My weekly report – end of January

Bangkok, Sunday, January 26, 2014

It’s been a couple of days since I last entered some notes in the journal, so being Sunday night; I need to recap the end of the week…here and there. 

Thursday we finished the session on Conflict Analysis with Erik Melander, which was very interesting and different from the previous one. We closed the day with an overview of tragic events of the last century, which reminded me a lot of the documentary In Our Time, for which Freddy wrote music some years ago.  Discussing these atrocities brought a lot of emotions to the room, as -unfortunately- some of these conflicts have affected personally some of my colleagues. The timeline was something like this (shall we never forget the atrociousness):

Wars between states (more destructive):

  • Korea (1950-1953) (hundred thousand of deaths)
  • Vietnam (1965-1975) (million deaths)
  • Iran – Iraq (1980-1988) (use of chemical weapons) (+ death of 5000+ Kurd civilians)
  • Ethiopia – Eritrea (1998-2000) – 100,000 died in this war, most of them soldiers

– Average Battle of Deaths of Intrastate Armed Conflicts  (civil wars have decreased)

  • China (1946-1949) big war (Taiwan-China)
  • Vietnam (1955-1964) (-1975)
  • Lebanon (1976-1990)
  • Afghanistan (1979- today)

– Worst Genocides

  • 1959: Tibet
  • 1965: Indonesia
  • 1967-70: Nigeria (Biafra)
  • 1971: Bangladesh
  • 1975-1979: Cambodia (Killing Fields)
  • 1983-today:  Sudan (North-South + Darfur)
  • 1961-1991: Iraq (Kurds + Kuwait

Erik closed the class and the week of the program with the following:

“Remember that the world is much better today than 30 years ago.

Because of media logics, positive things tend to be overlooked.

There are a lot of positive things that we can do!

And take the bigger picture into account!”

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 And yes, time flies!  I want to make this count.  It’s been 3 weeks now since I arrived in Bangkok, so it’s only 2 more months left!I need to do more, I’ve been feeling so trapped inside Chula, though this last weekend I was able to explore a little bit further -thanks to the Refugee Bazaar event at Café Bicycle -the Bangkok version of Café Bolívar and met some very interesting people. Too bad I did not have business cards with me, but I’ve already email them (crossing my fingers to reconnect with them to continue the fascinating conversations). During the fair, a little Pakistani refugee girl (in blue here), ambushed me for a henna tattoo, which I was not planning on getting. I have to think that it’s a nice souvenir of a memorable night. 

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I also met Anoop from Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, who reminded me a little of me -as both a coordinator and connector with so many agencies and very involved in the issues in this region. I also got to practice my broken French with Beatrice, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo who was selling necklaces and earrings (got some green ones) and 2 other refugees from Pakistan (2 sisters) who had fantastic vegetarian options and whom I hope to meet again.

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Sunday morning was relaxing, reading a lot and updating my Individual Conflict Assessment (ICA). Then around noon went for some pool time and brainstorming discussion   under the sun with Iona (New Zealand) -which was quite productive. Tried getting my laundry back but it was closed, instead got some fruit and headed back to the dorms. I read some more and skyped with Freddy -from my room (wifi luxury!!!). It’s midnight already and after 1 hour of journaling I might have to change my plans of running in the morning from Monday to Tuesday…let’s see! Good night!

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