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Where Do We Go Now – Director Nadine Labaki

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by Charlie Brewer

Where Do We Go Now is the story of a small Lebanese village threatened by Christian-Muslim conflicts. The village is unnamed. The time is unspecified. It could be anywhere, anytime The men in the isolated village get along well with one another, until they get wind of the international conflicts between their faiths. Once they do, they are immediately split by religion despite the protests from their respective religious leaders. Their wives are tired and scared of the effects of their rage on their village, and do their damnedest to ensure the harmony and, in turn, their safety from one another. Director, co-writer, and star Nadine Labaki crafts a beautiful homage to the strength and cunning of the often underestimated and under appreciated Middle Eastern woman. All at once, she displays to her audience the crippling effects of reality, the joyful camaraderie of a musical, and the ups and downs of a forbidden romance. All of these ideas are connected by one single conflict, showcasing just how imperative it is to comprehend the effects of religious prejudice. Where Do We Go Now blurs the line between fictional characters and reality, inspiring its audience to take the lessons it teaches and apply them to their lives.

This film serves to inspire young women around the world because it was created by, for, and about women. It showcases the female gender in an entirely different light: yes, the women of the village are the traditional mothers and wives, but insists that those same women are intelligent, complex, raw characters that are often taken for granted. When this movie began with a group of women crying over their late husbands and sons, I reluctantly settled in for another male-dominated war movie about Courage in the Face of Adversity. Then the women began a

slow, heavy dance in time with one another. All at once, it was about the wives’ grief, the story less told but no less painful. It is clear from the first scene that this is no story we’ve been told before, zeroing in on the fact that the same women crying for the men they lost are completely their own beings, independent and strong and even manipulative in their own right. The husbands become the simplistic one-track minded characters, and the audience receives a much-needed insight into the minds of the loving wife and mother. The women effortlessly put aside their differences in religion in favor of the well-being of the village, manipulating their husbands like puppet masters. They are clever, cunning, loving, emotional, strong, weak, hateful, broken, and whole, all in one. For once, we are shown a complex, well-written hero in the form of the dowdy middle-aged mother. This film proves that anyone can be a hero, and that everyone – especially your mother – is one.

Every time I watch this film, I notice something new. I laugh. I cry. I call my mother. I learn. The making of this movie was not about gains, about fame, about money; instead of it was about sending a message that everyone can understand. This movie is art, because it disturbs the comfortable and comforts the disturbed. Both sides are affected, both sides respond, and both sides blame the other for negative reactions. It is here that developing the wives, characters becomes even more imperative, because they are in the middle of the issue. As an American, it is fascinating to examine the conflict that our nation barely makes an effort to understand through the lense of a character we can all connect to. This film, with its story and its characters and its creators, inspires me to be the director, the creator, the artist I want to be.

Image Source: http://www.openlettersmonthly.com/hammerandthump/interview-nadine-labaki-director-co-writer-and-star-of-where-do-we-go-now/

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One Sky: A collaborative project with almost 90 female* artists and one instruction: look up.

Women Who Draw is an open directory of female* professional illustrators, artists and cartoonists. It was created by two women artists in an effort to increase the visibility of female illustrators, emphasizing female illustrators of color, LBTQ+, and other minority groups of female illustrators.

One of their most recent project is called “One Sky”: a collaborative project with almost 90 artists and one instruction: look up.

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On August 13, 2017, at precisely 12:00 pm Eastern Standard Time, 88 artists all over the world stopped what they were doing, looked up, and drew the sky. What each artist saw was unique to the time, the weather, and the place. The locations ranged from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn, Buenos Aires to rural Georgia. Some saw different hues of blue. Some saw black, pink, or gray. Some saw stars or clouds or fog or rain. Here it was summer. There it was night. In one place a fire left a heavy brown haze. Whatever sky the artist saw, they captured it on paper in their own unique style. They were, at that exact moment, separate skies. But when we view these drawings together, they become one far-stretching, simultaneous world view. They become a portrait of one shared sky.

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This is the beautiful result: https://www.topic.com/one-sky

*Women Who Draw is trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators.

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Women are making the best rock music today

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Snail Mail – Photo: Emma Swann

The New York Times newspaper published an amazing story yesterday about 25 new bands that prove women are making the best rock music today.Here’s what they wrote: “Where, exactly, have the guitars gone? Sure, there’s never been a shortage of traditional rock bands – say, a mostly male, mostly white four-piece. But in the face of increasingly diverse music tactics, their cultural impact is beginning to wane. Many indie-rock groups have started to feel rote or even parodic, as if they’ve run out of ideas or exhausted the passion to develop new ones.

But a new generation of female and non-binary performers – punk in style or spirit, coming from theall-ages warehouse and D.I.Y.-venue ecosystem – is taking their place. These singers and musicians, working just below the mainstream, are  making music about tactile emotion, rousing politics and far more.

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Laetitia Tamko aka Vagabon – Photo: Jared Allen

To take stock of this vibrant moment, and to spotlight these artists’ work, we spoke with them about why they make the music they do, and what obstacles the industry, and society large, have thrown in their paths.”

Check out the story on the link below:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/05/arts/music/25-women-making-best-rock-music-today.html

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Meet Tammie Umbel, who built a $1.7 million beauty business while home-schooling her 14 children.

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Tammie Umbel built a $1.7 million beauty business while home-schooling her 14 children.

“The purpose of Shea Terra was never intended to be so that I could go out and work,” the 44-year-old mom and businesswoman said. “Whatever I could do while being in the kids’ presence and in their service when they need me emotionally and physically, then I would do it. But I never said I wasn’t going to make money.”

Umbel travels the world finding raw materials for her Dulles, Va.,-based business that primarily caters to women. Ten employees manufacture products with names like Argan Oil, Shea Butter and African Black Soap.

