On Sex and Freedom pt. 1 – Interview to Benjamin Nolot

I decided to open up about something I have reflected upon for many years.
What is freedom? What does it mean to be a free woman? And why is freedom so intertwined with sex? Moreover, does claiming to be free means having sex with a different guy every week?

Few weeks back I was talking on the phone with someone and he was telling me about how sex is very important and he needs to have it… I on the contrary said I didn’t have it for quite a while now and was just fine. He replied: oh come on! You’re a free woman, just go get someone for a night! – I calmly told him that being free spirit didn’t mean wanting or needing to have sex, moreover I feel gross about the idea of welcoming a complete stranger in my bed (and inside of me). He didn’t understand me and tried to convince me about how great it is to connect with someone new. AH HA, “connect”. Do we connect? Really?

Last year I happened to take a diving course in Italy and I overheard multiple times teenage girls in the changing room going rants about guys and hook ups. I bit my tongue every time not to intervene and comfort the girl who was venting out to her girlfriends about some guy smoothly getting in bed with her only to ignore her after having gotten what he wanted and making sure all school new. I would’ve loved to tell her that those things happen even to grown ups… and that made me think:
A. Why are girls and women not prepared to manipulation and mind games?
B. If not only teenage guys do it, but men well into adulthood still shamelessly play (and are proud of that?)… is it part of some sort of male gene? Or they just don’t grow up?

There is a wonderful film showing exactly this dynamic: LIBERATED, The New Sexual Revolution. Although in Europe we don’t have Spring Break, I think it’s anyway relatable at all levels and in many countries. For those who are not familiar with American Spring Break: basically every year students get a one-week vacation in Spring and usually spend that time with friends at a beach location drinking, partying and having lots and lots of sex. Sounds like Ibiza during summer time in Europe lol
On the surface women may have gained the so expected independence and equal rights. Like men we too are entitled to having occasional and random sexual encounters. However, if we dig deeper I am worried we have mistaken our freedom for something else. I have had one night stands, but I can only think of one time when I didn’t feel used. Most times than not our beautiful and sacred bodies are mistaken for receptacles of guys’ extra fluids.

Benjamin Nolot

I decided to interview Benjamin Nolot the writer and director of the film. Also founder of the organisation Exodus Cry – whose aim is to abolish sex trafficking and the commercial sex industry.

You say in the beginning of the film Liberated, “nothing quite prepares us for the struggle for identity and intimacy in today’s world”. How do you describe identity and intimacy?

<< The media and image based culture we live in communicate very powerful and visceral stories about what it means to be a man, a woman, and a sexual being. These stories are incredibly influential in shaping our identity and relationships. I don’t think there is enough being done to help prepare young people for the toxic and indoctrinating stories of the culture. The result is that most of us go through an identity crisis during our adolescence and I think it robs us of an authentic quality of self possession. >>

To be accepted and well liked women think they have to be hardly dressed and showcase sexiness at all times. We live – still – in a world where role models are such as Kim Kardashian who became famous for her sex tape! Likewise Paris Hilton who came before her. Powerful women are viewed as powerful in relation to how much sex drive they have and how many men they can attract (and ultimately fuck?). Living in a pornified world where sex doesn’t mean anything, I feel we are only too proud to admit ourselves that it does mean something… Perhaps by acting as “I don’t care” we feel stronger and believe we can walk away unhurt.
Do you think the people you interviewed, who claim “our generation gave up on love” / “we don’t believe in love” / “love was invented”, actually believe in these statements? And if so, why do you think this is?

<< Absolutely. I think there are two things: 
1) The false expectations of love setup by media. 
2) Their lived experiences at a young age.
One thing that was shocking to me is to discover how jaded people have become at such a young age. I think the widespread proliferation of pornography as primary sexual educator in most kids lives, and the subsequent hookup culture it fuels, create a feeling for people that relationships don’t matter anymore. >>

Basically, in a hookup culture what happens is that I have to shut down emotionally in order to have sex with you and see you just as an object there for for my pleasure. Casual encounters are the norm.
But in a culture where sex doesn’t mean anything…. who is the winner?

<< Ironically, no one. What we found is that even the people participating in hookup culture felt that it was diminishing their humanity and leaving them empty. It’s a zero sum game. When you take meaning out of sex, you end up with nihilistic relationships. It’s like Gioconda Belli said, “We have had a sexual revolution, but the sexual revolution only has made sex more pervasive. It hasn’t granted the level of reverence and respect that it should have.” >>

What is masculinity to you? And what validates it?

