A Look at the Portuguese World


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New Year old life

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It is a text where I want to do the analysis of the events that shook the media last year.

I would say first of all that not very much appreciate this idea of balance, although I have made them as you know. However, this year I decided to write a different text. I want to address the key words, at least I consider relevant of the year that has passed and that will continue to ser the media agenda in this 2016.

My first word of the year is fear. The last terrorist attacks in several countries continue to sow chaos and distrust all over the world. The recent attacks in Europe only proves that the biggest weapon of these Islamic extremist groups is fear. We do not know who they are, how many are they, what they think and the worst when they strike again and all these questions are indeed a powerful weapon. Before the end of the year were reported numerous possible attacks that were prevented in time by the security forces, but does all that information conveyed by the media help? Gives the impression that the more we know we feel less secure and it seems that the terrorists "play" with us the worst possible way at the psychological level. I believe that Europeans, in general, they feel harassed, are just like people after an assault in their homes, their privacy is violated and they feel insecure in what they thought was a safe place, because after all they can come back, right?

Immigrants was chosen as the word of the year, I agree and I think that will continue to be relevant in 2016. The migratory waves that have gained greater expression in 2015 demonstrate not only that logistically and politically we are not prepared to receive millions of people fleeing war, poverty and hunger, and psychologically Europeans in their large majority prefers to ignore this wave of moving people. The consequences are notorious, more intolerant with the existing Muslim communities in Europe, increasingly racism regarding people with dark hair, brown eyes and tan skin, as if there is a stereotype already set, an assume xenofonism openly assumed and without constraints by several European parties movements, just look at the growth of far-right parties at the polls in not just one, but several of the so-called developed countries and the closing of the borders of many of the neighboring nations of those migratory routes. I recently saw a movie that made me think a lot about this this issue, entitled "Sarah's Key" on the massacre of French Jews. There is one scene in particular that caught my attention by the intelligence of the script, a small essay discusses the atrocities of the so called "concentration of the Vel 'd'Hiv' and how people preferred to ignore what was happening to the Jews fleeing death or disappear simply from their home, or the ghetto, one of the characters points out who she feels ashamed of this indifference of the majority and that this will not happen again if repeated, but behold, one recalls that the very same scenario could apply to current immigrants who die on Europe's shores, after all it is preferable to pretend it has nothing to do with us? It is very easy to condemn others in the past and look with a certain arrogance towards a society we considered retrograde, but were they? Today, you who is reading this article, are you not part of a majority that prefers to ignore the problem? Let the politicians solve this issue, right? It happened the same in World War II and the result is known.

Connect remains in my view relevant in 2016, not for the best reasons I might add, although new technologies have been revolutionizing the world in terms of communication, shortening time and distances, contrary to what would be expected does not bring us together quite the contrary, we increasingly live isolated in our "bubble" in our "cocoon" as Faith Popcorn describes in her book, "eve-lution," which has never been more timely than now. If you notice everything can be purchased now online is not even need to leave home, at least in the more developed societies, we can study, work and have a decent life without leaving our four walls, while avoiding being confronted with the unpredictable violence that is lived on the streets. It is also perhaps the most self-surveillance society ever. When George Orwell wrote "1984", he imagined a world ruled by the "Big Brother" that could even control the thoughts of its citizens. At the present, people write and photograph every moment of their existence, no matter how trivial it may be, there are cameras everywhere, in public buildings, on the streets, in our homes all for the sake of our own security, not to mention the social networks and search engines who collect precious information about our tastes and preferences and they do not need to pay, we provide all this information for free and we do not believe that any of this is invasion of privacy, quite the contrary. The irony if you not yet realized it, is that it was not necessary to create a government that controls the people, their thoughts and tastes, we are all are the "big brother" of our own lives and it is already so accepted that we never feel the need to question it.
People, on the other hand, all over the globe are increasingly dependent on their vituais toys and is already so notorious that direct contact is scarce, just take a closer eye on a terrace, or in a restaurant, or even in a bar one can easily see that people do not communicate. Are connected to their mobile phones, ipads and laptops, do not even talk to each other, they are physically there, but absent at the same time. Makes sense? To illustrate this idea I will briefly tell the story of a very interesting article I read on this very issue, a famous restaurant in New York (which I cannot remember the name) that has existed since the 70s, was been a target of lawsuits by customers who complained that the food came cold to the table. The management aware of the bad publicity and it's entails decided to review all procedures from the moment the waiter wrote down the request, the kitchen times and how long it took the dish to arrive the the table. They found it took about half an hour as occurred almost from the opening day and they even bother to see the old Beta and VHS cassettes to check whether there was difference and what they found? That within 30 years everything had changed. If in the past people entered the restaurant, made their request, drank an appetizer and talked while awaiting at the present customers come in, ask something from the menu and when the food arrives at the table, or they are already entertained with their gadgets and they almost not notice the arrival of the food, because you need to be online forever, or they entertained them selves by taking pictures of the dishes, which immediately they post on the social networks, which then immediately comment on everything and anything and when they decide to eat, it is already cold. It is clear that to avoid future lawsuits the restaurant in question published a huge ad in the largest circulation newspaper in the city and in "craigslist" with all these findings and assumes that no longer will be held responsible for the bad behavior of their customers. Makes you think, right?

The fictional personalities created in social networks are another facet of the same problem, have you notice how we all are happy, or are constantly on a party or in vacation? Nothing is real, everything is assembled and adjusted with photoshop for optimal view. I wonder what kind of society are we creating where people suffer from an apparent rampant narcissism where everything is seemingly perfect and beautiful and they shows it all ???? I look with much concern at this brutalization of the new generations and of how people are no longer valued for their expertise, or knowledge but by their appearance and how many followers have in their social pages, think a little, if one day and it's not an impossible scenario if the internet fails what will they do? Have you thought that the only ones that get away are those who knew the world before the arrival of new technologies? Am I right or am I wrong?

Woman is a word that remains unfortunately a hot topic. The scenes of sexual violence that occur with great frequency in many countries where women are still seen as inferior beings now reached Europe. The recent attacks that occurred in Cologne and other European capitals at the end of the year are an important example for the worse. In the XXI century we are still confronted with all kinds of violence, whether physical, and psychological, even in the so-called developed societies. Women are still the main victims, all over the world, of traffic of human beings and the lack of any rights, although it has finally been agreed a document at the UN aimed at preventing sexual violence in war zones. The truth of the matter is that these cases continue to tarnish our reality and I will point out again the case of the girls who were abducted by Boko Haram and whose families still suffer in silence. I insist on remenbering the attacks on several young ladies in India, the disfigured women of Pakistan and the trafficked girls from Thailand. Closer, I remember with shame that immigrant women, in the middle of Europe, are coerced by traffickers into prostitution as a payment for their passage and their family, facing by the indifference of the authorities. For all this, unfortunately, it will be another year of fighting gender discrimination. But not all are bad news for the first time in the history of Islamic countries, a woman was elected a member of parlament in Saudi Arabia and in my country also a historical statistics occur, a third of the Republic's Assembly MP's are women. The next goal? To elect a woman prime-minister! And the struggle continues...

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