Was the Earth Hour call answered?

17 04 2009

Just thought I’d post a video showing how Earth Hour was celebrated around the world. Earth Hour took place the 28th of March 2009 at 8.30 pm.

I also want to remind you all to keep living green :) And here are some tips on how to do that, courtesy of WWF – The Good Life.

April is spring cleaning month – a time to get your home and garden ready for the warmer months ahead. It is also the perfect time to make some changes in your life to lighten your footprint on our planet! Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Enjoy the warmer weather and fresh spring air by walking and/or cycling more, instead of driving. If you walk or bike daily, you can save as much as $3,000 a year in gas, vehicle maintenance and parking!

2. Get your garden ready for summer by composting your kitchen and yard waste in your backyard. Or, if it’s offered, separate your organic waste for weekly composting by your municipality.

3. Fight climate change by washing your clothes in cold water. They’ll be just as clean and you’ll save a lot of energy. Almost 90 per cent of the energy used to wash clothes goes into heating the water!

4. Instead of using your energy-guzzling clothes dryer, use a clothesline to hang up your clothes to dry. After the refrigerator, the clothes dryer is the top energy-using appliance in the house!

5. When your light bulbs burn out, make sure you replace them with CFL bulbs. CFL bulbs are 75 per cent more efficient and last eight times as long as standard bulbs!

6. Did you know that the average food item travels more than 2,000 kilometres before reaching your plate! Reduce greenhouse gases by filling your plate with locally grown fruits and vegetables.

7. When shopping, take a collection of reusable shopping bags with you so you’re not using plastic bags, which create waste and greenhouse gas emissions. Remember, bags take from 20 to 1,000 years to break down!

8. After cleaning out your closets, donate your pre-loved items to a charity shop or invite your friends over for a clothing swap. Remember to re-use, repair, and re-wear clothing to reduce your fashion footprint!





Commemoration of the Rwandan genocide

15 04 2009

The 7th of April 2009, 15 years had gone by since the Rwandan genocide started in 1994. Everybody has probably heard about the genocide, but how many really know what happened, and how this could be allowed to happen?

Let’s start with a short background video, for those of you who need to freshen up their memory:

Please note that in this video there is shocking footage, and note also that the facts presented are simplified and not very detailed, but should give you a good enough background check.

The efforts of the UN during the genocide have been seriously debated. Could we, the rest of the world, have done more? Undoubtedly. But not a lot of us could understand the scope of the tragedy until afterwards, if then! Rwanda was a country with many tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi. The difficulties go way back, and it’s hard for an outsider to fully understand what this means. Former colonial powers (first Germany, whose rule was weak and didn’t imply many changes, and then Belgium, who were the first to introduce “Ethnic Identity Cards” dividing the population into Hutu, Tutsi or Twa (a smaller racial group who had occupied areas in Rwanda before the arrival of the Hutu and the Tutsi)) have been blamed for making matters worse, but who can tell how the story would’ve ended without their involvement?

Wyclef Jean – Million Voices:

Around 800 000 people were killed – mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus. We are still today trying to punish those guilty, and to figure out what really happened. Did the government really have full control of the Hutu militia (thereamong the interahamwe)? Who is really to blame? Can you blame a specific group or was the genocide just a wave of attacks, committed by individuals who were spurred on by earlier attacks? The UN Tribunal, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), situated in Arusha, Tanzania, has been given the difficult task of trying to “write an official version of the history” and to judge the guilty. As a law student I immediately see the conflict of interest that presents itself here. The tribunal runs a risk at being used more as a means to determining an official version of the history of the genocide and as a means to national reconciliation, rather than determining the guilt of one single individual, which should be the fundamental task for a court. Involving the element of trying the whole history might actually endanger the whole partiality of the court, since it can be hard to judge one single individual in an environment (the court) where the whole horrible history of the genocide is discussed. The two elements should simply be kept apart, but this is an issue that can be discussed for hours, so I’ll stop it right here ;)

rwanda1

In general, the ICTR is doing a good job. I’ve been there, working, so I was able to get a little insight in how the Tribunal worked. Sure, there are critical voices on how the prosecutor is doing his job, how easily the judges come to one conclusion in certain cases while not in others, the practical difficulties that are present at the court etc. There’s probably a lot to learn from this court as well, just as there has been from earlier similar tribunals, but at least they’re working on it. And it’s a difficult task, with witnesses and accused spread all over the world, different national praxises that make things even more difficult etc.

