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Monday
Jul282014

100 years (1914-2014)

 

By: Matthias Baudinet

      On the 28th of July 1914, the Great War began in Europe and an unprecedented catastrophe took place on the European continent. With over 40 million casualties in total throughout the war, this terrible event is one of the bloodiest wars in history. As young men from European countries embarked on what they thought would be a honorable and patriotic duty for their country, mothers and fathers waved goodbye to their sons for the very last time. 

    As the war raged on for four years, the death tolls kept rising as the leaders of each country involved blindly sent in their troops on suicide missions. The young men of a generation were almost all wiped out in Europe. As the war was reaching an end, many soldiers on both sides were really starting to wonder what this war was even about, and why were they sent to their deaths in the first place? Why are they being forced to live in horrible conditions?

     As European cities were crumbling down and reduced to ruins, civilians also began to pay a heavy price in this war. Finally, with the help of the Americans, the allies were given a last final push to finally overcome the Germans and Austrians and Ottomans. The American doughboys were praised in Europe for bringing in fresh legs, as both sides were worn out from the devastation of the previous 3 years. 

     

     As the survivors began their long and sad march back home, they were given a heroes welcome. But that did not compensate for loss of their brothers that they witnessed fall right by their side. Once the war ended, many called this Great War the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, man did not learn his lesson and war would soon ravage Europe (and the world) once again. A hundred years later, it is important that we remember the brave souls that gave their lives for the freedom of others. Hundred years later, mankind still faces many problems that were present in 1914...

     This centennial, I remember the men who marched into hell and stood face-to-face with the devil. I honor them for the courage they had to live through rat-infested, and disease-infested mud-trenches. I also feel sorry for the fact that they had to do the bidding of their idiot superiors, and paid the ultimate price for those idiot decisions.

Thank you soldiers of World War I.

Thursday
Jul242014

Our peoples, Our world - By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

 

Work in the office has become more intense. While I was on vacation, I was appointed to be the head director/facilitator of all evening events during the Youth Assembly as well as spearhead a team of photographers to cover everything. Next week, myself and the other six interns will be taken on our first actual trip to the UN where we will be given tours and an overall run-down of what is where and where certain events during our program will be happening. I’m so excited I can hardly wait. After the tour and time at the UN, I’ll be meeting with Livia Vanaver, my old dance teacher, whom I’ve scheduled to perform for our opening Gala with the rest of the The Vanaver Caravan World Dance Institute, showcasing their dedication to culture exchange, performing arts for peace and life’s work as a citizen and diplomat for peace. She and I will brainstorm and decide how to most beneficially start off the weekend’s events.

Our evening program is filled with events that unite Youth through arts, culture, sports, and travel for the development of peace. The Opening Welcome Gala event will occur on Wednesday, August 6th at Columbia University, with a dinner, presentations by the Vanaver Caravan, Shani Perez (an Israeli musician) and Patrick sciaratta, the Project Director and CEO of FAF.

Night two will be followed by a Culture Night, also occurring at Columbia, with various dance and music groups coming to perform, some performers will even include the YA delegates themselves which will be awesome! Some ice-breaker activities will be conducted by myself and the other interns as well, such as the human knot and entourage. One of my colleague interns, Eliza, came up with the idea to create a banner with all of the delegates in which we would all share ideas and phrases of what peace meant interculturally for all of them, either through word or image, so this exercise will follow.

The following, and final evening of the YA, will take place on a cruise ship that will embark on the Hudson River with all 300 or so delegates! Ambassador Miculescu (of the Permanent Mission of Romania), Ambassador Toriello (of the Permanent Mission of Tomé) and Ahmad Alhendawi (United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth) will all be in attendance and speakers for the attending delegates, followed by an awards ceremony and a youth dance.

During this time, myself and the other interns will be living in downtown Manhattan at Pace University, helping to move and guide the delegates involved from place to place and from the conferences taking place at the UN each day from 9am-5pm and then to the evening events, etc. I’m so nervous to be in charge of maneuvering the schedules and experiences of so many international young people when I’m already so helpless in this big city just navigating for myself- but it will definitely be quite the experience nonetheless.

The parts of my job that fascinate me the most are beginning to finally arise, the actual contact and connection of people from around the world gathering with the same goals and interests of non-violently fighting for peace and expressing themselves through the arts. Anyone can sit where I am and do the logistical desk work to which I seem to have been tethered to all summer- but if I can take control of directing these individuals and events into co-creating an unforgettable pro-peace experience, then I will be legitimately following my passions and contributing to change within the lives of others and the world at large. As a person living within this world, we have a natural desire to contribute positively while we’re here- but generally the only thing that comes from this feeling is stress and feelings of worthlessness when something isn’t able to be achieved in one’s most desired way—all of this makes us forget that changing the world doesn’t come from living with the same status of Martin Luther King Dr., but by sitting down with others and speaking about change and spreading those feelings around the world one small social community at a time, especially as young people.

At this time, 3 serious plane crashes have occurred in the world just this past week in Algeria, Taiwan, and Malaysia – all carrying over a hundred serious businesspeople and researchers. Was this intentional like so many think? There’s no way of knowing, but I do know that our acceptance of these occurences is what is intentional and should be questioned. When people we love are being taken advantage of, either in a plane or by being arrested for protesting the use of drones when they are accidentally killing so many- this is what needs to be stopped. This change within our world can only occur if all of the peoples in the world are trying to work together and stop fighting each other, this is what I am trying to do by working with the Friendship Ambassadors Foundation and as an anthropologist/sociologist in general. 