<< This is such a huge question and would be impossible to answer in a couple sentences, but there are a couple core ideas to mention. What constitutes a healthy masculinity is the same thing that constitutes a healthy humanity: love and empathy.
Love reverences the gift of our common humanity. It says, “You are more valuable than just the body you possess.” Love honors the whole person and desires good for them, even at ones own expense. Love is not guided by consumptive compulsions but by respect and dignity. It is the highest way of being in the world—one in which both we, and those around us, are better off. It is the only place of true joy, freedom, and safety. 
Compassion empathetically connects us to others. We see the truth about their condition and we don’t minimize it, run from it, or give platitudes to it. We feel it along with them. Through compassion we share in the vulnerability, powerlessness, and pain of others. Our solidarity forges a path for hope and healing to emerge. The compassionate ones are beacons of light amidst a dark and hostile planet. Compassion is not merely something we do; it is someone we become. It enables us to truly see, truly feel, and truly act. To be compassionate is to live out the highest essence of our nature. It is to be authentic and fully alive. 
To be a “real man” is to embrace love and empathy as a primary way of being in the world. >>

Now, looking at the movie and how easy it is nowadays to get laid… to get girls. How can a man be seen as an example when anyone can do it? I mean, when there is nothing to be proud about if just any guy can get x number of girls to sleep with him? …. I mean, there is nothing “cool” nor special nor “difficult” anymore. Shouldn’t it be seen more “manly” to be able to commit and keep one girl? 
What I mean is: if men like a challenge and if there is no more challenge supposedly… where is the manhood going?

<< I agree with you, but the media-based indoctrination of the “modern man” has taught them that the more women you can sleep with, the more “manly” you are. So in that respect, I think it is going to take a lot of work and intentional effort to changing these mindsets, steering men towards values of love and empathy as a better and more fulfilling way of being in the world. >>

Do you think over sexualised media is stealing childhood? If so how and how can that be changed?
<< Absolutely. I think that hyper-sexualized media sends young girls the message that the most important thing about them is their sex appeal. This form of female mind control programming conditions them into building their identity almost exclusively around their outward appearance. This shallow construction of an identity comes with a “visibility” shelf life, ultimately paving the way for major identity struggles as they get older and their looks and hence “visibility” diminishes.

I think this can be changed by changing the story we tell about women. We must embrace a story that celebrates the full scope of what it means to be a woman. Women are intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creative, athletic, familial, political, caring, compassionate, relational, and strong. Women are searching for deeper meaning and purpose. They have history, memories, and unique experiences. They long to have an impact in the world. Simply put, women are not merely “eye candy” for the gratuitous appetites of men. >>

And yet men feel entitled to women’s bodies. Why? In Italy for example, when a man murders his girlfriend or wife because she decides to end the relationship… he gets excused for having been too in love. This is clear evidence of a culture where possession and control are mistaken for love. How is this also related to the normalisation or criminal behaviour

<< We live in a culture and a world in general that sexualises power, hierarchy, and invulnerability. Many males eroticize women’s submission, compliance, and subservience. Women are often viewed as the property of men. Women are trained to be sexy, to be mothers, to serve, to clean up after men and children and wealthier people, to tolerate subjugation and ill-treatment, to be generous to those who mistreat them, to endure for their children when they have children. Highly intelligent women are seen by many men as threatening and are often denigrated. Insecure men prefer less intelligent female partners so that they can feel superior and secure.

