Category Archives: global

Guest Blogger: Aminata Dansoko

A Strong Woman

Wangarĭ Maathai was an environmentalist, and a women’s rights activist.

She was also the founder of the Green Belt Movement Kenya, where she helped women in Kenya plant and maintained millions of trees.

She believed that trees are a key to spiritual values and it brings the idea of love for the environment, gratitude, commitment to service and self-betterment and that tree’s bring healing to our earth and us.

As an activist Wangari Maathai had face many political opponents in Kenya and even spend some time in jail because of her stand on women’s right. Most African countries do not acknowledge woman’s rights and Wangari Maathai took the risk and tried to end the idea of man superiority. She changed the view of women role not only in Kenya, but also in many parts of Africa.

She won a Nobel Peace Prize.

and wrote lots of books like Replenishing the Earth, The Challenge of Africa, and Unbowed.

The most amazing fact thing is that she came to Hobart and William Smith Colleges as a guest speaker. This is so awesome and amazing that I am attending a school that had one of my favorite role model of all time. I wish I could have met her, so I can see how powerful this woman is in person.

Unfortunately, Wangari Maathai has left us on September 25, 2011. She died of ovarian cancer. She has change the life of many and the role of women in Africa and I hope her movement will still be continued.


Do yourself a favor….

Take nine minutes out of your day and watch this video. Then think about it. And react

FW: Most stupid thing I have ever done

there is so much. so very, very much. Of course, what can I actually write here that will still allow for some sort of respect from my students?

I think I have managed to mention on here that I traveled around Europe about a decade ago. Well, on one of these adventures, I was heading from Munich in Germany to Prague in the Czech Republic. I traveled by train–a pretty straight and normally, a really easy trip. I took traveled at night so I wouldn’t lose any of my days through traveling. thus, I boarded a sleeper car.

so sleeper cars are not an American concept. In fact, traveling by train is hardly an American concept. In Europe, however, pretty common.

I boarded the train at 1a in Munich and headed to my assigned bunk in one of the cars. What I did not know was that there were three bunks in each car. it being 1a, everyone was pretty loaded up and already sleeping by the time I boarded. Getting to my bunk–of course the TOP bunk–entailed me climbing up two bunks. Awkward genius that I am with my too-stuffed backpack climbed on the face of not on but two sleeping Germans. so not happy with me.

Because I caused such chaos in boarding my bunk (I also turned the light on when I walked in, waking up half the passengers, apparently a no,no in a sleeper car) I wanted to slip out of there first thing when the train hit Prague.

So early morning light, I got ready, jumped down and as soon as the train came into a station, I got out, trying to avoid the people I had so rudely stomped on the night before. Leave it to me to get out the station BEFORE Prague.

Here I was, stuck at a train station in the middle of the Czech republic at 6a. Sun breaking through the trees, completely alone and clueless. You know, they do not speak English in Prague. In fact, it isn’t even the same alphabet.

my vanity, pride and embarrassment took a bruise. Especially having to find a way to Prague that day, 200 miles away.

Guest Blogger: Shane Samuel

Does Violence Equal Change?

As I sat in my American Studies class and watched the ending scene of the movie, Do The Right Thing, I felt a sense of confusion. Watching the people of Bedstuy Brooklyn, destroy the property of the neighborhood pizzeria as a way to retaliate against police brutality— which resulted in the death of a neighborhood resident— I was on unsure as to whether or not their actions was justified.

I believe violence is necessary when the people in power do not want to compromise or listen to those in the minority. By minority I am not solely referring to different races, although it will be the basis for this article; instead I use the terminology to refer to groups that are not heard in society.

I am not saying violence is the end of all means, I understand that violence can actually make things worse. However, I view violence as a form of democratic rebuttal in the sense that it is used to make a statement to those who refuse to listen. The Los Angeles riot of 1992 is a perfect example of how effective the use of violence was. After the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King, thousands of people took to the streets of L.A. and raised havoc for over 6 days, causing millions of dollars in damage.

