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Archive for March, 2012

Fri, 30th March, 2012 - Posted by - (0) Comment

TODAY’S COMMENT:


Evaldas Zvinys

“There are significant cultural differences
between LT-Americans and Lithuanians
that grew up in the Soviet Lithuania”

Just a couple of short notes to your article
“Healing the wounds between LT-Americans and the homeland”

Item 2. There are significant cultural differences between LT-Americans and Lithuanians that grew up in the Soviet Lithuania. In my opinion there is not enough appreciation of the lifetime dedication and work of some of the people outside of Lithuania. In my opinion press likes to focus on negative experiences (e.g. events with LT-Australian Petraitis) while ignoring genuine contributions to Lithuania. My own Alma Mater - Vytautas Magnus University is there in big part because of Lithuanians who grew up outside of Lithuania. IMHO Grybauskaite's comments of course miss the point and are rude. 

Item 5. <"...ending the noxious practice of the Uzgavenes holiday when people dress as Jews and beg on the street.” > In my life I have not seen a person dressed up as a Jew and begging on the street. I would be really surprised if I would see this. On the other hand, during the Uzgavenes people go from house to house and ask for pancakes, coffee or money (similar to Halloween tradition in the US?). I guess the idea was that the person who knocks on the door is not known - and you share what you have with a stranger (the stranger could be a Jew, Roma, or a generic stranger). Is that offensive and should be eradicated? In the Soviet times I've heard the following chant in my Samogitian hometown Telsiai "mes Zydukai is Maskvos (Rygos), duokit blynu ir kavos" - "we are the Jews from Moscow (Riga), please give us pancakes and coffee" - not sure why Moscow/Riga is there, perhaps to indicate that the person came from afar? I am not certain how it was during the Interbellum - but as I said - in my opinion the old traditions are going away - be it good, bad or indifferent. 

Evaldas Zvinys
http://tautietis.blogspot.com/

Category : Blog archive

Fri, 30th March, 2012 - Posted by - (9) Comment

A native American who loves Lithuania!


It is the 30th of March today. It is exactly 22 years since American Marie Sandler (pictured) married Lithuanian Jonas. He passed away in 1996, but Marie was already completely in love with Lithuania. It's a love she maintains to this day. Below you can read her love letter to her deceased husband's home country.

Dear Lithuania,

Ever since I got connected to you, my love for the culture and people of Lithuania has been on a daily increase.

I was born into a Christian family in Urbandale Iowa in United States and grew up as a normal American girl with good parental upbringing. One day, I met a man and for the first time hearing about a country called Lithuania.

I fell in love with this man, followed him to his home country to see and learn the beautiful culture of Lithuania. After some time my love for the man became wider, something more than an ordinary feeling – and I soon felt I became part of a hidden history of a country that once was the symbol of Europe, with an extremely well developed diplomacy and intelligent wisdom long before today's famous European nations came to such ideas. Through recognizing this small Baltic country, I felt that the background of my new love also got me into an older knowledge, something hard to define, but something that still today represents the mystery of Lithuania, a country like no other country.

I married him, but to a certain degree also Lithuania, the soil of ancient wisdom...

I, as an American, got into something I still today cannot fully explain. When he passed away, I could have forgotten Lithuania, but I didn't because his soul, and his country's soul still bells in my ears.

The smell of the Lithuanian soil makes me cry and smile and then I look up to the sky and realized that home is truly where the mind is.

Lithuania is a home. I love Lithuania.

Marie Sandler
Director, Bulldogs Petroleum Corporation (BPC)
Email:
mariesandler@bulldogspetroleum.com
www.bulldogspetroleum.com

Category : Blog archive

Fri, 30th March, 2012 - Posted by - (0) Comment

Sunday 1 April is
Verbų sekmadienis
– Palm Sunday


Kanutas Ruseckas (1800–1860).
Lietuvaitė su verbomis (1847)

The Christian world celebrates Jesus' noble entry into Jerusalem on the last Sunday before Easter. In Lithuania this day is called Verbu Sekmadienis – Palm Sunday. When Christianity came to Lithuania, plants which sprouted earliest were honored during spring feasts. Even now, willows, osiers and weeping willows are consecrated on Palm Sunday.

