Category Archives: politics

Child Soldiers

In the two posts in the series hip hop meets poetry in a quest for peace, we have seen how popular culture portrays deep social issues, such as child abuse in its various forms. However, very much like for example women, youth and children are not only victims of violence, or peacebuilders as seen in the article The Unexplored Power of Youth but in some cases they can also be perpetrators of violence.

Here are two videos that show these different sides of youth and children. This time the videos show how NGOs try to approach this complex and difficult topic. Both videos are made by WarChild, an organisation that tries to reintegrate child soldiers and give them the means to come back to a somewhat normal life.

If you have some articles or interesting websites that might give ideas or approaches for guiding youth through the process of changing the roles they are playing towards positive change, please share them – post them below or send an email to takeyourinitiative@gmail.com

More from the series soon,

Nina Aeckerle

Harvey Milk – a Politician with a Twist

Harvey MilkA friend of mine asked me to write a post on Harvey Milk: a man who tried to change politics and the lives of thousands of gay men.

Here is one of his famous speeches:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAdtxNI4JDg

There are a couple of things I would like to mention apart from the fact that he was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California. Back in the 70’s this was a major step for the LGBTQI movement. I think the importance of his success is absolutely clear and deserves acknowledgment and admiration.

But there is more to his politics than his personality and sexual orientation.

Harvey Milk stood for community politics. He engaged directly in conversation with the people, listened to their concerns and tried to raise awareness of them. Furthermore the idea that the ‘Us’s’ have to find their place in mainstream thinking and acting and have to be heard and included addresses the basic ideas of integrating all parts of society in order to determine the route it takes. Finding your place and being acknowledged as a valid part of society can be considered a basic human need and it is among others thanks to Harvey Milk that many gay men and lesbian women can live their life in a more peaceful, accepted way than before; although, of course, we are still not where we should be.

Losing someone like Harvey Milk at such an early stage of taking influence is rather painful. But however short his life might have been, he influenced and strengthened so many and gave hope to those who were desperately in need of it.

The sentence he always started his speeches with was:

I am Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you.

And that he really did.

Thank you, Harvey, for standing up and coming out of the closet.

Nina Aeckerle

P.S. For those of you who are more interested in the visual: watch the movie Milk (2008) with Sean Penn as Harvey Milk. It is more than a great movie.