Have you ever heard about the job of IT Technician?

Madrid- Good afternoon François, and thank you for having agreed to participate to this interview. I am Celia Bonnetot, I am an international student from France and studying in the Universidad Europea de Madrid for an Erasmus exchange. I will have a few questions to ask you about you and your job.

First of all, can you present yourself?  11150611_10152680794226222_96708961470086105_n
Hi everybody, my name is Francois Lajoie. I am currently living in Quebec City in Canada. I have 29 years old.

Nice to meet you. Can you tell us, what is your job?
Nowadays, I am working at Desjardins Security Financial.  I am the Information Technology (IT) Technician there.

Alright, an do you work as an individual, in team or with an organization?
For my job, I am working with two others people, but I am also working in other building for Desjardins Security Financial, and this one we are twenty.

Well. Actually, I know not so much about informatics, can you explain me a bit what does your job involve, which are your day-to-day tasks for example? What is a typical day for you?
My work is mostly repairing some laptop when they broke. Also, sometimes they got virus and other times their hard drive stop working etc. Things like that. That is my job. Another task which is part of my job is also to assist the financial centre when they need support.

Ok, I understand more now. Do you work for somebody? Specific clients, businesses…?
Yes, as I said before, I work for Desjardins.

Do you work especially and only in Canada or your actions are in relation with others countries?
My area of actions is focused on my country, therefore, national because I am working for all Desjardins Financial Center across the whole Canada.

Informatics is a field in relation with emerging technologies, right?  How does this affects your job?
Well, yes. We must be ready to be in a constant position where we need to learn some new technologies, new ways to works with some hardware. Things are changing really fast in this domain.

Therefore, do you consider that your job has evolved according to the past?
Yes sure. When I started, we were using Windows XP and since that, we Got Windows 7, Windows 8., 8.1 and now Windows 10 . So, a lot of thing had change.  Nowadays, we have new Hardware or new software to use. Therefore, my job is continually changing.

Alright, and how do you considered your job, is it a good job? Are you satisfied of it? Yes, I got some really nice advantage there.  The staff is funny and it pretty fun to work here in fact. I consider myself pretty lucky actually.

Ok, and what do you like most about your job?
I like that each days is different. I am never facing the same problem or the same day. Each day is like a little challenge for me.

Have you always wanted to work in informatics? If not, what were the others idea?
No. Actually, when I was young I wanted to be in the Police. However, things did not go that ways and here I am now, an IT guy for a bank.

Would you like to change job? If yes, in the same area or completely different?
No, never in my life. Actually, I think I will work here my entire career.

Does Canada provides a great job progression? In your field or generally.
Yes. It depends what your job is and your opportunity of course, but if you work hard, everything is possible here. Last year, I had a 1 % increase of my salary.

Ok, nice. Another question which has nothing to do in general with the rest of the interview. Just for curiosity, have you ever worked or wanted to, in the social and humanitarian field? Do you know if your job can be useful in this field?
No, I have never worked for NGO. However, I think an IT professional could be useful everywhere you need a computer and could bring technologies and improvement in this area.

Finally, what would you say to students who would like to work with you or in your domain?
I would tell them to always keep an opened-mind for new technology. Also, to take nothing for granted. Therefore, yes, to have an opened-mind and above all, to be patient. In the Information Technology area, we always need to be patient.

Well, thank you François for your time, your attention and your answers. I wish all the very best for the future.

Interview realized by Celia Bonnetot.

Interview to an European in NY

B. C. is an European young photographer who lives nowadays in New York. She has a great and varied heritage: Her parents are both Cuban, who met when they studied in Russia, and there she was born. So was born in Russia, then moved to Portugal when she was 6, and later, when she was 19, she moved again to Spain to study a degree on Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Then she traveled to Estonia as part of the Erasmus Exchange Program. She travelled then to California, where she finished her studies. She lived in Miami for a while, and finally she moved to NY, where she has been living for one year, four years in the States. Now she works at a company of entertaining news.

She has travelled a lot, and she has met a lot of different cultures, which I found really interesting to interview. During our interview, B.C. explained how did it feel to live in the States, and in New York. As she said, places like California and New York are the most representative places because of their different cultures and nationalities. There you get to know people from all over the world, unlike in the center of the USA, where there are only Americans. In New York, the people is very open-minded. In Europe,  she felt a bit alien because there aren’t a lot of people who has moved as much as she did, but in New York there is a lot of people who has lived in a lot of different places, which makes her feel very normal.