In addition to the ICTR, which is charged with judging the “big guys” = the main brains behind the genocide and the big perpetrators, there are numerous Gacaca courts in Rwanda, judging smaller perpetrators on a more local level. These Gacaca courts are lead by important individuals in society, not always educated in law, and are so-called “traditional courts”.

Source: http://www.martinjohnsoncommunications.com.au/pages/africa

Gacaca Court

The commemoration ceremony this year took place in Nyanza-Kicukiro, in the Kigali Ville province in Rwanda. The commemoration lasted one week, and ended yesterday. A program issued by the Rwandan National Commission for Fight against Genocide (NCFAG), said that President Kagame, among others, will light a candle in memory those who perished during the genocide. The Executive Secretary of Genocide Survivors Association (IBUKA), Bonoit Kaboyi, whose office is located at Nyanza-Kicukiro, said there was some light at the end of the tunnel, 15 years after genocide.”There is now more harmony, good co-habitation and reconciliation among Rwandans,” Kaboyi has stated. He said the fact that suspects confessed publicly and asked for forgiveness during gacaca proceedings has helped to reconcile the perpetrators and survivors, some of whom could not speak to each other previously.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame addresses attendants at the genocide mass-grave site in Kigali, April 7, 2009, during the 15th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide. REUTERS/Hereward Holland (RWANDA ANNIVERSARY SOCIETY CONFLICT)

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame addresses attendants at the genocide mass-grave site in Kigali, April 7, 2009, during the 15th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide.

“Genocide survivors must move forward with your lives…life must go on, we must continue to build for a better future,” Kagame told a large gathering, including members of diplomatic corps, ministers and politicians. He, however, said the post-genocide history can not easily be erased as more than a million people were brutally slaughtered during the April-July genocide. “Of course, it is not an easy task to build on the ashes of more than a million people,” he stated, adding that the future of Rwandans will be shaped by the Rwandans themselves.

President Kagame also took a swipe at the cowardice of the international community when thousands of innocent people were being butchered mercilessly. “They [international community] are part of that history. They are root causes of genocide,” he stressed, underscoring that they abandoned the people they had come to protect. “They left them [people] to be murdered, aren’t they guilty?’’, he asked.

The Rwandan President, however, noted that significant progress has been achieved in the post-genocide days and urged concerted efforts from Rwandans to propel the country towards further progress. ‘I can seat confidently, relaying on what I see,” President Kagame said.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and first lady Jeanette Kagame lay a wreath at a mass grave in the capital Kigali, April 7, 2009, during the 15th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide. REUTERS/Hereward Holland (RWANDA ANNIVERSARY SOCIETY CONFLICT)

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame and first lady Jeanette Kagame lay a wreath at a mass grave in the capital Kigali, April 7, 2009, during the 15th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide.

The site of this year’s commemoration is also historic. During onslaught of the 1994 killings, thousands of refugees sought shelter at the United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNAMIR) at the Technical School (ETO) near Nyanza-Kicukiro, hoping to get protection from the blue helmets, but to their dismay the peace keepers abandoned them and were subsequently killed by notorious Interehamwe militias and rampaging soldiers from the former Rwandan Armed forces (Ex-FAR). A survivor of Nyanza attack, Venuste Karasira, narrated to President Kagame how he escaped the death when Interahamwe started shooting and hurling grenades at them. He said that attackers thought he was dead when he was sleeping among dead bodies and covered by blood. “The killers thought I was dead and left the area,” he said. To read an article about this area, click here.

World eminent personalities such as the US President, Barack Obama, and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, Tuesday paid tribute to the victims of the genocide. Obama in his message to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame said that the tragedy in 1994 was so enormous, so daunting, that it ran the risk of becoming a statistic. “We must remember that each of the 800,000 individuals who died in 1994 had their own story, their own family, and their own dreams.” The US President, however, praised the Rwandan courageous men and women who survived the genocide and have since demonstrated remarkable strength and generosity in forgiving those who committed these heinous acts. “These individuals inspire us daily by working to restore trust and rebuild hope in Rwanda,‘’ he underscored. He added that by remembering these events deepened the world’s commitment to act when faced with genocide and to work with partners around the world to prevent future atrocities.

