Amsterdam celebrates their 18th annual Gay Pride Parade this year in combination of the 400th anniversary of The Netherlands canal system. It is the only Gay Pride celebration that occurs on the water in the world! The event hosts about 350,000 people yearly, “45,000 visitors during 4 days of street parties – 98 outdoor bars – 200,000 beers – 4 football pitches of dance floor – 10 outdoor stages – 3,000,000 beats – 120 different events in 9 days”. The Netherlands is known for its acceptance of the LGBT community. According to the article, “The first gay bar opened here in 1927 (Café ‘t Mandje, still open today at Zeedijk 63) and the planet’s first gay marriages happened in Amsterdam’s City Hall in 2001. The COC Netherlands has been advocating the rights of lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and transgenders since 1946, and is one of the few LGBT organizations that enjoy special consultative status within the United Nations”. I am very supportive of the LGBT community. I think the fact that The Netherlands has legalized gay marriage says a lot about the mindsets of its citizens. It shows a cultural acceptance toward people that are different. I really love this about The Netherlands. I wish that America was more like The Netherlands when it comes to this issue. I feel that it will take more time for us to reach this level of approval here in The United States.
A Notion of Progress starts with two women leaving the post office. While the story doesn’t say how old they are, I believe they are in their late 20’s. Catherine asks the main character if she thinks Morocco has progressed. The main character replies that it has in some ways, such as infrastructure and human resources, and in other ways it has not. Catherine says that she thinks computers are a sign that progress has happened. The main character brings up that illiteracy is still very high. Catherine, “tossed her head defiantly and continued, ‘Why did you say that Morocco is progressing then?’” The main character then goes on to state that it’s like a half filled glass. In some ways progression is occurring and in other ways it is not. She brings up the post office as an example off another way Morocco has progressed. She then remembers that she wrote in her diary when she was younger about how bad a particular visit at the post office was. When she gets home she searches for that passage in her journal and the story goes on to talk about the visit. In the end the main character is pleased with her evidence that Morocco has progressed and says, “There’s your proof, Catherine, if only you could read Arabic”.
In A Notion of Progress I learned many things about Morocco. I found out that they have paved roads and their infrastructure is improving. I learned that most of Morocco is Islamic. I discovered that they have internet café’s in Morocco but for the most part people do not have their own home networks. Also I learned about Moroccan literacy problems. I think it is strange that a country would not require children to go to school when their literacy rates are so low. I would think that it would be required because in theory if the newer generations gain intelligence the country as a whole would become more lucrative. I think it is interesting that two women are having this conversation. I wonder if they would be able to have this discussion with a man as well. From reading A Notion of Progress I feel I have gathered a fair amount of knowledge about Morocco and some of its issues.
A Paying Guest was about a Moroccan woman who went to work for the Moroccan government in London. When she arrived a British lady that she worked with offered to let her stay in her spare bedroom while she searched for a place of her own. Astonished by her new coworker’s generosity she agreed. The Moroccan women had some preconceptions about how Europeans were supposed to be like. She thought they were greedy, rude, foolish, and self-centered. When she got to the coworker’s home she found that her room was very nice and her host had left her a new toothbrush in her bathroom. The Moroccan woman thought she was so stupid to have believed that English people were so awful for so long. A few days later she found an apartment to live in and upon her departure the British woman gave her a folded up piece of paper totaling how much she owed her host for the stay. The Moroccan woman was angry that she was right after all about European people.
From A Paying Guest story I learned about the racism that Moroccans have for Europeans. I found out that they feel Europeans are arrogant, rude, and selfish. The story enforces this racism by showing the main character being duped by her host’s apparent generosity only to find that she was as she thought at first. It says to the audience: don’t be fooled they really are as they seem to be! I also learned a new phrase, “one rotten fish makes the whole donkey bag smell”. I like it because it seems like a silly way to say that message. I think I will use it sometime so as to see the funny looks I will get. I anticipate people will be confused..
