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On Sweden's National Day
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National Day

June 7th, 2010 by Gonzo

On June 6th 1523, Gustav Vasa was elected king at the Riksdag in Strängnäs, ending the Kalmar union, beginning a new era in Sweden’s history, and giving the  Scandinavian country a National Day. Apart from that date, Sweden’s history isn’t marked by a calendar filled with “independence”, “freedom”, “liberation” or “revolution” days, therefore it conception of National Day is a slight different from what most countries understand.

A 2008 poll showed that most Swedes did not have an “independence feeling” on this recently official date, and it is perfectly understandable. France has its Bastille Day, celebrating  the ending of absolute monarchism, USA have 4th of July, their independence from tyranny and the institution of democracy, even Norway has 17th of May, the signing of the Constitution that proclaimed independence from, well… Sweden.

In Latin America for example, almost every country with the exception of Brazil, endured a bloody, lengthy independence war, and even after becoming independent, many of them endured regional or civil wars. That of course gives everyone in those countries the “independence feeling”, that and the fact that many of the people who died in those wars are now National Heroes, saucing up the National Epic of great deeds and turmoils.

But I like Sweden’s National Day for a larger reason than history and heroes, it is a celebration of the country, its people and land, its poetry, its paintings and architecture, its Ingmar Bergman and its snowy Lappland, it is a reminder that midsommar is almost there and a celebration of life. I like Sweden’s National Day for it does not celebrate the past, the blood, the beheaded or the war, it is a celebration of the present and furthermore the future, a good day and a great chance to remember of course that Sweden has bypassed many conflicts thanks to being on the sideline, thanks to being neutral.

I congratulate all Swedes everywhere and anywhere, for having such a beautiful country, amazing people, enviable lifestyle and the persistent feeling that things should better everywhere else. For that gratulationen på nationaldagen! Or however you say it!

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Europa wakes form a dream not so nice.

May 12th, 2010 by Gonzo

Not so long ago, the euro was considered by many the most stable currency in the world, it transformed itself from a monetary instrument to a brand backed up by 27 countries and economies that exemplified the concept of unity. Of course not all of those 27 countries fancied the euro as its own currency, UK, Denmark and Swede for instance chose to stick with their lovely pounds and fancy krona. Even after the banking crisis in Scandinavia in the early 1990’s none of those countries decided to yield for the euro, a move that seems to be wise nowadays but back a few years was not considered to savvy by many in Brussels.

A report issued last Saturday by the Reflection Group, headed by the Spaniard Felipe González, showed us that the future of Europe might not be as bright as it once looked, at least not if drastic changes are not made. For decades, Europe’s lifestyle has been he envy of the world, its high wages, amazing social model, early retirement age, fewer working hours, wonderful allowances, all translated in some sort of paradise were social security and development has been on the center of public policy.

The creation and growth of the EU helped to expand free market and social security policies to countries beyond the original eurogroup, thus entering developing countries like Greece, Spain and Portugal. The fall of the Berlin Wall opened a whole new world to the East that materialized its EU accession as soon as 2007, Europe kept growing and its economy kept moving forward… or so it seemed.

Several treaties later and EU Constitution on the line and still the EU institutions are not as strong as they should be, countries still guard their economic policies as watchdogs and as countries like Germany and Holland exercise fiscal responsibility, others like Spain, Ireland and Greece managed to spend in the name of development, playing casino economics Wall Street style in the process. Now the responsible ones have to pay, and pay big.

However, besides all the economic turmoil, Gonzalez’s report showed us the importance of thinking even further and see how the European model is at risk for other reasons. Certainly, economic  responsibility is a cornerstone for Europe’s future but so are comprehensive social policies, where immigration lies within.