The two-decade-old company grossed $1.7 million in revenue last year, Umbel said. She turned a profit of about $350,000 in 2016 — and is rightly proud of it.

Tammie Umbel’s company makes soaps, lotions, scrubs and other skin and face creams. (Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post)

The company gets about $100,000 a month in revenue online and most of the rest from Vitamin Shoppe, the 700-store chain that carries her lotions and creams.

“I absolutely love what I do,” Umbel said. “I have done everything myself, from A to Z.”

The children — ages 4 to 26 — go everywhere with her. Not all of them at the same time, of course. Her oldest child graduated from the University of Virginia and is in her last year at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Three others are in college studying engineering, cybersecurity and medicine.

Some might accompany her on sourcing “vacations” to Africa, something of a logistical nightmare. Sometimes they just pile into her recreational vehicle (sleeps 10), and off they go to an industry show in Florida.

“It’s not easy,” she said, with notable understatement. “We have to keep our passports up to date, which is a nightmare. Airports are tough. Lots of times, people in airports are jerks.”

Most of Umbel’s ingredients are things I have never heard of, like the argan oil from Morocco.

“In 2003, a Moroccan worker of mine brought a bottle of argan oil to me that his mother had made. I knew immediately I held the oil of the future, although I detested that it sounded like the name of a gas.”

She buys marula oil in Namibia, injecting some much-needed cash into a former mining community. And Egypt is her source of something called Black Seed Oil.

“I built Shea Terra the old-fashioned way,” said Umbel, who lives on a Loudoun County farm with her physician husband. “Hard work is how. Dedication. I took the money I made and reinvested in the business. No debt. No loans. No investors.”

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As the company has grown, Umbel has trained her staff so she can run the company remotely from her Leesburg farm, a half-hour from the factory that she rents for $5,300 a month.

If she must go to the factory, sometimes the children come, too.

“I would line them up at tables in the shipping area and give them (school) lessons while running back and forth to orders,” she said. “I would teach them alongside me as I ran the company. Was it difficult? Very. But I was determined to succeed.”

The self-taught businesswoman has had to learn marketing on the fly. Most of it came from roaming the aisles at Vitamin Shoppe. She noticed that retail sales demanded symmetry and continuity. Same color. All in a line.

“Retailers want shelf presence,” Umbel said. “They want to see five products together, lined up. They want to be able to put a whole regimen on their shelves. They don’t want to see just one piece. If you took 10 different fragrances and 10 different products, you basically have chaos.”

Umbel grew up in Prince George’s County and spent much of her teen years living by her wits. She was born with a curiosity about foreign cultures, including Asian and Indian.

“I was fascinated by different cultures,” she said. “My best friend was from Korea, and I loved to go to their house and eat their food. I was a strange child.”

She would camp out in front of a black-and-white television and watch public-service ads about hungry children.

“I was fascinated by that, and I wanted one day to create jobs for these people,” she said. “I was very conscious of human suffering.”

Umbel, a practicing Muslim, met her husband, Syed Ishaq, at a mosque when she was 16. He was 12 years older and had just arrived from Pakistan, where he had attended medical school. Ishaq is now a kidney specialist — a nephrologist — with Inova Fairfax and Access Medicine.

“He was very handsome and well-mannered,” she said.

She married him when she was 16 and gave birth to their first child two years later.

While her husband studied for his medical exams, Umbel in 1990 created a clothing company that was modestly profitable and specialized in ethnic garb from South Asia and the Middle East. She closed it down after she became pregnant with their fourth child.

She smelled — literally — another opportunity in the various international people who frequented the Islamic Center near Washington’s Embassy Row.

“These women who hung around the mosque had natural beauty and skin they would take care of with these different natural ingredients,” she said. Some would cover their body with a blanket and “smoke” their skin with woods from Africa.

“I saw all these different natural regimens and said all these things could make a really good business if I introduced them to the American population,” Umbel said. “I could bring some very needed income into the [African] villages.”

She started Shea Terra in 2000 in the basement of her Arlington home. At first, she cooked up some shea butter. Then some cream. She taught herself how to make soap.

The big break came in late 2001, when she returned from a lengthy trip to find $1,000 in shea butter orders from online sales. Soon, she was selling $30,000 a month, reinvesting most of the income in the company.

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Umbel eventually moved to her current facility near Dulles International Airport, where she makes and stores her products. Most of her raw materials are flown in through Dulles and trucked to her factory.

The biggest margins are in her facial-care line.

The nice thing about the beauty and skin-care business is that it tends to be less affected by recessions than others. “People are really vain and willing to pay a lot of money for their face,” she said.

 

Shea Terra got a boost when actress Sarah Jessica Parker posted on social media applauding its face wash. “She said that her face had not been that soft since she was a baby,” Umbel said. “She was thanking her celebrity aesthetician.”

It’s not all glamorous, though. Believe it or not, the beauty business has a dangerous side.

“The border control people are scary people,” Umbel said, referring to her travels abroad. “Overseas, they tend to give people in general a hard time. You don’t know if you are ever going to see daylight again.”

But on the other hand, her children go places that most others may never see.

“Not a lot of kids can say, ‘I was in Namibia and on a safari at Etosha Park,’ ” Umbel said.

Source: The Washington Post

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Women on Writing – Enthusiastic and Sad Life Lessons that We Should Read

by Vanessa Daniela

This summer, I have read fascinating books that expanded my knowledge about society,  cultures and human rights. I can not deny how shocked, sick, or enthusiastic I was after some chapters on these books.

For some of them, you will need to have a thick skin to read thru pages of torture and suffering, but all of them are life lessons. Before I talk about them, I want to congratulate the female authors and those who fight for human rights. Also, my deepest condolences to those who lost their daughters and family members.


