The Sum of Our Days

Dec 22

Deadly wave of looting hits Argentina - Americas - Al Jazeera English -

It’s time for Kirchner to go.
Argentina needs a change from old school Peronist governing.Military, more police and surveillance are not the answer. 

Nov 15

ebookcollective:

Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians
by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé

Download PDF // Read Online

“Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War against the Palestinians is a 2010 collection of interviews and essays from Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé which examine Israel’s Operation Cast Lead and attempts to place it into the context of Israel-Palestine conflict. The book was edited by Frank Barat, who had conducted his first e-mail interview on the subject with Chomsky in 2005, as a result of his joint dialogue with Chomsky and Pappé, previously published as Le Champ du possible (Aden Editions, November 2008), which forms the heart of the work.” (x)

ebookcollective:

Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War Against the Palestinians

by Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé

Download PDF // Read Online

“Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel’s War against the Palestinians is a 2010 collection of interviews and essays from Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappé which examine Israel’s Operation Cast Lead and attempts to place it into the context of Israel-Palestine conflict. The book was edited by Frank Barat, who had conducted his first e-mail interview on the subject with Chomsky in 2005, as a result of his joint dialogue with Chomsky and Pappé, previously published as Le Champ du possible (Aden Editions, November 2008), which forms the heart of the work.” (x)

(via zabadoooh-deactivated20140410)

“The problem Gaza presents for Israel is that it won’t go away — though Israel would love it if it would. It is a constant reminder of the depopulation of Palestine in 1948, the folly of the 1967 occupation, and the many massacres which have happened since them. It also places the Israelis in an uncomfortable position because it presents a problem (in the form of projectiles) which cannot be solved by force.” —

Bodies for Ballots - Yousef Munayyer - Jadaliyya.

Israel has tried assassinating Palestinian leaders for decades but the resistance persists. Israel launched a devastating and brutal war on Gaza from 2008 to 2009 killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, but the resistance persists.

Go read this.

(via mehreenkasana)

(via stay-human)

Sep 04

States & Taxes

 2012 Failed States Index.

Good time to rethink the old-fashioned notion that ” the government that governs least, governs best” (Somali refugee camp being a good example).

 The top ten “failed” states include a number of countries with little or no effective governance. I recently read a great anecdote which explains that a good way to think about the positive attributes of states is to look at the relationship between state straights ( Failed States Index shows this) and “size of government” (operationalized as tax burden as a % of GDP- data from the Heritage Foundation). The above graph shows that relationship.

The graph shows that states with smaller tax revenues tend to have higher Failed States Index scores. The data reflects a representative sample of 62 countries. The orange dot represents the US.

Aug 31

Anonymous asked: What's opinion about this situation in your country?

Hi there,
In what country, Brazil? And what situation? The educational strike?

Aug 17

[video]

Aug 14

Brazilian Economy in the News

The last week saw a number of interesting articles discussing Brazil´s place  as the B among the BRIC countries. Here are two:

1.) “In an unusually pleasant slowdown, the unemployment rate is still at a record low, wages have risen, and more than 1 million jobs have been created this year.“
Brazil’s economic slowdown so far leaves many unscathed - latimes.com

2. “Maybe we just focus on the RIC countries. While we’re at it, Russia and India may not be so significant either.“
Brazil´s Influence is Nominal, at Best

BONUS- Brazilian President, Dilma discusses the Brazilian tax system.

3.“It’s unacceptable that Brazil, which has one of the most solid and lucrative financial systems, continues having one of the highest interest rates in the world.“
Rousseff Takes on the Infamous “ Brazil Coast“

A Reflection on Language


Learning a language whether it´s for survival, work or pleasure is never easy. It takes a lot of commitment, patience and hopefully appreciation of the history and culture of that particular language( although this is not always the case).

I had to learn English out of survival. My family moved to Canada and to go to school and have any success I of course had to learn the primary language. The process of language acquisition comes with a lot of blows to your self-confidence and to your sense of self. Children and adolescents are cruel and will point out your every mistake, commenting on your funny accent or just plain not understanding why you can´t construct a grammatically correct sentence.

