A Big Moment for Nadia Murad

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

MONTREAL – ” Mother, mother… There’s too many of you crying. Father, father… there’s too many of you dying. We must find a way to bring some living here today.”

Those are the timeless lyrics from the song “What’s Going On” from one of the greatest artists of all time, The Great Marvin Gaye. These lyrics are sadly still, true in 2018.

When Nadia Murad received her Nobel Prize earlier this week and I saw her sweet, pensive face, this song came to mind. I felt so sad for her and all the Yazidis who were victims in this silent genocide. They lost their mothers, their fathers, their sisters, their brothers, and their world. I wish Nadia’s whole family could have been in Oslo, beaming with pride over their baby girl. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case. However, one the most beautiful things in life, even when life throws you a curveball, friends can become your family. In the audience at the ceremony, Nadia’s friend and attorney, Amal Clooney and her fiancé were there.

Nadia is fighting pretty hard with the help of Amal and many more to bring ISIS to justice. In the meantime, victims all around the world are living in fear because of the acts of hate and violence against their families and friends who are no longer with us.

The fact that in 2018 we are still saying, even singing, “What’s Going On”, it’s pretty alarming.

When women are still sexually assaulted and beaten to death in 2018, What’s Going On?

When fathers, brothers, uncles, friends have been killed because they wanted to protect their family in a pacific way, What’s Going On?

When people of different faiths are being killed for pacifically preaching love, What’s Going On?

When journalists are being tortured, blackmailed and killed for writing about these atrocities, What’s Going On?

What’s Going On?

https://www.yazda.org

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Last Christmas, I gave you my heart… Oups. Last WebSummit, I gave you my heart!

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

MONTREAL – When I woke up in the morning of the last day of the greatest tech summit of all time ( I know, you’ve must be annoyed that I keep writing that sentence but it is so true), I got this song stuck in my head of Phil Collins Another Day in Paradise (Oh, think twice dalalala) as I prepare myself to conquer the world at the Web Summit for one last time in 2018. I grab a big glass of orange juice and I gave a big kiss to Grace, the dog of Ana and Bruno my hosts during the week, on my way out to the Web Summit (please don’t tell Bily Whisky, my Maltese, that I did kiss a girl and I like it …).

When I arrive at the Media Village, I was so ready for my one of one interview with a fascinating woman. Her name is Charlotte Summers and she is the COO of Diabetes Digital Media.

You will hear really soon our nice conversation at the Web Summit. I learn some many things about Low Carbs diet and I saw in Charlotte, a warrior for the diabetes patients to have a better health and a better lifestyle. In my book, Charlotte’s rock! All the Charlottes I know are so cool.

Welcome to my Charlotte’s Club Charlotte Summers.

There were so many interesting conferences like the Do We Need a Declaration of Digital Human Rights with Brett Solomon of Access Now, Peggy Hicks UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights and Adrian Lovett of World Wide Web Foundation. The moderator was Belinda Goldsmith of Thomson Reuters Foundation. Good and hard questions were asked about digital human rights. We are witnessing, especially right now, all the bullying that we are happening online from private citizens and some public figures like a certain person that is in charge of the United States of America. We do have a chart of human rights but do we need a chart of digital rights in this social media era? Yes, the chart of human rights should be enough but with everything that is going on, I do wonder if we need digital rights big time. The panel did debate on this question and of the 4, 1 of them did agree that we should maybe be considered to have a digital rights chart. I think we will still have this conversation in 2019.

In the afternoon, I met Marko Bitenc of GenePlanet for a small chat that you will have the chance to hear it really soon on The Chronicle.

Marko Bitenc is the CEO of GenePlanet. GenePlanet is an innovative healthcare and lifestyle solutions based on preventive genetic testing. Their goal is with preventive guidelines, they will help individuals to live a more fulfilling and healthy lifestyle. We may have to know someone that dies of a genetic predisposition and probably didn’t know at all he got those genes. I find it fascinating and it does give me a little bit more hope about the innovation of science to make our life a little bit healthier.

After my chat with Marko, I ran at the other side of the Pavillon (they got 3 big tents at the Web Summit) to see Lucas Di Grassi on stage.

Last time I saw Lucas was two years ago in Montreal.

Actually, Lucas was my next interview on my Thursday schedule right after his talks. But we did have to reschedule it. So be ready for two interviews (one in person and one in writing) with Lucas!

