terça-feira, 26 de junho de 2012

International Organizations

Talking about something we’re not familiar with is very complicated. Sometimes, we think we have points to talk about some issue, but in the moment we need to type the words, we realize we don’t have arguments to defend the ideas we suppose are the correct ones. This is what is usually called common sense and, even though, we try to run away from it to say we have very critical thought, we cannot comprehend everything and, in some points, we end up having the so-hated common sense.

That’s what happened to me with this composition I should write about International Organizations. I caught myself looking for arguments to defend Greenpeace as a successful international organization, instead United Nations, which for me, was a frustrated one. But, the only argument I could think about was that non-governmental international organizations are the most successful ones because they don’t have politicians and countries involved, so they would have nothing to lose and that’s why Greenpeace was always on the media. On the other hand, in my original idea, United Nations and other governmental international organizations have commitments with their own countries, which always involve politics, economical interests and international diplomacy.

Having this point of view, Greenpeace was for me the best possible international organization. I believed that all their actions we see on television, like the whaling ship they sank, was a victory and, because they don’t have any commitments, they could have these radical attitudes without bad consequences.

Looking for it and talking to people who understand better about International Organizations than me, that was not the case, instead. Although Greenpeace ideology is to make use of direct actions, this method has received much criticism and the world sees Greenpeace now as a group of terrorists. In what Greenpeace indeed succeeded was to call the world’s attention to the environmental issues, but the money they raise to their campaigns is accused of not being for legitimate causes, and the arguments they present for their causes are being considered as failed ones.

On the other hand, despite everything I was thinking about governmental international organizations, I noticed that the World Trade Organization is a very good example of this kind of establishment. Despite the critics accusing the WTO of being a controller on the international trade, which would be one of the responsible for the economical crises we’re facing now, the WTO has been fulfilling their job in insuring the fair prices in exportations and importations. In some points, their main rule of not having any most favored country in tariff barrier is being reached, even though, in practice, some countries try to skip and cheat the international agreement of world trade. Nevertheless, WTO is considered a case of success.

About the United Nations, however, my point of view is still the same. Its beginning was already complicated when it created the State of Israel inside the Palestinian territory. What they have done until nowadays, may have avoided some conflicts, but disputes, invasions, killings and other types of imperialism and violence are still happening. The genocide Ruanda suffered in 1994, the United States’ invasion in Iraqi in 2003, the famine that occurs in Palestine, the rape women suffer in some African countries, and many other examples that could be mentioned just demonstrate how United Nations behavior is much more political than humanitarian.

In conclusion, I saw that the success of an International Organization does not depend on the fact if it is governmental or not, but the role they play in the international scenario and how do they manage their actions to reach what they want. We cannot forget that if administrate one single family is already difficult because everybody is different from each other, to manage the concerns of several countries must be an even greater challenge; not forgetting that the individual interests, sometimes and unfortunately, overlap the collective sake. 

quinta-feira, 21 de junho de 2012

Let's all be suns!

Tem gente que reclama que tem muito pouco tempo e que 24 horas por dia é insuficiente e, por isso, o dia poderia ter 36 horas e muitos problemas acabariam. Meu deus, se fosse assim, nosso mundo seria pior do que já é!

Eu sou a favor do dia ter menos horas! Ele poderia ter apenas umas 16. A gente vai dormir umas 10h30 da noite e acorda por volta das 6h30 e 7h. Pronto! Ainda teríamos mais oito horas pela frente. Dentre as quais poderíamos trabalhar/ estudar durante três e o restante, consumir para nós mesmos. 

Trabalharíamos menos e teríamos menos responsabilidades, pois, pela falta de tempo, o trabalho teria que ser mais bem dividido de maneira que uma pessoa não ficasse acumulada de tarefas e não conseguisse cumpri-las todas antes do fim do dia.

Poxa, estou sendo muito utópica, não é verdade? Isso me lembra até o Fourier! Mas a verdade é que a melhor parte do dia, para mim, é antes do almoço. Adoro acordar relativamento cedo - antes das 9h, para aproveitar ao máximo a manhã; enquanto que a noite, procuro sempre dormir o mais cedo possível para o dia acabar logo! Depois do almoço, tudo se volta para a necessidade de voltar para a casa, o cansaço depois de encher a barriga atinge nossas capacidades físicas e intelectuais e tudo o que queremos é não estar no compromisso de trabalhar/ estudar ou qualquer outra obrigação. 

