Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

January 20 2014

European Citizens Call for the Protection of Media Pluralism

For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and 'like' the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

Website: MediaInitiative.eu. For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and ‘like’ the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.

The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative - a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:

Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.

A short video presents the campaign:

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

July 29 2013

*Drama before Israeli's President's visit to Latvia* Today Israeli President Shimon Peres is…

Drama before Israeli’s President’s visit to Latvia

Today Israeli President Shimon Peres is arriving to Latvia for two days visit. But shortly before it last week there was small scandal - Israel argued that President Andris Bērziņš does not want to attend a Holocauset memorial ceremony.
Delegates from Israel usually have hard program in Latvia - they attend Holocaust Memorials and other places where Jewish people were tortured or killed in Latvia. Usually it also includes apologizing from Latvia’s side for those Latvians who participated in killing Jewish.
Latvia denies these allegations that Andris Bērziņš does not want to attend Holocaust Memorial and stresses that this year Shimon Peres will have opportunity to attend Žanis Lipke- man who saved many Jewish during war- museum and see that there were also Latvians who helped.

Latvia’s President Avoiding Holocaust Memorial - Jewish World - News - Israel National News
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170162

Latvian President Andris Berzins is making an effort to avoid attending a Holocaust memorial ceremony together with Israel’s President Shimon Peres during his upcoming visit to Latvia next week.

Berzins aides responded to a request from senior Israeli staff that he attend the ceremony at the Rumbula Forest with Peres, saying Berzins was too busy. They also reportedly told Israeli aides there is a state policy in the country preventing the Latvian president from accompanying visiting presidents to ceremonies, according to Israeli media.

The ceremony commemorates the deaths of 24,000 Jews from Riga and 1,000 German Jews murdered in the forest in November-December 1941 by the Einsatzgruppen units of the SS Nazi police, assisted by Latvian police and volunteers. They were transported to the forest by train and thrown into pits dug by the German Jews at the site.

#Latvia #Israel #Shimon_Peres #Andris_Bērziņš #Žanis_Lipke #Jewish #Rumbula_forest

July 16 2013

Latvia Set to Join Euro Zone and Become a New European Tax Haven - SPIEGEL ONLINE

#Latvia Set to Join #Euro Zone and Become a New European Tax Haven - SPIEGEL ONLINE
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/latvia-set-to-join-euro-zone-and-become-a-new-european-tax-haven-a-910610.ht

Latvia will become the common currency area’s newest member in January 2014 — the same time that new tax laws go into effect allowing the country to compete with the likes of Cyprus and Malta. This could further destabilize the European economy.

(...) Riga’s planned reform has been designed to transform Latvia into the euro-zone’s next tax haven. And it highlights the degree to which rhetoric and reality diverge in the European Union.

Ever since the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) exposed the vast scale of tax evasion undertaken by multinationals around the world, the European Commission has made combating financial trickery a top priority. Theoretically, at least. In practice, exactly the opposite has happened. “Instead of eliminating established tax havens, we have added a new one to the euro zone,” says Sven Giegold, a financial expert with the Green Party in the European Parliament.

#lettonie #union_européenne #paradis_fiscal

July 09 2013

*Latvia gets Ecofin nod to become 18th eurozone member* Now it is officially - Latvia is going to…

Latvia gets Ecofin nod to become 18th eurozone member
Now it is officially - Latvia is going to be the second Baltic state which introduces euro. Estonia joined eurozone already in 2012, but Lithuania is planning to do it in a few years.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23238029

EU finance minsters have rubber-stamped Latvia’s application to become the 18th country to use the euro.

The application for membership had earlier been approved by the European Commission and European Central Bank.

The exchange rate has been set at 0.702804 lats to one euro, and euro notes and coins will be issued in Latvia on 1 January, 2014.

Latvia is keen to strengthen ties with western Europe and reduce its dependency on Russia.

The country has met the criteria for euro membership, including low inflation and long-term interest rates, as well as low public debt.

Latvia underwent one of Europe’s toughest austerity programmes after the 2008-09 financial crisis knocked a fifth off its GDP.

It received a 7.5bn euro bailout in 2008, but it has now repaid the loans.

"Ecofin has taken final decision approving Latvia’s euro membership from 2014,’’ the EU’s current Lithuanian presidency announced via its Twitter account,

As he entered the Ecofin finance ministers’ meeting earlier on Tuesday, Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks said it was a "symbolic day’’.

