The power of social media

Nowadays social media is an important part of our life. In the morning we check the Facebook news, check new tweets, admire new Instagram pictures. From Pinterest we look up new ideas for kitchen renovation. This all we can do before eating the breakfast and it’s great. But like in all things there is also the dark side in the social media.

 

Like I wrote in my last blog Foreigners and sexual harassment social media has power. Without Twitter and Facebook we would have read about these incidents next day and in the evening news there would have been a report from Cologne. However now we were able to read online news from twitter and Facebook posts. The message was stronger, because there were normal persons that wrote about these incidents, some of them were victims. Afterwards newspapers started to publish news and articles about refugees, Muslims, Islam etc. Suddenly we didn’t know what to believe – how could a reader know what the truth was. Also journalists have their opinions and it is almost impossible to be totally objective. The problem is that sometimes, especially yellow papers, publish news without checking the facts and even if the news are denied later the harm is already done, because probably somebody has already made a tweet and posted on Facebook and suddenly thousands or millions persons have read the news. Sadly usually nobody posts the correction to a distorted news.

 

An other sad phenomenon is the bullism. I believe that bullism exists in every country and culture. As a mother of two teens I am especially concerned about bullism at schools. Just a couple of days ago a 12-year old girl here in Italy tried to make a suicide, because she had been bullied at school. In this case I haven’t read that any social media was directly used, telephone yes. Unfortunately there are cases that social media is used as a mean of bullism. Researchers call this phenomenon cyberbullying. The cyberbullying is not only a teen phenomenon, as an active Facebook user I have heard about persons that bully other adult persons and for some more sensitive persons this can be very disturbing and scary. A young teen, still in the search of the inner self is extremely vulnerable to cyberbullying. It is enough that one person posts a lie and other friends see it and suddenly the victim is bombarded with hate messages. Or on Instagram young girls post rather courageous pictures. Then others start to insult the picture, this can destroy totally the self esteem.

On the other hand social media can save lives. There have been posts that somewhere is needed some rare type of blood and after posting it on to Facebook a suitable donator has been found. By Twitter people can get a warning in real time about a danger, like a warning about a shooting or robbery or hurricane. The social media gives power, but we have to know how to use it.

“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.”
Indira Gandhi

 

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Foreigners and sexual harassment

Refugees, they were one of the most popular subjects in the news in 2015. Now in the beginning of 2016 the news talk again about refugees, but this time the subject is not their arrival by boats to Greece and Italy – this time the news are about the incidents in Cologne in the New Year’s Eve. The only fact that we know so far is that about 600 women have brought a charge to police against the sexual harassment foreign men practiced against them. After Cologne, women in Zurich, Hamburg, Munich are bringing similar charges against some foreign men. However, what happened?

People protest against the sexual attacks in Cologne (Keystone)

 

 

 

 

I have tried to read different opinions about what lies behind this phenomenon. In one blog, the writer went so far to accuse the Russian secret services about these incidents. According to me the other secret services would know about this – USA has quite active intelligence service and it is difficult to imagine that they wouldn’t have heard about these plans in advance in case there were behind the Russian secret service. Almost certain is that it was all organized. Somebody claims ISIS, because in this way ISIS could create more tension between natives and refugees and so it would be easier to radicalize angry young men. Nevertheless, why would refugees act in favor of ISIS?

 

In Finland, a police chief gave a statement that also, there were same kind of problems in the New Year’s Eve, but organizers have not confirmed this. The most worrying is that this police chief claims that a public sexual harassment of women is a new phenomenon in Finland. I have lived in Finland most of my life and I remember that on my way home from school I saw more than enough men showing their genitals or when I was about 12 years old in the train from Turku to Helsinki in front of me sat a man that started to show his genitals. I remember I was shocked. However, I mean this happened more than 35 years ago and now somebody says it is a new phenomenon. The other point is then that a new thing is that they are foreigners that harass women, not only Finnish men.

Who gains something from this? Certainly xenophobes i.e. extreme right wings. Now they can say that foreigners threat our women and we want to protect them. Already in some cities in Finland, there are “soldiers of Odin” on the streets to protect Finnish people against violent Muslims. The police says they are fine as long as they don’t harm anybody. I would like to see the reaction of police if Muslims create same kind of groups called “soldiers of Allah”. The Finnish police can’t be so naive that they believe these groups create no harm. They do create. Innocent people are scared to walk on the streets, especially knowing that some of the members of these “soldiers of Odin” have a criminal background. Today I read that in Cologne there have been attacks against Arabs. Is this where Europe will finish? Is there no other way to solve the problems than violence? Now also the Muslims and refugees in Europe should rally on the streets against the incidents of the New Year’s Eve. If they don’t show their condemn how can Europeans know that hopefully most of them don’t accept this kind of behavior. On the other hand, is their culture so different from ours? I know very little about Muslim culture, but I know that women’s position is very different from the situation in Western countries. I’m a foreigner in Italy and I have to accept that some things are different from my native culture. However, I can’t expect the culture to change for me, I have been forced to change to adapt to this society. Therefore, also Muslims should understand that in Western countries women are respected and have same rights as men.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela-

 

 

Smog

The weather has been exceptional this autumn. Last summer was extremely hot and dry, so everybody looked forward for autumn rains. Instead of rain, we had a lot of sunshine and temperatures over the media. I don’t blame about the sunshine, but little by little, everybody understood that without any rain we have problems.

Como is like a bowl, it is situated among the mountains and therefore the air quality is often poor especially during the winter. EU has established that the limit for “bad quality” is when PM10 is > 50 µg/m3. Unfortunately, in many Italian cities this limit has been exceeded during the last month. In some cities for example at Milan was established the stop for all traffic for 3 days.

Risultati immagini per pianura padana lombarda immagini smog

There are several reason why Po Valley (Pianura Padana in Italian) is maybe the most polluted area in Europe. There are too many cars in Italy. First, the public transportation should be improved. However, here we have a problem. Italians know that public transportation functions badly and therefore they don’t use it. Because public transportation is not used widely, there is little interest to improve it.  Then here many pupils go to school on Saturday. Let’s be rational. If Saturdays were free from school, there would be much less traffic Saturdays and schools would save money in heating costs. For some reason nobody has talked about this possibility. Schools have no money, but still it is OK to heat 6 days a week even it were perfectly possible to heat 5 days a week. According to me, it would be better for the students also, they could rest at least one day in a week. Now they go to school on Saturday, do homework, and study for exams on Sunday.

Risultati immagini per smog milano

The most serious consequence of the smog are persons that get sick or even die due to it. Already experts warned not to do jogging or other sports outside, avoid bringing kids or elderly persons outside. Who has the courage to make even unpleasant decisions? How long can we let this yearly problem continue? I know I could do much more. My little contribution is that I use a hybrid car, because I drive a lot in the city (thanks to the poor public transportation) and we have installed solar panels on the roof that heat the water. What is your contribution?