Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Dog is so Cute

There isn't much else to say. He lives in America, so it's a long-distance ownership. It's complicated; he is in love with my mother's dog. He is so cute though, and I miss him always. Look at his little pug face!! He says, "Boof" instead of "Woof" and is generally magnificent.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I've been so busy

watching 30 Rock like it's my job. I'm on winter vacation, so to speak, and I've been very indulgent. How have I not seen this show before? It is honestly one of the funniest shows I've ever seen, ever. And Tina Fey has quickly become my hero. She is such a great writer, and her team of writers are truly gifted. She's smart, funny, liberal, creative, and generally great. The characters are such a fabulous mess, all of them.

So... if any one of my 4 followers or periodic drifters has been wondering why I've been so quiet, some of it is travel, some of it is holiday madness, and the rest of it is Tina Fey.

"I believe that the moon does not exist. I believe that vampires are the world's greatest golfers but their curse is they never get a chance to prove it. I believe that there are 31 letters in the white alphabet. Wait...what was the question?"

EU Court of Human Rights Rules Rules Bosnia-Herzegovina's Consitution Discriminatory Toward Roma and Jews

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg (France) reportedly ruled on Tuesday that Bosnia’s constitution discriminated against Roma and Jews because it prohibited them to run for parliament or presidency.

The Hindu community has also urged Bosnia-Herzegovina to urgently modify its constitution to reflect that all its citizens are treated equally. Acclaimed Hindu statesman and president of Universal Society of Hinduism, Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on the 23rd of December, said that it was moral duty of Europe (which prided itself for its human rights record) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (a country of age-old cultures and fabulous mountain vistas) to take care of their minorities who had participated together with the majority in continent building. Europeans should leave the ethnicities behind and build a better Europe working together, Zed added.

Structuring European and world societies on the principles of pluralism would be a step in the right direction, Rajan Zed also argued.

According to an ECHR press release: The Bosnian Constitution, in its Preamble, makes a distinction between two categories of citizens: the so-called “constituent peoples” (Bosniacs, Croats and Serbs) and “others” (Jews, Roma and other national minorities together with those who do not declare affiliation with any ethnic group). The House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly (the second chamber) and the Presidency are composed only of persons belonging to the three constituent peoples.

Tuesday’s judgment was given by the Grand Chamber of 17 judges, with Jean-Paul Costa (France) as President. ECHR, an international court to deal with violations of civil and political rights established in 1959, has delivered more than 10, 000 judgements.

*Article courtesy of Rajan Zed

I understand that Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Balkans in general has recently been through much dividing and reassembling. The ethnic and political conflicts in much of the Balkans is still electric. For those of you interested in the history of the area, refer to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon by Rebecca West and Balkan Ghosts by Robert D. Kaplan, probably the 2 best books on the region and truly well-written to boot. I think it is wonderful that the problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina's constitution have been brought to light, and hopefully this will spark political change, which in turn may begin to heal the enormous and dangerous rift between the different ethnic groups in the region. These people have been through so much, and embracing each other as fellow people in peace and goodwill can only help.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Startling EU Survey Results about the Plight of Roma

The results of recent European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights survey concluded that every second Roma was discriminated against. This European Union Survey on Roma also found that each discriminated Roma experienced about 11 incidents of discrimination yearly, 66-92 percent of Roma did not report discrimination because they felt that “nothing would happen or change” by reporting, about 86 percent could not name an organization that could assist them in case of discrimination, about 69 percent of Roma consider ethnic/immigrant discrimination was widespread.

The survey pointed out that one in four Roma was victim of crime, one in five Roma was victim of racially motivated crime, each crime victim Roma experienced about four incidents in a year, 81 percent crime victim Roma considered victimization racially motivated, 65-100 percent Roma did not report personal victimization to police because “they were not confident that the police would be able to do anything”, one in three Roma were stopped by police and half of Roma thought they were stopped because they were Roma, and Roma stopped by police experienced four stops a year.

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman and president of Universal Society of Hinduism; and Rabbi Jonathan B. Freirich, prominent Jewish leader in Nevada and California in USA; in a joint statement in Nevada today, said that it was almost 2010 and Roma apartheid in Europe was still continuing openly and blatantly in full view of the world with no end in sight.

Zed and Freirich pointed out that the alarming condition of Roma people is a social blight for Europe and the rest of the world as Roma reportedly regularly face social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, language barriers, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, appalling living conditions, prejudice, human rights abuse, racist slogans on Internet, and more.

Zed and Freirich urged European Union and United Nations not to stay apathetic and silent spectator when fellow Roma brothers/sisters are facing blatant injustice and discrimination in Europe. He urged them to show strong political will, courage, and commitment in support of Roma cause.

References to Roma people in Europe, who numbered around 15 million, reportedly go as far back as ninth century AD. Zed and Freirich asked, how many more centuries Roma had to reside in Europe to prove that they were “real and equal” Europeans like any other?

*Information supplied by Rajan Zed, Hindu statesman and president of Universal Society of Hinduism

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I hear it's best to laugh

I've been on hiatus for a few weeks. I suppose I needed a break. A lot has been going on-- I'm traveling soon to a mystery destination, and I'm looking wildly for funding for school. Also, I started volunteering with Barnardos, a charity that helps abused children. Check out the website here! I really like volunteering there and I love all the good work that the charity does. Child abuse is an enormous problem, and helping kids out of a bad situation right away is absolutely essential. It gives them a chance to have a happy future even though terrible things have already happened. It's a chance to thrive, and hopefully, a chance to have a childhood.

While I was volunteering though, this filthy man wandered into the store. I say filthy for a few different reasons. He was older, perhaps in his late 60's, and the stench emanating from him was powerfully rancid. My stomach flipped as it often does when I encounter a person with bad character or bad intentions. He wandered up to me as I was flitting about the shop and asked where I'm from. His lips seemed to make kissing gestures, but I thought perhaps he had a disease like Parkinsons that affects muscle control. "America," I said, but I really didn't want to talk to him. But he's a potential customer; I have to I thought.
"Where?" he asked again, stepping closer to me, the smell curling sickly into my lungs
"America," I said again, taking a step back.
"Where?" a step closer.
"Where in America?
"New Hampshire."
He stepped closer again and his lips pursed in a flurry of kisses. Then he looked me up and down and sneered. "I want to fuck you," he growled.
I shot him a filthy looked and turned to look at the volunteer behind the counter, closest to the phone incidentally, for help. She stared at me blankly. I turned back around and the pervert was already walking out the door, laughing.

I was kicking myself all day as I thought of everything I should have said or done. My mother told me that when a man flashed her and she pointed and laughed at his naked display, tears welled up in his eyes and he ran away. I should have laughed! I kept thinking, but I didn't feel like laughing. I felt depressed and small. What kind of weirdo walks into a charity that helps abused children and then abuses the volunteers? And why, why does this kind of thing keep happening to me? Haven't I been through enough degradation? Haven't we all?

Think fast; we have to be prepared.

Where is the spirit of bonhomie?