Wednesday
Jul232014

Cherry Grove to Ithaca to GMC & back to NYC - By Seraphina Mallon-Breiman

 


 

Over the past week and a half my life has been extremely busy. I had the opportunity to go to Fire Island with my uncle and fellow Green Mountain College student Keith Torrico for a weekend, which was so lovely. Between unbelievable sunsets, nude beaches, and great food, it was a fabulous time- until unfortunately I stepped on a rusty nail on the boardwalk and ripped my foot open- heading home the next day for treatment! 


While in recovery, I spent a little time upstate with my mom and had the chance to visit a local farm near our house in Red Hook, NY called Griegs Farm. We went blueberry picking there and returned home with two huge buckets full- equaling twelve entire poudns of fresh, pesticide-free blueberries!


Then on my trip- I drove to Ithaca, NY with two of my best friends from home, Sage and Katie. We roadtripped from Woodstock to our friends house in Downtown Ithaca where we stayed/as well as camped for the 5 day long Grassroots Music Festival where we worked as cashiers for free tickets. One of my favorite bands these days was one of their headliners- 'Lake Street Dive', definitely check them out if you have a moment!

 

Next on the agenda: Poultney, VT! Good ol' Green Mountain. Sage just moved to Burlington, VT so GMC was on her way- just perfect enough for me to hitch on board and catch a ride to visit Keith and Bella during the last stretch of their time during the agriculture and farm intensive. 


I helped Bella bake chocolate zuchini bread and blueberrie scones and played with the young ones who were around for the 'Farm and Friends' workshop for little kids, and when Keith got out of class, we took a hike to the Lewis Deane's Nature Preserve and went wild-crafting for chanterelle mushrooms, where we found handfuls and went home to cook with!
Back in the city- I helped Julia Aviles (former GMC student and now graduate) with some photography projects she had in mind for the city- and then went to see the broadway show 'Of Mice and Men'- where I met my celebrity idol, Leighton Meester (Curly's wife in the show). An amazing performance and a screaming crowd made for a memorable night. 

After a wonderful, yet exhausting time, it's good to be back in the city. Work has become much more intense as I've just been put in charge of all of the main events at night during the Youth Assembly at the UN in two weeks- so much planning for the opening gala, culture night, cruise ship on the hudson! More soon.

Sunday
Jul202014

Buying College Textbooks

  By: Matthias Baudinet
   
     Every start of a semester is exciting for any college student. For first years, the anticipated start of a new chapter in one's life, while also feeling both nervous and happy! For sophomores, juniors, seniors, the need to see old friends and make more unforgettable memories. For me however, I always look forward to buying my college textbooks for my classes. Some may call this odd, but as a college student who values academia and learning about things that I am passionate about makes me excited to buy the books that I will be using all semester.
   
     Of course, the price of those books are usually very expensive and once you start adding up all the prices of all the books you have to buy, you sort of get a nasty frown on your face asking yourself, "how can I afford all of this?" Nevertheless, you always manage to find a way to pay for them, and once you have that figured out, it is always a beautiful thing to go to a bookshop, or shop online and find the books that you need...or at least, that's how I feel about it.
   
     Being a history major, I always look forward to seeing what types of books my professors are requiring me to have for the semester. There is nothing more satisfying than  discovering a new book that you have never heard of before and end up loving the book so much. I have had that happen to me on numerous occasions while attending Green Mountain College. 
     
     As the start of the fall semester 2014 comes around, I am getting ready to buy the books that I need for all my classes, and it is such an exciting feeling! I have a lot of books that I will need to buy, so the price will be heartbreaking once I add up all the books, but in the end it is worth it, because you cannot put a price on education. And, if you actually read and study books like you should for your classes, you will come out of that semester much more knowledgeable. 
   
     To everyone on vacation whether here in the USA, or abroad somewhere, I wish you the very best of times! Have a blast and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Poultney once the semester starts.

 

Sunday
Jul202014

The World War I Centennial

By: Matthias Baudinet
     2014 marks the 100 year anniversary of the First World War. The War to end all wars they called it...obviously that did not turn out as predicted. All over Europe parades, celebrations, festivals, events, etc. are being held in honor of the men that were sent to their deaths by their superiors. This is a big year for many Europeans, for even to this day the lands of the old continent still bear the marks and scars of that terrible war. On a more personal note, I had relatives who fought in the war, and being from the region of France where a lot of the battles of the war took place, I grew up learning a lot about the war and its damage and stupidity. Like many families who are from that area of France, the First World War played a huge part in my family's history. 
   
     As the year goes on, let us remember the brave souls who risked their lives or died for a cause that many did not fully understand. With over 16 million deaths (not counting wounded or missing), the "Great" War was unlike any other war that the world had ever seen at the time. Though many people in our generation may not feel connected to the war and the importance that it had on the world, or simply do not know a lot about the war, it is important that during this centennial we educate people about this war.
     In honor of those who participated in the war, and to the civilians who suffered daily because of the war, and to my great-grandfather, who fought for 3 years for the French Army, here is a poem by Isaac Rosenberg called Break of Day in the Trenches (1916):
The darkness crumbles away -- 
it is the same old Druid time has ever, 
Only a live thing leaps my hand -- 
A queer sardonic rat -- 
As I pull the parapet’s poppy 
To stick behind my ear. 
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew 
Your cosmopolitan sympathies. 
Now you have touched this English hand 
You will do the same to a German -- 
Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure 
To cross the sleeping green between. 
It seems you inwardly grin as you pass 
Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes 
Less chanced than you for life, 
Bonds to the whims of murder, 
Sprawled in the bowels of the earth, 
The torn fields of France. 
What do you see in our eyes 
At the shrieking iron and flame 
Hurled through still heavens? 
What quaver -- what heart aghast? 
Poppies whose roots are in man’s veins 
Drop, and are ever dropping; 
But mine in my ear is safe, 
Just a little white with the dust.

 

"If any question why they died, tell them, because our fathers lied." -Rudyard Kipling, 1915