HOORAY 4 WOMEN!

They used to give us a day –it was called International Women’s Day.

In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman.
Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman.

I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn’t behave and here we are. Bella Abzug (1920-1998)

International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. (International Women’s Day online)

In an article entitled ‘International Women’s Day protests highlight violence, inequality’ there is among other things this:

”Calls to end forced marriage, domestic abuse and job discrimination marked International Women’s Day on Saturday as demonstrators took to the streets worldwide.”

And this the advice in North Korea to their ladies:

’Communist North Korea marked International Women’s Day in its own way by urging its women to reject Western fashions and to “set good examples” in their clothes and hairstyles. “Women must set good examples in all fields of culture and custom, including clothes, hairdos and language,” Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the North’s ruling Korean Workers’ Party, said in an editorial.’

Even this was in the above article: “French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for an end to pay inequality between men and women, and pledged to institute financial sanctions to address the problem.” — That’ll be the day, I say, when the pay will be!

If you want something said,
ask a man;
if you want something done,
ask a woman. (Margaret Thatcher)

This is what is urged in one of the sites where I got articles for this entry:

”So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.”

This said as even today — and every single day — thousands of Baby Girls are terminated in the womb of their mothers, just because they are Girls, when the parents wanted boys… So many females have been ‘finished’ that the imbalance ratio on males-females is in millions in certain countries and is increasing alarmingly each day.

Take good care. Rii 🙂

© The portrait of The Girl in Cameo is by Riihele. All rights reserved.

Further read in the International Museum of Women online.

HUMOUR: Pickled Onions

Some while back Noizy had a photo of an Irish pub in Maine in his blog on 360 and the name of the establishment was:

The Pickled Onion!

My comment was this:

HEEEH!! lol

I think that the onion is not the only one that is getting pickled in that establishment!!

Tis for now, Rii

European Commission announced that the list of products and services to which Regional Indications apply will be updated on January 1st 2008. New items on the list will be Irish pubs (Ireland), saltibarsciai (Lithuania), Koksksu (Malta), Kiselo mljak (Bulgaria)

“Also the protection of the Geographical Indication of Irish pubs is an important step towards including cultural expressions in the GI Regime. Geographical Indications have proven themselves to be very effective in protecting products ranging from Cheese to Wine and Sausages. We hope to be equally effective in protection authentic European cultural expressions. Next year we hope to include such diverse cultural phenomena as the Sirtaki dances from Greece, Latvian folk stories known as Dainas and Finnish smoke saunas, known as Savusaunas.” (Jean-Claude Hulot, Chairman of the Committee for Regional Indications)

A geographical indication (such as “Roquefort”) testifies to the link between a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of a product, a service or a cultural expression and its geographical origin. There are approximately 700 GIs registered under the Regulation today.

http://www.eucgi.eu/?page=press&article=13467

LITERACY or Love of Reading

“What I can think about, I can talk about. What I can say, I can write. What I can write, I can read.
I can read what I can write and what other people can write for me to read.”

Professor Roach Van Allen

The picture, – do click at it to make it clearer, please – that I used as the lead photo, is the list of countries by literacy rate as included in the United Nations Development Programme Report 2005. Four countries lead the chart of literacy world wide with 100 per cent literacy rates Georgia, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway. Both The USA and UK are on # 21 with 99 per cent; as are Australia, France, Ireland and Germany. India is # 145 with 61 per cent. China is # 67 with 93,5 per cent.

The UNESCO literacy estimates provide basic information on the number and percentage of adults (aged 15 years and older) and youth (aged 15 to 24 years old) who are literate and illiterate. They indicate the dimensions and patterns of illiteracy within each country according to gender and age-groups, so as to aid in policy- and decision-making with regard to measures to be taken to raise the literacy level of the population. These estimates in a way reflect the performance of the national education system, as well as the quality of the human resources within a country in relation to their potential for growth, contribution to development, and quality of life.

What constitutes literacy aka literacy as defined by UNESCO:

1. A literate person is one who can with understanding both read and write a short simple statement relevant to his everyday life.
2. Literacy is not the simple reading of a word or a set of associated symbols and sounds, but an act of critical understanding of men’s situation in the world.
3. Literacy is not an end in itself but a means of personal liberation and development and extending individuals educational efforts involving overall inter-disciplinary responses to concrete problems
4. A literate person is one who has acquired all the essential knowledge and skills which enable him to engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective functioning in his group and community and whose attaining in reading, writing and numeracy make it possible to use these skills towards his own and his community’s development.

The United Nations defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple sentence in any language. So, these literacy rates refer only to basic, not advanced, literacy. UNESCO Portal for the International Literacy Day. September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated on 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies with celebrations taking place around the world.

