14-18 Musical spektakel te Mechelen

De spektakel-musical 14-18, de grootste productie ooit voor Studio 100 kon in voorverkoop reeds een 110.000 tickets aan de man brengen. Het is niet snel gezien in België dat mensen aanschuiven in de rij om naar het theater te gaan, maar voor dit spektakel hadden velen het wel voor over.

Drie jaar geleden, met de honderdste verjaardag van de Eerste Wereldoorlog dichterbij komende, ging Frank Van Laecke naar Gert Verhulst van Studio 100 (can de kinder producties  en Plopsa pretparken) om ideeën te stuiteren voor een groots project. Verhulst werd onmiddellijk omarmd door Van Laecke zijn plan om “het grote en epische” te voorschijn te toveren in een musical spektakel, waarbij zij het idee wensten te geven dat de toeschouwer midden in de gebeurtenissen zit. Zij wensten dat het landschap kon bewegen in zulke mate dat het publiek de indruk zou hebben dat zij deel uitmaken van een live filmset.

De Belgische componist en dirigent Dirk Brossé, die niet vies is om theater en filmmuziek te componeren kon in dit project ook zijn voorkeur om gevoelens in muziek weer te geven goed waar maken.  Vandaag is hij ook in de focus voor  de Consonant Classical Challenge.

Hij is veel meer een tonale componist, en iemand die niet bang is van emotie en een muzikale diversiteit durft  te brengen die diep ontroerend kan zijn en die kan doen beklijven.

Het was vrijdagvoormiddag op de koppen lopen aan het kantoor van UiT in Mechelen. De Mechelaar stroomde massaal toe om tickets aan halve prijs te bemachtigen voor de avant-première van de musical ’14-18′ in de Nekkerhal, een productie van Studio100 en één van de grootste musicalproducties ooit in Vlaanderen. Dat leidde sinds de vroege uurtjes in die ochtend tot een lange file van geïnteresseerden langs de gevel van het stadhuis tot aan de Befferstraat.

Voor de avant-première op 17 april 2014 kregen de Mechelaars de eerste kans en zij leken deze gretig te willen grijpen.

De repetities voor de première op zondag 20 april lopen volop. Voorzeker zal deze musical vele harten kunnen prikkelen met haar verhaal van liefde, gemis, familie en vriendschap tegen de achtergrond van het monster van Wereldoorlog I (1914-1918). Voor deze musical werden kosten noch moeite gespaard: het podium zal maar liefst twee voetbalvelden groot zijn. Doordat de tribune met 1800 zitplaatsen 150 meter naar voor en naar achter kan schuiven, zal je als toeschouwer kunnen in- en uitzoomen op het spektakel dat een prijskaartje heeft van een €9 miljoen.

Het is geen kleine opdracht dat het team is aangegaan om een beeld te vormen van wat het effect kan zijn van zo’n grote, alles verwoestende oorlogsmachine op gewone jonge mensen die eigenlijk niet weten waar ze in stappen.

Tegen de achtergrond van het monster van de Grote Oorlog wordt met een verplaatsbare  tribune een indrukwekkende scène met een speelvlak van 2 voetbalvelden een entourage gebracht waarbij het publiek in die velden van toen kan gebracht worden.  Alles draait rond beweging. De tribune kan een afstand afleggen van een halve meter per seconde. Door de beweegbare opstelling kun je inzoomen op intieme momenten en uitzoomen bij vergezichten.

Kortom, een ervaring die je als kijker niet onberoerd zal laten!

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Lees meer in: Find more about this musical: A good team to guaranty a musical about the First World War

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nekkerhal in opbouw voor musical 14 18

Vind:

Spektakel-Musical 14-18

Mechelaars in de rij voor avant-première musical 14-18

Nekkerhal in opbouw voor musical 14-18

Vanaf  20 April in de Nekkerhal
Nekkerspoel-Borcht 9999, Mechelen
www.1418.nu

Studio 100 Spektakel-Musical 14-18

CAST

Jelle Cleymans = Jan
Jonas Van Geel = Fons
Bert Verbeke = Albert
Lander Depoortere = Kamiel

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A good team to guaranty a musical about the First World War

Director Frank Van Laecke has proven to be at home in the market of entertainment. He has directed musical, theatre and opera productions.

This year we are remembering 100 years of something which can not easily be called a ‘theatre of life”, but has brought many theatrical moments in many people their life. Television series have come to light, but with a €9 million budget Van Laecke wanted to bring the concept of musicals to another level and bringing history to life on the stage.

Dirk Brossé

Dirk Brossé (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the major success of the Daens musical, which attracted 220,000 spectators over 2008 and 2009, Van Laecke was eager to work with the same team for this production: composer Dirk Brossé, songwriter Allard Blom and the Studio 100 duo Gert Verhulst and Hans Bourlon.

Three years ago, with the centenary of the First World War creeping closer, Van Laecke went to Gert Verhulst of Studio 100 (with children productions and Plopsa Land adventure parks) to bounce ideas off of. Verhulst immediately embraced Van Laecke’s plan to “make it big and epic”, the director remembers.

“Pretty soon, we wanted to go for seating and scenery that could move, to give the audience the impression that they were part of a live film set.”

The cast and crew come from across Europe and represent one of the few factors not controlled by computers in this hybrid spectacle.

