Friday, 29 January 2016

The Charles Dickens Museum and The Bust of Bertrand Russell. Photos by Khatia Shiuka

A loving heart is the truest wisdom.
Charles Dickens

The Charles Dickens Museum, London.
Photo by Khatia Shiuka

 The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Bertrand Russell
The Bust of Bertrand Russell in Red Lion Square, Holborn, London. 
 Photo by Khatia Shiuka 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

The Achievements and Failures of the UN

             The Achievements and Failures of the UN
                                    by  Khatia Shiukashvili



Sunday, 17 January 2016

John Stuart Mill Liberty, Freedom and Happiness

The liberty of the individual must be thus far limited; he must not make himself a nuisance to other people.

The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good, in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.

I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.

John Stuart Mill

P.s  Yesterday was John Stuart Mill's Study Day,  16th January 2016, London.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Alan Rickman - Shakespeare's Sonnet 130

Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theater, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.
Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman reads Shakespeare's Sonnet 130

Women's Rights In Ukraine (K. S)

                          Women In Ukraine 
                                    Research by Khatia Shiuka
Ukraine - A country in Eastern Europe, north of the Black Sea.

* Capital, Kiev

* Population: 44,291,413 (July 2014 est.)

* Nationality: Ukrainian(s)

* Main Religion: Christian orthodoxy

* Languages: Official Ukrainian (official) 67%,
Other "regional languages" including Russian; 24%.
*  President of  Ukraine Petro Poroshenko
* Rank 61st out of 152
* Global Gender Gap Index 3

                                    Gender Equality

Under The Ukraine's Rule of Law women in Ukraine have equal constitutional rights as men in the economic, political, cultural and social fields.
The Article 1 of the Law of Ukraine "On ensuring equal rights and opportunities for men and women"
- Despite that the Ukrainian Constitution declared equal rights for men and women in Ukraine the men are just like the driving force in Ukrainian society, whereas women are relegated to being solely the housewives and caretakers of the family.
Ukrainian women and girls often are victims of domestic violence.
In 2008 UNICEF has specifically promoted gender sensitive parenting education by supporting the establishment of Papa-Schools, which include training on gender equality, and in 2010 continued to expand this support in different regions. The initiative resulted in the increase of attendance at child birth by partners, and more awareness among fathers about young child care.

In 2012, Insight prevented two other draft laws that would have prohibited abortion and limited the reproductive rights of older women.
In 2014, Ukraine was shaken by the onset of a violent conflict that had far-reaching detrimental effects on Ukrainian women and girls. Ukraine actively participates in the gender-based violence protection sub-cluster and initiated an internal discussion on the most effective engagement in this area based on the UNICEF comparative advantage.

According to the UNICEF Ukraine, barriers to accessing services are greater among females who inject drugs, particularly young mothers or
pregnant women, than among men. Barriers may include avoidance of contact with services because of fears regarding child custody, an absence of gender-specific services, family and childcare responsibilities and additional stigmatization/discrimination due to pregnancy.


The Ukrainian Constitution guarantees free education for all children (girls/boys) and mandates 12 years compulsory schooling. Despite positive trends in education reform the Ukrainian education system continues to face a few challenges.

Education reforms;

* The government introduced external testing for
secondary school graduates in 2008.

* the government introduced a free school bus program in a rural areas as a step toward ensuring equity in access to education.

Access to education faces challenges at all levels;

* in Ukraine and country's regions. In primary education the net enrolment
ratio (NER) is 83%, which is far below the sub - regional and regional average .

In 2014, 2015 - In self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics ( Ukraine's historical territories annexed by the Russia ) are using local schools and colleges for military purposes by both Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed rebel forces. In 2015 Human Rights Watch urged the Ukrainian government to heed Security Council Resolution 2225 (2015) and “take concrete measures to deter, use of schools by armed forces and armed groups.”

                     Literacy rate 2012

Age 15 and over can read and write.

* Female - 99.7% - in 2012

* Male: 99.8% - in 2012.

According to the World Bank adult literacy rate is the percentage of people ages 15 and above who can, with understanding, read and write a short, simple statement on their everyday life.

         The Women’s Representation In Ukrainian Politics

* In The parliamentary election 1994 only 11 women (2.3% of the parliament) were elected.