With an aging population, Europe cannot hold for much longer its fantastic social allowances, not so early retirements, less vacation weeks, higher quotas for pension funds, all to keep an Union that has showed little institutional capability to respond to crisis this big. The burden of the workforce is way too small for Europe, therefore immigration reforms are needed and fast, Turkey, with 3% of its territory in Europe, should be viewed with better, brighter eyes by Brussels, working permits and visas must be issued fast. Smart policies to attract people from all over the world to come and work, to expand the workforce beyond its traditional Germany, France, Britain, Netherlands core.

The Eurodream is fantastic, but also an expensive and tough one, Europe must transform now, must rethink itself, must allow fresh young workforce, must sacrifice now before it can’t anymore, must live up to the dream with more realistic eyes.

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Labour Day

May 2nd, 2010 by Gonzo

1848 is long gone obviously, so is Marx and its call for all the workers of the world to unite. Labour day has changed and so have all the workers in the world, globalization and worldwide media have put another comma to a paragraph in the history of worker’s rights that once began with social security and the provision of a safety net for the poorest, the most unfortunate and the forgotten… Well, that is of course, the case in developed countries.

In my no so vast experience, Sweden is perhaps one of the most, if the THE most, advanced country on what worker’s and union’s rights concerns. Ever since early in the XX century, Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia passed laws to protect those who spent their lives in factories and workshops across the untamed north, the bar in protection and care was raised and life quality soon followed. As the scars of WWII healed and the fog of war dissipated, workers turned to soldiers laid down their weapons and stopped driving tanks to grab hammers again and operate cranes and trucks. They were heroes, of course, and they wanted something better, they were trained men, eager for work, anxious to get a better life  for them and their families, they wanted health, they needed food, they wouldn’t settle for few.

Those were huge conquests, as big as one can imagine, only a century ago slavery was legal in many countries. Unfortunately, although it is de jure prohibited everywhere in the world, slavery is a de facto situation in many, too many, places where people have not started the struggle developed world workers already have done, and it seems it won’t come as easy as wishing it.

The world has praised China’s economic success, it has praised Brazil and Russia too, south east Asian countries are set as an example to the world, but a few remember the millions of people who engross the workforce of those countries and regions and live with miserable wages, sweat blood everyday for a dismal dollar, spent their time as children sewing fancy bags and sneakers instead of playing outside.

Union leaders and politicians around the world praise on Labour day everything they do and have done for workers, many of them in Latin America and Europe still grab the worker’s cause as political platform, but we have still very few Scandinavias, we have still too many Chinas and Latin Americas, and for that, well, in this globalized and intercommunicated  world… For everybody’s future and better life… Workers of the world unite… this time for real.

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A-race-ona

April 30th, 2010 by Gonzo

Since its creation, the United States of America have been a country of immigrants, a country that welcomed and encouraged the arrival of new, young, brave and eager immigrants to populate a vast territory, “young men, go west” was a common phrase in the late XIX century on American ports. And so came Italians, Greeks, Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Polish, Czechs, Croats, Serbs and Irish, all of them running away from the old continent, searching a bright, better future in a country where neither your social status nor your ancestry determined your present, let alone your future.

Social mobility and the eagerness for richness transformed America into a social utopia, the easiness of the possibility of reaching a better life soon became stuff of legend, thus the American dream was born. However, not only from Europe came the immigrants, south of the border lays a vast, impoverished, dreamy continent which also shares the name “America”, Latin America in order to differentiate the obvious linguistic, cultural, religious and political differences (Although  no country in Latin America is the same!).

The American dream represents for Latin Americans something more than an illusion, in the most unequal region in the world, it represents a possibility, a rather bright possibility. Don’t get me wrong, growing up in Latin America is something like a mix of surrealism and traditional legends, it is living in a diverse and colorful environment where sounds and flavors are the result of centuries of fusion and creation. Years of revolutions, blood and powder, dictators, guerrillas, Ché Guevara and football are in the veins of the majority of the people, and so is the custom of looking up to the sky and sigh.

