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Today I can’t follow the prompt because is awfully late over here in Europe. I have been the whole day busy with an important event. There is an award with my father’s name: the Brajnovic Award of Journalism for people with outstanding achievements in ethics and commitment. The known photojournalist James Nachtwey was awarded this year and today came here to receive the award and give a lecture in which he showed us some of his best photos. Was really impressive. After the lecture there were 45 minutes of questions and answers with students and photographers.

He has traveled around the world and documented terrible wars, conflicts and humanitarian disasters, enduring many risks, convinced that his images contribute to awake the public opinion consciousness towards the problems of people suffering in countries in conflict.

He did a job, years ago, during a famine in Somalia that was published in the magazine of the New York Times and  awaked the awareness about that disaster that was not known, and as a result it began a movement to help those people that saved 1.5 million lives.

He told us that a photo that captures the true nature of the war is a statement against it. the students asked about his feelings in those risky and highly emotional situations.

With all those experiences and all the pain reflected in his eyes I found a quiet man with a constant smile, extremely polite. An extraordinary man.

Third From the Top.




Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

I wouldn’t call it a code. Sounds to me like something cold and closed that requires a blind compliance. I need freedom. Of course I live in accordance with some fundamental values. Few but very important for my life, that My parents  taught me  and then have taken root in my life with the time. Values based primarily on the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ, such as those contained in the Sermon on the Mount. Mainly are summarized in love God above all things and our neighbor as oneself. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself. Demand respect and respect, therefore, the freedom of others. I am an enemy of a comprehensive system of rules. I prefer wide open spaces for freedom of decision in consciousness, and have an open mind to the dialog.

via Daily Prompt: I Walk the Line.

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The best policy


Is it possible to be too honest, or is honesty always the best policy?

Lies, even good intended ones, can be a source of a lot of confusion and suffering. At the end the truth prevails anyway. Is better to be always honest. No matter the consequences. My Mom had to endure prison and persecution because she was honest telling that she believed in God and insisting in going openly to the church in a communist regime. She told us that, that way, at the end, everybody respected her because of her coherence. It was hard but worth it, she said. She taught us to be always honest and tell the truth.

When I was young they said I was too sensitive. Once I had to pass a very important exam and I was studying hard. My older sister was pregnant, and the day before I had to take the exam, she had her baby, but after a few hours the baby died. They decided not to tell me about it that night and wait after the exam, afraid of my reaction. But I found out about what happened in the library. A common friend told me. And that was far more traumatic for me. From that day I told them never ever do that to me again. I want the truth immediately always. No matter how hard it is. And that works nicely in my family.

Every time I have been in situations when people tried to “camouflage” the truth the result was a lot of confusion misunderstanding, anger, distrust. Honesty is not always easy but is the only way to understand each other and to build trust.

In my work as a journalist honesty is basic. If you’re honest you can build trust among your sources and your readers. And most importantly you can do your job: tell the truth about what’s going on and you’re reporting about. Maybe without honesty you can find a faster way to success, but it would be a temporary and unjust success, not worth it.

Daily Prompt: Truth or Dare.
Honesty posts by other bloggers on the next page:


Fifteen Minutes


You have 15 minutes to address the whole world live (on television or radio — choose your format). What would you say?

I have a stage panic. So I would probably make a TV program with footage of everything but me.

The first image would be a map of the wars and conflicts of the world. I would enumerate each one of them (the ones making breaking news and the ones forgotten) and explain how long is lasting and the death toll. Then show images of the surviving victims and people trying to help them. Then I would show images of the boats of immigrants trying to reach Europe or Australia, explain the problem of the refugees flying from war zones or poverty, the asylum seekers, the modern slavery and again show images of people trying to help them. I would quote Pope Francis when he said addressing to the FAO:

“A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”

Then I would show images of the “World Powers” maybe represented by Presidents or Prime Ministers gathering in some G-8 Summit, a footage of the UN Security Council, the NATO Headquarters…, and explain why there are no agreements in key issues. They are too busy keeping or increasing their own geopolitical and economic power.

I would like to say that peace is possible if there is a will for it and for restoring justice. Because peace cannot last without justice. The recently deceased Nelson Mandela wrote:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

He is right. But is also true that is too easy to spread hate. Wars spread hate for generations but they cannot last forever. People have to learn to make peace. They did it before many times. The world need more peace makers and less World Powers’ rivalries.

Daily Prompt: Fifteen Minutes.
Fifteen Minutes posts by other bloggers on the next page:


The Unknown Blogger

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October 16th is officially declared “Person X Day” — and you get to pick Person X. Tell us about someone who deserves to be commemorated.

October 16th is actually Blog Action Day so I’ll pick the Unknown Blogger for the Person of the Day to be honoured. And I’m not talking just about people like me, a comfortable writer posting from my comfortable home in a  safe part of the world, but about our fellow bloggers posting from dangerous places, risking their safety to tell the world about what’s really happening in their countries, about violations of human rights, the consequences of violence, and all kind of abuses. I’m thinking also in people blogging knowing they are in risk of being prosecuted for exercising their right to free expression and even jailed for that, like some of our Chinese fellow bloggers. I’m thinking in all courageous honest bloggers that contribute to make the problems of this world more known without manipulations. I’m thinking in all bloggers who help this world communicate freely and peacefully no matter where they are.

