.”
The third edition of the Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy will kick off next week in Strasbourg, France.
The topic of the debates organized this year from Nov. 3 – 5 at the seat of Coucil of Europe will be: “From participation to influence: can youth revitalise democracy?”. The various labs will be live-tweeted under the hashtag #CoE_WFD. You can also follow the Council of Europe Twitter account @coe, and the dedicated blog. The debates will take various shapes. Various unconferences during the forum will report their findings on Nov. 4. The insights gathered during the World Forum meetings will be integrated in the future projects of the Council of Europe and its partners in the field of democracy and democratic governance. Furthermore, the Fringe Program will offer numerous events from conference and meetings to film festival and artistic performances, in various venues throughout the city from Nov. 1 to 9. Three Global Voices contributors will attend the forum.
Despite being uncertain of what the future might bring, dozens of non-Japanese people decided to remain in their adopted home of Sendai, a coastal city located in the north of Japan hit by massive tsunami triggered by the earthquake of March 11, 2011.
Sharing the footsteps to recovery, those standing together with the locals will join the parade “Da-te-fes“, a walk on September 28th with Sendai residents of ten different nationalities dressed in traditional kimono.
Participants will include geisha, a bride and bridegroom, and traditional dancers who succeed the moves from 17th century.
With support from Finnish Wellbeing Center Project in Sendai, the parade looks to boost the welcoming mood for upcoming UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in next March, and let the residents know about the conference.
Learn more about Sendai on Tourism Sendai's Facebook page.
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.
Today it is becoming increasingly common to hear about climate change, a topic everybody talks about but are rarely aware of its real impact. We've heard many times that we are all contributing to the destruction of the planet, but how can we know the footprint we are leaving behind? This is the question that Ruth Abrain Sanchez asks on her blog:
Para qué sirve
A nivel personal: para saber cuál es tu impacto sobre el medio ambiente. Por ejemplo, si consumes mucha electricidad y vas siempre en coche tu huella será alta. Es una manera situarnos en la escala eco-friendly :-)
What is this for
On a personal level: to know what is the impact on the environment. For instance, if you consume to much electricity and always go on car, your footprint will be very high. It's a way to place ourselves on the eco-friendly scale :-)
As the blogger tells us, we only need three steps to get to the result: the first would be gathering data, such as electricity, water, gas, etc. We go on looking for the factors, that is, to know the total CO2 per consumption, and finally, a calculation with this formula: Carbon footprint = Amount x Release factor.
With this simple yet useful information we come closer to the environment, aware of the damage we cause, and can try to reduce them as much as possible.
You can follow Ruth Abrain on Twitter.
First thing in the morning, amidst the mist that populates the waves in the township of Guetaría, a typical fishing village in the shores of Guipuzkoa (Basque Country), we can discern the shape of Mount of San Antón, which as we can see on J. G. del Sol Cobos in this image from this group blog, resembles a mouse. All along the rough way up, we have one of the best sights of the Basque Country. There is even a lighthouse on top that integrates the landscape and makes us think of the traditional lifestyle in this area of Northern Iberian Peninsula.
This so well-known shape in Guetaría connects through a tombolo (branch that gets two parts together) with solid ground, and from different point of view will look as the tail of a rodent.
— J. G. del Sol Cobos (@jgdelsol) octubre 27, 2014
Image by of the Guetaria Mouse from Zarauz, Guipuzkoa, Spain.
After some research about the history of this natural park surrounded by the Cantabrian sea, we know that until the 16th century it was an island. Today, it's a famous spot in Guipuzkoa, where we can find plants and trees as native as exotic, besides a fantastic panoramic view of the coastline.
You can follow J. G. del Sol Cobos on Twitter.
This five-minute video created by ESADE business school shows where Chinese capital is invested in Europe and examines the various motivations Chinese companies have for investing overseas (via the China Observer).
Twenty-five years ago, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and gave it to the world. To mark this anniversary, we are building a major new three-part festival at Southbank Centre, where we will ask all kinds of people to share their ideas of how the Web should develop over the next 25 years.
Inspired by Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation and working in partnership with our ‘Web We Want’ global campaign for a free, open and universal Web, the Web We Want Festival is an extensive celebration of how the Internet has changed our lives. It will also explore some of the things that threaten the Internet as we know it and what solutions there might be.
Mirroring Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the web as a place for equality, we’re asking local and distant community groups, neighbours and strangers, techies and technophobes, old and young, urban and rural, with any level of web-literacy to create the substance of the festival.
To do this, we are having a Web We Want Think-In on Sept. 5 to plan the festival, listening to your ideas all together at the same time. This virtual brainstorming session will take place at a Think-In Hub in Istanbul at the Internet Ungovernance Forum (details here) and in London at Royal Festival Hall (register to attend here). Online, anyone can participate using the #WebWeWantFest hash tag on Twitter.
Suggest artists, ideas, activities and what would you like to see happening so the Festival becomes an enabler of a global movement. Become a part of the party!
Eric Garner was a 44-year-old African-American man who died following an attempted arrest by the NY Police Department. On July 17, 2014, when police officers attempted to arrest Garner, he had broken up a fight. Garner who suffered from asthma was wrestled to the ground. Medical examiners concluded chokehold and chest compression as the primary causes of Garner's death and Garner's heart problems, obesity and asthma as additional factors. Here is a video of the accident [Warning: Graphic Images]
A few days later (28 August) in Roissy, France, Abdelhak Goradia, a 51 year old Algerian citizen also died inside a police van. The police was carrying Goradia to the airport to be deported back to Algeria when they initially affirmed that he died of a heart attack. Justice department corrected that assessment and stated that Goradia died from choking on his own gastric fluids. His lawyer stated that Goradia called him to say that he was taken away in handcuffs and a head gear. Goradia was previously charged with theft, petty crimes and violence.