#Eurozone #Euro #Latvia

*Latvia towards euro* Today is the day when during EU finance ministers' meeting there will be…

Latvia towards euro

Today is the day when during EU finance ministers’ meeting there will be confirmed if Latvia can introduce euro in 2014. Most of the people are sure that Latvia will receive ’’green light’’. With introducing euro and being part of eurozone, Latvia will be secured it’s place in Western world.
Although people are skeptic about euro, there was enough information on back in 2003 that joining EU means joining eurozone as well.

Desmit gadu cīņa par eiro: kā Latvija soli pa solim nokļuva līdz mērķim - DELFI
http://www.delfi.lv/bizness/biznesa_vide/desmit-gadu-cina-par-eiro-ka-latvija-soli-pa-solim-nokluva-lidz-merkim.d?id=43

Otrdien Eiropas Savienības (ES) finanšu ministru tikšanās reizē izšķirsies, vai Latvijā no 2014.gada 1.janvāra tiks ieviests eiro. Par pozitīvo lēmumu šaubās vairs tikai retais. Latvija ir izgājusi garu un sarežģītu birokrātu ceļu, lai tūliņ jau varētu teikt, ka viens no valsts attīstības stratēģiskajiem mērķiem, ir sasniegts. Šim nozīmīgajam notikumam klāt būs arī portāls « Delfi » un piedāvās aktuālās ziņas no Briseles.
Līdz ar eiro ieviešanu Latvija vēl pamatīgāk, pēc jau sekmīgās pievienošanās ES un NATO, būs nostiprinājusi savu piederību rietumu pasaulei. Tas ir viens no neatkarību atguvušās Latvijas redzamākajiem ārpolitikas mērķiem.

#Latvia #eurozone #introducing_euro

July 08 2013

*Unchangeable educational system in Latvia* Educational system in Latvia in all levels needs huge…

Unchangeable educational system in Latvia
Educational system in Latvia in all levels needs huge changes both to survive and compete with other countries. There are many problems starting from too many universities in such a small country and ending with teachers' salaries. We need changes but till now we have not had any considerable improvement.
Newest discussions refer to teachers's salaries - as crisis in Latvia is perceived to be gone, Latvia's education and science labour union (LIZDA) demands to raise monthly salary. Prime minister promised to solve this question accordingly to budget. But my concern is if prime minister will be strong enough to allow salary raise just to level we really can afford. Because one of the reasons economic crisis hit us so hard was unreasonable salary raise.

Mudina ātrāk palielināt skolotāju algas - Latvijā - nra.lv
http://nra.lv/latvija/izglitiba-karjera/98165-mudina-atrak-palielinat-skolotaju-algas.htm

Tiekoties ar premjeru Valdi Dombrovski, LIZDA vadība 5. jūlijā atkal akcentēja šo jautājumu, taču vienošanās par « konkrētiem cipariem un procentiem » nav notikusi.
Pēc tikšanās ar arodbiedrības pārstāvjiem premjers uzsvēra, ka pedagogu algas risināmas kontekstā ar nozarē veicamajām strukturālajām reformām. Vienlaikus esot jādomā par pedagogu darba samaksu, sociālajām garantijām un motivācijas sistēmu. Tikšanās laikā esot panākta vienošanās, ka jautājumus risinās atbilstoši budžeta iespējām, jau sākot ar nākamo gadu. Taču paralēli tam runāts arī par profesionālo izglītību un infrastruktūras attīstību, un šeit studējošo stipendijām. Neesot aizmirsta arī augstākā izglītība un zinātne – konkrētāk, granti un tas, cik lielā mērā nodrošinātas studiju izmaksas minimālās prasības.

#Economy #Latvia #Educational system

Asylum seeker Snowden and Latvia Snowden's case is very loud and there are discussions about this…

Asylum seeker Snowden and Latvia

Snowden's case is very loud and there are discussions about this issues all over the world - even in Latvia. While he is still trying to find a country which would protect him from trial in United States, in Latvia people are discussing should EU countries give him help. Some of the journalists are harsh towards Snowden and his runaway to non-democratic countries. But this exact journalist defends Snowden by saying that Latvia and all EU obeys to USA and not giving asylum to Snowden is showing how weak is EU.
http://www.tvnet.lv/zinas/viedokli/470286-latvija_piedava_politisko_patverumu_snoudenam
#Snowden #Latvia #politics #EU #USA

June 18 2012

Latvia: Jackie Chan Blogs About Filming in Jelgava

Facebook page “If you like Latvia, Latvia likes you” highlights movie star Jackie Chan's April 2012 blog post, in which he shared his “impressions about 15 day long filming of movie stunts in Jelgava, Latvia, plus lots of photos. He tells about flying experience in Aerodium vertical wind tunnel, which is also famous from Latvia’s pavilion in Expo 2010 Shanghai.”