Social psychology experiments have shown consistently disturbing results about human social behavior. That is, when human beings are placed in a position of power over other human beings who are defined in some measure by their inferiority or vulnerability or abject dependency, the human beings in power (usually males) become increasingly demanding, insensitive, cruel, domineering, exploitative, and aggressive. In some studies with healthy college students, experiments had to be curtailed in the middle of the project because the higher power subjects were getting increasingly corrupt and aggressively out of control in the misuse of their position of power. >>
We are indeed taught on magazines and on tv what is hot, what is desirable, what we should like, what is acceptable. So I doubt that changing the media will do any good as it will just replace the current objects of desire with a new one. What is your take on this?
<< The problem with the stories being told in media today is their single narrative. So I don’t think its about replacing what is desirable, i think it is about broadening out the story. For example, Cosmopolitan Magazine has a very consistent image of women that they put on the cover of their magazine that really only celebrates one aspect of who women are. I would like to see women on the cover of their magazine celebrated for a much more prolific range of accomplishments than just looking good. We must celebrate women in athletics, politics, the arts, academia, business, etc…Only then will young women learn that they don’t have to conform to a particular image, but rather can pursue their own path—and be recognised and respected for it. >>
After watching Liberated, I also watched “Hot girls wanted” and then I noticed how Netflix has A LOT of titles of tv series and movies about porn and the porn industry. I wonder if it’s normalising it that way. I find myself a little bit confused. On one side I feel there should be freedom of expression, on the other side I feel there is missing education and knowledge… profound knowledge on what sex means and is.What are your thoughts about it?
<< I agree that there is a lack of meaningful resources and dialogue about the inherent value and meaning of sex. I think what our society is lacking right now is a basic sexual ethic. In my view, empathy and mutuality are the most important parts of building a sexual ethic for society. Unfortunately, in the absence of that, so many people are being ripped off and sexually defrauded. >>
What is freedom?
<< I think freedom is simply the privilege and the courage to live what is true. >>

 

 

 

 

On Beauty and Silence

I haven’t written anything on my blog about the book I have written and published this year. Perhaps because it’s in Italian, and most of my readers of this blog are not Italian so I thought why should I even bother to speak about it? … Now I decided I want to translate the poems and will put the translations on my blog in the section Words & Stories.

I never thought I would publish my poetry, perhaps because unlike fiction or other forms of writing, poetry is incredibly intimate. At least my poetry is.
I began writing obsessively last September and it’s not until I had a good amount of poems that I thought to turn them into a book. I had gone through the roughest time of my life, a low I didn’t know how to overcome so I wrote down my feelings as a way to turn pain into something beautiful. Also, I wrote it to never forget and to not allow the same things happen to me again.

This week Italy is raging about the multiple newspapers that write articles about the last femminicidio (woman murdered by a man) case. The headlines excuse him, saying he was a good man, he loved her too much, he didn’t mean it… and yet he killed her. We raise girls in a culture that teaches them to excuse every violent act of men, to understand men, to help them… never mind if we lose our life in pursuit of “saving” him. My book talks about the pain and the consequences for a woman to be in a violent relationship: be it physical or psychological.
Psychologically violent relationships are the most vile, for the simple fact its scars and bruises are unseen on the outside. Many times I tried to confide in another woman (who on the contrary was in a physical relationship with her husband and father of her three children) but she would brush me of saying I am ungrateful and that the man I am with is so good and helpful… I should be ashamed of thinking anything bad of him. Well he was all that she was describing, just not with me. Anyway, somehow he also did the very best thing he could do (I didn’t know at that time though), that being kicking me out of the house – only to try get me back multiple times. Though the moment I was out of there and surrounded by my family and girlfriends, I began to write… to try heal, make sense, make something out of the nightmare I lived in.

On the beauty of life, and on the necessary silence to translate that beauty into words. My book is a reminder to women that they are not alone, that love has nothing to do with violence, that when you start sensing something is not right… it most likely isn’t!

Every word written has a meaning and a reason for being there. Every poem has multiple layers which can be reached differently depending from who reads it and its sensibility. I wrote and wrote only to understand many months later the reasons of those poems and their meaning. And only a year later I asked myself: why did I begin the book with Vasilisa…..(which you can find here).
Why is it the first? Why Vasilisa? Who is she? … Do you know the Russian story of Vasilisa The Beautiful? I wasn’t sure why that name came to my mind when I was thinking of a title to give to this poem, but it makes sense as Vasilisa’s story on a symbolical level stands for the beginning of a quest: the quest of oneself. Vasilisa is a story of female intuition.
So everything, every word, every paragraph, every sentence has a baggage.
I hope it touches you – like it touched me.

 

P.S. here you can buy a copy of the book 🙂

Plant Trees! – They say… but which ones?