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Main source for this article: The Hirondelle News Agency, Arusha





Green Living

7 04 2009

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about green living, and I’m getting more and more inspired to green my own ways of living. I wanted to share some of what I’ve read with all of you.

recycle

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8 Easy Ways to Start Being Green – Earth911

1) Reduce – use less stuff!
2) Reuse
3) Recycle
4) Power Down – reduce your use of electricity
5) Don’t be a Drip – reduce your use of water
6) Shop Smart – look for environmental friendly, locally produced alternatives, minimal packaging etc.
7) Don’t Tire Down – tires at the proper pressures reduce gas mileage and are more durable
8) Be a Show-Off – ask for environmental friendly alternatives at your local shops

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Steps towards a more sustainable life of less – ZenHabits

simple-and-sustainable-life

Article about whether we could (and/or should) start living in a more sustainable fashion – a life of less! We should buy less stuff, use less electricity (by, among other things, ditching the car and start walking/cycling places again) – and start enjoying the simple things in life – the nature, the food, the people we love… This article makes you question your own living – do you really need all that stuff you have? Do you need to use your car all the time, or are you just lazy? Do you need that big house that is not only less friendly towards the environment (considering the amount of electricity etc. needed) but also costs more to build, maintain..?

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Are e-books an environmental choice?

This article is for all of you book lovers out there!

So, to sum up the article – e-books are more environmental friendly than printed books – but only if you compare them to new books.

“As usual, the greenest way to go is reuse—buying used books online won’t do your favourite author any favours, but Mother Earth will smile on you for the estimated 3 kg of carbon emissions you’ve averted by not buying a new book. (Seventy percent of those emissions are released in the course of simply producing the paper it’s printed on.)”

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Green Your Home Through Low-Impact Living

Find green products, calculate your impact and learn how you can reduce your environmental impact.

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Sustainable Living Guide

A big guide with links to sites about ANYTHING you might want to know about sustainable living!

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Tips for Green Living – Greenpeace

My favorite! Here you can find tips on how to green your home (concrete tips, which makes it good reading), and what to avoid the next time you shop etc… Really interesting reading!

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green-living

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The Green Guide – For Everyday Living

Also a good site, with a lot of tips about green living, health and safety… They have buying guides for most things (refrigerators, washing machines etc.) where they compare the environmental impact of the different appliances, tell you what to think about and other useful things… Really interesting reading!

Examples of articles:

Which flatscreen TV is greener? Plasmas vs. LCDs

Plastic Containers Buying Guide

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One Million Acts of Green

Canadian project to activate people and to make them more environmentally conscious.

“CBC and The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos want to mobilize Canadians to do One Million Acts of Green. In partnership with Cisco, the idea behind the campaign is that one small act can make a big difference.”

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Lastly, some tips on how to green your office:

8 ways to green your office – Earth911
How to make a recycled notebook
Green office supplies and products





What are we feeding our kids – and ourselves??!

29 03 2009

I watched this video on youtube the other day and I was shocked. It’s about a woman who has saved a hamburger from McDonald’s for 4 years and travels around showing what has happened to it over the years – or rather, what has NOT happened to it. It looks totally fine! I was unbelievably shocked, and realized how many different chemicals they must put in there for it to be able not to have any mold or other signs of aging after that many years! Watch the video:

When talking about obesity, which unfortunately is becoming more and more common in today’s world, I always wonder how people can actually let themselves go like that. I’ve had my own ups and downs with my weight, but I’ve never been really overweight, and certainly not obese, so I wouldn’t know exactly how that feels. But I do know how easy it can be to just give up. I know what it feels like to struggle not to eat too much, or certain things. But over the past few years I’ve become aware that diets are not the way to go. Sure – anyone who has ever opened a sports magazine, or an internet page for that matter, has read all that talk about “a diet is no good, you have to change your habits in a way that will last in the long run”. But I too had read all that for years and years before I was actually able to transform knowledge into action.

I’ve finally realized that I’m actually able to lead a healthy life, feel good and still enjoy the occasional chocolate cake :) I think I know how I’m supposed to make it last! The solution for me was simply to follow the golden rule “everything in moderation”. And to actually get moving. It finally kicked in. Before, I knew all that I needed to know about exercising, healthy eating and I’ve even tried out some diets. But I was never able to stick to any “life style” more than a few weeks or months, before giving up. It’s like my brain suddenly got tired of worrying about my weight, and about going or not going to aerobics classes. I noticed a difference in my body when I ate different things – I just feel sick if I eat fast food or excessive amounts of chocolate or white bread… So I just stopped eating foods that make me sick. And I cut down on those foods that I still like but that aren’t the healthiest of choices – this way I also enjoy them more once I eat them :)

I also concentrated on getting an exercise routing going. Took me a few months, but then I never ever wanted to skip any work outs, cause I immediately noticed a difference in my state of mind, in my body – and, after a longer break, in my weight. Plus, exercising makes your body feel great, and it also makes you lose weight (or keep your weight stable) and become healthier and fitter. It gives you good body conscience and makes you more confident over all, so exercising is a good deal no matter how you look at it! I have to admit though, I still have ups and downs when it comes to this. And if I’m very busy exercising is one of the first things that I cut out of my life – which is an area I still need to work on!