In Mechelen they found  enormous stage, moveable seating and large, remote controlled set pieces, to set up 14-18, the Studio 100 musical about the First World War, not being shy about wanting to outdo its general entertainment competitors.

Already two weeks before opening night, 14-18 managed to get 110,000 tickets sold.

“The show,” continues Van Laecke,” is not a history lesson.”

“We’re not a school, or a book. We will focus on the lives, the dreams and the ambitions of a bunch of young people, suddenly confronted with war and its impact on those very same dreams and ambitions.”

With such an ambitious project spectators and critics would go and compare it with what they know for history, from their grandparents and family members who were closely connected to the horror that came over Belgium.
We can imagine the director being aware of it and trying to avoid to much negative criticism of research eyes, went through history books and spent months talking to experts, watching documentaries, scrutinising photos and reading books and letters.

Somebody not respect the historical details as much as possible could endanger any director tackling this historical event at a time when many of the entertainment industry (theatre, film, television) would make use to get a little bit of the cake.

“It was through reading the letters from soldiers and the answers from their friends and family that I got closer to the human story I wanted to tell,” Van Laecke says.

“It’s always my ambition to tell stories people are moved by. Storytelling is the foundation of this rollercoaster of emotions. We all know what it means to miss someone. But it’s not only a story about hardship. There is love, unconditional friendship and the compelling human ability to rise up from catastrophe.”

The historical accuracy of the story is carefully monitored. Apart from the war atrocities, profound human feelings are also covered in the story, clearly showing the impact of war on human interactions.

Van Laecke’s desire to tell moving stories also posed a challenge to the musical’s cast and crew. How to keep it human. How would they make this massive set, with actors and audiences separated by large distances, feel personal?

Veteran Flemish TV and stage actor Jo De Meyere, who plays a general in the musical, was worried about that, too. He recently told the director that he usually becomes anxious when the scenery overwhelms the actors.

“But he immediately added that there’s no reason to worry with me around,”

Van Laecke says proudly.

“Everyone knows it’s not an intimate play. It’s a spectacle; the music replaces the close-up of a camera here. Dirk’s symphonic score gives you a peek inside a character, generating the same basic emotion.”

Belgian composer and conductor Dirk Brossé, who is the focus of this instalment of the Consonant Classical Challenge, uses his music to underscore the deep human feelings on the one hand and the horrors of war on the other. He is very much a tonal composer, and one who’s not afraid of emotion and dares to create a musical diversity that may be deeply touching and that lingers on till long after the performance has ended.

Van Laecke and Brossé have been friends and creative partners for almost 25 years.

“We don’t need words to understand each other,” says Van Laecke.

The 14-18 musical will also be performed in an English-language version during its run at Nekkerhal, and Van Laecke travelled to London to cast actors for this one show.

As a former opera and theatre director, he doesn’t want to compare the present tour de force with musicals such as Grease, which he describes as “enjoyable but one-dimensional entertainment.” No, Van Laecke, whose next project will be Verdi’s La Traviata, mentions Puccini as a model.

“He wrote the same sort of music, he tells the same multi-layered stories. I’m not so pretentious as to say we’re breaking new ground, but we are taking the concept of musicals to another level here.”

The musical tells the story of Jan, who is now a father, needs to see his son and wife Anna when he and his friends come to see that  the hostilities will not be short-lived as first thought. Many first thought it would never come to a war and when the Germans invaded Belgium they thought it would only be for a short passage. But the conflict not only drags on much longer, it is also more barbaric than could ever be imagined.

The Great War brings horrible thing we can see from the eyes of the loyal band of friends consisting of Jan, his younger brother Kamiel, his best friend Fons and macho avant la lettre Albert.

Albert longs for his sweethearts while Kamiel – quaking with fear at any form of violence – tries desperately to escape the situation, Fons is smitten with Celine, a pretty nurse.

The show wants to let the public feel the agony of the people and their heroic battle for survival.
It is the ultimate struggle against the insane violence and the war machine, with humour, hope and – above all – love and unconditional friendship as its weapons of choice.

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From 20 April
English show on 22 May
Nekkerhal
Nekkerspoel-Borcht 9999, Mechelen
www.1418.nu

Studio 100 Spektakel-Musical 14-18

CAST

Jelle Cleymans = Jan
Jonas Van Geel = Fons
Bert Verbeke = Albert
Lander Depoortere = Kamiel

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Array.item

Nekkerhal, Mechelen

 

 

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A new voice calling for peace

Step

Step (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

For three of my other sites I wanted to have some other voices than my own ideas. On my lifestyle magazine Stepping Toes I wanted to have other writers to have their say as well. But some did not want to contribute on a regular basis or did not have an own site and did not want to create one or start an account by Word Press.

Image representing WordPress as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

For that reason I started a club of writers who could contribute on one of my other blogs or sites, under their name, but could be found  under a separate space or name. By creating”guestpeakers” and a site “From Guestwriters”, they could place articles on Stepping Toes and could select some interesting writings from the internet and place them together, so that people could find a selection of writings under one roof. Readers could find all the different writers then under the name”guest-speaker”.

You could call my new site I wanted to present to the public: a ‘readers digest‘ .

Readers Digest New Logo

Readers Digest New Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2014, March the 26th the website “From Guestwriters” was created and on the 27th our welcome word went into the world. (Guestwriters for you +Welcome to “From guestwriters”)

I would love to give, and find interested writers and photographers, the opportunity to have an other place next to their own blog, where they can present themselves and present some interesting reading or pictorial material which could not find a place directly on their own website.