Until We Are Free – My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Sherin Ebadiimages

Shirin Ebadi is a human rights lawyer, former judge and has been defending families against the regime in Iran. She is the first Muslim woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

One of her most remarkable battles was to change the child custody laws in Iran after Arian Golshani, 9-year-old was beaten to death by her father and stepmother. The Iranian law favors the men over women, so Golshani was not allowed to stay with her mother after her parents’ divorce.

Following Ebadi’s  journey thru this book, it gave me a unique perspective and an amazing knowledge about Iran.

The regime has been violating the human rights by torturing people to extract information about anything useful to the government. It is an inspiring and sad book, but totally worth reading.

Click here to read more about Shirin Ebadi


I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick

Malala is one of the bravest girls that I have heard of. She stood up for education even 51dVLcrS0gL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_when she faced Taliban death threats and after the attack that caused her eternal marks. Despite the brutal attempt, she raised stronger after it.

“We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.”
Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Malala is the youngest Nobel Prize Winner.

I applaud her parents for supporting her studies and dreams. According to Taliban, Pakistan culture, and religion, girls should not be educated, but be married at an early age and dedicated to their husbands and house work.

Click here to read more about Malala Yousafzai


O Diario de uma Escrava by Ro Mierling – The Slave’s Diary capa-diario-de-uma-escrava

This book is based on real stories of girls that were sexually abused by a psychopath that kidnaps girls and uses them as his object. I read for study purpose, but I wanted to throw up after every chapter. I couldn’t believe how some people can be so heartless.

According to statistics, in Brazil, every year, 40,000 minors disappear, and a third of them are used for sexual purpose. Usually, they leave without leaving a trace.

DO NOT READ, if you went thru any kind of sexual abuse. However, It is an excellent book for parents and teenagers as a watch out. Breaking parents’ rules and curfews, and talking to strangers on the internet can be a lapse with permanent marks.

…”please watch over them and guard them again mistakes of youth that are unalterable.” Powerful Prayers of Protection

Click here to learn more about Rô Mierling


The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna 51I6aeJYqlL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Elle Luna is an artist, designer, and writer who challenge us to think outside of the box and push ourselves to reflect on the conflict between our passions and our money maker job.

Reflective words, messages combined with an inspiring touch of art bloomed my creativity and put me ready to work on my craft.

“Should is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations that others layer upon us.”

 

 

Click here to read more about Elle Luna

Image Source

Amazon

Dark Side Books

Editora Sextante

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gender Equality – Why It Matters

GenderWhile the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.

Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.

  • About  two-thirds of countries in the developing regions have achieved gender parity in primary education
  • In Southern Asia, only 74 girls were enrolled in primary school for every 100 boys in 1990. By 2012, the enrolment ratios were the same for girls as for boys.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.
  • Women in Northern Africa hold less than one in five paid jobs in the non-agricultural sector. The proportion of women in paid employment outside the agriculture sector has increased from 35 per cent in 1990 to 41 per cent in 2015
  • In 46 countries, women now hold more than 30 per cent of seats in national parliament in at least one chamber.

Regardless of where you live in, gender equality is a fundamental human right. Advancing gender equality is critical to all areas of a healthy society, from reducing poverty to promoting the health, education, protection and the well-being of girls and boys. Investing in education programs for girls and increasing the age at which they marry can return $5 for every dollar spent. Investing in programs improving income-generating activities for women can return 7 dollars for every dollar spent.

What can we do to fix these issues? If you are a girl, you can stay in school, help empower your female classmates to do the same and fight for your right to access sexual and reproductive health services. If you are a woman, you can address unconscious biases and implicit associations that can form an unintended and often an invisible barrier to equal opportunity. If you are a man or a boy, you can work alongside women and girls to achieve gender equality and embrace healthy, respectful relationships. You can fund education campaigns to curb cultural practices like female genital mutilation and change harmful laws that limit the rights of women and girls and prevent them from achieving their full potential. To find out more about Goal #5 and other Sustainable Development Goals, visit: http://www.un.org/ sustainabledevelopment 

Source: United Nations

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Domestic Violence – SEEK HELP!

untitledDomestic violence can include and is not limited to:

  • *Physical violence:  Hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery
  • *Emotional abuse: Name calling and threats
  • *Financial abuse: Preventing access to bank accounts, credit cards or other financial resources
  • *Sexual abuse: Any forced sexual activity
  • *Spiritual abuse: Keeping someone from going to a place of worship or using scriptures to justify abuse.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/yd5uocrx

SEEK HELP!

In the US: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE).

In Canada: Visit ShelterSafe to find the helpline of a women’s shelter near you.

In the UK: Call Women’s Aid UK at 0808 2000 247.

Worldwide: Visit International Directory of Domestic Violence Agencies for a global list of helplines and crisis centers.

 

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II Poetry Contest: The Fictitious Crush

by Rahmat Idiaro D.

A cool, serene and well fragranced arena appealing to her poor innocent soul
It breezes of coolness and flourishment melts the stony heart
She looked up to the smiling moon and she smiled back
Behold was the charming appariton of a cool gentleman of mensch with a smiley and handsome personality
He walked slowly and directly to the green planty arena with a natural spray and several snap of shots after a beauteous butterfly chase.
A thousand thoughts intruded her ornamented mind
“what a nature lover!” Her soul uttered
She looked up abruptly and found him dancing in sequence to a popular soul music
“what a romantic movement!” Her soul uttered
He retired to a wooden bench and dispersed several handfuls of grain to the doves who bubbly gobbled it
“what a kind and generous personality he revealed!” Her soul uttered
He carried the natural spray and towards her direction he comes
“He must have sighted me!” Her soul uttered happily
She closed her eyes and stood up impatiently with her hands ready to procure the spray
She opened her eyes only to percept the invisible movement
“Where could he have been?!” Her soul uttered deeply
She looked forward to the wooden bench and realized she was in an imaginary world.