 Daily Prompt: Honorific.


The Holy Land


If you could pause real life and spend some time living with a family anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I would travel to the Holy Land to visit the places where my Lord was born, lived, died and resurrected for us and other biblical places. I could do it in a pilgrimage with foreigners, but it would be more interesting and intense living with a Christian family… let’s say in East Jerusalem. I could see the basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, pray at Way of the Cross with the Franciscans,  visit the Upper Room where Christ founded the Eucharist. Then I would try to make trips from there to the holy sites of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum, the sea of Galilee, Jericho, Hebron, Tiberias,  the Mount of Olives…

I realise it would be difficult. In part because some of this places, like Bethlehem, Jericho and Hebron are in the West Bank and you need permits to cross the Wall, check points, and all. In part because I don’t think ordinary life for Christians in the Holy Land is easy. They are the forgotten minority. Everybody talk about Jews and Muslims and their conflicts, and few talk about the Christians in Holy Land and their every day problems. I would like to know how it is being a Christian there. Pray with them, experience their pains and joys. Be one of them. And then come back home a write about them. Tell everybody about their lives and about what they need and how can we help them.

Daily Prompt: On the Road.

More on the road posts in the next page:


Because she’s mine


IMG_0330Write a six-word story about what you think the future holds for you, and then expand on it in a post.

I’ll be there for Mom

It’s my turn. She has always been there for me. When I was little, of course, as a loving mother of five. I was the middle child. Number three. But I felt unique. Even when my baby sister Ana Maria would stay at home and we all go to school. When we arrived back home we used to rush to kiss Mom and Ana Maria, very angry wouldn’t let us yelling: She’s mine! Even then I knew she was mine as much as hers.

She was all mine when I had my terrible migraines. The pain was so terrible I wanted to pull out my left eyeball. I thought with my kid’s logic that without the eye the pain would disappear. She stayed with me for hours holding my hands and caressing me, promising me it would pass. And her promises always became true.

She was all mine despite she was always busy working at home. I firmly believed she had eyes in her back, because she managed to pay attention to what I was doing playing around her while she was cooking or ironing.

She was all mine when I needed her to talk about “my stuff” as a girl and my problems as a young woman. She knew about my friends, my first job, my first love, about my hopes, my joys and my sorrows. She was always there for me. In the good times and the bad times. Always with her warm smile, her peaceful black eyes glancing at me. Waiting for me.

Now she needs me. She’s 93 and she’s paralyzed. I’m so sad seeing her in that condition and watching her suffering. But I’m also so glad I can do something for her; easy her pain in some way as she did with me when I was little and I was in bed with migraines. Only I can’t promise her it will pass and she knows. My immediate future consists in taking care of her, being there for her, because she’s all mine. She continues smiling and looking peacefully at me. Every little service I give her is an opportunity to show her my love and tell her “thank you for your life”.

Daily Prompt: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other.

Great posts by other bloggers in the next page:


Fighting hate


“…He is about my age. His eyes are cold when he looks at me and barks me orders. But sometimes I can see he is tired and sometimes even scared. Who knows what happened to him to make him take the weapons and hit the mountains. Who knows why he is so harsh. I’m praying for all of us. And for my beloved, my only one, Ana. She doesn’t know if I’m dead or alive…”

I was reading my father’s diary from when he was a prisoner of the communists in a concentration camp, talking about one of his guards transporting him and others through the mountains from one camp to another. He was trying to understand his captors, forgiving them and praying for them at the same time all that was taking place!.

My father wouldn’t let us read his diaries when he was alive, so I was reading this when he was already dead and that struck me in so many ways. I found myself thinking on how sensible soul was my dad’s and how far away I was from that level of faith. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us… He really lived  what he prayed every day. He suffered a lot. The killing of two of his brothers, the forced separation from his wife, being imprisoned, almost executed once, forced to leave his homeland, and forgiving, always forgiving.

And that was not easy for him. Several years before in a televised interview about his life the interviewer asked him if he hated someone from those days. He answered:

“from then I lived every day of my life fighting hate”.

He taught me so many things in my life and now that he is gone he is still my guide.

Daily Prompt: In Good Faith.



Jane or John Doe



You’re asked to nominate someone for TIME’s Person of the Year. Who would it be, and why?
I would nominate an average citizen who struggles with life every day, works every day if he or she is so lucky to have a job, maintains a family and keeps the world and the homeland going on peacefully with the little everyday things.
Instead than nominate someone famous or powerful or privileged, I think is time for pay a tribute to all this anonymous people who would not be on the news ever, but without whom the world would stop or start running in a biggest chaos than it is running now.
I would nominate someone like my sister who raised her kids and now, after surviving a breast cancer is taking care of her ailing husband and helping me with my paralyzed mother. Or my other sister, also a survivor of breast cancer, who spend her vacation time taking care of my mother so we two can rest a little. And all that out of love, without thinking they are doing something extraordinary to be in the cover of a magazine. Keeping the world running without making any noise. All the people doing these are my persons of the year.

Daily Prompt: Person of the Year.