I was interested too in the perspective of an European, who has spent quite a lot of year living in the USA, about the political campaign there. From her point of view, it feels a bit crazy, all this Trump stuff. The first thing that surprises her is that she doesn’t really know any Trump supporters, there in New York. “I think people who has access to a minimum  education, that have access to university, know that Trump is not a good candidate for the US presidency. Even though he has a lot of people supporting him. That surprised me because half the country seem to like Trump.” Also, it seems that there is some people who would vote for Trump just because they don’t like Hillary. “The thing is, I think, that a lot of people hate Trump, but there’s a lot of people who hate Hillary too, and that scares me, because I know people who like Bernie Sanders, and that tell me that if he doesn’t win for the democrats, they will vote for Trump, because they’d rather vote for Trump, since they don’t like Hillary.

She also told me a bit about the current situation of the campaign and the ideas and measures Trump is proposing if he achieves to become the next president of the USA. “Well, I think next week is important for the campaign, because California is voting, and there is quite a lot of people in California, so it’s kind of decisive, it can make Hillary win for the democrats or, well, I think if Trump wins, I’ll come back to Europe” She speaks then about how racist are Trump’s measures. “The measures Trump want to implement are very very racist, like the thing about the Muslims, that he wants to control them and stuff, I don’t know, it’s like every week he has something horrible to say. It is quite incredible, because I think at first everyone thought Trump’s candidature was kind of a joke, and that would last for, like, two or three months… Now you can see in the polls Trump’s results very close to Hillary’s and, I don’t know, it worries me a lot because there exists the possibility of Trump actually becoming president.”

Finally, B. told me about her view of the European people and their point of view of the political campaign of the USA. She said that there is a lot of people in Europe that can’t see yet how worrying this issue is, since it isn’t their country and they feel too far away, but the United States of America are a powerful country, whose president is very important too, and what happens there is definitely affecting the whole world.

By Alejandro Conesa Martínez

An Interview with Irina Feldman

My name is Pablo Llamas Aparicio and I am a first-year student of Translation at the UEM. On June 9, 2016, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Irina Feldman, who teaches Spanish language and Latin American literature at Middlebury College, in Vermont, United States. I thought it could be interesting to know the opinion of someone who lives in a state that usually remains unnoticed for Europeans in comparison to some of the states where we get the idea that everything seems to happen. On top of that, being born in St. Petersburg, Russia, Ms. Feldman’s own intercultural experience only added spice to this amazing interview.

First, it seemed a good idea to me that Ms. Feldman introduced herself to my readers. She told me that she had moved to the U.S. when she was fifteen years old, short after the U.S.S.R. had dissolved, because her mother –a single mother- was not sure of whether it would be possible for them to live safely in Russia during the transition. After a period of time during which she was not precisely infatuated with the States, Ms. Feldman took her high education in Georgetown, Washington D.C. and graduated in Hispanic literature. After living a couple of years in South America, she got a job in Middlebury College. She explained me that her research focuses on left-winged movements in South America, as well as the authors of those movements, especially in the Andean area (Bolivia, Peru…).

My next question to her was about the origin of her interest on Hispanic literature, given that she was born in Russia and works in the United States. She confessed me that one major factor was the fact that she did not really like the English language when she moved to the U.S. or the country itself, for that matter. She also told me that she had had wonderful Spanish teachers when she was in high school and later at college. She had had really positive experiences with teachers and professors from Spain, so she started studying Peninsularists, that is studies on the Iberian Peninsula, and she was highly interested on Medieval Spain. However, once she got in contact with studies on Latin America, she finally made up her mind and started focusing her studies on Latin America.

Wanting to know more details about what made her like the Hispanic literature so much, I asked her whether Hispanic literature had traditionally had a big impact on the Russian culture, as well as the American. To that question, she answered that actually, it had a great impact on the Soviet culture, when she was young. In that time, the classics from the Golden Age of the Spanish literature, like Cervantes or Lope de Vega, were indeed very famous in Russia. She told me that her first contact with the Spanish literature came when she was young and lived in Russia. She would read all these classics that are so important for the history of Spanish culture and literature. She also told me about a Russian-made movie of El Quijote, saying that it was “a very impressive movie.” As for Latin American literature, she answered that both in Russia and the U.S. it was famous for “the Boom” of authors like Gabriel García Márquez or Mario Vargas Llosa. However, she expressed her disappointment on the newer generations of students in the U.S. due to their little knowledge on Hispanic literature, even in the case of her own students at the very beginning of their degrees.

