Στήλη: Social Issues

European Union Principles

 

This article presents the project work made by students of our school that this school year have been Junior Ambassadors in the «European Parliament School Ambassadors» programme.

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What makes the EU stand out?

By Philip Antonopoulos (C Class)

 

The European Union upholds certain key values. These values are a substantial part of the European way of life. For this reason, they are promoted in each member-state and guide all decisions made. A major part of the EUs outreach to the community is espousing these ideals, thereby creating a united Europe.

The first chapter of EU values relates to the governing system. To begin with, one of the aforementioned values and one of paramount importance is democracy. After all, a democratic polity is one of the criteria that must be met so as a country be considered for European membership. More specifically, this strong commitment to democracy is at the core of all things European and may be what makes the EU unique in the world. Moving on, another essential ideal that radiates throughout EU life and politics is human dignity. In Europe, human dignity is an inviolable axiom, which has to be respected, safeguarded, and which constitutes the basis of all rights. Moreover, a direct result of human dignity is freedom. In the EU freedom is very prominent, because of the freedom of movement through member states; other freedoms that every EU citizen has are those of thought, religion, assembly and private life; all of which are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR). Lastly, the rule of law, a further EU value, is the groundwork for all decisions made.

Another chapter of values is that of human rights and equality. To begin with, equality is a fundamental EU ideal. The EUCFR states clearly that every person has equal rights and is equal before the law. All types of equality (e.g., racial, gender) are represented in EU law. Although in the racial and gender cases, total equality does not exist, great strides have been made in recent years. Furthermore, human rights, a subject that greatly concerns Greece (Migratory Crisis), are also one of the EUs principal goals. The EU is one of the few systems in the world that gives so much gravitas to human rights; for example, the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) law-scheme and the help given to Greece during the migratory crisis among others. Another example of the importance given to human rights is the European Court of Human Rights, which guarantees that the member-states follow this EU goal. Thus, it is evident that the EU project holds a great many ideals that define our modern society and that every country in the current era should possess.

To conclude, the EU is a haven for all its citizens as it promotes freedom and social equity, but it still falls behind on some matters. That is why we should all work in unison in order to ensure that Europe follows a liberal and solitary stance in an always-changing world.

 

European Values

By Chris Galanis (C Class)

European Union has secured a lot of important values for citizens of Europe. These values are common in all countries that belong to the EU and are an essential part of the European way of life.
First of all, one of the most respectful value in EU is democracy. More specifically, every European citizen can be politically active, having the right to stand as a candidate and to vote in elections to the European Parliament. Freedom gives to citizens the right to move and resides freely. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, protects individual freedom, for instance, the respect for private life, the freedom of thought, the right to believe in any religion, the assembly, the expression and the information access.
Equality is about equal right for all citizens before the law. Equality between women and men bolsters all European policies and it is the basis for European alliance. Also, one of the principles that the EU is based on, is the rule of law. Law and justice are upheld by an independent judiciary. Court of Justice, whose judgements, have to be revered by all.
Last but not least, human rights, constitute another significant value. Human rights are protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. These cover the right to be free from discrimination based on gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. The right of the protection of your personal data or the right to get access to justice.
Likewise, the European Parliament has organized, in seven political groups, each of which expresses a different political affiliation. In my view, the most common my attitude is the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance(EFA).
I believe that all groups are useful and can be helpful for the best living conditions in the EU. Albeit Group of the Greens/EFA cares about environmental justice and protects the fundamental human rights.
Particularly, nowadays, climate change has concerned scientists a lot. Pollution caused by industrial waste or vehicles is one of the factors that greatly worsen this phenomenon. If this stance continues, we will put a lot of species in danger, even ourselves. Thus, I think, Group of the Greens, can find ways to limit environmental pollution. That is because Greens have already started to take action against the environmental change. They are informing people to help, through campaigns for recycling or reforestations and they are encouraging countries to use alternative ways of energy, as well. Whatsoever, they have a lot of things to do, in the future, in purpose to benefit the EU.
Additionally, the Group of the Greens deals with the protection of basic human rights. Even most countries of Europe are highly technologically advanced, thus, they are dealing, more or less, with social problems. Equality between men and women, or sexual harassment, or solidarity citizen’s freedom, illiteracy, or the care of refugees, are some of the difficulties that the Group of the Greens is trying to overcome.
In conclusion, the European Union values, like democracy, freedom, equality, rule of law, are respected and protected from all EU’s countries and they are part of their way of life. Also, I believe that Group of the Greens is a very valuable political group because it gives a priority the environmental justice and the protection of fundamental human rights

