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Yasser Arafat

Photo: Remy Steinegger / CC BY-SA 2.0

Yasser Arafat Biography

Yasser Arafat (August 24, 1929 – November 11, 2004) political leader and promoter of Palestinian independence. He was born in El Cairo, the capital city of Egypt. His father was Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini, a Palestinian from Gaza, and his mother Zahwa Abul Saud, a Palestinian from Jerusalem. He lived in Gaza, most of his childhood until his mother’s death. After that, Arafat begins a life in the Holy City of Jerusalem, occupied by the British, who founded on Zionist colonialism sought to protect their oil interests in Mesopotamia and the important Suez Canal. In Jerusalem Arafat would learn the precepts of the Koran.

He studied civil engineering at the University of Cairo but decided to quit. Motivated by the struggle of his country, seeing the situation so miserable that they lived because of the British invasion, supported by the League of Nations, wanted to be an active part of the fight of the Arabs against Israel. Soon, the withdrawal of British troops from the Palestinian region, followed by the Arab defeat, in 1950.

Yasser returned to Cairo to continue his engineering studies and was recognized for his political activism and for his broad leadership. For this reason, in 1952 he was named as the president of the League of Palestinian Students of Cairo University. His different occupations delayed his degree for several years, but when he finally obtained it, he moved to Kuwait, where he would found the Fatah Movement (Palestinian National Liberation Movement). This movement had the purpose of seeking the liberation of their homeland, by means of independence with respect to Arab governments.

In 1964, he would create a new organization to reaffirm his aspirations and his people to possess an autonomous state in the face of the territorial ambitions of Israel and their Arab neighbors. As a result, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was created, supported by the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser. In 1965, the PLO began the armed struggle against the Israeli occupation forces. The PLO’s conviction to wage an independent struggle is reaffirmed with the end of the Six-Day War when Israel defeated Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. They proceeded to occupy the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Sinai and the Golan Heights. During this event, Arafat is in charge of the PLO’s executive committee.

During 1968, the incorporation of young people to the armed struggle increases remarkably, due to the motivation and attraction that the people felt for the victory of the PLO before the Zionist army, as a consequence of this military victory its prestige grew. Thanks to the popularity and reverence, the PLO would become a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

However, in 1974 Arafat arrives at the United Nations facilities where he states his speech where the following phrase is celebrated: “War breaks out in Palestine, but it is in Palestine that peace will be born”.

In 1982, the invasion of Israel broke out over Lebanon, occupying the capital of Beirut. This invasion lasted three years. The Israeli army attacks the bases of support of the PLO and forces a rethinking of military-political strategy. Arafat had to take refuge with his organization in Tunisia.

The areas occupied by Israel in 1967 were proclaimed by the PLO in 1988 as an independent Palestinian state, with Arafat as a provisional political leader. Simultaneously, Arafat made a statement before the UN rejecting the use of terror as a political tool and calling for peace dialogues.

Some years later, Arafat’s intention to create dialogue and seek a political solution was approved in 1993 during the signing of the Oslo Accords with the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Isaac Rabin and Simón Pérez, the foreign minister. The agreements supported by the United States and signed in Washington were carried out. Arafat returned to Palestine as representative of an autonomous government called the Palestinian National Authority, which initially had only power over Gaza and Jericho, but then spread to the rest of the West Bank. For this effort, he would receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

His management under the leadership of the Palestinian National Authority focused primarily on the strategic purpose of achieving the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the occupied territories. This political project had many detractors; the Jewish extremists, with the complicity of North Americans, murdered Rabin.

Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister for the Likud party, was subtracted progressively contained the commitments assumed in Oslo. The withdrawal of Israeli troops caused delays and strong discord, therefore, negotiations were severely and violently interrupted since they began. In that sense, the Zionist leader Ariel Sharon with defiant attitude visits the esplanade of the mosques, the sacred place of Islam, to build a political position in view of his election as prime minister, supported by the most conservative sectors of Israel. Also, the second wave of Intifada was activated, expressing the exaltation of the Palestinian population.

The Zionist leader manages to win the elections, which generated an increase the violence, suicide attacks and destructive actions by the Arab people against Israel. The objective of the occupation forces, American allies and European powers was to pressure Arafat into exile. There was no objection to the issue of the violation of international law in the name of the war against terrorism. The seat of the political leader, Moukata, was the space where his resistance and commitment to the Palestinian cause was tested. Remarkable resistance after 18 months of siege that did not undermine the will of the Palestinian leader. Given this situation, he was poisoned with radioactive polonium, which forced him to be transferred to Paris, France.