Changing your habits doesn’t have to be a big deal, or take a long time – nor be expensive. Just follow some basic ideas and principles, and take it one step at a time, and you’ll do great! These are just a FEW ideas on what you can do – believe me, I could write about this topic for hours, so right now I’ve really narrowed it down! Readers – feel free to contribute with your own tips and ideas!

  • Learn to cook. I think learning to cook might just be the best tip ever. It’s healthier, cheaper, tastes better – and it’s probably one of the best leisure activities you can have! Don’t look at it as something that takes a long time – make it fun! Involve family, friends, dates etc! Learn to enjoy it! Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Just get moving! Stop being lazy. Take a walk. Get off the subway/bus one stop earlier and walk a little bit. Don’t just lie in the couch while watching TV – do squats, push-ups, sit-ups, or – if you have the money – buy a cross-trainer! Walk or take your bike to school, work etc. Play outside with your kids if you have them. Don’t just call a friend and talk to them for an hour – take a walk with them instead. Physical Activity Guides.
  • Avoid fad diets. Although some may help you lose weight quickly, they usually involve avoiding certain types of food and the effects don’t last once you return to a normal diet.
  • Stop eating fast food. You don’t have to be super super healthy from the beginning. Just give up one bad habit at a time. And giving up fast food should probably be the first one.
  • Eat smaller portions. Just eat less! It’s that simple.
  • Consume what you eat. If you don’t consume it you store it. That’s the deal. In other words – be active!
  • Get a support network. Surround you with people that support you, inspire you and make you feel good about what you’re doing.
  • Find an exercise buddy. Having someone to exercise with, even if it’s just once a week for example, is an extra motivator. You won’t give up very easy if you know someone else is expecting you. If you don’t have a friend to exercise with just sign up for some work out class – which you have to pay for. When you’ve paid a lot of money for something it actually makes you want to go.
  • Variation is the key! Try out different sports, activities and work outs until you find something that you LOVE!
  • Read, learn and get inspired! Find inspiration from magazines, the internet etc! Read everything about food, exercising and healthy living that you can find! Learning to read nutrition labels is also a very good tip for finding out what foods are healthy and which are not.

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A FEW REASONS TO GET MOVING:

If you are overweight or obese, you may be at risk for a wide range of serious diseases and conditions including:

  • hypertension or high blood pressure;
  • coronary heart disease;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • stroke;
  • gallbladder disease;
  • osteoarthritis;
  • sleep apnea and other breathing problems;
  • some cancers such as breast, colon and endometrial cancer; and
  • mental health problems, such as low self-esteem and depression.

Obesity is one of the leading factors in heart disease and stroke, as well as in Type 2 diabetes. If you are overweight, you are at high risk of becoming obese, which can more seriously affect your health.

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And just to inspire you some more (not to eat fast food!) – watch the pictures on this webpage: This Is Why You’re Fat

I included some of those pictures here in this entry – just to give you an example of what is to be found on that webpage.

Egg n’ Ham Sammich

egg-n-ham-sammich

A regular ham and cheese sandwich but topped with 11 sunny-side up egg yolks.

Bacon Poutine

bacon-poutine

French fries topped with cheese curds, egg, bacon and covered in brown gravy. Since Poutine is the national dish of Québec, where I’m living right now, I just had to include this one ;)

The Thunderdome

thunderdome

Three stacks of bacon, sausage, elk meat, onions and cheese between tortillas all topped with sour cream, two fried eggs and scallions.

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LINKS TO USEFUL SITES:

Healthy Eating and Living – More than Medication

Health Canada

Healthy Eating – Tips for a healthy diet

Health and Fitness Tips – long list of good articles

gyminee.com – Workout programs, Exercise Routines, Food Diary

Rommel’s Flow – Blog written by a personal trainer

The Influence of Exercise on Mental Health

KidsHealth

diet.com





EARTH HOUR 2009

27 03 2009

Tomorrow is one of the most important days of the year.

Earth Hour 2009 is taking place – and YOU can be a part of it!