Back at Luca’s talk at the Auto/Tech and Talk Robot stage, Lucas talks about the human-machine race for the future.

The kid in me was super-excited. Lucas is the CEO of Roborace, the world’s first competition for human and machine teams, using self-driving and manually-controlled cars. Where do I sign to be a pilot?

Oh, I can hear my hubby saying you a pilot, haha, you must be kidding me.

Ok back to the topic. I saw it with my own eyes a driverless car (Lucas did show us a cool video) speeding up during a test drive and let me tell, human racers have some deep competitions coming really soon. Lucas is a passionate person and so smart.

I couldn’t see a better CEO than him for Roborace.

Paddy Cosgrave, the Web Summit Founder, gave a nice closing speech and before I forget to mention, during the Summit I think it was Wednesday late afternoon, all the women in tech were invited to go on stage for a big photo and a big applause from the public.

Wow, I’m so happy for every woman in the tech world to have this recognition.

As I prepare myself to fly home to my little family and to my Canadian weather and shinanigan, my heart was being nostalgic with all the conferences, the new friends like Paolo, Bruno, Grace and Ana and the partners I met at the Web Summit.

I had a little moment of happy tears but I didn’t cry a river because I couldn’t believe all the things I witnessed.

But I was so proud to be part of it. And then, a big smile came upon my face.

Why?

Collision 2019 will be in Toronto. The North-American version of the Web Summit will be in the Tdot! And then, I realize, Toronto will be my playground in May 2019.

Guess who will be back in the Tdot?

https://geneplanet.com

https://www.diabetes.co.uk/contributors/charlotte-summers/

https://roborace.com

Is it a crime to be a journalist in 2018?

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

MONTREAL-  For a few months, this question has been haunting me in a way I couldn’t have imagined. Right now, in this world we are living in, is still normal that some governments or regimes consider journalism to be a crime?

In Canada, we don’t have this problem, but in the Raymar, this is what seems to be the case. Wa Lone, (32) and Kyaw So Oo, (28), who could have been my little brothers because they are only a few years younger, were arrested in December 2017 simply because they were doing their jobs – being journalists. They were sentenced to seven years in prison last September after reporting the atrocities and the killing of Rohingya Muslims in the Raymar.

Their human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney, gave a speech this last September at the UN Headquarters kindly asking if Aung San Suu Kyi, one of the famous Nobel Peace Prize honoraries and the Myanmar State Counsellor, could pardon the two journalists. By the way in early 2000, every time I have been to a U2 concert, I have seen a message of her telling us to be pacific and hope for a better world for the next generation.

So far, Aung San Suu Kyi is doing so little. With her inaction, you may question, damn, of all the people, does she truly think those journalists are criminals?? In my dictionary, The SAB Illustrated Dictionary 2018, being a journalist is not a crime. A journalist shouldn’t be in jail for doing their job. Criminals have done bad things like killing, stealing … Oh! Speaking of stealing, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were accused of breaching a secret act when they obtained confidential documents. Those documents would have been useful for terrorist organizations and enemies of the state. But those journalists were tricked. Clear and simple. Let’s try to find something to put them in jail so they won’t cover a very important story.

Even Amal said and I’m quoting: ”She (Aung San Suu Kyi) knows that mass murder is not a state secret and that exposing it doesn’t turn a journalist into a spy… History will judge her on her response”.

More and more, my conviction of not putting my trust in the government is growing. When I was young (I’m still young at heart), Aung San Suu Kyi was this really sweet and fragile, but feisty and courageous woman who wanted a better future for the country where she was born and raised. I saw her as a very gentle, pacific and kind-hearted person. Now, I have taken off my rose-coloured sunglasses, and I don’t find what I am reading about Myanmar in the news beautiful.

Those two journalists are apart from their young families. I can’t imagine the anguish and the kind of stress they are experiencing in their situation. I have the luxury of writing this post without fear of being thrown in jail or killed. I do take this for granted and I am ashamed of admitting it. But I won’t be ashamed to stand by those men.

Being a journalist is not a crime.

Never!

Is it the start of a new era for Nike?

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

Montreal – What I will write in the next few sentences won’t be pleasing, but I’m always up for starting a controversial conversation that may shed light on a different perspective on a particular subject.
Recently, Nike has been back in the PR game with a bang. We saw the ad with Serena Williams and her father. It was so beautiful.

