Little Miss Sunshine

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About Little Miss Sunshine

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    Hedge Knight

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  1. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic A punch in the gut - European Migration Forum   

    It seems to me we are entering the realms of Nozick-like philosophy with questions adressing inequities
  2. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic A punch in the gut - European Migration Forum   

    For those who are interested I will share again the webstream link to the Forum, because there is another public discussion panel happening right now!
  3. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic A punch in the gut - European Migration Forum   

  4. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic A punch in the gut - European Migration Forum   

  5. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic A punch in the gut - European Migration Forum   

    First of all, my first and foremost point was to share something I've witnessed today and that I thought it was worth sharing and thinking about. No matter our views on what should or should not be done, I will say again that a little discomfort can go a long way - I felt that while sitting on that room, listening to those stories. I felt it was good for people (like me, I will admit it) who go every day to a cozy office, dressed up in a fancy and smart way and who are responsible for policy improvements and changes, to actually put a face and a true account on all those facts and figures burocracy seems to drown us in. The whole purpose of that introductory session - which, as the name promptly indicates, was an introduction to policy-making workshops in the afternoon aimed at finding better ways to tackled these issues - was to remind policy- and decision-makers of the human dimension of migration challenges. That was also my intent when sharing this with you all.

    Second, there is a huge difference between refugees and economic migrants or even social tourists. They stressed that several times during the conference, although I may have overlooked it on my OP. Refugees flee their home countries due to conflicts (political, religious, etc.) - most of the times, as one of the speakers said, it's leaving or get killed. There is no other option for them. They literally leave in order to survive. One shouldn't look at their degrees or lack thereof in order to grant them asylum - I would like to think someone woun't do that to me should I ever find myself in that situation. The problem is that all three cathegories get mixed up, often on purpose, for the sake of a politicized xenophobic discourse, as theguyfromtheVale pointed out. They are not the same thing at all, and for each situation there should be a different set of measures and different approach. Most important than that, there is the need for better information - for migrants and society alike. The ex-refugees pointed out that many of them don't even want to apply for asylum protection because of the stigma that society will inflict upon them - most people won't distinguish between a refugee and a social tourist, or won't even know how to do so.

    As a middle class woman, it doesn't bother me that refugees get 500 euros, or whatever amount they get. IMO their situation completely justifies it. It's a different matter when we are talking about social tourism. Again, different measures for different issues.

    And as Suttree rightfully said, there is a huge difference between a more sensible approach to migration and an extrapolation of what it means to facilitate asylum provisions.

    I wanna thank you all for your comment so far keep them coming!
  6. Little Miss Sunshine added a topic in General Chatter   

    A punch in the gut - European Migration Forum
    I decided to write this post (and inadvertently starting a thread) thanks to dear Fragile Bird, who asked me to do so after reading a short status on my Facebook wall. She said stories like this need to be heard, and I couldn't agree more. Thankfully, these stories aren't mine - I am just a messenger here. But I feel they must be shared.

    I am currently doing a traineeship in one of the EU institutions and, as duty would have it, this morning I attended the first meeting of the European Migration Forum. This ongoing two-day event has as its main goal the discussion of effective measures, from the civil society's standpoint, to ensure the protection of migrants and refugees and to provide them dignifying living conditions in the host countries, while at the same fighting migration issues such as smuggling and trafficking. Today's introductory session had a full auditorium and quite a bunch of notable, expert guest speakers.

    The experts were, as usual in this kind of events, articulate, to the point and accurate in their facts and figures regarding migration-related challenges and issues. The usual commonplaces were said - how the new European Commission places migration extremely high in its agenda, how the numbers of migrants and refugees undertaking perilous journeys through the Mediterranean Sea are staggering, how there should be more cooperation between EU institutions, Member States and non-governmental actors to find ways to tackle these issues, etc etc etc.

    And then, three guest speakers took the floor and had the auditorium in the palm of their hands. They were the true experts in the "worst" possible way. They had no figures, no stats, no institutional discourse - they were the true experts because two were refugees who undertook that journey themselves, and the other one was a seafarer who had participated in several rescue missions in the Mediterranean.

    You could hear a pin drop while they were speaking.

    The boy, a refugee from Nigeria now living in Italy, had left his country due to the religious conflicts in the area. He told us he had seen his father being shot in front of him before he fled for his life. He described, to the best of his ability, what no one else on sitting in front of him could even imagine - the terrifying journey of crossing the Mediterranean sea on a wooden with 50 other people, with no expertise whatsoever on how to operate a boat (the person doing so had been told 3h before the basics on the spot and was wished good luck, that is all folks). He mentioned the people who would commit suicide right there, right then, by throwing themselves into the sea because they didn't believe there was any hope for them - and full grown adults crying like babies at the sight of this, for the same fear lived in all of them. He told us how they got picked up in Lampedusa and how they were dumped into an abandoned military facility, slept on the floor and were treated like cattle by the competent authorities. He told us no one even asked them if they were okay, they were a number. They gave them the 500 euros foreseen in the law for refugees and told them to be on their way. He asked us all to, when making our decisions, not ignore the human dimension and dignity of this all. "We are all humans", he said. "We don't come here because we just feel like it, we come here because we want to live. It is not easy to leave your country, your home behind but for us it might be our only chance to survive. We just want a dignified life".

