Natural disaster

Mitch Emhoff welcomed his wife, Beth Emhoff who just came back from Hong Kong .The day after, Beth had to be hospitalized for “a severe flu” but she died afterward. The same symptoms appeared on his son. Without knowing it, Beth brought a deadly virus from her trip. In few days, the world had faced the highest contagious disease ever. International team started to investigate on the origin of the virus, looked for the anti-virus, provided first aid and applied procedure to contain the disease. Nonetheless, panic and rebellion took place. Everyone tried to face the contagion as they could but some took advantage from it.

I wouldn’t mind watching this movie just for the bunch of superstars in it : Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Marion Cottillard. But the Director, an Academy Winner, Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s eleven, The informant!) gives us a clever point of view in  this thriller : “Nothing spreads like fear”. The movie follows different people who are facing a situation whom they don’t have any solution. All along, we discover many characters and their role, their ideas and we still can get to the main plot. “Contagion” (2011) is certainly a film worth seeing.

Very recently, Madagascar faced Mother Nature’s creation “Giovanna” . Rarely does a cyclone pass cross our island. Mostly, they shyly show up to our coast and leave. In my knowlegde, the only cyclone which had hit all Madagascar was “Geralda” in 1994. I was too young to know exactly what happened, all I could remember was that I was so glad we didn’t have class that day. This time, surprised I was that at 03:00 in the morning, I was awaked up by gusts of winds outside. The fear came along… The worst is when you are not aware of what’s going on. But to any situation, there should always be some measures to be taken. Having right information can help and save. For that purpose, some bloggers use crowd sourcing by creating crowdmap : a website which gather all pieces information related to the cyclone “Giovanna” sent by citizens of Madagascar.

Up to now, authorities report at least 10 dead, and this number would increase because there are many missing cases. Wherever you are in Madagascar, you still can report incidents, or share your testimonies by sending sms at 0326705819 / 0340222049, by emailing at cyclonegiovanna@gmail.com or by using directly the website http://cyclonegiovanna.crowdmap.com.

Here are some pictures of After Giovanna …

Final note, one of my favorite singer/actress passed away : WHITNEY HOUSTON , May you rest in Peace

My favorite Song : “Saving All My Love For You”

My favorite movie :

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Computer Sciences

                  Mark Zuckerberg is a student from Harvard University. One night, from his dorm room, he created a website called « Facemash » for fun. It allows users to rate the attractiveness of female students using photographs stolen from various sororities. At the same time, he was blogging … and drinking. The website gets such success that it crashes parts of Harvard’s network… Mark Zuckerberg’s reputation grows up as the genius programmer that crashed the Harvard network. The Winklevoss twins and their partner Divya Narendra proposed him to be part of their project: a dating website called “Harvard Connection”. Simultanously, he had an idea to create an online social networking website. And then, with the help of his best friend Edouardo Saverin, they create “The Facebook”. “The Facebook” gains popularity and has expanded to other univeristies. But the more success “The Facebook” get, the more people wants to be part of it, such as the co-founder of Napster: Sean Parker …

            “The Social Network” 2010, is based on Mark Zuckerberg’s life as the co-founder of the famous social network “Facebook”.  Twice nominated for the oscars, David Fincher, the director (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” 2008 with Brad Pitt, “Panic Room” 2002 with Jodie Foster) focus more on friendship issue than the phenomenon of “Facebook”.  I like his style, this movie was smooth, yet intense … And so is all his directing in his other movies. The main actors : Jess Eisenberg (“Holy Rollers” 2010, “Zombieland” 2009) and Andrew Garfield (“Never let me go” 2010, “Lions for Lambs” 2007) did a good job through their acting and interaction. And a surprinsing Justin Timberlake (“Shrek The Third”2007) join the plot, I though he was just good at dancing, he prouves me wrong. It is an evidence the movie won 3 Oscars and was nominated in 5 others categories …

Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Jess Eisenberg

Don’t worry, Mark Zuckerberg is not as “asshole” as he pretends to be in the movie. Most of the stories in the movie are fictional. In few words, Mark Zuckerberg would be :

“Mark Elliot Zuckerberg  is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. Wikipedia
“For connecting more than half a billion people and mapping the social relations among them, for creating a new system of exchanging information and for changing how we live our lives, Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is TIME’s 2010 Person of the Year” –  TIMES Magazine 
“When you give everyone a voice and give people power, the system usually ends up in a really good place. So, what we view our role as, is giving people that power.” Mark Zuckerberg

In few numbers, he is:

  • 27 years old
  • Net worth  : 17.5 billions
  • #14 Forbes 400
  • #52 Forbes Billionaire
  • # 40th powerful people

(Septembre 2011 from Forbes)

The Computer Science’s world lost one of his genuis lately : Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011).
He was the CEO – Founder of APPLE. He was also co-founder and chief executive of Pixar Animation before its aquisition by Walt Disney. Needless to introduce Apple’s products such as Mac, Notebook, IPod, IPad or the IPhone 4, or Disney/Pixar Animation Movies such as “Toy Story” 1995 , “Monster Inc.” 2001 or “Finding Nemo” 2003.
As he said :
” Stay hungry, Stay foolish” 

Rest in peace.

Education by Competition

The Team
The Great Debaters Movie

GREAT DEBATERS (2007) – 1935, Marchall Texas, Slavery abolition has been declared but racism and segregation are still remain. Professor Melvin Tolson (Denzel Washington) from the Wiley College casts students to form the school’s debate team : Hamilton Burgees (Jermaine Williams) the talkative guy, Henri Lowe (Nate Parker) the rebel, Samatha Booke (Jumee Smollett) female student and James Farmer Junior (Denzel Whitaker) fourteen years old student. Professor Tolson knew how to emphasize their skills and so the team becomes unbeatable. Their course leads them to break down the wall between white and negro people. The team of four turns out to be the first negro debate team in U.S to face white debate team. But coaching the debate team is not the only Tolson’s activity, he has his own fight ….

The movie is based on a true story of Melvin B. Tolson’s life, a professor at Wiley College Texas who during hard time in America, he stood and fought against racism an segregation with non violence actions. The Academy Award winner Denzel Washington (Training Day, Déjà Vu) decides to relate his history in this amazing movie as being the director and also performing the leading role. Denzel Washington chooses another Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker (The Last king of Scotland, Streets Kings) to co-star with him.

Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington

Forest Whitaker and Denzel Washington

The movie talks largely about Debat. It’s a contest where each participant is doing a clash of arguments about a subject. Professor MelvinB Tolson resume it in few words “Debat is a blood sport. It’s a combat. But your weapons are words.” In fact, although your opponent try to disgrace you, you will be also judge on your knowledge, your strategy and you approach? So, your argument have to be clever, judicious and funny at the same time. Not easy! well, being a debater required to everything but shy and weak. It grows one’s knowledge, builds one’s personality and even changes one’s life. We can even say, it teaches. It’s an evidence that contest like debat improve not only students skills but also school notoriety.

In Madagascar, there are others contests at school such as essay contest, dictation contest, art public speaking, but they are not taken seriously. They are more games for fun and not a real competition. Whereas, it will be much more useful than a simple game.

The US Embassy will organize the “International Education Week” (IEW) on November, 18th and 19th at the National Library in Anosy. It is an educational event that the US education department and the US department commonly organizes every year throughout the world. For this year, the ICE CLUB will take part in it. So, we invite you to come! you will have the opportunity to know more about studies in the USA but also the ICE Club.

