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8 noviembre 2011 2 08 /11 /noviembre /2011 17:43

 YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE HEARD ABOUT HER AD BELIEVE ME IS WORTH IT FOR MANY THINGS. SHE IS KNOWN AS THE FEMININE NELSON MANDELA BUT SHE IS MORE THAN THAT, SHE IS A LADY, A LADY OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS STRUGGLE.

   AUNG SAN SUU KYI IS A BURMESE ACTIVIST FOR DEMOCRACY, ONE OF THE MOST CHERISHED HUMAN RIGHTS. SHE HAS SPENT MORE THAN A DECADE UNDER HOUSE ARREST AND HAS GONE O HUNGER STRIKES TO PROTEST AGAINST MILITARY RULE IN BURMA.

   ONE YEAR AGO, ON 13TH. NOVEMBER 2010, SHE WALKED FREE AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS ARREST IN HER RANGOON FAMILY HOUSE.

   IN THE 1990 GENERAL ELECTION, WHILE SHE WAS DETAINED UNDER HOUSE ARREST, HER NATIONAL LEAGUE FOR DEMOCRACY PARTY WON 59% OF THE NATIONAAL VOTES AND 81% OF THE SEATS IN PARLIAMENT. NEVERTHELESS, THE MILITARY GOVERNMENT DIDN'T ACCEPT THE RESULT AND GAVE HER THE OPTION OG GOING BACK TO THE U.K. WHERE, PREVIOUSLY IN EXILE, SHE STUDIED, MARRIED AND HAD TWO SONS. YET, SHE CHOSE TO STAY IN HER NATIVE COUNTRY FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY, EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS DEPRIVED OF HER OWN FREEDOM.

   AUNG SAN SUU KYI WAS AWARDED THE NOBEL PRIZE IN 1991 WHILE JAILED AND SHE SACRIFIED HER FAMILY LIFE IN HER PURSUIT OF DEMOCRACY.

   WHEN HER HUSBAND, ACADEMIC MICHAEL ARIS, AN OXFORD PROFESSOR, WAS DYING OF CANCER, THE BURMESE MILITARY JUNTA DENIED HIM ENTRY TO SEE HIS WIFE FOR THE LAST TIME.

   FOR ALL OF THESE EXCEPTIONAL DEMOSTRATIONS OF COURAGE AND DEDICATION, FRENCH FILMAKER LUC BESSON MADE A MOVIE, THE LADY, DEDICATED TO SAN SUU, AND BY CALLING HER "THE LADY" HE PAID TRIBUTE TO THIS ICON OF DEMOCRACY.

   I SAW THE LADY ON 13TH SEPTEMBER AT TORONTO'S FILM FESTIVAL (TIFF) AND I WAS DEEPLY IMPRESSED. I KNEW ABOUT SAN SUU BUT I HAD NOT LEARNT BEFORE ABOUT HER FAMILY LIFE AND BESSON EXPLAINED IT TO ME IN A VERY EASY-GOING WAY.

   "THE LADY" WAS PLAYED AND PORTRAYED BY A MALAYSIAN-BORN ACTRESS, MICHELLE YEOH. BECAUSE SUU KYI WAS VERY SLENDER, YEOH HAD TO LOSE WEIGHT TO PLAY THE ROLE AND LEARN TO SPEAK BURMESE TO DELIVER A SPEECH IN KYI'S MOTHER-TONGUE. SHE PLAYED THE CHARACTER MAGNIFICIENTLY AND CONVINCINGLY.

   THE ACTRESS AND THE FILMMAKER WERE TURNED AWAY BY AUTHORITIES WHEN TRYING TO ENTER BURMA AND SO THE FILM WAS MADE IN THAILAND.

   FOR BESSON, AN IMPORTANT MOTIVATION FOR MAKING THE FILM WAS TO PUBLICIZE SUU KYI'S PLIGHT AND REMIND AUDIENCES THAT REAL DEMOCRACY IS STILL A LONG WAY OFF.

   ALL PEOPLE HAVE RESPONSABILITY FOR UPHOLDING AND ENSURING HUMAN RIGHTS REGARDELESS OF BORDERS, HUMAN RIGHTS ARE ALL OF OUR RIGHTS. NON INTERFERENCE IS ACTUALLY HARMFUL AND DAMAGING. THE WORST KIND OF INTERFERENCE.

 

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7 noviembre 2011 1 07 /11 /noviembre /2011 22:09

   

   Two people in one country is what Amira Hass an Israeli journalist born in Jerusalem in 1956 and working for years in the occupied territories proposes as her own solution to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She is a long-time journalist with Ha'aretz, Israel's largest circulation liberal daily newspaper. Straightforward and very clear, during her almost one hour talk in Toronto, part of a Canadian tour sponsored by the Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) and others, she dennounced Israel's politics of closure and said that she doesn't want to collaborate with the silence of their occupation. Struggles are inclusive, she added, in reference to the occupation that the aboriginal people, Canada's First Nations, suffered as well, receiving the applause of the audience.

