Travels of a T-shirt
We live in a completely connected world. We may not realize it but even the way we produce clothes is connected.
We live in a completely connected world. We may not realize it but even the way we produce clothes is connected.
Nowadays, we live in the Capitalistic consumption society and world. [Read more…] about Our Reverse World
Sometimes the easiest things look very complicated, but it is us who make them so complicated. In this case I’m talking about our garden and our hens in my school: Holsted, and how important these experiences are for me.
Ten months have passed since I started my 18 months program here at the school and it is time to look back to what I have achieved and move forward to the project…
This experience has a title that means a lot to me:
As a student, and even more as a person with access to resources, I take this part of the program as an action. Neither random nor a simple one but a conscious act, based on a preparation given by experiences and studies to better understand what to fight against, why and how.
This is the big word that got me to this program. There are so many issues to fight against in the world, so many to fight for but this “with” is special to me. Education becomes not only a key towards understanding but a channel that creates the connection between the fighter and the fighting for.
A fellow human being, not poverty but the Poor. Realizing that at both sides of this Education there are fighters: the one who knows the why and the one who lives the how. Only by understanding the importance of seeing the will and strength of the Poor to be protagonists of their own lives, their own change and fight for better condition, we can try to help these fellow fighters.
These considerations come from a mix of personal background, new experiences at the school, the studies we carry on, and represent a further connection with the world and its realities. This connection has been strengthened in each step of the program in a variety of forms.
The life at the school made me get in contact with many different people, each one with a story, a culture, a language and an attitude. I am always fascinated when people from different ages, places and socio-economic backgrounds share an experience together.
This time the experience has been sharing the daily-life. It is not an easy task even with the people you love and care about, so imagine in this way! However, the beauty of this challenge is seeing how, in time, everybody learns something new they didn’t know and how the edges of our knowledge start to take new shapes. We read about diversity, we experience it by travelling or through individual events in our lives but when you have to face it every morning waking up, it becomes a different kind of learning.
I arrived here with an idea of meeting a certain kind of people that I would have liked and loved to spend time with and work, but I realized that my idea was wrong at its base. There was a sort of perfection that I was expecting, but that is not life. I found myself many times thinking I could have met the same people outside, so what was the purpose of being here?
In time, I have learned that outside I probably wouldn’t have spent my energy on someone I initially would not like, or that was maybe coming from a wealthy life or behaves in a way that goes against my principles. I decided to stay and I am incredibly happy for that, I had the opportunity to adapt my own behaviour, to give chances, to understand that actions are a result of what we learned and only by keeping learning we can influence each other and keep changing in better human beings.
The studies have been another important form of connecting me with the world’s realities. I come from a family who dedicated their lives to support each other through work, because the economic conditions they were in didn’t allow them to study. All my knowledge come from my own efforts to understand the world in a broader way and I couldn’t rely on my family for that. While I am thankful for the ethics and the love they pass on to me, I had to work a lot by myself to make connections, find people, search for knowledge. Here I had the opportunity to find a different source of it and I have been enjoying the ideas, the perspectives and views through each task.
The concept of education and teachers I found here was not knew to me. I have learned during the years that whoever has something valuable to pass on to others, to enrich another person can be a teacher, and for this reason this person also has ups and downs, limits and challenges. So I have learned that the role of student is not limited to a specific time and place in life, it follows us all all the way. Despite the need of some improvement, I believe in these concepts and I have seen their values applied not only by myself but by the people around me.
Last but not least I have evaluated the importance of a team in this program. Due to my previous work as an activist, I am used to give a lot of importance to a team while working towards communal goals. We stand up, we learn, we fall, we stand up again, all of it needs strength and support. The team is both your strength and your support as you are for them. The dynamics of my team have changed more than once here at the school, this however did not get in the way of personal and interpersonal development. Many differences, contradictions, arguments that brought me today to share this experience with 3 other incredible girls, with good hearts which motivate them, skills and intelligence to act upon and affection for each other.
I am about to enter a new part of this education, my service period in Africa.
I feel I am going with a lot more baggage in my backpack than what I had when I started.
I feel ready to meet the WITH and enthusiastic to do it WITH the people I had the opportunity to grow until this moment.
By Alessia from Italy
One small part of cultural difference between Eastern and Western from the perspective of an Asian girl.
Thanks to the development of information and communication technology, the world has faced a new stage. The world has become “Global village”, which represents the simplification of the whole world into one village through the use of electronic media. ‘Global village is also a term to express the constituting relationship between economics and other social sciences throughout the world.’ (from Wikipedia)
Thanks to this change of the world, I can be here and study in Denmark, on the European continent, even though I was born and raised in Korea, located in Northeast Asia.
I felt a hundred of differences between the culture of the West and the East. Among them, there is the most distinct cultural difference I felt, about respecting personal differences and individual diversity.
