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Settler + Education + Work = Human Right

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Something from the past by Katerina Charisi

I’m getting old. I’m getting old and I feel my doors shut one by one. Yesterday I met with my childhood’s best friend, thirty years after, and I gave her my hand to shake. All I was willing to give her was a handshake! Do you get it?

mortal01_400We used to wear each other’s clothes, spent weekends together, chatting and dreaming until someone would ask us to be quiet. We shared the same lukewarm beer when we went to the beach in summer nights to meet with the boys. We even shared the same boyfriend once! I had asked her to kiss my boyfriend and tell me if he was a good kisser. All true.

And now, I gave her my hand to shake. Like she was just another neighbour I accidentally met downtown. I didn’t ask her to have a coffee with me and catch up. She didn’t ask my number when she walked away. The moment just passed and lost forever, like any of those old times ever happened. Like the life we shared was another life, not ours.

Why did I have to see her again? Why do I remember all these things now?

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Kuan Yin: Goddess of Compassion and Harmony by Rene Wadlow

Wise in using skillful means, in every corner of the world, she manifests her countless forms

kin01_40019 February, in countries influenced by Chinese culture, is a day devoted to honoring Kuan Yin, goddess of compassion “ she who hears the cries of the world and restores harmony.”  She is a goddess for the Taoists and a bodhisattva for the Buddhists but she represents the same values of compassion for both faiths.  There has been mutual borrowing of symbols and myths between the two groups, as well as an identification with Mary in countries with a Roman Catholic minority such as Vietnam and with Tara among the Tibetans. 

From the Taoist tradition, she is associated with running water and lotus pools. Many of her virtues come from Buddhist teachings:

Wrathful, banish thought of self
Sad, let fall the causes of woe,
Lustful, shed lust’s mental object,
Win all, by simply letting go.”

As in this Chinese verse reflecting her advice, many Buddhist values are phrased negatively: abobha (non-greed), adosa (non-hatred), amoka (non-delusion), less frequently in positive values metta (loving kindness), karuma (compassion), mudita

( happiness in the good fortune of others.)

Yet Kuan Yin is associated with active compassion as a driving force of action, where all, including the least of living things are treated with fairness and consideration and where the broader currents of life move toward harmony and equilibrium.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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Alone in the darkness of over 50s by Katerina Charisi

Helen and Andrea are sisters; both in their fifties. A small quiet local café in their neighbourhood is where they meet for coffee every single Sunday morning to share their news. Helen has moved in her mother’s 27 square meters flat, almost 4 years ago. By moving in it means that she put a sofa that turns to a single bed next to her mother’s couch that she also uses as a bed for the last 35 years and the small coffee table. Helen got married right after school the man who gave her a greasy piece of pizza every Saturday evening while passing by with her girlfriends on their way to the movies. Next, marriage and immediately work at his pizza place.

kat01_400_05“I never thought of myself as an employee”, she says. “It was our own business, our family business, my business too. I never got paid, I was not insures and I never took a single day off, we all lived from this small pizzeria. And no, I never thought about any other future. Now couples sign all these pre-marriage contracts, or at least that’s what they show on TV, but who actually thinks of “future securing” when they are in love and about to get married? Well, not me anyway, I never did.”

Helen’s husband asked for a divorce almost 4 years ago. He met a younger woman who …maybe came for a greasy slice of pizza on Saturday evenings like she did and he decided that he wanted another chance in love before it was too late. Since her husband owns the pizzeria and the small apartment above, Helen all of the sudden found herself in her 48 years, divorced, unemployed and actually homeless. Now she is 52 and she’s back with her mother, unable to find a job or settler.

“It’s unfair. Just so unfair. Why? I never stopped working for almost 35 years. I never saw my children growing up. Others did, not me. I was always working. And now …just look at me. What am I supposed to do? Who is going to hire a 52 year old woman soaked in grease, with pink burn-marks all over her hands? They didn’t give me a job when I was 48, why would they hire me in my 52?”

Her sister shakes her head and lowers her eyes. She feels ashamed and it is obvious, even though she wants she cannot help her sister.

Read the whole article in Ovi Magazine, HERE!

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