Mythological folklore relates that one of the willows, called Blinde, had been a very fertile woman, bearing numerous children. Earth, the most fertile mother was jealous of her. When Blinde walked through a wetfield, her feet sank into the mud. Blinde turned into a willow tree out of great sadness. The osier, with male spores was regarded as an unusual tree. Folklore tells that the osier grew out of a secretly murdered man. A fife made of osier wood, speaks in a man's voice. Evil spirits avoid it because of its red color. Most palm bunches have a branch of juniper in them. Juniper is green year round, with late ripening berries and with a peculiar odor. All these plants are principal components of palms, however cranberry, mistletoe, filbert and oak branches together with dried baby's breath and ferns are among the odd numbered pieces in the palm. Pussy willows, hepaticas and some indoor plants are added to give color to the palms. When Christianity was established in Lithuania, palms were consecrated in church. The ancient tradition of whipping each other with palms, still exists, takes place on Palm Sunday or on Easter Sunday.

Read more...

Category : Front page

Fri, 30th March, 2012 - Posted by - (1) Comment

Sunday 1 April is
Verbų sekmadienis
– Palm Sunday


Kanutas Ruseckas (1800–1860).
Lietuvaitė su verbomis (1847)

The Christian world celebrates Jesus' noble entry into Jerusalem on the last Sunday before Easter. In Lithuania this day is called Verbu Sekmadienis – Palm Sunday. When Christianity came to Lithuania, plants which sprouted earliest were honored during spring feasts. Even now, willows, osiers and weeping willows are consecrated on Palm Sunday.

Mythological folklore relates that one of the willows, called Blinde, had been a very fertile woman, bearing numerous children. Earth, the most fertile mother was jealous of her. When Blinde walked through a wetfield, her feet sank into the mud. Blinde turned into a willow tree out of great sadness. The osier, with male spores was regarded as an unusual tree. Folklore tells that the osier grew out of a secretly murdered man. A fife made of osier wood, speaks in a man's voice. Evil spirits avoid it because of its red color. Most palm bunches have a branch of juniper in them. Juniper is green year round, with late ripening berries and with a peculiar odor. All these plants are principal components of palms, however cranberry, mistletoe, filbert and oak branches together with dried baby's breath and ferns are among the odd numbered pieces in the palm. Pussy willows, hepaticas and some indoor plants are added to give color to the palms. When Christianity was established in Lithuania, palms were consecrated in church. The ancient tradition of whipping each other with palms, still exists, takes place on Palm Sunday or on Easter Sunday.

Having returned home with consecrated palms, one whips the head, back shoulders of those who stayed home, repeating all the time, "illness out, health return". The following words were spoken or sung, when striking with the palm:

I am not the one striking
The Palm is striking
You are not in pain
The Palm is in pain
Soon it will be Easter

Or

It is not I who is thrashing, but the rod
It will thrash until it breaks
The great day is in a week
It will entertain everyone
Remain the same as you have been
Be healthy as a fish.

The first lines of these charm words are the same throughout Lithuania, the rest changes. Ancient writings of 1573 say that to protect from devils and thunder, crosses were made from the consecrated palms and were thrust behind doors, windows and gated. Most often the palms were placed behind pictures of saints until the junipers dried and began shedding. The juniper branches are burned and together with juniper sheddings are placed in attics to protect roofs from storms. As thunder knocks, a palm is placed on the windowsill, on the side of the storm. The smoke of a burning palm, scents all corners of the house and protects from thunder. Palms were nailed to beehives so that bees would swarm in great numbers. Palms were tied with colored, wooly yarns. This yarn was used to bind women's wrists, to keep away pain. That was the most popular healing method during harvest work. Before animals were let out of barns in the spring, they were incensed with a burning palm. It was also said that if a palm was planted near water and it began to sprout, there would be no water shortage. Here are several interesting beliefs: – he who goes to church on Palm Sunday without a palm in his hands, the devil will shove his tail into the hands.
– collecting branches to make palms, select those with many buds. The more buds, the longer will be your life.
– if you plant consecrated palms on both river banks, when it is the end of the world and all waters vanish, there will be drinking water where the palms are growing.
– one should not comb hair on Palm Sunday, because fleas will grow to the size of the palm, or buds on the branches.
– if the palm lasts three years, then when black clouds cover the skies, take the palm and cross the clouds with it.
– old palms should be burned and their ashes sprinkled over cabbages, to protect them from worms.

