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Farewell…

June 1, 2017
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Dear readers !

 

Thank you for reading and following our evolution for almost a year!

This past year has been a wild ride for us all, between exams and university choices, we made the most of our last year of high school despite the constant pressure and stress.

Here we are, 2 weeks before our finals, looking back at the memories we made and the things we’ve achieved. It feels bittersweet to leave all of it behind but a new exciting chapter of our lives is starting, so let’s make the most of it!

I hope that we, 12 students of advanced English, were able to convey our various interests, passions and points of view through the articles we published on this blog for the past 8 months. Thanks for taking part in this small journey with us!

Here is part of the team!

 

CHECHNYA : ANTI-GAY PURGES

May 20, 2017

One month ago, the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, reported an anti-gay purge in Chechnya. According to the journalists, more than a hundred men suspected of being homosexual or bisexual, were tortured in secret prisons, not far from Grozny, the capital. “Three of them were reported to have died, but according to witnesses, there would be many more,” reports Courrier International.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "chechnya"

According to testimonies collected by the Russian daily, detainees would be tortured and forced to reveal the names of other homosexuals around them-which reminds us of the witch-hunts in the USA.
One victim says he was beaten “several times a day”, beaten with polypropylene pipes or otherwise targeted by electric shocks, reports L’Obs. According to the investigation, the abuses would be committed by the police and the army, not by militias.

This wave of repression by the authorities was due to the willingness of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans) militants to organize gay pride in several cities in the North Caucasus, an initiative which caused a great controversy. “It was from this moment on that the order was given to undertake a preventive cleaning,” the newspaper said. In early April, The New York Times reported rumors of kidnappings of men aged 16 to 50 a few weeks ago in Chechnya, FranceInfo said.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "chechnya gay"

Members of the Russian LGBT network confirmed these persecutions and thus opened an emergency telephone line to help those who could need to be safe and run-away from the country. Currently, the Russian LGBT Network has 3 main aims:

• to evacuate people, whose lives are still in danger
• to attract as much attention to the cause as possible
• to collect the evidence about the mass homicide of homosexuals in Chechnya

According to R.Kadyrov, president of Chechnya, the existence of these prisons is absolutely impossible since there would be no homosexuals in Chechnya:

“You cannot stop or repress people who do not exist in the Republic. Homosexuality does not exist here,” he said.

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However, Human Rights Watch said in a statement that “the information published by Novaya Gazeta is consistent with the reports recently received by Human Rights Watch from many sources of trust, including sources in the country. Consistency of cases leave no doubt as to whether these events actually took place “.
Chechen homosexuals who fled to Moscow told AFP that they were beaten and detained “in a non-official prison”, and today live in awe of being identified and tracked by their families.

Five diplomatic leaders from European countries, including France and Germany, wrote to their Russian homologue Sergei Lavrov to express their “deep concern” over the fate of homosexuals in Chechnya in a letter dated 28 April.

“We call on the Russian government to use its influence on the regional authorities in Chechnya to immediately stop any persecution, to provide assistance to the victims and to bring the perpetrators to justice,” wrote Sigmar Gabriel, Boris Johnson, The Frenchman Jean-Marc Ayrault, the Dutchman Bert Koenders and the Swede Margot Wallstrom. As a matter of fact, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had already asked Vladimir Putin “to use his influence” so that homosexuals could be respected in Chechnya.

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "tchétchénie homosexuel"
Futhermore, NGOs call on all countries that recognize the rights of homosexuals to offer refuge to the persecuted Chechens. In Canada, LGBT rights groups are calling for emergency visas.

Shanel.

Empire: a new breath in the TV series industry

May 18, 2017

Today, I am going to talk to you about my favorite TV series at the moment, and as you can see in the title it is EMPIRE.

Empire is an American TV series created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong and broadcast since January 7th 2015 in the USA on the Fox network and abroad since September 2015. It is a drama and musical series, consequently it links singing, dancing and a main story with a real meaning all together in (for the moment) 3 seasons and 49 episodes (which last 42 min each). The catchy and bouncy songs are produced by the composer Fil Eisler and the famous producer Timbland and play a real role in the series as they create the atmosphere; an atmosphere of competition and fight that surround the performance of the actors. Morever, the series is set in several places ; in Chicago, New York City and in Philadelphia,USA. The location represents well the world of business, CBD, money and showdown that we can find in Empire.