Next, I thought it was time we spoke about current affairs. Laughing, Ms. Feldman said that she could already guess what I was going to ask her (and she happened to be right). First, given that only two days before, Hillary Clinton had become the first woman to be an official candidate to the U.S. presidential elections, I asked Ms. Feldman why she thought Clinton received so much supporting from the U.S. citizens. She explained that Vermont is a state that traditionally votes as much to the left as it can. So then, she asks, why does Hillary Clinton receive so much supporting? In her opinion, Hillary’s popularity has been supported by her relation with former president Bill Clinton. She thinks that Hillary’s stand on immigration is not progressive, but she receives so much supporting because people think of Hillary as a professional who knows what she is doing. However, according to Ms. Feldman, Hillary’s presidency would not mean the revolutionary change that a lot of people seem to ask for.

When asked about Donald Trump, she answered that it was completely the other way round: people think of Trump as an anti-establishment candidate. From what she told me, a lot of people seem to believe that because Trump is so rich, he will not accept bribes. People, Ms. Feldman says, are sick of the system, they think that the government does not represent the people, they think that the state is corrupted by the big money, and want someone who can change the game. She, however, thinks that these people are wrong. She can’t see the logic behind the bribes argument, and sees Trump as the main example of the decay of the political system in the U.S.

LGBT Discrimination in North Carolina

Chris Sgro

Chris Sgro leads a group carrying petitions calling for the repeal of HB2 to governor Pat McCrory’s office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Image obtained from The Guardian.

The new North Carolinian law, also known as HB2, the Charlotte Bathroom Bill or, more officially, as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, was passed in March by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. It is a response to Charlotte’s extension of its anti-discrimination decree, which would have permitted transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify and not only the one on their birth certification. It would have also given anti-discrimination protections to LGBT citizens.

According to the U.S. Justice Department officials, the law HB2 violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX. Therefore, this entity repudiated on May 4, 2016 the North Carolina’s House Bill 2 after the Governor, Pat McCrory, stated on a video that the use of female and male-specific bathrooms will be maintained and a creation of “special” restroom will be possible.

The Justice Department had given until Monday May 9, to the Governor  in order that he declares the non implementation of HB2. However, if the Governor decides to maintain the Bill, the State faces losing the federal education funding , which represents $861 million received by state public schools this year and which is, last year, $1.4 billion for the University of North Carolina system itself according to News Observer.

The Justice Department indicated that the Bill violates the Civil Rights Act, such as Title IX which prohibits the sexual discrimination in education area, and the Title VII which forbids employment discrimination.

McCrory, in an interview with business leaders, declared that the Bill’s restrictions would affect the whole country: “This is no longer just a N.C. issue. This impacts every state, every university and almost every employee in the United States of America [given that] they will have to comply with new definitions of requirements by the federal government regarding restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities in both the private and public sector.”

The Democrat Chris Sgro, who is the executive director of Equality NC, declared that “HB2 is deeply discriminatory, violates federal civil rights law, and needs to be repealed as soon as possible”.

Then, Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign which is the largest gay rights group in the country, commended the Justice Department “for enforcing the rule of law and protecting the rights of North Carolinians.” while the Charlotte’s Mayor denied to comment.

In order to give them more support, the Justice Department published a  fact sheet in 2015, stating that a “civilian transgender woman working for the Army at this time, had been discriminated because banned from using the common women’s restroom and forced to use a single bathroom” and therefore, the final judgment was the violation of civils rights by denying transgender employees access to a bathroom based on gender identity.

Finally, because HB2 is against the most important civil document, the one that famous and powerful personalities have fought for its creation and some gave their lives, the one of which the whole society is based on, the Civil Rights Act, we can conclude that this law should be removed.

One question whose answer should be interesting to know is how this issue became such a big deal. Do people in the U.S. believe it is really important to make sure that transgender people go to this restroom or that restroom? Should they?

It is our opinion that citizens in the U.S. have more important issues to attend to. In a country full of debates on guns, the health care system or primary elections, debating about transgender people and restrooms does not seem to be the best usage of time and energy for the citizens.

In fact, most people are not as worried as the media tend to say. Brad Paisley, an American country music star, even sang a song on Tuesday 24th at the Jimmy Kimmel Show, making fun of how the transgender issue seems to have gone too far. This is clear at the end of said song: “Why is this such a big deal? Hike up your dress, and take a stand. And sit by your man.”

In conclusion, we think that HB2 is a ridiculous measurement against a non-existing problem which can lead to a really serious issue. This Bill violates the rights of citizens, and it is our belief that these rights should be respected unanimously without second-thought, and that time and energy should be spent in debating on more realistic threats.

Guns still not allowed on Georgia universities

Nathan Deal

Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal. Image obtained from slate.com

On Tuesday, May 3, Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a bill which would have allowed concealed handguns on university campuses for anyone 21 years old and over with a weapons license. More specifically, guns would have been allowed anywhere on campus, except for inside dormitories, fraternity and sorority houses and at athletic events. Said bill had been already approved by the Republican Party, with a majority of 113 votes in the Georgia House and 37 in the Senate.