Whilst on Stepping Toes the focus lies on the way we live and what we do in our world and why we should do certain things, more form a Christadelphian point of view, “From Guestwriters” wants to look at the world, also from a spiritual view perhaps, but not as such from a Christadelphian or religious point of view. Focus will be more on what each individual, believer or not in a Supreme Being, would like to be able to do, to bring more good tidings in this world.

For You (The Calling song)

For You (The Calling song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I would love to see that there would be presented some Good News and that we can show others how beautiful this world well can be. I would love to get several authors from several cultures together on one site presenting different views, showing the world though we might be very different, that we can be united together in a peaceful atmosphere, and can help with joined forces to create a better place to live in, for all of us.

I would appreciate it if you would like to have a look at my new site and would welcome all readers to join us. I invite every joyful creative person, and will be looking forward to find more interested people who would like to contribute with peaceful words or pictures.

English: The logo of the blogging software Wor...

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

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Duo Paradise Le plus grand Cabaret du Monde

A nice table dance:

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Michael Smuin and Intended broad appeal

In Belgium we had a lady who knew that it was better to reach many people and give them enjoyment with movement.  {Read about her (Jeanne Brabants) in the obituary for 2014: “Having a responsibility to the public” at the end of this year (2014) or beginning 2015} With her performances she intended broad appeal.

The American brothers Harold, Lew and William Christensen had also a flair of creating choreographies but also dancers who would appeal to all sorts of folks. One of their pupils, William took in his companies, would also continue in the tradition of trying to reach a wide public, but this time not only with classics but by “striking a happy medium between contemporary ballets, in-house choreography and the ‘outside classics.”

Born in 1938, he got more likeness to the World War II and boom children generation, being vivid, full of energy and ebullient, not afraid to try new things out and to go in against mainstreams and governors.
Perhaps like most of us at the after war period, we were looking to go new ways and to break with traditional grounds, also sometimes disappointed with the establishment and thinking we could give a voice on the stage.

SophisticatedLadies.JPG

Original Poster of the musical revue based on the music of Duke Ellington: “Sophisticated Ladies” (1981) conceived by Donald McKayle, directed by Michael Smuin.

Works like “Vivaldi Concerto” and “Symphony in Jazz” inspired us, while “Shubertiade” found its regular way, but astonishing with the marvellous dancers of the Alvin Aily Dance Theatre. [If I remember right, one of my teachers, Judith Jamison her works, later, where not so much appreciated by the board of the San Francisco Ballet.]. I can imagine Michael Smuin having lots of grey hairs trying to convince the board of governors of the San Francisco Ballet the public had moved on and wanted a variety of productions.

In Belgium Jeanne Brabants was her time behead, presenting all sorts of ballets in one national company.

In the States a power struggle concerning the repertoire led to Smuin’s dismissal from the San Francisco Ballet post. Strangely enough Christensen went together with the ballet’s chief executive, Richard E. LeBlond Jr., wanting a more classical approach.

SmuinBallet2

SmuinBallet2 (Photo credit: The City of Temecula)

I am convinced that what Michael Suin tried to do, to “strike a happy medium between contemporary ballets, in-house choreography and the ‘outside classics,’ ”  was the good choice and could enliven the theatre. In several regions the boards of the companies where keeping on to old traditions and did not seem to give in into the different tastes of the younger public. Receiving money from the community they often did not want to come to grasp that they had the responsibility to offer something for the whole community.

Smuin was aware he could only live and do his job by the contributing community to whom he had a responsibility. He felt an obligation, first and foremost, to the audience.

“I never thought of it as my company because the title is the San Francisco Ballet,”

said Smuin in 1994.

“That means you have a responsibility to the people, including the little ladies who come and it soothes them. It was balanced musically, intellectually and theatrically.”

Today we may have gone to the opposite in some countries. In Belgium in the 1980ies we saw already that change to bring only the new and abolishing the traditional and classic. From one site several companies went totally to the opposite, and that again was and is totally wrong.

smuin ballet

smuin ballet (Photo credit: ellyjonez)

Smuin has certainly not gone unappreciated. The same year that he was fired from the San Francisco Ballet, he won a pair of Emmys for the PBS version of the San Francisco Ballet production of “A Song for Dead Warriors” which was also taken into the repertoire of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

What is so good about Michael Smuin was that he could bring an acceptable mix with a convincable personal touch. He did not seem to look just for a new movement to create or have something new or to be trendy. As a dancer choreographer myself, I liked  how much he could get out of a dancer and let him or her shine. He also did not mind to bring ‘criticism’ by movement. Some may call it being ” daring, bold and provocative”, but he seemed to get his ideas across the curtain. Sometimes his ballets might have been over ambitious, trying to put too much in one ballet or tackling a literary masterwork to the square box of imagination, whilst he still had to work in a time of lesser technical means than today, and crimping budgets.

Such people who dare to go in against boards or standard traditions the world of theatre needs.

He sees his mission as the preservation of ballet through unorthodox means.

“Ballet really lives on new and interesting work,”

said Smuin.

“Classical ballet is a tool to do a lot of different things. It’s up to small companies, more modern companies (to innovate).”

And he believes such innovation is more necessary now than ever. Men and women, who do want to give something else than the mainstream, is what the world of dance needs.

