Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom HaShoah is the Hebrew name for Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is held primarily in Israel, but probably observed to some extent by Jews all over the world. Yom HaShoah is today. It began as sundown last night and will end at sundown tonight*.

This video shows what happens in Israel when the Yom HaShoah siren goes off, as the population of Israel remembers the 6 million Jewish people, amongst others, who were ruthlessly and brutally killed in the European Holocaust.

*In the Jewish calendar, a day is counted from when the sun sets to when it sets the following evening.

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Putin’s Put His Nose In It: Anti-Semitism In Ukraine

Ukraine CrimeaBy now, some of you may have heard of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. Crimea, which has officially been part of Ukraine, has been claimed by Russian forces. However, it doesn’t end there…

I’m not politician; I do not claim to be an expert in politics at all, but I’ll take a crack at it.

Aside from the conflict over Crimea, there has been developments in east Ukraine. As of earlier this month, Ukrainian Jews have been told they must ‘register’ the fact they are Jewish, or risk being deported. Jews been forced into ‘owning up’ to their faith? Sound familiar? This decision bears an uncanny resemblance to the beginning of Hitler’s term in power when the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (aka, the Nazis) gradually stripped Jewish people of their rights, before completing the transition into committing horrific acts against their Human Rights. Now, I’m not necessarily accusing Ukraine of setting up any labour camps, yet. BUT, you have to admit, that there is an uncomfortable similarity.

Vladamir PutinAlthough, hang on a minute, is this really Ukraine’s fault? Some sources beg to differ… An article in The Moscow Times quite explicitly suggests that Putin has quite a big hand in this. Some attacks that have taken place have heard victims being verbally assaulted in Russian, not Ukrainian. Being the amateur I am in the politics game, I don’t have a solution to present to you. I do, however, suggest that everyone scoots forwards onto the edges of their seats because we all want to see what goes down when forces unite against power-hungry Putin, which they will… I hope.

Donetsk's Anti-Semetic Flyer

To read more on what’s been happening with the anti-Semitic developments in east Ukraine, check out these links:

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/putins-fabricated-anti-semitism-in-ukraine/497950.html

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4510688,00.html

 

Sentenced To Death For Being A Lesbian

I recently received an email from All Out with the story of Aderonke from Nigeria. Aderonke is a lesbian. She’s been sentenced to death for being a lesbian. She managed to flee to the UK, where her case is still being decided, but three members of her family have already been killed because of her sexuality. The law in Nigeria is harsh and ruthless, yet they are still considering deporting her. Although there will be no shortage of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK who are fleeing the punishment for their sexuality, this could become a landmark case.Should Britain deport Aderonke because of who she loves?

Theresa May’s already said that some people have been forced to submit video of themselves having sex or answer humiliating questions during hours of interrogation. And, many people who provide evidence to the Home Office that they will be jailed or killed for who they love have been deported back into danger anyway.

The team at All Out have created a petition asking Theresa May to save Aderonke from deportation, and to ensure that people already fleeing their home countries because of who they love are not subjected to a humiliating interrogation process. The petition requires only 10,000 signatures, and has already gone beyond 8,000; if it can get past 10,000, maybe it can begin to represent true popular opinion that people should not be killed because of who they love.

All it takes is your email address and a minute of your time, Sign Here.All Out fights for universal equality.

On A Mission: How to Tackle Homelessness On A Budget

So I bet that if you’d an avid user of social networking sites, or even just an average user of social networking sites, you’ll have heard of ‘neknominations’. Neknominate, also known as ‘neck and nominate’, is viral. Essentially, an individual receives a ‘nomination’ and subsequently has 24 hours to create a disgusting (and quite heavily alcoholic) drink and recording themselves drinking it. Drinks have included combinations or beers, spirits, cordials, milk, fizzy drink, various cupboard condiments (ie, mayo or ketchup) and pretty much anything a person can get their hands on; spices and hot sauces are not uncommon. More recent nominations have also included individuals dressing unusually or doing it in strange places (see the instance of the Leicester teen who did hers in asda… In her underwear.)

