EPIDEMIC Mario Suárez, 33, punctually goes to his phone appointment with AS, worried about this situation that we are now experiencing. In the background you can hear their little ones, who want to play Frozen. Having time for yours is, without a doubt, the most positive thing about confinement.-How is your day to day?-This situation is incredible: it looks like a horror movie in which we are the protagonists. We don’t leave home, but we don’t get bored. Children are my alarm clock from eight to nine, we have breakfast together, I do my exercise hour and the rest of the day I spend with them, doing homework, drawing, inventing games, reading … When they fall asleep we can have a more quiet time my woman and me.-And it gives you time to study your Master in Sports Management …– Captain Alberto did it and I found it interesting. I go to the Garrigues Study Center on Thursday afternoons and now we continue online. There are also the president of Zaragoza, Cristian Lapetra; the general director of Albacete, Jorge Buergo; former soccer players Leo Franco, Juanjo Camacho and Borja Fernández; player Amanda Sampedro; the Olympians Silvia Soler, Jorge Díaz … The first thing is my career, I still have several years left, but it is good to train and grow.-What physical and nutritional plan have been imposed on you?-The club has sent us a schedule and a bicycle for those who did not have it. In addition, I have rented a treadmill and materials such as dumbbells, rubbers, a bosu … Nutritionally, we must eat vegetables, fruits and salads, reduce the intake of carbohydrates … “This teaches us to value more what we have” -And would you play without an audience?-We play for and for our people. We have a hobby behind that has paid its subscription for the whole year and doing it without an audience is nonsense. In addition, if there is a risk for viewers, there is also a risk for us, although less. I guess that decision will ultimately depend on Health and the Government.-These days talk about ERTE and salary cuts.-We have not been asked either one or the other. If LaLiga is suspended and Rayo has losses, I understand that it would also affect us players. It would be logical. But this now is talk for talk. Rayo is a viable club. They put it to us as an example of economic viability in my course.-Sport is showing solidarity in this great crisis.-I want to highlight the initiative of our fans, which raised almost € 35,000 for the Infanta Leonor Hospital. It is admirable. That speaks highly of our country, our society and our hobby. They give everything for us and we must give it for them, for the neighborhood and for the shield. Vallecas goes out of its way for the others. The club has also manufactured and donated material for the toilets. Any help is appreciated. “Vallecas goes out of its way for the others” -Who do you have contact with?-The mister called us all, also the doctor and the delegate. We have a team chat in which we talk about how we are doing and we each take it. There is a very good wardrobe. Hopefully we’ll see you soon.-Do you have a close case of coronavirus? The other day on Twitter he asked for measures …-The closest thing has been the death of Lorenzo Sanz because I have a very good relationship with his sons Fernando and Paco. On Twitter, I show my concern, I am not talking about politics or anything like that. I want this to end as soon as possible, that people stop suffering and dying and that the measures that have to be taken, even if they are difficult, are taken.-You played in China and Italy, other epicenters of the pandemic.-I spoke to the president of the Guizhou in China and a couple of translators and they had a very bad time. From Italy, with Valero, Godín and El Chacho before he came. There they had become very serious already, they only went out to buy and to the pharmacy. We had that example, we could have gone ahead and skipped steps. It is a complicated situation for us and for those who must make decisions, but we will come out and make it stronger.– Will LaLiga resume? -It’s all in the air. The main thing is health. Hopefully all this happens and we can finish the competition, fight for the playoff and move up with Rayo. I would not care to lose vacation and play in July. We are privileged and, if I have to sacrifice days, I would. SOLIDARITY -He launched a question from a Curro Canete book that I ask him today: What is life trying to teach me at the moment?-To value what we have, to enjoy each moment and our loved ones, not to worry about nonsense or things that do not depend on us … To think about the present, without looking beyond. It’s a shame something like this has to happen to figure it out.-And what about 2019-20?-The first lap was below expectations and on the second we started well. We must go to the top in what remains and win, we have not yet chained three victories. There have been positive things, like the three months without losing and that we do not fit much. The negative is that it costs us to score, we need many occasions.-How have you seen yourself?-I missed the preseason due to a soleus injury. I came back with the ankle without being or performing well, so we decided to stop. Then I have picked up the rhythm and now I feel good. The coach brings me closer to the area and, for the moment, I have three goals and one assist. I try to help the team, leaving my skin for this shield.-He’s already one of the captains.-With Alberto’s injury and Embarba’s departure, Trejo, Tito and I were left. We are proud to wear the bracelet. I feel loved by the club, the fans and the dressing room. Here I have lived things that I never lived. Lightning is special.
