Tag Archives: Athens

Day1: The Feel of Athens

Athens from the Air
Athens from the Air

 

Greece is not Seattle, and it is definitely not the United States, but that goes without saying. However, I have to insert the caveat at this point because it has dumfounded this person who has never been outside of the United States before, but in reality, on the surface level—because that is all that I have been able to observe so far, Greece is not so different from being in Seattle. Now, I know that any person reading this may be like hold up, wait a minute, you are in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, you are in Europe; you are in a place that it does not rain as the normal climate and yaddi yaddi ya… I am neither talking about the geography or whether, but rather, the people and the society. There is traffic that piles up just like it does in the States, and families enjoying dinner with each other, people walking down the streets, couples, kids in the park skateboarding and all that. It is beautiful, and definitely not as different as I thought it would be.

 

Yet, there is something that is very different beneath the surface here that I do not feel in the United States. I cannot shake this feeling of warmth and pride, of being connected to the environment and the people in the environment. I get the sense that Athens would not be Athens without the people populating the streets, filling in the shops, walking up and down the sidewalks in groups of threes and fours. It seems that the people who are here are just as much part of this place as the land and the sea, the clouds and the sun, there is a unique spirit here that I have not felt anywhere else that I have ever been. So, while on the surface it is much more similar to Seattle than I had initially thought that it would be, it is nonetheless, very different when I feel the world and the people around me vibrating at a different, dare I say higher, rate.

 

I have only been her for one evening and morning and I have already fallen in love with it, it feels like coming home. I love hearing all the many languages, and seeing all the love that everyone shares, even with strangers as they pass them on the streets. I have never heard so many people working in shops, yelling out hellos to people walking on the other side of the street, or vice versa. It is like everyone knows and cherishes everyone here and I get the sense that once you become part of the community here, you never lose that status.

 

I expected to feel like an outsider and to be treated like a person that does not belong here. I felt like this because this is the first time that I have ever been an outsider coming in. Well, at least in the sense that I am from another country. The truth is that I have always felt like an outsider at home because I am an African American male who is from the United States. I live in Seattle, Washington, which has been identified as being one the “whitest” cities in the country, i.e., it is not very diverse. I know that people think that things like Affirmative Action, and what naught make people think that minorities are included in society and are treated fairly, but that is not so much the feel if you are one of those minorities. I have to work twice as hard to get half as far, just as a starting point; and I am super bright and really smart, and I still have to put up with it. The point is that at home I never really feel like I belong, unless I am with a group of similar people. But, here, I have not felt like that at all. Everyone that I have met has just included me into conversations and made me feel at home, made me feel as though I belong and that is a beautiful feeling to have.

 

I was right, this trip is going to change the way that I perceive the world. It has only been one day it my perspective has already been irrevocably altered for the better.

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We Can Do It Together

I know you all have seen the lyrics and heard the song that I have been working on for this #Diaspora and #Apartheid research project. 

The purpose is two fold:


(1) To get the message out in a different medium than the tradition essays and articles &

(2) to draw attention to fundraiser so that I can afford this project.

I know that you all believe in and support me and the things that I am fighting for because I am fighting for all of us and for a better tomorrow. The truth though, is that I cannot do it alone and I need you help to make this possible.

I also know how it is, sometimes money is tight and if it is, then I certainly do not want you to hurt yourself and I am not asking you to. What you could do for me though is share the link to the fundraiser with you people and ask them for their support; that would go a long way in helping me.

On the other hand, if everyone I know chips in $10, then the research would be fully funded.

I potentially have some scholarships that I will be awarded, but as of yet I have not heard anything. The only way this research may be possible is with your help.

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

 

The song I put together can be listened to and downloaded for #Free @:

https://soundcloud.com/renaissance-the-poet/do-i-doom-my-kids-to-poverty-1 

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

I Need Your Assistance and Support, I Cannot Do It Without You

I Need Your Assistance and Support, I Cannot Do It Without You

Thanks to the several contributions thus far for my research project this summer, I am starting to pull close to the cost of the plane ticket. As you may be aware, the earlier that I can purchase the ticket the cheaper it will be and the better likelihood that there will actually be a seat when I need there to be a seat. Right now, depending on the negotiation that I can do with the airlines and booking agencies, the cost is approximately $1,500 for round-trip fare, but that will increase over time.

