#Nine –” Nine things I learned volunteering in the Calais refugee camp ” …

23 Oct
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Nine things I learned volunteering in the Calais refugee camp

I’m still in shock at how wrong my perception was of what a refugee is and what the ‘Jungle’ camp is like

I’m still not sure why I decided to go to northern France to volunteer at the refugee camp in Calais. I’m not political. I’m not an activist. I work three jobs in the fashion industry. I love makeup and fashion and am obsessed with all things celebrity. I am 26 and, except for a brief trip to the US, have never been outside Europe. But, like most people, I saw the photographs of little Aylan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach. As I had some free time I just thought, Why not go over and help? So I contacted Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity.

What followed was the most eye-opening experience I have had. Most of my 53 fellow volunteers had political, activist or charity-work backgrounds; I must have been one of the few who walked into the camp with no idea of what to expect. I hope what I saw there might persuade even one other person to reconsider their view of what a refugee is and what the camp is like.

1: It’s not a jungle

The series of camps around Calais are known as the Jungle, but they certainly don’t look like one. What we’re talking about here is a small corner of France inhabited by about 4,000 people. It’s a crowded piece of land surrounded by six-metre-high barbed-wire fences. Playing football with some Sudanese guys, I felt as if I could have been in a shanty town in Mumbai. Britain and France spent €18 million building the fence around the camps. But the few toilets are left unemptied and overflowing.

2: There’s nothing to be afraid of

As we drove from the ferry to our hostel the night we arrived we saw hundreds of men walking through Calais towards the Channel Tunnel and, beyond it, England. I was almost in tears with fear. When I realised that the wine in the hostel was only €1.20 a glass, I drank quite a few, to help me sleep. One our first day in the camp I drove in with a builder. Men and women were shouting at us. I was shaking. When I got out I realised that they were shouting, “Welcome! Welcome!” Then they asked if they could help us build. Who knew? Refugees offering help, not looking for it.

3: It was actually quite safe

I spent the first day in camp with my iPhone practically padlocked to my knickers. I’d read about people being mugged for their phones and about how, if you were seen with one in your hand, men would fight over it to make a call. Within a couple of hours I knew I had nothing to worry about. At one point I dropped a €10 note on the ground. A stampede of guys fought about who would hand it back.

4: Refugees are generous In their eyes

we were guests and it was their responsibility to look after us. I had my first-ever cup of tea in the camp. I’ll probably never have a second anywhere – but under a tarpaulin, shielded from the rain and around a fire with some of my fellow volunteers and two guys from the camp, it became a really nice memory that I’ll keep forever.

5: Children live in the camp

I heard initially that it would be all men in the camp, but more and more women and children arrived, mainly from Syria, Sudan and Eritrea. I was taken aback by how seldom some of the children smiled, but I guess they’re used to volunteers coming in and out of their lives. At one point I was called into a tent that housed a family of three. The son, who was no more than a year old, was sick. He lay on the damp floor of the tent, staring into my eyes. I hope he gets out of there and gets to have a childhood that is even 10 per cent as privileged as mine was.

6: The food was delicious

I hadn’t thought it would be safe to eat in the Afghan restaurant run by a few guys in the camp. As there was neither sanitation nor hot water, I was sure I’d be vomiting for a week. How wrong was I? The food was so good that we ate there every day. I miss the rice and beans now I’m home. The camp also had a barber’s, a few shops selling basics such as water, cigarettes and chocolate, and a nightclub where everyone lets off steam. Living conditions are atrocious in the camp, so they’re making the most of what they have.

7: No one knows the difference between Ireland and Britain

At first I was livid about this, but when it dawned on me that I couldn’t find Sudan on a map I got over it. Listening to the stories of people living in the camp, it seems there are three main reasons that they’re heading for Britain. Number one: English is most of the refugees’ second language. Number two: many men in the camp already have families in Britain, where the family-reunification period is shorter than in many other European countries. Number three: Britain is considered a place of hope, where people from all over the world have been able to create lives for themselves and safely raise their families.