* In 2006 Ukraine's general elections 32 women were elected, making up 7.1 per cent of the elected members of the national parliament.

* In 2012 in Ukrainian parliamentary election women made up 9.9% of the parliament.

* From 2014 in Ukrainian parliament 12.1% of members are women.

* Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments, In 2015;

- According to the non-governmental organisation OPORA 'a distinct minority women are more active in Parliament than their male counterparts.
After the Orange Revolution 2005, a first female Yulia Tymoshenko, is appointed Prime Minister of Ukraine in the Rada on February 4, 2005.
According to a study (published on 1 November 2014) by Inter-Parliamentary Union Ukraine is ranked 112th among 189 countries in terms of political representation of women in parliament.

                                     Sexism In Ukrainian Politics

* In 2010 During the Ukrainian Presidential election Viktor Yanukovych refused to debate his female opponent prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and justified it by saying that "a woman's place is in the kitchen".

* In 2012 Ukraine's prime minister, Azarov said that women are unsuitable for high political office and incapable of carrying out reforms".

* According to the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty the Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov argued that; “Based our ‘traditions and our Christian mentality’: "Man is the higher being, as woman was made from Adam's rib". Consequently, she is the lesser being".

* Ukrainian government includes figures who are openly sexist, such as the deputy prime minister, Oleksandr Sych, of the far-right Svoboda party. According to the Guardian in April 2013 Svoboda Party registered a bill that would have outlawed abortion even in cases of rape."

* In 2014 Petro Poroshenko’s Government 'allowed' two women; Hanna Onyshchenko - The Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers and Natalie Jaresko the Minister of Finance of Ukraine.( In The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine)

           Maternity Pay and Length Of Maternity Leave

* Length Of Maternity Leave: 126 Days
Percentage Of Wages Paid: 100

* In 2013 New “Pregnancy Tax” Introduced for Women and Their Employers.
Under the present law in Ukraine, women are entitled to 126, or in some cases to 140, days of paid maternity leave, during which time they receive 100% of their earned income.
( According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) )

                               Women In Business
 (Natalie Jaresko the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, since 2014)
* On average women earn 30% less than men occupying similar posts.
* About 50 of all enterprises without employees are woman owned.

Women tend to lead small business in retail, wholesale trade and catering. 2% of large companies are headed by women.
These numbers are almost similar to those in other Western economies.

                   Women In The Labour Force

* In 2008, women’s Labour Participation Rate (LPR) was approximately 62%.

* Women in labour force 53.0% (2012)

- The Labour laws in Ukraine establish the legal equality of men and women, including "Equal pay for equal work", a principle that generally was observed. However, industries dominated by female workers had the lowest relative wages and were the ones most likely to be affected by wage arrears.

- Women make up 54% of the population of Ukraine and 45% of its labour force.
More than 60% of all Ukrainian women have higher education. However, the unemployment rate of women is very high compared to men with the same educational background; 80% of all unemployed in Ukraine are women.
Women receive lower salaries and have limited opportunity for career advancement.

The retirement age is in the process of being gradually increased, to 60 years for women and 62 years for men-civil servants by 2021.

There were reports of some employers refusing to hire younger women likely to become pregnant or women over 35.

Few women held top managerial positions in the government or in state- owned or private industry.

-  According to human Rights Watch' report  'Gender discrimination in Ukraine is cutting women out of the work force while the Ukrainian government is doing nothing to stop the problem.'
Ukrainian employers discriminate against women job seekers in the way they announce vacancies and interview applicants. State employment centres, private recruiting firms and job-placement agencies routinely distribute such advertisements as "young woman from 18 to 30, attractive appearance" etc.
Also, employers often deny young women work because, as they tell the women, they are of an age to be raising children.
 Human Rights Watch called on the European Union (EU) to assist the Ukrainian government in harmonizing its legislation to meet EU standards on non-discrimination and equal treatment in employment and asked the International Labour Organization (ILO) to provide additional training to government officials, including labour ministry inspectors etc.

               Violence Against Women in UKRAINE

Ukraine signed the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence thus declared its readiness to apply European standards to fight violence against women and girls.
Also Ukraine's government having signed the Law "On Prevention of Domestic Violence", Ukraine recognized its obligations to eliminate violence against women, to help victims and condemn offenders.