Crossword

By Anna Papachristou (A Class)

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WASTE OF MONEY

By Lioliou Anastasia and Dimitris Iliopoulos

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Nowadays, people, especially the young ones, tend to waste plenty of money on unnecessary things such as clothes and entertainment, without thinking about the consequences.

To begin with, it is fair to say that everyone likes buying new clothes or having a great time with their friends, nevertheless, there must always be a limit. For example, they need not buy new outfits every single week or hang out with their friends almost every day. They have to realize that these things are useless, so they should not waste their income in order to obtain them. However, we have to admit that not all adolescents adopt this kind of behaviour.

Furthermore, they have to consider people who are in need. Young people should bear in mind that there are millions of people who do not  even have the basic necessary things to live on, while they spend their money on unnecessary stuff.  Even though most teenagers buy inexpensive but fashionable clothes, we definitely have to take this problem into consideration.

To sum up, as far as we are concerned, we have to limit these “bad habits” and take into consideration that there are more important things  to worry about than spending our money unecessarily.

Labels: My red, your blue

By Ellie Sotiropoulou

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Our color’s perception may differ from person to person. It might be that my red, is actually your blue but you know it as red since this is how everyone else called it growing up!  So, let’s explore the science behind colors, starting with how we can see in the first place. The eyes are one of our primary sensory organs that allows us to see. Eyes collect light from the surroundings and process the information, then send it to our brain. The light gets filtered by the iris, goes through the crystalline lens and focuses on the retina. Photoreceptors located on the retina -rods and cones- work on shades, colors, shapes and size of what we’re “seeing”. Finally, the retina works on converting the wave lengths into information and sends them to our brain via the optical nerve. The brain creates the picture, which makes us realize that it’s not the eye but the brain that creates the image.

The possibility of two people seeing different colors is explained by what is known as “color perception”. Color perception is the capacity of your eyes to receive information from light. This concept has its origin from several theories. According to the trichromacy theory, three independent channels convey color information, derived from the three different types of cone cells in the eye. Another leading (and known as opposing to trichromacy) idea is the Opponent Process Theory. The theory suggests that our ability to perceive color is controlled by three receptor complexes with opposing actions. These three receptor complexes are the red-green complex, the blue-yellow complex, and the black-white complex.

Stepping away from the scientific analysis and entering the philosophical field, this topic is a great example of a quale. Quale, or qualia in plural are defined as individual occasions of subjective, conscious experience. Another example of a quale could be a cook that will not feel the heat that we feel when holding a hot frying pan because a cook is used to and has to hold a hot pan daily.

So, knowing that our vision is basically a transmission via our optical nerve, can my red by you blue and vice versa?

From this inspection, it becomes evident that putting a label on something eg. colors does not change its quality or the way we internally perceive it. In modern society, labels are used as a form of prejudice or discrimination against certain groups of people. From skin color, to appearance, to sexual orientation, to religion. And every time we use one, we risk spreading it to others who might hear or see us do so and adopt that same label for the thing or person in question.

Labels are inflexible. People very much are not. Labels indicate the “them”-vs-“us” dynamic, superiority or inferiority complex and a subjective point of view. Why categorize people in this way? Can’t people just love people? Shouldn’t we just live in a post-label world? And all of that, because someone’s personality, worth and overall quality is most certainly not determined by a sum of letters.