The Second Amendment of the US Constitution states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” This amendment has generated lots of debates on whether it protects a right of individuals to keep and bear arms or a right that only militia organizations can exercise. This has led 9 states to allow guns in all their universities, 23 states to leave the decision to allow or ban weapons up to the individual colleges, and 19 states (still including Georgia) to ban weapons on campuses. In the case of Deal, his main reasons for not allowing guns in Georgia colleges are that “From the early days of our nation and state, colleges have been treated as sanctuaries of learning where firearms have not been allowed.” and “To depart from such time honored protections should require overwhelming justification. I do not find that such justification exists.”

Some groups which support gun ownership, like the National Rifle Association or Georgiacarry.org have expressed their disappointment on Deal’s decision, stating that the approval of the bill would have improved safety in campuses, and that it would have served as a deterrent for gun violence, with the mantra that “the only thing that stops a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun.” Georgiacarry.org have been trying to increase the liberties of those who have a gun license for almost ten years. For instance, in 2008, they tried to expand the places where guns could be carried, including restaurants that serve alcohol, public transit and parks.

As for Georgia’s university community, Lindsey Donovan, leader of the Georgia cahpter of the anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action, stated that she was grateful Deal “listened to Georgia students, faculty and parents.” This can be seen on statistics: the vast majority of  Georgia college presidents and faculty (over 90% each) declare to oppose concealed weapons on campus. However, this majority is less overwhelming among the students, with 79% opposing guns. Moreover, nine in ten police chiefs believe that the most effective way to deal with guns in campus is “to prevent the use of guns at all.”

The debate on whether guns should or should not be allowed seems far from taking to an end, though, as Deal is to be Governor for other two years. Despite of this fact, however, Gerogia House Speaker David Ralston does not hold back to state that “This fight will go on. The exact form it takes, it’s early to say right now.”

Wave of Suicides: the Attawapiskat Crisis

Attawapiskat-Protest-0413

Picture obtained from The Globe and Mail

The Attawapiskat First Nation have been dealing with the suicide attempts  of youngsters from their own community. With more than 100 people trying to take their own lives in the past seven months, a state of emergency was declared after 11 people, 10 of them youth, tried to take their lives on April 9th. 

For those who don’t know, these Attawapiskat First Nation are one of the different Aboriginal Canadians spread across the country, who remain in their Indian reserve at the mouth of the James Bay’s Attawapiskat River, 600 miles north of Ottawa, Canada. But suicides aren’t  the only tragedy hitting the Attawapiskat First Nation. An isolated region where people have been suffering already harsh conditions have declared several states of  emergency  through the last 10 years: health problems due to the quality of the drinking water (October 2006), homes contaminated by sewage due to lack of housing and overcrowding (July 2009), a severe housing shortage without access to running water or electricity (October 2011), sewage rising forcing people to evacuate due to poor infrastructures (April 2013). Along with the recent state of emergency declared because of the high rate of suicides.

The LHIN (Northwest Local Health Integration Network) reported in 2010 the suicide rate for some First Nation is 50 times higher than the Canadian average for children under 15.

This wave of suicidal attempts may have root in several issues. Isolation, drinking and alcohol problems, over-crowded families living in substandard houses, even bullying at school, often feeling left aside by the government. Davyn Calfchild, chief of the Blackfoot Confederacy from the Siksika Nation in Alberta asked for permanent solutions, claiming that the Attawapiskat doesn’t receive enough help from the government:   “People need traditional healing, ceremonies, their elders – and [Indigenous Affairs] needs to start taking responsibility.” He said that if people attempted suicide at the same rate in Toronto, there would be a groundswell of support and resources.

Racism may be another of the causes of youth committing suicide. Rebecca Hookimaw, whose little sister took her own life. “People are treating us like we’re nothing. We’re not different from everybody. We’re all human,” she says. “If we were like white or whatever, they’d help us out right away, but we’re native.”

Regarding these suicides, Bill Yoachim, member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation on Vancouver, stated that in his community, located in an urban centre, unlike the isolation of the Attawapiskat, had also suffered clusters of suicides. This issue, however, was well addressed by the community, who offered sports programs, as an integration measure, and a program to revive the traditional Snuneymuxw culture between the youth. 

 

Ultimately, what these people need aren’t solutions, they already know what those are. North Wilson, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak says “We don’t need people to come into our communities and tell us what the solutions are, we have them,”

 

“We just need partners to help make them a reality.”