Archive | September, 2014

If not me, who? If not now, when?

25 Sep

On the 21th of September, Emma Watson held a speech at the United Nations Headquarters about gender equality. HeForShe is a new feminist campaign encouraging men to stand up against gender inequality and to fight for the same rights for men and women. The day after Watson’s speech, over 20 000 men had already taken the HeForShe pledge, most pledges coming from English-speaking countries.

Feminism is a word who is often misunderstood. Emma discusses this in her speech by saying ” the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.
For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

“I want men to take up this mantle,” she said. “So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too — reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”

Emma also addressed the fact that she was really nervous to set off this UN campaign, but she had told herself “If not me, who? If not now, when?” I found this really inspirational, and that is something you can think about in many situations of your life.

As I write this post, 130 845 men all over the world has taken the pledge. And in Norway only 1094 men has taken the pledge. This is not a lot considering how many men there are in the world. if you want to sign up and take the pledge, follow this link: http://www.heforshe.org/

he4she

You can read the whole speech here: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/9/emma-watson-gender-equality-is-your-issue-too

Link to the speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0Dg226G2Z8

Magna Carta

18 Sep

Magna Carta, also known as The Charter of Liberties, was sealed by King John, under oath on June 15th 1215. When Magna Carta was written it was the first time a group of the King’s subjects imposed a proposition to limit the King’s power by new laws and protect the peoples’ rights.

The charter is well known for its important role in the long process that led to the rule of the constitutional law in Great Britain today. Many of the same laws and principles found in Magna Carta are still a part of the constitutional law today. For example:

“No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land.” This is probably the most famous clause from Magna Carta and made in the 13th century a huge difference for the normal citizen. It meant for the people they could stand up for their rights without having to fear unfair punishment. Or at least that was the idea of the barons who wrote the charter. To make sure the King would keep his promise the barons had also written a clause saying a committee of 25 barons had to be established to overlook the king’s decisions. King John never really approved of the charter and as soon as the barons had left London he went back on everything he had agreed to. This led to a civil war, known as the first barons’ war. During this war King John received support from the pope who abrogated the charter and called it a

“shameful and demeaning agreement, forced upon the King by violence and fear.” With the purpose of preventing war Magna Carta was a failure. It was legal for only 3 months , but the death of King John a year later secured the future of Magna Carta as a charter of peoples rights.

The Magna Carta agreement was built upon Thomas Aquinas opinions. He thought that rulers should use their political power to maintain the needs of their people and that the people should have the  opportunity to speak their minds if the ruler was doing otherwise.  Aristoteles and Plato was inspirational sources, and all men should be equals by law. The king also needed the support from the parliament and was no longer able to rule the country on his own and to a change he needed to think about the people as well as himself.

Magna Carta is a important part of history and is the first document that shows the system where the king ruled on his own was about to disappear. It also shows that the people has the power to  overrule the authorities in a society.

Here is a link to a short video explaining the Magna Carta: http://www.parliament.uk/education/teaching-resources-lesson-plans/stories-from-parliament—magna-carta/

Sources:
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/magna_carta.htm
https://politikkmenneskerettigheter1011.wikispaces.com/Magna+Carta

Tower of London Remembers

4 Sep

In 1914 on the 4th of August, Britain entered the first world war. This means that it’s 100 years ago this year. During the first World War more British soldiers and civilians died than in any other conflict, to this day. During the war the Tower of London played an important role and was a place where a lot of the British soldiers was recruited. The Tower also acted as a military depot throughout the period of the war, storing munitions and weapons. To remember all the fallen, a major installment called “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” are being set up at the Tower of London.

Recruits swearing in to join the Royal Fusiliers at the Tower of London on 29 August 1914, at the start of WW1
This is a picture from a recruiting session at the Tower in 1914.

A ceramic artist called Paul Cummings has created 888 246 ceramic poppies witch will progressively fill the Tower’s famous surroundings during the period between the 5th of August until the 11th of November. A great part of the Tower’s moat is already covered in ceramic flowers. Each of the 888 246 poppies are representing a British military fatality during the war. The first ceramic bloom puppy was placed by one of the Tower of London’s Yeoman Warders, better known as Beefeaters and the artist himself will symbolically be placing the last poppy on 11 November. Paul Cummings has commented on the project and said “I was inspired to create this installation after reading a living will by an unknown soldier who we think may have been from Derby.  I approached the Tower as the ideal setting as its strong military links seemed to resonate.”

The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the tower and planted their own ceramic poppy.

As you can see the moan at the Tower now looks like a field of flowers. It is possible to buy a puppy for about £25 and dedicate it to someone in your family who died during the war and become a part of the Tower of London Remembers project. A part of the money raised by selling these ceramic flowers will go to 6 different charities in the UK.

“The installation is transient, I found this poignant and reflective of human life, like those who lost their lives during First World War. I wanted to find a fitting way to remember them.” – Paul Cummings

If you want to learn more about The Tower of London Remembers project, check out this link: https://poppies.hrp.org.uk/