Até a refeição da manhã é melhor! Um leite morno com um café passado na hora, um pãozinho ainda quente com a manteiga derretendo, uma fruta doce e, de vez em quando, um bom pedaço de bolo de fubá. É quando estamos no melhor da gente - depois de uma boa noite de sono, é claro. E, também, é um momento de otimismo, de que faremos do nosso dia o melhor possível; enquanto que a noite, bate muitos arrependimentos: "Deveria ter ido à academia.", "Deveria ter terminado aquele projeto ainda hoje.", "Não deveria ter comido aquela feijoada no almoço que está me fazendo mal.", "O dia estava tão bonito, poderia ter ido ao parque.", e muitas outras. 

Campanha para que sejamos todos sóis! Assim, nascemos pelas manhãs e, nos dias quentes, vivemos mais; enquanto que nos dias nublados e frios, a gente nem exista - que só existamos na luz, no calor e na felicidade de bons cafés da manhã. 

sábado, 16 de junho de 2012


Sinônimo de vida, existência.

quarta-feira, 13 de junho de 2012

Do you think stereotypes say something about one nation?

Heaven is where the cooks are French, the police are British, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian and everything is organized by the Swiss.
Hell is where the cooks are British, the police are German, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss, and everything is organized by the Italians.

Stereotypes are everywhere. It may be a joke most of times, but the problem begins when it starts to be considered the truth. It is said that French people are smelly because they don’t like taking baths and they are all arrogant, American food is only fast food, Italians are bad workers, British people like tea, all Asians look the same, Spaniards don’t brush their teeth and so on. If we think about Brazil, it is said abroad that all Brazilians dance samba, like Carnival, are always late for their appointments and there are no big cities in the country, only rain forests and beaches. Despite all this, there are also good stereotypes about nations. Still about Brazil, we are known as very hospitable people and the Italians for being good lovers; it is also said that Asians and Europeans are very punctual on their appointments, French people make good food and Japanese are hard workers.

These stereotypes are propagated by media, cartoons, propaganda, popular books and others. Disputes between nations are the main responsible for the spread of this kind of jokes that end up as common sense. That’s the case, for example, about the jokes Brazilians make against Argentineans. For us, our neighbors from the south are all hairy, fools and terrible soccer players. Despite that, we also recognize they have a very good barbecue – but that’s it. There are other sources of stereotypes, though only disputes were mentioned. Lack of studying and ignorance is also responsible for propagating some lies that seem to be reality. That’s the case about many things that are said about Africa. Most people think the continent as a unique country and Africans are all the same, not considering the various tribes and ethical issues they have because the variety of ethnicities and land divisions; because this homogeneous idea about Africa, people think all Africans look the same and Egypt is not even considered an African country.

Yanko Tsvetkov is a Bulgarian designer and illustrator who took these stereotypes concepts to make jokes by his art. He created a series named Mapping Stereotypes in which several maps are made depending on the view of different nationalities. In this way, in the map according to the world seen by an American, United States is tagged as “civilized world”, Russia as “Commies” and Africa as ”AIDS”, for example. For the Vatican, on the other hand, Italy is tagged as “Papal State”, whereas Germany is tagged as “handsome blond boys” and France as “promiscuous atheists”. Some references Tsvetokov makes are difficult to understand, because they are not part of our reality, but the majority is understandable. It is also difficult to define until what point the designer is making a joke or being disrespectful. The stereotypes are part of the common sense, but shall we combat or reinforce them?

The only abroad experience I had the chance to live was the trip I made for five weeks to the United States. In this meanwhile, unfortunately, I could confirm many American stereotypes we see every day in the media, especially about consumerism: even if they wouldn’t eat so much, their plates were full of food that was going to be thrown away; because she didn’t like washing the dishes, the plates and glasses my host mother offered me were all disposable; the heater indoors are always on even if the weather is not cold, etc. I tried, however, land in the United States open-minded and I noticed that, even if there were lots of fat people, the support for sport exists and it is very good. Just another good observation: we first think United States as a country of fat people, but I could see they are not the majority as we tend to think they are (at least in the places I have been).

Asking the opinion about this issue to a friend who has gone to Argentina, I asked her the stereotype she demystified about Argentineans. She said that Brazilians call them as arrogant people, but in her opinion they are just more quiet and serious. This situation explains a lot of what I think the stereotypes say about one nation. It will just say something if you let it. In other words, the national stereotypes are something dangerous when it becomes prejudice. If someone arrives in France truly believing French people are smelly, that’s what they will smell. We need to be open-minded and be careful to not assimilate what could be inoffensive jokes to prejudice.

