Trump “lacks common decency”

The public probably already knows about the relationship between the United States and France, that it is indeed a special relationship looking back at their pasts together. Both countries have leaders that are well known by the public, but their recent meeting at the anniversary of the Paris terror attacks was what brought us back to memory lane on why their relationships is as bad as it is. It all started with some tweets President Trump wrote regarding France’s unfair trade policy and mocked him on twitter on tuesday, 12th november, the day before the anniversary.

When on the anniversary of the 2015 Paris terror attacks U.S President Donald Trump should have shown some “common decency”. Instead Trump tweeted a series of tweets criticizing Emmanuel Macron on tuesday, only a day before the anniversary of the assassination of the 130 compatriots that happened three years ago in Paris and Saint Denis. Trump did not attend the moment of silence at the Aisne-MArne American cemetery and memorial at Belleau this wednesday due to “poor weather”, which he got criticized for the lack of common decency by Benjamin Griveaux.

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/14/politics/france-trump-macron-tweets-intl/index.html

 

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The Northern Ireland conflict

My status as a member of Europe and as a Scandinavian citizen means that it should be taken for granted that I know about various major conflicts in my continent as well as the fact that it was taught during middle school. I hope that the following blog will help you understand and learn about the conflict and how it is controversial within the Brexit Negotiations.

Basically, the conflict in Northern Ireland more commonly known as ‘The Troubles’ was essentially a conflict between the Irish and the English, the Republicans and the Unionists and also Catholics and Protestants over the ownership of the six counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Derry (Londonderry as it is known by unionists) and Tyrone. A running republican joke that tends to cause some offence to the British people is “Whats the only county in Ireland with 6 silent letters in its name, Derry!”

During August 1966 riots took place all over Northern Ireland which prompted England to deploy British Troops as a security force. At first they were welcomed with open arms as it was thought that there would finally be peace but sadly this temporary peace was not to last. The British Army began to favour unionists and their paramilitaries such as the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Loyalist Volunteer Force. This sparked outrage in catholic community and subsequently ignited the fires of urban guerrilla warfare. The Irish Republican Army took to the streets of Belfast and various other towns engaging in brutal door to door, house to house firefights. These bouts of combat continued until 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement was signed causing the drawdown and disposal of weapons used by the IRA. This agreement was abolished in 2007 and the North currently has its own government. One of the most prominent events of the troubles for me has to be Bloody Sunday where British Soldiers opened fire on 13 Irish peaceful protesters without warning.

It makes me sad to know that even as I speak of these events there are still small scale bouts of combat ongoing, causing the deaths of civilians and paramilitary volunteers alike, in the North between splinter groups of the IRA and various paramilitary forces that are loyal to the crown.

When England exited the EU, northern Ireland was forced to go with them. The difference between the two island are even greater than they were before. There is the possibility of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic meaning that many jobs could be lost due to border crossings being difficult if not impossible. How these events will affect the people of both countries in the future is soon to be revealed.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope Ive helped you to understand more about the ongoing conflict in the North of Ireland and what Brexit means for both countries, and as the Republicans say “Tiocfaid ár lá!” (Our day will come)

Pride (2014) – an extraordinary story

Last week we watched the movie Pride (2014) directed by Matthew Warchus. It is a historical comedy/drama based on true events. UK gay activists work to help the miners during the lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.

“If anybody knows what this treatment feels like, it’s us”. During the UK miners’ strike of 1984-85, there was a surprisingly low amount of people who showed their support for the miners. The group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) started to collect money to help the union workers. They would stand outside the “Gay is the Word” bookstore with buckets and chant out the name of their organization. Some would donate, others would spit at them.

The movie is set in the 1980’s, the UK society at this time was a lot different from how it is today. The brits were very narrow-minded when it came to sexualities. Being gay was wrong. If you were gay, your opinion was worthless and you didn’t mean anything. At the time aids was a big thing. It was new, and nobody knew where it came from. So who got the blame? The gays. There was nothing good about being gay in the 1980’s.

The main character, Joe, was a quiet young man who is taken under the collective wing of the group at his first Gay Pride march. He had not come out as gay to anybody but himself yet. Joe had recently been accepted to a cooking school, and whenever LGSM would go on a trip, he would tell his parents that it was a school trip so they would not become suspicious. This later became a problem when he got a letter from the school about his attendance.

Joe would also become the photographer for the group so he could stay hidden. He would also cut articles and pictures from newspapers and keep them hidden in his room as memories. His mother later found them while he was on one of his trips and he came home to a crying mother and a furious father. His father would yell at him and his mother tried to talk some sense in to him, saying it was only a phase.

As for the society being so narrow-minded, it was “normal” to not interact with the gays, which meant nobody wanted to have anything to do with them. As for Dai, the representative of the community of Dulais, he did not really know that they were gays and lesbians, as he asks “so, LGSM, what does that stand for?”. It is clear that Dai was surprised when he found out what it stood for when he states: “I thought the L was for London. London something. I never dreamed for a moment it was L for…” Even though he was surprised, he showed no sign of being homophobic, and he was in no way negatively affected by this new information.