Despite All;
* around 45 percent of Ukraine’s population (45 million) suffer violence – physical, sexual or mental – and most of them are women.

* The most vulnerable category of women - around 40 percent of a Street women suffer from sexual violence, with 25 percent being under 18.

- The government officially condemns discrimination against women and girls in all its manifestations, in accordance with Articles 2, 5, 6 and other articles of the United Nations Human Rights Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
However according to the UN Population Fund representative in Ukraine Nuzhat Ehsan there is many loopholes in the legislation contribute to the problem of domestic violence, “You can abuse women and still if you are a high-level official or from a high-level official family, you can get away with it”

NGOs - Ukrainian non-governmental organizations in cooperation with international donors share successful practices. In particular their activity relates to supporting family violence centres, work with offenders, supporting of hotlines for victims of abuse, rape, human trafficking and children's rights protection.

                             Women and Girls In Conflict

With the prolongation of the conflict and displacement, women are increasingly vulnerable to various human rights violations and abuses both in Government and armed group controlled areas. Those trapped in areas of fighting are at a heightened threat of sexual violence.

According to a 10 July 2014 UNHCR report, the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across Ukraine has now reached over 79,000, with the majority being women and children. Yet throughout the crisis situation in Ukraine, there has been limited attention given to women's security.

                                  Sexual Minorities  

Discrimination in employment is a severe problem for women and sexual minorities in Ukraine. In recent years, there’s been an increase in public displays of homophobia in Ukraine.

Under The former Government people had less access to reliable information for women and LGBT people allowing them to informed about  sex minorities. The law 8711 “On Introduction of Changes to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine”, banned all  information about homosexuality and sexuality.  Government representatives are openly attacking the rights of women and LGBT people, portraying them as a threat to national security. They also say that LGBT rights would lead to a demographic crisis and destroy the family institution.

In 2013 Ukraine gay rights activists hold first LGBT pride. Around one hundred gay rights activists marched in Ukraine despite fears of violence and a court ban – marking the first gay pride event in the former Soviet state.

last few years the bill banning discrimination against gay people in the workplace had been rejected  several times in Ukrainian parliament, reflecting a strong opposition from those who saw the document as a challenge to the country’s Orthodox Christian traditions. However, Ukraine exhibits far more tolerance towards gay people than neighbouring Russia.

On 12 November 2015 the Ukrainian lawmakers (450-seat parliament approved the bill with 234 votes) finally adopted legislation banning discrimination against gay people in the workplace. The new bill that bans discrimination against gay people and gender identity at workplace.

- Today LGBT people in Ukraine have legal protection from discrimination. However there is a big challenge, because in Ukraine the country’s Orthodox Christian traditions are more strong then the rule of law. Also, however the Ukrainian nationalist group and a court in Odessa, also Pro-Russian separatists who govern the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic in eastern Ukraine (Annexed by Russia) have banned the promotion of so-called gay propaganda to minors. Therefore gay people still are not safe in Ukraine. 

                                        Feminism in Ukraine

One of the biggest feminist organization in Europe was founded during the 1920s in western Ukraine. The organization was called the Ukrainian Woman's Union, and was led by Milena Rudnycka. Nowadays there are a few women's rights groups, including the Woman's Union FEMEN and Ofenzyva.

The FEMEN - The Ukrainian Topless Feminists Group most active and radical women's rights group in Kiev was closed in 2013. The organization left Ukraine and emigrated in France.

The FEMEN movement made its name by carrying out politically-motivated naked protests at home in Ukraine and in countries throughout Europe, including the Vatican. The main Goal of the FEMEN’s - 'complete victory over sexism, inequality and rotten macho patriarchal culture."