Serena Nike
Strength, courage, determination, and humility were showcased in this ad. For me, the ad was a success!
Serena Just Do It

This weekend, Colin Kaepernick was chosen to be part of Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ Anniversary campaign. I must admit, I like the ad. The black and white picture is marvelous! I do respect Colin for his beliefs and what he is standing for, but I would respect him more if he truly wanted to play some football-to at least have a season in the Canadian league, even if his salary wouldn’t be comparable to the NFL.

But, that’s another story.

I have a little problem with Nike. And damn, I love their apparel and shoes. I’m happy that this company is standing behind a social cause,but this is the same company that contributes to poor quality of life by making young boys or girls work in a sweatshop when they should be in school getting the best education they can or playing outside with friends, wearing their own decent pair of Nikes. Even Patrick J. Adams (a fellow Canuck) tweeted about the fact that Nike shouldn’t really be seen as an activist company when they still use non-unionized sweatshop labor.

I know I will get a shit load of comments, but I thinkifNike truly wanted to make a change, maybe they should put the same amount of money on a campaign to end the horrific conditions of sweatshop labor for any human being. This is not a place for a child to work. A child needs to be in school. Maybe, make a better work environment for the parents, with the possibilities of a scholarship for the children of those workers can go to school abroad or in their country. One thing for sure, Nike can Do It!

As for Colin, with all the money and the sponsorship he gets, I hope he will continue to stand up for what he believes in, just play some football elsewhere (Canada is a beautiful country and the CFL is not THAT bad). He can still fight the good fight and play some fine football in the CFL. Is it more appealing to be a glitzy activist?

Is it truly about activism, or is it about the money after all?

Nike, Just Do It.
colin-kaepernick-nike

P.S. Some people are damn stupid to burn their Nike’s items. Seriously… Damn fools.

I got Toronto on my mind

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

I’ve still got Toronto on my mind, even after a few days back to the city of a thousand church bells, Montreal.

It wasn’t my first time in the Tdot, but it was my first time alone as an adult in the city. A few days disconnecting with my usual non-orthodox routine, that is – my crazy life, and without speaking the Molière language was interesting.

Montreal does have a special European charm and a certain je ne sais quoi, but Toronto is more a cosmopolitan city, with hidden treasures to be found every few streets.

I was in Toronto especially to listen to a nice conversation.

This conversation was insightful, funny, charming and so authentic. I’m really happy to have been part of it as a listener. Especially since part of this dynamic duo is my ultimate favorite journalist and person I try to emulate the most in this kind of journalism.

He is one of the most respected men in this field.

Nick Clooney is the journalist I am talking about. I won’t deny, listening to him gave me chills. Listening to him talk about Hazim “Haz’ Avdal, a young Yazidi Iraki refugee who is like a second son to him, I saw the pride of a father whose son gave him hope to believe in goodness in people again.

Both Amal and Nick were proud family members when they spoke about Az, as well as with Nadia Murad. Nadia is a young Yazidi woman that was captured by Isis. She escaped with some scars, but that hasn’t stopped her from being the sister, the mother and the ultimate superwoman to all the Yazidis.

She is proudly fighting the good fight with her secret weapon, Amal Clooney.

Amal is more than the woman who married one of the biggest movie stars in the world and one heck of a director (come on, Good Night and Good Luck was a masterpiece).

Yes, the media talks about her latest look. I do have to admit, she mixes fun and sassiness in her look like the majority of us women in this world aim to do.

There is even a blog dedicated to her fashion sense, but my point is that even the blog dedicated to her fashion sense talks about the cause that she cherishes. I definitely have more respect for a blog like the one I’m talking about over the TMZs of the world.

Why she is more than a celebrity?

It’s because, like Audrey Hepburn, her main focus is to shine light on causes that may not been known or talked about much. It’s not be easy to have this growth in attention when only 6 years ago, she could go to eat at her favorite Italian restaurant in Notting Hill without being mobbed by a hundred photographers.

But she has a good co-pilot in George and a good family unit that will continue to be her fortress.

I came back to Montreal with a refreshing perspective on life and the act of compassion.

I didn’t think that the city of Toronto would be the type to remind me to continue being compassionate and to keep up the good fight.

Speaking of keeping up the good fight, the best boxing trainer is in Toronto! Go check him out, Jorge Blanco. If you are in Montreal, you are not forgotten. You can train here in Montreal as well.

I’m so overdue that I will give my coach a call.

In the end, Toronto and Montreal are the perfect couple (except in the NHL). They are complementary to each other.

