World trending crisis in their backyards: Ukraine

Since late 2013, Ukraine started to appear in media and since then, its presence was increased when a man was shot and killed by a riot policeman. That was what we saw objectively in the newspaper, but what AUBGers, who are directly involved, think about it is even more relevant. They are our neighbors, and friends, and this crisis is right in their backyards.


 

“For too long, great German people have, apparently defenseless, been delivered shameless ill-treatment and expos of treats. I am speaking of Czechoslovakia”

started Adolf Hitler during his speech in 1939 before restoring order in Czecholovakia. “The conditions in this nation are unbearable, as are generally known. Politically more than 3,500,000 Germans were robbed in the name of the right of self-determination”.
“There will be a lot of ethnic Russians living in Ukraine and Russia who will always defend their interests through law and other means” said Vladimir Putin during his speech in March 2014. Exactly 75 years later. “Crimea will be welcome back to Mother Russia”.
The crisis in Ukraine started in late 2013 when protesters demonstrated in the square in Kiev, the Maiden, for their position against the government because it refused to sign a treaty with the European Union. However, your point of view would change, depending on on the person, because for others, the crisis started when Yanukovych changed the Constitution to ensure his continued position of power. “Everything depends on what events are telling the story” POS professor Spina said during the Ukranian Crisis Round Table which was held in AUBG a few weeks ago. “Everything is about legitimacy” others said. History has different versions, and that is a really important issue to build a future and that’s why we should care about who is telling the story.

 IMG_9271 UKrainePHOTO: Kateryna Kostiuchenko

Kateryna Kostiuchenko is a Ukrainian Sophomore student from AUBG and she is from Korosten, a city two hours away from Kiev. She prefers to be called Kate so it would be a pleasure to do so. Her mother is a school teacher and her father is a businessman. Kate defines her father as a model Ukrainian, because he always spoke to his children in Ukrainian rather than Russian as most of the people did at that time. Also, it was he who took her to the “Maidan”, the square where the protests were taking place.

“I was so proud when the protests started. I thought: yes, finally they understand what is happening in their society, and they are not afraid to raise their voice anymore”.

The square was full of people no matter their age nor genre; they were there just trying to find a common language in order to solve their problems.
But then the police riot “Berkut” shot a protester and violence ensued (See video). That incident changed everything and hostility began. The International Community opened its eyes, “but probably at that time it was already too late” Kate said. Russia began worrying about the uncontrolled situation and allegedly increased its military presence in the Crimean Peninsula. (Ukraine conflict explained in 60 seconds Check out more ) “Looking like a protester outside of the square is dangerous. Some of my friends have been discriminated by police officers, they can arrest you if they see you come from there” Kate warns.
Historically, Russia and Ukraine have been linked intrinsically for centuries: during the 18th century, Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire. Afterwards, in the 20th century, both were USSR states funders. During all this time, it is easy to see the influence and control that Russia has had over Ukraine. Some would even say that Ukraine is Russia’s pantry and mode of gas transportation. In that case, unlinking both countries becomes something difficult. (Ukrainian- Russian relations background explained by maps Check out more )

ukraine-crimea-V3

In 1997, after USSR was over, Ukraine and Russia signed a bilateral Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership, which formally allowed Russia to keep its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in Crimea. This area was given as a gift to Ukraine in 1954 by Russia. Although Crimea has the largest Russian population in Ukraine, it reaffirmed with 54 percent of the voters, after USSR collapse that they prefered to belong to Ukraine.

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PHOTO: Iryna Bedovska

Iryna Bedovska is a freshman student at AUBG and she is from Sevastopol, a quite autonomous city in the Crimean Peninsula. She is a Russian speaker, and she considers herself Russian since her father works in Russia’s Navy, in the Black Sea Fleet. During the round table, the president of the AUBG Politics Club went to the last topic they would touch in that Round Table: Crimea.
At that moment, Iryna raised her hand nervously.