“The invasion of the corporate world has had a good and bad effect on ballet, opera and the arts in general,”

said Smuin.

“Every town has a McDonald’s and every town has a ballet company and it all looks the same. The idea of diversity is killed.”

It is not because we should try to get a broad appeal that we do need to have the “bigMac” balletburger. Variation and interesting diversity with full imagination has to be offered to the public, not with some pas de deux or trio’s put one oafter the other, but also having multiple dancers moving around in inspiring movements.

Not only the masses have to be pleased. Everybody may have something at his taste, but the whole has to be bringing all spectators in an other world they are living in daily. Theatre-dance still has to bring the public into other worlds. If it can not do that, sorry, I do find it did not succeed. Ballet, being it classical or modern dance has to cast a spell on the public.

Smuin collapsed and died of a heart attack, in 2007, while teaching company class in San Francisco. His death did not mean his ideas woudl have died out with him. Since this charismatic leader’s sudden passing in 2007, Smuin Ballet has continued to thrive, to prosper, to grow. While still following the path carved by Smuin, his muse Celia Fushille became Artistic and Executive Director and led the company into striking new territory. She believes dancers need new and challenging choreography in order to grow artistically. With her finger on the pulse of what’s hot in the international dance world, she is ever on the lookout for works that challenge. She has alloyed her vision with Michael’s to build Smuin into one of Northern California’s leading performing arts organizations, performing some 70 shows during their regular season in their home venues in San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Mountain View, and Carmel. They also often appear on the boards of New York City’s Joyce Theater, tour in Michael’s home state of Montana, and perform elsewhere in California, across the country, and in Europe.

On March the 7th, 20 years ago the founder and fearless leader Michael Smuin, rounded up a group of ten dancers and choreographed a fundraiser that took place at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Needless to say, “Dances With Songs” was a huge success with sold out performances and he launched a lasting legacy for future generations of ballet lovers!

This 20th Anniversary marks a pinnacle moment in the history of Smuin Ballet!

Terez Dean & Eduardo Permuy in Jirí Kylián’s Return to a strange land Photo Keith Sutter

Terez Dean & Eduardo Permuy in Jirí Kylián’s “Return to a strange land” – Photo Keith Sutter

On, the 23rd of March 2014 there was the last performance of XXTREMES, with three exhilarating works, by Jiří Kylián, Amy Seiwert, and Michael Smuin, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in the afternoon.

The dancers found it (as always), a wonderful performance and they are excited to be back in May with their XXCENTRIC program! #Smuin20th

CarminaEgg

 Allison Jay with the men of the company in
Michael Smuin’s “Carmina Burana”.

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Please do find:

  1. Surprising Facts About Smuin Ballet You Might Not Know!
  2. Smuin ballet organisation xxtremes
  3. XXTRAVAGANZA – 20 Years of Smuin Magic!
  4. Amy Seiwert reflects on her ballet “Dear Miss Cline”
  5. He’s Always Moving : Michael Smuin has done ballet, Broadway, movies, TV and a little bit of everything in between. Now he’s bringing his 10-member ballet company to L.A. for its first appearance outside San Francisco. Get ready to experience a little guerrilla ballet.
  6. Helen Pickett, Choreographer – Part One
  7. From real life cowgirl to onstage Rodeo – get to know Erica Chipp

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Discussion about Democracy

Democracy was supposed to be the most successful political idea of the 20th century. What did people expect from it? Why has it run into trouble?

When I look at the world today, I may see several countries which call themselves “Democratic” but where I do notice a lot of things which are totally against the rules and ideas of democracy. Belgium is one of the better examples of what is not really a democratic country, though many believe so, or want others to believe so.

Join The Economist on March 28th from 3pm GMT / 11am EDT for a live discussion with Adrian Wooldridge, the editor of their recent essay on democracy.

Pose questions and follow the discussion when it starts via Twitter using #askeconomist

Posted in News and Politics, Thoughts of others, World | Tagged , | 4 Comments

A Plan spoken of in long past times

Reto: Alegría. Crimea - Yalta

Reto: Alegría. Crimea – Yalta (Photo credit: CARLOS DUCLOS – alsurdeunhorizonte.com -)

From the Ukraine political crisis in November 2013, after Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the European Union in favour of closer ties with Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin could chat up the Crimean population and making them very happy, nearly full of furore, on March 21, when he signed into law documents that officially made the Black Sea Peninsula part of the Russian territory despite condemnation from the West and the new Ukrainian government.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denma...

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark, captured during the session ‘Europe’s Purpose’ at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 26, 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This got Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen warning the West that Crimea could be the beginning of a wider military campaign, amid Russia’s veiled threats against EU and Nato member Estonia.
He told the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington, on Wednesday (19 March):

“I see Crimea as an element in a greater pattern, in a more long-term Russian, or at least [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin, strategy. So of course our major concern now is whether he will go beyond Crimea.”

He wanted to have the West to understand that this crisis is not just about Ukraine.

We see what could be called ‘21st century revisionism’: Attempts to turn back the clock; to draw new dividing lines on the map; to monopolise markets; shuffle populations.”