March 15 2012

Macedonia: Fuel Prices Continue to Rise

Continuous increase of fuel prices is a cause of much concern for citizens of Macedonia, and some vent the tension through humor. The prices are set by a regulatory body, and more and more social media users object to the fact that the lion's share of the revenue in fact goes to the government, stymieing the growth of the business sector.

On his blog, Zoriv published comparisons of the prices of oil derivatives in Macedonia, the USA and the EU [mk], and also calculated how much fuel one can buy on an average salary in various countries [mk]. (Both posts are in Macedonian, but the tables with country comparisons are in English and easily comprehensible.)

So, according to Zoriv, Latvia has the lowest price of gasoline in Europe (EUR 1.20), while Norway has the highest (EUR 1.94). Consumers in Macedonia have to pay EUR 1.4. While the official explanation for rising fuel prices is always the change of price of crude oil, Zoriv points out that a major factor in forming the end price are the excise taxes that go directly to the state budgets in countries with the highest prices (Norway, Holland, Italy, the UK, and Greece). He adds:

In Macedonia, for instance, the total taxation together with the profit margin for the merchants form around 70% of the price (Official Gazette of Republic of Macedonia, no. 138/09 and 52/11). The difference between Macedonia and the EU countries, alongside the salary levels which are incomparable, is the tragic fact that even the slightest increase of oil derivative prices affects the personal material existence of every citizen of Macedonia. The latest data show that fuel consumption has decreased by 30% [mk]. The increase of fuel prices leads to a spiral of the increase of all other living expenses, while family budgets drastically decrease.

The Macedonian government temporarily abolished the excise before the June 2011 elections, but returned it later, raising the prices [mk] in August.

By calculating how much fuel a citizen can buy with an average salary, Zoriv tried to shed light on income disparities: in the United States, one can buy 4,296 liters of gasoline on an average monthly salary. In Europe, the top spots go to Switzerland (3,441 l), Luxemburg (3,439 l), and Germany (3.075 l). The lowest on the list are Macedonia (243 l) and Albania (194 l), with a “disastrous ratio of 1:14″ compared to the leading “rich” countries.

According to the 2010 edition of the annual publication 200 Largest Companies in Macedonia, prepared and published by the Euro Business Center – Skopje, the two largest companies in the country are: the sole oil refinery OKTA (owned by the Greek interests, privatized while the current PM Gruevski served as the Minister of Finance) and the biggest oil derivatives distributor Makpetrol, with the total revenues of EUR 512 million and EUR 350 million, respectively.

The prospects for the future seem bleak. According to the UNDP report “Assessing the Economic Impact of Climate Change,” Macedonia also faces numerous other challenges in the energy sector.

Social media users shared various kinds of data related to the fuel price increase, such as the table [mk] showing the elements that form the prices of fuel:

Elements of fuel prices in Macedonian Denars.

They also posted various reactions to ongoing developments with the fuel prices, and the most shared were the humorous responses, such as this joke: “Would you like to take your girlfriend someplace expensive? - Take her to a gas station!” The latest chuckle is a demotivation-style meme featuring the late Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito and a supposed laconic quote in Croatian:

Tito advises on gasoline

Photo of Tito and a supposed quote: You say the gasoline got more expensive? Well, why don't you make a deal with the Non-Aligned countries?

During the Cold War, Tito was famous for striking a balance between Eastern and Western blocs, with Yugoslavia serving as a kind of a buffer, to the commercial benefit of its people. In 1961, he co-founded the Non-Aligned Movement, which included many oil-producing nations, resulting in favorable trade relations. A famous political-economic quote attributed to him (in the Lexicon of Yugoslav Mythology) is this: “The grain that we received from the Americans is much superior in quality to the grain the Soviets did not deliver.”

March 14 2012

Europe: Will ACTA Treaty Pass After Protests?

[All links forward to French articles unless stated otherwise.]

As of the end of the month of February 2012, the mobilization efforts of Internet users against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) [en] were still going strong. In fact, they may have begun to bear fruit.

By including infringements against the author's rights in its scope, this international treaty, which addresses intellectual property rights, also affects Internet content.