“We don’t want to belong to Ukraine anymore” she said proudly.

When she had gone back to Sevastopol, Russian troops were asking for documents to get into the city. Furthermore, Russian and Ukrainian currencies were both working. “Everything was quite chaotic” she said. She also noted that the presence of the army was necessary because there were providing safety; they weren’t striking nor shooting anyone. “If so, it wouldn’t be the same for us” she added. However, what Kate has to say about this “legal invasion” was way stronger, “this might sound huge, but there is a point in saying that he is acting like the second Hitler. At the time Hitler invaded a part of Czechoslovakia [the Sudetes], and he claimed that German-speaking people were in danger. Isn’t it what is happening right now?” she said.
In her school, Iryna mostly studied in Russian (except for Ukrainian Literature and History). Her friends always speak in Russian and her family too. “Actually— she said— I don’t know anybody around me who speaks Ukrainian as a mother tongue”. She didn’t say that one would be discriminated if he were to speak Ukrainian in Eastern Ukraine but what is sure is that everybody would turn around if they heard it.

On the other hand, let’s not forget Kate’s father as a model of patriotism because he spoke Ukrainian rather than Russian. Also people in Western Ukraine find the Ukrainian a trending language in the young population as a protest and proclamation of their nationalism in front of Russian speakers.

ukraine610-1MAP: Languages in Ukraine (Washington Post)

It seems everything is in some way related with the language they speak, with misunderstandings and miscommunications. They are not able to find a common language to speak and solve the gap between these two nations which are sharing a country.
I cannot know how actually related language is to culture and nationalism. It is pretty obvious that Ukraine is divided into two pieces. But how much of that divide is a result of the language split? Those two pieces are each pulling a rope in different directions: Western Europe or Russia.

However, in this storm there is one thing that is sure- these two girls far from home want the best for themselves, their families, their people and their country. “It is very difficult to be abroad nowadays” they said in unison.

 

 


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Is freedom what we want?

There’s more than two months I was shouting freedom for my blog and also, it has been exactly two months I haven’t written anything at all. So, talking to myself, something I really love to do, I wonder if freedom is what I want. Is it? It’s not if I come back home and my heart is empty. It is not if I have no the strenght to do anything by self. It is not if I don’t know my way yet. Qué paradójico.

But there’s something very important I would like to change, I mean, introduce. I want to be more closer to you and to me: my brain works in English and Spanish so I think is fair, also could be a good experiment write both. Despite of I would like everybody in this world could understand such a beautiful lenguage, with such a beatiful details… yes, I am talking about Spanish, mostly I will write in English. I will just let my brain a few glazes of freedom.

At this point I just would like to add that I am ‘planning’ an amazing journey along the Balkans, and as every great trip… I cannot breath properly! Butterflies in my stomach! This very short post was just to announce I AM BACK!

A little smelly box∼

Let’s take a box. This box should be empty. The size is very important but it will be up to you. I already took that box, although maybe, not big enough. This box means the end of that journey, the end of this “blog adventure”. During the last fourteen weeks I’ve been immerse in a ‘details’ world, although… no, actually I’ve been living in this little thing world almost twenty two years from now. Since the minute I was born –for the first time. Let’s say during this journey I’ve been catching those details in a format which I could share them with my people.

Developing my writing, interviewing, photographing, improving technologically and filmmaking skills I shared what I saw since I started. Step by step; the first I fill my box with was my famous “To be honest I don’t really understand your blog”, as one of my interviewers said. My blog is not clear, but life isn’t as well. I am tired about clear, rational and fake things we humans pretend we have. Working in audacity, cutting, mixing… editing audio!

Also I saw Professor Spina at the end of the box, and the “toilet” poem I showed him, I used photography to find out what Luc Lagniau thought about some issues and I learnt how to shoot “Five shot videos”! This last one was a very important point since that day we learnt. Laura Brennan told me her story with origami while she was doing it by herself and, Besmira Dervishi shared her Math passion -after I asked with a poll what the people thought about that matter. At this point, to finish the first half of the semester we did a very challenging in-class assignment breaking news.

