Archive for December, 2008

End of 2008 petition…

As we reach the end of 2008, it seemed appropriate to make some kind of balance of the year… but I must be true to the fact the I know very little about what is going on around the world, and that most of the events taking place worldwide exceed the limits of my critical thinking… At the same time and on the same basis, making a balance of my personal life seems somewhat ignorant and insensitive so, instead, I chose to make a plead to the few readers that bump into this blog.

As I look back only a couple of months, I remember people in many corners of the world celebrating Obama’s election and Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday, together with the forecoming 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. In the midst of celebrations and reminiscences of victorious freedom fights, we still find around the globe countless cases of oppression, imperialism, racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide and so on (attempting to name all the evils would be too pretentious). Just in the last 24hs, Israel has bombed the Gaza strip causing more than 230 people to lose their lives and 700 injured. Meanwhile, I type yahoo.com on my web browser and I find that the “featured” articles include titles such as: 3 losses & a hair-raiser, Best new cars for the money and Toddler retells ‘Star Wars’. Yeah, ok, somewhere down there was a link to a news article on the conflict, but… seriously?!?

What comes to my mind, too, as I recall all the celebrations around Madiba’s 90th birthday, is the fact that South Africa neighbouring country, Swaziland, is going through a political, economical and social crisis. One that has been going on for many years, but which has been worsening during the past years. However, little do we hear in the international press. We celebrate the liberation of South Africa but we fail to hear (and respond to) the desperate cry of the Swazi nation against the minority oppressive and exploitative tinkhundla rule. In the last months a series of bombings to government buildings (like one of the King’s palaces) have determined the passing of a Suppression of Terrorism Act (read: a suppression of freedom of expression) that is now used as an excuse to arrest any person who represents a threat to the rule of Swaziland’s absolute monarch and his family. Such was the case of Mario Masuku, of the People’s United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), who was arrested on charges of terrorism and later charged with sedition (more on this here). 

One would think (or at least I would like to think) that more than a decade after the people of South Africa attained their freedom, the survival of an oppressive regime in Southern Africa, such as that of King Mswati III, would be unsustainable. 

What are we doing wrong?

——

As we arrive to the end of the year 2008, I ask you to sign the online petition to release Masuku, and to support the Swazi nation in their struggle for freedom and a multi-party democratic government.

The petition reads:

 

‘Mario Masuku is the President of the Peoples’ United Democratic Movement – Insika Yenkhululeko YeMaswati – of Swaziland. For 25 years this organisation has been banned in Swaziland because political parties are illegal. PUDEMO has called for multi-party democracy since its formation, it believes a government should be of the people and for the people. 

‘After 25 years of struggle the royal family (the Dlamini clan of king Mswati III) has now forced government to label this organisation “terrorist” and Mario Masuku has been detained without charge since Saturday November 15th. 

‘We of Swaziland and the international community call for the immediate release of Mario Masuku. We urge the government of Swaziland to begin sincere negotiations with civil society, political organisations, and unions so that all in the nation can prosper and reach their potential. We are shocked that the king has declared war on the people of Swaziland. We do attribute the escalating violence to his decision to use force rather than dialogue.’

 

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Season’s GREENtings

In a previous post I mentioned my enthusiasm for greeting cards. I said I had stopped buying paper-cards and had moved to e-cards and making my own. The reasons behind this shift had little to do with me being an ecologist, which I happen to be (a very imperfect one, but I’m trying to improve!). Yet I was, unknowingly, putting my little grain of sand to help the planet, since I’ve recently discovered that e-cards are environmentally friendly.

So, these holidays I am inviting you to send e-cards too.

TreeHugger.com has a comprehensive post on why sending e-cards is a greener option. Just to give you an example, Creative Citizen estimates you’ll save 2.3 kg of waste, 454 kgs of emissions and 1,000 kilowatt hours if you forgo sending 50 cards or invites in a year.

Even if you don’t send that many, remember these things add up!!

And to give you an extra incentive to go green and e-card your friends these holidays, I’ll tell you about care2‘s e-card service. They not only provide a way for you to save on your carbon footprint, but they also donate money to save a square foot of rainforest for every e-card you send.

Season’s Gree(n)tings to you all!

Coincidence (part 2)

(Continued from Coincidence)

Oops, I forgot to mention that in the movie WALL-E, you also see the little robot playing Pong on an ATARI console (which was featured on a previous post not so long ago). Really funny!

But what I found most amusing was that it was a second coincidence in a 90 minutes lapse! I really enjoy it when things like this happen.

Two birds with one shot

Not really… I just wanted to put another idiom for the second Khiya-bird encounter in the year.

Fortunately, this one also had a happy ending (for the bird). I am afraid Khiya might be a bit bitter at me after this episode, though…

My mom and I left the birdy at the tree where it fell from. My mom did some really funny moves (like hugging the tree), but finally managed to climb high enough, and I handed the birdy to her. She then left it on a nice, comfy branch. We’ll check tomorrow if there’s any hint on the birdy’s fate.

Coincidence

This afternoon, as I was moving my stuff to my room (same apartment, different room- see picture below), I found myself singing “La vie en rose”. Actually, I had a mini-Louis Armstrong in my mind singing it for me while I worked hard :) .
I realized I hadn’t listened to Louis Armstrong in a long time. Then, I remembered that that same morning I had watched an episode of the famous yellow american cartoon family in which Bart becomes a member of a Jazz band*. As I listened to the melody, I told myself “Jazz is beautiful, why haven’t I been listening to any Jazz lately??”. A minute after that I had already forgotten about it… I am usually easily distracted, but I was also extremely tired.
Luckily for me, only a few hours after that, my mind unconsciously turned on an inner record. As I listened/hummed “La vie en rose”, I traveled back in time… Ella and Louis are the soundtrack of many memories that I shared with someone I once loved very much.
I felt surprised, the music didn’t stir up any sad feelings or anything. I just had this sudden heart-warmth, and smiled.

By 10pm I had moved all the important stuff to my new room (ie: the bed and the computer). I had to study but I was exhausted. Physically, at least. And who said studying doesn’t require physical fitness too? I decided to rent a movie and watch it in my room instead. I wanted to watch “Argentina latente” a movie that shows how Argentina still has potential to grow and do better (or so I’ve been told).
I looked in two different video stores and couldn’t find it, and since the second store was already closing (it was 12am by then) I told myself I’d take whatever movie looked good enough. As I was about to give up on the search, I found WALL-E. I had been meaning to watch it since it came out in cinemas, but my cinema buddy (ie: Dechi) refused to accompany me. And there it was, my postponed wish. I picked it and rushed home to watch it before it was too late to not feel guilty about not studying.
Beautiful movie, full of really creative means of communicating and with a good message. I recommend it to anyone who still has an inner child.
Some 20 minutes into the movie, a song starts playing… “La vie en rose”, performed by no other than Louis Armstrong.
I thought of pausing the movie and posting it here immediately, but then… I thought it could wait; the movie was just too beautiful to pause it.

*I really like that episode, and not because of the Jazz, but because in that episode Lisa gives shelter to all the stray animals in the city.

__________________

Before
room1

After

room2

Yippie!

I’m going back to Swaziland!

:)

Starbucks in Buenos Aires (follow-up)

I wrote about Starbucks opening its first store in Buenos Aires some months ago (here). As it was expected, the famous coffee-store company multiplied and has now, at least, two more stores that I know of. And guess where? One is 2 blocks away from my house, the other one is 1 block away from my university. Now that is an unusual coincidence. Or is it that they’ve managed to open a store every 5 blocks and I just happened to bump across these two? Who knows, but it’s scary…