8: The camps are home to some seriously educated people

I met some Syrians who told me that they had two choices at home. They could enlist in the military to fight Islamic State or they could enlist in Islamic State itself. If that were my choice I’d leg it, too. Most people I spoke to in the camp were highly educated – hence the perfect English that meant I could talk with them – and just wanted to get to Britain to get decent jobs. I didn’t speak to everyone in the camp, and I’m sure that some have fewer skills to offer than others. I met one guy, a dentist, who promised to fix my teeth if he ever gets to Ireland. Fingers crossed. We also met builders, translators, doctors and engineers.

9: You can make a difference

It’s pretty easy to live with the idea that it’s impossible for one person to make a difference, especially in a crisis of such magnitude. But, collectively, our convoy had a huge impact on the camp. A lot of my friends have messaged to say things like, “The world needs more people like you.” I’m not exactly Mother Teresa, so I see no reason why they can’t be those people themselves. Be the change you wish to see in the world. The more you lead, the more people will follow. No matter what you believe in, stand up.

Holly Shortall blogs at hollyshortall.wordpress.com;

You can find out more about volunteering at facebook.com/IrelandCalaisRefugeeSolidarity


#Movies — ” Woody Allen : «Plus on est dépressif, plus on séduit» “

21 Oct

Woody Allen : «Plus on est dépressif, plus on séduit»


  • Home CULTURE Cinéma
    • Par Olivier Delcroix
    • Mis à jour le 13/10/2015 à 18:01
    • Publié le 13/10/2015 à 15:55
Woody Allen et Joaquin Phoenix sur le tournage de «L'homme irrationnel»

INTERVIEW – À bientôt 80 ans, le réalisateur, dont le dernier film L’Homme irrationnel sort mercredi en salles, n’a rien perdu de son humour caustique.

Même s’il assure n’avoir dormi que trois heures, Woody Allen répond avec pertinence et humour aux questions posées à l’occasion de la présentation au Festival de Cannes de L’Homme irrationnel, avec Joaquin Phoenix et Emma Stone, qui sort mercredi en salles.

LE FIGARO. – Dans vos films, n’est-il pas étrange que vos héros déprimés attirent les plus belles jeunes filles?

Woody ALLEN. – Cela n’a rien d’étrange. C’est vrai. Mais laissez-moi vous dire que je n’ai rien inventé. Depuis Guerre et Paix de Tolstoï jusqu’à Stendhal dans Le Rouge et le Noir, c’est la grande affaire de la littérature. Il n’y a rien à faire, le thème central de toutes ces œuvres, c’est un homme au fond du gouffre qui fascine les femmes qu’il côtoie. C’est la première pierre angulaire que l’on retrouve dans tous les drames et dans toutes les comédies. L’autre pierre angulaire, c’est le complot, le meurtre. Voilà les premiers outils du dramaturge. La relation entre un homme et une femme se trouve naturellement au …

Cet article a été publié dans l’édition du Figaro du 14/10/2015 . 72% reste à lire.

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Figaro Digital

#WHI –“Living in: The world’s happiest places “….

16 Oct

1 Apr

28 Oct

  • The Old Town, Aarhus Denmark

    The Old Town, Aarhus

If, as Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina, happy families are all alike, what about happy countries?

The World Happiness Report, released in September 2013 by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, measured the wellbeing of residents in more than 150 countries, based on six key factors: GDP per capita, healthy life expectancy, having someone to count on, perceived freedom to make life choices, freedom from corruption, and generosity. The report found that happier people earn more in their lifetime, are more productive and are better citizens.

Interested in finding some happiness yourself? The following cities are in the world’s top five happiest countries, all of which are in northern Europe, including three in Scandinavia. Out of a possible high score of 10, the countries below received scores between 7.480 (Sweden) and 7.693 (Denmark). Canada missed the fifth spot by just a few thousandths of a point, coming in at 7.477.

