Category Archives: World

airport love

There is so much shit happening in the world right now. Stupid and bored thugs in London are ruining the city, the news seem to include people getting shot every single day, people are starving and their governments are corrupt. Numbers of rape have multiplied by four on The Horn of Africa. People seem to hate each other!

I’ve found my favourite place to be in all of this – the arrival hall on airports. On Monday night I went to pick up my best friend coming back from ten weeks in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi. I got there half an hour early, and enjoyed the view of people crying from the joy of seeing their friends and family coming out through the customs.

I wish we all could love each other that much all the time.

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Offensive comments

I want to make a collection of some of the offensive stuff I’ve come across online after the terror attack in Oslo and Utøya.

Nabogutten fortalte at hans pakistanske kompis ble dratt ut av 31 bussen og banket opp av et norsk par.
(The neighbour’s son told me that his Pakistani friend got pulled out of bus number 31 and beaten by a Norwegian couple)

The problem with Islam is that the religion actually preaches that to be a good Muslim, you have to kill non-Muslims.

Jeg synes det er avskyelig det som har skjedd, men jeg synes det er like avskyelig at enkelte medier forsøker å trekke en kobling mellom denne mannens udåd og Frp.
(I think it is disgusting what has happened, but I think it’s just as disgusting that some media are trying to draw a link between this man’s crime and Frp.)

The Sun front-page headline:
“Al-Qaeda Massacre” – Norway’s 9/11

Those fucking Al-Qaedas…

In addition to many other offensive comments.. I don’t know what to say. It’s simply hideous that people can think this way. It kills me to know that the media does not call him a terrorist because he’s a Christian.


Terror

It’s crazy being so far away from home. Of course I am happy to be safe, thousands of kilometers away from the bombing and the shooting, still it’s tough being the only Norwegian here. On Friday I went to bed knowing that 20 had been confirmed dead, when I woke up the number had risen to 80. Now we’re up in 91 dead, and 97 severely hurt, and many still missing, and I’m just hoping my friends are safe, and that this is all over now. Inshallah!

There has been no way for me to see the police press releases or be a part of the Norwegian society from here. I’m sending warm thoughts constantly; but sadly that’s all I can do. It has been hard to keep up to date with just twitter, reading how a Pakistani guy got beaten by a Norwegian couple for being Pakistani; how many first blamed “some muslim”; how the press refrains from calling Anders Breivik a terrorist after it was discovered he is Norwegian. I don’t like seeing my country and people being such rasists. Even VG asked the question of why he chose to use a method which is regarded as Islamist. We need to stop blaming Muslims for the problems in this world. Some of my best friends are Muslim; especially one who has taken such good care of me when all this bad happened to my county and the world around me just kept going as if nothing happened. What he did has nothing to do with Islam, it’s pure violence and evil. Still, I’m proud of being Norwegian. I’m proud to see how well the Prime Minister and the King has tackled it, as well as how we regardless of political views keep together as a nation during all of this.

While being here I have understood how proud of our nation we are. My friends here, whether Mauritian, Indian or even Danish don’t understand it. I’m proud of my country, as long as it keeps being a place where people from various backgrounds can live together and share their cultures.


Picture update

 

Every time I get some internet-time I spend it working on the new blog I’ve made with Jeppe. It has all the information about our work on migrant workers conditions here. Have a look at MWMRU.


We had our last dinner with Yara at Indian Summer.


We went to Ile aux Cerfs, which was lovely!


Pauline and Tamy on the boat we took to get there.


We got fish for lunch.

All of us.


On the way back I phoned my dad to get the exam results. Tamy took a photo of it.


We went hiking on Le Pouce.


Where I was planking.

 

 


The Road of Shame

My friend, housemate and colleague Jeppe Blumensaat Rasmussen has allowed me to post this article he wrote after a house inspection at a dormitory for migrant workers he went to two days ago. I’m going with him on his next inspection on Sunday.

Many Mauritians commute on the Royal Road between Port-Louis and Rose Hill on a daily basis. Stuck in traffic you could wonder what they are thinking about. A thought that probably rarely crosses their minds is what can be found behind some of the façades along the road. Amnesty International Mauritius Section went to discover.

June 19 2011, Amnesty International Mauritius Section, together with trade unionist Fayzal Ally Beegun, are inspecting dormitories for migrant workers in Coromandel, Chebel and Beau Bassin. The sights visited are dormitories of Universal Fabrics Ltd. and Esquel Group. In the over-crowded dormitories we find migrant workers from India, China and Madagascar.

The first dormitory in Coromandel , located just behind the Royal Road, is hosting 37 Indian migrant workers working for Universal Fabrics Ltd. Some of the workers are sleeping on thin rotten mattresses; two of them do not have a mattress but are sleeping directly on the wooden bottom of the bunk bed. Each worker is given 1000 Rs (£22) a month for food, and a cooker is hired to cater for them in what is a very filthy kitchen. When asked whether they have their passport and worker permit, the classical answer comes up. The employer keeps them safe in the factory, which is a clear violation of Mauritian law. The bathroom and toilet facilities are disgusting. None of the workers are interested in going on the record in fear of being deported, though they did show us their payslips; they are paid 19 Rs (£0.42) an hour.