Earth Hour

So at 8.30 pm (local time) on Saturday the 28th of March, no matter where you are

– TURN OFF YOUR LIGHTS FOR ONE HOUR!

Sign up for Earth Hour 2009 on your own local WWF site.

LEARN MORE ABOUT EARTH HOUR AT

WWW.EARTHHOUR.ORG





Norouz

25 03 2009

Did you know what big festivity is going on in the world right now? If you’re Muslim you probably knew, but if you’re not, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard about this event.

Norouz, or Nowruz (several spellings are accepted), is the Persian New Year and it’s celebrated right now, during two weeks. The exact time of the Persian New Year this year was March 20, at 11:44 GMT.

Norouz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Persian Calendar (start of the spring in the northern hemisphere). Norouz has been celebrated for at least 3000 years and is deeply rooted in the rituals and traditions of the Zoroastrian religion. Today, the festival of Norouz is celebrated in many countries that were territories of, or influenced by, the Persian Empire: Persia (Iran), Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, parts of the Middle East, as well as in the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

flowers

Norouz in modern Iran

Preparations for Norouz begin in the last month of winter in the Persian solar calendar. The families start preparing with a major spring-cleaning of their houses, the purchase of new clothes to wear for the new year and the purchase of flowers (hyacinths and tulips are popular).

On New Year’s day, families dress in their new clothes, gather around the Haft Sîn table and await the exact moment of the arrival of the spring. At that time gifts are exchanged. Then they start the twelve-day celebration by visiting the elders of their family, then the rest of their family and finally their friends. During this period you don’t need to call ahead when visiting friends and family – you just pay them unannounced visits, and you get visitors as well. Sounds like a nice tradition to me!

The Haft Sîn

Haft Sîn, or “The Seven ‘S’s” is a major tradition of Norouz. The Haft Sîn table  includes seven items starting with the letter S, or Sîn in Persian.  The items symbolically correspond to seven creations and holy immortals protecting them. Traditionally, families attempt to set as beautiful a Haft Sîn table  as they can, as it is not only of traditional and spiritual value, but also noticed by visitors during Norouzi visitations and is a reflection of their good taste.

Haft Sîn Table

The Haft Sîn items are:

Sabzeh – wheat, barley or lentil sprouts growing in a dish (symbolizing rebirth)

Samanu – a sweet pudding made from wheat germ (affluence)

Senjed – the dried fruit of the oleaster tree (love)

Sîr – garlic (medicine)

Sîb – apple (beauty and health)

Somaq – sumac berries (the color of sunrise)

Serkeh – vinegar (age and patience)

Sonbol – hyacinth (flower)

Sekkeh – coins (wealth)

Other items on the table may be: traditional Iranian pastries, candles (enlightenment and happiness), a mirror (cleanliness), decorated eggs (fertility), a bowl of water with a goldfish (life) and a book (wisdom).

Sizdah Bedar

The thirteenth day of the new year festival is Sizdah Bedar (literally meaning “thirteen to out”, figuratively meaning “hit the outdoors on the thirteenth”). This is a day of festivity in the open, often accompanied by music and dancing, usually at family picnics. At the end of the celebrations on this day, the sabzeh grown for the Haft Sîn (which has symbolically collected all sickness and bad luck) is thrown into running water (a river for example) to exorcise the demons from the household. It is also customary for young single women to tie the leaves of the sabzeh before discarding it, so expressing a wish to be married before the next year’s Sizdah Bedar.

Norouz around the world

This past weekend I participated in a great Norouz celebration, with a lot of Iranians here in Québec. There were musical performances, a beautiful Haft Sîn table, a lot of dancing – and the best part: there were people of all ages and everyone had fun together! For me, the celebration included trying to learn how to snap my fingers in the Iranian way and dancing like the Iranians. In short: celebrating Norouz was one of the greatest experiences of this year!

Snapping-your-fingers-Iranian-style

USA and Iran

Norouz was also acknowledged by President Obama. However, he concentrated on political issues in his speech, all the while wishing the people of Iran a happy new year. He even said it in Persian in the end: Sale no mobarak!

Iran’s highest leader, Ayatolla Ali Khamenei, thinks that the speech was just a slogan. He responds to it by saying that the change that the US speak of is yet to be seen. He asks them when they are going to remove the sanctions and when they will stop supporting the sionist regime (Israel). In a TV broadcasted speech he reminds the US that change only in words is not enough. And then the man who has the most power in Teheran adds that Iran is ready to change its politics if the US change theirs.

Ayatolla Ali Khamenei

Ayatolla Ali Khamenei. Image from Hufvudstadsbladet.