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II Poetry Contest: Our hearts are wracked…

by Adrienne,

Our hearts are wracked
With sobs of pain
Our tears do overflow.

Our souls are numb
With disbelief
By turmoil plunged too low.

Is this the end
Of hopes, of dreams?
“Is this the end?” we cry.

Two choices lie
Ahead of us–
To either run or rise.

We will not run
“For that is fear”
Our inner being cries.

So we’ll be brave
And join our hands
For only then we’ll rise.

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II Poetry Contest: She Fought

by Anuj Abraham

She has suffered.
She has endured a lot.
She has seen the worst.
She has been a failure, a lost cause.
She suffered in silence.
She hoped.
She was caged.
She was humiliated.
She was tortured, mentally.
Disrobed of her peace but
She fought.
She survived.
She was cheated.
She was destroyed.
But she fought.
Wounds were not her weakness,
It became her strength.
Pain became her ally.
Scars reminded her of her grit & determination.
She didn’t just survive, she lived.
She is not just a fighter.
She is a warrior.
She is now fearless.
She is strong.
She is mighty.
She is you!

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II Poetry Contest: One day…She WOKE up…

by Annie

One day…She WOKE up. She REALIZED….that the environment in which her generation existed was fictitious. She embarked on a journey… She OBSERVED, EVALUATED, and learned to APPRECIATE LIFE! She got in touch with her spirit, and recognized this as her identity. She removed the value from her body and placed it on her heart. She trusted her mind and her soul. She made mistakes and some bad choices, but accepted these along with her flaws and gracefully moved on. She reclaimed her innocence; yet continued to grow as a woman. She bathed in knowledge. She believed in love
& paid no mind to opposing parties.
She DECIDED NOT TO SURVIVE…
She CHOSE TO LIVE!

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II Poetry Contest: Daughter listen to me

by @theframedsky

Daughter listen to me
you who may never be
for I fear for the future
the future we are trying to shape
slowly but with haste we are pushing
for you to never have to fear
never have to question your feelings
Daughter trust me I’ll keep pushing
to be a better person
so I wont be but an obstacle
for those striving to change the minds
the archaic few who keep us
from ever meeting
Daughter believe me the world
isn’t always going to be just
but maybe one day we can make it yours
I can see you now in the brightest spot of my being standing on your own two feet unquestioned for your abilities are the proof
strong as the woman I knew you could become

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II Poetry Contest: The Enigmatic Woman

by Self

You know,
The woman.
Of fancy curves,
Riding you to wild fantasies,
You know.

But do you know?
The enigmatic woman,
Who doesn’t hails matriarchy but only absolute equalism.
A diligent woman of dignity.

The enigmatic woman,
Who can march you to victory,
Came from a hidden legacy of warriors through history.

The enigmatic woman,
Who is ever unhindered through ages,
By periodical atrocities.

The enigmatic woman,
Who never learned to surrender,
To the chaos between pen and spice.

The enigmatic woman,
An impeccable benevolent woman,
A crack of dawn she is.

Sadly! You won’t find her on demand,
Because she ain’t gaudy.
A lifesome soul,
Of beauty and sanctity.

Found only then,
When not seen,
Through ‘His’ eyes.

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II Poetry Contest: Dress appropriately?

by treepokok

I dress according to the weather,
what’s the matter?
She hikes her skirt up
a little short,
what’s on that little mind of yours
nothing but dirty thoughts?
Control yourself
not her clothing.
Avert your eyes,
what are you thinking?
She is wrapped in cloth from head to toe,
oh now she’s mysterious,
and your head is still spinning.
You need perhaps
a little more respect
to chase away the lust
that’s eating up your head.

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II Poetry Contest: Father’s Bride

by infinite thought diaries

The bright sun was like a dark night,
Any ray of hope was out of his sight,
Doing wrong was a daily thing,
Missing his happiness the lonely king,
But thn she came with a new life,
His heart’s queen his forever wife,
Though just in dreams but yet so near,
And only dreams was the place when he had no fear,
Though now she had gone far away to come again,
Leaving him behind to face all the pain,
But he had to live for the princess she left behind,
To Teach her life lessons and strength of being kind,
She grew up as loving as the queen,
Had ferociousness of the young king,
She was the replica of the old queen,
Old King’s success was to be seen,
She fought hard for the father’s pride,
For his lost confidence and his kingdom in wide,
Where discussion of daughter being Superior gets people to divide,
The old king was proud of her daughter’s stride.

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II Poetry Contest: Whole

by Susan Llewelyn

For a long time I couldn’t go there
look at that gapping hole
instead I smoked it, drank it,
ate it whole and wore it out
trying everything but actually seeing
the Grand Canyon in my soul
Forged by the eternal mystery of time
a travelling caravan of well worn
loves and hurts, I turned away
so many times, until eventually life
won’t let anything be ignored, least of all
you
I wish someone had told me
all those years ago that to fill the void
I just had to look into the mirror
and say you’re pretty damn fine
a good person, over and over, repetition
reinvented the soundtrack of my life
until one day l had a new jam
on permanent rewind. Hole?
Well that’s just a construct
of an unreliable narrator
I am as I’ve always been
brilliant, priceless
whole

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II Poetry Contest: No one really cares if you smile or you cry

by…

No one really cares if you smile or you cry
Life goes on if you’re alive or you die
This is a world of real people living a lie
Too busy faking smiles I wish I knew why
And then came a day when I learnt to say ‘No’
I listened to my heart and not what they told
I fought back those demons all in a row
I felt like a queen. I felt young, free and bold
It felt a little awkward as all of this was new
Being ‘Me’ and not ‘Perfect’ was too good to be true
But somewhere deep down I guess I always knew
Nothing can ever be more beautiful than the ‘real you’

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Poetry Contest: The Unsilencing

by Katie Hogan

Part I
In the foggy torrent of Hurricane Floyd,
I am born with curiosity that tumbles behind blue eyes.
I terrify my parents with my own thunder.

