My first time in Africa

If you are a reader of my blog, a friend of mine or you simply look for my name in the web, you can think I am a liar. That’s true, I visited many African countries in the last twenty year, as a tourist or tour leader (it means the same for me!)

But my next trip will be a very special one for me. For the first time I’ll go there for a serious project. Thanks to Italian no-profit organizations Informatici Senza Frontiere (it sounds like IT without borders) and Yungar per la pace (Yungar for peace) me and two other friends will teach basic computer in Senegal.

That’s why I feel like my first time in Africa. I deeply believe that facilitating access to computing, helping to fight digital divide represents a step towards democracy, and social inclusion.

I hope to tell you soon about this story here, or if you’d like to practice your Italian also here.

Stay tuned!

 

January 27 – Memory Day / Il Giorno della Memoria

I wrote this post last year, but I deeply believe it is worthing to republish it again and again.

Moreover, here you’ll find a trailer telling about another Italian holocaust, happened in 1943 near Lago Maggiore


 

Extermination camp – photo by Emilio D’Itri – all rights reserved

On January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7.000 (seven thousand!) prisoners, deported in this death camp between 1940 and 1945.

For the first time the whole world realized what really happened, as Auschiwtz showed its horrors, beyond imagination. Auschwittz was a NETWORK of extermination camps.

In 2000 the Italian Parliament designated January 27 as ‘Memory Day’ an annual commemoration to remind all the people what happened in a recent past, and teach new generation about war’s horrors (for people that may concerned … the Italian law n. 211 dated July 20th, 2000).

In 2005, also United Nations adopted a resolution designating this day as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, with the important aim to develop educational programs to help prevention against acts of genocide.

It’s important to remember that the aim is not only to commemorate the victims (that is important too!), but to create and enforce a mass awareness about this tragedy, without forgetting the human’s responsibility.

Memory and awareness are the main way we have to not allow future acts of genocide.

Myanmar: the beginning of a new era

When I visited Myanmar in 2002, I spent a lot of time wondering if it was right to go there.

All the money spent in that country would have surely supported – in some way – the terrible military dictatorship.

Finally, I decided to go and see … During my trip I met a nineteen years old guide. When we were on the bus with the driver or other people he was used to mechanically speak, with a sort of  ‘flat’ sound. He didn’t reply to any difficult question about his country.

But during a trekking, far from any other people, he started to talk about his life, his family, his difficult life in Myanmar. There I realized that he was able to speak Italian better than English, that was also the reason why he looked at my Italian book about Myanmar. At the end of the trip, I wanted to give him the book but before I had to inform him about contents, as it strongly criticized Myanmar government.

A simply travel guide could represent a danger for him, for his freedom. However, as I supposed, he was very happy about the present, he took the book but fastly hid it.

Today, reading about Aung San Suu Kyi election, all my thoughts are for that young guy and ‘the beginning of a new era’ for Myanmar people.

Here and here two previous posts about Sung San Suu Kyi

And here, the song that Bono with U2 dedicated to her


Against all racism

Apartheid Museum - Johannesburg

Today we celebrate the International day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. You are in Rome, go to Colosseum for symbolic embracing!

Rome, Italy - March 21st, 2012 - by Jemima Russell

This is the message of the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon
“The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an important opportunity to remember the pernicious impact of racism.

Racism undermines peace, security, justice and social progress. It is a violation of human rights that tears at individuals and rips apart the social fabric.

As we mark this International Day under the theme of “racism and conflict,” my thoughts are with the victims.

Racism and racial discrimination have been used as weapons to engender fear and hatred. In extreme cases, ruthless leaders instigate prejudice to incite genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

There are many valuable treaties and tools – as well as a comprehensive global framework – to prevent and eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Nevertheless, racism continues to cause suffering for millions of people around the world. It thrives on ignorance, prejudice and stereotypes.

The United Nations is responding by working to foster inclusion, dialogue and respect for human rights. Where societies have been shattered by conflict, the United Nations strives to promote peace processes and peacebuilding that foster inclusion, dialogue, reconciliation and human rights. Uprooting racism and prejudice is essential for many war-torn societies to heal.

At the same time, I look to all people to join the United Nations in our drive to eliminate racism. We must, individually and collectively, stamp out racism, stigma and prejudice.

This year, we are spreading the word through social media. Visit our new website, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ban_Ki-moon.

Tweet your support with the hashtag #FightRacism.

Share the text of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination with the link http://bit.ly/xGOrnX.

 Post to one of our Facebook pages in English, French or Spanish. Or create your own campaign.

Join us, on this International Day, in spreading awareness to stop racism.”

Rome, Italy - March 21st, 2012 -By Jemima Russell

International Woman’s Day: nothing to celebrate

In these days all the Italian media are reporting about ‘crimes of passion’ in my country. In 2011, 97 (ninetyseven!) women were killed by their husbands, boyfriends, partners. How can we define a crime as a passion? Isn’t it a sort of cultural justification of power of possession?

Together with these crimes, sexual abuses are still alive and most of them are committed at home.

I was really impressed reading about an important a photography project by Grace Brown. This project is called Project Unbreakable. Grace uses photography to help heal sexual abuse survivors by photographing them with posters that hold quotes from their attackers.

Project Unbreakable

Project Unbreakable by Grace Brown

At the same time, in another part of the world … we are in Africa, but the “topic” is always the same: crimes and violence against women.

In order to create awareness, 70 climber from 30 different African countries are climbing Kilimanjaro. This initiative is part of an important campaign called Africa Unite (http://www.africaunitecampaign.org/), which aim is to enforce national laws to punish all forms of violence against women.

So … let’s start again with new ideas on International woman’s day, considering it not as a celebration, but an important opportunity to increase awareness, spread the voice, fight all forms of violence against women, all over the world.