Shaping Cultural Experiences
Travel has been an integral part of my life since I was a young child. I grew up in a multicultural, bilingual home in the Netherlands with a Polish mother and a Dutch father. My
Update & BBC News Link
A brief update: One interview video will be uploaded tomorrow evening. I believe the BBC News One-Minute World News provides well-balanced reporting of news, hence why I wanted to share it. Top stories on May
From Nigeria to Boston
When you first meet Oluwagbeminiyi Osidipe, you encounter a very vibrant, friendly, and unique personality. Oluwagbeminiyi or Niyi – as she shortened her name for simplicity – was named by her mother, who had a “very personal experience” when she had her, Niyi explained. Niyi is a Yoruba Nigerian transplant who arrived in the U.S. in 2006. As one of the most densely populated (West) African countries, Nigeria derives its name from the river that spans its land. To the South, it borders the Gulf of Guinea to the Atlantic Ocean. Originally colonized by the British, Nigeria gained independence in 1960. Its main ethnic groups are the Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba, who speak English and their own respective languages, while major religions include Islam, Christianity and indigenous beliefs. Niyi shares her story, her views on politics, cultural differences she’s embraced with humor, and what we can learn from each other by expressing curiosity. Her message is simple: travel enriches us through its exposure to new cultures, and enables us to grow.
Mark Twain on Travel
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” (American author Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad).
Have you had the opportunity to travel (extensively, within your country, or even once abroad)? Can you relate to Twain’s sentiments? How does travel enrich us?
Pleasing The Taste Palate
Food has the wonderful quality of uniting us no matter where we are. There is nothing partisan or narrow-minded about food. It simply invites us to indulge, create recipes, and share with others. Two of my favorite Polish dishes (included in collage) are pierogies and barszcz czerwony – a beetroot soup – served on Christmas Eve in Poland. How does food bring us together? What are some of your favorite dishes and why? Can food trigger memories?
Stereotypes: Truth or Fiction?
DEFINING STEREOTYPES: “An idea or statement about all of the members of a group or all the instances of a situation.” (Merriam-Webster). Stereotypes enable bias and preconceived notions to perpetuate, but can also reveal valid
Annual Human Rights Report
“The world changed immeasurably over the course of 2011. Across the Middle East, North Africa, and far beyond, citizens stood up to demand respect for human dignity, more promising economic opportunities, greater political liberties, and
Euro Crisis & Emerging Stereotypes
Brief Crisis Breakdown Since the onset of the global financial crisis, or Great Recession, in 2007, the Eurozone has feared impending growing global debt levels, as well as sovereign debt within European countries themselves. In
Today marks the 23rd anniversary of Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in Beijing, China. Inflation, a lack of career prospects, the fall of Eastern European communism, and political corruption, are all said to have fueled anger
Coffee's Uniting Power
A cup of coffee can bridge cultural gaps. At least, that’s what Gizem Salgicil White, founder of Turkayfe.org, believes. Her organization aims to create awareness of Turkish culture, particularly within America. Gizem is a Turkish native,
Nicolette04 Jun 2012
Thank you for sharing that very personal account of the “Wujek Mine” in Poland. I cannot say that I can “imagine” what it must have been like, because I’ve been lucky to never experience atrocity. To witness such suppression in many ways – firsthand and through eye witness accounts – has left a major impression, as you say. What saddens me the most is the use of force in peaceful protests. A life lost is a life lost no matter how many people are killed or where it occurs, and it is a tragedy. We can only hope that certain governments recognize the importance of reforms, allow freedom of speech, and stop treading on human rights.
Grazyna04 Jun 2012
As my name suggests, I’m not Chinese but your post triggered powerful memories. I cannot recall where I was when the news about Tiananmen square events reached me, but all those years later I know that I felt strongly for the protesters. Although thousands of miles away from me at that time, they touched a nerve. And so did your post now…
Why? Well, many years ago, in my native Poland, I was very close to the tragic events that took place just 2 miles away from where I lived then.
On December 13, 1981, in response to a brutal arrest of their Solidarity organization leader the coal miners of “Wujek” mine in Katowice (South Poland) started as a peaceful occupational strike demanding the release of their leader. Later they pleaded to annul the state of emergency and the release of all other political prisoners. For those of you who are not familiar with the situation, Solidarity movement in Poland came as a response to long time violation of democratic and human rights imposed by the Communistic regime in Poland.
What was meant as a peaceful event turned into a masacre 3 days later. The protesting coal miners, supplied by the local residents with food, drinks, cigarettes etc. were crushed by the overwhelming forces of the police, secret service forces and the army.
Tanks, yes TANKS, helicopters dropping tear gas canisters, live ammunition were used to to end it all. And it ended 9 lives… And left many severely injured.
One may say that 9 victims do not compare to hundreds lost in China and many more (including children) dying from the hands of the fellow country men in Syria today. But this is MY experience. I heard the shots, I saw the tanks, I talked to the families of the victims and read the accounts of the eye witnesses years later.
It took major reforms and establishment of democracy system in Poland to recognize those who perished in December 1981.
In 1991 a monument commemorating the lives lost in “Wujek Mine” was erected; and in the late 2008-2009th the responsible communist commanders were sentenced.
But the wound is still there…
I am not a Mother Theresa, or Joanne d’Arc, or any fighter for a “cause” but I feel strongly for the minorities suppressed by the regimes. I hope that with the advent of China on the economic scene a time for reflection, commeration and humility will follow.