Part II
I am too young to remember when
I first learn that I am better seen and not heard.

Part III
I am hollow and illicit,
Salt stains my cheeks.
I crack the backbone of Vogue covers and diet pills,
Suck the marrow of silent torture,
Learn the secrets of shrinking.
Barbie was an instruction manual before she was an invitation.
There is nothing colloquial about this kind of crumbling.

Part IV
I pray to skeletons before I close my eyes,
Skip the litany of alarm setting and teeth brushing,
Trade in the thrum of thick precocity and pleat my periphery into an improper fraction.
I am less than unity and I cannot be creased into even sections.
I sever the space between being heard and being seen,
Shove myself into the margin.

Part V
It was never about smallness,
It was about shrinking the guilt–
Sacrificing the space I never had a right to.
I learned I was better seen and not heard,
And then I hid behind my silence.

Part VI
I calculate the damage of my downfall,
And I do not care.
I cleave myself from emotion,
Cling to apathy,
And curl up behind my collarbone.
It easier here.

Part VII
I cannot decide if I want to die.
I would rather live in the empty of indecisiveness,
But they tell me that without fuel, expiration is inevitable.
Apparently you cannot evaporate the ocean without dehydrating the entire planet.
This all started because I could not stand to be seen and not heard.
I do not like being told what to do.
This life is my mess.
I dictate the destruction.

Part IX
I am the weapon and the antidote.
I learn the etymology of my inexorable deprivation,
Find antonyms for divestiture,
Translate pain into purpose.
I peel my voice from passivity,
And plaster it to the paper.
I shout so loudly my pen punches holes between my words.
I keep writing when the ink dries.

Part X
I am far more untamed than I remember,
Half silk and half smoke,
No longer the abused, nor the abuser.
I am the elegy of my smaller self.
I find myself in places I did not exist before.

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II Poetry Contest: The written Parchment is a pensive Message based on a (Woman life)

by Chirayuwriter

Pic 1. (past memories)
“caption ”
“Sadness wracked on her face
When a voice whisper on her ear’s
the memories revealed again to the time when there was no one behind, The passage Is based on her somber life, When she was born, how her family left her alone in the cage house of the orphanage, She deliberates her past without the love of family and surviving with the question why you have left me alone to fight against the world?.
The answer framed in a parchment voice lived by her own experience where she finds about the word “woman” is questioning word for the world,

Parchment lines:
Baby girl born & burned Girl Walk & Suck
Woman flies & wing’s cut.
Isn’t a reason why I’ve been waiting to suffer from such an awful to the woeful activities happens in my life, Does a girl is born for the purpose of use and throw slogan, what a universe is made for us who are living in the place of heaven.

“Proceed with Caution”.
One day afternoon while coming from a friend’s house, I Met three crook boy’s who were drunk, commanded on my clothes and on my body, it was on a Crowdy path and near the street there was a cop checkpoint sitting in the chair eating and gossiping, many peoples were traveling in the street and I was standing after being commanded by the three boys my mind thought to leave away the place or to sit at home like a fearful girl like mainly every other girl’s go through with it and my second opinion heat in mind was to give them a slap, but after giving them slap, they won’t be able to understand how I feel or a girl feel when they been abuse or treat like a puppet, will they respect me or any other women, there action can be more harsh to me they can harm me like everyday, every min, every second there is a woman who is going through with such a situations harassment or molesting, some stay at that place to give away an action as a fighting spirit or some give up everything like a trapped victim so my mind was staying at that place, then suddenly I got to come to their point, they assumption to me, I called them near to me and I asked what is your problem? Haven’t you seen someone like me who wear a short shirt and a short skirt does you find something interesting in that? Do you think we women’s are a remote control button so anyone can press it or operate at any time? Do you want to see my body right?.
Do a thing I am sitting in between to this street you can remove all my clothes and do what you like to do, all I am yours? then after you are being enjoyed everything  with me then pass away to someone else who are born as a human, but then act like you (an Evil Mind), you know for me you are a Criminal how just look at your mind and say some something about yourself, you don’t have the answers right?.
You know some criminals are guilty and some are free flying because the power of politics to the colour of money is standing with them and they shows a life of women as a standing toy of the sleeping pillow, You three are drunken and you look like you have done something wrong before, so do you want to hide your mistake or you want to repeat it again? To admit your mistake in front of the people’s on the social media right? or to get arrested for your crime in front of the cop I’m looking into your mind now you’re standing being very guilt at present so don’t you think its right time to admit all the mistake you did in life, because your intention can change at any time, so what you do you want from me now?.
Then after few minutes later they fell on my leg’s and apologize for their mistake, actually the scene is still incomplete because the crowd of the street have surrounded them, how let’s go back to place where such an incident was occurred the place in market. where the different life’s are moving away and every life has a story behind so incident to live media to people’s who are watching and in the crowed people’s there is a team of Report’s with the power of youngster help me when I start recording the live mode on a television broadcasting it’s been Live on every channel, and they there are criminal who raped many people’s by their mind.
“I have faced everything in life
Because I’m a woman, every raped is done in a day or night is an anguish spirit in mind as a sadness, humor stops the life of brilliance for the woman’s, a rope is made to use nor to make a knot on it and use it to attempt suicide..
But nor a respect and love from the people’s who are born as human in the world, I have seen many people’s who will motivate you a lot, but at the end there intention plays a game in mind and use it on a woman…
“Thinking is bug of acting”
For example take an apple..