   Settled in Ramallah since 1997, in the occupied West Bank, Hass has been subjected to restrictions and arrest by Israeli military authorities and her reports have also been criticized by Palestinian organizations. However, her journalistic commitment is unquestioned: she has received many awards, like the World Press Freedom Hero from the International Press Institute in 2000 and the Press Freedom Prize for "independent and outspoken reporting" from media monitors Reporters Without Borders in 2009.

   After Toronto, she spoke in Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal.

   Hass constantly points out the double standard mentality of the Israeli military government and its ongoing colonialism, including many borders, confiscation of land and water, and restrictions against the free movement of the Palestinians. Amira Hass herself cannot drive Palestinian friends to Israel in her car. Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine, is as closed to them as the moon, she said, and many Palestianians, unlike their political leaders, need permits to move, relocate and to travel, so that many of them have never even seen the sea.

   On the other hand, she stated that as a journalist she has freedom of speech in Israel, which she said is officially a democracy, and journalists don't feel threatened.

   Someone in the audience, a middle aged woman, made the point that many Jews have come to Israel as refugees not as colonizers; this woman added that she is a daughter of Holocaust survivors, both of whom were active in left-wing politics in their countries of birth and Israel. That woman referred to the protests this summer, mainly in Tel Aviv but also in other cities, against deteriorating living conditions. Hass said that some palestinians participated in these protests as well and made it clear that the movement started like those in Cairo and Spain, but that its leaders in Israel refused to connect the protest to the ongoing occupation. Even those who are on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder don't protest about the occupation, she added.

 

   Amira Hass answered many questions from the audience during this conference and emphasized, "There are two peoples in this land and the future of these two peoples is just one State". 

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6 noviembre 2011 7 06 /11 /noviembre /2011 15:37

I WAS CONCENTRATING ON READING THE PAPER, TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE EXPERTS COMPLEX ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE GLOBAL TURMOIL WHEN I HEARD A RING. I THOUGHT IT WAS AT THE NEIGHBOUR'S HOUSE BUT SOME SECONDS AFTERWARDS THERE WAS ANOTHER RING AND IN A WHILE SOME MORE RINGS. SOMEBODY WAS RINGING THE BELL.

   AS I OPENED THE DOOR I SAW A MAN CARRYING A LEATHER BRIEFCASE. "GOOD MORNING MADAM", HE SAID. "WE ARE CURRENTLY INSTALLING WATER METERS IN YOUR AREA AND I NEED TO SEE YOUR BASEMENT".


   I WAS SPEECHLESS, I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE THE BASEMENT ENTRANCE WAS. HOWEVER, IT WAS NOT SAFE TO LET HIM IN. MOREOVER I WAS IN MY PYJAMAS AND I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE WATER METER PROGRAM WHOSE INSTALLATION WAS MANDATORY, HE SAID.


   INSTEAD OF SAYING "COME ANOTHER DAY, THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE IS NOT HERE", I COULD ONLY ARTICULATE A FEW WORDS SUCH AS "SORRY, I'M THE CLEANING LADY" AND I SHUT THE DOOR IN THE FACE OF AN ASTONISHED MAN. WHAT I DID WASN'T AS NICE AS THE LYRICS OF ABBA'S SONG "RING RING. I WAS WAITING ALL ALONE BABY..." AND SO ON.


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4 noviembre 2011 5 04 /11 /noviembre /2011 04:50

 

   Catalonia has the constitucional status of a nationality within Spain. Yet, some catalans want more and in their pursuit of excellence they woud like Catalonia to be independent.

    I'm one of the 7,5 million people living in this community situated in the northwest of Spain.

    We have a beatiful land of 32,114 KM2. with the Pyrenees mountains in the North as a natural border, between France and Andorra, and the Mediterranean sea in the East.

    Catalonia has its own language, Catalan, which is an official language along with Spanish or Castillian as it is named.Catalan is my mother-tongue.

    When the dictator, General Franco, died in 1,975 Catalonia recovered the powers it had during the Second Spanish Republic and regained its Statute of Autonomy of 1,932. Since then the country is in some turmoil about whether its future could be a little independent State like Andorra or a powerful autonomous country within Spain.

     I'm for an independent future for Catalonia but its relationship with the Kingdom of Spain has to be defined and this will take a long time and many negotiations.

     Yet, no pain, no gain and if we want to be an independent country he have to struggle and speak up whenever necessary.

     Catalans are courageous people and even if though they are often accused inside Spain of considering themselves the cream of the crop but we will not be discouraged from our healthy and pacific striving for one independent little country.

 




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31 octubre 2011 1 31 /10 /octubre /2011 21:16

 

 

   "A Room with a View" (1908) is an Edwardian social comedy and "A Room of One's Own" (1929) is a non fiction book written by Virginia Woolf to say that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". As I do not have these and I have here a room with no view, my description of the "view" I get from my window will be a little obscur. Here in Toronto I have a room with no view generously lent by a colleague journalist. For that reason the description of my room is positive, but I have to say that the view I get from the room window is far from attractive.

