sábado, 22 de noviembre de 2014

The people and events that shaped our world



A global poll commissioned by the British Council of the greatest moments, discoveries and people of the past eight decades throws up some cultural surprises – the invention of the instant noodle – and a clear winner.

(To read the article click HERE)


THE TOP 20

1 The invention of the world wide web, 1989.
2 Discovery of a method to mass produce penicillin, 1943.
3 The widespread availability of home computers, 1980s
4 The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.
5 The attacks of 11 September 2001 on New York and Washington DC and the emergence of terrorism as a major international phenomenon.
6 The rise in global awareness of the importance of environmental conservation.
7 The influence of Nelson Mandela on South African and international politics and society, 1918 - 2013.
8 The breakup of the Soviet Union, 1991.
9 The invention and explosion of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945.
10 Greater equality for women in many parts of the world.
11 The spread of English as a global language.
12 The growth of social media.
13 Satellite technology and its impact.
14 The Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe, 1941-45.
15 The development and widespread adoption of the mobile phone.
16 Completion of the Human Genome Project, which mapped the genetic structure of the human body, 2001.
17 Deng Xiaoping’s “open door” policy, which started the economic transformation of China in 1978.
18 Hitler’s invasion of Poland, marking the beginning of the second world war, 1939.
19 The development of nuclear energy.
20 The work and influence of the physicist Albert Einstein, 1879- 1955.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/22/80-landmarks-in-80-years-that-shaped-our-world


jueves, 6 de noviembre de 2014

POEM: HURRICAN HITS ENGLAND

Some groups are dealing with natural disasters. That brought to my mind a beautiful poem written by Grace Nichols. I found this comment on the internet about the poem:


Grace Nichols was born in Guyana in 1950 but came to live in England in 1977.   At first – like Alvi and Bhatt – she felt uncomfortable with English culture, but later she was reconciled to living in England and now feels comfortable in both England AND the Caribbean.  

In its content, the poem tells of the time when Nichols was kept awake during the ‘hurricane’ that hit England in 1987.   The poem begins by describing how the storm reminded her of the great hurricanes of her childhood in the Caribbean – e.g. ‘Hattie’ – and the wind and storm gods – ‘Hurracan’, and ‘Oya’ and ‘Shango’ – that the people of Caribbean believed caused them Nichols then raises a succession of questions – why have the hurricane-gods come to England?   What is the meaning of it?   ‘Why is my heart unchained?’Finally, she welcomes the hurricane gods, and decides that they have come to let her know that they are here in England as much as they ever were at home in the Caribbean, and ‘the earth is the earth’ wherever you live.


Click HERE to see the source.

Click HERE to listen to the poem read by the author



Hurricane Hits England – Grace Nichols


It took a hurricane, to bring her closer
To the landscape
Half the night she lay awake,
The howling ship of the wind
Its gathering rage,
Like some dark ancestral spectre,
Fearful and reassuring:

Talk to me Huracan
Talk to me Oya
Talk to me Shango
And Hattie,
My sweeping, back-home cousin.

Tell me why you visit.
An English coast?
What is the meaning
Of old tongues
Reaping havoc
In new places?

The blinding illumination,
Even as you short-
Circuit us
Into further darkness?

What is the meaning of trees
Falling heavy as whales
Their crusted roots
Their cratered graves?

O Why is my heart unchained?

Tropical Oya of the Weather,
I am aligning myself to you,
I am following the movement of your winds,
I am riding the mystery of your storm.

Ah, sweet mystery;
Come to break the frozen lake in me,
Shaking the foundations of the very trees within me,
That the earth is the earth is the earth.