“An apple is sweet fruit, but when you eat it, then the action relates the molesting scene on a woman the way of crime.
“He was munching the character of lady in mind,
He took a bite out and chewing the mentality of a perceptual object
He breaks away the whole body
By thinking process on where he started hunting and threaded at the beginning and at the end he peeled away everything”
-Chirayu!.

P.S (?)… The Story remains as a Question Mark because the answer is with you in your mind and action is in your hand so never please save the Girl child and fight against the crime.
Please respect Women’s.

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II Poetry Contest: “You are so pretty”

by Alea Nesbit

Is that all you have to say?
If I hear you are pretty again
I believe my guts will begin to twist and
burn and the only way to save me from this torture is to cut them and let them spill out on the floor.

I’m tired of being pretty.
Cause pretty fades.
I rather hear how my words makes your heart tremble like the waves of an earthquake, where the fault line created from the impact of a conversation transpired from my lips will leave you forever changed & never the same.
I much rather hear how my presence entering a room is a megaton of energy that can set the whole earth vibrating like a bell.

Pretty is as pretty does.
But I rather be looked at as more.
I rather much be told that my very presence has the power to inspire a whole generation of warriors.

I rather hear how my love melts rocks like the sun, that it can cause the seas to dry up but yet harmless as a dove.

I rather hear how my passion is like a burning flame. Giving you a scar you proudly proclaim.

I want to hear how my smile encompasses the light of the world. Notice how I hold heaven in my spirit.

Tell me I belong amongst the wildflowers, because I freely bloom with petals for my feet, even when the season change I will always begin again.

If the words formed from your lips are your
so pretty, I rather much hear nothing at all.
Cause silence speaks louder then words sometimes.

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and we all are more then just a pretty face

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II Poetry Contest: I love how she smiles, suppressing the hurt within.

by sprinkled_with_sass

I love how she kisses everyone else’s scars when she herself is bleeding.
I love how she flips her hair in confidence knowing she ‘got it’.
I love how she sees no limit to her abilities.
I love how she winks at any challenge bestowed upon her.
And without the might of a man she paints a life for herself to be proud about.
I see ‘her’ in each woman. Some of them still discovering, some valuing and some sadly demeaning.

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II Poetry Contest: For you, yes.. you.

by participant of School Poetry Competition in Bali

I don’t know how to start it, hmm..you know I have such a big big ego for saying something about you. You know, I always be (and will be always) complaining about your attitude, the way you treat, how I say that you can’t be romantic, cute, charming..rare to say adorable words..and…plain. But, somehow, I always miss you, you are always there..beside me, keep me safe, try to make me happy, give your anger just because you care. I’ve never got that from the others. You just do it. Never been busy about words. When I’m in difficult time, you are in front line, helping me. Can you just stay here until the rest of my life, hun?

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II Poetry Contest: Lady

To all the girls who prove that they are no less than men.

Don’t consider her weak
As she can shake the world under your feet..

She is a sister, she is a wife
She is the one who has given you life…

You insult her and call her by names
Trying to put her character in blame…

Don’t consider her powerless as she is quite
Coz when the time comes she can also fight..

And if breaks the limit of her tolerance
She will give answers to every violence..

Her shyness is her weakness is just a myth
coz if she turns into Kaali she can tear up your ribs…

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LGBT Pride Month

by Vanessa Daniela

Earth will be a better place once we treat everyone with respect. We support the LGBT community and stand against any kind of discrimination.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is currently celebrated in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan. The riots were the mark of the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States.

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Nowadays, the celebrations attract millions of people from different ages around the World. The goal of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that this community have had in history worldwide.

However, according to the FBI, the LGBT people are the most likely targets of hate crimes in America.  L.G.B.T. people are twice as likely to be targeted as African-Americans. It is time to change this scenario. We are all humans, and we all deserve respect. Don’t let your faith and/or culture violate the most sacred words: respect, peace, and love.

Source

@newyorktimesmagazine

@secretlyprettygay

@librarycongress

 

 

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II Poetry Contest: To the boy who sent me two messages, the first one saying, “It’s not my problem” and the second, “survival of the fittest.” In response to being asked about helping refugees.

By magicaldisco

Tell me how “fit” you really are.
Is it because you were able to strike a man in the head who held a sign that said, “People are refugees too?” while having people cheer you on, praise you, call you a savage, and saying you are ‘a real man.’

Or what about the time when the word started getting around and our football coach suspended you only for 5 games as a punishment and you bawled your eyes out?

Does it make you more fit that you were randomly born into a wealthy family? Is this what ‘survival of the fittest’ means to you? Is this why it’s ‘not your problem’ that a little girl is holding her deceased newborn brother in her arms drenched in blood? Why does green paper separate you from her?

Boy who has only ever known of trophies, if you are so pro-life and a worshipper of jesus, tell me, where did your compassion go? Was it left behind when you started to feel like something was pricking at the frailness of your masculinity? Did you feel the poking of a child crying for help, who you deem ‘not your problem’ when you were marching around with your other guy friends shouting, ‘Stop killing human beings!’ And by the way, Boy, who the fuck are you to tell me what I can do with my body?

I’m afraid that you reveal yourself a hypocrite and a coward.

Now, that is your problem; a problem that the rest of us have to deal with.

To the 5-year-old girls, who are continuously having the world root against them, as their schools burn down, and their houses blow up; you are not a problem, you are a solution to this world of people who lack compassion.

I’m sorry that this white American Boy believes you do not deserve a chance just because of where you are come from.

I see a photo of you smiling, as the buildings behind you collapse and cripple at the hands of nuisance.

You are my faith in humanity.

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Malala: Motivational Life Story

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by Vanessa Daniela
I was reading the book, “I am Malala,” last month. I was motivated to describe how I felt reading her book. It was an inspirational and profound life lesson for me; I believe it would be for many others. I do regret not reading it before now. Malala is an energetic and motivated woman. Her willingness to educate girls and boys around the World is Magnifique.