People who have never had to move to another country and learn a language for survival will have a difficult time understanding how strenuous this process is, after all there is little choice involved. If English is your first language, you are in a position of privilege and should reflect on what that means when meeting new people, traveling, and entering new cultures weather for a moment or for a longer stay.

One of the cornerstone principles of diversity is that of unearned, unacknowledged privilege – if you are benefiting from the rules you are blissfully unaware that others are disadvantaged by them.

                       

International conferences are great examples of English language privilege and the sad side effects of it. The microphones are disproportionately claimed by native English speakers, as those for whom it is a second—or often third, fourth or fifth—language hang back, embarrassed to reveal their linguistic shortcomings in a group of their peers. This often results in a skewed, Anglo-Saxon view of the world and its challenges, and prevents any real diversity of opinion.

There is an interesting irony in this privilege and discrimination. Think about popular culture, the job market etc, where languages are often exoticism for consumption, currently Arabic, Mandarin and Portuguese ( in terms of work opportunities), while the people that are part of those cultures are treated like performers, despised and even demonized ( ex.post 9/11 depictions of the middle east).

It´s crucial to remember that non-native-English speakers consciously or unconsciously spend a lot of time rejecting their mother tongues to sound more like native English speakers mainly due to racist systematic cultural bullying. Think about what it would feel like to be a visibly Latina teacher in Arizona teaching your native language to a group of students perhaps barely making an effort to learn or use your language while the teacher herself is penalized and suffering from white supremacy for being a Latina and speaking Spanish in Arizona.

This blog post as much as it is a rant about English Language Privilege is also a plea to native English speakers that when learning a new language that you ask yourselves, “New to who?“ and to try to understand what an immigrant who already speaks that language faces and just how intimately language, culture and race are tied together.

"Half the languages of the world are likely to die out in the next 100 years - and if this happens it would be a true intellectual disaster. The world is a mosaic of visions, expressed through language. If even one language is lost, it is awful."

David Crystal

Aug 09

Mulheres Mil National Coordination

July flew by, as it always seems to do. Long days become packed with work and the night time seems to quickly slip into the next morning.

July brought about an exciting change for me. I began to spend the majority of my week working for the National Office of Mulheres Mil in the Ministry of Education. Along side two other staff members, one based in Brasilia and one that is perpetually traveling trying to keep this ever growing project running smoothly, I started to outline what a Mulheres Mil portfolio system might look like.

   

Mulheres Mil which is now a national project has a surprisingly small national coordination team, headed by Stela Rosa. It has been a pleasure working along side such energetic creative people and what I thought would be lengthy bureaucratic processes for the portfolio work have  been coming along quite smoothly.

I am realizing working face to face with Brazilians is a world away from working through email. Setting up this project and my work space within the Ministry took months, but once I started working within the same office, quick conversations and check ins took the place of  week long waits and email exchanges. I have always valued getting to know my coworkers as people and not simply colleagues and this is something that the Brazilians excel at.

   

The Ministry of Education is an exciting place to be, Mulheres Mil is of course a quickly growing project with a ton of pressure coming from President Dilma to graduate 100,000 by 2014, additionally the Ministry is pushing forward a billion doller project called The National Access to Technical Education and Employment (PRONATEC). The main goal of this program is to expand and democratize the provision of vocational and technological education courses for the Brazilian population.The hope is that within the next 4 years PRONATEC will provide eight million jobs to Brazilians of different profiles in the next four years.

Lastly, sine May 17th Brazilian Federal University professors have been on strike, now reaching just past three months of on going protests and town hall style events throughout the country. Working at the Ministry for the last month has meant crossing through a line of protesters with flags waving, speaker systems playing chants and pamphlets flying through the air.

This nationwide strike was done in an attempt to push the government into enacting highly sought-after reforms. During the strike, professors will continue their research, but are not holding classes. The decision to initiate this movement was made by professors who are members of a labor federation within Brazilian federal universities,formally known as Sindicato Nacional-Associação Nacional dos Docentes do Ensino Superior (ANDES-SN).
  

Suffice to say, work has been exciting and I look forward to seeing how my current work with the Mulheres Mil staff unfolds! It also goes without saying that PRONATEC and the recent education strike have provided great gateways to having intense conversations with friends and coworkers about the state of the country and what growth for Brazil has really meant.

Jul 17

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”

Nora Ephron