Discoveries


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Yesterday Economist.com published a great article titled “In search of Dialogue: How to get Muslims and Jews talking?” This post is not about religion, but it is about dialogue. The article is reporting that this week in Cambridge, Britain, an open letter from leading Muslim scholars to the Jewish community was unveiled. The purpose of the letter is to conduct an open dialogue between leading scholars of both faiths. Any who, for every article that is posted on Economist.com, there is a section where readers can comment about the articles. The comments, in my humble opinion, have been way more interesting that the article itself.

Readers from around the world are commenting about the differences and similarities between Judaism, Islam and Christendom and how they have affected, offended and insulted each other.

If the world was all exactly the same, if every person was exactly the same as every other person it would be a very boring world. I have friends who are Jewish, Christian and Muslim and I love them all equally the same. For who they are, not for their religion. I think people have the personal choice and right to choose what religion they want to belong to and no one should object to that. Now, how we relate to each other, does not have to be about how our religions relate to each other.

PUSH. PUSH. PUSH. I think the problem lies in the word PUSH. We push our believes on everyone else. Jews on Muslims, Muslims on Jews, Christians on Jews, Jews on Christians, Muslims on Christians and Christians on Muslims. We need to stop pushing!!! I feel sometimes the U.S. tries to push “democracy” on the whole world (and maybe with that some Christian values as well) and we have to understand that not everyone likes to live in a democratic world and not every one wants to be Christian. And that goes for all religions. In a way terrorism, is a method used by a seldom few to force or to make others see that they won’t succumb to Christianity, democracy or so called “Western” values. And that is fine. We need to be able to talk to each other and do business together, and have dinners together and laugh together. We do not need to go to church/temple/mosque together. Educated people are everywhere. Well, let’s be educated and deal with each other as civil citizens of humanity (which we all are) and stop pushing and hating each other. You pray to whomever, respect me and let’s have a great meal and talk about the weather…

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As I was walking to Starbucks yesterday in like 15 degree weather and my lips felt as if they were going to freeze, I had a realization. I had been compromising myself and living in planet X or Y. I was in dreamland. Really, I was. I was preaching to the choir about self worth and this and that and really being a hypocrite because I was not putting into practice in my own life.

That stops now. I guess with age comes more self assurance. Some might call it bitchiness, but I call it knowing your own self worth. If you don’t value yourself and take care of yourself, no one else will do it for you. And as I think about that…and realize that…I pledge to do the following:

1. Walk with my head up high
2. It’s my time and my time only…
3. I will not beg, and I will not hope for things to change. They are what they are and I should just realize it and move on
4. I cannot stall. I need to move forward. If I am feeling like I am stalling in a situation, then I need to asses it, come up with a plan and a solution, take care of it and move on.
5. And most of all, live life to the fullest. Start everyday with a smile and not let negativity damper my day, for it is my life and my day as well…

So, some call me crazy, some call me demented, but I am just going to keep going, keep fighting and not settling or taking $h!t from people…because…I’m worth it!!!

So today is FAT TUESDAY!!! I wish I was in Rio de Janeiro right now partying my little booty away. But I am not. I am working on a rainy and not so cold but still cold enough for a Miami girl day. But in the spirit of Carnival…here is a quick recap.

Carnival started most probably around Medieval Times and it is suggested that it was adapted from the ancient Roman festival of the Saturnalia (Italian Carnival). You see, lent starts tomorrow. For the ones who do know what that is, lent is a period of 40 days in the Christian church where you are doing penance and are preparing for the Passion of Jesus. It is a period of sacrifice, prayer and technically (or in years past no partying). Since Christians are some of the biggest partiers I know, in order to get the party bug out of their system, they started Carnival so they could party their hearts away, and Wednesday they stroll into church to get their ashes and start the penance period. So Fat Tuesday is the culmination of days of partying, so you can sin as much as you can before you need to start acting like a good little boy or girl.