Aarhus, Denmark
Denmark’s second city is on the east coast of Jutland, the country’s mainland area, 150km west of Copenhagen. Blessed with a large natural harbour, Aarhus has the largest container terminal in the country and an industrial waterfront, but also a recreational marina near the city centre where people can water ski and sail. Thousands of students arrive every year to attend a number of universities and colleges, keeping the oldest large city in Scandinavia one of the youngest demographically, while Aarhus’ museums, music festivals and outdoor theatres make the city culturally vibrant. Many of the young and young at heart spend time in the Vadestedet, a pedestrian area in the city centre along the Aarhus River filled with shops, outdoor cafes and restaurants. The Latin Quarter is the city’s oldest district, with narrow streets and medieval houses, while the Isberget (The Iceberg), the city’s newest residential development, was built on the northern end of the harbour and designed so all the apartments have stunning sea views.

Finding an apartment is competitive, especially when students start their terms in August and December, and many landlords ask for a deposit of several months’ rent. Areas around the city centre are perennially popular for their proximity to stores, restaurants and nightlife. North of the centre, trendy Trøjborg attracts artists, students and other creative types. A property in the city centre costs 25,000 Danish krone per square metre, while a three-bedroom flat in the centre rents for between 8,000 and 10,000 DKK per month. Outside the centre, a property costs 22,000 DKK per square metre, and three-bedroom flat starts at around 6,500 DKK.

Oslo, Norway
The quietest of the Scandinavian capitals, Oslo is also arguably the closest to nature, sitting at the northern end of Oslofjord and backed by forests and mountains. But the city is also big on culture, from its numerous music festivals to the refurbished Ekeberg Park, a public sculpture park that opened in September 2013 containing works by Louise Bourgeois as well as Rodin and Renoir. Downtown is buzzing with new restaurants, bars, clubs and shops, while the stunning Oslo Opera House is the type of world-class architecture people travel to see. With the Norwegian economy being pumped along by its oil industry and the strong Norwegian krone, Oslo is consistently ranked among the most expensive cities in the world.

A popular district just west of the city centre is Frogner, which stretches from the harbourfront to the Royal Palace and Frogner Park, home to the Vigeland Sculpture Park and Museum, which attracts more than a million visitors every year to see its more than 200 outdoor sculptures. The housing stock includes small apartment buildings and townhouses, and the area has many restaurants, boutiques, galleries and green spaces. Two locales on Frogner’s seafront are particularly desirable, according to Lief Laugen, president and CEO of Krogsveen real estate. “Aker Brygge is an old wharf completely rebuilt with hundreds of apartments and restaurants, bars, cinemas and office buildings,” Laugen said. And Tjuvholmen is a new high-end development and cultural quarter that is home to number of apartment buildings from top Scandinavian architects, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art designed by Renzo Piano, a swimming beach, shops and offices.

#Happiness –” Résultat : la Norvège arrive en tête toutes catégories confondues …”

16 Oct

Résultat : la Norvège arrive en tête toutes catégories confondues, suivis de la Suisse, du Danemark, de la Suède et des Pays-Bas.


Jeunes/Etres Humains : le classement des pays où il fait bon vivre

Dans quel pays fait-il bon vivre quand on est un être humain/

jeune ? C’est la question à laquelle le think tank français Youthonomics a voulu répondre en réalisant son propre classement publié aujourd’hui. Et à ce sujet, la France est loin d’être la plus attractive.

Pour réaliser ce classement, Youthonomics a comparé la situation actuelle des jeunes et leurs perspectives dans 64 pays en utilisant 59 critères différents tels que l’éducation, l’emploi ou encore le bien-être.

Les pays nordiques en tête du classement

Résultat : la Norvège arrive en tête toutes catégories confondues, suivis de la Suisse, du Danemark, de la Suède et des Pays-Bas. L’Australie est 6e, et les Etats-Unis 13ème. La France, elle, n’est que 19ème.

Plus spécifiquement,  la Norvège est aussi première concernant le bien-être, tandis que côté emploi, c’est la Suisse qui se hisse en haut du palmarès, devant l’Allemagne. Là encore, la France est loin derrière (42e).

