Blog Archives

One Billion Rising

1 in 3 women in the world will be raped or beaten in her lifetime. 

One billion women violated is an atrocity.

One billion women dancing is a revolution.

Today, 14 February 2013, we rise against violence against women and girls. There’s a global movement going on and it wants you to dance. One Billion Rising

I’m not near to any global event, but my sister and I are going to dance and add our voices to the protests online. There are many ways in which you, too, can rise. Join us in dancing and add your voice to the global outcry!

Check out the website: for all the information!

Follow #1billionrising on Twittter!

Check out the live blog about the worldwide events by The Guardian!

And if you don’t mind tearing up or actually crying a bit from joy and pride, check out all the videos and livestreams coming in from around the world.

People, this is it. Add your voices to end violence against women and girls. Put pressure on your government. Talk to your neighbours. Make your children aware. And above all, don’t forget to dance!


Paralympics and some thoughts on humanity

I’m just coming away from the TV right this moment, after watching the Paralympics Opening Ceremony. And I liked it. I liked the dignity and the beauty and the fun and the messages of it. It could have done with a little bit more fun, but still, I really, really liked it.

My Dad and I were the only ones who stayed up to watch. Oh, and the dog, but in his case it was only because he likes to get his belly rubbed and his ears scratched, so I’m not sure that counts.

As a human rights person*, I especially appreciated the message of  “All humans are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and the signs reading “Rights” and “Equality” everywhere. I only wish that the states represented at these Games will take these messages home and start putting them into practice. But then again, I guess it’s a very big and very cool achievement to have so many nations competing in the Paralympics, and I also liked that there were female athletes in almost every team (I think only three of them are only men). That’s a good thing. And I liked that the Committee issued ‘wildcards’, allowing teams to compete that did not yet meet the athletic standards, but that will really benefit from the experience of taking part in the Paralympics and receiving aid funding for future athletes.

So yeah, all in all, I think London’s done (another) really good job. And watching the ceremony, I had a short moment when I felt like crying. Because of exactly that. Because they got it right. Because humanity is capable of all the dignity and beauty and joy that they showed and talked about, even if sometimes it doesn’t look like it.

* I’m using ‘person’ here in want of a better word. I’m not (yet) a human rights professional, nor am I an academic anymore, and believer… well, I hope most people are human rights believers, even if they haven’t consciously thought about human rights so far. 

group blogging anyone?

As part of my let’s-keep-busy campaign, I’m working on a crazy idea I had some months back: to start a group blog with all of my classmates. ‘All of them’ being roughly a hundred people.

Yes, I mentioned that it’s crazy, it’s right there in the first line!

So I’m busy setting up this blog, which will be all about human rights, from human rights law to personal experiences in working with a human rights NGO, to … basically, whatever my classmates want to write about. As long as it concerns human rights. Which is what we all studied.

One obstacle, the one I was fighting with tonight and certainly not one of the dozens of others that have gone before it, is how to manage a blog with – let’s be realistic – about … fourty authors. Most of whom will only be contributing twice a year. Probably. Judging from the number of names that I have written on my ‘not only enthusiastic and positive about it, but actually really on board’-list, it might be a blog with only seven people.

Even then, however, we’d still have the problem that I was trying to figure out tonight: how to manage that many different people in one blog.

I have some pretty good ideas of how I want it to look and to work once it actually works. I’m also trying to make it as smooth and uncomplicated as possible. So I sent myself invitations to the (not yet public, because not ready) blog, using all the different options that wordpress allows (author, contributor, etc.) and trying to find out which one would be the least hassle. However, the only way in which each post will be credited to only one person, and that person can make comments on that post and answer comments by readers with the same name, is by giving everyone an account on wordpress.

Now I’m left floundering… Should I send everyone invitations and hope that nobody is turned off by setting up yet another account (thinking up a username, trying to remember another password, …) or should I set up very simple accounts for everyone and just send out the log-in details for everyone? Or even just set them up once they have submitted a post?

The second option would be an insane amount of work and concentration, trying to keep everything straight, for me and any one helping out with the administration in the future. The first option means that some people, especially the less tech-savy ones, will be deterred from contributing.

Decisions, decisions, decisions. I really don’t know what’s best to be done.

Does anyone have experience with group blogging and the technical details behind it? Anyone?

awards are being awarded

(note to self: must never ever again use the expression of an award being awarded! also, must give urgent warning about way-beyond-reasonable-length of this blog post)

*warning: very long blog post!* (but read it nontheless!!!)

Blogging. It’s fun. It’s even more fun when you get feedback and you know that people are reading something you wrote. That something is read and maybe even appreciated that is basically your brain chewing up inpressions and thoughts and spitting them out in chunks of letters that form words and sentences and hopefully convey some meaning.

Two people have, in the last days, told me that they appreciate what I write by passing the honour of the “Versatile Blogging Award” on to me. This is a sort of informal award that is more or less a way for new bloggers to connect and to learn about/from each other.

********** the award and the first rule ********** 

However, when I heard from one of the two kind people passing this on to me, I thought it was spam. Really! (I’m sorry!) It was just that it came out of the blue, that I wasn’t even aware that the person had ever seen my blog before (and since it hasn’t been around that long, I think the chances for that are pretty high). Anyway. I couldn’t believe it. That’s why I will accept it, but I’m going to alter the rules a little. More about that further down. But first things first: the accepting of the award. Here we go:


 Thank you, thank you, thank you! *blushing and bowing* First, to the kind person running A Story Every Day, whose name unfortunately I don’t know and whose blog features short stories, non-fiction, all kinds of other writings by a wide array of writers. Then to Iris B, who is a romance author who posts some very intriguing glimpses into her work and whose blog you should definitely check out.  These two very kindly gave me this award.