As a result of this, the four officers were retried and although only two of them were found guilty, at least some justice was achieved. Sure, one can make the argument that the marches held by Martin Luther King Jr are examples of how the use of non-violence can be a success, but I think those marches were the exception. The reason I say this is due to the 2006 police shooting of Sean Bell.

Just like the beating of Rodney King, the officers involved in the shooting were acquitted of all charges. However, a riot did not break out, instead hundreds of people took to the street for a peaceful protest but nothing was done, the incident was brushed off by those in power; so how effective is non-violence.

To bring my argument into more recent times, take a look at Egypt, where the use of violence was necessary in order to achieve the change the people of Egypt wanted. The revolution started with acts of civil disobedience similar to the marches held by King, but no real change came about—besides the shutdown of internet access. It was not until the people of Egypt started to get violence that the Egyptian government actually started to take them seriously, which eventually led to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

The 2011 Egyptian revolution was reminiscent to the overthrow of the Paris commune in 1871, where Parisians used violence as a democratic rebuttal to the dictatorship of the Parisian government. These events show how the use of violence is sometimes necessary in order to achieve change.

Returning to the movie I mentioned earlier, after the people of Brooklyn rioted; it not only garnered a lot of attention but it resulted in the mayor calling for an investigation of the cause behind the riot—something I doubt would have happened if they peacefully protested. Do not get me wrong, I am not radical by any means; I agree that violence should not be the first thing one should result to but I do believe the use of violence is necessary when your cry is being ignored.

Finally. An idea I can get behind.

With images such as this:

and this:

I struggle with concepts of decadence.  I am sure Paris Hilton earns every dollar she makes but does she really need a $400,000 diamond-encrusted dashboard for her pink Bentley?  Does anyone?  Yes, those that make money have every right to spend it any way they wish.  But with events such as the Haiti earthquake and Japan tsunami, it is difficult to see frivolous spending such as this.

This is a subjective statement, of course.  I am sure Paris Hilton donates plenty of money to various charitable causes.  But I can think of better ways to spend the money that celebrities do spend.

Like, this is kind of cool:

I personally would not spend $40K on someone else’s hair (or even my own), but if you are going to spend that much cash, at least it is going somewhere worthwhile.

Now this is the ultimate in coolness:

Forty American billionaires have pledged at least half of their wealth to charitable causes – a combined value of at least $125 billion.

Guess whose idea was this?  Yeah, this dude.

I have always liked Bill Gates, even though I am a long-standing Machead.  He made geek cool long before geek actually became cool.  And trust me, Geek. Is. Cool.

But I digress.  (I needed to prove how cool geek really is.)

The point here is that you can make a choice where you want to direct your philanthropy.  Which is why I love this gig:

According to the company website,

Resource Generation organizes young people with financial wealth to leverage resources and privilege for social change.

Not a bad way to spend your money, eh?

I like that the word generation is included in the company name.  I think it might be a way of letting you all know, you are all responsible for this:

It’s your generation.  What do you have to say about it?


classify this under the “you gotta be kidding me” category:

A boss in Norway has ordered all female staff to wear red bracelets during their periods – to explain why they are using the toilet more often. […] businesses were becoming obsessed with lost productivity due to employees spending too much time answering the call of nature.

Here is what I say to this:

Boss orders female staff to wear red bracelets when they are on their periods

Guest Blogger: Emily Clemetson

September 30th 2010 V.I. Day

On September 11th 2001 this country was rocked by a horrible act of unjustifiable terrorism. We engaged in open warfare with the people of a nation that harbors terrorists. George W Bush promised to hold those individuals accountable. The State is Iraq, and the people were the enemies of freedom and liberty who attacked us with blatant ruthlessness and even greater cowardice. Almost a decade later this great country is victorious! We set out to annihilate the enemies of freedom and we have done so. What’s more we did it with class, we did it with tact, we did it with the consideration for the welfare of all; women, children, elderly, religious groups, etc. Furthermore, by openly engaging the enemy with class and dignity and most importantly respect for humanity we have come full circle from the manifest destiny principles that this country was founded upon.