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Rio de Janeiro

The world largest party today will be held in Rio de Janeiro…the twelve samba schools dance their way through the Sambadrome and compete for the grand prize. This year it has been quite interesting, there have traditional themes played out, as well as a representation of the 100 years of Japanese immigration in Brazil and much more…

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New Orleans

Craziest party in the US today. Girls are notorious for showing off their boobs in exchange of colorful beads. But after all the recent events, Fat Tuesday is more of representation of the resiliency of the spirit of the city.

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Barranquilla

Well, my own country has its own carnival. Not as world renown but still very fun. My brother was born in the middle of this carnival. Yes, yes, his mother was dancing one moment and the next she had a baby…lots of folklore, lots of dancing and lots of drinking….

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Venice

Ohhh…the original carnival. It is known for the illustrious masks they wear. I haven’t been to it…but I do promise one day, I should be there.

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Trinidad and Tobago

Some of my Trini friends tell me this carnival is amazingggggggggg….beautiful customs, great Caribbean music…and it is showcased in one of JayZ’s videos…

There are many more around the world…but these are just a few for you to know about…

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“Colombia Unida No Sera Vencida!!!”

Yesterday, February 4th, millions of Colombians around the world (in over 100 cities) gathered together as one. One against the guerrillas-the FARC. So they could stop…stop the kidnappings, stop the murder, the lies, the abuse.

I am usually very unwilling to talk about the “bad” things about Colombia. I mean they get enough media coverage, so I feel I need to talk about the positive sides of my country, such as its beauty, its people, its food, its folklore. But I cannot hide the fact that evil groups such as the FARC still have an incredible power in the region. Even after the billions of dollars that the US pumps into Plan Colombia and all of President Uribe’s efforts they still hold kidnapped over 700 individuals. And with drug demand increasing in Europe and in the United States, the FARC will only be more powerful.
But all my countrymen and women, today are walking together as one. One against fear, war, injustice. We are tired. No more, enough is enough. We want peace. Because, I will like to go back to my home…

PS. Great coverage in BBC and in El Tiempo

PSS. If you use drugs, think…you are helping to kill, helping people be murdered in other countries, you are holding people hostage in jungles…you are swallowing or putting in your veins, drugs that are carried in people’s stomachs or in puppies stomachs…and you are okay with that???

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I have been thinking a lot about conformity lately and why is such an attractive alternative to being passionate. And with all my thinking, I arrived at the following conclusion. The reason why we conform is because we are scared of the uncertainty. And ultimately we feel that if we don’t change anything, then we will know what tomorrow will bring. Which it is an idiotic way of thinking because ultimately we do not know what will happen tomorrow, or an hour from now for that matter. There are no certainties in life. I could die in five minutes and that will be it for me. So I have no guarantees.

So let’s go back to the topic of uncertainty. Most of us wonder about what we don’t know. About tomorrow, or who we will meet, or if this is the job for us, or life in general. There is no way of knowing, and we try to soften that anxiety by either praying to whatever higher power, or going to a palm reader or reading the horoscope or what not. Ultimately though, no one knows. And that terrifies us. Especially when get into something new-like a new relationship, a new job, a new city or a new anything.

I think though that we need to be honest with ourselves and we need to stop lying. If you are happy with your life, then be happy with it. But if you aren’t-ask yourself why? Be honest. Sometimes change is needed to improve things around you. But be honest. Because it is such a pity to waste time, on something that does not make you happy. Because why on earth will you lie to yourself??? Is the truth that scary???

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Today was the first day of the 2008 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting. Last year, I somehow bumped into the World Economic Forum and since then I have been extremely interested in this forum. The World Economic Forum is “an independent international non-profit organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to global, regional and industry agendas”. The forum was originally founded in January 1971 by a group of European business men being led by then Professor of business policy at the University of Geneva Klaus Schwab. Originally the forum was focused in business leaders coming up with competitive strategies so European firms could catch up to US companies. Yet, the forum started accomplishing milestones and hence it grew. In 1974, it was the first year that political leaders were invited. And in 1987, the forum adopted its current name. Presently, the World Economic Forum is a membership driven forum where business leaders from top companies around the world along with politicians gather in Davos, Switzerland to discuss current issues at hand such as world economic trends, environmental issues, poverty and such.