Animal Cruelty

By Nikoleta Karadimitropoulou

The shocking number of animal cruelty cases reported every day is just the tip of the iceberg—most cases are never reported. Unlike violent crimes against people, cases of animal abuse are not compiled by state or federal agencies, making it difficult to calculate just how common they are.

Reasons for Abuse

There are many different reasons why individuals abuse animals. Animal cruelty covers a wide range of actions, so one blanket answer simply isn’t possible. Each type of abuse has displayed certain patterns of behavior that we can use to help understand more about why people commit the crimes we encounter today.

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Help end cruel animals tests

Dogs, cats, rabbits and many other animals still suffer pointless and painful procedures in the name of product testing. Some will undergo irritancy tests that cause severe chemical burns to their sensitive skin; others will be forced to ingest harmful chemicals that can lead to fatal poisoning. To study the “effects’, animals are often left to languish for days without pain relief. This tells us nothing about toxicity to humans. As a consumer, you have the power to help end this cruelty.

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Animal Abuse & Pathology

  • Brenda Spencer, who opened fire at a San Diego school, killing two children and injuring nine others, had repeatedly abused cats and dogs, often by setting their tails on fire.
  • Albert DeSalvo, the “Boston Strangler” who killed 13 women, trapped dogs and cats in orange crates and shot arrows through the boxes in his youth.
  • Carroll Edward Cole, executed for five of the 35 murders of which he was accused, said his first act of violence as a child was to strangle a puppy.
  • In 1987, three Missouri high school students were charged with the beating death of a classmate. They had histories of repeated acts of animal mutilation starting several years earlier. One confessed that he had killed so many cats he’d lost count. Two brothers who murdered their parents had previously told classmates that they had decapitated a cat.
  • Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot and killed 12 classmates before turning their guns on themselves, bragged about mutilating animals to their friends.

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If you spot someone harming an animal, don’t stay silent – there’s an easy way to tell the authorities.

 

 

Animals need your help!

Should the Money of a Country Be Spent to Explore the Space?

By Christeli Paraskevi & Paraskevopoulou Konstantina

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Many countries which have scientists and experts on space exploration spend a lot of money on equipment, rather than for other, more important reasons.
Firstly, space is something that makes many people want to see it with their own eyes: different environment, different natural resources and different ways of living. Astronauts travel and explore so we learn more about it, and may be able one day to see it and live there ourselves.
Secondly, astronauts need a lot of money for their food (their pills), their equipment (so as to be safe and have oxygen to breath) and their shelter (bathroom and space to sleep). Also, they have to gain some money because by travelling in space, they put their lives at risk, so they have to be sure that they leave behind something for their families if something happens.
On the one hand, space exploration is useful and interesting, but on the other, it costs money that could be spent in a better way and provide their country with more goods. In countries like the USA and Russia, there are many people who starve every day and faint in the roads. Important organizations which help them cannot feed all those who come every day and beg  for food.
Also, people with no money live in the dirty roads, with mice and other dangerous animals which can make someone go to the hospital. Illnesses are around, people die and noone stands by them or lend them some money. They are helpless and their country is not able to help them in any way.
To sum up, money could be spent in better ways like feeding the world or finding them a place to live. Money should not be spent on space exploration because countries have more important problems than to see the space.

Why do people believe in Conspiracy Theories?

By Elena Melitsopoulou

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A great percentage of population worldwide believes in Conspiracy Theories and think of them as an accurate source of specific events. In particular, 50% of America’s citizens consider many popular theories to be true, even though there is no evidence of their very existence.

But what is a conspiracy theory? For those few of you who haven’t heard this term before, it is a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event. For instance, one of the most noted theories is about the 9/11 collapse of the Twin Towers in Manhattan in 2001. According to this one, it is strongly suspected that the towers did not collapse due to the collision of two hijacked airliners, but because of bombs placed on the basements of the two buildings, either from al-Qaeda or even from the American government.

