Movie, Journey of Hope

You see a place that looks like paradise from a postcard and from that you imagine a life better than what you have.  This scenario is what happened for Haydar Sener in the movie Journey of Hope.  Haydar was living in Turkey and desired to have a better life, to live in Switzerland in paradise.  This movie follows him and several others as they make the trek to cross the border into Switzerland trying not to get caught.  This film took the viewer on this trek and made you feel like you were right there with them facing everything that they had to face.  What was particularly moving was the hope that Haydar had for his family and how he wanted to provide them with this better life even if it meant selling everything he had to start completely over.  Even when things seem unreliable and sketchy Haydar kept his hope and courage and persevered through many trails.   One instance of this was towards the end of the movie when it was just him and his son trekking through the snow.  Haydar and his son faced freezing temperatures, cold wind, and not enough warmth but through all of that, on top of being lost, Haydar carried his son and kept fighting to find help and warmth for them both even though it ended in despair.

Nuuk

In this article titled “Shocking:” Greenland Ice Melt: Global Warming or Just Heat Wave?, and published on the “National Geographic News” website in July of 2012, the topic is the disturbingly rapidly melting ice sheets in Greenland. Despite the first fingers pointing blame were directed towards global warming, scientists believe that these rapid melts may actually occur naturally every 150 years or so. However another concern then would be that should these melts become common, it would add to the problem of rising sea levels. This melt was so dramatic that even Greenland’s coldest and highest place, Summit Station, was affected, something which “hasn’t occurred during our lifetime.” Yet this is where some scientists claim support to their idea of these melting events occurring every 150 years, as there is evidence that this has happened at Summit Station previously in 1889. The problem is that if melts continue to happen more often, the newly melted water shall not be absorbed by the surrounding snow, as there shall not be much there to do the job, hence leading to a rise in sea levels. Whether it is global warming or simply a heat wave has been researched around the world, although the answer shall remain unclear for now.

Athens

Taking place in 2011, the Greek people began protesting outside of their government buildings in opposition to the austerity measures put into place by the European Union and IMF. Greece is taking a second bailout from the European Union and the cost of it means austerity, and the city of Athens was not happy. However, even being as angry as they were their protesters were described as “indignant but they lack the will, the determination, the message, the zeal to shake Athens”, but “What they do do is serve as a rallying point.” Athens and all of Greece felt the austerity measures were an affront on their pride and Athens is “A city at a tipping point.”

As an interesting note, just today the Greek government approved cutting15,000 civil servant jobs and as a result the people in Athens are protesting again.

Reykjavik

In 2008, Iceland denounced Denmark, Sweden and Great Britain for turning their backs on the country during the financial crisis it was undergoing at the time. Additionally, the International Monetary Fund was hesitant to give financial support to the bankrupt country.

This article was published when Iceland’s bank was nationalized and the country found itself plummeting into bankruptcy. It demonstrates how important of a role the economy plays in the stability of the European Union. Iceland’s financial crisis raised issues about the extent to which EU member states should be bound to other members. Were Denmark, Sweden and Great Britain rightly minding their own business or should they have provided aid to Iceland?

Although Iceland underwent a peaceful regime change between 2009 and 2011 in response to the nationalization of its bank, the parliament originally blamed for the crisis has returned to political stage in recent months. With this in mind, how much economic autonomy can EU member states have? Perhaps it is difficult for Iceland to reject a central banking system if the Union is based around such a system.

Warsaw

One of Europe’s most anticipated and view events in modern history with the European soccer events. Back in 2012 it was decided to have the soccer matches in Poland and Ukraine. This being the first time the championship games were in held in the eastern part of Europe since 1976. The soccer events comes as a milestone for the two slavic countries. It represents their progression from the bitter past of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. It displays that eastern Europe is slowing starting to integrate with western Europe to form a more unified Continent.  By hosting this grand event it shows that their countries are modernizing in infrastructure  such as all the soccer facilities that’ll be needed. It also gives us insight on how the countries have matured, trying to solve it political and financial problems. These events and parts of history is what is needed to created a better Europe.