In the book, she describes her life in Valley of Swat in Pakistani and then in Birmingham, England. Malala’s father was a school teacher; she was considered lucky in her town for having such understanding and supportive father.

When I have gone thru difficult moments in my life, especially traumas that affected my learning abilities within different periods of my life, I was very distracted by things that were not adding to my education.

Fortunately, I did graduate from college, and I also acquired a master’s degree. However, I do feel that I am still catching up on subjects that I haven’t learned in the past. I deeply regret not reading more or learn everything that I could once I had the opportunity to do so and had fewer domestic and career responsibilities.

During the period of my life when I had fewer constraints on my time, I wish somebody like Malala would have shown me that far worse things can happen to us. However, that our motivation can take us anywhere and everywhere our dreams might lead us.

Nowadays, I have been watching documentaries, reading about war, paying attention to terrorism activities, and evaluating the need for more gender equality. I feel overwhelmed because there is so much violence degrading our World; it is hard to find the motivation I feel that I should have to fight human rights. However, I know in my heart that we cannot give up. Reading the book, “I am Malala,” was another reminder of that fact. We have to use our strengths to bring peace and equality to the World.

Let’s be brave like Malala! Do not let fear stop us from making our Earth a better place.

Malala’s Speech to UN Youth Takeover

Source: Their World

…The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.  I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.

Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorists group. I am here to speak up for the right of education of every child. I want education for the sons and the daughters of all the extremists especially the Taliban…

Honourable Secretary General, peace is necessary for education. In many parts of the world especially Pakistan and Afghanistan; terrorism, wars and conflicts stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering in many parts of the world in many ways. In India, innocent and poor children are victims of child labour. Many schools have been destroyed in Nigeria. People in Afghanistan have been affected by the hurdles of extremism for decades. Young girls have to do domestic child labour and are forced to get married at early age. Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by both men and women…

…Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child’s bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education for everyone. No one can stop us. We will speak for our rights and we will bring change through our voice. We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world…

…So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.

One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. 

Education is the only solution. Education First.

Image Source: Financial Times

 

 

 

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II Poetry Contest: March 8th – International Women’s Day

by D. Avery

Some women
Some women had their last treatment today
Some their first
Some were untreated.

Some had heart attacks, some died
Some lived.
Some women felt dead inside
Others felt vibrant and alive.

Baby girls were born today
borne of women become mothers
While others became aunts, mentors, friends.
Today, and yesterday, and tomorrow.
Some will feel joy, some will feel sorrow.

Some women were betrayed today
Some endured violence and pain
Fell down, got pushed around
Got up, tried again.

Women endured today.
Some were supported, some were supportive
Some felt hate, some were hated.
Some gave love, some were loved.

Around the world, women endure
Some fall ill, some rise cured
Some are able to feel the hope and the good
Of a worldwide sisterhood.

 

 

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II Poetry Contest: If you’d have taken the time…

by _bmgalloway

(Part 1)
If you’d have taken the time
to read the small print
in her eyes,
you would have known that
your hardware was not
compatible with her system.
Instead, you tried to make
it compatible and now
her system is broken,
her files corrupt.

(Part 2)
I have watched her almost
destroy her system in an
attempt to destroy the damage
that your hack caused.
She is not a machine,
she is a Woman.
One day her strength
will overwrite every file
that you corrupted.
Until then, she will increase
the font size of her small print
and scream every word
at the top of her voice.
She does not have to be polite.
She does not have to whisper.
She does not have to let you
log in whenever you wish.
She is not a machine,
she is a Woman.

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National Children’s Awareness Month

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Image: Festival of Children Foundation

by Mariana Laviaguerre

Not all children have the wonderful childhood we all hope to provide for our own children. Many children live in fear and neglect, and each year, approximately 3.3 million children experience some form of domestic violence. Therefore, June has been established as the National Children’s Awareness Month to increase awareness about the vulnerability of children exposed to violence.
..
Domestic violence is the single most important forerunner to child abuse and 30 to 60 percent of perpetrators of partner abuse also abuse the children in the household. Child abuse may occur at any time between infancy and adolescence, and for every hour, as many as 115 children are abused.
..
Children who witness violent and abusive behavior in the home are the most likely individuals to become perpetrators of domestic violence in the future. Men who are exposed to domestic violence in childhood are twice as likely to abuse their own partner and children, while women experiencing abuse in childhood are more likely to become victims of domestic violence in the future.

 

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II Poetry Contest: Commodity

by Medha Khair

She was just a commodity .
She brought life into this world yet she was something that could be traded .
Her happiness , her views , her opinions were irrelevant .
Why ? You ask .
Well just because she had a vagina instead of a dick .
She was a slave .
She was only important when he wanted something , be it a glass of water or a child .
She was taught to adjust to his needs , to look after his happiness .
What of her own , well they weren’t important you see .
They say these things don’t happen no more .
Yet I watch it happen over and over again like someone hit the replay button way too many times .

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II Poetry Contest: Thinking of a voice all through an insomniac night

by @pragyaspenchant

Thinking of a voice all through an insomniac night,
Or living a moment, which makes entire arena bright;
Melody the soul sings,
Or music to which heart clings;
Expression of words extraordinaire,
Or sentences that express a desire;
Silent eyes, that tell stories,
Or depth of heart that cherishes memories;
Someone, whose name makes you smile,
Or someone, who has made your existence fragile;
Something from which we always try to escape,
Or the dreaded mistake all make;
Something that’s enough with silence,
Or someone who’s worth a response;
When millions of such questions club,
Maybe, that’s what we call love?