Twitter was working great having quite a lot of followers-thanks to SocialBro. Also, I learnt how to use Storify.com, a tool which I hardly recommend to any journalist, a place where you can tell a story, whatever though tweets, step by step, thought by thought. It is very interesting to see the story evolution.

After a great ten days train trip around Balkans, after live, and breathe in freedom; I came back to work –Ouch! After a lot of great conversations, those that make you think because you get naked your mind while you were sharing your thoughts. After that wonderful growth I started to think about the next post: wondering if I am been educated to be anti-American. We learnt how to use the TV reporting format script, wow! Now, it started to look closer to professional. I tried to diverse the people I interviewed and the subjects I touched.

That’s why my last post it’s kind of homage of silent cinema. After all details are muted and I am the one who interpret them, just with the music coming from my head –piano usually. World is moving so quickly that normally we have no time enough to realize about almost anything. What a shame.

At the end, today December 9th … I can tell it: my box has a lot of thing but it is far to be full. My box is growing and growing, therefore it means I am learning and learning. Good thing. But now, I will close that box, I will. I will close the guideline AUBG and my professor Melody Gilbert used to provide me. Some people say education stop creativity. School kills creativity. Yes, it could be. But anyway I believe in education as a weapon and creativity as a potential snake you have to catch. I believe in balance and in this great Aristotle’s Golden mean. I hope to not stopping never to learn but I will reserve my personal space for creativity, the creativity which changes this world. I will close this box because this is the end of the beginning. My new starting in freedom.

VIDEO: I leave you a very interesting TED talk: DOES SCHOOL KILL CREATIVITY? Few words about how education nowadays shoulndn’t be the same for every student as it does. 

Welcome to the impertinent words from a non-polish mind! My mini silent movie including Chopin and best moments of my blog and my time in Bulgaria so far. Thank you for watching !

Let’s Movember

Movember is a movement to raise the awareness about some male health issues as prostate cancer letting grow their moustache. Movember is the result of ‘Moustache+November’. It started in 2003 in Australia when a group of friends were growing their moustache because one of the friends got cancer. Of course, the idea came out in a pub and soon 80 people were already grew their moustache for that guy. Also they start to sell T-shirt and fund what will be a very important charity nowadays is: Movember Foundation Charity.

“Growing whiskers for whiskers”. They said

The Movember Foundation has raised $174-million worldwide since then, after spreading to South Africa and Europe, reaching North America in 2006. In 2010, participants in the United States alone raised over $7.5 million. In 2012, 1.1 million people signed up to participate, raising upwards of $95 million.

Also, some women wanted to help and they start to use kind of moustaches in complements and accessories. There’s no reason to not participate!

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However, not everyone was happy with that initiative, that’s why controversies exist about that topic. The most important are both in 2007, in Australia. The first one was when several students were banned from end-of-year prizes because of their appearance with that moustache. The second issue on that was related with money, when the TV program Today Tonight accused the foundation to spend a very high amount of money for their director’s salaries. After they proof that during 2008 the salaries were 8% and 9% of the money they got in the total amount raised.

Mustaches and beards were all along history. Why? What do men want to show with that ‘hair’? Virility? Someone says MUSTCULINITY, that’s funny.

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Now, check the official page and discover more and more about that initiative.

http://www.movember.com/index

Let’s Movember

Is it not enough for women to be intelligent?

The motivation or purpose of makeup understood as social makeup or beauty, is none other than the “try to be more beautiful “. It seeks beauty itself, but this does not mean that the purpose of makeup is the same for each person.

When each of us we make up look for a specific purpose, I mean, there are people who just want that makeup makes them look younger, there are others who simply want to hide small imperfections to look like they have perfect skin, some people wants to look older using makeup, some people simply feel sexier looking or attractive -many who do not possess a natural beauty to be massaged in a particular way can be very attractive despite not being ” pretty ” naturally.