Dagomc, English CornerMidi Madagascar – November, 12th 2009

“TIA” : That Is Africa

    In 1999, the Civil War consumed the Sierra Leone. After the rebels attacks his village, Solomon Vandy, a fisherman, get separated from his family. He was forced to work in the diamond field where he discovers a huge pink diamond. While hiding it, the Commandant of the Rebels sees, but the rebels are attacked by the government army and Salomon is arrested. In jail, the commandant tells the prisoners that Salomon found a priceless stone. The African mercenary smuggler, Danny Archer who witness all the scene, proposes Solomon his help to find his family in exchange of the diamond. To reach his goal, Danny uses Maddy Bowen, an American idealistic journalist which aim is to get information about diamond smuggling. Each one of them were linked to that pink diamond : The Commandant of the Rebels : to fund their actions, Archer : to get out of Africa, Maddy : to track down diamond smuggling and Solomon : to get his family back…

Blood Diamond

Blood Diamond

Edward Zwick is not (The Last Samurai, Glory) at his first war movie. They couldn’t find a better director to combine History and fiction into a magnificence drama story. And, the actors were also well cast. Leonardo DiCaprio, the handsome guy from the blockbuster “Titanic” becomes a mercenary with a perfect South African accent. I have to say that during “Titanic” phenomenon, I never thought he can play such a character. But, his movies tell far more about his talent : The Beach, Catch me if you can, The Departed. Nevertheless, despite of his great job, the eyes turn on Djimon Hounsou (Beauty shop, Gladiator), his physical presence and his drama acting just mean. And not to weightless Jennifer Connelly (Hulk, A beautiful mind) , she was pretty convincing in the journalist who wants to make the difference. The movie was nominated for five Oscars in 2006, including : Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Leonardo DiCaprio and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Djimon Hounsou.

“Blood Diamond” is based on truth events that happened in Sierra Leone. To refresh the history, The Sierra Leone Civil War began in 1991, initiated by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The R.U.F. used the diamond field to fund their union. Smuggling, massacre, terrorism and many other atrocities were done by the rebels during 9 years of conflict. Tens of thousands died and more than 2 million people were displaced and became refugees attempting to escape the civil war. It was officially declared over on 18 January 2002. But till now, there is still 200 000 child soldiers in Africa

Politic steadiness is one of main bases to an economic development for a country. Unfortunately, political power is the most unstable in Africa. In Madagascar, for many times, the country was destroyed by conflicts between the government and their politic antagonists : 1972, 1991, 2002 and 2009. The situation nowadays is not as terrible as a civil war described in the movie. But if things still go that way, it may lead to a civil war. I hope I’m wrong. “TIA” they said in the movie, which means : “That Is Africa. Are we that lost ?

Be aware

taken-poster-big2

             Let me present you : Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). He is an ex-secret agent. He finds a job as a bodyguard. He’s divorced and have a 17 years old daughter Kim (Maggie Grace). During her holidays, Kim asks permission to her father to go on a trip to France with her friend Amanda. Skeptical about that idea of her daughter flying away from him, in a foreign country, he lets her go anyway. Arrived in France, at the airport, Kim and Amanda is approached by a friendly guy and proposed them to share the cab fee. In the house, Kim was on the phone with her father when, from the windows of the bathroom, she sees men enter in the house, attack and kidnap Amanda. Still on the phone, Bryan gives her instructions but aggressors finally find Kim and kidnap her. Later on, Bryan discover that his daughter was kidnapped by the Albanian mafia in human trafficking. He has 96 hours otherwise he would never find his daughter anymore …”

 

 

              “TAKEN” (2008) is an action movie as I like: a hero, solid as a rock, reaching for his goal and killing some bad guys on his way.  If you are a fan of the series “The Bourne Identity” (Matt Damon) then you shouldn’t miss this one. The director, Pierre Morel (Banlieu 13), and the writer, Luc Besson are French. It was  predictable because most the scene were in France. But, it seems like French people can make good action movies as well as comedy. The action scenes were really realistic : car races, gun shots, and my favorite : the hand to hand fights. More surprising is Liam Neeson (The Haunting, Schindler’s list), I never saw him playing that tough and unshakeable guy before. He is incredible. One of my favorite quote is : “I’m retired, I’m not dead”. His character’s motivation is so honorable that we hope that he would kill more.