I have mentioned in previous entries that I think the world is being run by corporations. This is the place where strategies and plans are thought out and leaders meet to discuss the future of our “world”. Politicians, congresses and laws are something minimal now. Corporations and businesses talking to political leaders and discussing the real issues at hand is “OUR” future. We live in a world economy now. What happens in the US affects the world, what happens in Europe affects the world, what happens in China affects the world. We are interconnected. We are moving together at a fast pace and we need our leaders of our corporations and governments to discuss current problems, because ultimately that will affect all of us. From the air we breathe, to the type of banking services we use, to how we operate a car. So, if you are just a little interested about your future….go to http://www.weforum.org

Some interesting quotes:

“We welcome Sovereign Wealth Fund investments and we don’t fear it. But the growth in the number and significance means that vigilance is needed.”

Robert M. Kimmit, US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury

Some of the attendees include:

Al Saud, Prince of Saudi Royal Family; Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Plastic Factory, Saudi Arabia

Tony Blair Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007); Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum; Co-Chair of the World

Samuel W. Bodman US Secretary of Energy

Gordon Brown Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

François Fillon Prime Minister of France

James M. Flaherty Minister of Finance of Canada

Timothy F. Geithner President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, USA

Jean-Daniel Gerber Secretary of State for Economic Affairs of Switzerland

Al Gore Vice-President of the United States of America (1993-2001); Nobel Laureate 2007

Henry A. Kissinger Chairman, Kissinger Associates Inc., USA; Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008

Luis A. Moreno President, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington DC

Peter Piot Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and Undersecretary-General, United Nations, Geneva

Rachid M. Rachid Minister of Trade and Industry of Egypt

H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum

Condoleezza Rice US Secretary of State

Susan Schwab US Trade Representative

Dominique Strauss-Kahn Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC

Jean-Claude Trichet President, European Central Bank, Frankfurt

Pierre-François Unger State Councillor of Geneva, Switzerland

Alvaro Uribe Velez , President of Colombia

Ann M. Veneman Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York

Xia Deren Mayor of Dalian, People’s Republic of China

Yi Xiaozhun Vice-Minister of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China

Abdullah Zainal Alireza Minister of State of Saudi Arabia

Zhang Yesui Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

Robert B. Zoellick President, World Bank, Washington DC

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Hillary won yesterday the Democratic vote in the New Hampshire primaries. This is not a post about politics but about the perception of women in politics and in business. Men have ruled business and politics for hundreds of years. Finally, we have seen an increase in women being involved in these two areas. As women, we always try to seem tough and equal to men. But the truth is that we are not men. There are mental, physical and emotional differences between the two sexes. So, how are women supposed to act when they are being compared to men constantly???

Hillary had an appearance of a tough woman. Some people could even call her a b&t$#. But while campaigning for the New Hampshire primary she got teary eyed when asked a question. I hadn’t seen the interview but my roommate stormed in and told me about it. She said that was bad for her because she appeared weak in front of the cameras. Yet, the contrary happened. Last night, while at a caucus party, I overheard a conversation (with only men involved) and they stated that by her crying she seemed more human and they liked that. Obviously, the results showed a similar opinion.

So my question is what is acceptable behavior in business and in politics? When is being tough too tough, and being soft too soft? Men don’t cry at the office. They are praised for being total a$$holes most of the time. They are seen as role models in fact for acting that way. So, what does it take? Because this is an issue that hits home. Being girly I have found out is frowned upon in business, yet being a conservative biatch takes you places. How is that right? What do you think?

PS. I read this great article by Brian Williams about Hillary and her win in N.H. If you have five minutes please read.

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