Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air

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Paul Kalanithi: A man between Triumphs and Tragedies by Shahid Khan 

Few weeks ago, I came across an extraordinary book titled ‘When Breath Becomes Air’ – a memoir of Dr Paul Kalanithi’s heart- wrenching and moving yet riveting account of his life, love, wisdom, hope and passion for human kind as well as his illustrious journey from being a young brilliant neuro- surgeon/scientist to a decaying patient with lung cancer.

The theme of this book struck me and I read it in two days amid moments of tears and sorrow, pride and praise for this person with whom I felt I have a connection – An inseparable human connection. The book shakes the very being of the reader as it offers a poignant whiff of realism, idealism, and bitter truths of life which we all human beings sooner or later encounter: The fragility of human life against the tick-tock of the clock. It leaves the reader with some optimism about life to pursue dreams but the book also provides an undertone impression of grim realities of life, yet inspiring and mind-blowing in its nature.

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A Strong Man : Watch the new film created by refugee men calling for violence against women to stop

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A group of refugee men who fled their homes in countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Syria to seek sanctuary in Scotland have launched an online short film* calling on other men to stop violence against women.

*(for non-English language links see below)

A Strong Man, which echoes the messages of the White Ribbon Scotland campaign, calls on men of all cultures and faiths to take pride in being gentle and to teach their friends, families and communities that violence against women is wrong. Global Minorities Alliance welcomes this inter-community contribution to the ongoing efforts to end violence against women, and supports men and women from all backgrounds who are united in their condemnation of such unacceptable attitudes and behaviour.

The film was made by 67 men from the Maryhill Integration Network’s men’s group who originate form 11 countries, with the support of Glasgow film-makers media co-op.

Firew Desta, a refugee from Ethiopia involved in the making of ‘A Strong Man’, said: “The topic of the film project is a really important one because violence against women is happening in cultures and communities all around the world.

“We wanted to send a strong message that violence against women is wrong no matter what your culture or religion. We must teach our children this; to be respectful and listen to each other. This film gives us a chance to help to change attitudes.”

Rose Filippi, Maryhill Integration Network men’s group co-ordinator added: “All of these men have fled violence or the threat of it to seek safety in Scotland, so this is an issue that resonated with them.”

“The film allowed the men to use their considerable skills, and also to find a way of communicating a powerful message to other men in their communities, in wider Scottish society and beyond. It’s been a powerful and positive process.”

Vilte Vaitkute of media co-op, who developed the film with the group over a period of eight months was impressed by the ideas and creativity the men brought to the project.

“I was blown away by the fact many of the guys have suffered torture and violence themselves in their own countries, and are so sensitive about issues of violence against women in the home,” she said.

The two-minute film, which is available in English, Arabic, Tigrinya and Amharic, reflecting the first languages of men involved, will be distributed by an online social media campaign and available for interested men’s groups, community groups and other organisations.

The film is backed by the White Ribbon Scotland. Callum Hendry, campaign coordinator, said: “It is vital that men are able to raise awareness of the nature and cause of the issue and to challenge the attitudes of those who excuse violence against women or gender inequality.”

Watch this important film here :

Arabic Version: https://youtu.be/J8zJu0paY2E

Tigrinya Version: https://youtu.be/R-eoC2vvhww

English Version: https://youtu.be/mwGEz3YhD6Y

Amharic Version: https://youtu.be/_pXPPIHH_1Q

For more information or images contact Rose Filippi at Maryhill Integration Network on 0141 946 9106 or email rose@maryhillintegration.org.uk

Annual Youth Conference on Roma Rights

So keres, Europa?! (So what, Europe?!)

Cluj-Napoca, Romania – Conference Day #6

 

On Saturday, the last day of what turned out to be a full week of activities, came to its successful end leaving lasting impressions to all those involved . The participants finally presented the results of the 48-hours-actions on which they had been working on so eagerly in the workshops throughout the week. So keres Europa Day 6 Festival 011 - different together

Most presentations took place during a festival in Cluj-Napoca Central Park, however, some of the 48-hours-actions involved street activism in the heart of Cluj.

The “Invisible Theatre” took to the streets to see how people reacted to the scenes of discrimination. Based on personal experiences, the participants scripted short plays and acted them out in public spaces of Cluj-Napoca with audience and examined the reaction when they witnessed discriminatory situations.

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