Many may have thought that the USSR might have long forgotten, but it always kept slumbering. those who laughed at the early Christadelphian writers, when the Soviet Union fell into pieces, forgot that the early Christadelphian writers themselves never claimed to be prophets, nor to bring prophesies when they gave their own personal impression. But when looking at the prophesies made in the Holy Scriptures, they believed in them and perhaps may have placed them in the wrong imperialistic context. But we should recognise that some of their writings were not so stupid as many might think.

KAZAN. Sabantui, a Tatar festival.

Putin. Kazan. Sabantui, a Tatar festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we look at Putin who wants to redraw maps, turn the clock back, we might think again of words written in the very old books of books where we also can find “I will return thee”. Also when Putin challenges the “uni polar world” we might think again of the bible writing”one world superpower”  and consider a “multi polar world”. This is Putin language meaning two superpowers.

The NATO chief says this is Putin’s Strategy.

It is Putin’s Plan.

Amazingly this is exactly what the Bible says Putin will do. He will create a Plan. In Ezekiel 38 verse 10 we read that Gog (Russian leader) thinks an evil thought. This can be translated as “thou shalt devise an evil plan.” The word “thought” in the AV means “a plan” or “strategy”.
Putin’s evil strategy and plan was thought of in advance. It has only just begun….

“9 “You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you.” 10 ’Thus says the Lord GOD, “It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil plan,” (Ezekiel 38:9-10 NAS95)

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Preceding articles:

  1. Mother of Ukraine or Crimea
  2. Ukrainians should be free to shape the future of their country
  3. Battling Borshct in Ukraine
  4. When Crimean people made their choice

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Please do find also:

  1. Are you being swept along by the world
  2. Why can’t Bible scholars agree on how to interpret the Bible?
  3. Russian take-over of Crimea
  4. Together tasting a great promisse
  5. Swallowing up Crimea, who is next
  6. How do we know the coming of Jesus is very near?
  7. Quibbling siblings united or allied children of an organisation or a church
  8. To whom do we want to be enslaved

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Crimea votes overwhelmingly to join Russia

Marcus Ampe:

By trying to intervene more than necessary, Europe and the United States could make the situation worse. The West should recognise that the Northern part of Ukraine showed it alliance preference to the West but that the developments in Kiev suited Russia down to the ground to fuel the emotional connection with the Russian ancestors.

The region is very large and could easily be split in two or even in three. It would be more importation to get those regions independent but willing to work together. Some may not let an opportunity slip by when Tyagnibok, chief of the ultra-nationalistic association Svoboda, and his accomplices would succeed in splitting Ukraine in two, that others can easily join the part of Ukraine extending from the left bank of the Dnepr River, Crimea, Odessa and Nikolaev regions to Russia. The wind of history may “blows them good”, and Christians should look in their Holy Books, what is written about the situation coming closer to the end times and how the North shall come down to the South. Why should we try to work against the prophesies made in the Bible?

The self-defence militias in Crimea say their aim is to safeguard public order and prevent “provocations”.

They and the West should be looking more carefully for the threat of “fascism” which is their buzzword, but not so innocent as it may seem.
The West also should learn its lesson, seeing the dangers what can come over them when more people also shall come to recognise how governments misused the population and used the taxes to enrich themselves. The previous man in charge may have fled to Russia after he ruined the country, but people do not seem to see the alliance he has with the same comrade. eyes of people are often blinded by lots of promises. Those who can see beyond the fog-curtain better show those citizens what is really behind that curtain, without willing to press their power onto them.

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Please have a look at the video: Swallowing up Crimea, who is next

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Originally posted on The Ukrainian Times:

By Vladimir V. Sytin
The Ukrainian Times

Victory! The State Duma, Russia’s parliament, ratified the treaty on admission of Crimea to the Russian Federation after the March 16 overwhelming vote of more than 96% of the peninsula’s population in favor of secession from Ukraine and joining Russia. At the same time, a recent opinion poll shows that 91% of citizens of Russia approve of the reunification of Crimea with their country.

On the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev government officials are going to invest 88 billion rubles
in the Crimean economy. The Russian ruble has become official currency in Crimea while the Ukrainian grivna will be in circulation until January 1, 2016.

Commenting on the referendum in Crimea, several tweeters wrote: “Mr. Putin is doing just right thing to protect Crimea from militants. The Ukraine’s so-called PM talks like a terrorist”, “Conveniently, the Ukrainian…

View original 59 more words

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When Crimean people made their choice

English: Crimean Tatars in Crimea per cent acc...

Crimean Tatars in Crimea per cent according to Ukrainian Census 2001 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In January Jacek Krawczyk, President of the EESC Employers Group, said he thought that the European Economic and Social Committee must stand up for the rights of citizens whenever they are violated, especially when this happens through police brutality. He was pleased to see the European Parliament’s statement on Ukraine and he would have liked to see a similar resolution adopted by the EESC. These political signals are very  important for people protesting in Kiev, enduring the bitter, freezing cold.

The Employers Group had already published a statement concerning the situation in Ukraine in December last year. They had condemned the violence used by the authorities to suppress peaceful demonstrations by people expressing their disagreement with the Ukrainian leadership’s decision to turn away from a pro-European path. Members of the Employers Group were also robust in their condemnation of the pressure exerted on Ukraine’s leaders not to sign the association agreement with the EU.

Should Europe and the United States now not come to see what the majority of the Crimea wanted. Would it not be a democratic process when most of those who went to vote said they wanted something, that it would be granted also if others do not like it. the West may not like it that the Crimean citizens gave their voice to the dictator Putin. In case they are lured in a wrong vote, would we not consider it their own free choice and their own ‘stupidity’ when it proved to be wrong. But who is going to tell the people made a wrong choice?

