It made my heart sink to read the crude, if not horrible, criticism towards Richard Gere’s visit on Open Arms. The social networks can give the best of us, but can also show the extreme lack of sensitivity of many. I want to make my tiny contribution towards what is exactly happening on Open Arms and why these lifesavers have decided to invest all their efforts, energy and passion into saving human lives.
It’s been over ten days since Open Arms awaits at sea for a port to allow the entry of over 150 migrants from African countries to European shores. Among them are sick, injured, children and pregnant women who have been trying to reach Europe crossing the Central Mediterranean route from Libya. Malta has recently accepted to rescue the last 36 to board the boat but denies access to the other 121 and refuses responsibility for these lives. Oscar Camps, the founder of Open Arms, has refused to accept this offer for safety reasons and will continue to wait for the nearest ports, Malta and Italy, to allow disembarkation.
‘According to the maritime law’, says Camps, ‘any person in international waters and in danger must be rescued however, the European Union has established a blockade concerning migration from African countries, refusing to provide a solution to the humanitarian crisis that has resulted from war, violence and famine.’
The pictures, video and text below are from the Open Arms website
Have you ever visited London? Many of my students haven’t which is a real pity because this city is an incredible place bustling with life and exciting things to do. It’s also a cultural melting pot where you would hardly go out without meeting people from all walks of life.
What’s it like?
If you walk around London, you’ll see that it is an astonishing blend of tradition and innovation. You’ll see typical London pubs with all their flowers hanging out and the menus chalked in Times Roman out on the street claiming both, locals and tourists’ attention to stop and savour a lager or some fish and chips and just a few metres ahead, there’ll be a design museum or a second-hand store or whatever.
Are visitors welcome?
Concerning hospitality, the British tend to mind their own business, but if they sense that you may be lost or confused, somebody will very probably politely ask you if you need any help. However, don’t take this for granted, helpful doesn’t mean that they easily tolerate queue-jumping, or pedestrians getting in their way during the rush hour. Here you would most probably get an intimidating ‘Oi, you!’
Is London expensive?
Well as all cities, it depends on what you intend to do but it isn’t half as expensive as other European ones, like Paris or Rome and even if you could feel a bit upset for having to pay a few bob for a pint of beer, there are hundreds of other things you can do for pennies or for free, like visiting the wonderful museums, or having a picnic in one of London’s beautiful parks, just to mention a couple.
‘Will London hurt? And… will it go away?‘
Well, I’m not going to go on bragging about London because I’d end up writing a really long article, but I can assure you that, not only it doesn’t hurt, but it’s really worth a visit and NO, once you’ve been there, it will never, ever go away! (You’ve had it mate!)
So what are you waiting for? Here’s a word formation activity I’ve adapted from an article with some tips for visiting London (without putting your foot in it), for those brave souls that want to be on the safe side before setting off on their trip.
The article is from The Culturetrip.com and images from Unsplashed.
Have you ever been to a hospital reception, a bank or any public place where you were treated rudely or even roughly? What did you feel like?
In the last book I read – by the way it was Andrea Levy’s ‘Every Light in the House Burnin’- the narrator fantasizes on picking up a doctor by the throat because she had referred to her dying father as ‘Old man Jacobs’ and shown a great deal of aloofness. The novel, in fact, devotes some chapters to humorously criticizing the English healthcare system. Fortunately, the novel is set in London during the 60s and many things have improved since then.
As an activity that can raise some subject of debate in an English class or serve as a warm-up activity as well as serving the purpose for practising Your listening skills you can click on the video.
After you can also do some use of English practice with a text from Wikipedia on the same subject which has been adapted as an open cloze for missing prepositions, adverbs, relative pronouns/adverbs or articles.Click for listening
- Video from Youtube channel Beferninand
- Text for Open Cloze from Wikipedia
In Britain not pulling a cracker means that something is missing! Both children and adults love them and they add more fun and laughter to Christmas dinner and parties. But where did this tradition come from? I came across this article and found it such a sweet story that I just couldn’t help not using it, so this one is to help you go over past tenses (active and passive ) and some present tenses too.
The source is Metro.co.uk
Is it actually true that the British spend a lot of their time talking about the weather, or this just another one of those beliefs like ‘we have to have tea at five on the dot or we’ll go bananas ’, sort of stuff ? And, if it is true, is this feature shared by other cultures?
Well, I must say that we are particularly fond of talking about the weather, although I would also say that it’s a common topic of conversation in Spain too. However, what I do seem to notice is that people from these countries have a different way to approach this subject even when both typically use it as an icebreaker.
Where I live, people usually make exclamations about it. Sort of like ‘Vaya frio! Where a Brit would most probably make a tactfully brief statement of one or two words and polish it off with a question tag, ‘Cold, isn’t it?
Looking into this aspect of British culture, I found this really interesting article that I’ve used to create a word formation activity for higher levels of English (C1 more or less).
The article is from the BBC by Linda Geddes
Read the text and focus on each blank using the words in brackets. The missing words are either adjectives or adverbs as the focus here is to practise with the different types of prefixes (yes, there are a couple of negative ones), and suffixes used to form these words.
Are you a fashion victim? Do you spend huge amounts of money on your wardrobe or are you mostly into second-hand stores? What carbon footprint do you think your clothing issues have on the environment? Here’s a multiple choice cloze for English Advanced levels that may get you into thinking twice before your next click to an online fashion retailer.
You may also want to watch a short video from the BBC on being sustainable concerning fast fashion.
Text adapted from BBC News.