An estimated 781 million adults live without basic literacy skills, of whom two-thirds are women. In addition, approximately 103 million children have no access to school and are therefore not learning to read, write or count. All these figures mentioned in the previous sentence total more or less one billion so to put in a way that it is easier to fathom: 1 in 6 in the world cannot read, write nor count! How very tragic that the wonderful pleasure of literacy is ’denied’ these folks, methinks.

This is an extract of an old article called ’Gestures not enough to teach the world’ on Guardian online site dated September 8, 2000, but still it is very relevant:

“We have been here before. The high-level conferences, the firm commitments, the hand-wringing, the international agreements that promise the earth and deliver next to nothing – all have been part of the backdrop to the campaign for debt relief. Now there is a threat that the campaign for universal primary education could go the same way.

One third of the world’s population — that is 2 billion people — live in countries which have fewer telephone lines in total than Italy — with a population of less than 60 million! Around 90% of telecommunications traffic takes place between rich countries, while 50% of the world’s population have never made a phone call. As the knowledge economy takes root in the coming years, this lack of access will take a heavy toll and widen the divide still further.

A computer is not much use to a child who cannot read. Out of a global population of 6 billion, 880m adults are illiterate, two thirds of them women, most of them in south Asia. All these figures underestimate the full extent of the literacy problem, perhaps by as much as half. They are based on school attendance figures, and ignore the problem of the numbers of children who leave school functionally illiterate. In Africa, where increasing numbers of children will be out of school unless there is emergency action by western institutions, a new generation of adult illiterates is set to create a dangerously marginalised section of society.

Even in the industrialised world illiteracy is a problem, with almost a quarter of young adults in the US having difficulty reading all but the simplest of texts. In the developed as in the undeveloped world low literacy invariably means poverty and the spiralling problems of drugs, violence and insecurity which go with it.”

Debunking myths about the “Third World” (This video has most fabulous graphics)

“If we talk about literacy, we have to talk about how to enhance our children’s mastery over the tools needed to live intelligent, creative, and involved lives.” (Danny Glover)

Tis for now from Rii – who loves to read & write. xx

These are some of the great links that I used in this article and for further reading:

http://www.literaturepage.com/
http://www.uis.unesco.org/en/stats/statistics/literacy2000.htm
http://dir.yahoo.com/Education/Literacy/
http://www.literacyconnections.com/InTheirOwnWords.php
http://www.literacyconnections.com/
http://www.vocabvitamins.com/

Literacy Exchange: World Resources on Literacy
Nation Master site that has all kinds statistics on all kinds of things!

CHILD MATTERS or Slavery in Modern Times


“Twice a year in Carrickmacross and surrounding towns a fair was held where men and girls rented their labour to well-to-do farmers for six months. It was Ireland’s version of the slave market.”
(Patrick Kavanagh ‘The Hired Boy’)


As you know by my blogs, that I do have varied interests in life and the living all the way from fashion, humour, blondes & photos, even frogs et funerals to anything in-between to the more serious matters of current affairs, politics and policies, so here is a more serious one on this Children’s Day in Finland. This is an updated entry of autumn 2006.

A Few Facts on the Child Labour/Slavery
:

  • Child labour is a pervasive problem throughout the world, especially in developing countries. Africa and Asia together account for over 90 percent of total child employment. (World Bank Org.)
  • Children work the longest hours and are the worst paid of all labourers (The International Labour Office ILO in the World Bank Study Bequele and Boyden 1988).
  • Just 5 per cent of child labour worldwide is for the export industry. The rest is for local agriculture and domestic work in people’s homes. (The International Labour Organisation estimate)
  • One in eight children (179 million) around the world are involved in the worst forms of child labour – work which is hazardous to their physical, mental or moral well being. (The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimate. BBC article(old) estimate 246 million (from years ago).
  • In Africa one in three children have jobs.
  • There are an estimated 500,000 child soldiers worldwide.

CHILD LABOR: ISSUES, CAUSES AND INTERVENTION (World Bank Org.)

I did some research into the matter, so I decided to compile a few thoughts and facts on the same. First of all, it is not a new phenomenon but has been since time immemorial in almost every country in the world. We in the Western Europe do not have it blatantly into our face presently, but nevertheless it is there, as more and more of these children are smuggled into our towns and even into our neighbourhoods.

Secondly, as we see from the Facts above that I listed: only 5 per cent of the child labour is involved with the export business in the countries, the rest being in the domestic trades in their respective nations. This piece of news is most certainly ‘news’ to me for I have thought that the children would have been the main slave labour for producing export goods.