 

 

 The movie touched also a warm matter : human trafficking : it’s kidnapping girls and forced them to be sex-slave and prostitute. Actually, it’s the third illegal trade which paid most after drugs and weapons ($10billion per year). As one of the trafficker says in the movie: “It’s not personal, it’s just trade”, those people don’t have any scruple to use other people as an object, a stock to sell. They are well organized (corruption,  money laundry, mafia) it takes years to crack their system down. And even if one of those traffic is dismantled, ten groups, worst than those before is raised. HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS TRAININGOver 2 million people are trafficked per year. Their victims are young girls and children. Internet is one of their means to attract them. And there are some who kidnap children too.  The 96 hours mentioned in the movie is also true : once you’re out of the country you were kidnapped, it’s almost impossible to find you. Their network extend all over the world : Europe, US, Mexico, Asia, Africa, everywhere. Unfortunately, if you travel alone, your missing may be not declare only after the 96 hours.

 

 

 In  Madagascar, the trafficking most deal with children. There were several times when in the news papers, we can read an article about a child kidnapped. Report from an US investigation says that family members, taxi drivers, friends, tourist guides can sometimes an accessory to the trafficking, due to our poverty.  Knowing those injustice, I am so for the death penalty. My advice is to be careful : do not trust easily people you just met.  

 

 

Other movies about human Trafficking : images1

 Human Trafficking (2005)

directed by Christian Duguay,

with Mira Sorvino, Robert Carlyle

 

La Vie Bohème

 

 

At the beginning, “Rent” 1996 was a show performed on Broadway by Taye Diggs (Benny), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Jesse L. Martin (Collins), Idina Menzel (Maureen), Adam Pascal (Roger), and Anthony Rapp (Mark). Created by creator Jonathan Larson, this rock opera got a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award just then. Ten years after, Chris Columbus adapted the story on the big screen with the same cast (except Rosario Dawson as Mimi).

 

This musical begin with all the cast lining up, performing the first song : Season of love.

Just at the title, you can imagine what kind of movie it will be : those dim-witted romantic movies … You’re  all wrong. In reality, “Rent” tells the story of a group friends living the Bohemian life in New York City between 1989 – 1990. Among the group are :

Mark Cohen : love-struck filmmaker and penniless but still hope for a better life.

Roger Davis : HIV-positive musician and former junkie, trying hard to reconnect with music,

Maureen Johnson : Mark’s former girlfriend, artist in her free time

Joanne Jefferson : Harvard-educated public lawyer and Maureen’s girlfriend

Mimi Marquez : HIV-positive drug addicted dancer and Roger’s new girlfriend,

Tom Collins : HIV-positive computer genius, Mark and Roger’s former roommate

Benjamin Coffin III : a former member of the group who married for money…

And the last but not the least, Angel : HIV-positive drag queen street musician and Collins’ lover

 

To tell you the truth, I’ve never been in New York, so I can’t tell you how it was at that time (neither nowadays!) But, I’m sure the fear of AIDS, the shame in drug addiction or the pain of losing someone you love, those feelings are still the same. That makes this movie never outdated. Anyway, life is not easy for our bohemians : they are broke and still have to pay the rent, or it’s Christmas time and the only place where they can find friendly faces is at the  HIV-meeting. But in the middle of all that misery and pain, they still can find love and hope. How? Not just by singing (their songs are really fabulous!!!) but by showing that they love to be alive, they are proud to be different (That’s where “La Vie Bohème” song  take place!)

What would you do, how would you feel if you get to know that you have just one year left on earth? It makes you think about the way you lived and the way you want to live, right? Well, let me tell you, you never know what could happen, so don’t be anonymous, stop being so boring, try, make mistakes, dare take the risk, live each day intensely as if it was the last. The only regret we should have is not having enough time to live.  

“There’s only us
There’s only this
Forget regret
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today”