In 2011 New York Times publish an article about a research about this topic: which is purpose of make up? In this case they seek how make up influential to the woman herself and people around her, considering her different roles depending in the way she’s made up. (READ IT BELOW)

  • It has long been known that symmetrical faces are considered more attractive, and that people assume that handsome folks are intelligent and good. There is also some evidence that women feel more confident when wearing makeup, a kind of placebo effect, said Nancy Etcoff, the study’s lead author and an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard University (yes, scholars there study eyeshadow as well asstem cells). But no research, till now, has given makeup credit for people inferring that a woman was capable, consistent and friendly.The study’s 25 female subjects aged 20 to 50 and white, African-American and Hispanic, were photographed barefaced and in three looks that researchers called natural, professional and glamorous. They were not allowed to look in a mirror, lest their feelings about the way they looked affect observers’ impressions.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/13/fashion/makeup-makes-women-appear-more-competent-study.html?_r=0

Although the purpose of makeup for each person is different, the motivation is always the same … And is to be better! Do not know anyone who put on makeup to be uglier or older or less attractive… But I know girls like me years ago that what we wanted was to look older people from the 45 that you’re looking to not notice that wear makeup but look younger.

In short, likes the colors, everyone has their own needs , expectations and ideas about what you want makeup and they are all valid , but what is that you must always seek out the best in yourselves , take the potential of each and get what we always stress nice and hide what is so beautiful, inside what each meant by beauty and make up this is our best ally!

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Erasmus RIP

Story about how was the evolution about Erasmus scholarships in Spain. Finally Minister Wert retracted.

During this cold Monday in Multimedia class we’ve been following a breaking news twits to recreate a story by twits. Professor showed us a very useful page which I really recommend: storify.com. In this case we were just carefully about twitter issues, but there’s also another options such a facebook, youtube or instagram.

After follow day by day news were coming out I had the story with happy ending.

  1. Spanish government eliminated retroactively Erasmus scholarship. This make us worse prepared professionals. Help @VassiliouEU. #ErasmusRIP
  2. Can’t believe Spain has killed the Erasmus scholarship.#ErasmusRIP
  3. Erasmus grants cancelled for most Spanish beneficiaries. They had already started the course. Europe for those who can afford it #ErasmusRIP
  4. PLEASE sign this petition to support students in Spain against the government cutting the ERASMUS grant #ErasmusRIP t.co/3aCBVeIWEc
  5. Media starts to care about the movement.
  6. Party pressure forces Wert to go back on Erasmus decision. Education minister says all exchange students will … t.co/rqWuEsjPNu
  7. Any spanish student abroad interested in sharing views about #ErasmusRIP? anyone who joined a gathering? lucie.rousselle@gmail.com
  8. This week @change_es saved the Erasmus Spanish students w/ 200,000 signatures. As former Erasmus, thanks! @brattray @ChangeGER #ErasmusRIP
  9. Demonstrations in the most important cities in Europe.
  10. London: t.co/XznJQH5HY2 Edinburgh t.co/3HiH1J7jhb Protest against spanish Education Ministry #erasmusrip #erasmus 16N at 4pm
  11. A rash and foolish move. The government and the PP force Minister Wert to withdraw his cutback on Erasmus grants.
    t.co/O6QlGaMFjv
  12. Spain should not be the first Erasmus domino to fall. Let’s stop the madness before it does any damage! t.co/tJEuQGeq2C
  13. All those movements including demonstrations all around Europe, also the sign up petitions started for one of the affected students Laura Zornoza.
  14. Las quejas de los ‘erasmus’ españoles obligan al gobierno a rectificar – Sociedad – Ver vídeo… t.co/oiSeZeloSt
  15. One of the most involved student in the movement have a meeting with the State Secretary, he guarantees the scholarship at least for the current year. Government retracts about the issue.
  16. Laura Zornoza: “El Secretario de Estado no se ha comprometido a garantizar las becas” t.co/U2SF3jykkE #ErasmusRIP #SGRP