Anybody who has read/seen the films about the Dickens’ books like ‘Oliver Twist’ is acutely aware that the west has had their share of the children being treated as ‘nothing, nobody’ until the compulsory education, the child allowance and the general benevolence towards children became more of the norm. I am using that expression because as we know the child abuse is still rather widespread – but just in another way. The opening quote on this entry by Patrick Kavanagh was true to many other nations’ children in the times past, including Finland.
Even more facts:

  1. The International Labour Organization in 2005 estimated at least 2.4 million people have been trafficked.
  2. The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million children under 16 are trafficked worldwide each year. (Daily Telegraph article online 4.6.2006)


UNICEF CHILD LABOUR QUIZZ in this link.

Fired Up Blonde, Riihele xx


The solution to this problem lies in my mind:

1.)

With the LEADERS of these nations who have the power to change the circumstances of these children through the legislation via education to empower them. Also, the children’s allowance et cetera to make it worthwhile, so that the parents need not ‘sell’ or be forced to ‘hand over’ their children to this slavery. (It is the relatives in many cases who are forced to hand in the children as pawns for life because of debts accumulated.)
There is no excuse to say that there are no funds; I will not buy into that as other nations have done it with the means that they had at the time e.g. Finland from 1948 started to pay children’s allowance even though it was only three years after the wars while at the same time still paying both to Russia (reparation) and USA (loan) huge amounts of money and after losing tens of thousands of men in their best working age at the WWII.
2.)

The International Community at large through e.g. organizations* to implement pressure on the leadership in these nations to stop treating their young worse than cattle and give them life as a human beings fully participating in their own life and living.
( aka *ILO, World Bank, UNICEF et cetera)

I have already quoted articles by The World Bank, ILO – The International Labor Organisation et cetera – meaning: they know the problem and it is the high time to do something about it all instead just compiling more figures of the same!!

There are other things as the international business and manufacturing industry that many mentioned in the comments previously: yes shame and name them.

This will solve the other 5 per cent of the actual problem.

NOTICE:
Only 5 per cent of the children are made to work in the export trade. That means that the 95 per cent are not. (These figures by ILO = The International Labour Organisation).

Child Matters pun in the name is this that a CHILD DOES MATTER; and also ‘matters’ as in subjects, issues, items, topics, questions and things concerning children.

Belfast, Belfast…

Belfast city scene

Photo of Belfast is off the Wikipedia site.

“Belfast from the Irish Béal Feirste meaning “The sandy ford at the river mouth” is the capital of Northern Ireland. It is the largest city in Northern Ireland and the province of Ulster, and the second-largest city on the island of Ireland (after Dublin). In the 2001 census the population within the city limits (the Belfast Urban Area) was 276,459, while 579,554 people lived in the wider Belfast Metropolitan Area.This made it the fifteenth-largest city in the United Kingdom.” Wikipedia

Here is a memory of days long ago: BONEY M video and song BELFAST

“DESTINATION 360” on Belfast:

”Belfast, Northern Ireland has always had a fierce, often bloody history. The Troubles of 1960 to 1994 have not faded from Ireland’s consciousness, but active negotiations and peace efforts have soothed this strong activist region. Unlike many other Irish regions, present-day Northern Ireland is a province under the rule of the United Kingdom. After decades of political turmoil, violence, and activism, Belfast Ireland has at last found some degree of peace, when a cease-fire between the British and the IRA was called in 1994. The cease-fire continues to this day, although the long-seated division between British supporters and IRA supporters still lingers.”


BELFAST PEACE LINES – WALL- to segregate the communties: ”The Peace Lines are a series of separation barriers ranging in length from a few hundred yards to over three miles, separating Protestant and Catholic neighbourhoods in Belfast, Derry and elsewhere in Northern Ireland. The stated purpose of the barriers is to minimize intercommunal sectarian violence between Protestants and Catholics.

The barriers themselves consist of iron, brick, and steel walls up to 25 feet high, topped with metal netting, or simply a white line painted on the ground similar to a road marking. Some have gates in them occasionally manned by police, which allow passage by day, and which are closed at night.

The first barriers were constructed in the early 1970s, following the outbreak of “The Troubles”. Originally few in number, they have multiplied over the years, from 18 in the early 1990s to 40 today; in total they stretch over 13 miles. Most are located in Belfast. In recent years they have become locations for tourism. Black Taxis now take groups of tourists around Belfast’s Peace Lines, trouble spots and famous murals. (Wikipedia)

Belfast is so very near to Dublin in the Southern Ireland and yet so far. What that? Well, the mentality of the Northerner compared to the Southerner is miles apart, in almost every way. Where the Dubliner and the rest of the population in the south are laid-back, witty, fatalistic and not-so-terribly efficient in whatever they do, the Northerner is uptight, serious, strong willed and highly efficient in his/her basic nature.