I need your help to get to Athens to perform my research on the impacts of immigration; #diaspora and #apartheid. So, please click the link below and give what you can:   

http://www.gofundme.com/Diaspora-and-Apartheid

Thank you so much for your love and support:

Carradin MichelDerek WhitneyJess SpearCarter CaseJanet Hoppe-Leonard,Luzviminda MarcotteCody LestelleSharran MoynihanSarra Tekola, and Roman Richards 

For more information about Diaspora and Apartheid please follow the link below:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

Feudal Privilege and Global Apartheid

“Citizens in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent of feudal privilege–an inherited status that greatly enhances one’s life chances. Like feudal birthright privileges, restrictive citizenship is hard to justify when one thinks about it closely.”

~Joseph Carens (Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, 1987, p. 252)

There is a sharp divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots” and it is morally arbitrary, in that there is nothing that people do before they are born that entitles them to the life-chances that they have after they are born. Such as, education, employment, and access to fresh food and clean water.

Is it just to deny people access to these essential needs solely based on the consideration of where they were born, the caste they were born into (which is typically based on skin-color), or the class they were born into? I do not think it is just in any definition of the word.

However, that is precisely what is going on with this feudal privilege. What has essentially been created is a “city on a hill,” that is not only protected by walls, but a vast military institution that cuts down and shreds those who attempt to gain access to what we in America consider basic #needs and #rights. In effect, what this is, is #GlobalApartheid, the forced segregation of vast portions of our civilization, which is exacerbated by the treatment these people receive for attempting to improve their life-chances

These are precisely the types of issues that I will be confronting during my research this summer during my JSIS/Hellenic Studies program focused on #Diaspora and#Apartheid. Please share, and consider contributing whatever you believe that you can afford, so that together we can ensure that #HumanRights are being protected.

 

Help Me Pay for Diaspora and Apartheid Research in Athens this Summer

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

 

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by theUniversity of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how apartheid and diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

The program is further designed to immerses students in the Greek language and culture. It is a twelve credit, five week program consisting of three University of Washington courses: JSIS 11–Introduction to Greek; JSIS 488–Tourism in Greece; JSIS 499–Independent Research on Global Apartheid. The program also provides the students with a sufficient understanding of the Greek language to survive and function in Greece as a non-resident.

For further information about diaspora and apartheid check out:

Diaspora and Apartheid: Study Abroad Research

 

The Benefits of the Program:

 

Participating in this program will benefit me by providing an opportunity to experience other cultures firsthand, engage in a practical research project and learn more about issues of global justice.

This opportunity is particularly important because not only am I a first generation college student, but I will also be the first in my family to travel outside of the United States since my grandfather was in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s. My mother, who provides for my residence and food, is a house-keeper and can barely afford to help me through college. The rest of my family, if they can work, work in some aspect of the service industry and subsist on meager incomes, so they can also not contribute much but emotional and mental support for my education. Yet, even with all of their help the only reason I am able to afford the cost of tuition and books is because of financial aid and loans, but those resources do not cover much else. So, any contribution that you can make will help this opportunity, with all of its many benefits to myself, my family, my education and most importantly, to those suffering from diaspora and apartheid; to become reality.

For an example of the impacts of study abroad on both the individual and the community, please follow this link: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1108274

Life Goals:

 

My goal in life is to design a sustainable, environmentally sound and socially equitable system based on justice that transcends the stratification of nation-states, individuals and corporations, and takes into account the fact that we all share one pool of resources. This is an incredible goal, and perhaps even utopian, but I believe it is both achievable and practical and I have planned my education to prepare me for the task.

To accomplish this goal I have begun my journey by double-majoring in history and philosophy at the University of Washington, whereby I am learning about the strengths and weaknesses of previous civilizations and their socio-economic systems, as well as the ethical frameworks that sustained them. After earning a bachelor’s degree I plan to earn a law degree because the system I am going to help to design will require intense negotiation to derive a written law that will be internationally acceptable. Given the delicate nature of those negotiations and the networking that will be necessary to accomplish my goal, my plan is to work for, with and through the United Nations because it is the most reputable international institution in existence that shares my objectives and that will provide me with access to global decision makers.

 

This Program Will Help Me to Achieve these Goals By:

 

As a History major one of my objectives is the evaluation of how culture evolves over time. So, the Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program will have several highly beneficial impacts on my education at the University of Washington, as well as, long into my future career. One of the primary functions and most attractive characteristics of all study abroad programs is the opportunity to experience other cultures. However, I am from a family who is not well-off and I have neither traveled outside of the United States, nor have I had the opportunity to experience another culture. This program will provide me with this invaluable experience and since it has a basis of historical analysis it will allow me to apply what I am learning as well as bolstering my continued education of other cultures. Most importantly, it will help me to develop a perspective that is not solely American, which is vital in a globalizing world wherein, the interaction between people of different states and cultures is steadily increasing.