Summary:

Lucious Lyon, an old hip hop star, has been for 20 years the CEO of his own compagny: Empire, a music label. He is now one of the richest American producers but his doctors announce him he has an uncurable disease. Consequently, Lucious doesn’t have a lot of time to appoint one of his sons at his succesion of Empire. If two of them are real artists and united, Jamal and Hakeem, the third one, Andre is an accomplished business man with a real desire of being the next CEO of the label. But everything gets complicated, as the mother of the 3 boys, Cookie comes back near her family after being 17 years in jail; indeed she has some scores to settle… So we discover all the adventures of the incredible family in the center of New York and its business traffic.

Cast:

  • Main actors:

Terrence Howard : Lucious Lyon               

Taraji P. Henson : Loretha, aka “Cookie” Lyon

Bryshere Y. Gray : Hakeem Lyon

Jussie Smolett : Jamal Lyon

Trai Byers : Andre Lyon

Grace Gealey : Anika Calhoun

Gabourey Sidibe: Becky Williams

Ta’Rhonda Jones: Porsha Taylor

Serayah McNeill : Tiana Brown

Kaitlin Doubleday: Rhonda Lyon

Bre-Z : Freda Gatz

Morocco Omari : Tariq

Xzibit : Leslie Jonhson, aka “Shyne”

Morever, for the dancing and singing parts of the series, some special guests are invited such as Naomi Campbell, Mariah Carey, Pitbull, Eva Longoria, Alicia Keys and more.

Empire received many nominations thanks to its success all around the world and the famous and incredible performance of the actors; for example they received some awards for Jussie Smollett and Taraji P. Henson for best actor at the BET Award 2015 and best actress in a drama series. Moreover, the series received the prize of the best Choice TV Show in the “Drama” category at The Teen Choice Award in 2015 and the prize of The Program of the Year by the Television Critics Association Award also in 2015.

Valentine

Big Little Lies

May 13, 2017

Big Little Lies is a new TV series released by HBO, the first episode was released on 19th February 2017. The program is starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shaileen Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz. Indeed, they all are famous and recognized actresses on the big screen.  The series was created by David E. Kelly, also recognized mainly for his movie Dallas Buyers Club. It’s a one season series, like an author series.

The series begins with the news that a murder was committed, but we don’t know  who the victim is or either who the murderer is. Then, we are introduced to the characters and the story through the interviews led by the police of all the inhabitants. But, all along the series, we are less held by the suspense than by the atmosphere we are immersed into.  It all happens in a small town by the sea where the tensions between people revolve around their children who are in first grade. The series is mostly about women, all different, and how they behave between each other, who they are or what they are going through.  We understand, right at the beginning, there is an opposition between women who have careers and housewives. In fact, it is complicated for both : women who have careers feel  they are blamed for it whereas housewives feel they are just limited to being mothers and feel a condescanding look from the careerists. We get to know the different  groups of friends and then we come into their personal lives, and we discover all the suffering they’re living through. Through the different characters, it depicts the violent aspects of our society and the place of women in this society.

Nicole Kidman’s character is a victim of domestic violence and she doesn’t  want to leave her husband because they love each other very much; her character is, I think, very realistic of  domestic violence, as she loves her husband, he is the perfect man, the perfect father and she is “so lucky to have him”, in the eyes of everyone. Shaileen Woodley plays a young single mother whose son’s father is her rapist. She raises him on her own and came in the town to start anew and maybe find her rapist to kill him. Moreover, her son is accused of bullying a girl of his class which emphasizes her fear that her son could be like his father. Reese Witherspoon embodies the character of a typical housewife, putting her nose in everyone’s business, running the benevole theatre of the city and all. She has to deal with her marriage and her teenager who is going away from her to be closer to her dad’s new wife (Zoe Kravitz). She also embodies the adulterer as she had an affair with another man, she really is the woman who’s dealing with her desirers, her faults, and her mother status. In a word, it’s a series about mothers, wives, women, workers, and how they manage to be all of this at the same time.

Yet, it also talks about men and what is their position next to their wives or ex-wives; it shows very well how, faced with a similar problem, the man and the woman are going to have different reactions, and how they treat each other in the marriage. Indeed, the series  questions the status of women and men in our society; it’s about the being and the appearance and who we expect women to be and what’s behind these expectations.