Head of the Crimean State Council Vladimir Konstantinov does not seem to be worried. He told journalists on Thursday that relations between Crimea and Ukraine will resume some day.

“These relations will certainly normalize sooner or later,”

he said.

“Life goes on. We have business and economy. We have high season ahead. A rich harvest has been gathered and this will be a great tragedy for them if they fail to get here.”

I also think the West is more afraid than  it should be. It may not get the paranoid reaction like the Ameericans seem to get more and more? Look what is happening in Den Haag and Belgium these days for the visit of Obama. Holland and Belgium like fortresses where roads are totally blocked for the citizens because president Obama is going to pass there. Even when there would be people who would like to show their support to Obama, they are not allowed to greet or see him.

For the Ukraine and Crimea the West may not forget that they have more mutual interests than differences. On the one hand we always shall have politics, but on the other hand we shall always have the stronger cultural and emotional connection. To have everything going smoothly between the different groups or nationalities, it is more important that there can be build a constructive dialogue. That can only happen when Ukraine has an adequate government.

“Today, many experts believe that they are just helping us, doing everything possible to make us more convinced than before, of the necessity of the reunification,”

Vladimir Konstantinov said.

“But I am absolutely sure that our relations will start normalizing eventually,”

he said, adding that there should be no negative attitude towards people of Ukraine.

People could have brought out their vote in the South. The East would also like to have a referendum. Why not grant the people a voice? Why should Europe be so afraid that those people chose for Russia, and connect with their ancestors? In case Europe would concentrate more on working together and offering more possibilities to have better trade accords and commercial activity, it would be able to gain more.

An association agreement would open the way for Ukraine to develop its democracy, good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights. It would also help to build a strong economy based on a free, transparent and open market with high European standards, which would secure a better life for Ukrainians.

English: Crimean beach is full of people.

Crimean beach is full of people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Europe and the United States should consider it a well enough sign when more than 20,000 residents of the Republic of Crimea have made applications to receive Russian passports.

Russia’s Federal Migration Service hopes to issue passports to Crimean residents within three months, deputy head of the Federal Migration Service (FMS) Sergei Kalyuzhnyi said on Monday:

“As of today 5,500 passports have been completed, the Head of the Russian Federal Migration Service Konstantin Romodanovsky said.

Ukrainian language and Ukrainians with their n...

Ukrainian language and Ukrainians with their neighbours in the early 20th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Census returns showed more than two million people living in Crimea,

Kalyuzhnyi said, adding

“Much work should be done because it is not easy to generate such a number of documents. We’ve started the work and we’ll end it in due time.”

“Many people wish for Russian passports and of course there are queues. People want them as soon as possible,”

he said, noting that about 20,000 Crimean residents were located in various Russian regions.

“They have no need to go to Crimea to receive the passport. They can get it in any FMS office”, he noted.

“The task is difficult and much should be done,” he said, adding “The key point is to receive an application from a citizen to make him to feel calm.”

It is interesting to note also that:

“No Crimeans have given up Russian citizenship yet,”

Romodanovsky said.

Sunset in Crimea

Sunset in Crimea (Photo credit: BiLK_Thorn)

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International Day of Happiness!

We may witness many countries going beyond the rhetoric of quality of life to incorporate practical measures to promote twin concepts of happiness and well-being in their legislation and policy-making.  These good practices can inspire other countries so that measuring and accounting for broader well-being, and not simply national income, becomes a universal practice.

“Happiness is neither a frivolity nor a luxury.  It is a deep-seated yearning shared by all members of the human family.  It should be denied to no-one and available to all.  This aspiration is implicit in the pledge of the United Nations Charter to promote peace, justice, human rights, social progress and improved standards of life,”

said Ban Ki-moon in his Message for the International Day of Happiness, 20 March 2014

The Day of Happiness campaign is a global celebration to mark the UN International Day of Happiness. It is coordinated by Action for Happiness, a non-profit movement of people from over 140 countries and supported by a partnership of like-minded organisations.

English: "Gross National Happiness is mor...

“Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product” by Jigme Singye Wangchuck, king of Bhutan. Slogan on a wall in Thimphu’s School of Traditional Arts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Speaking at the High Level Meeting on “Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” convened during the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the world “needs a new economic paradigm that recognizes the parity between the three pillars of sustainable development. Social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”  The meeting was convened at an initiative of Bhutan, a country which recognized the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.

Today we can think about setting our mind on the right track, putting the negatives away and bringing gratitude to mind. We can take some extra time to meditate, bringing our body and soul (our being itself with its breath) in unison. (Please do take some time to feel yourself breathing. Watch your breath go in and out for some minutes a day and feel your tummy going up and down.)

Today you might consider it the moment to get started or not to stand still, but to engage in a random, conscious act of kindness. Why not taking some time today to write a positive email or phoning somebody to thank him or her or to give a compliment?

Make today a moment for happiness for yourself but also for those around you.

The First day of Spring ..  Happy “Internation...

The First day of Spring .. Happy “International Day of Happiness” to you (Photo credit: Nick Kenrick .)

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Colorful People

Be happy and join with each other everywhere in the world in peace

bloggers-for-piece-badgeYou may join movements for bringing peace and happiness.