In 2004, Arafat would die in a military hospital after entering a coma. His death was world news. His homeland paid hundreds of tributes.

His legacy did not die, young people recognize him in every act of resistance and remember him as a leader who was not defeated and did not give in to the defense of his people’s right to have an independent homeland. Thanks to the work of this man and his supporters, Palestine is recognized worldwide as a State.

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Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon Biography
Eric Koch / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon Biography

Margaret Rose (August 21, 1930 – February 9, 2002) was born at Glamis Castle in Scotland. Her parents were Prince Albert, Duke of York, and her mother was Elizabeth, Duchess of York. Because of her royal lineage, Margaret received the treatment of Royal Highness. Her baptism was a huge event and it was led by Cosmo Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury and it was carried out in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace on October 30, 1930. She was privately educated by a governess, named Marion Crawford. In 1936, her father rose to George VI after her uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne. She attended the coronation of her parents in 1937.

Early life

During World War II, Margaret remained at Windsor Castle. On February 6, 1952, her father died, and her older sister became Queen Elizabeth II. In her youth she met Colonel Townsend with whom she had an affair, this union was the target of much criticism and controversy for her failure. Despite his honorable military career, he had no chance of marrying the princess, because he was a divorced man, and her relationship caused great controversy in the 1950s.

Love life and marriage

The young woman had several lovers, including the future Canadian Prime Minister John Napier Turner. It was until May 16, 1960, that Margarita surprisingly married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, son of Ronald Armstrong-Jones and Anne Messel, at Westminster Abbey. In reality, no one was aware of this love, and it was never suspected that there was interest between the two. After the ceremony was approved by the Royal Household, this ceremony was described as a “modern” royal wedding, considered the first. It was televised in the UK. The Daily Express claims it had 300 million viewers around the world. After the honeymoon that lasted several weeks, they moved to Kensington Palace, where her son, David, would later be born.

In 1961, the princess’s husband was awarded the title of Earl of Snowdon; for this reason, Margaret formally obtained the title of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. During the 1960s, they were known as the most glamorous British couple, and their daughter Sarah was born. Antony Armstrong-Jones was the first “commoner” to marry the daughter of a king for more than 400 years, but the marriage crisis was not long in coming. In less than ten years of relationship, the couple had grown apart and, after almost 20 years of marriage, they announced their divorce. The royalty questioned this situation a lot and assured that it was due to their past detached from the aristocracy. The princess continued to be one of the most desired women in England.

Despite the situation, the princess’ family continued to have great affection for Tony. She got along very well with Prince Charles and adored Queen Elizabeth. But, the problems related to the lack of interest on the part of the princess began. Both had strong and defined personalities which prevented reaching an agreement. In 1962, Snowdon was appointed artistic advisor to The Sunday Times, a position he carried out with great responsibility and enthusiasm. This situation made the relationship even worse because he dedicated much more time to his work than to his family. Then infidelity came into the relationship.

Affairs

Margaret began to have encounters with Snowdon’s friend from college, Anthony Barton, and later with Roddy Llewellyn, an 18-year-old gardener. In 1969, it became known that Snowdon had an extramarital affair with Mrs. Jacqueline Rufus-Isaacs. Their divorce was the first in the royalty since King Henry VIII in 1540. Despite their problems, the couple continued to maintain a close relationship. Before long, Snowdon married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg. His only daughter, Frances Armstrong-Jones, was born from this union. At the time he got divorced again and he had another child with journalist Melanie Cable-Alexander.

Later, a DNA test in 2004 confirmed that he had had a daughter, Polly Fry, shortly before he married Princess Margaret. she proved her paternity, but he denied any relationship to that issue.

Death

Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, passed away on February 9, 2002, of a cerebral vascular problem at the age of 71. Her funeral was at the same time as the 50th anniversary of the burial of her father, King George VI.

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Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris Biography
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kamala Harris Biography

Kamala Devi Harris (October 20, 1964) American lawyer and politician. The first woman of Jamaican and Indian descent to lead the San Francisco District Attorney’s office and the California Department of Justice, and become the Vice President of the United States of America. She is currently a United States Senator from California. She also serves on the National Security Committee, the Judiciary Committee, and the Select Committee on Intelligence. She started her career with the Alameda County Attorney’s Office and has a law degree. In 2019 she published the book The Truths We Hold: An American Journey.

