Today I skipped lunch because I woke up late and got to Ibmec late. For some reason I was not very hungry anyway. I spent the whole day ignoring anything Brazil-related and only researched stuff on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This was the result of a discussion the previous night which was sparked by the news story of a Palestinian Arab who took control of a yellow Caterpillar demolition vehicle and went on a rampage attacking and killing Israelis on an express way in Israel. Anyway, I found some interesting stuff, especially a UN Human Rights Commission document documenting the Human rights violations the Israeli Army committs against Palestinians in the Gaza and the West Bank. The following is a small summary of the document as well as a link to it. Feel free to skip over it if you are not interested, Brazil stuff follows it.
Here is a report written by the UN Human rights committee.
The report is organized into paragraphs.
§4-10 mention the positive aspects of Israel in respect to human rights. This includes an positive increase in Women´s rights, rights for people with disabilities, improved education sysmtem as well as a law passed by the Israeli supreme court forbidding the use of torture on arrested people or prisoners (not really enforced or respected).
§13 addresses the witholding of Palestinians without access to lawyer within 48 hours of their arrest. Often they are withheld without any trial for several years
§16 As we talked about last night addresses the arbitrary destruction of Palestinian homes.
This is a tactic used to force the Palestinans to leave their land
§17 arbitrary raids on Palestinian homes.
§ 19 talks about the wall being constructed around Palestinian territories.
§20-23 deals with the racism towards Palestinians and Arab-Israelis living in Israel aka zionism.
The Human Rights Committee is the body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.
Thanks for reading this. I think I did a good job at summing it up. I hope that it is useful.
And nooooow BACK to Braziiiiiiiilllll!!!!
At 17h, professor Mello, a uiuc Econ phd graduate gave us a presentation on Brazil. I must say it was very interesting and he presented many many interesting facts on Brazil. It gave us an overview of the politics, history, demographics. His main arguement was how backwards Brazil is. There is a huge lack of human capital here; the literacy rate is only about 85~88% depending on how you measure it.
There is a common joke said of Brazil by the Brazilians. It goes something like this:
When God was creating the earth one of his angels noticed Brazil. The angel said´God, don´t you think this a little unfair? Look at Brazil, it has all the resources a country could ask for! It has huge forests, some of the longest and widest rivers, natural minerals galore, perfect weather, no natural disasters, earthquakes, hurricanes... There is nothing bad about this land! Don´t you think it is a little unfair that you´ve given so much good to one place while other countries don´t have NEARLY as much??´´
God says: ´´wait until you see the people I put there´´
Anyway, yea, yea Brazil is Backward and there is nothing we can do about it. That was the main gist of his presentation. After this Prof Mello showed us, allong with one of his students who is interested in studying in the US, a really cool restaurant called The Scenarium. It is located in a neighborhood close to downtown. The buildings there were very cool and old looking but many of them were abandoned. Some interesting real-estate prospects?
The Scenarium is an old place, rustic, and everything in there is very old and antique. When you first enter it is very impressive. You all these really cool antiques spread over three floors. After our waiter came, who was horrible, by the way (he was chewing horrible watermellon gum and only gave us two menus for the 6 of us. Also we had these annoying cards that he wrote our orders on. We had to keep the cards and pay at the door before we left. It was annoying to have to hold on to them the whole time.
Food was nice, after a while I realized that the place had no order. All the antiques were spread out everywhere in no particular theme. Then I learned that the place is an Antique shop in the daytime where you can buy everything you see.
There I met this nice 27 year old Brazilian girl who just graduated from law school. We chatted for about an hour on the balcony. Later we danced a little as well. I suck at dancing. Got her number, maybe I will call her today or tomorrow depending on what the guys want to do. Maybe we´ll go to the beach if it stops raining...
Talking to Mello was really cool. Richard and I learned a few things about Werner that we did not know. His external point of view/opinion was a welcomed change from the usual rhetoric surrounding Werner.
Overall I had a fun night. I enjoyed the food, the wine, the live music (3 different bands I think) and most of all, the company.
I took some pictures of the place but will upload them later, when my access to internet is a little better.