If reaching those dreams means crossing the desert or a river or risking one’s life on a raft, then there is no problem, staying is the same as dying. Due to economic troubles mainly, but also political ones, Hispanic immigrants have taken that step into the American dream, submerging themselves into the unknown, away from their families and into a country  that have used the resources of their homelands at will, exploited their people through misery and transnational corporations, and wanted them in the first place.

Immigration from Mexico and other Central American countries was cyclical, during the harvest season, thousands of peasants from south of the American border would flock into the fields reinforcing the manpower of the farms and plantations of the US. During WWII, while thousands of men were away for the war, it was those peasants from the south who kept up production, in fact, that kind of migration was legalized in the “Bracero Act” which made it possible for thousands of Mexican workers and farmers to work and live in the US while the war was on. After the deal ended, still thousands of Mexicans and Central Americans kept flocking every harvest season to the north to help in the places they’ve always worked at, cyclically, returning to their families after the deed was done.

Then in the 1980’s, the US made, in my opinion, a terrible mistake. In order to appeal to a more secure image, the government strengthened the border security; fences, checkpoints, more border patrol, more security checks, crossing to the US became harder and harder, so if you wanted to go north and chase your American dream, well, you should do it illegally still, but coming back and forth was no longer an option. People stood in the US.

After decades of illegal immigration, over 12 million people live and work in the shadows in the US, doing various jobs that sustain the American economy and have widened its culture. Some years ago, noted academic Samuel P. Huntington wrote a book titled “Who we are”, where he explained how “Latinos” are undermining American culture, ripping it apart, transforming old All-American communities and traditions into fiestas and piñatas. He missed to tell now Latino culture has provided so many advantages in every field of life to the US (Take baseball for example, and All-American sport. Who has been considered as the #1 player for the past decade in the Major League Baseball?…. Albert Pujols… Dominican. This simplistic example can be extended into everything; science (Mario Molina, Chemistry Nobel Peace Prize, Mexican), law (Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice, Puerto Rican), politics (Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, Mexican American), TV (Eva Longoria, actress, Mexican American), music (Gloria Estefan, singer, Cuban American), literature (Paula Fox, writer, Cuban American).

The importance of the Hispanic community in the US is undeniable, and with millions of “Latinos” as the largest minority in the US, and integral migratory reform is important, but not the Arizona way.

Last week, Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law an immigration bill that, in brief, does the following:

1. Makes a State Crime to be in the US illegally.

2. Legal immigrants must carry documentation.

3. With “reasonable suspicion”, police must check for documents.

4. Citizens can sue the government for not enforcing this law.

Now, let’s go step by step.

I agree that every country is in its own right to declare illegal migration as a crime, it is a way of exercising control and law to a certain degree and illegal migration is, well… illegal. However making legal immigrants to carry their documents is discriminatory. Why should legal US citizens carry their documents only on the basis that they are immigrants? Don’t they have the same rights as US born citizens? Why taking them in the first place?

However what really has a racist bias in the law is that police can stop you while driving or walking in the street or buying CD, if they suspect you are an illegal citizen. Now, tell me, who will authorities suspect from? The blue-eyed blonde or the hispanic looking guy? Simple answer isn’t it?

The country that praises freedom and equality the most is now discriminating and race profiling immigrants and transforming them in criminals overnight, people that just work and live as any other American, people who is legal that must carry now their papers, like in dictatorship regimes… really, the American dream in Arizona has become an awful, sunny nightmare.

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The Vatican and the apology that will never suffice….

April 26th, 2010 by Gonzo

I’m not very much of a catholic, in fact I don’t remember anymore the last time I went to church, sat in one of those wood benches and listen to a priest’s sermon. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to church, mainly to visit the magnificent and rich architecture and decoration or listen to some music concert, but that’s about it. I went to a catholic school for six years (maybe that is why I am not a catholic anymore), from age 8 to 14, great school, great friends, great memories, great professors, not so great moral teachings. Besides a couple of nuns I do hold dearly, most of my memories from them are scattered, non important.