    The chairman of the Forum thanked him for his testimony and commented how hard it is to go through these hardships. At that point, I had tears running down my face and all I could think of was "You don't know how hard it is. None of us knows because we weren't there". That is the simple truth. The people in that auditorium work care and gather to try and push for better solutions to these problems, but the fact is that none of us knows how horrifying and hard those journeys are.

    Then it was the girl's turn. Now a spokesperson for an NGO focusing on young migrants, she shortly told us about her journey as an unaccompanied minor refugee from Eritrea who ended up in Sweden through a smuggling net. "People pay all they have to smugglers to take their kids to a safer place. But suddenly everything they own is not enough. What do you do then? You have to find a way if you want to give your kid a way out of there", she explained. She recounted boats full to the brim with refugees - pregnant ladies, elderly people, little children - and all the abuses, raping and misery they went through on their journey. "When approaching Europe, the "captain" said he would just go for a smoke and would be right back. Turns out he had another boat, with his colleagues on board, nearby waiting for him. So he hopped on their boat and said "that's it, goodbye guys. Just go straight to your left and you'll be there!" - leaving 300 people who wouldn't know how to handle a boat to their fate. She also said she was getting tired of speaking in conferences, "because we talk and talk and talk, and I share these stories, and I don't see any significant changes in the way the powers that be are handling this".

    Last but not the least, the seafarer told us about his missions on the Mediterranean Sea. He showed us a video, filmed on the spot during one of those missions - and by then half of the room was either crying or looking extremely uncomfortable. The video showed a boat full to the brink with refugees, mothers holding out her children to the rescuers so they could be saved first, the rescuers' attempt to maintain order by asking everyone to respect the "one person at a time" procedure - only to have people trying get out of that damned nutshell of a boat all at once. People would fall into the sea in the process, which is way more dangerous in terms of rescue. That was nonetheless a successful mission, he said, because they managed to save everyone - including the ones who fell into the sea. And he proceeded to tell us about the night where his ship ran into a rusty boat that had capsized in the middle of the Mediterranean with 500 people on it. The searchlights looked for any signs of life - and out of 500, only two people were (barely) alive.

    I won't be lying if I tell you that this was probably one the most eye-opening moments in my entire life. A true punch in the gut, if you will. Hours later, I am still thinking about the looks of discomfort around that auditorium. I told Fragile Bird a little discomfort can go a long way - and I sincerely think it was beneficial for the decision-makers in that room to feel uncomfortable. It's not about numbers and stats only. It's first and foremost about people, about human dignity, about humanity. If they didn't know that before, I hope they will now. I hope they didn't forget about that discomfort during the lunch reception, at the very sight of profiteroles and quiches. I hope it sticks with them and that they remember it every time money or ulterior motives try to speak louder.

    I know it will stick with me.

    PS - For those interested, the event can be followed via webstreaming.

    • 89 replies
  7. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic Charlie Hebdo under terrorist attack   

  8. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic Charlie Hebdo under terrorist attack   

    No words for this. No words at all. The fucking world is upside-down...
  9. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic I hate Laundromats   

  10. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic I hate Laundromats   

  11. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic I hate Laundromats   

    I forgot to mention that some of my clothes have shrunk despite using the appropriate program for each of the said pieces. It's as if nothing goes right every time I go there
  12. Little Miss Sunshine added a topic in General Chatter   

    I hate Laundromats
    I am truly sorry but I really need to rant.

    Apparently some people can't do their laundry without shouting at their husband/wife. Or letting their kid play with the token machine (pushing the buttons and jamming the bill slot with a voucher paper) even though it was fixed literally 10mins ago by the maintenance guys. And instead of taking the kid away from the machine, just shouting some more.

    And also those people who interfere with the way you choose to do your laundry, as if you also didn't have to wait for other people to be done.

    I live in the "de facto" student city of this country and it's very rare for flats to have washing machines installed (or even the space for it, in fact) even if you aren't a student. Saturday afternoons at the nearest laundromat make me yearn for the day we can have our own washing machine...

    Thank you for your attention
    • 28 replies
  13. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic Your best vacation?   

    I absolutely love going to London. Then again, after this year's trip (partly because of WorldCon), I felt like I needed a holiday from the holiday, as - between the Con and visiting friends left and right - it was absolutely exhausting

    So far, my best holiday experience was an extended weekend with my best friend in Paris 3 years ago. If there is a city I have visited more times than London, it is Paris, but that time I had an absolute blast - few things can beat holidays with my best friend. Out trip to Amsterdam the following year was also quite nice, but nowhere near Paris
  14. Little Miss Sunshine added a post in a topic Things you've seen on an airplane