The ratification debates which were placed on the European Parliament's agenda on February 29, were put on hold in expectation of the opinion of the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The issue of the treaty's conformity with European Community law was brought before the court on 22 February by the European Commission.

No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo by Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo by Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

Taurillon, the “magazine of young Europeans -France” describes “Europe's about-face on ACTA“:

Si l’avis est négatif, l’ACTA n’a plus aucune chance en Europe. Mais en cas d’avis positif, le recours à la CJUE représente le double avantage de redonner au traité une certaine crédibilité, et de repousser son adoption à une époque suffisamment lointaine pour que la polémique se soit tassée et que l’opinion publique regarde ailleurs.

If the opinion is negative, ACTA no longer stands a chance in Europe. However, if there is a positive opinion, appealing to the ECJ would mean a double advantage by giving the treaty a certain credibility, and also pushing back implementation to a time that is far enough away when public debate has settled down and the public's attention is focused elsewhere.

Jérémie Zimmermann, co-founder and spokesperson for la Quadrature du Net urges on the European deputies:

Les eurodéputés doivent résister à la stratégie de la Commission européenne, qui cherche à gagner du temps et à transformer le débat en une simple discussion juridique, et pour cela continuer à travailler au rejet d’ACTA. ACTA vise à imposer une tendance pour une politique globale du droit d’auteur qui est toxique pour l’Internet libre et pour les libertés. Le Parlement européen est le dernier rempart : il doit agir et adopter une position claire et forte, faute de quoi il laissera le champ libre à la Commission pour imposer une répression inacceptable.

The Eurodeputies must resist the European Commission's strategy of attempting to gain time and turning the debate into a simple legal discussion, thereby continuing to work towards ACTA's rejection. ACTA aims to impose a tendency for a global policy of author's rights that is toxic for the free Internet and for freedom. The European Parliament is the last line of defense: it must act and adopt a firm and clear position, otherwise it will leave the field wide open for the commission to impose an unacceptable repression.

For trucbuntu, there is no question of remaining passive while waiting for the Court to adjudicate:

Les citoyens de toute l’Europe peuvent contacter leurs représentants dans les commissions Commerce International (INTA) et Industrie (ITRE), qui se réunissent cette semaine pour discuter d’ACTA, et leur demander de continuer à travailler au sein de leur commission pour le rejet d’ACTA.

Citizens of all of Europe were able to contact their representatives in the International Trade (INTA) and Industry (ITRE) Committees, who met on February 29 to discuss ACTA. Many citizens requested their representatives to reject the proposal.

The website of the European Parliament explains the procedure and the issues of the treaty [en] that are under scrutiny, and has published ‘What you should know about ACTA‘ [en], a page of questions and answers. The ACTA workshop of the European Parliament has been the object of a storify [en] made by the Parliamentary services (link via Global Voices contributor Asteris Masouras [en]).

The organization AVAAZ submitted a petition to the European Parliament on 29 February with 2.4 million signatures against ACTA. The petition is still open:

Nous sommes vraiment proches de la victoire — notre pétition forte de 2,4 millions de signatures a ébranlé les responsables politiques partout en Europe et stoppé les censeurs. La Commission européenne est à présent en position de faiblesse et espère que la Cour de justice donnera son feu vert au traité ACTA en lui soumettant une question juridique très limitée qui recevra certainement une réponse positive.Mais si nous faisons résonner nos voix aujourd'hui, nous pouvons faire en sorte que la Cour examine tous les impacts légaux du traité ACTA et publie un avis qui fera toute la lumière sur cette attaque contre nos droits qu'est ACTA.

We are really close to victory — our petition, with 2.4 million signatures has shaken up those politicians in charge throughout Europe and stopped their censors. The European Commission is currently in a position of weakness and is hoping the Court of justice will green light the ACTA treaty by bringing before the court a very limited legal question, that will without doubt receive a positive response. But if we make our voices heard today, we will be able to get the court to examine all the legal implications of ACTA and publish an opinion that will bring to light the real attack against our rights that is ACTA.
No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

No ACTA - Strasbourg. Photo Christophe Kaiser on Flickr, CC-license-BY

Anti-ACTA parties continue to  strengthen their resources. New protests were set for 10 March, and torrentnews gives a list, with this appeal:

La liste n’est pas exhaustive, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter pour la compléter ;)

si certains se sentent l’âme d’un reporter- photographe en herbe, nous recherchons également des personnes pour faire un petit article photo du déroulement de la manif, rien de bien compliqué, comme fait ici pour Nice, Marseille,Bordeaux et Strasbourg.