They did tried their best, they used to have this moral codes for our behavior, they had a rigorous dress code too hated mostly by rebellious teenage girls who wanted to have a little more than a finger of skirt above her knees. They made us pray too, at least once a week and since it was private school, well, some prayer in English was included in the package, I never questioned any of that until I was 14, and I crossed one of the nuns. She was old and she was well respected, she was held the dearest by past generations, she was well read and well traveled, she had done evangelical missions in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, she was all and all a role model for many.

It was after our half an hour brake that my friend Aldo told me to hide in the closet behind the entrance door in the classroom, the timing was perfect, everyone would be coming back from the school yard and I would come out, jumping and screaming to scare a couple of unlucky girls at Aldo’s signal. But that never happened, after a few minutes I didn’t hear a noise anymore, still I went out, jumping and screaming although the unlucky girls were already seating in their chairs and it was my literature teacher who got scared. That was it, I’ve done enough to earn myself a trip to the principal’s office, a nun which I had had little or non contact with, she greeted me and listened to my teacher, oh was I in trouble! The principal sent me to the old nun’s personal library to do some research work, so I did.

After arriving there, the old nun began talking about some big punishments awaiting for those who misbehave, I was to old to buy it. She made me make some resumes from St. Augustine’s Christian Doctrine, I did them. After all the work was done and the clock was signaling 6 PM (I usually finished school at 2:30), I began reading a couple of political magazines, the nun watched me and began pointing out to some pictures, we had a pretty nice discussion for some twenty minutes then she let me go. I was thrilled, she was really brilliant and her words so clear, I trusted her judgment and her analysis… almost blindly.

By the end of the month I began reading new stuff, politics mostly, diverse authors from diverse ideologies. After my punishment was done I kept coming back at least once a week for new stuff to read, she gave me the classics; Thucydides, Homer, Virgil and Plautus. After some months she told me she had an idea, a reading and debate group, yes I know, really nerdy but still it sounded awesome. Few people came but those who did enjoyed themselves and it changed our lives, most of us ended up studying politics or journalism, only a few of us don’t remember where it all began.

After so much ink and words have been used to talk about the Vatican and its scandals, I could not stop myself in thinking of that one nun, of those defining moments on such crucial days. The Vatican has been a shame, an embarrassment, an insult, a misleading voice, a cynical machine of idiotic arguments, and everyday that passes and new abuse cases reach the surface its face shatters and there are no clear signs of regret, of punishment… of so much desired justice.

Apologies will not suffice anymore, the damage has been done and the point of no return was passed long ago. The main victims are the people who suffer abuses of course but, there are other victims there, without a guilt, people like the old library nun who changed my life. The church is a vast, worldwide, complex machine and generalizing it in a few words of shame will be wrong, many people have faithfully dedicated their lives to the poor people, needing people, lonely people, sick people, homeless people, any kind of people. They are the real backbone of the church, not the foolish decision-makers who sit in their ivory towers in Rome, they are the ones who have looked poverty and illness in the eye and still committed themselves to fight them.

In Latin America the respect for the church is immense in most countries, colonization brought to things, the sword and the cross. It was the missionaries who baptized and taught the Bible to the natives, it was them who defended them from arbitrary abuse and it was them who gave the continent a common language. In the XX century after Pope’s John XXIII reforms, transforming the church into a house for the poor and oppressed, some theologists in Latin America interpreted that message as a duty to free the people from their oppressors, meaning in this continent the government itself. Thus churches became a refuge for guerillas, literally, and priests joined them in many cases. It is hard to understand the guerrilla movements and revolutions in Latin America without the that sector of the church, the one close to the people.

So, after so much talk I think Benedict XVI has been fool, that’s it, the Catholic church insensitive, that’s it. But all the insensitiveness and foolishness added up shows us a criminal mismanagement that need justice now. The victims are waiting and they will not take a lame apology as an end to their claims, that is why an apology will not suffice for them . But also, those members of the church who have dedicated their lives to real change and people will be waiting for something, anything, am explanation perhaps… and for them an apology will never suffice too.