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The way we speak makes the difference

Since the very first time I’ve been in American University in Bulgaria, I realized that people participate in class more that I used to participate back home. Students in class interact providing their opinions and thoughts. As an exchange student, that fact impressed me a lot. I am not sure if it is part of liberal arts educational system or just a consequence of it. I would like to be impartial at that point but, I am afraid is more impossible to get it. Anyway these words are not an attack; these are my thoughts and reflections posted in my personal place.

At first I would like to compare these participations in class which most of them are opinions or obvious issues not contribute too much to class process. I used to have a professor, the best I’ve ever had, who says that if you have nothing intelligent to say, listen is better. He means, your “words” should to be better than your “silence”. I remember couple of times he asked to leave to students who said their opinions loudly. It doesn’t mean lack of free speech, is just something related to value other’s time, thinking before you speak.

University should be the “temple” of the knowledge and learning should be closer to listen than to speak loudly –of course also there are in-class presentations. In university we should get ready to know how to speak basing your thoughts in something. When I say something it means someone such philosophers or scholars. Strictly speaking, brief and properly provides you authority and strength in your speeches. Strictly speaking is impossible to learn if you are based on your own world.

The first rule I learnt in Journalist Faculty was “Yourself doesn’t exist”. It means, when I write an article, when I report something I have to talk about human condition, I have to talk why a fact could be interesting to others not why is important to me or who I am. “When you already know how to live apart from child egocentrism you ready to write your thoughts and share them projecting your knowledge as a consequence of your education” used to say my professor. Before you are cultivated… “Who are you?” “Why I should care about your opinion?”

But after interviewed those students for my video it looks different. They both think share your own opinion could be very positive. That’s why I started to think maybe I am just prejudging everything and this system is not that bad. Actually I am really wondering if I’ve been educated to hate America…

No doubts to share your opinions (in here)… 🙂

Why?

First step in this journey was the most difficult: what do you want to do? The question start to be hit your brain. As always you know before what you do not want that what you want (we actually spend all our life looking what is our way). Thus, when I found what I wanted to focus my semester blog nobody understood it.

“To be honest, I don´t really understand your blog” Safraz Ahmed told me in my first interview.

Well, it is true. My blog is not clear, but, what in life is absolutely clear? I don’t want to decode humans; I just want to make their life beautiful. That’s why I am catching moments which I think they should be caught because they make the difference. 

I guess life is not like math, ” The good thing about math is that there is only one right answer” as Besmira says

The first interview was done it by Skype to my good friend Safraz, who is living in London. It was such a challenge to record a video call online, but finally I did it successfully. I created “Soundcloud” profile where I uploaded from that moment every week my work. Also I connect my blog to a Facebook page and Twitter. This was the moment when I was ready to have followers!
Next big challenge was to interview my politics professor: Nicholas Spina. It was a challenge because of my English, of course, and my boring journalism sometimes and because he is a really nice professor and person, I mean kind of huge respect was on me affecting to my jitters. Finally it wasn’t as bad as I thought (it doesn’t mean I feel absolutely proud of my job). In this case, multimedia professor teach us how to include two channels in “Audacity”, so we could make our interview with some music at the beginning and at the end. It looked like a real podcast!

“It seems very chaotic, but maybe that’s the point, to be chaotic.” Actually it was what he thought about my interview, although this words are going to the poem “Dis Poem”.

After these first two steps, day by day the blog was getting better. Following weeks we started to work with more tools as pictures, creating a photo-gallery with “Movie Maker”. And finally (and the best) we learn how to tell a story in just thirty-seconds. The Five shots videos are very useful to film. From the very beginning I started to realize most all the movies, videos and audiovisual products use it. Now, at the moment I think this filming technique is the most useful tip since we are here, I am sure I am going to needed in the near future (as a journalist).