By Elisabeth Cook, UPF AustriaOn May 22nd 2017 the Youth Committee of UPF-Austria organised a panel discussion at the University of Vienna on the theme: “Walls of Bridges? Session II Populism, Integration & the Future of Europe.” This event was the second of a series of discussions on this topic. The first one took place in December 2016. The four speakers addressed the topic from different angles:Mr. David Meinel spoke about populism He explained that there is not only political populism, but also ecological and cultural populism. In political populism, we can observe populism of the right wing and left wing parties. In essence, populism mainly appeals to the emotions.Mr. Meinel who wrote a paper then explained about the roots of populism, which are to be found in the 16th century when governments became more centralised. He observed that today’s party system is out-dated and unable to change. He suggests aiming for direct democracy, similar to how it is practiced in Switzerland or in ancient Greece, i.e. “A world of doing and acting”.The second speaker was Prof Ismael Yasin. Having been a professor at Damascus University, Syria, he has lived in Vienna for 2 years. He was able to learn the language and to adapt to the new situation, so that he could find work at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. From there he moved to the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF), working in a project called “Treffpunkt Österreich” (Meeting Point Austria), in order to help Syrian and other refugees find their place in our country. “Knowledge is power and light, while ignorance is darkness”, he stated. “We need to know each other. We belong to different religions and ethnicities. But we all have one origin.”He then explained shortly about Syrian culture, which goes back 9000 years in history. The three Abrahamic religions all started there (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) and they have the same heritage. They have to find a way to work together.His next topic was his work with Syrian refugees in Vienna and, in his opinion, the key to integration is learning the language, but cultural integration is most important. That’s why he used to take the refugees to the historic places in Vienna, explaining the history and culture. He got very good responses to these programmes. The audience could sense the great effort he has been making in helping refugees find their place in Austria.Nina Tsiklauri (her background is Georgian) presented the project “Pulse of Europe” (http://pulseofeurope.eu/). It is a citizens’ initiative for finding ideas of how to reshape the European Union. Every Sunday afternoon a group of volunteers meet at a public place, giving everybody who is there the opportunity to present his/her ideas for the EU. The action group was founded in Frankfurt, Germany, by a couple that wanted to create this platform to exchange ideas.In Vienna, they consist of a team of 10 persons, and their expenses are covered by crowdfunding.The motivation and the vision of this action group are to spread a pro-European atmosphere and a positive image about the EU. They are also setting an example of active citizenship which should help ensure the freedom we have been enjoying for several decades in Europe. Finally, people have to be more informed about the European Union.Aladin Naksh Bandi, from Syria, introduced “Smart Academy” (http://www.smartacademy.de/index.php/en/home-en) to the audience, a project which he founded in 2014, through which he offers tutoring and seminars for refugees in various fields, such as learning the language, legal advice and job opportunities. The intention is to promote tolerance, understanding and goal- oriented thinking. Mr. Bandi stated, “Seeing the situation of the refugees in Vienna I asked myself: How can I contribute to build bridges between cultures? I concluded: We have to become smart people by being able to contribute something good to society. A person’s performance has to be measured by a KPI system!” Mr. Band is convinced that “If you perform well in your job and in social relationships, this is your treasure! Life is short, so let’s live smart!”After the presentations, a discussion was initiated and chaired by the moderator, Ms. Vojna Ngjeqari. As all four speakers emphasized an active approach to solving the initial problems refugees face in their new environment, a spirit of mutual support and inspiration carried the evening. Among the 60-70 participants there were many students from Vienna University with various cultural backgrounds, using the opportunity to learn and develop in a country other than their own.The event was organized by the Austrian UPF Youth Committee, a group of 4 2nd gen members who engage in UPF activities.ReflectionAladin Naksh Bandi: (Bridges of peace rather than walls of hatred!)“I have attended a remarkable number of conferences and events, but nothing was like my panel discussion yesterday at the University of Vienna, which was organized by the Universal Peace Federation. The important panel was organised by a group of active young people who represent the hope of our prosperous future.Joana P. was very impressive with her eye for details. Moreover, the imprints of Peter Haider were clear in leading the young Ambassadors towards a culture of peace and tolerance, something that we need badly nowadays.I was never convinced like today with the urgent need of collaboration among institutions as clearly stated in the 17th goal on the list of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially in light of the bloody and terrorist attacks, which took place in Manchester today only couple of hours after our conference of peace. Though all 17 UN Sustainable Development goals are important, the goal number 16 is what we need badly, i.e. peace, justice and strong institutions without which other SDGs have no meaning. We should stand up, join hands – regardless of religion, colour or race – and build bridges of humanity against walls of terror and war.That was the main topic of our panel discussion yesterday. I hope that the points raised in our discussion will turn into action plans and collaboration among all civil society institutions will ensure that bridges of understanding, respect, solidarity and tolerance are built on solid foundations.”