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Aleksandr Herzen; - "Happiness has to be conquered. If you are strong, take it. If you are weak, hold your tongue"

Aleksandr Herzen (1812 – 1870) was a liberal Russian writer and thinker . Herzen was born in Moscow on April 6, 1812, some months before the great fire that destroyed the city during Napoleon's invasion of Russia and after the battle of Borodino. He is held responsible for creating a political climate leading to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. His autobiography My Past and Thoughts, written with grace, energy, and ease, is often considered the best specimen of that genre in Russian literature. He also published the important social novel 'Who is to Blame?'.  Herzen was civilized, imaginative, self-critical free and open  and ironical mind, a fiery and poetical temperament "He was a man of extreme refinement and sensibility, great intellectual energy and biting wit, and a great taste for polemical writing; he was addicted to analysis, investigation, exposure; he saw himself as an expert “unmasker” of appearances and conventions, and dramatized himself as a devastating discoverer of their social and moral core. He believed in reason, scientific method, individual action, empirically discovered truth.
He began as an extreme “Westerner,” but he preserved his links with his Slavophile adversaries. He regarded the best among them as romantic reactionaries, misguided nationalists, but honorable allies against the Tsarist bureaucracy. He promoted liberal socialism and individualism, arguing that the full flowering of the individual could best be realized in a socialist order.
As a political writer that Herzen gained his reputation. Having founded in London his Free Russian Press, he published a large number of Russian works, all against the system of government prevailing in Russia.
As the first independent Russian political publisher, Herzen began publishing The Polar Star, a review which appeared infrequently and was later joined by The Bell in 1857, a journal issued between 1857 and 1867 at Herzen's personal expense.  Both publications gave Herzen influence in Russia reporting from a liberal perspective about the incompetence of the Tsar and the Russian bureaucracy. Herzen fought a propaganda war through the journals that had the goal of attaining individual liberty for Russians.  

Herzen wrote of the inhumanity of the ruling monarchies of Europe but also the excesses perpetrated by revolutionary governments.
  Herzen refused to trust any government and believed in the right for people to make their own choices, with minimal state intervention......
Alongside populism, Herzen is also remembered for his rejection of corrupt government of any political persuasion and for his support for individual rights.  He believed that 'values were not found in an impersonal, objective realm, but were literally created by human beings and changed with the generations of men, but were nonetheless binding upon those who lived in their light; that suffering was inescapable, and infallible knowledge neither attainable nor needed.
The year 1855 gave Herzen reason to be optimistic; Alexander II had ascended the throne and reforms seemed possible. The Bell broke the story that the government was considering serf emancipation in July 1857, adding that the government lacked the ability to resolve the issue. Herzen urged the Tsarist regime 'Onward, onward' towards reform in The Polar Star in 1856, yet by 1858, full serf emancipation had not been achieved. Herzen grew impatient with reform and by May 1858 The Bell restarted its campaign to for the comprehensive emancipation the serfs. Once the Emancipation reform of 1861 in Russia was achieved, The Bell's campaign changed to 'Liberty and Land', a program that tried to achieve further social change in support of serf rights. Alexander II granted serfs their freedom, the law courts were remodelled, trial by jury was established, and liberty was to, a great extent, conceded to the press.

Herzen fought against Christian hypocrisy and for individual self-expression, he argued that ' All religions have based morality on obedience, that is to say, on voluntary slavery. That is why they have always been more pernicious than any political organization. For the latter makes use of violence, the former - of the corruption of the will."
Herzen spent time in London organising with the International Workingmen's Association, becoming well acquainted with revolutionary circles including the likes of Bakunin and Marx.  It was during his time in London that Herzen began to make a name for himself for "scandal-mongering" when he told Bakunin, freshly arrived having escaped imprisonment in Siberia, that Marx had accused him of being a Russian agent; The radicals described Herzen as 'a liberal for not wanting immediate change', but Herzen rejects their pleas arguing for change at a pace that will ensure success.  Herzen was disliked by Russian radicals as too moderate. Radicals such as Nikolai Chernyshevsky and Nikolay Dobrolyubov wanted more commitment towards violent revolution from Herzen and the withdrawal of any hope in the reformist Tsar.  Radicals asked Herzen to use The Bell as a mouthpiece for violent radical revolution, but Herzen rejected these requests. He argued that the Russian Radicals were not united and strong enough to seek successful political change, stating, "You want happiness, I suppose? I dare say you do! Happiness has to be conquered. If you are strong, take it. If you are weak, hold your tongue".  Herzen feared the new revolutionary government would merely replace the dictatorship with another dictatorship.
Herzen was a hero of the 20th century Riga born British  philosopher Isaiah Berlin. The words of Herzen that Berlin repeated most insistently were those condemning the sacrifice of human beings on the altar of abstractions, the subordination of the realities of individual happiness or unhappiness in the present to glorious dreams of the future.  Berlin, like Herzen, believed that "the end of life is life itself" and that each life and each age should be regarded as its own end and not as a means to some future goal. Berlin called his autobiography "My Past and Thoughts" one of the great monuments to Russian literary and psychological genius,  a literary masterpiece to be placed by the side of the novels of his contemporaries and countrymen, berlin wrote ' My Past and Thoughts is the Noah’s ark in which he saved himself, and not himself alone, from the destructive flood in which many idealistic radicals of the Forties were drowned".  Russian great writer Leo Tolstoy said that he had never met another man "with so rare a combination of scintillating brilliance and depth".

