My First Blog Post

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

TODAY’S REFUGEES

In class we have read the short story “Ultimate Safari” by Nadine Gordimer, about a group of people that had to flee because of war and conflict. We have also heard about the people of West Sahara; how they have suffered and being forced to live in refugee camps after the invasion by Morocco in 1975. In addition, we have looked at various statistics about refugees.

After working with both facts and fiction, I am left with an overwhelming impression of unfairness. It just feels so wrong that where you are born in the world will decide whether you get a safe childhood or not.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be forced away from my own home, and all the trauma the refugees are going through.

When I hear these stories of how bad conditions they are living under in the refugee camps, and for example how bad the women are being treated some places, I feel sort of ashamed of how privileged my life is. I feel guilty for taking my life in Norway so for granted as I have been; our problems here at home seem so insignificant if you compare it to the circumstances the refugees are living under.

I think it is very hard to find an answer on what the UN can do to solve or improve the situation for the refugees. After reading on their websites, I feel like the UN already has done very much to improve the refugee challenge. The UN Refugee Agency has its headquarters in Geneva, but about 89 per cent of the staff are in the field. I think it is very important that we have people present in the relevant areas, not just bureaucrats in offices.

If this question had an easy answer, it would perhaps have been solved a long time ago. I think the main reason we have been unable to solve this situation, is because many of the solutions are not benefiting the rich countries. Instead; many of the possible solutions will be an economic burden to the countries that really have the opportunity to do something.

Meanwhile, as we wait for the politicians to act, there are some things we as individuals can do. For example, you can sign up as sponsor for children in refugee camps. In addition, instead of throwing your old clothes away, you can donate your clothes to people in need. However, I honestly feel like there is just so much we as individuals, or even as countries, can do to improve this challenge. I think that the refugee challenge is something we are going to struggle with for a long time; there will always be new refugees, if not from war, also from climate changes and new challenges that will arise in the future.  

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a previous British colony, but in 1997 it was returned to China under the “one country two systems” arrangement. This means that Hong Kong has self-government and some independence from the mainland.
The protests in Hong Kong started in June due to a bill that allows extradition to mainland China. The people of Hong Kong fears that deportation of criminal suspects to mainland China will undermine judicial independence and endanger protesters.
After the beginning of the protests, the situation escalated continuously, which lead to the bill being withdrawn in September. However, the demonstrations have continued; now the people are demanding full democracy and an inquiry into police actions. The clashes between the protesters and the police have become more and more violent, with police firing weapons and activists attacking officers.
Only a few days ago there was an election in Hong Kong, and months of social unrest and protests were going to play a big role in this election: Pan-democracy candidates won almost 90% of the district council seats. This was backed by a historically large voter turnout, where record-high 71.2% percent voted. The first-time voters, the youths, have been given much of the credit for the fact that 2.94 million people gave their votes.
It’s hard to say how this will affect the situation in Hong Kong in the upcoming time; until now the Chinese media have either made no references to the election results at all or they have made claims that there has been “tampering” of the results. However, I think the fact that the pan-democratic has a big majority in the council seats will lead to some better conditions, but politics takes time, and I think a situation like this will take more than a good election result to fix.

SOURCES

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

In class, we are reading the book “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, where Changez, a young Pakistani, meets an American person in Lahore. Changez tells him about his life in the US over a cup of tea.

We have read till chapter seven; Changez has told the unknown American about how he has studied at Princeton, and later got a job at a small company called “Underwood Sampson”. Before getting the job, Changez went on a trip to Greece with some of his fellow friends graduating from Princeton. On this trip, he met Erica, who later became his girlfriend. However, she has not yet gotten over the death of her boyfriend Chris, which we can see troubles her and makes her absent in Erica’s and Changes’ relationship. On a business trip Changez for the first time hears about the 911 attacks, he is surprised by his reaction to the attacks; he said that he felt “remarkably pleased”. He is daily thinking about the conflict which is going on at home between India and Pakistan and is becoming less and less focused on his work.

So far, I find the book surprisingly good. It has some difficult words in it, but they are explained at the bottom of the page which makes it easier to read. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track because Changez continuously changes stories and tracks of with side stories. I find the stories Changez is telling quite realistic; he writes about feelings and challenges which we as readers can relate to, in addition to involving real events in the story like for example the 911 attacks. However, I’m having trouble finding the setting of sitting down and telling so personal stories and feelings to a random stranger realistic. Overall, I find the book good because it leaves the reader with a lot of thoughts and reflections after reading it.

Guro

POSITIVE and NEGATIVE ASPECTS of SOCIAL MEDIA

My generation has grown up in a society surrounded by social media. It’s hard for us to think of a world without Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. Social media has become a part of us and has in many ways made our lives a lot easier. However, the increased importance of social media in our lives has its negative aspects. In this text I will look at some of the pros and cons with social media.

It’s no secret that social media has a lot of positive aspects. It has for example made it easier to communicate with our friends and family at home, in addition to making new friends across the world. Using for example Facebook, you can chat with people all over the world, and it is way easier than before to broaden your network. Hence, it also makes it easier to stay in touch with friends and family if you move to different parts of the country, or even across borders. Social media has revolutionized our way of communicating.

Although social media has some positive aspects, probably more than I have managed to mention, the negative ones are often the ones mostly discussed. One of the biggest negative aspects of social media is pressure. Social media is often given the blame for the increased body-pressure most teens are facing today. All over Instagram and Facebook, we can see commercials of well-trained bodies, but also manipulated photos. Therefore, social media has been given a “bad guy”-stamp, for creating these unrealistic body images.

Another thing social media opens for is cyber-bullying. Social media has made it easy to post meanings and comments anonymously and has in that way made it easier to say things you normally wouldn’t say face to face. So, although social media for some may work an “escape” from the real and sometimes boring world at home, many people unfortunately experience getting hate and mean comments through different social media platforms.

One negative thing adult people, like for example our parents, often point out is the time-consuming aspect of social media. I bet most people would get a shock if the got to see the statistics of how many hours they spend each day at various social media platforms. Social media is a big time-suck in our everyday life and is perhaps a reason which leads to teens nowadays meeting less in real life.

The negative aspects of social media are often spoken about, and although many people may say that life was better before social media, social media has come to stay. I think it’s up to us now, the new generation, to start using the social media as something positive and as a tool in our everyday life. It’s up to us that when the next generation are going to write a text just like this one, he or she will find it easier to find more positive aspects than negative. Only we can decide how we want social media to affect our lives.

Guro

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.