In my opinion, this series aims at representing life as it is, as everybody has his part of neurosis, and it is done very well because the aim is not to show strong or weak persons but just human beings who are both.  Through these characters, the message put across is that no one, no marriage, no life is perfect.

Céline

The 11.22.63 series

May 11, 2017

11/22/63 is an 8-episode TV show that aired from February 15 to April 4 2016 on the channel Hulu. This show is written by the famous Stephen King, a writer of horror, fantastic, science-fiction and crime novels, which were always successful and which helped King win several prizes. Moreover, the show is directed by the famous director and screenwriter J.J. Abrams. 11/22/63 is about Jake Epping, from Lisbon Falls in the state of Maine, who’s an English teacher in high school. The TV show was named after the day of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, because the whole plot of the series will revolve around this event.

The show’s cast is quite good in my opinion as the main character is played by James Franco, and the rest of the characters are portrayed by actors just as talented, Sarah Gordon, Chris Cooper, Daniel Webber and Josh Duhamel.

The series’s plot is quite special because Jake Epping, a recently divorced teacher from Maine, is presented the opportunity to go back in time. It’s a good friend of him who actually gave him this ability after he couldn’t use it anymore, because of the grave and irreversible effect it had on him. However, Jake can only go back to one specific date and place in the past, Dallas, Texas, in 1960. Jake’s friend Al Templeton manages to convince him to use the chance to go back in time in the goal of stopping  President  JFK ‘s assassination to happen in November 1963. Nonetheless, throughout Jake’s  traveling time, numerous difficulties will come in his way which could be his mission’s undoing.

In order  to accomplish his mission, Jake has to follow very precise instructions that his friend Al gave him. These instructions and pieces of advice will help the main character not to rise suspicion around his identity and so, lead his mission without being suspected of anything. For instance, Jake Epping has to become Jake Amberson as soon as he’s back in 1960, thanks to fake ID’s Al gave him. Jake also has to give up his 2016 belongings if he wants to blend in, that is why he throws his phone in the river and purchases new clothes, more appropriate for the 1960’s.

During his years back in the past, Epping meets different people, like Sadie Dunhill, with whom he’ll have a special relationship as they will both slowly fall in love. Nonetheless, he doesn’t only make beneficial encounters. Indeed, Jake will be led to meet people who’ll  want to harm him or even stop him from accomplishing his mission.  As a matter of fact, most of the hardships that the main character will have to deal with will be, as Al told him, the “past pushing back” because it doesn’t want to be altered and changed. That is why sometimes random characters will try to attack Jake, and why random catastrophes will happen to him.

In this series, as Jake Epping’s main goal is to stop the assassination of president JFK, his most important mission will be to follow and spy on the head of state’s well known assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. The latter is a former marine who had a rough childhood and who, growing up, finds more and more interest in Marxism and so, in communism, which is why he starts in his 20’s to have links and relationships with some high graded Soviets. Nevertheless, Oswald’s real motives for the assassination of the president are still very unclear to this day and many theories have been brought up to try to find an explanation and to give answers to the public opinion.

To conclude, 11/22/63 is a short TV series about the assassination of president JFK; it deals with this event with a historical aspect, but also adds its share of fiction, drama, action and romance, which is why I enjoyed watching the show from the start, to episode 8, the end. Moreover, as the cast is very well chosen and the actors perform their roles with such authenticity and sensibility, it is impossible for me, not to be caught by the storyline and the many plots. Finally, 11/22/63 is definitely a series to watch if you are fond of the 1960’s and everything it involves, whether it’s clothes, cars, way of living, but also if you like history and science-fiction.

Loane

9 of Influential and Inspiring Women

May 7, 2017

The place of women is often a subject under discussion. Nowadays, some women have finally achieved important jobs and positions and have become influential for the young generations.

 

Ø  Angela Merkel

  • German politician who is currently Chancellor of Germany. She is also the leader of the pricipal parti in Germany: Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
  • Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed Germany’s first woman Chancellor
  • At 61 years old, the German chancellor is the ” only political leader capable of tackling the economic and political issues of the Europeen Union” (said Forbes)
  • She received the Presidential Medal of Liberty of United States of America

Ø  Rosa Parks

  • Nicknamed the “First Lady of Civil Rights” by the American Congress, Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat on a bus to a white passenger.
  • Her action led to the Montgomery Boycott and other movements destined to put an end to the segregation.
  • To pay tribute to her, California and Ohio celebrate the Rosa Parks’ Day on February 4th (her birthday) and on December 1st (her arrest day).