ANYWAY, whilst rolling my eyes cynically, I found instances of ‘raknomnations’. What is RAK? RAK stands for Random Act of Kindness. I’ve seen new takes on nominations where the individual, usually, is giving food or clothing to people who are homeless. This got me thinking; wouldn’t it be wonderful if this went viral? Viral hope in humanity…

So even though I have not been nominated (nek, rak, or otherwise), I’ve been scheming. I’ve decided I’m going to start putting together homelessness packs. This isn’t a big mission, this won’t become my full time job, I’m a student and I don’t have the time to make a big deal out of it, but that’s the point! I’ll bulk buy beans or bread, cereal bars and juice cartons; tissues and toothbrushes, bars of soap and body wipes… I’m not planning on spending a fortune on fancy coats and cashmere scarves – I don’t do that for myself – just spending enough. Think about how often you waste a fiver or a tenner on a burger, or a t-shirt, or on a drink, on anything that you don’t really need. I’m not saying stop doing that, I’m saying tone down the frivolity and put it to use. Instead of buying another t-short for £20, save that money and put together a homelessness pack.

A homelessness pack could include things like:

  • A bar of soap, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a comb, two handy packs of tissues and a pack of wipes, maybe a can of deodorant;
  • A can of beans & disposable spoon, a sandwich, a cereal bar, some fruit, a couple of cartons of juice and a bottle of water;
  • A towel or a blanket, a pair of gloves and hat or scarf.

Some things don’t need to be new; if you’re on a tight budget and you have a spare pair of mittens, give them to someone who needs it! We really don’t need to do a lot to make a difference to someone’s day, and many of us don’t even think about it. Sometimes, it doesn’t even cross our mind, or we’re too nervous to approach a stranger, regardless of who they are. I’ll admit, I’m as bad as the next person; I stick some change in collection boxes and just wonder… It’s time to put actions to our intentions, and I know that I really want to be part of it.

As an example of how little you need to spend to brighten up somebody’s day, and give yourself that warm, fuzzy feeling, I’ve made an example pack (including prices)…

  • Asda smart price toothpaste: 25p
  • Asda protect medium toothbrush, one of a 4 pack: 25p
  • Asda cream moisture bar (soap): 50p
  • Asda ultra soft pocket tissues, two of a pack of 6: 29p
  • Asda baked beans: 32p
  • Homemade sandwich using sliced bread and fillings (cheese, ham, salad etc.): approx. 35p
  • Some fruit (eg, 2 apples and a banana): approx. 70p
  • Asda smart price juice cartons (3): 45p
  • Asda milk chocolate (100g): 60p

GRAND TOTAL: £3.71.

And that’s before you even happen across a pair of gloves in a charity shop, or a warm hat on special offer. Find the right shops, find the right deals, and it costs almost nothing to us. Yet, regardless of the money, this is stuff that a person might not have, that we might take for granted.

So this is a big mission for me, to work up the courage to approach a stranger in public, homeless or not, but I’m up for it.

It’s a little scary even though it’s a little mission, but it’s my mission, and I hope that you’ll join me. It may not be much, but it’s more than nothing. If something like this went viral like ‘neknominations’ has, think about how much of a different we could make.

Spit and Save – The DL On The Anthony Nolan Trust

For those of you who have no clue what I’m on about so far – The Anthony Nolan Trust.AN
The Anthony Nolan Trust is a British charity that provides donations for people suffering with blood disorders, including blood cancers. By donation, I don’t mean money towards to cost of treatment, we Brits are lucky to have the NHS to do that for us. The Anthony Nolan Trust (let’s just call it AN from now on), matches donors and recipients for bone marrow donation. Some people aren’t for donations like this but if you give blood and/or are signed up as an organ donor, then look into it! Having bone marrow taken can be uncomfortable, but my logic is that I have plenty and I’m healthy enough whereas others aren’t so lucky. People donate their wealth, be that their wealth of money or their wealth of health. If you’re healthy and you are able and comfortable to help others, then I hope this finds you well and sparks an interest!

To be a British donor of your wealth of health…
To find out about being a bone marrow donor: http://www.anthonynolan.org/
To find out about being a blood donor: http://www.blood.co.uk/
To find out about being an organ donor: http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/