This theory and so many others were established in many peoples’ minds and had as a consequence credulity to root as a form of social behaviour. Referring to a recent survey of Time’s, about 42% of people without a high school education believe in at least one conspiracy theory, compared to 23% of people with a post-graduate degree. There is therefore a connection between conspiracy beliefs and educational levels.

Furthermore, belief in conspiracy theories is primarily driven by a constant urge to avoid uncertainty, something that we deeply despise. Forming conspiracy theories seems to be a coping mechanism to regain certainty or control, while conspiracy thinkers are often known to display negative emotions that result from over-analysis or paranoia. An experiment conducted by Galinsky, had as a result that conspiracy theories were fodder for people who also tended to find patterns in other areas of life, such as believing in superstitions and religious prophecies.

Another research by Lantian et al.’s (2017) examined the role of a person’s need for uniqueness and a belief of conspiracy theories, and found a correlation. Characteristically:

“We argue that people high in need for uniqueness should be more likely than others to endorse conspiracy beliefs because conspiracy theories represent the possession of unconventional and potentially scarce information. […] Moreover, conspiracy theories rely on narratives that refer to secret knowledge (Mason, 2002) or information, which, by definition, is not accessible to everyone, otherwise it would not be a secret and it would be a well-known fact.

People who believe in conspiracy theories can feel “special,” in a positive sense, because they may feel that they are more informed than others about important social and political events. […]

Our findings can also be connected to recent research demonstrating that individual narcissism, or a grandiose idea of the self, is positively related to belief in conspiracy theories. Interestingly, Cichocka et al. (2016) found that paranoid thought mediates the relationship between individual narcissism and conspiracy beliefs.”

Moulding et al. (2016) also dug into the characteristics of people who believe in conspiracy theories in two studies.

“It has been noted that individuals who endorse conspiracy theories are likely to be higher in powerlessness, social isolation and anomia, which is broadly defined as a subjective disengagement from social norms.

Such disengagement from the normative social order may result in greater conspiratorial thinking for a number of related reasons. First, individuals who feel alienated may consequently reject conventional explanations of events, as they reject the legitimacy of the source of these explanations. Due to these individuals feeling alienated from their peers, they may also turn to conspiracist groups for a sense of belonging and community, or to marginalised subcultures in which conspiracy theories are potentially more rife.

People who feel powerless may also endorse conspiracy theories as they also help the individual avoid blame for their predicament. In this sense, conspiracy theories give a sense of meaning and security over an unpredictable and dangerous world.”

Sometimes we shouldn’t ascribe the worst motives to people who believe in outlandish conspiracy theories. Sometimes, these motives may arise from the inability of people to accept, and process unpleasant facts. Inventing a story to explain the cause of a disagreeable event functions as a defence mechanism from actually coping with the specific tragedy or misfortune.

As a consequence of believing in conspiracy theories erodes people’s trust in their government, their leaders, and their institutions. It also diminishes trust in science and research itself. This distrust may discourage people from participating in their social worlds. It might also cause people to stop seeing themselves as valuable contributors to society.

Believing in things that are not true poses a number of dangers as well, which can have real effects that impact individual behaviour and ultimately have a ripple impact on society as a whole. Failing to address dangerous misbeliefs presents a potential danger to public health and even the political process itself. Faulty beliefs lead can lead people to not vaccinate, not vote, or, in some rare cases, even engage in dangerous or violent behaviour.

Ultimately, conspiracy theories aren’t going away, for as long as there are people who have a need to believe in them, they will continue to expand and thrive. People will only believe what they want to believe. Believing the truth may not be as much fun as believing myths, but it makes for a better mind — and a better culture, too.