With this, apart from being polite and expressing my gratefulness at being seen and being appreciated, I have also fulfilled the first ‘rule’ of the award. Although I think they are more like guidelines.  🙂

********** the second rule **********

The second ‘rule’ is to post seven facts about myself. Aha. Instead of telling you seven things about me, which would probably bore you to death, I will save your life by giving you seven causes that I feel passionate about and that are more important to know about:

1. In Thailand, bloggers and other users of social media, are being held responsible and put in prison for comments made on their blogs or websites by others, even by anonymous users. I believe that everyone who uses social media has to stand up against this injustice. (information with Asian Human Rights Commission;  access has more information and a petition that can be signed)

2. In Botswana, the San are being denied access to water on their traditional land, where they have the legal right to live, but cannot, because of said lack of water. Instead they live on the outskirts of the preserve and some have returned, living in extremely harsh conditions and having to rely on water handed out to them. Meanwhile, there are luxury hotels on the preserve with swimming pools and bars. (more information at Survival International  and the BBC)

3. Slavery is alive and kicking even now in the 21st century. About 21 million people world-wide are affected. Children that are abducted to work on cocoa plantations, bonded labourers in cotton-producing countries, tomato pickers in Florida, USA, domestic workers all over the world, … it’s  everywhere. Do something. There’s plenty that everyone can do. (more information and campaigns at Anti-Slavery)

4. People of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) community are being marginalized, threatened, abused and even killed in many parts of the world. It is unbearable that in this day and age someone has to die for something as his or her gender identity or sexual orientation. The not-so-obvious things like bullying, ill-treatment and discrimination are maybe even worse. (more information at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International)

5. This is closely related to point 3, but as a chocolate lover I find this particularly jarring: more than 100,000 children work in horrible conditions in the cocoa industry, and at least 10% of them have been trafficked. This cocoa is destined for chocolate factories that produce the sweets that we eat in the western world. This is totally unacceptable. (more information at the BBC and the International Labor Rights Forum and on information about fairtrade chocolate, see Fairtrade Foundation)

6. Closely related as well: the right to education. Worldwide, there are 75 million children that do not have access to basic education and 150 million children currently enrolled will drop out before completing primary education – at least two-thirds of these are girls. Education is the key to counteract so many other abuses and to improve the circumstances of the individual’s life. Everyone has to have this chance. (more information at UNESCO and the Right to Education Project; information on action you can undertake can be found with the Global Campaign for Education)

7. No big words needed for this: GREEN ENERGY!!! We all need it and I want it, I support it, I’m all the way for it. (Find information with Greenpeace and  Explore Green Energy; also check with your local energy provider what green options they have – most of them have them by now! Let’s increase the demand!)

********** the third rule and the amendment ********** 

What a lot of information on extremely important topics in a very condensed space… On we go, to the third and last, you’ll be relived to hear, ‘rule’ and the one I really want to change/amend: pass this award on to other newly-discovered blogs (up to fifteen). What I want to add is: and give a reason for your choice! And one that is personal and not generic. Otherwise, the whole idea of connecting really looses value, I think. 🙂

note: the following are in no order or ranking whatsoever!

Fitri Adi Anugrah – Fitri is a funny and clever advocate for multiculturalism, with a passion for food, photography and witty writing. Check out her post on dreams, it’s very inspiring. And I’ve been thinking about her post on escaping consumerism all day today. Some very thought-provoking questions, all with a good helping of humour and self-criticism.

Bursts of Brilliance – I only discovered this blog some hours ago, but I LOVE the voice of this woman, who is, apparently, a displaced Alaskan. She’s into writing and she confesses to being shatterbrained, she’s a fellow adventurer in the upcoming NaNoWriMo challenge and she made me laugh. Out loud. Very much recommended.

All the pieces fit –  Juan is a writer of inspirational poetry. Her prose, however, is not any less inspirational. The post on decluttering your life really hit home with me. She’s smart, she can express herself extremely well and she has a very warm and embracing writing voice. This blog comes with all the attributes of a comfortable chat with a good friend over a delicious cup of hot chocolate.

Catherine Noble – Catherine is very new to blogging, something you wouldn’t know from just looking at her website – it’s highly professional and very pretty in pale pink with grey flowers. Which leads one to think that this woman must be a perfectionist. And this would be right, as she admits herself. Like me, Catherine is a first-timer in the NaNo-challenge. She also runs a food blog, which I haven’t checked out yet, but which looks good enough to eat!

That’s it guys. Or rather, girls. (no, it’s not intentional that my winners are only girls! maybe girls write more?) CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Remember to: 1. link back to me (although I’m giving you permission to neglect this point…) 2. write seven facts about yourself (original version)/write seven causes or facts you feel passionate about (amended version) and 3. pass this award on to other newly-discovered bloggers (original version) PLUS tell us what is great about them, why you give them this award, what you like about their blog (amended version).

Oh and girls, don’t forget to go to those blogs and tell them they got this award from you! 😉

********** the last sentence ********** 

 Thanks for reading through till the end – if you’re reading this right now, you ROCK!!!