L’Afrique : continent optimiste

Contrairement à ce que l’on pourrait penser, ce n’est pas dans les pays riches que les jeunes sont les plus confiants en l’avenir, mais en Afrique. Les plus optimistes sont les Ougandais, les Ivoiriens  et les Kényans.

A titre de comparaison, la France arrive 51 sur 64 dans ce domaine. Comme le précise Felix Marquardt de Youthonomics, au Figaro : “Les pays d’Afrique comme sont des pays où il y a une croissance importante et où les choses vont dans la bonne direction et parfois, on se rend compte qu’il vaut mieux être dans un pays où les choses sont difficiles mais où on a le sentiment qu’on peut aller dans la bonne direction plutôt que dans des pays où la vie est plus facile mais complètement bloquée

#Thoreau– ” The slave-ship is on her way, crowded with its dying victims …” (Plea for Captain John Brown )

10 Oct

Plea for Captain John Brown [Thoreau]

“The slave-ship is on her way, crowded with its dying victims; new cargoes are being added in mid-ocean; a small crew of slaveholders, countenanced by a large body of passengers, is smothering four millions under the hatches, and yet the politician asserts that the only proper way by which deliverance is to be obtained is by “the quiet diffusion of the sentiments of humanity,” without any “outbreak.” As if the sentiments of humanity were ever found unaccompanied by its deeds, and you could disperse them, all finished to order, the pure article, as easily as water with a watering-pot, and so lay the dust. What is that that I hear cast overboard? The bodies of the dead that have found deliverance. That is the way we are “diffusing” humanity, and its sentiments with it.”

                         A PLEA FOR CAPTAIN JOHN BROWN
                             by Henry David Thoreau

Henry David THOREAU

” Le navire négrier est en route chargé de ses victimes mourantes ; en plein océan on lui ajoute de nouvelles cargaisons ; l’équipage, une poignée de propriétaires d’esclaves, soutenu par les nombreux passagers, asphyxie quatre millions d’êtres enfermés à fond de cale, et pourtant le politicien veut nous faire croire que le seul moyen convenable de délivrer les victimes et de «diffuser peu à peu des sentiments d’humanité». Comme si les sentiments d’humanité se rencontraient jamais séparés des actes d’humanité et que l’on puisse les répandre en quantités convenables (le produit authentique !), aussi facilement que l’on arrose le sol pour abattre la poussière. Qu’est-ce donc que j’entends jeter par-dessus bord ? Ce sont les cadavres de ceux qui ont trouvé la délivrance. C’est ainsi que nous diffusons l’humanité et les sentiments d’humanité avec.”

Traduction de Christine Demorel et Laurence Vernet
Éditions JJ Pauvert
Libertés nouvelles 2,  1977

#Blogs –Some changes in 2015-16 –RVW and our Blogs …– and THE Best Places to Start a Blog (Updated 2015 Edition)

8 Oct

Some changes in 2015-16 –RVW and our Blogs …(suivi sur ces Blogs )

Some changes in 2015 –RVW and our Blogs …(suivi sur ces Blogs cet automne)

Il y a une paire de blogs qui sont actifs dont celui-ci: sur Rimbaud:(my favorite w/ Une Tasse de Café)

Le Cirque Loisset –Rimbaud en Suède ...**


Reminder: All of Our Blogs are compilations, citations; hence, you will find very little I myself write (10% -Not. Not even 1%; we may reproduce some article, in its entirety; but, soon enough, you will find the link only …_______________

(will be updated)
Une Tasse de Café in Paris **


The Language Coop on paper li:


Le Journal du Pauvre


Le Syndrome d’Avatar


4.74 (Job ads, only Jobs –few of them: we are not an agency; this is a pro bono service)


Gerthur Kristny –(Trying to Understand Life, Poetry and Gerthur Kristny)


( certains Blogs ne sont plus trop actifs … /Some of Those Blogs are not too active lately … celui sur la ‘ Guerre en Ukraine ‘ & sur ‘ le Referendum grec ‘–OXI). Les Blogs vont et viennent –c’est la vie: I hope to be able to start a Wbsite , which would be comprehensive.