Our mission as of 2003 was for our combined armed forces to destroy the enemy utilizing all prescribed rules of engagement. Our tactics were to close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver and close-combat. In addition to our infantry doctrine we attempt to win the hearts and minds of the people who similarly want to eliminate terrorism and inhumanity. Over seven years later we have all but fully accomplished our mission. We have trained, supplied and empowered a people to fight their own battle and sustain themselves against inhumanity. We currently have fewer than 50 Marines still operating in Iraq today, and our focus has shifted to Afghanistan. To summarize: we won. No matter how you look at it, the mission we started with has been accomplished. Forget about anything politicized, forget your personal feelings of George W. Bush and his regime, we won and we won with class. We are Americans and we defended the freedom of those who did not have it.

Well, I’M impressed.

This is pretty cool. This fall, Giorgia Boscolo becomes the first official female gondolier in Venice.

Boscolo learned how to navigate the Venetian canals from her father who has been a gondolier for 40 years. Kinda cool, being the first female, and all.

I mentioned that she’s the first female gondolier, right? Since 1094. Really.

Guest Blogger: Yanli Guo

What Makes the Difference of the Social Statuses among Women?

These days many women are living a society where their voice can be heard and where they can seek for equal rights as men enjoy. More and more women are considered as intelligentsia and go into the top of academia, journalism, publishing and the vast network of foundations, institutes, and research centers. They believe that their participation can make a difference in their life and other people’s lives.

On the other hand, some women in some area are still struggling for the equal rights only their husband and brothers can enjoy or they do not even realize that they are treated differently than in men in their society. It is very common in some developing countries that women are illiterate and do not have the ability to earn a living without men. They have much lower social status than their men. Why this happens? This question deserves considerable attention because it is related to the social status of many women world wide.

We may approach to the answer in several ways from different aspects. First of all, women are generally considered as the best people to raise children and take care of housework in some area for long time especially in Asian countries. Giving birth to children and taking care of them have already been their job. They do not need to know anything. The result is that they have to depend of their husband for everything. Second, unfortunately some women have less educational opportunities than the others. Education serves as the key to open the door to information and social services. Without access to this information and social services, it is hard for a person to gain necessary skills and knowledge to have higher social statues. Another reason is that there are fewer chances for women to participate in the community in a relatively close society. Studies have showed that community engagement can contribute to both the development of individual and individual’s realization of their relationship to the society. It is very common in western countries that women’s voices are being heard. It is necessary for the women who wish to upgrade their social status to cherish all the opportunities to participate in community and work place decisions that will affect the quality and direction of their life instead giving up the rights to men.

If you happen to be born as a woman and live in an open society and have access to education and have chances to engage in their community, you are lucky enough. For those who are unlucky to be born in a society of inequality and still struggling for the social status that they supposed to have, what can we do for them?

Guest Blogger: Stephen Raulli

What does freedom mean to you?

A 22-year-old woman is selling her virginity online — offering her body to bidders nationwide in an auction that reportedly has netted a $3.7 million offer — and the law isn’t doing a thing to stop her.

The FBI isn’t interested. The U.S. attorney doesn’t care. Everything is fine by local police, and she isn’t breaking any laws.

That’s because Natalie Dylan, a made-up name for a real 22-year-old California college grad, is marketing her maidenhead in Nevada, where prostitution is legal. The Moonlite Bunny Ranch, the brothel that is arranging and hosting the deal, sounded especially gung-ho about Dylan.

“Natalie is a virgin and would like to sell this priceless and rare commodity in a very exclusive and private setting,” says the Bunny Ranch Web site.

Now, let’s go to another country, Kuala Lumpur, to be specific, where women are not granted the freedoms they are here.

A Malaysian teenager reportedly sold the chastity of his fiancee to another man to settle his gambling debts.

Harian Metro reported that he allowed the act to take place at his grandmother’s house in Lempaung, Betong, reports the Star Online.

The girl had reportedly gone to spend the night at the house at the invitation of her fiance. However, the man later left the house on the pretext of meeting someone.

Not long after that, another 19-year-old youth entered the house from the back door and entered the room where the girl was. He ordered her to lock the door and then raped her. It has been reported that throughout her ordeal, the victim repeatedly cried for help but her fiance’s grandmother, said to be in her 60s, was helpless because the room was locked from the inside.