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Obamacare

March 23rd, 2010 by Gonzo

In 1883, Bismarck’s Germany approved the Health Insurance Bill that assured universal health care for German workers and their families, it was the first step given in an area pretty much forgotten by policy makers throughout the world. Bismarck’s intentions were far more political with this bill than merely a social justice issue; soldiers were coming back from wars outside its borders, jobless and tired, these men were the barrel of powder that might have exploded if there had not been social legislations that would ease their economic and social pains.

Many countries followed Germany’s example, most of them took small steps toward universal health care during the interbellum and then gave larger strides after the end of World War II. Great Britain, France, Scandinavia, Italy, the communist bloc. Latin America flirted with the idea of universal health care as early as the 1920’s, Argentina and specially Uruguay had approved several social policies that took care of their population’s health issues. In the 1940’s, Mexico’s post revolutionary government approved the creation of the Mexican Institute of Social Security, that provided health care for the Mexican workers and it families.

Despite the tendencies and pressures, and having flirted with the idea in the 1930’s, the USA never came close to a health care system like the one in Western Europe, let alone Latin America. And it was during Nixon’s presidency that the health care system became privatized and the HMO’s and private insurance companies began to raise.

For many years US citizens had complained about the mistreatments of this companies, their rejection to insure them due to a “preexisting condition”, their high maintenance costs, their penny-picking way of doing things. Insurance companies have been blamed over the years for being responsible of the death of people, by having been rejected from the ER. And although the majority of American citizens have an insurance, few of them will tell you they are satisfied with the service they receive.

During the Clinton presidency, a proposal to overhaul health care to everyone was set in the table, Hillary Rodham Clinton was on the front of a battle that would be heavily lost to lobbying firms, pharmaceutical companies and insurance giants. The health care problem rose and Barack Obama addressed it in the same way Clinton did almost two decades before. The response would be similar too.

Socialism, communism, the end of freedom, the death of the American way, the new Sweden, fascism, progressivism. I have not enough space nor memory to recall everything that was said around the presidential health care reform initiative or Obamacare for short. The mere impression of the extension of federal government scope of action, gave the people enough reason to go out on the streets and form Tea Party groups, pseudo-emulating the Bostonian revolutionary group that stood up against the UK prior to the American Revolution.

Right wing media attacked the proposal of health care reform by dubbing it as a crime against the very foundations of the US, a direct attack to their founding fathers, a threat to freedom, capitalism (or what has been left of it after the crisis), individualism and American values. Media personalities like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly, embarked themselves into a crusade against the reform, praising the very free market options that had doomed millions of people to enormous debts and death as the best option to continue on, they claimed that fiscal responsibility came first to human needs and now after the passage of the bill, are inciting people to punish those progressivist traitors that jammed the bill down American’s throats.

It really makes no sense sometimes to read, listen or watch how many Americans believe that what they already have is the best option there is. I’ve experienced the benefits of Swedish and French health care systems, I know they are not flawless or perfect, however they do a re a better option since they are free to begin with, as a non European citizen I received the best treatment I could have without having spend a dime. I believe that health care is a fundamental human right thus it should be universal and free, that is why sometimes I find it hard to understand the American perspective on health care, how individualistic values and a free market tradition can be on the way of social justice (dubbed as a socialist value by the right wing media).

The United States of America has given an impressive step towards a fairer society, the way and methods employed to achieve the landmark legislation may have not been the right ones, the bill itself might not be perfect, the results might not be the desired but it is a better option that what it exists. Many of the people on Capitol Hill spent a lot, believe me, a lot of political capital on this bill, many of them will not come back after the November midterm elections, I just hope Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe do, but that is on a personal level.