The two groups were very skeptical to each other at the beginning, having the mindset of how the society in the UK was at that time, being skeptical was understandable. The lifestyle of someone from London and someone from a small town was very different. If being gay in London was not hard enough, being gay and coming to a small town where everybody knows each other and already has a lot of prejudices against you would be a hundred times worse. The people of Dulais had never met a gay person before, or at least they did not know they had. Have in mind, being gay was wrong in this time. When first meeting, it was a clear border between the gays and the non-gays, but after being forced to interact with each other, they soon realized that they really enjoyed each other’s company.

“Standing together can be the strongest union of all” is a very powerful message, and the movie proves this statement very well. Both the gays and the miners were viewed upon as almost worthless. The miners were struggling and very few would help them, and being gay was just not acceptable. As individuals they would not stand a chance, but together they gained respect and honor. They also participated in the Pride parade, and maybe for the first time it was not only gays. Together, they managed to change the views on different sexualities in both the UK and the rest of the world.

My Expectations For This School Year

This year I am very excited for the english classes, even though I m sure that there will be a lot of reading and studying. The curriculum this year seems very interesting and I am excited to learn a lot of the history and politics in the UK and US.

I do hope that we have a bit more group presentations this year, something we had a bit too little of last year.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

By Mohsin Hamid (2007) is the novel we are reading this school year. We are now into he first four chapters of the book.

I find the story quite interesting. So far I have only read 4 chapters, and I am yet not to be disappointed. The book is different from other books, which I find really fascinating. The story is told through monologue, without any response from the stranger listening.

The company Underwood Sam seemed like a prestigious and exclusive company, with top-quality workers. The trainee program seemed pretty harsh, but very fair. This gives the employees the vision of the American Dream. If you work hard, you will get rewarded.

Changez really liked New York. He felt like home there, not hard to understand when so much around him reminded him of his home town. The taxi drivers spoke the same language as him, not far from his apartment was a serving establishment called Punjab Deli. Tourists would even ask him for directions.

During the story, we get introduced to a woman named Erica. She was the love of Changez’ life. She is presented as a really attractive and smart woman. “She attracted people to her; she had presence, an uncommon magnetism.”

Bilde av The reluctant fundamentalist

Outsourced

The movie “Outsourced” is about an American man named Todd, who is forced to go to India to train his replacement, after his entire department is being outsourced to India. 

The first culture shock comes when a huge crowd of taxi drivers start to fight over him at the airport, and he ends up in a scooter with a roof, from which then he has to jump on an overcrowded train in speed. As the train does not have any free seats, Todd looks grateful when a young boy offers his seat, but when Todd sits down, the boy sits down on his lap. 

When he arrives at his destination, he learns his first lesson about India’s sanitary issues when he purchases a drink with ice made from polluted water. 

The new department manager meets up with him and insists that he ​cannot​ stay at a hotel, but takes him to a boarding house run by an older Indian couple. This is where he ​learns​ that you should not eat with your left hand, it is considered unclean. The owner of the ​boardinghouse explain​ by sign language why Indians do not eat with their left hand. 

Language problems, like when he tells the staff that recommending rubbers to “back to school shoppers” are inappropriate, and poor ​Todd who​ they call Mr. Toad decides to teach his staff “​American​”.

Todd craves an all American cheeseburger and spends a small fortune on a taxi to Bombay only to end up at a vegetarian burger place, where he meets another American who advises him to “give in to India” He follows the advice, and now he is sharing the leftovers from his meals with the poor family on the other side of the wall and his willingness to finally give in to Indian culture helps him in all aspects​. ​He strikes up a romantic relationship with a girl at the office, who opens his eyes to Hindu religious practices, for example Kali, the goddess of destruction, not necessarily is a negative influence because she can help to end one cycle, so that another can begin. He is invited for lunch with the poor family on the other side of the wall, and when he gets back his stolen phone from the young boy, he knows that he is accepted.

Todd’s boss arrives unexpectedly from America, and when Todd takes him to the office there is a flood. While the staff are trying to save the computers, Todd shows that he has adapted to the Indian culture by moving the office up on the roof, and getting help to illegally rewire the electricity​ ​from the pole with help from his neighbor from the other side of the wall. After work the crew goes out to celebrate, and Todd’s boss takes him to the side to tell him the real reason he is in India. They are outsourcing to China, and he must fire everybody. To his ​surprise​, the crew are not sad about losing their jobs. They get one month’s severance pay, and look at it as paid vacation.

The only one who got sad about losing their job was manager, he was finally making enough money to marry his sweetheart. However, at the end it all worked out. Todd turned down the job in China and gave it to the Indian manager.

Todd has learned that in India, the key to survival is adaptability, and when one door closes, another one opens. He goes back to America happy, unemployed and with a new outlook on life.

Why is #Metoo so important?

In the past few years, sexual violence has been a very highlighted subject in our society. In the past, men and women were often shamed if they spoke out about their experiences. But now that awareness is being brought to the subject. We are finding out, that there is a shocking number of people have dealt with this issue. It is important that we continue to foster an environment where victims of sexual violence can speak out without the fear of criticism or judgment. The “Me Too” Movement is doing exactly that. It is creating a space where victims can tell their stories feel supported, but they aren’t forced into telling every detail—which is often why it so difficult for victims to speak out.

The “Me Too” Movement is growing and bringing to light just how many untold stories there are. Maybe they will be told or maybe they won’t. Either way, there is a large support group for victims of sexual assault made up of fellow victims as well as many who haven’t been through it themselves, but continue to support.