The spirit of Asian cultures is based on Confucian and Buddhist cultures. It emphasizes “Us”, “Together”, “Community spirit”, and not: “Me”, “Individual”, “Personal”. We learn that considering the other people and the community first is the virtue of our life. The main idea is that the same is good rather than the differences. From the culture, we usually try to consider and care for the other people instead of “I”. So the group together works on making people feel a sense of fellowship and connectedness.
However, when we put too much emphasis on “us”, it puts less respect on individual opinions and preferences. If people look different or behave different in the group, this is considered as not good. And people from Asia are very conscious about the eyes of other people. How will their eyes see me? And also, the other people are usually talking about each other’s appearance and how each and everyone is looking.
On the other hand, Western culture is opposite from Eastern. one of the most important elements in defining Western culture is diversity and respecting personal differences. In this culture, people think that personal choice and preference are the key for building the community. They focus on each person, the focus point is individual freedom instead of the community or the group. When Western people see the other people’s different kinds of appearances or styles, they just accept their ways. And people do not care about how the eyes of other people will see them. They just do or express what they want.
It is good to freely express your opinion or personal preference, but sometimes it can be beyond consideration of the others. It is not easy to find the spirit of community when we excessively pursue individual freedom.
Sometime, people consider the one thing to be better than the other. Western Culture better then Eastern Culture or vice versa. I think that everything has pros and cons. I don’t mean to say that one side is right or wrong. What we need is to accept its differences and try to understand and respect each other.
Since arriving and living here in Europe, I have felt a difference between the two cultures and I have been surprised almost every day. So I started to think about where these differences come from and why and how? It is because now I have seen, listened to, and felt the things that I learned only from books and knew only in my head. This article is a part of the process of finding out.
Actually, this is a very small part of the culture shock I felt. Let’s say it is one of the hundred. I think that writing this reflection is a good start for me, it may enable me to discover more cultural differences that I feel in the future.
By Jiwon Lee from Korea
Oh what a book!!
The book is set in a fictional town called Khaufpur. It is based on the aftermath of the Union Carbide Gas Disaster in Bhopal, India that wreaked havoc on the lives of the people living in the city then and now. The book is about the struggle of The Poor in the face of corporate greed and profit – and about the existence of The Poor in spite of that. It is a damning account of corporate greed and profit.
‘I used to be human once. So I am told.’ is how we meet our main character Animal in the first page of the book. He is a hard-edged, fearless 19 year-old boy who has grown and survived in a city of tormented people who suffer ill health, painful lives and early, agonizing death after ‘that night’ of terror.
‘Animal’s People’ is an honest, poetically stark and provocative book about life, love, fear, hope and most of all friendship. Early in life, Animal’s spine was twisted through the effects of the poison leaked ‘that night’ and also the poison leaked into the water he drinks and into the food he eats. His twisted spine forces him to walk on hands and feet, on ‘all fours’, hence his name. After living a life scavenging for food at the mercy of insults of many, the book is about the people who Animal meets in his 19th year of life who love, feed and nurture him, helping him to blossom from a defensive being to a full blown human being.
You need to be prepared to enter a new world in the first pages of the book and you need to plough through them because Animal introduces the reader to a whole host of beautiful characters who share and dare.
Animal is vulgar and rough. He lies and is obsessed with sex. He is afraid of no-one and denies being human. At the same time, he is caring and he reluctantly takes up the voice of truth where others do not dare. He is an intriguing character with whom, if we are honest, we can each find something of ourselves. You become repulsed with this boy sometimes but despite this you grow to love him and his friends through the journey of the book. The lives of you and them, we and us become entwined… and you laugh and you cry.
Indra Sinha captures every essence of our humanity, tingling our consciousness about how inhumane the world can be, and at the same time, about the need to unite to take up the fight for a better life!
In ‘Animal’s People’ you can read ‘Having nothing means we have nothing to lose. So armed with the power of nothing, we are invincible and we are bound to win.’
There is so much more to discover in this book.
The first pages take an effort but are as compelling as the rest of the book.
In general the book is contagious; and sometimes a little too crazed for those of us who believe we have our feet firmly planted in a sane world.
The last 100 pages are full of tension keeping the reader turning the pages.
It is a book about people.
A book that makes you recoil in shame.
A book to laugh and cry with!
A must read
I really loved this book and would need to read it again because the speed with which I read it the first time means I probably skipped over some golden nuggets.
In order to be able to make any kind of change, to contribute to the present, hunting down future goals for the people of this world and its environment, we need to understand what we are dealing with.
What is then this world we are in?
The more I get into it, the better I can visualize this global picture and it gets every time a little bit less blurry. Whenever I manage to zoom out of the specific part of the world I am focusing on, I keep finding myself at the same conclusion: This world is a battleground.