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Peer Pressure

By Anastasios Tzefrios

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           A great deal is being written and said about peer pressure. It is generally agreed today that peer pressure as an empirical phenomenon has been observed repeatedly among young people and it can cause a multitude of problems. Whether it is positive peer pressure or negative peer pressure, it can affect the adolescent. It can be very strong for everybody because we all want approval and acceptance. As far as I am concerned, I would like to discover the consequences of peer pressure. However, solutions can be found, and if adolescents are given the right advice on handling it, they will feel more confident.

 

To begin with, a common danger is the stress that adolescents feel, when they are subjected to peer pressure. More specifically, the compromises they have to make in order to be accepted by a group of peers may contrast with their interests and desires and of course this is most stressful for any teenager. Furthermore, peer pressure may lead to adolescents’ risky behaviour and illegal acts such as shoplifting. What is more, peer pressure can even lead to drink, smoke, cheat on a test, lying, etc. On top of all that, peer pressure can influence performance at school. For instance, teenagers are less willing to study when their friends of their group do not consider studying important.

 

Nevertheless, there are ways to deal with the problem effectively. First and foremost, being able to stand up to peer pressure is important.

As far as I am concerned, teenagers should realise that they have the right to reject doing something if they do not feel comfortable with it. Last but not least, it is important to emphasize that it is better for adolescents to find some friends with common interest so as not to be subjected to peer pressure. Only when teenagers put the aforementioned solutions into practice, will they see positive results. Thus, all of these points given above prove that were we to make an essential change in our lifestyle, we could start by cutting down on this common phenomenon among teenagers these years because of the harmful consequences.

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          To sum up, it is obvious that the problems resulting from peer pressure are serious but, fortunately, there are measures which can be taken to solve them and tackle the problem effectively.

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Elimination Of Terrorist Attacks

By Helen Kaspiri & Joanna Zirou

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In our modern era of the prevalence of broadminded believes and the respect to human rights, there are still obscure happenings that underestimate human worth. Such events are related to terrorism over mainly religious aspects. To my view, the solution of this problem and the effective protection of the targeted countries require the avid action of all the governments worldwide.

 

In a first place, it is vital that those who are in political power take firm measures for the prevention of a terrorist attack. What I mean is that people should be informed about the topic and be properly educated. Virtues, such as the freedom of choosing a religion, human rights and the mutual feelings of love and respect among people globally should be extensively emphasized. Those who have really the power to do so are families and the way they raise their children, schools and of course represents of religions. In this way, people all around the world will firm emotions of esteemation and democracy, principles that will prevent them from committing a terrorist attack.

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Furthermore, there is no doubt that certain nations are more vulnerable to such events. In order to protect those countries, it is vital that governments enhance their police force. Strict security checks should be conducted by the police in crowded places that are common targets of terrorists. Moreover, police should carry out investigations in order to find out prospective terrorists and imprison them. Last but not least, it is urgent that constant interrogations take place in all the ports, airports and borders of the countries. As a result, the safety of those nations will be ensured.

 

To sum up, terrorism is a tragic criminal action and must be eliminated worldwide. There are measures that governments can take so as to offer a solution to the problem and provide citizens with safety and security. We don’t have to be the same or believe the same. We are equal after all.

 

Image Sources:

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Human Rights crossword

By Bousia Aggeliki, Belezou Chryssa & Moshou Ioanna

human rights crossword

Across

2. Everyone is R……….. for their actions.

4. A synonym of the word “consideration”: T…………..

5. Primary school should be free, because we all have the right of free E…………….

7. We only have one and it doesn’t last forever: L……………

8. A person’s right to control access to his/hers personal information: P……………….

 Down

1. Through language we all have the opportunity to E………. ourselves.

3. They’re all Greeks, so they have the same N……………….

6. A programme that uses public funds to provide a degree of economic security is described as s……………… security

Respect and Equality by all for all

By Spiros Koutsogiannopoulos

Respect and Equality by all for all

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Disabled people have rights and we should respect them!!

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