Ø  Aung San Suu Kyi

  • She is one of the most important politicians of our Age.
  • Member of the party : National League for Democracy in Burma
  • Won the Presidential election in 1990 with 392 votes over 492.
  • she is placed under house arrest between 1989 and 2010 for political reasons
  • Received some Prices :

-Nobel Peace Price (1991)

– International Simon Bolivar Price (1992)

– Gold Medal of the Congress (2012)

Ø  Indira Gandhi

  • she is the only  Prime Minister woman in India’s History
  • Had an important leader role in the Pakistan War in 1971, which led to the creation of Bangladesh.

Ø  Marie Curie

  • Well-known for discovering the radium with her husband Pierre Curie.
  • First woman in History to receive the Nobel Prize of Physics in 1903 for her work on radioactivity.
  • Another Nobel Prize in 1911 but this time in chemistry for her works on polonium and radium.
  • She is also the first woman to have become professor at University, she taught in Paris at the end of her career.

Ø  Malala Yousafzai (Pakistani)

  • She’s the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, at 17 years old.
  • The young lady was seriously wounded at the head by the Talibans because she went to school.
  • Since her spectaculary recovery, Malala became the emblem to education access and to social emancipation of women.

Ø  Michelle Obama

  • First African-Americain first lady, “Mom in Chief”.
  • Graduated from Harvard and Princeton in Law Studies.
  • Campaigner against childhood obesity
  • Major figure for all Americans and women in the world
  • Fight for the access to education for all the young girls in the world with the association “Let’s Girls learn”

Ø  Rosie the Riveter

  • FACTORY WORKER
  • She symbolized women’s contribution to the war effort.
  • Real-life Rosies filled factory positions while men were away : the number of American working women grew by 50 percent in four years.
  • Proving that we, women, could excel at a “man’s job.”

Ø  Toni Morrison (novelist)

  • The first African American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature
  • Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Her enthralling books illuminate the mysteries of the human heart and take on the toughest issues.

Manon

The rise of populism in developed countries

May 4, 2017

This year a lot of presidential elections occurred and we can notice that populism rises a lot in the different votes. First of all, I will define the term “populism”.  We hear by “populism” the criticism of the elite (political, social…) and the fact of being as close as possible to the people. Moreover, populists are against all kinds of coalition such as the European Union. They are protectionist despite the context of globalization, they  focus on their own countries.

Populism rises for many reasons. First of all, people are afraid of the situation in the Arabic countries, thus they are also scared about terrorism and Islam.  Another explanation could be that some of them cannot bear the cleavage right/ left anymore. In France, with this second turn the desire to overcome this original cleavage, is obvious. In fact, this second turn confronts Emmanuel Macron, who is the former Minister of Economy and who has just created his “movement” (this is not a real party). He plays on the fact that he chose the good aspects of both right (capitalist) and left (socialist). And on the other hand Marine Le Pen who is an extreme right wing and who plays on fear and on patriotism.  She is in favor of closing the borders.

Some countries made the choice of populism: this is the case of the United States who elected Donald Trump who wants to create a wall between his state and Mexico in order to fight against migrants. However, populists are not necessarily from the extreme right. Melenchon, for instance, is at the extreme left of the political chessboard. He doesn’t want to close the borders or to leave the European Union (even if he wants to modify it) but he expresses his desire to leave NATO.

Even though  populism rises, in some European countries it didn’t pass ; for example, in the Netherlands Geert Wilders (who is against islam) failed against Mark Rutte who comes from the right liberals. In addition, in Austria, the presidential elections were very fierce and though the scores were very close, populism finally didn’t win.

Currently, being a populist is no longer seen as shameful. Thus, in France people who voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen used to hide it because it was not well perceived.  But since Marine Le Pen succeeded in changing the image of this party (FN), she is not seen as a racist anymore. Indeed, she  wants to be considered as the “candidate of the people”.

Consequently, we will see in a few days if populism wins in France or not.

Maya