Everywhere around the world people at large are planting trees. India planted 66 million trees in 12 hours in the region of Madhya Pradesh on July 2nd. Yacouba Sawadogo in Africa began planting trees in 1980 to save North Burkina Faso from desertification. In Niger farmers are turning to Gao trees, considered magical and extremely useful to growing crops (unlike other trees), moreover its fallen branches give wood for fire and its pods feed the animals. Italy’s current most ambitious project is called ForestaMi, which aims at planting 3 Million trees (one for each person who lives in Milan) by 2030. 
Among the multiple reforestation campaigns I am observing around the world, one has caught my attention (also the news are not covering it too much, perhaps it’s one of those things that has the potential to bring immense change): The Great Green Wall in Africa. As a matter of fact The Guardian wrote a piece over 8 years ago. All began as a conversation started by Richard St. Barbe Baker – professional forester and pioneer in environmental activism – back in 1952. He suggested a bold solution to the problem of desertification: plant a barrier of trees wide 50 km that cuts in two Africa, from coast to coast. In 2002, during the World Day to Combat Desertification & Drought, the ex Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo launched The Great Green Wall project. Five years later, in 2007 the African Union officially approves the grandiose project. What is it? In brief, it’s a wall of trees covering Africa from side to side in the region of Sahel, right below the Sahara desert, extending for 8000 km and 15 km wide. The symbol of such extraordinary project is more than just combat desertification. It’s a wall symbol of life and unity. It has the potential to decrease, if not stop, wars between African tribes/States. People come together for a bigger cause. It will give shelter to animals, feed people, and show the world that Africa can be united beyond profit. However in 2012 the project changed its vision to adapt more to the countries’ morphology, as planting solely trees was going to be unrealistic: The wall is no longer seen as a narrow band of trees along the southern edge of the Sahara. The vision is now to surround the Sahara with a wide belt of vegetation – trees and bushes greening and protecting an agricultural landscape. The new vision engages all the countries surrounding it, including Algeria and others in North Africa, not just the 11 original sub-Saharan countries of the Sahel – The Conversation
It’s not an easy task! It needs a lot of effort and especially cooperation and flexibility: The sub-Saharan countries are not all the same and the techniques (and plants/trees) must be adapted accordingly. Though lets not despair! 🙂

Why are trees important?
Trees eat CO2. … CO2 is carbon dioxide, a colourless gas we find naturally in Earth’s atmosphere. It’s produced by all aerobic organisms when they metabolise carbohydrates and lipids to produce energy by respiration – hence we humans too. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the primary carbon source for life on Earth and its concentration in Earth’s pre-industrial atmosphere since late in the earliest part of Earth history has been regulated by photosynthetic organisms (plants, algae and cyanobacteria) and geological phenomena. The “problem” with CO2 is that it absorbs and emits infrared radiation at wavelengths of 4.26 µm and 14.99 µm and consequently is a greenhouse gas that plays a significant role in influencing Earth’s surface temperature through the greenhouse effect. The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere has been attributed to human activity, particularly deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. This increase and other long-lived greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere has produced the current episode of global warming. Between 30% and 40% of the CO2 released by humans into the atmosphere dissolves into the oceans, wherein it forms carbonic acid and effects changes in the oceanic pH balance (causing among other things coral bleaching, and also threatens the future food chains linked with the oceans). – You can deepen your basic understanding of the carbon cycle on wikipedia 😉
Last but not least, Alejandro Jodorowsky proposes a psychomagic act to heal the planet: plant a tree on the 7th of September.
I asked Giorgio Vacchiano, researcher in forest management and planning at the State University of Milan, if planting trees helps:
Planting trees to sequester carbon works IF those trees survive and grow well after being planted, IF they are replaced with others at the end of their cycle, and IF their plant does not affect other important services such as food production or flora habitat or fauna. T
hose trees will absorb carbon as they grow, so over time their usefulness will increase (if they are maintained and not eliminated, not even by fires or insect attacks). Forests have a different time than ours … but starting now is better than nothing.”

On Tropical and Boreal Forests
Most tropical rainforest plants are considered to be evergreens, replacing their leaves gradually throughout the year as the leaves age and fall, whereas species growing in seasonally arid climates may be either evergreen or deciduous. Most warm temperate climate plants are also evergreen. In cool temperate climates, fewer plants are evergreen, with a predominance of conifers, as few evergreen broadleaf plants can tolerate severe cold below about −26 °C. E
vergreens don’t photosynthesise all year round. In cold areas, winter temperatures are too low and photosynthesis takes place minimally or not at all. In the Mediterranean areas, the evergreens close the stomata (the “hatches” of the leaves) during the summer to avoid losing water by evaporation, so even here photosynthesis stops.
Boreal coniferous forests are the second most important carbon reservoir after the tropical ones. FYI, two thirds of the Boreal forests are located in Siberia.
What makes these forests so important it’s the fact that they are the ones that contain more biomass, therefore more tissues capable of storing carbon.

