Monday, January 26, 2009

Skateistan - a Positive Step in Afghanistan

I know that this isn't about my usual topic, but I found it interesting anyways.

While I was reading the New York Times today, I came across an article that cought my attention. This article was titled "Diversion from Desolation". The article talks about a man named Oliver Percovich, from Melbourne, Australia, who plans on opening the first skateboarding school in Afghanistan this spring, called (believe it or not) Skateistan. He desccribes how he is the "servant" who helps the "teenagers [who] are trying to dissociate themselves from old mentalities". This kind of an act goes further than just giving a kid a skateboard, as one little girl says, "It gives me courage, and once I start skating, I completely forget about my fears." While this girl will only be able to skateboard until she reaches puberty, she is still able to enjoy the time she has skateboarding. With the help of Percovich, many children in Kabul, Afghanistan are able to try something new and distract themselves from their war-filled lives.

Percovich believes in the idea that positivity can change a child's life, and he is going off of this philosophy to prove to people that the world can be changed even if it is only one skateboard at a time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Disappointment in Presidents

When Subcomandante Marcos gave a speech in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas this past week or so, he warned that Americans may be more disappointed in the new president-elect Barack Obama than they thought they would be. Marcos states that Obama "also supports the use of force against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip." Whether this is true or not, it is nearly impossible to say, since Obama has not given his own take to what Marcos has said.

In an article written before Christmas, called "All I Want For Xmas is...." one of the sections talks about Mexico, mentioning the Chiapas revolution. Yet this is not the only area of the world that is having issues at the moment. This list includes: the United States, Israel, Mexico and New Zealand.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Paying for Silence

The Mexican government has been trying to repress the Zapatistas and their followers ever since they first came out to the public in 1994. Their first attempt was to start paying "charity" to the families who are members of a political party in order to try and gain their silence in the condition of their countries. The government tried to take the basis of the Zapatista's support and snatch the support as their own. Some of the municipalities that have recieved this "charity" are the same ones who have not had an improvement on their level of development this entire time. Unfortunately, many people have "fallen into these evil government traps" and have stopped supporting the Zapatista cause.

This trap that the govermnent has set is something that seems to ring true throughout the world, not only in the Maxican world. The difference between what others do about it and what the Mexican people do about it is that they try to stop it. There is not really an equivalent to this group in the United States, nor in many other countries. Mexico is able to stand up and object to what it finds wrong. DOes this set them appart? Or does it just make them more anti-authority like?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Can we save a child in Israel?

El Periodico de Mexico recently published an article in which Subcomandante Marcos calls the attack on Gaza by Israel a "classic war of conquest". He talks about how much he sees in how the people of Gaza are sturggling. "For the government of Israel" he says "these men, women, children and elders are the enemy soldiers and the houses, huts and buildings where they live are the headquarters that need to be destroyed." Yet, how the rest of the world seems to know that they are nto soldiers but innocent people. He asks if there is anything they can do to save just one child, a rehitorical question, he answers it. "We think so." If no bomb is dropped by us, we don't kill anyone and that is one less bomb to be dropped on these poor people who haven't done anything wrong but live.

What happens anywhere in the world affects the whole rest of the world. Mexico is dealing with preoblems of its own at home, but the leader of this revolutionary group is taking the time to ask if he can save one child in a foreign land where he has never been. He still finds time to be concerned about the worlds where he has not been and most likely will not travel to in the near future, if ever.

A recording/message of Marcos' speach about the attack on Gaza.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


For those of you who have never heard of the Zapatista movement, here is some background information about how it started and what has been going on.

The Zapatista National Liberation Army: The voice that arms itself to be heard.

The New York Times has named the Zapatista movement as the first "post-modern revolution". Led by the "suave, pipe-smoking, balaclava-clad Subcomandante Marcos", pictured below. BBC News calls him "the charismatic guerrilla", Marcos is known for his black face mask and his pipe. Marcos made his name in Mexico after the uprising on January 1, 1994, when the Zapatistas came out ane revealed themselves to everyone around.

The Zapatista movement starts in Chiapas (the southern most state in Mexico) and is working to expose to the rest of the country just how impoverished the people there are. But this movement has captured not only the attention of the Mexican community, but also that of the international community. European countries as well as many others have made notes of what is going on there, the New York Times has had articles on it, the latest from December 9, 2008.

This uprising occured when the Zapatista National Liberation Army rose up against the Mexican govemnent, taking up arms and marching for 15 days from their jungle in Chiapas to the heart of Mexico City. Leaving February 24, 2004.

While the Zapatistas did take up arms and weapons for this uprising, they stated "We did not take up arms to gain a political post or office or soem other important place. We rose up in arms because we would not die forgotten. So that people will hear our demands adn not forget that in this corner of Mexico, live meany indigenous who have been abandoned for many years."

As one would guess, Sucomandante Marcos and his Zapatista followers are quite popular throughout Chiapas. The people living in Chiapas support completely what the Zapatistas are trying to do. There are entire stores in the marketplaces that are completely devoted to the Zapatistas and the movement. Marcos is even being compared to and noted as the next Che Guevara. While this may seem strange and unlikely to many people out of Mexico, it is quite obvious when one sees the t-shirts, Marcos dolls and many different posters that are found in Mexican shops.

There are a few videos on YouTube, were Subcomandante Marcos was interviewed. There are 1, 2, 3 parts. In this order

Day One

This is the first blog I've done myself.

For Global Studies, we have to make a blog, so here is mine.

This past summer, I traveled to San Cristobal, Chiapas and visited with some people down there. One night we went out to dinner at a fairly nice restaurant, there was live music and the food was quite good. The restaurant was open, with different, little shops surrounding it. One of these shops really caught me attention. It was a store devoted entirely to the Zapatista movement. At the time I had no idea what it was, so I asked one the people we were staying with and he explained a little bit about the movement. I decided that I wanted to learn more about it, so I did.