A further benefit the program will have is the research and analytic experience it will provide me. Not only will this benefit my education at the University of Washington as a history student, but also as I progress through my goals to work in the United Nations. The accurate writing of history sometimes entails performing interviews of people who have experienced some event, so having this experience will benefit my studies in this manner. I can also see the practical application of this after I begin working for the United Nations, when I will need accurate and contemporary, qualitative information to make informed decisions about actions and policy. The Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program is specifically designed to help me develop these skills.

I am interested in the definition, justification and implementation of justice, which is why I am double majoring in Philosophy. Immigration and a state’s right to regulate its borders are huge components of the philosophical discussion of global justice, which entails the rights of immigrants whether legal migrants or not. This program will put us up front and personal with the global justice issues of apartheid and diaspora in a region that at this pivotal point in my life and education, I would not otherwise be able to take part in. It will also thereby, allow me to participate in seeking solutions to these issues head on with and for the people most affected by them and to educate the people who can make a difference in their lives. It is one thing to read about issues in a history, sociology, or global justice course, and it is quite another to actually take part in the research that makes a positive impact in peoples’ lives, which is the reason that I am in school.

 

Expenses:

 

Program Fee                                                         $4,500
UW Study Abroad Insurance                        $     80
UW Study Abroad Fee:                                     $    300
Food                                                                           $1,500
Spending Cash                                                     $1,500
Roundtrip Airfare                                                $2,000

Total:                                                   $9,880

I have developed the budget after talking to the program director Dr. Lagos and the program advisor Katherine Kroeger. For a large portion of the program we will be staying in dorms at the Deree College, but for some of the program we will also be staying in hotels. The costs of the hotels and travel have been included into the line item Spending Cash, which is an amount that is recommended by the program. The program also estimates that the average daily cost of food, which is not included in the Program Fee is approximately $34/day and I have calculated an approximation of what that will cost for the entire program. I have also priced and cross-referenced round-trip airfare from Seattle to Greece, and the cost is approximately $1,700 if the ticket were to be purchased now. However, given the volatility of the market I have added $300 to that line item so that I can be prepared for an increase in price at the time of purchase.

I am confident that this trip will not only make a dramatic impact in my life but also an impact in the lives of all the people that I interact with in the future. And your help will make it possible for me to take part in the Greece and Athens Global Apartheid program.

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

Other Important Pages Related to this Project:

My Study Abroad Pages:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/help-me-pay-for-diaspora-and-apartheid-research-in-athens-this-summer/

Discussion of the Issues with Diaspora and Apartheid:

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

Other sources that I have applied to for funding of this Study Abroad Research:

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship:

http://gilmanprogram.wordpress.com/

The University of Washington History Department Scholarships:

http://depts.washington.edu/history/undergraduate-studies/fellowships-scholarships-and-prizes-undergraduate-history-majors

Diaspora and Apartheid: Study Abroad Research

“If we can prevent something bad from happening, without thereby sacrificing something of comparable moral importance, then we ought, morally to do it.”

-Peter Singer[1]

(http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/tag/apartheid/)
(http://todayinlaborhistory.wordpress.com/tag/apartheid/)

 

This summer I will be participating in the JSIS/Hellenic Studies program hosted by the University of Washington in partnership with Harvard University in Greece, which is a research project that will analyze how apartheid and diaspora have and continue to impact the people in the Baltic region.

Apartheid:

Any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.

Diaspora:

Any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland, especially involuntarily, as Africans during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

People may choose to migrate of their own accord for many reasons, such as, migrating for survival or to improve their life chances, and in other situations people may be forced to migrate by an individual, group, institution or regime that has more coercive power than their victims. Regardless of our feelings about the morality of legal and illegal migration, and whether migrants should be allowed access into other states, the fact remains that our planet is stratified in a hierarchical system of inequalities wherein certain citizens of different countries (and even between citizens within a given country, such as those with caste systems) have different levels of access to opportunities and life-chances. And if it is the case that we have the “right” to seek the improvement of our lives, then their choice to migrate is justified by that right. How much more so is there a need to uphold this right when people mass-migrate to avoid a national catastrophe, such as famine or genocide because without such a right, then these people would be doomed to tragic deaths? In regard to the latter situation of forced migration of many people, which is most often associated with diaspora, violates the “right to improve one’s life” because the imposed migration supersedes the individual’s choice not to migrate and to improve their lives in the way they see fit.