Early life

She was born in Oakland, California, the daughter of Indian-American immigrant Shyamala Gopalan and Jamaican Donald J. Harris. Her mother is a breast cancer activist and researcher and her father is an economics professor. When she was very young, she experienced the struggle for civil rights, a fact that marked her. When her parents divorced, she and her sister (Maya) moved with her mother to Montreal, Canada. She studied high school there and then returned to the United States to start her law studies. She graduated in political science from Howard University in Washington and studied law at the Hastings College of Law at the University of California.

Career

Harris would begin her career working at the Alameda County Attorney’s Office. She then specialized in child abuse cases and in 1998, she joined the San Francisco Attorney General’s Office, where she headed the Career Criminals Unit and headed the Division for Children and Families. She was later elected San Francisco District Attorney (2003-11), a position she held for two terms, after being reelected in 2007. Among her achievements as a prosecutor, is the creation of the program Retomar el Camino, which provides study and employment opportunities to people who have committed a crime for the first time. Her excellent performance (not without criticism), augured a good political future for her.

San Francisco District Attorney’s Office

At the end of her second term in San Francisco, Harris was elected Attorney General of California (2011), being the first African-American woman of Jamaican and Indian descent to hold the position. After that, she worked tirelessly on behalf of minorities, women, and workers. Harris stood up to corporations, supported California’s landmark climate change law, she also defended mortgaged homeowners by winning a $ 25 billion settlement and upheld the Affordable Care Act. Besides, she helped achieve marriage equality for Californians and wiped out gangs that trafficked guns, drugs, and people.

Harris served on the District Attorney’s Office until she was named a California Senator in January 2017.

Senator

As a Senator, Harris has continued to fight for communities, equality, women, and children. She is a strong defender of rights and recognizes herself as an African American, a descendant of slaves (on her father’s side). In recent years, she has fought for a wage increase for workers and promoted several projects to reform the criminal justice system. She is known for winning a lawsuit on behalf of veterans and their families and her promotion of education, as a key point in reintegration.

In addition to being a senator, Harris is a member of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committees, the Judiciary Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Budget Committee. In 2019 she ran as a pre-candidate for the presidency by the Democrats, however, she ended up withdrawing her campaign in December of the same year.

Vicepresident of the United States of America

Harris emerged as the perfect vice presidential candidate for Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Following a hectic election campaign, she made history on November 7, 2020, by becoming the first woman ever to be elected as the US vice president, according to major media projections. In her first speech as Vice President-elect, she left a clear message:

“While I may be the first, I will not be the last.”

She is the author of Smart on Crime (2009) and The Truths We Hold: An American Journey (2019)

Harris lives in Los Angeles, is married to Doug Emhoff and is a stepmother of Cole and Ella Emhoff.

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Donald Trump

Donald Trump Biography
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Donald Trump Biography

Donald Trump (June 14, 1946) is the 45th president of the United States, politician, businessman, and television personality. He was born in New York, United States. He grew up in Queens. His parents were Mary Anne MacLeod and Fred Trump, both of whom came to the United States as German and Scottish immigrants.

Where did Donald Trump study?

He attended the Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills. When he entered puberty he began to have very bad attitudes and, for this reason, he was expelled from school, as his punishment his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy (NYMA). Upon completing his studies and attaining a disciplined personality, he entered Fordham University in the Bronx. Later, he began studying business at the University of Pennsylvania. He graduated in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.

In 1974, at the age of 28, he was handed over from his father and entered the real estate world of Manhattan. He began to work heavily in the real estate sector. Since the 80s, he forged a business empire dedicated to the construction of casinos, hotels, and luxurious homes, for example, the Trump Tower, where Trump himself resides in a triplex, and hotels: Hotel Plaza, Hotel Saint Moritz, and Hotel Grand Hyatt. In Atlantic City, there were three main casinos: Trump Castle, Trump Plaza, and the more recent Taj Mahal.

 

He knew how to expand and maintain regardless of the financial difficulties of himself and the country. Trump’s acquisitions were impressive, including the Eastern Company’s airlift between Boston, New York, and Washington, which he renamed the Trump Shuttle, owned shares in American Airlines. He also dedicated himself to writing his Trump book or the art of selling, which quickly made it to the top of the best-seller lists in his country. Trump was one of the most popular millionaires in the United States. By 1987, he invested around one hundred thousand dollars to buy spaces in the best newspapers, sometimes he used these columns to criticize the North American policy of protecting the oil tankers that sailed through the Persian Gulf.