Tensions between the US and Iran have “always” existed. Just as a quick reminder of what has happened in the past I will make a short list of important events in the history of these two countries. Reading this list you will hopefully be reminded of why the past 30 years have not been the best possible for the relations between the two countries.

USA and Iran

1953 – the US and the UK help Iranian military to overthrow the elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq, who wanted to nationalize the oil.

1979 – The US supported shah is forced to leave the country due to large protests. Ayatolla Ruhollah Khomeini returns from exile and takes over power. Students take 63 people as hostages in the US embassy in Teheran.

1980 – A secret US operation to free the hostages ends in fiasco. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invades Iran, the war lasts 8 years. The US stand on Iraq’s side.

1981 – The hostage drama at the US embassy comes to an end, after 444 days.

1985-1986 – The US engage in secret talks with Iran and provides the country with weapons in exchange for help with freeing an American hostage in Lebanon.

1988 – The US shoot down an Iranian passenger airplane over the Persian Bay by mistake. 290 people die.

1995 – President Clinton introduces sanctions and accuses Iran of supporting terrorists.

2001 – CIA claims that Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons.

2002 – President George W Bush says that Iran takes part in an “Axis of Evil” together with Iraq and North Korea, and constitutes one of the greatest threats against the US. The speech causes major anger in Iran.

2008 – Barack Obama is elected President of the United States of America and promises talks with Iran without advance demands.





What if you could do it all over again?

22 03 2009

Are you happy with the choices you’ve made in your life?

The thought hit me the other day. What would I change if I could live my life all over again? Would I do anything different?

I’ve always believed that you should live your life to the fullest and never regret any choices you’ve made, be they good or bad. Because it’s always easy to second-guess, but I do believe that, at the time, you made the choices you made for a reason. I don’t think anyone consciously would make a choice that they KNOW is the “wrong” one.

And speaking of wrong choices. Do they really exist? One could claim that there is no right or wrong answer – at the moment when the choice is to be made one could actually claim that there are only right choices. If you knew beforehand that one choice was the wrong one you wouldn’t even seriously consider it as a choice – so all the choices are “right” – in some way at least…

sunset

I’ve taken a liking to the saying that you should never regret things that you did do, but only things that you didn’t do. I try to live by that principle. No matter how “wrong” a choice may seem afterwards I refuse to regret it – since at the time it felt like the right thing to do. And since I don’t want to miss out on anything I always strive to do the most that I can. Remember – “…just regret the things you didn’t do”. I don’t want to wake up when I’m 50 realizing that there was so much I could have done, but I didn’t.

Most people always find some excuse not to do something that they might want to but that seems a bit dangerous, wild or simply “out of the norm”. They’re either too busy, do not have enough money, don’t want to risk the stabile and secure life they’re leading at the moment, or they’re simply too afraid. I say – don’t let logic rule your life! You’ve got to LIVE! You’ve got to dare do things you’ve only dreamed about doing! And don’t be afraid to change direction in life if you one day wake up and realize you’re not perfectly happy with your current living situation!

Let’s take a for instance – you’re studying to become a doctor, which most likely would lead to a respected career and a well-paid job. But what if you all of a sudden, when you’ve graduated, realize that this isn’t at all what you want to do the rest of your life? Maybe you chose that career because of your parents, because of the good pay, or maybe you just simply changed your mind after those years of studying. It really doesn’t matter why you all of a sudden don’t want to work as a doctor anymore, the only thing that matters is that then you have a choice. You could keep on pursuing a career as a doctor, and maybe you could be perfectly fine with that – but would you be truly happy?

Ever since I’ve started to consciously do more things that scare and tempt me at the same time I’ve become a much happier person. Of course, there are times when I wonder why I wasn’t satisfied with a calm, secure life with everything worked out for me – with a plan. But that thought passes really quickly. I usually realize really quickly why exactly I’m happier this way – leading a life where I don’t actually know where I’m going to be in a year. When I’m sad I’m more sad than I ever was before, but when I’m happy, I’m truly happy. Then it’s no longer about having this feeling of satisfaction. It’s about feeling a strong sense of being truly and honestly happy – and you feel all throughout your whole body! And that feeling makes you feel so alive. Then I know. I know why I chose this lifestyle. I know why I’ve given up all that security. I know that I will not wake up when I’m 50 (or 60, or 70 for that matter), wondering where my life went!

So if you’ve ever thought about “taking the leap” – just give it another serious thought. It might just be worth the sacrifice ;)