The second dormitory, where workers for Universal Fabrics Ltd. live, is found directly on the main road, entering by a really unsafe spiral staircase. Here conditions are even worse than at the first dormitory. Living here are 28 Indian migrant workers, mainly from Tamil Nadu. Especially one room attracts attention. The room used to be occupied by more workers, but due to a leaking toilet system, sanitation water is leaking into the room. There is a horrible smell in the room – inhumane conditions. The workers explain that when complaining they receive no response from the management. Additionally, they tell us that when it is raining water leaks though the ceiling. We find out that there is another entrance to the dormitory, found on the ground floor. Actually, this door, facing the side road, is broken allowing you to walk directly into the dormitory. One can wonder whether the employer cares for their employee’s safety at all.

Next we go visiting the two dormitories of Esquel Group, which is hosting migrant workers from China and Madagascar. Conditions here are even worse, and it seems as if it is escalating. The conditions are creative, using a positive word, and it is impressive how they manage to fit so many people into one room. The rooms inspected at the Chinese dormitory had an average of 10 to 14 people living in rooms between the size of 20-25 square meters, accompanied with one bathroom and one toilet. As for the Malagasy dormitory there are 70 and 60 young women living on each floor, all living under inhumane conditions.

Esquel Group’s five E’s – is there a sixth one missing?

As a big multinational national company, Esquel Group represents its internal and external strategy in what they call an e-culture. This is represented by the five words ethics, environment, exploration, excellence and education. This sounds very humane and decent, but you could question whether the well-paid bosses or marketing directors have ever seen the dormitories of some their own workers. I would suggest that they look up exploration in the dictionary, take the word for what it is and go visit the dormitories of their own workers. Probably that would make them reconsider the choices of ethics and environment, and substitute it with exploitation. It would also be useful to flip back a couple of pages, look under “d” and search for dignity.

As a costumer, you should take expatriate Graham Parley’s, Director of Manufacturing for the Esquel Group in Mauritius, words into consideration: If you purchase a 100% cotton shirt in the USA or Europe from brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nike, Lands End, JC Penney, Marks & Spencer, and Nordstrom, then there is a very good chance it was manufactured and supplied by Esquel. When buying apparel from one of these brands, you are likely to be supporting a business that has big difficulties living up to the high standards they put on paper.

Think about that the next time you go shopping.

Edit: I think it is important that the word about this reaches as many people as possible – feel free to add the link to this post to your facebook status, tweets or whatever. 


Les femmes

The women are powerful here! During a training on women’s rights today (in French), I learnt that only 38% of all Mauritian women are part of the labour market. So in terms of women’s respect in the public sphere, the society still a long way to go. But from what I’ve experienced myself, the mothers run the household in a strict way.

I’ve made many good friends already, among which are two brothers that have nothing to do with AIESEC or Amnesty – they’re locals that we’ve met and made friends with outside the reality that is constructed for us upon arrival. Last night we had some beers in their house, and their mum sits with us.

I’m sitting next to the fridge, E is standing by the counter behind me, and A is sitting next to me. Mum asks whether there is a cold drink in the fridge, and as E is closes he checks. There is coke. Mum says: A, get me a coke. E goes back to the fridge to get it. Mum says: Is your name A? A, get me a coke. Then A jumps off his chair quicker than I’ve ever seen, and gets a coke in the fridge. That’s respect for you, and it’s impressive!


Waiting

A little update I wrote in France yesterday: 

So I’m in Paris. I’ve been travelling for seven hours and now I’m getting ready for the 12-hour flight. I’ve never been outside Europe before, yet the thing I’m most curious about isn’t how Mauritius is going to be, but what a huge Mauritius Airlines airplane looks like. I don’t want to speculate too much in how my stay’s going to be – I’ll have to take it a day at a time anyway. As long as we don’t have rats or mice in my house I’m perfectly fine.

I’ve moved out of London as well. I’ve had my last night in halls, and I’ll miss the view of London Eye and the BT Tower. But leaving one thing behind means taking other things in. I think my mother is the one who’s freaking out the most about all of this. I feel like it’s all fine. I’m used to moving to new places – I don’t feel like I have a home in the normal sense of the word. I used to say that my home was wherever I was a gym membership. But now I think home is more like a state of mind. It’s somewhere you are, not physically but mentally, which I quite convenient when moving around a lot. I take my home with me everywhere I go, in the form of a tattoo on my left wrist. It says du er du – you are you – which is a good reminder if I were to forget.

I met a lady wearing a burka in the tax-free region. I wonder how she got through security.