The list is not exhaustive, do not hesitate to contact us to complete it ;)

If any individuals see themselves as budding photojournalists we are also looking for people to do a small photo story on how the protest unfolds, nothing too complicated, as it happens in Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux, and Strasbourg.

For details on the elements of the debate, see also these linked articles from the Tribune on February 29, and Myeurop, on March 3. On Global Voices, see the laws SOPA/PIPA that set a precedent in the USA, here [en] and here [en]. Since the beginning of the protests, ACTA seems to have lost a lot of political momentum.

The title of this post is inspired by the end of the article “La liberté sur Internet : le filtrage de la discorde” which was published by the Institute of Research and Legal and Information studies and Communication (I.R.E.D.I.C.). It puts into perspective Internet blocking and debates the adoption of ACTA.

The original article in French was published on March 4. For background on the ACTA proposal, more articles can be found here [en].

January 08 2012

CEE: “Spotted by Locals”

Spotted by Locals: Experience cities like a local features a few dozen locations, including CEE cities of Belgrade, Bucharest, Budapest, Krakow, Ljubljana, Prague, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw, and Zagreb. A random sample post from Zagreb, Croatia: Hrelić Flea Market – The Aleph of Zagreb; from Bucharest, Romania: The Haunted House – Armenian Neighbourhood; from Sofia, Bulgaria: Nissim – A True Old-School Bookstore.

October 26 2011

Latvia: Graffiti and Decay in Riga

Juris Kaža of Failed State Latvia? writes about graffiti and social decay in Latvian capital Riga.

September 22 2011

Latvia: Talk Show Host Fired for “Breach of Good Taste”

Free Speech Emergency in Latvia reports that a Latvian-American talk show host has been fired from LTV for calling certain politicians “whores.”

CEE: Top 10 Worldwide Download Speed

Watcher.com.ua reports [uk] that, according to a 6-month study of 27 million downloads by 20 million computers in 224 countries conducted by Pando Networks, Romania (1,909KBps), Bulgaria (1,611KBps), Lithuania (1,462KBps) and Latvia (1,377KBps) have the second, third, fourth and fifth highest download speeds in the world, while Ukraine has been ranked #8 (1,190KBps).

Latvia: Parliamentary Elections Results

Andrew Wilson of OpenDemocracy.net and Juris Kaža of Failed State Latvia? analyze the results of the Sep. 17 parliamentary elections in Latvia.

September 21 2011

Global: Reflections on Peace Day 2011

Every year since 1982, people all around the world join forces on September 21, the International Day of Peace, to show their own commitment to worldwide peace and to work in cooperation for this goal. Events around the world range in scale from private gatherings to public concerts, and online initiatives.

Among these, there is The SunFlower Post, a new project where young females from different parts of the world write local news from a gender perspective. Their bloggers have chosen worldwide peace as the theme of the month, as the Editor in Chief, and Global Voices author, Andrea Arzaba explains:

Our bloggers will be writing about different issues towards Peace with a gender and local perspective. Do not miss this opportunity to learn about their countries. Let’s create a space for multicultural discussions and understanding.

Kicking off the series from Mexico, Andrea Arzaba comments on the last yearly governance report speech given by the president, and his focus on the future. She advocates that for a country to achieve future peace, it is necessary to focus on the actions of now:

Calderon focused on the drug war problems and situation that has grown during his presidency, as well as the economical crisis that Mexico faces. He focused on insecurity, on the moment of confusion and sadness that people are living today. He focused on “a better tomorrow”. But … what about today?

I felt he did not gave importance on his actions for achieving peace, which is crucial at this moments of uncertainty. I believe his intentions are good – trying to defeat drug-dealing crimes, but we need to pay attention on the roots of the problem.

Educated children and values are crucial to achieve peace. When we have young people involved in the drug war this is because they did not have a proper education, they did not have enough opportunities to do something else and earn money in a different way. They are inside this cycle, one that will not let you get out easily.

future

Photo by Flickr user jm (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From China, Amily Yang points out that traditional Chinese wisdom like Dao and Zen can be recipes to achieve inner-peace. Paradoxically, reflecting on a recent high-speed train crash that killed more than 35 passengers, she laments that this wisdom is barely present in the fast-paced China of today. She challenges her fellow Chinese to slow down in order to find inner peace:

The high-speed train was supposed to be a gift for the nation, yet officers were getting commands to fasten the project. One example is that a driver only spent 10 days learning – and normally it would take him about 3 or 4 months in training.

