Urgent: Aleppo, a letter to Boris Johnson, U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


Yesterday after the shocking reports of 100,000 civilians trapped in Aleppo i wrote this email to the foreign secretary (after calling and being advised to send my concern by email). 

This morning I was pleased to read that a deal had been agreed but unfortunately it wasn’t long and shelling started again. Seeing photos of dead babies, dead parents, bodies on the streets is filing me and so many of us with sadnes and despair. We are trying to do something, donate, help collect funds, contact MPs, the government but this is a war and the parties involved are not shocked or hurt by the thousands of deaths. What can we do? 

This has been such a traumatic period for these people but also us powerless outsiders who are not able to force our politicians to stand up to Putin, Assad and Iran and reverse a dreadful situation of a war that is killing hundreds of thousands of people. Politics has failed Aleppo abd this is so sad. 
To the attention of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, RT Hon Boris Johnson MP

Hi Mr Johnson, 

I called the Foreign Office this afternoon to make my concern known to yourselves about the situation in Syria. I have been informed by grass root organisations in Syria as well as the general media about the recent violent and deathly attacks on civil populations in Aleppo, perpetrated by the Syrian government forces in an attempt to control rebel-held areas of Eastern Aleppo.

We were warned by the UN of this coming attack last week, as something the Syrian government forces were intending to do in order to gain control of these areas before the change in administration in the US. There were several severe warnings by the UN but nothing was done. And here we are, one week later and people have been killed in their homes, on the spot as reported by the media today.

What has the UK government done to stop these attacks on civilian populations? What has the Foreign Secretary done to make sure innocents are protected?

Furthermore what are the Foreign Secretary’s plans to make sure these attacks don’t continue?

Grass root organisations in Syria are calling for a UN evacuation plan to secure safe passage 100,000 civilians trapped in Aleppo, including humanitarian workers. I understand that there is a UN plan to get, the trapped people out across the four kilometres of Western Aleppo to safety: with a few dozen buses and lorries people could be evacuated in twenty four hours. However, the international community needs to guarantee their safety.

I am writing to you today to make sure you contribute to this call and make sure a safe passage is provided for these people to flee their deaths.

They need all our support and help, this is a desperate situation in the face of which politicians and the UK government have failed to respond and engage. This will be a shameful legacy for you all.

I hope you can respond to this and help save thousands of lives, to survive in this dreadful conflict that has displaced millions and has caused world wide turmoil.  

Interviste me Fanfara Tiranen dhe Hysni Zelen pas koncertit te tyre ne Londer


Me siguri keni degjuar te flitet per Fanfara Tiranen. Si? Jo? Zgjohuni menjehere, keni humbur nje nga spektaklet me te bukur te muzikes shqiptare me miksim tingujsh tradicionale e moderne. Fanfara Tirana luan bashke me Transglobal Underground dhe pjese e grupit eshte edhe mjeshtri i muzikes popullore shqiptare Hysni Zela. 

Nese kerkoni ne Google emrin e tyre, do t’ju dale faqja Facebook a grupit me datat e koncerteve. Ata jane vazhdimisht ne turne  dhe se fundmi ishin ne Kine, ne veri te Anglise dhe me pas ne Londer. Shikoni daten me te afert dhe sigurohuni te zini vend per koncertin e ardhshem. Kercimi, vallja dhe hareja jane efektet kryesore që ju shkakton ky bashkepunim unikal. Ose blini albumin Kabatronics dhe shikoni videot ne YouTube.

Po cfare muzike luan Fanfara Tirana dhe Transglobal Underground?

Me nje pershkrim te shkurter, eshte muzike tradicionale e jugut te Shqiperise e miksuar me tinguj moderne. Disa kenge jane “Shege e kuqe”, “Xhixhile” te përziera me ritme elektronike, reggae dhe dub. Por ka dhe polifoni dhe hare dasmash.

Si dy zerat kryesore te grupit, Londinezi Tuup dhe mjeshtri i madh i këngës popullore Hysni Zela, mund të duken sikur nuk kanë asgjë të përbashkët por në skenë prodhojnë një harmoni perfekte, në sfondin e tingujve që vijnë nga anë të ndryshme të botës.

Pyetjes se si funksionon bashkimi midis dy rrymave muzikore kaq te ndryshme, Hysniu i pergjigjet:

“Me thoni ju se si ju duket bashkimi?” Fantastik eshte pergjigja e publikut.

Fuzioni midis tingujve të kabasë së Shqipërisë së jugut, klarinetës, perkusioneve dhe kitarës tradicionale indiane, tingëllon si një fuzion organik, ku të gjithë anëtarët e grupit luajnë në simbiozë. 