Istanbul

Turkey may have shot itself in the foot. It has become an increased concern for the head officials of the European Union that the hostility from Turkey towards opening its ports to Cyprus could hinder their ability to join the EU. The Chancellor of Germany, Angel Merkel, is trying to get Turkey to find a solution so that they can further their opportunity to join the EU. Merkel is set to take the Presidency, where she has plenty of ideas to lay out before the head officials of the EU. These plans being involved with energy and Bureaucracy cutting with in the Organization. Merkel has even went on to make a comment that she was willing to work with countries hoping to join the EU, but there is no promise of full membership. Understandable considering the financial issues currently occurring in Europe.
EU map (members and hopeful future members is available here.

Madrid Bombings

This article posted regarding the train bombings in Madrid in 2004 discussed how the thoughts and ideologies of terrorist groups on a global scale are changing after the events of 9/11. Before the train bombing, the ETA would normally warn the government about a bombing or incident to come. In this attack there was no warning. This style of terrorism reflects the behaviors of those used by the terrorist group Al-Quieda. Since the devastating attacks in New York on 9/11, there have been several changes in the way acts of terror are carried out. The attacks seem to have been planned out more thoroughly and made to “show off” in a sense the attacker’s skill. The reason behind this new style of attack is that after 9/11 and the immense amount of media attention that was brought forth from it, the other global terrorist groups wanted to follow in the footsteps of Al-Quieda and bring a greater amount of media attention to their causes. With these changes taking place, terrorist attacks of the future could result in more of a shock and awe effect on the victims and cause more casualties.

London

In 2003, before the beginning the American “War on Terror,” the world may well have held the most united opinion on war and conflict ever seen. On Saturday, February 15th, 10 million people worldwide took part in peaceful marches, protesting the war in Iraq. The list of countries involved was extensive; more than “300 cities in Europe and North America, 50 in Asia and Latin America, 10 in Africa and 20 in Australia and Oceania.” The idea for a “international day of action against the war” first happened in London, and was soon taken up by peace groups around the world. The most amazing thing about these protests was the opposition the countries contemplating war, America and Britain, encountered before the war even began.There were similarly large protests for Vietnam, but these only occurred after the war had already started and at the “height of the conflict.” The 2003 anti-war protests were the largest group of peace marches in 20 years.

Epilogue

With the culmination of his travels through Europe Mak is on a boat traveling along the Rhine. “the Rhine is a man, Heinrich Boll wrote, the name is Celtic, the cities along its banks are Roman, their voices are French, German, and Dutch, the bridges are American, the castle are Gremanic and dead. The Rhine is Dead.”pg 809  as Mak travels home after his excursion through Europe. Mak reflects on the things that happen after 1999 his discusses how event such as 9/11 has placed terrorist on a more global scale and how the climate of the world is changing. The Epilogue to Mak’s book is just a brief account of things that happen in the following years 2000-2010

Sarajevo

Mak travels to Sarajevo shortly after the fourth Yugoslav war. The fragmented region is still in recovery from the conflict. Many of the city’s structures are damaged or in ruin due to the war and the  city is now filled with international peacekeepers and relief workers. Mak writes, “of the 400,000 inhabitants of Sarajevo, 11,000 were killed during the siege, including more than 1,100 children” (807). Now, everything is “standing still” as peace slowly returns to the now independent Bosnia.

While Sarajevo suffered immensely, much destruction also took place in the villages surrounding the city. In the town of Mostar, Mak takes note of “one scorched and blasted housing block after the other” and also mentions the destruction of a world famous bridge from the sixteenth century. For local Esad Mavric, it was an attempt to destroy what had been built by rival ethnicities.

What had once been a peaceful and united nation called Yugoslavia, violently broke out into a series of wars with rivalries divided between ethnicity. For Hrvoje Batinic, each side shares responsibility for devastating the country, “We lost everything we were good at, and we kept everything that was bad” (806). What now worries Batinic is the next generation of Bosnians. His generation has ruined the country for their children. He states, “When our children grow up…there’s a great chance they’ll be even more fanatical that the people who started this war” (806).

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