HUMAN RIGHTS: The Lessons of 22 July in Norway

HUMAN RIGHTS: The Lessons of 22 July in Norway

My daughter in Norway in August 2010.
For many in Norway, the terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011 represent the loss of innocence.

On the morning of July 22 last year, I read the breaking news of a car bomb attack in Oslo, Norway.  I clicked on the link to the NRK live coverage, forgetting that my three children rise and swarm, like mosquitoes from tall grass at dusk, at the slightest potentiality of a video.

“WHAT IS HAPPENING?” yelled my then-9-year-old son.

“It looks like a car bomb exploded in downtown Oslo.” (more…)

Jennifer Prestholdt (USA)

Jennifer Prestholdt is a lawyer and the Deputy Director of The Advocates for Human Rights, a volunteer-based human rights organization that works locally, nationally and internationally. Her work in human rights takes her around the world, but she spends most of her time in Minneapolis, MN, where she lives with her children (two sons and one daughter), her husband, an elderly cat and a dwarf hamster.

As Jennifer’s kids are now all in school (1st, 4th and 6th grades), she is finally finding more time to do the things that she used to love to do, especially running, writing and knitting. Jennifer loves to travel and has had the dubious distinction of having been accidentally locked in a bathroom on five continents so far. Australia and Antarctica await!

In January 2011, Jennifer made a New Year’s Resolution to start writing about her experiences in order to share with her children the lessons learned from 15 years of work in human rights. The result is her personal blog, The Human Rights Warrior. The name comes from her son Simon, who was extremely disappointed to learn that his mother is a lawyer, not a warrior.

You can find her on her blog The Human Rights Warrior or on Twitter @Jprestholdt.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Us. Them. How Can We Become a “We?”

A few weeks ago, standing on the sidelines at soccer practice, I was doing the mom-chat thing with a woman I’d only just met.  She said she’d lived in Abu Dhabi for about seven years, but was thinking of moving back to the UK before her older daughter started high school.

“I know it’s too early to think about it,” the mother said, laughing, “but things happen, and I wouldn’t want her to end up marrying an Arab, after all.”

Our kids were playing indoors to beat the heat, and scattered along the sidelines with us were a smattering of dads in dishdashas and moms in abayas, and some other Western parents. No one heard this woman’s comment and she seemed unconcerned about what she’d just said.  I looked at her, trying to figure out if she were joking (she wasn’t). (more…)

Mannahattamamma (UAE)

After twenty-plus years in Manhattan, Deborah Quinn and her family moved to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), where she spends a great deal of time driving her sons back and forth to soccer practice. She writes about travel, politics, feminism, education, and the absurdities of living in a place where temperatures regularly go above 110F.
Deborah can also be found on her blog, Mannahattamamma.

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