It is sometimes hard to believe that the most powerful country in the world might still have a health care system that leaves so many behind, so many on the dark with their illnesses and so few with the dim light of hope of recovery. The reelection of  Barack Obama in 2012 seems like a coin toss now, however he was brave and persistent to deliver a landmark bill that formers presidents like Clinton couldn’t. It is hard to understand the fuzz behind the protests of ant Obamacare since in Europe and Latin America, health care is as important and universal as jobs are, or security, or social equality. It is hard to understand the reasoning behind the ideas of the “fearmonger-in-fear” Glenn Beck, who calls socialism the cancer of the world and Sweden, Britain and France the worst patients. Despite all this, health care reform was passed and let’s hope for the best.

And well, at least we can be sure of one thing… Everyone in America should be better off now (of course not counting pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, fearmongers, lobbyists…)

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Swedes, communists and clichés

March 19th, 2010 by Gonzo

Hello again!

After some  maybe-not-so-well deserved but very well appreciated vacations, I come back to retake from my last post where I talked about how Sweden is viewed by some American news and opinion shows. I received a reply from a guy concerned of how those visions affect the realities and appreciations of any given country or society. I am Mexican and as such I have dealt with a bunch of stereotypes, most of them related to our traditional culture (sombreros, tequila, parties… anyone?) and other of how we are perceived from the outer world (lazy, violent, disorganized, dirty…). After giving it a thought, I realized that every single country has their own story behind their own stereotypes and clichés, behind their myths there is always a history to be told that maybe backs up the general assumption or trumps it all the way.

Can anyone share their own? How about Sweden? Never heard the myth about the all-blonde country with high suicide rates where the sun never shows up? Or the communist, self deprecating country with a complicated language as old as the country itself? I think most of us have heard one of these things, just as I have heard that Mexicans are lazy and love taking siestas, whereas the truth is that Mexican people are hard working with an ancient cultural baggage, sometimes hard to relate to or even understand.

How about if for the next days we all share our cliches and stereotypes and break them down here, I know some of them and harsh, racist and offensive but I believe that discussing them is a good way to avoid them in the future… And some of them actually have funny stories behind them… Some of them.

What I am trying to do here is to listen and share how we see each others cultures, histories and way of living, directly from their people and then get own visions straight on thing that maybe we don’t have a clear. I think it’ll be fun, I will try to collaborate as much as possible, but I will need some help… Remember, the more, the merrier.

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Phony politics.

February 10th, 2010 by Gonzo

On a recent trip of mine to America I found out that what I have been reading and watching over the Internet is actually true. Barack Obama has been dubbed by many in the right wing media as a socialist, communist and Marxist, yes, a red, AK-47 bearer, revolutionary leftist that is driving the USA to the brink of collapse. It isn’t news that right wing TV and radio anchors like Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh trash Democrat politicians and policies and say a ton of nonsense on the process of it, however they have engaged in a crusade to label president Obama as a Marxist, whose plan for a universal health care recalls the Soviet Union, China and communist Sweden… I’m not kidding.

As funny as it is, some of this anchors and the “specialists” who are invited regularly to their shows, argue that having universal health care and engaging in some “populist” approaches to the public like addressing children on Day 1 of school, are examples of the “manipulation of the masses”. Really? The right wing streamline media is accusing the government of manipulation?

In a recent show, Glenn Beck aired a clip of one of Obama’s top advisers saying that unions and government should work together in order to fight back unemployment, he then quoted a famous line form Marx and Engel’s Manifest of the Communist Party: “Workers of the world. Unite!”. This arguments, taken out of context of course by Mr. Conspiracy Theory Glenn Beck, were enough to call again Barack Obama a Marxist, a man who is taking advice from a guy who quoted a book that defined 150 years of world history.

However, Beck’s most idiotic argument is that according to him, people who thinks progress is the key to success are revolutionaries and therefore communists and Marxists, liberals, all of them think of the future and hypothetic situations, they are dreamers that want to change the world and so they are revolutionaries and so on. Conservatives think and study the past, they engage in more realistic situations according to him and therefore come up with better solutions. Not stupid enough?