 

Donald Trump married Czech-born figure skater Ivana Winkelmayr, whom he had met at the Montreal Olympics. From this union, three children were born. But, Ivana decided to file for divorce in 1990, this was one of the most expensive separations in the United States. The event was on the front pages and made the front pages of national and world newspapers. Donald Trump gave his ex-wife Ivana $ 10 million, an annual pension of $ 600,000, a mansion in Connecticut, and an apartment in Trump Plaza in New York, in addition to the custody of his children. That same year, Trump faced serious financial problems, his debts were huge and seemed endless. On April 27 of that same year, the millionaire hired the services of the firm Merrill Lynch to negotiate the sale of his airline Trump Shuttle.

His Trump Castle casino in Atlantic City filed for bankruptcy.

Soon after, on July 12, it emerged that he had sold his Trump Princess yacht for $ 42 million to the bank that had it mortgaged. He achieved more favorable credit conditions after transferring control of 49 percent of the Hotel Plaza in New York to his bank creditors. After recovering he continued to build casinos and luxurious hotels worldwide. He married the actress Marla Maples, but that union was short.

His third and current wife is the Slovenian model Melania Knauss, whom he married in 2005. From that same year, he starred in the reality show The Apprentice, in which a group of applicants compete for a contract to run one of their companies. He thereby achieved considerable prestige and popularity. Then, he was recognized as the American self-made man. At times he was criticized for his egotistical personality and his dubious scruples. Besides, his highly conservative thought of him, his statements out of tune about him made him, as of 2005, one of the most controversial characters in the country. His xenophobic attitudes were uncovered when in 2011 he demanded that Barack Obama prove his American status. Later, he claimed that black and Hispanic people were guilty of nearly all violent crimes.

 

He branded Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug traffickers and proposed the construction of a border wall. The Latino community and businesses rose against these proposals, especially against the Miss Universe Organization, the entity that organizes the Miss Universe and Miss United States beauty pageants and of which Trump is the majority shareholder. But, this did not diminish, later he proposed the deportation of eleven million illegal immigrants, he continued his attacks on the media and journalists who questioned his program: he directed rude sexist comments to Megyn Kelly, from the Fox news channel, and expelled Jorge Ramos, Star journalist for the Latin network Univisión. Although it was predicted that he would eventually lose their support from the Americans, Trump surpassed the candidates after Super Tuesday.

 

The Republican National Convention designated him as the candidate for the presidency for the Republican Party. Against all odds, he presented his candidacy for the presidency. Many did not believe in his project due to the harshness of his racist and xenophobic messages. But the tycoon outperformed the remaining Republican candidates in the primaries and managed to advance his campaign. His campaign was attacked for the little importance of his political proposals, however, Donald Trump won out against the Democratic Party candidate, Hillary Clinton, by a wide margin of votes. The world panorama did not hide his political uncertainties and doubts in the face of this important world event.

 

During the first phase of the campaign, Trump was involved in allegations of sexual harassment. Somehow, neither scandal nor his racist ideology nor his macho attitudes had managed to take away his credit. His proposals were described as a kind of populist marketing rather than viable proposals. Trump pointed out that globalization and the relocation of companies were responsible for the impoverishment of the middle classes, and he was in favor of modifying free trade agreements, imposing protectionist restrictions, and promoting national production. Trump’s policy is based on the slogan “Make America great again,” which is based on attacking the immigration-relocation binomial that is seen as the cause of evil.

He has received several recognitions and honors during his life, the most current being: Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Statesman of the Year, Republican Party of Saratosta (2015), Freedom Award (2015), Keys to the city ​​of Doral, Florida. He also received the United States Marine Corps Commander’s Leadership Award (2015), New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame (2015). And finally, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (2016).

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Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson Biography
EU2017EE Estonian Presidency, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Boris Johnson Biography

Boris Johnson (June 19, 1964) politician of the North American Conservative Party. He was born in New York, United States. His father is Stanley Johnson. His father was part of the family of King George II of Great Britain. Shortly after his birth, they moved to the UK, especially rural Nethercote. For many years he had to undergo surgical procedures because he had hearing problems.