The very first time I went to Belfast was just four days after arriving in Ireland. There was a family funeral there. In Ireland it is of utmost importance to be there and to support the people that have had the sadness of death in the family. People go by the hundreds into the funerals and it is normally considered an excusable reason to take time out in the middle of one’s working day to attend a funeral.

Did you know that the Titanic was built in Belfast in 1912, on Harland and Wolff which had the largest shipyard in the world? And, have you ever heard of the Belfast Sink?

Tis for now. Riihele xx

Twelfth of July

Bridge in Powerscourt

I put this bridge as a symbol to bridge the two communities in Ireland.*

Today is the day, The Twelfth of July celebrations Northern Ireland, when the memories from long, long times past are stirred up; mostly in hatred and anger. Yes, it is the day to remember the Battle of the Boyne which took place in 1690. The battle was between the Protestant Prince William of Orange and the Catholic King James II; William of Orange took the victory. Here is a link to the official site of the Battle of the Boyne. Much of the hatred that has had an effect to the present times stems from this very event.

When my daughters were still in the primary education in Ireland, we had this school run with some other parents and one time it was our turn to collect the kids from their homes bringing them all to the school. So, there we are in our thoughts – morning sleepy, you see – when this little girl pipes up and says:

“My mum is a Catholic and my dad is a Protestant.”

And then she is waiting for the response from my girls. But nothing came, because my daughters did not know what it meant to be a Catholic or a Protestant! They had never heard about it before this in their short lives and they did not know what it meant. The event passed uncommented by any of us except for an ‘I see’ from me at the time until later on, when the girls wanted to know ‘What did she mean?’

My in-laws and himself were of Anglo-Irish background deeply rooted in the Protestantism and yet very deeply rooted in their Irishness as well. They were and are first and foremost Irish in their own eyes and thinking. (I will get into this deeper another time.) The Northern Irish Protestants see themselves, normally, first and foremost, as British, and that is where there is this vast gulf between them and the Catholics who see themselves as Irish. There is also an abyss of differences between the Protestants of the North and the South because of the fact that the southern Protestants see themselves to be Irish and the northerners to be British.

These parades and commemorations of things long past on both sides add extra fuel to the volatile situation that at times boils over. The Twelfth of July is the prime example of this; every year we became suddenly aware that the date must upon us, when the South started to get filled with northerners wanting to escape the tension and the hatred stirred up.

Tis for now. Rii xx

* I took the photograph in the Japanese Gardens in the Powerscourt Demesne, Enniskerry, Ireland.

Travelogue from Dublin: Today in Ireland

Sugarloaf in Wicklow

This one of the Travelogues that I wrote last year this time while over there.

Today is the day in Ireland when there is the state funeral for one of the most controversial people in the Irish politics, Charles J. Haughey, who died a few days ago at the age of 80. When I arrived in Ireland in 1980, this man was at the height of his political clout and influence. Here is another link to life of Mr Haughey.

Before arriving here all those 26-years ago I knew the following things about the Emerald Isle: IRA, Guinness and Dublin, nothing else until I spruced up my knowledge of the history, politics, geography and who-is-who in the land. It is always wise and foresighted to prepare oneself if one is changing country and culture to find out about these things as much as is possible as it most certainly will hasten the adjusting to the new life and living.

Having been around a few places these last few days while here, one thing is for sure: the country is even more full of the foreigners than ever before that I can recall anyway. My daughter finds it amusing that I ask the people working in the shops and cafes where they do come from. I am also quick to reply that I am a foreigner myself here. Heli, my daughter’s, comment to me was that in her opinion it would have been easier for me to feel at home in here if it had been so international then as it is now. I tend to agree with her on this.

The new EU states, such as Poland and Hungary, seems to be well represented in Ireland at present. Funny, in a way, because Ireland is one of the few countries that did not sign the Schengen Agreement of the passport-less travel between the EU countries. Yet it is to here the crowds gather to work and to live. Although, Ireland is very expensive to live in everyway, the housing, the medical, the transport all are high and the level of the salaries does not match these for many.

Poland and the other new states in the happy family of the European Union were given a ‘quarantine’ time, ie., restricted entry to the ‘old’ EU countries when they joined in May 2004. It was a bit like ‘Welcome to The Family, but do not call on us’. Here is what I wrote on an earlier entry about the EU.

It is a very handy and practical thing to have the same currency as one moves from one country to the other in the EU; though, some of the old EU countries as in Sweden, Denmark and the UK did not join the common currency of the euro. The Euro has made it dead simple for the populace to compare the prices on the very same products and so on in other EU countries and to realize that they differ vastly from one country to the other. We are being had as the saying goes!

Tis for now. Riihele xx.

PS.
The photograph is one taken by yours truly a few days ago. It is one my favourite scenes in Ireland, the Sugarloaf Mountain in County Wicklow which is just a few miles south of Dublin.