The Family of 5 Primary Forests (National Geographic2015)

 

So today we hear excessively about needing to plant new forests (as if it were that easy… few people are aware of the fact that forests need management) since we see them as carbon tanks. Because humanity emits more CO2 into the atmosphere than plants and oceans can accumulate, forests are ecosystems that can potentially help reduce the impact by storing carbon in its biomass. However they can also emit more CO2 than their storing capacity, hence why management and planning is needed. 

And the question is, any tree is good or some are better than others?

My Conclusions

If you want to plant a tree make a research about the area that you live in and choose an evergreen possibly. If you have enough land to plant more trees, I would advice you contact a forest management expert in your area or at a University. In Italy I would like to indicate Mosaico Verde, based in Rome they operate in the entire country even for just a quick consultancy. Something I really like about the job they do is the fact that if, for example, you live in a city and don’t have a garden nor yard whereto plant a tree don’t despair! 😀 Mosaico Verde has multiple projects you can support by simply buying a tree: you choose the area and also the tree that is good for that specific area.

To plant a tree (or trees) to clean your conscience is not ideal as the tree won’t be enough to clean the air you pollute by your lifestyle.

Take care as much as you can of the local forests: we are so used to looking at the Amazon and giving money to protect the Amazon while forgetting about our home and our country.
I asked Mr. Vacchiano about the present situation of European forests, “There is a forest expansion of 800’000 hectares every year – of which 50-70’000 ha in Italy – mainly spontaneous on abandoned fields and pastures. Means good news for carbon sequestration and hydrogeological instability, even if all that glitters is not gold – in some places, it also means an increase of fire hazard. At the same time, the very few virgin forests remaining in Europe are actually getting smaller and smaller, especially in Romania and Ukraine, due to illegal cuts to obtain valuable wood and, in part, energy biomass. At last, climate change risks stressing forests (especially in Italy) with more frequent droughts, storms and fires. I would say this is the biggest problem, which we must learn to face.”
Europe’s virgin forests are fundamental treasures of biodiversity and unique places able to make us understand how nature works without human intervention. 

Plant trees for the sake of planting them and as a gift to Mother Earth. And remember the best tree to plant is the one that grows better in your area. 

900 wild bisons live in Bialowieza (© Tomasz Kaminski)

Sources:
Scienza in rete
SciTechDaily
Waldwissen
Internazionale
National Geographic

The Brazilian Issue – Beyond the Fires

After an intense week of facebook posts about the Amazon burning, people shocked, people panicking over the “World’s lungs” burning, people calling for the end of the world etc… I finally read something that made me stop, reflect and question how much do I actually know about the Brazilian issue?
Here is my girlfriend’s post that made me think:

🌿🌴AMAZON WHERE IS THE TRUTH ???
I write this post to be able to have a broader point of view on the issue not to create useless debates and absolutely Not to justify the barbarity of the human being.
Good morning to all dear ones, I really apologise with all my heart if this morning I will have to show you the Amazon issue from other points of view, lets begin with my socio-political lesson and economics.Just as I did in front of the campaign against palm oil, which is actually raising the GDP of very poor countries, causing damage to the multinationals, which use our ignorance to hit these countries by causing us to boycott the products that contain it .. .A little reminder ... Remember that these peoples began to cultivate palm oil after the 2003 Tsunami and that through this culture they retired up on an economic level ...Now lets look at the Amazon case together.The important things to know about the Amazon is that there are many points of view on this, we indignant Western beings, we look at the Amazon as a precious asset of which we feel indirectly the owners.
If we look at Bolsonaro's policy he is trying, in a crazy and questionable way, to pull his country up and make it independent economically and socially from the presence of other peoples, from the leaders of other countries who would like to exploit its resources ... A bit like what happens in Africa where we steal their metals and minerals and to wash our conscience we build a well and a school ...Brazil is currently one of the poorest countries in the world, through the deforestation and supplying the land to the peasants Bolsonaro intends to reduce the hunger of its people, reduce the poverty of its people by making every single landowner capable of self managing his family creating jobs and wealth ... What makes LOTS of fear to the most northern countries!Yes, the green lung of the Earth is a land that will nourish its people.How shocking ... How did it come to his mind ???Now, to change the situation we should collectively take care of the next (the neighbour, of each other).If we valued this thing there could be those who produce oil, who produce food ... And those who produce oxygen for everyone ...Some nations could be producers of oxygen ... But the community should take care of providing the payment for this resource ... And then there would be more trees for everyone ... But who is willing to pay for oxygen?
That country and those people have the right to become independent ... And we who talk about respecting the resources of the planet, in beautiful fresh air-conditioned cottages, with 4 cars one for each family member ... We who throw away tons of food in the toilet ?? ?We should just be quiet !!! And 5 minutes of Shame!So the current indignation we are being pushed upon relies on our gullibility ... it's another pro-ignorance maneuver ... OURS!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND TO STUDY ECONOMY BEFORE YOU COMMENT !!!
PS: I OBVIOUSLY FEEL VERY SAD FOR THE FACT THAT THEY BURN ALL THOSE TREES AND ANIMALS ...Michela Chiarelli ©

____________________________________________________

What follows is my opinion and my reflections upon Brasil, based on what I have researched and read.

I never studied politics and I have convinced myself that I am not interested in it simply because I don’t know enough. Also, where do you start from to make sense of what’s happening today?
I wanted to understand if the international community going so full on against Jair Bolsonaro is right, I too dislike him and have disliked him from the day he got elected president… however, now I need a deeper understanding and I feel the urgency to form an opinion which is not based upon the opinion of others. Moreover it’s not enough for me to condemn the actions, I want to know the reasons behind them.

I began by googling “Brazil GDP growth” – The Gross Domestic Product is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. As a broad measure of overall domestic production, it functions as a comprehensive scorecard of the country’s economic health. In 2018 Brazil scored 1.1.% … it means its economy is growing. I wanted to understand what is the current state of Brazilian economy. On Trading Economics you can see the forecast for Brazil is extremely positive, its GDP is growing fast. And especially since Bolsonaro’s election…
What does this mean?

I must share some data before continuing my point (bare with me):
Country            # Rank in population               Growth Rate                    2018 GDP
Brazil                             6                                        0,75%                              1.1%
Russia                           9                                        0,09%                              2.3%
India                              2                                        1,02%                               7.0%
China                             1                                        0,43%                              6.6.%

Let me introduce you to BRICs -> a grouping acronym referring to the countries of Brasil, Russia, India and China, deemed to be developed countries at a similar stage of newly advanced economic development, on their way to becoming developed countries. In 2010 it became a formal political institution. And in 2010 South Africa joined.
What would happen and how do you think the current world political powers would react if kicked off of their throne? …..
A report by Goldman Sachs in 2010 says that the 4 BRICs may account for 41% of the world’s market capitalisation by 2030. We are then observing the new upcoming world power countries…

Brazil had been exploited by BIG FOOD COMPANIES (mostly American) for many many years, of course after the US have used all their land they go look for cheap land in poor countries. However, it happens that an exploited country wakes up and decides to implement the so-called National-Champions policy: The idea was to select Brazilian exporting companies and transform them into large transnational corporations that bring home large revenues. How? Frequent mergers and acquisitions and consolidation across several meat segments (beef, pork, poultry, etc.) and other parts of the value chain (feed, additives) are key to the meat industry’s strategy in increasing profits. In this way, the companies used a large portion of BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank that funded such project) resources to swallow up small businesses. They continued to rapidly amass power through further mergers and acquisition activities in key meat producing and consuming countries. Flash forward to today: Brazil is the world’s leading exporter of soybeans; the second largest exporter of maize; and the world’s largest beef trader, exporting more than 20 percent of the world’s beef. It has overtaken the United States to become the biggest exporter of poultry in the world, close to 39% of total global exports.
WOW right?

I wondered why Macron has so brutally and publicly attacked Bolsonaro….
FYI
the group of seven major advanced nations is formed by: France (which is 2019 host), Germany, Italy, Japan, US, UK, and Canada.
…..and it makes sense now.
What happens if from this Amazon scandal the EU stops buying meat from Brazil? (EU is the second bigger customer)… How can you stop the economic growth of a country?…… What happens if the public opinion of that country and that president is marked negatively? ……

But but but check this report by Friends of the Earth Europe:

“The EU serves as a huge market for Brazilian soy and beef, the production of which drives deforestation and human rights abuses in Brazil on a vast scale. The EU is also Brazil’s second largest trading partner, and taken together, its Member States are Brazil’s largest source of foreign direct investment.”


They ask to stop the negotiations between MERCOSUR and EFTA, by appealing onto the human rights  and environmental principles of the European Union. Oh too bad though that the current members of the European Free Trade Association are Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Iceland: none of which is a member of the EU. They do collaborate with the EU, only they are not bound to it and its principles.
FYI
MERCOSUR –> it’s a South American trade bloc; its members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay. Mercosur’s purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency.

And Saturday afternoon just as I was reading and writing all this… I stumbled upon Bolsonaro’s instagram story which stated that the agreement has been signed!

 

Where am I going with this? …..
Goldman Sachs predicts that China and India, respectively, will become the dominant global suppliers of manufactured goods and services, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. … Isn’t it bizarre how Brasil and Russia burned extensively this year and none of the Presidents did nothing?
Also, The Guardian released an article clarifying about the fires and stating that it was not the actual Amazon forest burning! …

Check out this title, yet another one of the Friends of the Earth:

Do you think it’s recent?… This week’s maybe? Eh you wish… this is dated January 2011. The problem of deforestation isn’t today’s problem. You know in 2007 the Brazilian company world leader of meat production bought 50% of the shares of an Italian company leader in Europe of meat production and transformation. I will not make names but it’s all on the internet. This is the price of cheap meat.

My Conclusions:

When the Italian Pianura Padana was deforested to make space for the thousand pig farms; when  United States deforestation has caused the destruction of virgin forests by 75% percent since 1600; when Nigeria has lost 81% of its old-growth forests in just 15 years (1990–2005); …. and I could list many more but I’ll stop here. When all that was happening it was for the name of progress. Today, because we are living a moment of transition and change of the Planet’s climate we cannot call progress Bolsonaro’s manoeuvre to make his country great. No because the Amazon Forest doesn’t belong to Brazil but to all of us. The Pianura Padana though belongs only to Italy. The US Ancient forests belong to the US. Nigerian Tropical Forests belong to Nigeria (also, their country won’t ever become as great anyway, right?). Many countries’ fortune and greatness have been reached at the expense of nature (and I won’t even enter what are the other costs, ie human lives).
If this was happening 15 years ago, we wouldn’t be so alarmed but because people are in a high panic mode and shitting their pants (due to misinformation about climate change and the end of the world!) …. now the favourite game is to point the finger at the guilty one. Bolsonaro in this case. Of course because the Big Group has already done enough to take this planet to this critical point, now they can go by and set the rules to everyone else not to screw up anymore.
I’m sorry to say people but Bolsonaro, for as much as I dislike him, is not worse than any of those leaders who now turn their back at him and call him out for the Crimes Against Humanity.

It would be ideal that Brazil looked at the example of the US: how greed and ignorance turned a beautiful and rich land into a desert. Perhaps if there is anything positive about all this pressure against Brazilian fires is that perhaps deforestation will be managed better and more wisely.
I do hope that all the attention will force him to change his politics, but truth is that it’s far more complicated. Also, for us to know the truth is almost impossible. America is a great example of how a rich country doesn’t necessarily translate in its people’s wealth, but perhaps the pride of being part of such great nation pays off for being poor: in the eyes of the world we are The Americans, never mind I cannot afford food let alone go to the hospital if I’m sick.
Sadly Brazil is going in that direction, as the models and examples are not that illuminating.

Anyway, these are my considerations and you can have yours. I don’t excuse Jair Bolsonaro’s politics and ways but I do understand them. Also a few years ago Brazil had big financial problems and so to get back on track they must’ve adopted very unpopular politics (to say the least). And it worked as their GDP started going up and up, however because the GDP’s calculation is based on the invoices of course it creates a dependency upon those few huge companies that account for the majority of the country’s GDP. Meaning if its growth depends on meat, soy and corn (just like the American one!) then deforestation won’t be an option.

As you know there isn’t much we can do except for educating ourselves on the motives that drive our leaders, choose wisely what we eat, question our current reality…etc 🙂 Actually it’s already a lot!

 

A few links I read:
Economist
High Country News
La Conceria
Agriland
Institute For Agriculture & Trade Policy
The Brazilian Business
New York Times

Beauty & The Beast: Is there a link with the NPD?

Lately I have been absent from the web, and from everything. Struggling with my own personal life, thought to be healed and instead kept falling down over and over again… wondering how after one year of working hard on myself I still find myself crying for someone I can only describe as a narcissistic asshole.
Talking to my girlfriends this year I realised I have not been the only one falling into the illusory fairytale trap of a man who is an avid manipulator, a violent, and someone who is all but a good person. In psychology there is a Mental Disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and while many may have a few traits here and there… some are pathological narcissists. Of course I stumbled upon him.

I actually don’t know where I found the strength to do all that I have achieved this year after the official (official? Can it be official when he periodically found ways to get back into my life for his vital supply?) break up: I wrote a book! I began filming my first documentary! I also started a holistic training and begun learning about the healing powers of nature! Meanwhile I also worked! I bought myself the car of my dreams! I discovered true friendship! …. All this while inside there was still an ongoing battle. At my every high, I would get an email from him and I fell down again: how dare you feel well and happy and achieved? This trap of not deserving anything, especially that what I so hardly work for…

Last week, as I was reading about the NPD disorder and researching about the traits of the victims to understand myself better and deeper, I photo of the film Beauty & The Beast popped up. I had a flash! There is something wrong with this beautiful and romantic fairytale. The more one studies about psychology, the more one gets deeper glimpses at the true messages hidden behind the romance, cartoons, fairytales….
What happens to girls when we teach them that their love and patience and care-taking will change the best into a beautiful human?
How many of us still live that myth? How many of us still silently hope and pray “he” will eventually change? How many of us hide the scars of a life spent curing someone else’s wounds? How many of us believe that a woman must be just loving, understanding, patient? …. Belle teaches us that. She is perfect beyond just the appearance. She is presented to us as someone strong, whose love goes beyond the physical appearance of the other. She can see his wounded self and she can love the beast. Eventually she wins. And THAT ladies and gentlemen is a fairytale. In reality we, the Belle in real life, lose our sense of self, our light, our beauty, our friends, our independence. Having to do with someone who manipulates our reality and our thoughts, who is psychologically violent and yet we love him is just a complete waste of energy. Unless. Unless we use that relationship to understand more about ourself.
Perhaps it is time to ask the right questions and the time to answer them. Sometimes this means to go back to the past, somewhere in your childhood. I recommend getting the help of someone, sometimes a friend is not enough.

What makes me think of the link between NPD and the beast? …. Simply because as a coincidence he acts just like a pathological narcissist: everything revolves around him, his rage and mood swings make everyone afraid of him, he doesn’t accept being contradicted, he isolates Belle from everything and everyone (oh but still gives her the best room, the best dresses… and makes her feel that “it’s not so bad after all). She eventually falls in love with him (ever heard of the Stockholm Syndrome? … it’s a mechanism of survival, you fall in love with your tyrant) because if there is no way out, well the best you can do is find a way to survive inside. You mask your fear and your hatred with love.
In reality. Trust me. And I never thought I would say this: your beast will never change. No matter how many promises he makes to you. He will from time to time abandon you, then come after you. Meanwhile he already has a net of other women (Belles) who supply that energy and “love” he feeds of. He plays the victim and the hurt one just to tender your heart, this way he awakes your compassions… and makes you doubt everything you believed about him so that you fall into it yet another time. An infinite spiral.

An infinite spiral of hurt.

Now imagine for a moment what you could do with that energy you throw away his direction? 🙂 
Today is in fashion to talk about self love. Everybody seems to be an expert of self love and offers courses, remedies, online therapy, self love coaching… grab the best offer. Yet there is really no manual for it. To say: do what makes you feel good; do what you love; eat the food you love; exercise if you like; post a photo of your naked imperfect body as a statement of self love… means really nothing. Why? Because very few of us even know what is it that we deeply deeply want. What we deeply deeply love. What truly truly makes us smile. Nobody ever taught us where to find that nor how. We don’t have the instruments. And when you lived many years of your life surrounded by people (whether in your family or in false friendships or at work) who constantly mine that little self esteem and self assurance…. it becomes hard to know who you want to be for your self.
However, with that energy I regained I imagine putting it into my projects and my art. That polarised attention I put it onto my girlfriends. The trying to constantly understand the other, I finally want to understand what is it that I so desperately missed as a child, how was this little girl treated, and become that who she needs. At times someone strict at times not. To be your own parent means to finally take full responsibility of your life. It means you will stop relying on other people such as your parents (if you still have them), your partner and whoever else thinks they know you better than you know yourself. Others can only have an idea of you, see only a small part of who you are and feel entitled to give an opinion about the way you live.

Use wisely and cherish your energy and attention. Care for you. Nobody else will but you.

Love,
T.