The Joao Havelange Stadium in Rio De Janiero has been closed due to safety problems. The stadium, that is only 6 years old, is in danger of losing its roof according to the episode of The World that I listened to. This stadium is supposed to be the home for the 2016 Summer Olympics track and field events. What is worse is that the contractor that built the stadium wrote in to the contract that they would not be legally responsible for any problems that the stadium encountered after it was built. Because of this the contractors are not liable to rebuild or fix the roof and the government of Rio De Janiero will be financially obligated to fix the stadium before the Olympic ceremonies can commence. From the way the broadcaster and his guest were talking this is a pretty tall order for such a short time frame. They were also saying that the stadium was in very rough shape aside from the roof. I will be interested to see how the stadium will look in 2016.
Canadian Biologists believe that plants that are from the same parent (sibling plants) are actually accommodating each other in respects to light, root placements, and nutrient consumption. Anna Rothschild says that at McMaster University scientists are doing some experiments on plants and their siblings. A graduate student by the name of Amanda File thinks that the plants are not doing this to be “nice” to one another but mainly as a way to insure their genes are passed on. While it is still unclear how the plants can determine which other plants are related to them, it is interesting to hear that they have the ability to alter their behaviour. It is hard for me to believe that they have this ability. I know that plants are living, but I guess I don’t really think of them as alive the same way as I do animals. I feel that it would be exciting if this researchers examined this information thoroughly enough that it could be put in to school books and taught to children at a young age. I wonder if it will change future generation’s views on plants and how we treat them. I feel that it changes my thoughts on plants. I hope to learn more as scientists continue their studies.
Mosquitos Enter the Netherlands
The Dutch are being affected by the Columbian Exchange still today. In an article I read from DutchNews.nl a mosquito carrying multiple diseases has invaded The Netherlands. The mosquito is known as the Tiger Mosquito. It has made its home around Amsterdam and Rotterdam. According to the article it may carry up to 20 different diseases including dengue fever, yellow fever and encephalitis. They are believed to have traveled from China to the Netherlands with imports of tires and bamboo plants. This particular type of mosquitos is a day time feaster so it will bite you during the day. The article does not say how many people are thought to have transmitted diseases from the mosquito infestation. Even though I hate mosquitos I think that it interesting to see the effects of the Columbian Exchange still occurring.
Dutch police arrested a 19 year old woman on Monday who allegedly was involved in an art heist. Picasso’s “Tete d’Arlequin”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge” and Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed” were among the seven paintings taken. The woman arrested was from Romania. It has been said that she lived in the house where the paintings were brought after the heist and is the girlfriend of one of the thieves. According to the article,” Experts put the paintings’ value at between 100 and 200 million euros”. I looked it up and found out that 100-200 million euros equates to between 130,290,000 and 260,580,000 American dollars. That’s a lot of dough! The article doesn’t say whether the burglars have been caught yet but I really hope they have been seeing as 25 police officers are on the case.
Lucian Freud’s “Woman with Eyes Closed”
This article is all about the national holiday in The Netherlands known as Queen’s Day or Koninginnedag. It is a nationwide celebration of the queen’s birthday. It is basically a giant party which starts the night before and goes on throughout the rest of the next day. Also there something called an Orange Craze. According to the article, “Everywhere in the city you’ll see orange banners, orange coloered foods and drinks and… people dressed in Orange!” The color orange refers to the name of The Netherland’s royal family, The House of Orange. This year Queen’s Day will be celebrated on April 30th and it will be extra special for the people of The Netherlands because Queen Beatrix is abdicating her thrown the same day. While I really hate the color orange this holiday sounds awesome! I mean I know that we have Presidents Day but it’s totally lame by comparison to Queen’s Day. Almost everyone gets off school and/or work but there aren’t any festivities to enjoy or any real celebration. I wish that our President’s Day was more similar to The Netherland’s Queen’s Day.