Palms of Vilnius (Vilnaus verbos)

It is an old Lithuanian custom to make verbas (Palm Sunday flowers) from the twigs of certain trees and bushes. This custom has been passed down from ancient times, when people believed in the magic power of some plants to revive the earth after winter to give people health, and to protect them from disasters. Later this custom as reinterpreted and came to signify Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. People take Palm Sunday flowers to church to be blessed and then display them at home in a special place. People still believe that the blessed flowers bring health and happiness to the inhabitants.

Among Lithuanian verba, those made in the Vilnius area are distinctive and stand out for their remarkable colorfulness and form. They are real works of art made of various kinds of meadow grass and flowers, ears of rye and other plants. All in all, about 45 species of meadow, forest, water and garden plants are used. The plants for verba are gathered during different seasons and are dried until it is time to use them.

Now Vilnius' palm production takes place in fifteen villages of Vilnius region. Painters were among the first to show interest in palms. In 1847 K. Ruseckas painted a young girl with a bunch of palms held in her hands and in 1913 he represented palms in colorful folk art and trade show posters. The origin of Palms of Vilnius has not been determined. It is thought that they could have been ancient Vilnius trade guilds' processional adornments, manufactured mimicking Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Vilnius' Palms are created using dried wild plants, forest and garden blossoms and other plant parts. About thirty different plants are used, among them are mosses, berry greens, timothy grass, St. John's worth, tansy, yarrow and many others. 

The making of palms begins the day after Shrove Tuesday and continues till Palm Sunday. This is a project that involves the entire family, however most often it is women's work. The most popular palms are roller shaped. Now there are wreath and whip shaped, flat and puffed out.  

The palms are made this way: take a straight nut tree branch, 30-40 cm.[ 12-16 in.] long, begin tying from the top with thread, to hold the numerous plants. The top is usually composed of bent grasses and reeds. Some use oat wisps, rye or barley ears. Twisting the palm to the right, different plants are added and arrangements made. Small wreaths, of various sizes are added at different levels. 

The shape of flat palms, a reminder of bird feathers, is tied of timothy grass and grain ears, took shape in 1970. Later, in 1979, in the village of Kriauèiunai, huge 2 meter/ 80 inch long palms were created, using a paper cylinder filled with dried plant scraps, with a wide crown of reeds and a continuous wreath with blossoms between.  
Ancient traditional palms are not long, they measure 30-40 cm.[ 12-16 inches ] . 

(Information from VILNIUS' PALMS by J.Kudirka) 

Category : Lithuania today

European Commission’s proposed EU aid distribution principle does not satisfy Lithuania

Fri, 30th March, 2012 - Posted by - (1) Comment

President Dalia Grybauskaitė met this week with EU Commissioner for Regional Policy, Johannes Hahn.

The meeting focused on the preparation for negotiations on the EU financial framework for the period 2014 - 2020 and the European Cohesion Policy.

According to the President, the principle of distribution of the EU aid, which has been proposed by the European Commission, does not satisfy Lithuania.

In distributing the EU aid, account should be taken of the interests and the level of development of each country, the President said. During negotiations, Lithuania will seek the review of the principles of distribution of structural aid.

Category : News

Wed, 28th March, 2012 - Posted by - (0) Comment

Comments to our articles about suicide in Lithuania
VilNews articles on this topic:
Read more 1…
Read more 2…
Read more 3…

____________________________

Only a few kill themselves for rational reasons

Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas

By: Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas, M. A., M. Ed., Ph. D.