EVERYTHING is fast in China. Students hurry to find a job and get promotion, workers hurry to make more products, women hurry to find a husband and get married, officers hurry to make the GDP number shining and good for their promotion. We are moving towards a better society, for we think we are moving faster and developing.

Yes, developing is the key word, especially when an economy is emerging. That is the only focus today for the country.

“Please my China, slow down and wait for the people to follow up, do not focus too much on just hurrying up.” is a popular phrase, widely spread.

We have peace now, with no war or conflict in the country.

We have peace now, so that the State focuses on developing our economy.

But how about inner peace? Could the State somehow slow down a little bit, to catch up with what the citizens really need, as family values, as food security, as trust among the nation, as no corruption. Are people allowed to slow down a little bit, to find peace?

That could also be a question for individuals. I dare you slow down, to make a choice among all the good stuff you desire, and find what you really care for? To find your inner peace…

Where Does Peace Begin? This is one of the eternal questions that Natalia Semicheva constantly asks herself. She is from Russia, a country that according to the Global Peace Index 2011 occupies 147th place among 153 peaceful states, this means a high level of violence and crime. She argues that the more aggressive you are, the more you start to understand peace:

Not in the UN resolutions, but in our families. Peace should come from your mother’s hug, from your husband’s kiss, from the first steps of your child. We should start focusing in our relatives and friends, respecting our parents, taking care of our children. Before loving humanity, we should first learn to love each other in our little family world. Only then we could share that inner peace with everybody that we meet in our life.

Islamic Peace

Photo by Flickr user Trey Ratcliff (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

From Turkey, Neslihan Çiflik wonders about the end of war:

I haven’t been present in any period of war during my life. I’m watching death like watching a movie on TV. My consciousness can’t accept reality. Even I can’t put myself in their place. I can’t think that it could also happen to me.

Unfortunately, there is war with or without guns.

It’s embarrassing to sit safely at home and write a letter of peace.

You know why? Because it sounds terrible that a human is killing some other, more than when someone is killed somewhere, far away. I’m not dying with this dying person. I’m getting dirty with the killer and I’m carrying this disgrace in my skin, in my blood.

Maybe I’m collapsing someone’s safe house, stealing his or her breath and his or her smile in this world. And maybe stealing her children’s smile as well.

I couldn’t believe that I can do or may do all of these. It’s a terrible shame.

This can’t be our aim to be born. My existence can’t give any pain to another person.

According to me that war is unbelievable from these sides. People die of disease or disaster. But this is not a disease, this is not a disaster, this is not faith.

Why do I do this? Our old world needs peace. Human, nations, environment, animals and herbs, and states are tired.

Finally, Anna Zemblicka from Latvia remembers August 23, 1989, the day two million Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians joined hands to form a massive human chain. It was The Baltic Way that Moved the World:

The Baltic Way encouraged democratic movements throughout the Soviet Union and with it, international society payed attention to the Baltic region in a great extent. Within a year and a half, all three Baltic countries formally declared their independence. By September 1991, the world’s governments recognized their independence.

Historians and other experts claim that the Baltic Way “created a precedent that was and hopefully will be, followed by a number of countries all over the world – the triumph of humanity over totalitarianism in a peaceful way”.

The The SunFlower Post will publish more stories throughout the month. Check back at the website or follow the project on Twitter and Facebook to read what bloggers from other countries will add to the peace series.

World Peace Gong

Photo by Fabio Gismondi (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Peace Day is an opportunity for reflections on individual and planetary progress toward peace, and time for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples”, as the U.N. Resolution that established the International Day of Peace explains.

July 31 2011

Latvia: Arguing the Failed State Case

Juris Kaža of Failed State Latvia? argues why he thinks that Latvia is a failed state lite, and provides historical and socioeconomic reasons for his case.

June 16 2011

Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania: 70th anniversary of deportations

Otto's Random Thoughts commemorates the 70th anniversary of deportations from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania following the June 1940 Soviet occupation of the countries, whereas Itching for Eestimaa reflects upon the political and social legacy of the deportations for Estonia.

March 03 2011

Latvia: Shortcomings of an Internet census

Written by Vilhelm Konnander

Juris Kaža of Telecoms in Latvia points to some major shortcomings in integrity for the Latvian national census, to be conducted by way of the Internet.

November 16 2010

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl