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eleventh issue

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| Independent Skies Magazine

| Issue 11 Mar 2013

4. What comes after


John Bengtson, Javier Monterroso Montenegro, Joseph Long, Sam Chase.

8. Realising the Power

of Conversation

Ernest Mackina

12. Scuola Popolar 16. Not Everyone


Lorenzo Bianchini e

Alex Nyasha Dube

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What comes after The Migrant Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Project

deportation John Bengtson, Javier Monterroso Montenegro, Joseph Long, Sam Chase

What comes after deportation?


ast December, two friends, one from Guatemala and one from the United States, were chatting in a café in Guatemala City when a security guard overheard them speaking in English and struck up a conversation. He told the story of how he had migrated without documentation to Chicago from his native Guatemala. He was able to secure a job working as a cook, and earned enough to support his family back home. However, after years of building a life in the United States, the man was deported back to Guatemala. Unable to prove his work experience and stigmatized for his status as a deportado, the man had difficulty finding work until he contacted a friend of his who owned a store and gave him the job he has today. Were it not for the con-


John Bengtson, Javier Monterroso Montenegro, Joseph Long, Sam Chase.

nection he had to the shop owner, the man would likely be unemployed. Like many deported migrant workers, he faced legal issues and social scorn that compounded the conditions that drove him to leave in the first place. What happens after a migrant worker is deported? When the topic of undocumented immigration is brought up in political discussions within the United States, much of the discourse is rooted in national self-interest, focused on concerns such as “securing the borders”, or “ensuring a path to citizenship”. Emphasis is placed on what to do with migrant workers who cross the border rather than why they are there in the first place. It is even rarer-even among circles within the United States who investigate the issue of undocumented immigration-

--that consideration is given to the prospects of those are deported when they arrive back in their country of origin. It is an issue that has been largely ignored at the cost of the livelihood of thousands of deported migrants every year; the circumstances awaiting deported workers perpetuate the very processes of poverty, inequality and unemployment they sought to escape. The process of immigration between the United States and Guatemala is a vicious cycle. To begin, Guatemala is one of the world’s most unequal nations: 11th from the bottom in Gini index. Roughly half of its people live under the poverty line, and underemployment is a constant issue. On the other hand, immigration to the United States presents supposed prospects of relatively high-paying, low-skill jobs

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and opportunities for advancement. The result of the socio-economic push and pull between the two countries is quite obvious; one in ten Guatemalan nationals live outside of their country, the overwhelming majority in the United States. Additionally, remittances back to Guatemala account for 10% of its GDP. However, it is estimated that half of these migrants are undocumented. As a result, about 35,000 Guatemalan nationals are deported from the United States every year.

| Issue 11 Mar 2013

When they arrive back in Guatemala City, the prospects for re-integration are bleak. Not only do the underlying issues of inequality and underemployment still persist, but deported migrant workers now face stigmatization because of their status as a deportado, making it difficult to sift back into society. They are seen as an outsider: a foreigner in his own country. So poor are the prospects of reintegration that 43% of deported workers interviewed upon arrival report that they plan to return to the United States within one year.

So what can be done to break the cycle? The problems impeding reintegration are two-fold: social stigmatization and lack of resources. Accordingly, any solution that attempts to aid reintegration must address both issues. First, education and awareness of the issue to with the end of alleviating the social stigma must be primary goals. This can be achieved, in part, through academic research and advocacy outreach both in Guatemala and the United States. Second, efforts must be made to support reintegration into the workforce.

What comes after deportation?

This means not only working with local private sector employers, but also job retraining and interview assistance. Connections should be made not only with potential employers, but also with legal advocates in order to support documentation efforts. The social stigmas and economic hardships faced by deported migrant workers are often ignored, yet deeply entrenched elements of Guatemalan society. Progress towards successful reintegration will not


John Bengtson, Javier Monterroso Montenegro, Joseph Long, Sam Chase.

be made easily, but simple steps can be made in order to address the more basic issues that plague many deported migrants. To learn more about this issue and what is being done, please contact The Migrant Peacebuilding and Reconciliation Project through

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| Issue 11 Mar 2013

What is a conversation? Conversations are an essenn this contemporary and tial tool in personifying mental dynamic global village, interper- debates and tend to be a source sonal communication is a vital of inspiration, paradigm shift tool for survival for every citizen and mentorship. Realising the and is crucial in the business potential in clever conversations world as it creates the platform leads to one tapping a mine of for the exchange of innovations primary, secondary and tertiary and transaction of goods and forms of data, knowledge and services. wisdom. The Oxford University Press Concise Dictionary of 2012 Information Communication defines a conversation as the folTechnologies such as mobile lowing: phones and the Internet have played a fundamental role in the Conversation: transformation of communicaan informal spoken tion and socialization to an era where geographical boundaries exchange of news and ideas between two or offer zero limits and no longer inhibit contact with loved ones. more people. The adoption of Internet technologies and applications of social media has, in the writer’s opinion, led to the dwindling of face to face conversations. As such, it can be declared that the growing generation has since lost touch with the skills in successfully carrying out meaningful conversations.

When can a conversation he held? Anywhere and everywhere!!! Why hold a conversation? Conversations are a facet of communication and are crucial to mans’ survival in every interaction and transaction of ideas and views. Discussions offer the prospect of expanding one’s mind and thinking abilities as well as the discovery of new dimensions of reality.

How do you conduct a conversation? Greet an individual, with further care than just ‘Hello’, listen attentively and be empathetic. Question were you do not understand and also contribute and What do conversations do? Conversations have an inher- interject were relevant. Repetition aids immensely in getting ent ability to give insight, life a message clear and enhances changing paradigm shifts and understanding. By repeating, provoke thought and debate. rephrasing and summarising a Engaging in witty dialogue can particular point, a participant alter a mindset, emancipate an individual, eradicate misconcep- in a conversation can gain their own understanding of the contions and myths, stereotypes and stigmatization as it sets the cept under scrutiny. record straight and gets facts established when the right participants are involved.

Realising the Power of Conversation | Ernest Mackina

Realising the

Power of Conversation

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| Issue 11 10 Mar Feb 2013

Realising the Power of Conversation | Ernest Mackina

sues that affect daily life, be it on Facebook chat, instant messaging on Whatsapp, tweets, discusFace up to your siblings on cur- sion fora on LinkedIn, Gtalking, rent affairs; quiz your parents Skyping and face to face. on contemporary issues; chew a bone with relatives on mind bog- So don’t be a social recluse: gling phenomena; intellectually In Southern Africa we say interrogate teachers on concepts ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngin and outside the classroom. Be abantu’, meaning ‘I am, trendy and reach out to friends on social networks through because we are’ debate, empower colleagues with perspective and rediscover Go out there and converse. yourself through mental conver- Challenge your peers and those sations with yourself. gurus and experts in fields of knowledge. School goes beyond Taking a moment of your time the class-room, it is imprinted from the hustle and bustle of in your mind, engineered by life’s daily routines to strike a your thoughts and powered by tête-à-tête could have an asyour speech. The process of tounding effect on the rest of knowledge just started as I held your day. Greet a person with a clever conversation with your the extra care further than just mind as you read this article. ‘Hello’, to ‘how have you been’. Strike a clever conversation with them and pick their mind. There is so much wisdom you can harvest from them and, you as an individual will be prompted to think on your feet to add on to the subject matter. Who to conduct conversations with?

Go beyond the ‘hud” and ‘hie’ to converse on newsworthy is-

Ernest Mackina is a Zimbabwean blogger, poet and writer. For more of his articles log his blog Untitled Chronicles (www.mackinaernest54.blogspot. com) and get to read more of his “handwritten thoughts...”

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| Issue 11 Mar 2013

In this scenario of lack of concrete respect of basic social iving in times of crisis is not rights, such as the poor condition something easy. Along with the of school buildings and the abstruggle to get to the end of the sence of the basic materials and month, we see another kind of tools to actually keep them workcrisis, which is a reflection of the ing, leading to schools demandeconomic one. We are indeed ing their students to pay additive facing a greater social crisis, taxes, a group of young people affecting our values and thus giv- have decided to take a move. ing us the obligation to seek new ways of life, and other kinds of Gandhi once said “to be the approach to our social and politi- change one wants to see in the cal sphere. world”, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing in the Living in times of crisis is not last months, working on the something easy. Especially if project of a Social public School, you live in a stand-alone suburb built from the bottom, by the that counts more than 300.000 people. people, one of the highest rate The goal was not really to actuof non voting citizens and a rich, ally compensate what the local yet under developed and ostragovernment is not doing, rather cized, ethnic diversity. to put in action a concrete deWhat I am talking about here is nounce to it and to create a my hometown, Ostia, the seanetwork outside the political and side suburb of Rome, and the institutional sphere, thus making precarious situation we are living of it a collective action of the inhere. dividuals affected by the overall context. The representative politic organs have left holes in the budget, The next step was starting a regcausing cuts in investments ular commitment in meeting on a towards sociality and the closure regular basis to give some sort of the few infrastructures presof shape in our own organizaent in the territory that used to tion, deciding everything through fundamentally sustain it. discussion and sharing ideas,


Scuola Popolare | Lorenzo Bianchini

a Popolare Lorenzo Bianchini

participating each one of us depending on our competences. This intervention takes place along two different fronts: on one side we have formed an afterschool for kids from 6 to 14 years old, based in an area very much affected by unemployment and its related conditions; on the other, the multicultural and immigrated community of this suburb gave us a great area to work on, which has been translated into a school of Italian for migrants. This second project is based in a block that has seen for the past 25 years a squat occupation by individuals and families from an outstanding number of nationalities, fighting for the right to a house, and is now a great community integrated with the rest of the sociality. With an immigrated population counting around 8.2% of the total population, not even taking into consideration the 700 to 800 thousands of illegal immigrants inside the borders, the Italian legislation results strict and it does not allow individuals to complete the steps to eventually get the papers. According to the law, in fact, a certification of Italian proficiency is needed, which can-

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not be achieved through public appropriate institutions, as the state does not provide any. In this chaotic situation, our goal in the field was to create a concrete alternative for migrants to take the step to learn the language, regardless of the, in some cases, complete lack of knowledge of it. Especially in this action, we can see how a great form of integration and understanding comes from interacting on the same level, as we do not offer frontal grammar classes, but try to develop our own way of getting educated together through conversations and pragmatic dialogues and exercises. This way new connections inside the different communities are created, and it’s not that hard to see a Pakistani talking with a Bangladeshi about the situation in south East Asia, or an Egyptian explaining to a Romanian and a Peruvian how the Arab spring has affected his life and the lives of his family. In the future, hopefully near, the aim is to realize a multi-focused organism that will be able to provide legal services, to give

| Issue 11 Mar 2013

Scuola Popolare | Lorenzo Bianchini

protection, and also to provide general services like a psychological center and maternity/ nursery program as well.

and those who, rather due to the incompetence of institutions, or to the indifference of citizens, take place in what we may call a disadvantaged class, only needs one opportunity to raise up and take an active part in such a depressed society.

This experience is not only making a change outside us in the environment we live in, but also, making a change in the way we perceive change on a micro Don’t stand and look. Be the level. change you want to see around After almost two months of you. activity, it’s already becoming Lorenzo Bianchini a key center on the sociality of the territory of Ostia, generating social consciousness, active denounce and aggregation, where the state has failed with its policies, most often decided by people far away from the reality of the streets, and colluded with lobbies and economic interests in planning the city and its society. Far, but not least, this whole project is dedicated to Handala, the Palestinian cartoon kid drawn by Naji Salim al-Ali, as it both represents the suffering of the kids that cannot have a normal life and see their rights respected, and because of the war he is a foreigner on his own ground. Handala, just like many other thousands children, immigrants

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| Independent Skies Magazine

Alex Nyasha Dube

| Issue 11 Mar 2013

Alex Nyasha Dube is a Zimbabwean born poet who grew up without his father. In 1999 he moved to South Africa for 3 years and later back to Zimbabwe. He went to Cyrene High School , where he was nurtured by a teacher , Mrs S. Nkomo, who had noticed his early talent for literature.He has continued to write poetry since high school and his works have been featured on various blogs of note “Scribbled poetry” a blog that promotes African poetry, his works have also been featured in a e-anthology compilation of African poetry called “Via Grapevine Volume 1” featuring the best of young poets drawn from across the continent of Africa . Currently he is living with his mother in England.

Not Everyone........ Scribbled Poetry Section


fo ca

th be

or un


th so No

co yo

se sa

fo The piece explores the issue of gratitude, We are reminded that whilst we are busy mourning about who we are and what we have ,some people are in situations worse of than ours

th vo


Not everyone, is as fortunate as yourself, wh th graced the power of opportunity to skim through this, bit ev blesses thus this chance not miss. th Tell me that old tiny tale,

hrow caution to the wind,

or all our capacities of comprehension an fathom,

hey could be a feast for the termites elow,

r seeking the light at the end of an nknown tunnel in the next world,

Not everyone,is able to be in your kitchen, aromatic,savoury here, succulent,delectable,sweet there.

cappucino filled with whipped cream, a joy for your digestive system.

hiding away the flesh from perverts and paedophiles... Not everyone,has a smile on their face like you, or love abundant as the air we inhale,well within their reach,

For all we care, for all we ignore and live on,

his,is the seed for ages in our mind we ow... ot everyone,is like you,

they could be devouring the menial remnants of your burnt pasta,

omfortable in the softness of our comfort,

or fighting over what remains off a stew gone wrong,

ecure in the walls that secure your afety,

when,why,for how long?

or all we can attempt to contemplate,

Not everyone,can wear the clothes you parade.

hey could be subjects to the sinister olatile world,

Cheap like salt or expensive like a weave that looks real,

ulnerable to nights’ evil therapy,

who cares,what matters is,you have them,can’t you feel.

tes their toes,hinders the delight of vening’s rest,

Clothing filled with spots and gaps,almost if not camouflage,

Your reserves brimming to the rim,

or all we know,

hile the wind that so loudly howls, heir body heat prowls,

mice are bemused.

they could be delving in the playground of death, somewhere in the Middle East, where whose woes nobody could care the least. Or succumbing to calamity inflicted by nature’s anger, or grieving a loved one long lost, or enduring an ordeal too unbearable, a pain whose extremes are incredible...

For all we take no time to notice, For all we even dare to care, they could be wearing the rag on Christmas from your mum your aunt refused,

hat’s how good it gets at its’ best... or joined ancient parchments,the church

we are statues,we glare and stand to stare...

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As the night dies away, as the sun embraces the world in a warm hug a new day has come. Grey hearts rise, the world is full of anxiety. The world has already been barricaded by hate, we need that which can make us feel a part of a world that has done more bad than good to humanity. Young people across the world cry out to be heard. Life is a beautiful tragedy, however the future of tomorrow utters in despair, their cries go unheard, the leaders of today have failed and it is up to the young people to make a better tomorrow. As the thought crosses every individual’s mind, hope is reborn when

| Issue 10 11 Mar Feb 2013

screaming cries of freedom, liberty are heard. The world is anxious for social justice, a free society.. anxious for change and social responsibility. However, in order for all this to occur, world leaders need to include youths in the decision making process. It is significant to note policies and programs designed after consultation with users are more likely to be effective , as a result one is bound to conclude using youth participation you are more likely to get it right the first time and avoid wasting time and money on services young people don’t want to use. Giving young

people a place in decisionmaking builds a broader base of citizen involvement and creates stronger and more inclusive communities. Youth participation is necessary in the development of active citizenship because it balances young people’s social rights with their responsibilities. This is to a larger extent the most effective way to make the youths more active because the more we feel accepted and understood by society , it creates an element that binds the society together. One of the most extraordinary things in this world is being a young leader but it is what you do with the

ISM Photography Competit Introduction





ISM Photography Competition

Vincent Wong

Imsouchivy Suos

I’m Vincent Wong, a participant in the United I am originally from Phnom Penh, CamboWorld College movement and current student dia and recently I’m living and studying in of Social Work. Besides these identities, I am Malta, the heart of the Mediterranean. I’ve also a son, a brother, a theologian, a fencer never really chosen photography but I think it (sabre), a friend, a poet and of course, a pho- chose me. For the past 4 years, I’ve been tographer. Oh and I’ve been living in Hong doing many forms of photography include Kong for the vast majority of my life. landscape, portraiture, event, wedding and The point of that long list is that I view reality studio works but street photography is the as objective, but multi-faceted and multi-layone that appeals to me the most. I’ve been ties, programs, social services, greater conflict, awareness of youth is-studying opportunity thatered: makes a differnone of those aidentities though living, and traveling a lot since I was andand local, and national suesevident in an organization. ence. Youths in decision making one or the other is more at a point in 16 years old untilregional now, I’ve been to over government. A commitment “No one a good process contributes time.toInpositive my photography, I tryistoborn capture the citizen; 20 countries for educational and volunteering essence andhave the idea I impute uponarealpurposes. to Photography as a way to respectingstarted the participanothat nation is born democracy. youth development and we ity or how that momentary experience affects record/log my journey around the world but tory rights of young people is Rather, both are processes that challenges like violence, drug me. By doing so, what I capture is at once the joy of looking through the viewfinder and incompatible with the age-old addiction , lack of social respon- continue to evolve over a lifeobjectivecause and subjective interaction with my subjects, make grows It is vital toitnote time.experience. Young people must be in- propensity. sibility and the primary This helps me articulate my experienced as a passion. As a self-taught photographer, being the youth. In reference to cluded from birth. A society that giving youth the power in decireality and my concepts. Because my photos I’ve been learning on this subject quicker my previous statement its signif- cuts itself off from its youth sev- sion making does not necessarily are at times idealized conceptions, this has than I thought from photography books, exhimean we are divorcing power icant to note youth participation ers its lifeline; it is condemned the effect of making them seem somewhat bitions, online forums and the most important from the adults, including the is to bleed to death.” —Kofi Annan, and being included in decision removed from reality. of all “PRACTICE”. To me, photography youthofisart a sign social developSecretary-General making process challenges negaAs for subject matter, I gravitate towardsof the United not just a form but it of is a way to see the ment that can lead and grow to Nation. Words from a great man tive stereotypes of young people street photography because of the complex world in a different perspective. I believe that many things such as better decifrom Nations and help break down barrirelations at play. Onreports the street, oneUnited is at once I can express myself more through photoga stranger, an acquaintance and a friend; and raphy and I hope that one day my works will sions and outcomes. state that youths in decision ers between adults and young the same time, one is relating to thea envichange the world through my vision. making implies radical change people. Involvingatyoung people ronment, the place and all the related events in decision-making can improve in youth-adult relationships in its history that served to makeof that website: all spheres lifeplace including the attitudes towardsinunderstanding just and so. From a technical perspective, con- communifamily, schools, local Dean Bhekumuzi Bhebhe about young people create trasting elements intrigue me – both visual and thematic contrasts. In all, my photos each try to tell a story of a place, and collectively, tell my story: how I lived and how I think.



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| Independent Skies Magazine

| Issue 11 Mar 2013

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Independent Skies Magazine 11th Issue  

An inspirational issue that contains the works of two amazing projects from Italy and Guatemala, with a great poem and the skill of conversa...

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