Tag Archives: human rights

Marginal, central

Kuduro is a type of music and dance from Angola.

Titica is a transexual kuduro performer who’s won support through her career.

M.I.A. has defined the modest origins and therein the strength of kuduro:

“It initially came from kids not having anything to make music on other than cellphones, using samples they’d get from their PCs and mobiles’ sound buttons. It’s a rave-y, beat oriented sound. Now that it’s growing, they’ve got proper PCs to make music on.”

Music always makes one stronger.

Rejoice!

A new era has begun for homossexuals in Brazil.

The Supreme Court approved an extension of the legal rights to gay couples by a uninamous decision yesterday evening.

The excitement is almost much too large to be shared and I am almost speechless… A historic day.

More about it here.

#EuSouGay Project

A series of degrading events to the gay and black communities have been raising Brazilian people’s awareness on homophobia and hate crimes.

It is not that it didn’t exist before, but once gay people started becoming more visible in society, homophobia and all the related problems finally turned into a matter of discussion.

Two guys I know were recently attacked during a celebration on the University Campus. Although the aggression was not so physically damaging, its impact on the psyche of minorities is enormous. What’s most shocking is the fact that the attack took place inside the most liberal of all faculties, up until then a haven for individual freedom of expression.

People who’ve been fighting for years to feel comfortable being who they are and dating whoever they want began to feel threatened again. This is a major drawback.

However, in one way or another, the sectors of society who believe in equal human rights are fighting back.

I’m supporting an artistic initiative called Projeto #EuSouGay (IAmGay) which targets homophobia and intolerance through showing the world that we have a voice.

If you wish to participate in it, no matter your sexual orientation, you can send a picture of you holding a card with the inscription #EuSouGay to projetoeusougay@gmail.com. The pictures will ultimately be turned into a short film directed by award-winning director Daniel Ribeiro.

The ongoing project

Let us all unite in fighting hatred and prejudice.

The political power of Beauty

Ever since I was a teenager I have the habit of following the news, avidly.

Having lived abroad on multiple occasions, it is part of my routine to read news regarding those countries directly in the local media.

Reading the French news today I was greatly disappointed to see that the extreme-right candidate for the presidency, Marie Le Pen (daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen) would win the elections if they were held today.

The Front National has a much derogatory view on immigration, which is considered, I quotethe source of most of the bad things that make France suffer“.

Europe’s chronic inability to cope with diversity is beginning to take a scary turn, and not only in France.

With a friendly looking Marie Le Pen, the party has gotten a lot of strength feeding on people’s prejudice and racism, also fueled by the economic crisis that has swept the Old Continent.

Since people respond in an undeniably positive way to beauty, here are some male models whose undisputable beauty would not be available had immigration been controlled as parties like the Front National would like it to be:

And an Arab-looking Beauty from B, Micky Ayoub:

Naive are those who ignore the power of Beauty.

Even for politics.

Interpret

The lyrics for this song speak for myself.

Placebo was my favorite band some years ago.

It was so refreshing, so freeing and so relieving to know that one could be gay and still do rock.

 

Easily confused

Can (homo)sexuality and religion ever be combined?

A Beauty from Brazil meets a great artist from Argentina.

Daniel Wollmer and León Ferrari.

Conclusions can be drawn freely.

But let us not be narrow-minded.

Query.

Multifaceted bridges

I have always believed that prejudice is caused by lack of knowledge.

Once one truly gets to know something that is different, it has a chance of becoming familiar and thus much less frightening.

I went to an exhibition on Islamic Art last weekend in Rio and it was very obvious how little people know about its multiple cultural aspects. We westerns tend to group Islam under a single mass of people – which couldn’t be farther from reality.

Not only does Islamic Art excel in its use of geometrical shapes and floral patterns, it also shows a delightful emphasis on calligraphy and the importance of handwriting in its presentation.

I love the way modern artists draw inspiration from these sources – scarcely known in western societies, I dare say.

Like Shezad Dawood:

This contemporary British artist cleverly uses elements commonly associated with the modern world with century-old artistic heritage to create art that questions general views on Islam and on religion.

Although religion may play an ambiguous role in the shaping of societies and even in the spreading of prejudices, it is undeniable that it is a reflection of culture as much as it is part of it.

Knowing its various sides can help us all build a world where people are more important than what their belief system might be.

As for the arts, as M.I.A. once said: trend-setters make things better.

Reminder

Yesterday, this really sweet shy and nerdy guy I know who has just come out was kissing another guy at the university cafeteria. I was so touched by the fact that one can finally do this without fear of being bullied that I just felt I had to share my joy about it here.

On the other hand, I know it is sometimes a long journey before we can have the freedom to do it in such a well-deserved carefree way.

I know many of you may have seen this elsewhere but I decided to post it anyway.

Just as a reminder that we are not alone.

There is light out there.

Log on to ItGetsBetterProject to find out more about this fight for hope.

How to divert attention

The French Government is carrying out an expulsion of Roma (Gypsy) of its territory. Legally, these people are European citizens, which makes the manoeuver illegal according to EU law.

Earlier this week, the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, allegedly compared the actions fiercely defended by Nicolas Sarkozy to Germany’s policies of expulsion during World War II.

Right served him.