I believe in standing up for ourselves and others, in the coexistence of good and bad inside each one of us and the free will to go one side or another, in change as part of life and thus always possible, I believe in fighting for it and in the power of people. Peace is in the hands of everyone willing to use them. When I see the global picture thou, whose hands are claiming to move for Peace? What impact does this have on the world?
In the process of understanding three words are essential:
The countries who have them and the ones who want them already set an initial sketch of our picture. A rivalry among nations for access and control of resources and precious minerals to boost economic growth hides behind many world events affecting entire populations, consuming and destroying our land, our water.
Earth is not earth, it is a political piece of the global picture. Earth is not cherished for what it provides, it is consumed for the wealth of few, it is abused to the point of not use, taking away the lives of many in the process. The global landscape is reshaped to secure economic and strategic 1interests.
The battleground exists, it is just right there in front of people eyes. Then how is it possible not to see it? And how is it possible then even when people do see it, they end up not only supporting it but finding it necessary? The manipulation of events through controlled images and misleadingnlanguage creates distorted realities, which become a truth in the eyes and ears of a passive viewer/listener.
Since colonization, European countries have been competing for trade routes and national resources. They made of colonies commercial ventures managed by investor-owned companies, which were making fortunes from the profits of prosperous colonies: the East India Company, the Virginia Company, The Hudson’s Bay Company, the Massachusetts Bay Company,, the New Netherland Company. These companies could operate as they pleased, overcoming the socio–economic and political structure of the occupied country at the expenses of indigenous people.
Conquering, expanding, exploiting…the hegemony battle, unlike wars, never stops. After World War II the US and the Soviet Union became the main players of this battle, competing to extend their influence by occupying countries, overthrowing governments, defining enemies and allies through military and political treaties.
Intelligence agencies and the Media have been, and still are today, the invisible soldiers of such a battle. The pioneer of modern propaganda, Edward Bernay, said:
“the intelligent manipulation of the masses is an invisible government which is the true ruling
power in our country”.
The manipulation of the public, necessary to pursue geographical and economic hegemony, is carried on in a diversity of ways and with the powerful support of the military and the Intelligence.
Based on the principle of association between products and desires, the propaganda machinery has been fed by grabbing people by their emotions, especially fear.
Enemies are created in order to cover real motives of resources exploitation, geographical and economical power. Soviet Union and in general Communism and communist countries have been used during the cold war as a mean to spread fear into people minds.
The Pentagon by itself spends millions of dollars on advertising and recruiting propaganda for selling the war. Intelligence is used to manipulate the news. Embedded journalists, controlled by the military in what they see, where they go and what they report, are the ones appearing and sourcing mainstream media.
In a world of 24h news programs the associations became illusions, the facts don’t matter anymore because the symbols used are deprived of their meaning and take a life of their own.
This image of the Twin Towers in flames, became a
symbol in the eyes of Americans, and it was used tocreate the
illusion that Saddam Hussein was connected with it, even
thou he wasn’t at all. Facts didn’t matter.
Manipulation of images, of information, of language itself help create acceptance of distorted convenient realities, and justifications of horrendous acts. “Exporting democracy”, “Humanitarian
intervention”, “Operation Enduring Freedom”, “Operation Restore Hope”, exploiting words which bear a sense of positiveness and justice in them to conduct military attacks against countries, oppress and kill people, pollute the environment and erase entire habitats.
Military coups and invasions are carried on by deception, by violence or both together: Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq(Iran), Jacobo Arbenz Guzman (Guatemala), Patrice Lumumba (Congo), Sukarno (Indonesia), Salvador Allende (Chile), military interventions in Somalia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya are so few examples of this combination on the world battleground.
Time has passed since Colonization, however Independences did not erase it. What we see today is a much improved version of it, with more sophisticated technology, a legal system legitimizing it through organizations like the WTO , IMF and World Bank.
Spreading neo-liberalism and free market, a mix of liberalization and protectionism used to increase the wealth of the powerful states that run it and the version of the new investor-owned companies tied to them. As Noam Chomsky said “A major attack on human rights and democracy”.
The deception of the propaganda machine has reached a level so high that Peace is officially carried on in the hands of the UN, with its Peacekeepers (security council permanent members and allowed to veto: France, UK, US, China, Russia) holding nuclear weapons. NATO, which should have been dissolved in 1991, bombing people and polluting environment under the banner – humanitarian intervention – . Even fear reached its apogee becoming the enemy itself: The war on TERROR!
What effect has on me this battleground picture I am watching? You might guess a negative one of powerlessness, but it does not. The fact that I am watching it and becoming aware of it makes it a counter attack, the first one in the hand of each person, to one of the three words listed above:
Next step is the one of figuring out how to transform it into action and effectiveness.
natural resource: Water
People resistance to water
By Alessia from Italy
Dear August team,