Answering the question I made above, I think we must neither combat nor reinforce the national stereotypes, but also not taking them too seriously. Traveling is a good and the most efficient way to go against stereotypes and prejudice. Seeing other cultures, trying new flavors, living experiences that go much beyond our routine, bring us knowledge and information. The every-day life transforms us into narrow-minded people and that’s what we must combat.  

terça-feira, 12 de junho de 2012

Valentine's Day

I try to make everyday our Valentine's Day. I'm sorry for the times I failed on that. 

I love you.

PS: You and me riding our future car!

terça-feira, 5 de junho de 2012

Creative Writing 2 - Rose and her big heart

Rose had a very big problem. Because she had such a big heart and she could love so much, she was infatuated with every boy in her school and she had an obsession with all of them. 

Although Jamie was that nerdy boy with thick glasses, Rose had a passion for him because he was very cultured: due to his readings, he could be very analytical and had much eager to learn. Before tests, he always helped her and she was always proud of his grades. 

Jim, however, was Jamie’s opposite. He was very charismatic and charming. He had an ability to play soccer and he was the best player in school, so he was very energetic and intuitive. But, what Rose most liked of him, was the fact that he was very modest, although he had so much attention during the games season. 

Rose also had a fascination with Peter. He was an aloof boy and because of that, he and Rose never spoke so much with each other, but what they have talked was enough for Rose, so she could notice how observant he was and how he could control his impulsive feelings, although he was very emotional and sensitive. 

Rose also had a love of Daniel who was a very pragmatic and articulate boy. He was the chess team leader and he was great at leadership, because he was very good at solving problems and, at the same time, he was very self-effacing. 

All the boys Rose loved were very respectful people and she had a reluctance to only two boys from her school. 

John was very meticulous and persuasive. Rose hated devious people, because they observe people’s feelings to harm them later. Brian was very detestable too. Because he was physically strong, he was provocative to hit people in any occasion that pleased him. 

Despite these two boys, Rose was very happy in admiring all her lovers and feel butterfly in her stomach every time she was around them.

segunda-feira, 4 de junho de 2012

The homeless and the ignorant

Andar de trem pode ser perigoso. Não por causa dos momentos em que ele está lotado, não pelo perigo que corremos em ser assaltados, muito menos pela chance de ele sofrer uma pane e chegarmos atrasados aos nossos destinos. Ele pode ser perigoso pelas conversas que ouvimos dessa classe média que se acha rica e abomina pobre, mas está fazendo uso de um transporte público capenga por falta de política pública que, por sua vez, é resultado de voto inconsciente e falta de senso de cidadania. 

Ontem estava saindo da região metropolitana de São Paulo, Santo André, em direção ao centro de São Paulo,  na estação do Brás. Essa linha de trem foi construída no início do século XX e era parte da ferrovia que ligava Jundiaí ao porto de Santos para carregar o café para a importação. Incrível, mas essa mesma linha foi modificada, ajeitada e agora ela transporta pessoas. A estação do Brás, inclusive, fica pertinho da antiga Hospedaria do Imigrante, que era para onde eu ia na frustrada tentativa de entrar na festa do imigrante se não fosse a fila quilométrica.

Enfim, andar de trem pode ser perigoso porque são uns 40 minutos que, se você não está ouvindo música, lendo um livro ou se distraindo com outra coisa, as conversas das outras pessoas se tornam um atrativo, mesmo que ruim. Foi assim que eu ouvi uma senhora, bem senhora, falando para outra senhorinha, que é um desperdício enorme deixar tanto vagão de trem abandonado ao longo do trilho apodrecendo. Eles deveriam servir, segundo ela, de abrigo para mendigo. Acho que para ela mendigo fica poluindo a cidade, né? Então, a solução seria colocar todos dentro destes vagões e fazer eles assinarem um termo para evitar confusão. E o banheiro? Bom, ela pensou nisso também. Ela sugeriu que a cada dois dias a prefeitura trocasse um banheiro químico que ficasse à disposição deles. 

Olha, eu não tenho uma sugestão perfeita sobre o que fazer com a população que mora na rua a curto prazo, mas trancafiá-los num lugar que fica no meio do nada sem condições básicas nenhuma, também não é a solução. 

Minha crítica não é diretamente a essas velhinhas que não entendem nada de política pública, mas o que elas falaram reflete, infelizmente, um modo de pensar de toda uma classe social que influencia diretamente na decisão dessa classe em frente às urnas. Oras, políticos com propostas à políticas públicas direcionadas às classes mais baixas sempre são mal vistas pela classe média e alta que desejam políticas de melhorias para sua própria classe social. O que fazer com mendigos, retirantes, etc? Oras, fácil, colocá-los em vagões de trem abandonados.