Por si u krijua bashkëpunimi unikal midis dy grupeve? 

Idenë e vuri në jetë Olsi Sulejmani, themelues i agjensisë World Music Management bazuar në Itali, i cili duke njohur muzikën e të dyja palëve, e drejtoi grupin londinez drejt grupit shqiptar. 

Prania e Hysni Zelës veshur me fustanelle te bardhe, qeleshe e papuce, i fton njerezit per fotografi si dhe pyetje e kureshtje pafund.

“Veshjet tradicionale janë pjesë e mrekullive tona”, thotë Hysniu. “Por mrekullia me e madhe  është polifonia”. 

Edhe pse në pension, Hysniu bashkepunon me Fanfaren. Pjese e procesit krijues per te eshte mbledhja e tingujve dhe e muzikes nëpër fshatra, pasi “kënga është në popull”, thotë ai.

Një anëtar tjeter i grupit Xhemal Murraj na tregon për pritjen e publikut anglez që ka qenë shumë e ngrohtë.

“Bashkëpunimi me një kulturë tjetër dhe një stil muzikor shumë të ndryshëm, ka qenë pa vështirësi”, thotë ai, gjë të cilën publiku e ndjen.

Ndërkohë muzikanti i Transglobal Underground, Tuup, e shijon bashkëpunimin me muzikantët shqiptarë. Në skenë ai kërcen duke ‘lëvizur lehtë shpatullat’, një mënyrë kërcimi karakteristike shqiptare dhe tregon se këtë  ‘e ka mesuar nga anëtarët e grupit’. 

Ai thotë, “3 cilësi i pëlqejnë më shumë te shqiptarët, respekti, ngrohtësia dhe vlerësimi i gjërave të mira ne jetë, ushqimi, pijet dhe prezenca femërore”.

Përballë një përzierje sa të çuditshme po dhe aq tërheqëse, publiku ndjehet i “çarmatosur” dhe nuk mund t’i rezistojë tingujve “ngjitës” që të bëjnë të hidhesh e të kërcesh. 

Kjo muzikë është një nga ambasadorët më të mirë të Shqipërisë jashtë vendit dhe si e tille meriton te gjithe mbeshtetjen dhe pelqimin tone.

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The art of pitching – how to suggest ideas to potential markets


If you don’t ask you don’t get – How to pitch ideas for potential markets and make sure you get editors attention? By using grabbing subject lines when sending your pitch. There are more things I learnt when preparing this assignment for the London School of Journalism.

Laura's Little Things

My last assignment (nr 7) for the London School of Journalism’s “Freelance journalism” course was all about pitching and identifying potential markets for your writing. The potential markets are either related to your specialism or your passion or your local area.

When it comes to pitches:

– keep them short and sweet, only a couple of lines is enough
– be as focused as possible so that editors can see that you have a specific idea and outline in mind
– think abut your sources, the more original they are the better; busy editors or newspaper staff don’t have the time to interview people from every sector or specialism, so if you know of someone with an interesting story or are aware of some new research published but not widely known yet, pitch your idea
– quotes and interviews are what make the difference and keep the interest alive
–…

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Looking through the window, what do you see?


IMG_6150 by laura shimili
IMG_6150, a photo by laura shimili on Flickr.

This is the last post of my “A photo a day” project, which lasted for about 28 days. I got excited by the idea and started this new project as a way of improving my photography but soon found out that it was quite time consuming and I couldn’t keep up with it. In addition to working 4 days a week, looking after my son on my day off and being busy at weekends. So this was it, my first attempt at one of these projects that some people make last for the whole year or even many years.

I like to grow flowers on the windowsills, something that comes a long way, from my grandmother and my mother.

My grandmother used to grow carnations on the balcony and I used to love their smell. It is a smell I associate with her and her presence which I miss very much.

My mother has a great passion for flowers too and she grows all sorts, begonias, lilies, daisies, cactus and even more. She is the flowers and plants master in the house.

I have taken after both of them, a passion I started developing since childhood when I had a collection of plants and flowers with a friend.

Not always able to find the time to plant new flowers especially as the seasons change and not the same plants can survive all year here in the UK, i find myself looking back at old photos of flowers. I was quite pleased with myself for this pot when I planted it in the summer. It is not in the same state now as then, and I should do something about it. Soon.

Also taking part in the Thursday challenge: Lingering Look at Windows http://lingeringvisions.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/thursday-lingering-look-at-windows-week-46/

Windowsills flowers