   Alexander Herzen Views; 
* Slavery is the first step towards civilization. In order to develop it is necessary that things should be much better for some and much worse for others, then those who are better off can develop at the expense of others.

* No one is to blame. It is neither their fault nor ours. It is the misfortune of being born when a whole world is dying.
 *  You want happiness, I suppose? I dare say you do! Happiness has to be conquered. If you are strong, take it. If you are weak, hold your tongue
* Nothing is done by itself, without efforts and will, without sacrifice and labor
* Without equality there is no marriage.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Patti Smith - Dream of life - Allen Ginsberg

Patti Smith  -  Allen Ginsberg

I noticed the grass, I noticed the hills, I noticed the highways,
I noticed the dirt road; I noticed the car rows in the parking lot
I noticed the ticket takers, noticed the cash and the checks and credit cards,
I noticed the buses, noticed mourners, I noticed their children in red dresses,
I noticed the entrance sign, noticed retreat houses, noticed blue and yellow flags
Noticed the devotees, their trucks and buses, guards in khaki uniforms,
I noticed the crowds, noticed misty skies, noticed the all –pervading smiles and empty eyes –
I noticed the pillows, coloured red and yellow, square pillows round and round –
I noticed the Tori gate, passers-through bowing, a parade of men & women in formal dress –
Noticed the procession, noticed the bagpipe, drums, horns, noticed high silk head crowns and saffron robes, noticed the three piece suits,
I noticed the palanquin, an umbrella, the stupa painted with jewels the Colours of the four directions –
Amber for generosity, green for karmic works, I noticed the white for Buddha, red for the heart –
Thirteen worlds on the stupa hat, noticed the bell handle and umbrella, the empty head of the white cement bell – Noticed the corpse to be set in the head of the bell –
Noticed the monks chanting, horn plaint in our ears, smoke rising from astep the firebrick empty bells –
Noticed the crowds quiet, noticed the Chilean poet, noticed a rainbow,
I noticed the guru was dead,
I noticed his teacher bare breasted watching the corpse burn in the stupa,
Noticed morning students sad cross legged before their books, chanting devotional mantra’s, Gesturing mysterious fingers, bells and brass thunderbolts in their hands,
I noticed flames rising above flags and wires and umbrellas and painted orange poles,
I noticed, I noticed the sky, noticed the sun, a rainbow around the sun, light misty clouds drifting over the sun –
I noticed my own heart beating, breath passing through my nostrils
My feet walking, eyes seeing,
I’ve noticed smoke above the corpse, I’ve noticed fired monuments
I noticed the path downhill, I’ve noticed the crowd moving toward the buses
I noticed food, lettuce salad, I noticed the teacher was absent,
I noticed my friends, I’ve noticed our car, I’ve noticed the blue Volvo,
I’ve noticed a young boy hold my hand
Our key in the motel door, I noticed a dark room, I noticed a dream
And forgot, noticed oranges lemons and caviar at breakfast,
I noticed the highway, sleepiness, homework thoughts, the boy’s nippled chest in the breeze
As the car rolled down hillsides past green woods to the water.
I noticed the sea, I noticed the music – I wanted to dance.”
Allen Ginsberg; “On the Cremation of Chogyam Trungpa Vidyadhara” (1987)

On Equality & Liberty

People often said that 'equality is more important than liberty'. While without liberty all the other rights and freedoms doesn't exist.  Also, you can't separate equality from liberty because where there is no liberty there is no equality, and where there is no equality there is no liberty. For example; liberty goes hand in hand with equality, just like the rights and obligations.
But let 
 "Equality', I support equal opportunity not equal results or material equality.
            Khatia Shiukashvili