He really thinks Sweden is a communist country…

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No beat, no rhythm

February 3rd, 2010 by Gonzo

In the aftermath of any disaster the ones who stay are are the ones that never left, and now those who are staying are claiming for more support, consciousness and empathy, however there are those who unwillingly are going to leave. Today the New York Times posted online a debate about the future of the tens of orphans that have been left with its future shattered and their past blurry, really blurry.

The initial answer for the problem in the mainstream media and in the blogosphere is adoption, from couples from Europe and America who are willing to give the children a better future. Nevertheless, before the Brads and Angelinas around the world commence the procedures for adoption, order must come to the island, you cannot have delicate procedures like adoption ones without certain restoration of the government and the application of the rule of law. Unicef must get involved, NGO’s must get involved and the Haitian government should too, everything to get to safe port all the lives of this little children.

Couples around the world have shown a lot of interest to adopt an Haitian orphan, that is praiseworthy, and the efforts of various countries to reach agreements quickly on the adoption procedures is also laudable, the important message here is that this kids aren’t alone, that somehow in this take-no-prisoners world of ours there is hope for dreams to become true. And under the shadow of despair that is the nicest sight.

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7 Simple Sessions

January 24th, 2010 by Gonzo

Hej!

It has been a long time since the dawn of miraculous potions for pain, wonderful spells to help your memory improve and mysterious remedies for overweight or balding. Even some adventured ones have entered the field of broken hearts and unreciprocated love. Yes, even love, that feeling that borns in the chest but can make your stomach ache, your head spin and mind blow away. Recently I met with a good friend of mine, it was a long time since I last saw him since he moved to the US, however he was very happy. I dared to ask if he was still together with his long time girlfriend, a very nice, pretty, caring girl he met when we were back in high school. The answer was negative, they had broken four months ago and I felt like a complete idiot for a couple of minutes, then he just told me “You know, those kind of things happen”.

Yes, they happen but no, I will not stop feeling like a complete ass. Nevertheless and as beers washed away my shyness and the weirdness of previous moments, I asked him how he was doing, you know with the break up and stuff. I remember after my last girlfriend dumped me (Yep, she did.) I felt terrible for a while but then it all came back together. But my case was way simpler, i had just been with my her for some 8 months (Yep, only 8 months.) not some 5 years like he did.

After hearing my question he just looked at me and said: “Well dude, I just took the 7 Sessions!”.

I will not go on telling what were my reactions, I will just put write them down:

Session 1. Sadness.

Cry your eyes out like a girl in company of your best friend and shout the hell out of your lungs. (Privacy is highly appreciated in this session)

Session 2. Madness.

Get mad, get crazy, get really pissed for all the wrong she did (C’mon, she can’t be that perfect!), do not call her or trash her, just… get it out of your system.

Session 3. Agony.

Well… apparently she was perfect after all. You were such a douge!!!

Session 4. Self-appreciation.

Ok, she was cool, but so were you!!! You are a nice, good looking, smart guy who just happened to be in pain after a break up. Look at you, you are still young, you are still alive… Damn it! There is still hope!!!

Session 5. Cleaning.

Alright, it is time to put away that silly Teddy Bear she got you for Valentine’s, and also get rid of those pictures of you together hanging in the wall, and that CD that reminds you to her, and also the book she gave you for Christmas… I mean, it is cool yo keep some mementos but wearing that sweater she bought you all day, every day… C’mon!

Session 6. Recovery.

Sure it was painful, of course it wasn’t nice but you have to face it… she wasn’t the one! You got to get out, do all the stuff you didn’t do regularly when you were a couple, go and try new things, travel, take a ceramics class (Do not take a ceramics class), get back in touch with your old friends.

Session 7. Melancholy and Happiness.

Getting out of a log relationship can be tough, and even you swear everyday that you will completely forget about her it will not happen. You have to look back on those days you were together and smile, realize and accept all you learned and be happy about it. Only then the sessions will be over.

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