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Please do find:

  1. Day of happiness – context
  2. Action for happiness organisation
  3. Secretary-General’s Message for 2014
  4. The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal
  5. Slideshow Photos Happinessday
  6. Happy International Happiness Day!
  7. Have a real happy day today!
  8. Leaving the Old World to find better pastures
  9. If you want to go far in life
  10. Live …
  11. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  12. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness
  13. By counting our blessings we not only feel good, but we multiply our good
  14. Spreading good cheer contagious
  15. Bringing Good News into the world
  16. Bringing Good News
  17. Proclaiming shalom, bringing good news of good things, announcing salvation
  18. A Small Act Of Kindness Can Bring Smile On Million Faces
  19. Make your happiness independent of circumstances and others.
  20. Show Them How..
  21. Finally Happy.
  22. How shall the film of your life be?
  23. Rest thy delight on Jehovah
  24. Foundation to go the distance
  25. When discouraged facing opposition
  26. Be happy that the thorn bush has roses
  27. Suffering produces perseverance
  28. Partakers of the sufferings
  29. Compassion and Discipline
  30. If you have integrity
  31. Faith and trial
  32. Concerning Gospelfaith
  33. Faith is knowing there is an ocean because you have seen a brook.
  34. Everything that is done in the world is done by hope
  35. Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark
  36. Wondering
  37. The thought of losing rekindles the joy of having
  38. Joy is not in things, it is in us
  39. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  40. Better loaves when the heart is joyous
  41. Happiness is like manna
  42. Thirst for happiness and meaning
  43. Happy is the person who knows what to remember of the past
  44. Happiness an inner state
  45. Remember there’s a light in the next day
  46. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  47. Living in faith
  48. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  49. The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands
  50. Where is the edge
  51. The truest greatness lies in being kind
  52. Whom can we trust to govern us?
  53. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  54. Looking forward to the return of Jesus

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Additional reading:

  1. How Can It Get Any Better Than This?
  2. Freedom is mine and I know how it feels…
  3. Negativity Spiral
  4. Living With(out) Regret and Negative Feelings
  5. Happy/ hap.py/ ‘hape/ adj
  6. Happiness Log Technique
  7. #100HappyDays
  8. Does money buy happiness?
  9. Secret to happiness
  10. Happiness Is A Feeling
  11. Finally Happy.
  12. 60 Things to Be Grateful For In Life
  13. Elusive Things
  14. Count your blessings and take time to help others
  15. “Count your blessings, name them one by one…”
  16. As We Count Our Blessings (a Mom’s Memories post) | It’s Not All Bad…
  17. Blessed
  18. Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  19. Practicing Gratitude and Thankfulness
  20. Contagious Happiness
  21. Love
  22. Where’s the Love?
  23. Is Your Message Contagious?
  24. 19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other
  25. My current easy dream…
  26. Watch out! It’s contagious!
  27. Gloomy Thinking Can Be Contagious
  28. The Reason Some People Always Focus On The Negative
  29. Hanging in there … Week #2 MKMMA experience
  30. Gratitude – I claim my power | faithgift
  31. Thanksgiving: Gratitude | Journey Through Recovery
  32. Sugar, Spice, and the Teenage Life
  33. A Few of my Favourite Things: #HappinessDay
  34. Happiness Now: What Do the U.N., Pharrell and Ellen Have in Common?

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  • Sadly, the International Day of Happiness is over (mercatornet.com)
    The United Nations has a large number of International Days but it keeps creating new ones. A General Assembly resolution last year proclaimed March 20 as the “International Day of Happiness.” According to the text, happiness and well-being are considered “universal goals.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added that “The pursuit of happiness lies at the core of human endeavors.”
    +
    Bhutan brought the happiness agenda to the United Nations where it was embraced wholeheartedly. A few economists with high-level advisory roles at the UN are now – seriously – working on a new economic indicator encompassing “happiness” to supplement, if not replace, GDP! A few countries also have followed the initiative with the blessing of Ban Ki-moon who stated: “I am encouraged by the efforts of some Governments to design policies based on comprehensive well-being indicators.”
    +
    The happiness idea already has taken on a life of its own. The OECD has come up with a series of indicators called “Your Better Life Index.” Perhaps unsure of the direction this experiment will take, the OECD on its web site asks for input from ordinary folks to determine what matters to people in evaluating their quality of life to ultimately counterbalance wealth against well-being.
  • The Pursuit of Happiness – Act on it! (periwinkleporte.com)
    Long before the United States’ Declaration of Independence said “the pursuit of happiness” is an “unalienable right” of all people, ensuring happiness for its people has been the goal of every honorable government.
    +
    We can each celebrate this day, and every day, by expressing how we share happiness in our circles of relationships. We can make the world a happier place! It starts with us and ripples into the lives of others in a wave of positive change around the world.
  • Bhutan, Inspiration For A Happier World (raxacollective.wordpress.com)
    Westerners, in their dawning realization that money can’t buy happiness, often misinterpret GNH, holding out hope that Bhutan alone knows one last magic trick that will rescue us all from the dystopia of late capitalism. But GNH is more complex than that, and Bhutan is more than a Himalayan Disneyland. GNH is part of Bhutan’s plan for negotiating the wilderness of modernization without losing its soul. Every schoolchild, public policymaker, teacher, citizen, and civil servant has been asked to help create a society based on the four pillars of GNH: sustainable and equitable economic development, conservation of the environment, preservation and promotion of culture, and good governance.
  • Ban Ki-moon heading to Russia, Ukraine (skynews.com.au)
    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is preparing to set off for Russia and the Ukraine to encourage a peaceful settlement of the crisis threatening conflict between them.
  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to all iranian peoples – NOURUZ (fluechtlingshilfeiranev2010.wordpress.com)
    On this International Day of Nowruz, I offer my best wishes to those who celebrate, and express hope that all people can use the occasion to reflect on the beauty of nature, the promise of Spring and the power of culture to build peace ”Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
  • March 20th is UN´s International Happiness Day: Learn about Positive Psychology from 18 MAPP Alumni – Free Online Conference (mappalicious.com)
    To support the UN on this mission, 18 MAPP Alumni are hosting a free online conference to share their knowledge on Positive Psychology, Well-Being, and Happiness. It´s going to be a wide array of PP topics brought to you by a fascinating group of people.* Among them is Emilia Lahti which you might knwo from the very first Mappsterview.
  • International Day of Happiness observed on 20th March (famagusta-gazette.com)
    Fans have been encouraged to post YouTube videos of themselves demonstrating their happiness to Pharrell’s#HAPPYDAY and Pharrell’s site 24 Hours of Happiness.On the International Day of Happiness, he will spotlight the best submissions at noon in each time zone.