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II Poetry Contest: Leave her be

by L.L. Lynch

There is a wild flower in a field
And in the breeze she called to me
So strong and tall up to my knees
But all alone amongst the weeds.

Her buds, they bloom like butterflies
From tight cocoons towards the skies
Each one, a different lullaby
That she has sung into the night.

Standing lonely in the shade
Afraid one day you pass her way
And foolishly think she needs to be saved
Plucking her wild roots all up and away.

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II Poetry Contest: Once

by  L.L. Lynch

I was free once-
Back when we were making memories we didn’t know were memories.
Back when my hair was long and wild, just like our summer nights and my dreamy life.
Driving around in the dark with the windows down, looking for sprinklers to jump through until we were soaking wet and our t-shirts were as transparent as my eyes for you, the day we met.
We’d finally drive home and run from one apartment to the next; out the hall and down the steps; walking in unannounced because, that’s what real friends do.
The movie nights with all the oldies who sometimes brought the someone new
With charming smiles and an instant connection; soaking wet and transparent, from that very, very first moment. I was free once. Dancing in our pretend rain; playing out our pretend family game; and in my lucid dreams I choose to go back there again and again.

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II Poetry Contest: The Blue, The Moon, The Stars & I

by L.L. Lynch

The blue, the moon, the stars and I
All in the dark we do reside
Our faces bright as mountain sides
Whose flesh is clothed like virgin brides.

Constant as the tides we are
Both high and low and near and far
Deceptively strong yet weak and starved
Like ballerinas at the barre

We exist for you both more and less
Until you lose all interest
And then you’ll watch with baited breath

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II Poetry Contest: Nirbhaya

by To every girl who has faced physical and sexual violence like rapes

Do you remember
that night of December
when I shouted and cried in pain
but all my efforts went in vain…
You molested me and played me like a toy
and did all this just for your joy….
Didn’t the rakhis on your wrists remind…
That you had sisters at home and still you were so unkind…
In order to prove how manly you were
you have put a spot of shame on the face of every individual….
Was being a girl was the fault I did?
That in the moving bus I was assaulted…
And that act was such a shame
that it defamed every man’s name…
And now every girl questions her security needs
As in the faces of humans there are so many beasts….

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II Poetry Contest: I am a human

by Chirayuwriter

Not you are killer madam who kills you daily From an “Evil minded to the Scornful Brain” more over harsh through physical action on a body to the Mentally visual trauma which smears a beautiful skin,
I’m a human from a humane world not from so called “nauseating mankind.
Who forget before restricting or belittling a thing in a life or ruling on it because it’s not only a child, girl, woman, but a life where everyone suffers one day in a context to understand the concept is ”
say no” it’s enough to say no to the things which are wrong as you are facing in your life or from mindless peoples, especially a prick touches you from your love one’s “say no”
to the things which are out of your control,
no more “racism”,
no more “sacrifice”,
no more “tears”,
no more ” Compromise ”
no more “depression” and
say no to “insomniac” as
well those torment
which are life long given by someone to you or anything which is an incommunicable disease makes you a patient of over thinking.
“Say no” to “Don’t stare at me”.

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II Poetry Contest: My Mom

by Arshiya Hussain

You made me into who I am from who I was,
Without demanding for any applause.
Sacrificing your own comfort and luxury,
You stood beside me during my every injury.
Alone you struggled for even my smallest happiness,
I wonder how should I thank you YOUR HIGHNESS.

You took my care with such grace and pride,
I really feel blessed to be your child.
You’ve been my shelter in every storm,
Cared for my sickness all night long.
You’re the biggest inspiration in my life,
You did all my work and didn’t even let me hold a knife.
Doesn’t matter what I loose
You’re my most important gain,
You’re the best medicine of my every pain.
You’re my strength when I’m weak,
You become my voice when I couldn’t speak.
I promise to never leave you alone,
Proving that we’re two bodies and one soul.

And when the angel of death will arrive,
I’ll book my ticket along you giving her a little bribe.
I can’t imagine my world without you,
Then I’d become a mystery without any clue,
Because incomplete to each other
You’re my sun and I’m your moon.

You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever come across,
And if we have a bet with God
I want to win you in my every toss.
I pray destiny wouldn’t ever do us apart,
‘Cuz mommy you’re my world
And you will always be in my heart.

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Ecoutez-moi by swo8 Blues Jazz from the album Manaus Where Two Rivers Meet in iTunes

swo8

I don’t normally post on Tuesdays but today is The International Day of the Girl and this is such an important issue. This video is called Ecoutez-moi by swo8 Blues Jazz from the album Manaus Where Two Rivers Meet on iTunes. It is dedicated to the rights of girls/women and especially to our right to an education. It is sung in French because French is the second language in most North African countries. Malala Yousafzai is a strong advocate for these rights and she nearly lost her life in the fight. All photos of Malala are from the public domaine. 3:41 min. 2 MB

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J`Lichi Arts — Discover

Juana Lichi is a mixed media artist who loves to work with textiles, prints, and fabrics. Her canvases and portraits are unique, blending modern and traditional.

via J`Lichi Arts — Discover

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Interview with Artist Rebecca Tapscott — Creative Collections

“I am a maker of things; working predominately within the realms of contemporary painting.” These are the words of Australian Artist Rebecca Tapscott during our interview. But she is so much more than just a contemporary painter, as I soon find out. “I do like to mix it up a bit with Cyanotypes, welded sculptures […]

via Interview with Artist Rebecca Tapscott — Creative Collections

via Mongolia’s Hunt For Female Street Artists — i News Today Blog

The goal was to paint street murals that illustrate the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. And not to have only male artists — especially for the goal about gender equality. (Image credit: Katya Cengel for NPR) from xxx http://ift.tt/2eQhrkx bitly.com/2vy3fm4

via Mongolia’s Hunt For Female Street Artists — i News Today Blog