 

With difficulty, he managed to finish his basic studies and begin an academic career at the University of Oxford. Later, he got a vacancy at The Times newspaper, but had a plagiarism problem and was fired. Later, he would go through the Daily Telegraph and The Spectator magazine. His work has been carried out perfectly and one point in his favor is that he handles several languages: French, Italian, German, and Spanish. In The Daily Telegraph in Brussels, he published an article: The Delors Plan to Rule Eastern Europe gave him international recognition in the circle of journalists.

 

In 2001, he was integrated as MP for Henley (Conservative County of Oxfordshire district) in the House of Commons. Years later, he was vice president of the Conservative party, and in it, he was elected to the position of Shadow Minister of University Education. By 2007 the news of his nomination for mayor of London on behalf of the Conservative Party was known. He had the support of the population and defeated the leftist politician: Ken Livingstone. He was re-elected to the position on May 4th, 2012, his popularity grew by managing him at the Olympics that took place in his country.

Johnson is remembered for being one of the main promoters of Brexit, and after the majority of Brits voted to leave the EU in the European referendum (June 23, 2016). His candidacy to replace David Cameron was not accepted, so he decided to support Andrea Leadsom. Later, Theresa May, Prime Minister, appointed him foreign minister in her government. In 2018 he resigned due to the serious crisis in Theresa May’s government and the resignation of the head of Brexit, David Davis. He claimed that he would not support the prime minister’s plans to negotiate a soft break with the European Union.

On May 16th, 2019, Johnson decided to participate in the Conservative leadership elections following Theresa May’s resignation. He competed against Jeremy Hunt and came out the winner. The so-called English Trump has promised to cut taxes and increase investments.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Biography
Franmarie Metzler; U.S. House Office of Photography, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Biography

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or AOC (October 13, 1989) is an American politician and activist of Puerto Rican ascendance. She is a member of the Democratic Party and in 2019, she was elected a congressman for the 14th district of New York defeating Joseph Crowley. Ocasio-Cortez is part of the new wave of women in American politics: she on the left, feminist, defender of the LGBTI + collective, the Green New Deal, and daughter of immigrants.

 

Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York on October 13, 1989. Daughter of Puerto Rican Blanca Cortez and New Yorker Sergio Ocasio, she lived in the Bronx before the family moved to Yorktown Heights in Westchester County. She attended Yorktown High School and upon graduation, she entered Boston University, where she studied Economics and International Relations. She was then a fellow at Senator Ted Kennedy’s immigration office. After finishing college in 2011, she returned to the Bronx and got a job as an educational director. However, the economic crisis affected her family, so she was forced to also work as a waitress, taking shifts of more than ten hours, to help her mother. By then, Ocasio’s father had already died (due to cancer) and her mother was working as a cleaner. In 2012, she founded the Brook Avenue Press children’s bookstore, which was in operation until 2017.

 

Ocasio-Cortez entered politics in 2016 as the organizer of Bernie Sanders’ New York campaign in the Democratic primary. Once the elections were over, she traveled all over the United States, visiting places like Flint (Michigan), where she spoke about the problem of contamination to drinking water; and the Standing Rock Native Reservation. Ocasio-Cortez was one of the activists who protested against the pipeline that threatened native property. Progressive and left-wing, in May 2017 Ocasio-Cortez would run for the first time as a candidate for the New York primaries. Although she never thought of lassoing, her campaign was widely accepted by the public. Such was the success of her campaign that she was elected over the famous Democratic leader Joseph Crowley. It was a milestone, she was young and inexperienced, but with the support of a new generation, she managed to defeat the candidate with the most experience and recognition of the campaign.

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman in New York. Alexandria was elected a congressman for the 14th congressional district of New York in November 2018. She took office in January 2019. Among her proposals are: improving and expanding Medicare, promoting free public education, creating more accessible sources of employment, reforming the judicial system, fight for better measures against climate change (Green New Deal) and gun control and abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

 

“Women like men aren’t supposed to run for office. I wasn’t born to a wealthy or powerful family (…) My name is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I’m an educator, an organizer, a working class New Yorker ”

(Ocasio-Cortez fragment of her campaign video) Alexandria, along with other women of Hispanic, Indian, and Jamaican ascendance present themselves as the new face of American politics, perhaps heralding a change and opening the way to sustainable, accessible, and feminist progress.

She starred in the Netflix documentary Knock Down The House.

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