    Non-governmental organizations will also ring the peace bell at 12:57 p.m. for vernal equinox which marks the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere.

  • Happy International Happiness Day! (morfadulas.com)
    Anyhow, as someone who’s experienced plenty of depression over the years I’ve been drawn recently to studies that show the possibility of making yourself happier through certain attitudes and practices. Being depressed may well require you to have medical intervention, of course, but there may be some things that could help the process of getting better.Here’s one site that lists a number of things we could do to increase our sense of well-being.
  • Material-Immaterial, Physical-Spiritual — the whole of Humanity (geekborj.wordpress.com)
    Humanity is BOTH physical and non-physical.  Most of the “new age” philosophy forward either pure spiritual (idealist) or pure material (materialist).
  • Immaterialism and Spirituality (onemanversustheworld.wordpress.com)
    As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
  • Jehovah Shalom (joanofarc77site.wordpress.com)
    I will keep my eyes focused on You Jehova Shalom and nothing will shake me from my peace.
  • Laborers for the Harvest (viktoriaveigas.wordpress.com)
    Sometimes Christians covet their fellowship with other believers and cluster together, blindly bypassing worldly seekers who are ripened for harvest. Perhaps not realizing their divine accountability for perishing souls, they busy themselves with church engagements, civic responsibilities, building maintenance, and other worthwhile projects dedicated to preserving the status quo. These are doubtless good things. Well-intentioned members sometimes question the value of evangelism or express this sentiment: Pastor, this evangelism stuff is all right, but don’t we need programs for people who are already in church?
  • 7 signs your church could be backsliding (atwistedcrownofthorns.com)
    Is your church following the Word and ways of the Lord and abhorring all that is otherwise? Is the fear of God, the love for truth and for God’s glory, and the desire to walk according to all God’s commandments prospering among the believers? When a church begins to slip it loses track of that which it must hold to firmly, it gradually and steadily drifts. Here are a few signs your church could be backsliding….
  • The Difference Between Psychology and Neuroscience (athoughtonthemind.wordpress.com)
    Most people consider cognitive neuroscience a branch of psychology but some people (often neuroscientists) consider psychology a branch of neuroscience. So which is it? And what’s the difference anyways?
    To address these questions, we need to start with some definitions. Lets start with psychology. According to the American Psychological Association (and also Wikipedia), psychology is the study of mind and behaviour. Neuroscience, on the other hand, is the study of the biological underpinnings of mind and behaviour.
  • Why are materialists less happy? (io9.com)
    The latest word on how to be happy: be more appreciative of the things you have. Newly published research out of Baylor University finds materialistic people are less happy in large part because of their lack of gratitude.
  • How Happiness Directly Impacts Your Success (forbes.com)
    I reached out to Shawn to learn more about how our brains in “positive” mode versus negative, neutral or stressed actually give us an enormous advantage in life and work, and how we can influence our minds to embrace more happiness through our daily actions.  This Happiness Advantage as Shawn calls it can be the difference between leading a fulfilling, joyful and successful life and living far beneath our potential (see his book The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work for more).
  • Shannon Polly, MAPP, to Present at International Day of Happiness Conference Sponsored by en*theos (entheos.com) (virtual-strategy.com)
    Positive Business DC today announced that co-founder Shannon Polly, MAPP was selected to present at the International Day of Happiness free conference sponsored by en*theos, coinciding with the United Nations’ International Day of Happiness. en*theos, a popular website with over 275,000 members, was launched to help people optimize their lives and actualize their potential through providing the best content and tools on “Optimal Living.”
    The International Day of Happiness event is featuring 19 speakers with the respected Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) degree held by less than 300 people in the world. Those with a MAPP degree are considered experts in well-being and the application of positive psychology.“I am honored to be part of en*theos’ International Day of Happiness virtual conference. Their focus on empowering people to embrace their personal strengths and recognize their larger purpose in the world around them is inspiring” said Shannon Polly, MAPP.
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