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Also, in the middle of this path, I would like to thank professor Melody Gilbert for one of this tips sometimes people give to you and rest for ever in you: always ask WHY. Yeah, that it is the question that we should answer, at least in that profession. Why.
It is striking as all professors or teachers who pass through our lives only to remain a very small part of them, but what is left is decisive.

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PS: Closing till November 2nd, I will be in Romania, Hungry and Serbia. Looking forward this day! I will show photos at my back 🙂

What should have an actor to embody a character? Marta Espin Corral

“The filmmakers of Fifty Shades of Grey and Charlie Hunnam have agreed to find another male lead given Hunnam’s immersive TV schedule, which is not allowing him time to adequately prepare for the role of Christian Grey,” Universal Pictures said in a statement.

So, now it’s the moment when I wonder that question. What should have an actor to embody a character?

The British bestseller Fifty shades of Grey an erotic and romantic novel written by E. L. James, it is a novel which have a lot of fans. Girls and ladies are becoming crazy with this phenomenon, and now it is coming up to the cinemas.

At first the favorite, at least for the fans, was Matt Bomer because he was young, handsome with blue eyes and dark hair. Most of the readers coincided that he was the perfect the sexy Christian Grey although the Universal Pictures didn’t think the same.

Charlie Hunnam was the chosen as Christian Grey although actually not too much people love him.

             ‘He is not made for this kind of movies’ Marta said.

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‘We watch him in Hooligans and now in Sons of Anarchy, I cannot imagine him wearing a suit’

Therefore, coming back to my question: Is not he the appropriate just because he never did before a film like that? Can he learn how to be Christian Grey? Anyway he already refuse to be part of ‘Fifty shades of Grey’, so Marta and the rest of the fans should wait to the next candidate.

If you can read more news about just click here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/12/charlie-hunnam-exits-50-shades-of-grey_n_4089955.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/fifty-shades-grey-charlie-hunnam-64

“I was born for Math” Besmira Dervishi

Many people have told me that they could not study an engineer because they hate math. I believe unequivocally that 70% of the people I talk to tell me that hates math. When asked on Twitter and Facebook , the results have been like me .

But, why are scary and mathematics are so problematic for students from around the world? Why gifted people with language skills and musical experience or are frustrated by these problems?

It is clear that we all have different academic abilities; some guys are good language, others in art or music. Some of us liked the geography and other felt good studying biology. There are a few who are Renaissance and try to be good at everything, not wanting to specialize. For most, it was all pick your favorite subjects based on what you made ​​it easier. That’s why I decided to talk to Besmira; as she said: “I was born for math”. She’s albanian and she should study in Harvard but she is student in AUBG Economics and Math (of course). But… why math?

One of the things “difficult” maths is that they are tricky. It is easy to lose the fear of thinking or wrong. Well … the math many times we want to deceive. The mathematics will demand the best. They send you unexpected places, you may not have exit … and you have to start from scratch again.

” The good thing about math is that there is only one right answer” Besmira says … more than one has to have thought ” Well, yes , but why not ask me in a language I know? ” .

They are cold and calculating, and all I want is the truth. Is not it?

Perhaps because of this, people have labeled as the counterpart of the creative. We always think that all that entails logical thinking is not creative… which is not true. Many Renaissance artists painted their works helped complicated mathematical formulas. The architecture, industrial design, graphic design … all have their part logic. Music is math (or if not just ask to Bach and royalties). Well, the math is everywhere.

“As crazy as it sounds, I think that math is beautiful”.

Theoretical systems that work smoothly, elegant machines that calculate cosmic formulas that attempt to explain the universe, followed sequences found in nature and space … anyway. Mathematics is the purest and most perfect of the sciences. Math is purified and distilled knowledge, unadulterated. The truth is that it can be fun, it can be real… can be anything you want.

She loves math, and she is given naturally. Such a shame people are scared about math, even I am included.

(Math=fear)http://