    From my room window, If I may describe in a sort of literary way, I see the wall of a Victorian house made of dark red bricks, not aligned neatly, a wall that obstructs me, that confines me to a nowhere land. If I pass over this emotion I can be taken to a more positive attitude and travel to past times where the bricks were handmade and almost were a work of art.

    During the Nineteenth century this kind of bricks hosted Virginia Woolf's Bloomsbury Group members such as herself, her sister, Bertrand Russell, Katherine Mansfield and John Maynard Keynes, among others, who in turn admired the paintings of Gauguin, Van Gogh or Cezanne, and would never had a room with no view, a room with no view like mine.

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20 octubre 2011 4 20 /10 /octubre /2011 22:11

   On Monday I went to Bickford Community Centre for a conversation class. The instructor put me at  table of three to practise elementary topics such as: where do you come from? or what  are you doing for a living"and so on. There were three of us: a retired russian longing for the URSS "ancien regime", a chinese housewife working as a sushi maker and myself, a  journalist transformed into a Toronto student. Conversation was difficult and boring due to the low level of English till somebody joined us. The newcomer was a handsome guy with well-developed biceps. He said, "Hello...I come from Mexico, from the south of the country, a very dangerous area and I'm working here as a stripper". I couldn't stop laughing when I saw the looks of the chinese woman and the retired russian man, an electrical engineer. I couldn't even hold the laughter when I realized that they weren't aware f the meaning of "stripper". Our new peer asked me to explain it to the rest. "No way", I replied, "You do it yourself". And he did. The chinese woman didn't show any signs of surprise in her face and the russian man, after making sure that he thoroughly understood the whole thing, replied: "And what future do you have?".  

                                                                             Toronto 6th. October 2011

 

 

T

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18 octubre 2011 2 18 /10 /octubre /2011 17:13

"Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I'll show you a person who has never achieved much" Joan Collins.

           I made a mistake the other day but I learnt a lesson from it: We have to follow the rules of the country that welcomes us but, show me a person who has never made a mistake.

         I was walking home with my mind somewhere else, without paying much attention to what I was doing and I took the wrong entrance to my subway station. I took the way out instead of the way in. I heard behind me a loudspeaker saying something but I kept on walking and took no notice.

         Suddenly two hulking men, two policemen like tanks, stopped me and shouted: Madam, you have not paid your fare!. Just as well as I actually held the token in my hand and I convinced them that I had made an error, that I didn't know the way very well, that I'm a newcomer, that the mistake will teach me not to do it again.

          I achieved what I was trying to get, not to pay the $500, the five-hundred bucks fine they threatened me with. "Sorry", I said, and even dared to add: "Show me a person who has never made a mistake and I'll show you a person who has never achieved much". They did not like the quote.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30 septiembre 2011 5 30 /09 /septiembre /2011 06:33

Ten lashes with a whip

 

I cannot believe it. The Globe and Mail had it at the front page. While the king hands women of Saudi Arabia the right to vote, two days later, a young woman is sentenced yo ten lashes with a whip for driving a car. This happened just 48 hours after King Abdullah announced to his Shura Council of advisers that henceforth women shoud have the right to stand for office and to nominate candidates in future municipal elections. Meanwhile a Court convicted a saudi woman of driving without government permission and sentenced her to ten lashes with a whip, the most serious punishment ever given for the offence . Her name is Shaima Ghassaniya and she is in her 30s.

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23 septiembre 2011 5 23 /09 /septiembre /2011 17:00

   Next 6th there are the Ontario eleccions. As you probably know the Ontario province of Canada's confederation is the most populated and Toronto the most populated city with almost half of his inhabitants not having been born in Canada. So, this multicultural province is going to elect its Parliement. I still don't know anything about Canedian and Ontario politics but having looked at the propaganda they are sending to the homes and after having been followed everyday that I come back home at Concorde Avenue by the face and the eyes of a man called Jonah Schein from Ontario NDP (new democrats) looking at me from the political propaganda sticked in my street gardens I think I woud vote for Frank de Jong, member of the Green Party of Ontario, dutch origin, who thinks that Toronto should stop adding fluoride to drinking water;  that disease prevention with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise is the best way to keep people healthy, and is for the prohibition of what he calls "exotic clubs" that subjugate women for prostitution and drug-related crimes, I think he is our man. As far as I know and I just arrived here. PITY I CANNOT VOTE.   

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21 septiembre 2011 3 21 /09 /septiembre /2011 22:14

 

 

 Could this sentence start my Journal, I think not. Even though I have experienced the main philosophy of the quote I often don't want to think or to review my recent past, so let's begin with another famous sentence: "Today is the first day of the rest of my life".

     And I start from a different point of view that gives me the fact of being far away from my home place, in  Toronto, with few friends. And what am I doing here I keep on asking myself and my inner voice keeps on repeating: Núria, you're improving your English, that's all, you're getting back to the old days but with a fresh attitude forged by your experiences in life.

 

                                                        Toronto, Wednesday 21st. Sept. 2011

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