2.en.49 Mònica Bernabé’s talk on Afghanistan: do we live in a bubble?

This morning we went to Mònica Bernabé’s talk at Caixa Forum. We have been there several times: to talks, concerts and exhibitions. Today, 2nd year Batx students joined us and despite age difference both groups seemed to have enjoyed the talk.

Now, in class we’ll try to investigate and learn more about the things we heard. Some of the words she used you might have heard them many times before; words such as “WAR” ,“DEATH” “FREEDOM”. But you might also have heard new ones such as war criminals, cold war, talibans, mujahideens, burka, human rights, civilians, casualties, coallition forces, lords of the war,UN economic index.

However, after her talk, I hope that these words have stopped being just words for you.  Despite living in a very different reality, you should know that there are people and stories behind them,  They are not just a list of meaningless concepts to be learnt by heart . If I were a journalist and I was asked to choose a quote from Mònica’s talk, I guess I would choose “We live in a bubble and  things we take for granted are not so in Afghanistan”

Homework: Tomorrow, Friday 4th, I would like to see your comments on Mònica’s talk in the blog. Summarise the main contents and explain the parts you liked best. She spoke in Catalan and part of the videos she showed us were  in English or in Spanish, so it is up to you, you can post your  comments in the language you prefer: Catalan, Spanish or English.

The data about Afghanistan I asked you to look for (size, population,economy, religion, languages, life expectancy,demography, political system) you have to post them in English.

I found in You Tube the animation video that Mònica’s organization, (ASDHA) The Association for Human Rights in Afghanistan, made as part of the campaign to remove war criminals from Afghan parliament.  Watch it again. I have uploaded the English version, but if you go to the site, you can also watch it in Catalan and in Spanish. It is a good summary of the last 30 years of the country history and war conflict.

2.en.48 From Stockholm to Kabul “Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul”

We set of this term visiting a green city, Stockholm, and moved on to finding a bit more about Sweden, its citizens and their way of life. All of you have discovered interesting facts such as Swedes’ environmental awareness.

It’s about time to talk about wealth and economy. According to the GDP (nominal) per capita ranking elaborated by the International Monetary Fund, in 2010, Sweden was situated among the top ten countries of the world, which means it is among the richest.

In case you look for Spain, its position is 25. See this link

In terms of wars, it is worth mentioning that Sweden has not been combatant in any war since 1814, close to 200 years.

Today,  we’ll go to la Caixa, to listen to a talk about Afghanistan. It will be our third talk this year, part of the series that aimed at broadening your perception of the world. Thanks to Chema Caballero, we learnt about child soldiers in Sierra Leone. In October, Ramón Lobo explained to us how difficult daily life is in conflict areas. Today, the last talk of Trobades amb compromis will be given by Mònica Bernabé and it is called “Afganistan, més enllà dels talibans”

So, from Sweden, we shall move to a totally different reality and find out more about a Afghanistan, a country that has been devastated by wars and conflicts for more than 30 years. In terms of wealth and economy it ranks at the other end of the list.

Sweden also ranks among the top countries in terms of gender equality while in Afghanistan most women lead an invisible life covered by burkas and deprived of most elementary human rights.

You will have the chance to talk to a woman journalist, Monica Bernabé,  that has experience what daily life in Afghanistan is like. I hope that you will also realise that, against all odds, something can always be done, even in the worst situations.

I would like you to have a look at this inspiring video. Let me know what you think of it. Do you think skateboarding can contribute to changing patterns of behaviour?

Now, 20 questions about the film that will make you reflect on what an initiative such as skateistan is perceived by the kids in Kabul.

  1. How old is Murza?
  2. Was he born in Kabul?
  3. What does he say about his village Charekar?
  4. Why isn’t he too scared of violence?
  5. Does  he think violence will end in the near future?
  6. Where did he use to work?
  7. Where does he work now?
  8. What are his tasks in the skate park?
  9. How does Murza describe his relationship with skating?
  10. What does Sharna Nolan do  in Skateistan?
  11. What is the main objective of Skateistan?
  12. How old is Fazilla?
  13. Where does she work?
  14. What can you see in the background when kids are skating on a rooftop?
  15. What does Fazilla’s father think of her hobby?
  16. How does Murza describe his experience during Taliban period?
  17. What do the streets and the buildings of Kabul look like?
  18. What does Murza say the people of Afghanistan must do?
  19. How does he see the future?
  20. Did you like the film?

Homework: Friday 4th February. Post your answers and comments to the blog.