"The vast majority of people who commit suicide are severely depressed. Only a few kill themselves for rational reasons such as avoiding the final stages of an extremely painful and fatal illness. Depression may be triggered by adverse events, but they are not the direct cause of most depressions. Many people face extreme adversity without succumbing to depression.

As a vast amount of empirical research has shown, the belief systems that people hold have a profound effect on their moods. People who suffer from depression generally believe several of the following things : (a) their lives are terrible, (b) they are guilty for having brought on the bad conditions they face, (c) they are powerless to change their lives, and (d) their lives will never improve. When you're depressed you tell yourself that a horrible tragedy has struck your life, you are worthless and overwhelmed by the difficulties you face, and since there is nothing you can do to solve your problems, your life is not worth living.
Read more…
____________________________

Bipolar Manic Depressive Disorder can be beaten

Ray Tyler

Suicidal thoughts occur when pain coping resources are exceeded by pain. This comment (or variations on it) occurs regularly if a search on suicide is made on the internet. The comment is so common that it could almost be accepted as a definition of suicidal thoughts.

If it is accepted as a definition of suicidal thoughts it immediately high-lights two immediate ways of reducing the chances of suicide.
Reduce the person's pain or increase that person's coping ability. In many cases even knowing that they are being listened to can achieve this result.
Read more…

Ray Tyler
____________________________

It's time to seriously consider Lithuania’s high suicide rate

Marina Farrell

It's time to seriously consider the high suicide rate of Lithuania. Recent news of another in Vilnius as well as being described as an epidemic has brought world-wide concern, especially to those who have close ties to Lithuanians.

Here's a video from an ad campaign by popular singer Andrius Mamontovas from a couple years ago, who has put forth great efforts to prevent suicide in Lithuania.



Marina Farrell,
Denver, Colorado, USA


To learn more, go to Marina’s website “I love Lithuania” ...for fans, friends & all who love Lithuania”. She runs this fantastic site from her hometown Denver!

http://www.ilovelithuania.com/
Category : Health & wellbeing sidebar / Opinions

Only a few kill themselves for rational reasons

Wed, 28th March, 2012 - Posted by - (1) Comment

By: Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas, M. A., M. Ed., Ph. D.

"The vast majority of people who commit suicide are severely depressed. Only a few kill themselves for rational reasons such as avoiding the final stages of an extremely painful and fatal illness. Depression may be triggered by adverse events, but they are not the direct cause of most depressions. Many people face extreme adversity without succumbing to depression.

As a vast amount of empirical research has shown, the belief systems that people hold have a profound effect on their moods. People who suffer from depression generally believe several of the following things : (a) their lives are terrible, (b) they are guilty for having brought on the bad conditions they face, (c) they are powerless to change their lives, and (d) their lives will never improve. When you're depressed you tell yourself that a horrible tragedy has struck your life, you are worthless and overwhelmed by the difficulties you face, and since there is nothing you can do to solve your problems, your life is not worth living.

A vast body of research also shows that the most effective ways of overcoming depression help people change their underlying attitudes and improve their abilities to cope with the inevitable frustrations of life. Two extremely effective -- and closely related -- forms of psychotherapy are Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy developed by Dr. Ellis and Cognitive Behavior Therapy developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck.

Research conducted by Dr. Forrest Scogin and his colleagues from the University of Alabama Medical Center found that two thirds of the subjects given a book by Dr. David D. Burns called "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" and encouraged to read it as well as do the simple exercises described either experienced a substantial reduction in their depression or recovered entirely within four weeks, while those from whom the book was withheld failed to improve. No medications or psychotherapy were used with either of the two groups.

"Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" was first published in the early 1980s and is still imprint. In a survey of 1,000 mental health professionals, it was selected as the best self-help book ever written. I have benefited enormously from it myself, and I have recommended it to many others. A typical response is "This book changed my life."