Can we take this as an example and be more complementary to each other as human beings, especially with regard to compassion and human decency?

I did see it last weekend in the Tdot!

http://spaniard.ca

Clooney Foundation For Justice official website

A prayer for Darfur

I’m asking myself this question:

Why am I complaining about winter and worrying about other superficial things when I am living in a war-free country, while there could be a woman, just like me, wondering if she will breathe her last breath within the next five minutes, in somewhere like Darfur.

By asking myself this question, I am ashamed that I sometimes worry about the stupidest little things; but at the same time, I’m asking myself what can I do about it?

First of all, when I turn on my television scroll through my Facebook feed or some news outlet app, why aren’t the atrocities that are happening all over the world the first things I see?

In Montreal, I don’t hear much about the fact that hundreds of people are losing their homes, not in a hurricane, but because of their government and its greediness.

But instead of focusing on why, I said I have a platform to talk about it. Not as an expert, because I’m not, but as a human being who hopes to one day live in a peaceful world where everyone is equal. (I hear you guys saying keep dreaming girl!)

Sudanese Children

When two journalists have been assaulted a few weeks ago, they did mention it on the news, for what? 10 seconds? There weren’t any follow ups or more questions asked by the news reporter. I wasn’t mad, but I was disappointed.

Are we so obsessed with this man, representing America and his rallies, that we are oblivious to the suffering of human beings in a vulnerable place?

I guess we must ask ourselves this question and be honest with ourselves.

When you are not an expert on a subject, the right thing to do is to reach out to an organization that wants to point out the atrocity and clears it up.

The Enough Project is my go-to resource.

Enough

I am reading more about what is going on through John Prendergast’s essay, I am still not an expert on the subject, but I feel better informed.

It is a foundation whose main focus is to end genocide and crimes against humanity in conflicted areas of Africa.

John Prendergast is the driving force behind this beautiful project he co-founded with Gayle Smith in 2007.

John Prendergast

Enough Project has several active campaigns to raise awareness of the violence and injustice going on in the countries that the News outlets here do not spend much time on.

https://enoughproject.org/op-eds/u-s-news-world-report-op-ed-dont-remove-sudan-terrorism-list

I still won’t be the most politics-savvy person on this planet, but I do think if we talk about it, point out the bad guys and what they are doing, and continue hoping that kindness may one day conquer the world, maybe we can start something.

Maybe we don’t need the big news outlets such as CNN, BBC, RDI, CNBC, Fox News (oh lord, don’t get me started about Fox News!) and others to get the word out.

Maybe we will be the ones that will get the word out that Enough is enough!

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/central-african-republic/2018-03-14/key-making-peace-africa

John Prendergast Africa

Written by Sabine Demosthenes

https://enoughproject.org

Haiti is not a shit holes

It’s not that often that I talk about politics but with what that person, the one representing the United States of America, said about (sorry about my language) shit holes such as Haiti is a total disgrace.

Why should we all be surprised by his remarks? It’s been one year of unintelligent comments, first class stupidity and embarrassment from this human being.

Haiti is such a beautiful country, which unfortunately has been unlucky lately.

Sometimes, the media only puts the spotlight on the misery and the poverty, but that’s not all Haiti is.

Like every country, we have some neighbourhoods that are struggling and others that are prospering.

The Haitians are a very resilient population.

My parents came to Canada in the 70s to have better opportunities during the Duvalier didacticism. Similar to many others that instead went to the United States, they had hoped for a better future for their future children in terms of the freedom to be educated and in some way, living the Canadian and American dream.

I was raised to love everyone and that we are all citizens of the same world. Yes, our world is not perfect but, come on, saying this type of comment and afterwards, denying it like an entitled child is unthinkable.

The saddest part is that he may not be the only one thinking like this. With that in mind, the future seems a little less optimistic.

Today marks the anniversary of the earthquake. It was such a devastating event. My thoughts go to the victims and their families.

I remember when George Clooney, in a very short time, organized the Hope for Haiti telethon. I was so moved by this initiative and I saw through my parents eyes the gratitude and a feeling of we (the Haitian population all around the world) were not forgotten.

I want to take this moment to reflect on this positivity even through this very dark cloud.

Let’s be grateful that the majority of people all around the world thought the comment of that person, the one representing the United States of America, was mean, cold-hearted, stupid, dumb and full of shit holes.

We are all better than that!

Right?

Kanpe Website

The Clooney Foundation Website

Not on our Watch Website

Written by Sab Demosthenes