et al.

and of course go to :

Such a long Trip /” Un si long Voyage “




THE Best Places to Start a Blog (Updated 2015 Edition)


news: ” Ku Klux Klan-clad protester in Lahti anti-asylum seeker demonstration “

2 Oct
News 25.9.2015 10:29 | updated 25.9.2015 15:21

Ku Klux Klan-clad protester in Lahti anti-asylum seeker demonstration

A group of asylum seekers brought to stay at a former barracks in the Hennala district in Lahti Thursday evening were confronted by protesters carrying Finnish flags hurling fireworks and stones. One of them was dressed in the distinctive robes of the white supremacist Ku Klux Klan movement. Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Päivi Nerg described the events as an isolated incident.

Noin kymmenen ihmistä osoitti mieltään turvapaikanhakijoiden tuloa vastaan Hennalan ex-varuskunnan portilla Lahdessa.
Police confirmed the presence of 30 – 40 protesters opposing the arrival of asylum seekers in Lahti. One of them wore the robes of the white supremacist movement the Ku Klux Klan. Image: Heikki Ahonen / Yle

Yle reports that a group of asylum seekers who were being transported to hastily-arranged accommodation at a former army barracks in Lahti’s Hennala district were met by a group of 30 – 40 individuals protesting the presence of the new arrivals.

The demonstrators chucked fireworks at the bus in which the asylum seekers were travelling, many of which exploded with a loud bang.

The bus contained some 49 people, the majority of whom were fleeing violence in Iraq. The group also included small children, as well as infants in arms, according to Yle’s reporter on the scene, Kirsti Pohjaväre.

Senior Constable Esa Mäkelä of the Lahti police department confirmed the number of demonstrators and said that two of them were fined for throwing fireworks.

As the bus approached the area where the barracks were located, Finnish Red Cross workers were on hand to guide the refugees to the reception centre.

Stones hurled at Finnish Red Cross workers

Yle reporters say the unrest in Hennala began roughly half an hour before the buses began to arrive, with protesters pelting rocks at the Red Cross workers as they took coffee to guards manning the gates of the complex.

However no one was injured during the stoning incident. On Friday morning three additional buses arrived on the scene. A total of 250 people are expected to arrive at the Hennala centre.

Earlier in the evening another Yle journalist, Heikki Ahonen, reported on the group, whom he said comprised mainly young men. Ahonen noted the presence of the Ku Klux Klan-clad  individual and described the scene at the time as mostly calm. He also noted that officials had not intervened in the situation at that time.

In a separate incident in Kouvola Thursday night, police held a 50-year old man who threw a Molotov cocktail at an emergency shelter. No harm was done, as guards were able to put out the fire.

Interior Ministry PS: Lahti case an “isolated incident”

Meanwhile Interior Ministry Permanent Secretary Päivi Nerg said she’s satisfied with police actions in Hennala. She added that security officials had been prepared for the possible consequences of establishing a reception centre in the area.

“The role of the police in such situations is to handle them as quickly and as proactively as possible to ensure that nothing happens to anyone,” Nerg told Yle Friday morning.

Nerg described the events in Lahti as an isolated incident, but admitted that Interior Ministry officials were concerned about resistance to housing asylum seekers.

“All of the reception centres are being placed in communities where there haven’t been many people with foreign backgrounds. These are small-scale incidents but we have prepared well for them to guarantee the safety of asylum seekers as well as other people living in the area,” Nerg commented.

A few weeks ago the Interior Ministry established a crisis management team under Nerg’s leadership. The permanent secretary said that the Ministry has so far remained on top of the refugee situation. But she acknowledged that in retrospect, all of the Ministry’s actions have so far lagged behind current developments.

She pointed out however that the establishment of a central asylum seeker registration hub in Tornio, northern Finland, had helped bring the situation under control.

Edit: This article was updated at 2.16 pm to indicate that two people had been fined for using fireworks, not one as had been previously reported. It was also updated to include information about police detention of a man in Kouvola for lobbing a Molotov cocktail at an emergency shelter for asylum seekers.