However, in either case, one of individual choice (whether legal or not), or one of forced migration, the citizens and/or the governments of the host nations may or not welcome the migrants. In such cases where migrants are not welcomed, the potential for forced segregation, or apartheid, becomes much more likely and with the prevalence of language barriers it is even more difficult for the migrants to seek protection and reparation for the harms done to them. Harm in this context is being defined as making something or someone worse off than before the act was carried out. Recently, the New York Times published an article titled, “Africans, Battered and Broke, Surge to Europe’s Door,” about the migration of Africans into Spain, many of who were fired upon by the border control while attempting cross the border, the remainder were living in shelters for immigrants or in immigration centers waiting to learn of their fates.[2] This report reveals two phenomena; first, that there is a difference between countries and some are more desirable than others to live in; second, that states attempt to control who migrates and when with borders are protected by military forces against foreigners; third, that if and when people do make it across the borders of protected countries that they are segregated and mal-treated; and fourth, that this is still a prevalent and troubling issue for many people.

The issues that migration, especially, when it involves diaspora and apartheid, reveal violations of human rights, listed in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). Within the UNDHR, are such rights as the “right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” (Article 13), the “right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution” (Article 14), the “right to life, liberty and security of person” (Article 3), and the “right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Article 25).[3] The importance of the legal status of a migrant is undermined by the violations of their rights, which assume precedence. We have a moral obligation “not to harm” others, and I am sure that you will agree with me that being forced to leave your home by one power and then being forcefully segregated by another power in terms of nationality, country of origin, religion or race is a worse harm than their being in the county of another illegally.

Even if it can be shown that illegal immigration is somehow a harm to the citizens of the host-nation, say by appealing to an over-taxation of a nation’s resources, or even a violation of a citizen’s right to the “freedom of association,” two wrongs do not make a right, and that would not justify the harmful treatment that migrants are receiving. Responding to the former claim, Charles Beitz, in the article, Justice and International Relations, argues that the possession of resources is “morally arbitrarily,” and as such no one individual has a moral claim to any particular resource that is morally justifiable.[4] This only becomes important because of the concepts of scarcity and resource distribution, wherein there is a limited amount of resources and those resources are spread around the planet in an unequal distribution between the nations. What this means for people is that in the dependent on the places that they live, they have different levels of access to resources and thus, access to different resources that are positively correlated with life-chances. Responding to the second claim, Joseph Carens in, Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, suggests that:

Citizenship in Western liberal democracies is the modern equivalent of feudal privilege – an inherited status that greatly enhances one’s life chances. Like feudal birthright privileges, restrictive citizenship is hard to justify when one thinks about it closely.[5]

In other words, this “right to freedom of association” is used as a means to sustain the hierarchical status quo of inequalities based on the morally arbitrary possession of resources. Both objections fail to establish the fact that illegal immigrants cause more harm and also fail a justification to project harm onto migrants, regardless of their legal status.

The concept that more harm is being done to migrants than to the citizens becomes exceedingly more apparent when we realize what Carens says about the average migrant, that they are seeking “an ordinary life,”[6] which includes working for a living, paying taxes, caring for their families, living in homes and peacefully interacting with their neighbors. In other words, being functional and contributing members to society and becoming part of the communities in which they live. Furthermore, when these migrants are discovered, if they have been able to achieve a measure of social stability like Carens suggests, they are then ripped from the homes they have made and extradited to their countries of origin, which is arguably more disruptive and harmful than granting them citizenship. There may be moral grounds to limit the migration of people, but once they have migrated, the obligation to treat migrants with dignity and integrity takes precedence to any previous claim to the right of freedom of association.

The situation that migrants face is plagued with injustice from beginning to end, from their reasons to migrate to their treatment after they migrate. However, in order to make the types of changes in policy and social behavior that will actually make a difference in regard to diaspora and apartheid we have to have accurate data about what the issues and concerns are from all the parties concerned. This is necessary if we are to make any arguments about the harms being done and further, to suggest plans of action to mitigate those harms. That is why we are traveling to Athens, we are on a social fact finding mission to ascertain the truth about the situation and are going to make recommendations based on the evidence we gather about how to address the problems our nations face. The results of the research will be evaluated and summarized in research papers and there will be a formal presentation of that material prior to leaving Greece before the parties that can make a difference in these people’s lives.

 

To Help Me Make This Research Possible, Please Contribute to the Fund to Get Me to Athens @ http://www.gofundme.com/7wx9m0

 

 

https://renaissancethepoet.wordpress.com/education-is-key/study-abroad-in-athens-2014/

 

[1] Singer, Peter. Famine, Affluence ,and Morality, p. 231

[2] New York Times, Africans, Battered and Broke, Surge to Europe’s Door, February 28, 2014.

[3] United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.ohchr.org/en/udhr/pages/introduction.aspx

[4] Beitz, Charles. Justice and International Relations, p. 367-370.

[5] Carens, Joseph. Aliens and Citizens: The Case for Open Borders, p. 252

[6] Carens, Joseph. The Case for Amnesty (Boston Review, May/June 2009)