Not so many people are aware of the fact that other ethnic, religious and political minorities were also persecuted during the third Reich: gypsies, Africans, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, communists and even people with mental illnesses suffered during the regime.

The French government is going through a major political crisis linking the president with illegal moves involving obscure campaign money donations and power influence. Not to mention the economic crisis, also rather clumsily handled.

Creating an outrageous scandal based on right-wing populist measures with racistic ideals is quite an effective way of distracting the people’s attention, is it not?

No matter how big our prejudices might be, we must not repeat the errors of the past, even if they seem like the easiest way out of a crisis.

We must be smarter than that.

Der Eintänzer (2009), by Rebecca Horn

Isolation has never solved anything.

Music against homophobia

The day started really well today. Although I woke up already tired from days of too much work and too few hours of sleep, I was seeing things in a very positive way and basically loving everything. I had my tasks, chores and commitments for the long hours ahead of me but I did manage not to get desperate about them.

My plan was to continue my series about art and technology. But I won’t.

The ugly face of prejudice and homophobia made itself present this very day, so all of those positive thoughts about mankind vanished. Back to reality, one might say.

Then, I shall just post here a song by a group which has been able to cheer me up. For those of you who aren’t feeling so well today. here’s Michachu and the Shapes:

I know it’s not new and they have been talked about a lot already, but they do improve my mood.

A friend of mine who’s a fashion producer used this song for a fashion show the other day and I just thought it was quite cheerful.

So cheers to all of those who are not narrow-minded.

PS: Michachu (aka Mica Levi) is openly gay.

Fighting Prejudice in Africa

Today is the second day of Chanukah and I shall use this remembrance day of victory under difficult circumstances to talk about other groups of people who are suffering due to ignorance.

Following my recent and intensive interest in everything African, I decided to investigate how the situation for young Africans is at present. I am not talking about black gay people, rather those men (and women) who were born and/or live in the African continent and who happen to feel attracted to the same sex.

The picture is appalling. Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries and gay men and women are subject to all kinds of discrimination, violence, hatred and even to being killed because of their sexuality.

Fortunately, some people are mobilized for the homosexuals of Africa and doing a great work in bringing awareness of the issues involved in it: Behind the Mask. In their own words:

Behind the Mask is a communication initiative around LGBTI rights and affairs in Africa. The organization considers information and communication technology (ICT) and independent journalistic activism as its main tools. By way of publishing a website magazine the organization gives voice to African LGBTI communities and provides a platform for exchange and debate for LGBTI groups, activists, individuals and allies.


From now on I shall be very keen on helping our African fellows in the global fight for Human Rights and Equality.

Mood sagas

Love and hate are constant components of my everyday life. For instance, had my last weekend been a book, its title would have probably been The Emotional Yoyo, a Tale of Mood Swings. Not that I’m pregnant, it’s just that my humors change quite often, unfortunately.

Bearing that in mind, here’s my list of 2 things I hate, 1 I love:

2 Things I hate

  • waking up early (the key to bad mood);
  • being forced to be happy in the morning (when meeting clients, for example).

1 Thing I love

  • having long breakfast any day of the week.

I had a lovely dream about my ex-boyfriend (not sexual, though). That also cheers me up quite a bit.

Mugged yet not angry

Before I tell this story, I must say that I had doubts about revealing what I’m about to reveal. Bearing in mind the fact that I truly dislike clichés and any sort of mass belief, I pondered about telling something that would reinforce the image of Brazil as a violent country and scare people away. On the other hand, I’m also committed to truthfulness and that is why I’ve chosen to write this.

Last Saturday night  I was mugged by two guys on my way home from a club. Actually,  it was a man and a kid who must be younger than 12. They took my cell phone and a mere 5$, which was all I had after a up to that moment lovely evening (nice pizza with friends, then pre-club drinks and a fun-filled session at the club itself).

Many foreigners become flabbergasted when they hear about Brazilian street children, although people here are quite used to them in a societally numb way. In my case, the little kid was much angrier than the older mugger, for he even hit me in the face (nothing serious happened to me other than a fat lip which gives me a certain Angelina Jolie-ish look) and was restlessly looking for things in my pockets.

I did not get angry at them. I honestly believe that people like those only commit crimes because they are not given chances in life. Foreigners ask Brazilians all the time about the reasons for such a situation. As I’ve said countless time, they are fourfold:

  • corruption
  • corruption
  • corruption and
  • corruption

Brazil is not a poor country. There is enough money and resources in this land to make social justice a realit. That is, only if it weren’t for the ever so greedy politicians who, for the most part, don’t even think twice before appropriating tax money in the most vicious ways one can dream of.

I am not so naive as to think they are the only ones to blame. We all are, for all of us Brazilians are corrupt. Petty corruption is a reality in Brazilian society. People are always trying to get advantage in any way they can, every time they have a chance. From cutting lines to stealing hundreds of millions of reais, the thought that generates the action is the same: I’m better than others and that rules can always be bent.

It is high time all Brazilians learn that their corrupt actions have consequences. Only then will we be able to change.

Regarding the little kid, the only solution for him and all the similar cases we hear about, is education. Education is all at once the means, the ends, the purpose and the tool for change.

If you are worrying about how you can help these kids, Unesco‘s campaign for global education is a project I personally support.

Reality really bites you every once in a while.