Of course, anyone with suicidal thoughts had better seek professional treatment immediately. Nevertheless, bibliotherapy has been shown to be extremely helpful. Read some of the reviews of "Feeling Good" on Amazon.com. In Europe, it can be purchased from Amazon.com UK.

http://www.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-The-Mood-Therapy/dp/0380810336/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332863886&sr=1-1"

Boris wrote: ""Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) methods can be beneficially directed toward addressing both irrationalities in depressive thinking but also conditions that commonly coexist with depression such as anxiety, anger, panic, and an inappropriately low tolerance for frustration. Effectively dealing with depressive thinking and these coexisting conditions can open opportunities for fulfillment as well as for preventing depression from coming back. Among the various cognitive methods for arresting depression, the REBT method would seem to be the more comprehensive approach for defeating both depressive thinking and the sort of negative thoughts that are part of those conditions of mind that so often coexist with depression.

Fascinating new brain scan research shows that applying cognitive procedures to reduce depressive thinking commonly results in measurable changes in the brain that are associated with a significantly lower relapse rate. Following the use of cognitive methods, brain wave studies show more normalized wave patterns. Following cognitive interventions, brain imaging shows a shift from the color of a depressed brain toward the color of a “normal” brain. These physical measures, coupled with reports of feeling better, make a compelling case for using cognitively oriented methods for defeating depressive thinking." Dr. Bill Knauss

http://www.rebtnetwork.org/essays/depression2.html"

Dr. Boris Vytautas Bakunas, M. A., M. Ed., Ph. D.
Chicaho, USA

Category : Blog archive

Wed, 28th March, 2012 - Posted by - (1) Comment

New series of articles – starting today!

Healing the wounds between LT-Americans and the homeland


Photo: National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame

Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief
aage.myhre@VilNews.com

The relationship between Lithuania’s diaspora groups in the U.S. and the home country Lithuania is not always the best. Many here in Lithuania still believe that those who left, whether for economic or political reasons, had very comfortable lives compared to those who stayed behind and had to fight through several decades of inhuman oppression and abuse by the Soviet occupiers.

Many Lithuanians in the United States believe in turn that the mother country does not welcome them to return or collaborate on improving the development of the nation called Lithuania, and have been critical about ongoing corruption, that rule of law is still not working effectively, etc.

VilNews will through much of April focus on this topic, and we hereby invite all with views to prepare posts; in the form of blogs, comment articles or information you think might shed light or be of benefit to the relationship. The goal is to build bridges and contribute to reconciliation!

These are some of the challenges and opportunities we face:

1.
Lithuanian-Americans played a significant role in the post-war years, until Lithuania's recovered independence in 1990-1991, by constantly exerting pressure on the U.S. President and leaders in other Western countries so that they would pressure the Soviet Union to allow the Baltic countries freedom after the Soviet occupation that took place during World War II. Now, as more than 20 years have passed since the freedom bells rang, the question is whether the Lithuanian-Americans have a role to play also today? See our article 
http://vilnews.com/?p=8899

2.
“The majority, I believe, are disappointed and discouraged with the present president’s seemingly unfriendly view toward Lithuanian-Americans and others abroad.” This said Regina Narusiene, President of the World Lithuanian 
Community, in a recent interview (see http://vilnews.com/?p=6704), based on a comment referred to in The Baltic Times, where President Grybauskaite should have said that most prominent U.S. Lithuanian émigrés, instead of focusing on developing U.S. - Lithuanian business ties, prefer providing political advice to the Lithuanian authorities, which may not be that necessary nowadays. She was supposedly “disappointed by Lithuanian émigrés’ inability to attract U.S.-based investments to Lithuania.” Here in VilNews we often hear Lithuanian-Americans say they do not feel welcome to their  home country, and that Lithuania's current president seems to antagonize them. What are our readers’ comments to this?

3.
In a VilNews interview Regina Narusiene told about her youth in Chicago, after she and her family had settled there after escaping from Lithuania in 1944. One of the things she said, was: “I realized that my father was afraid of informers who could make life difficult for us, for our relatives who remained in Lithuania, and for the Lithuanian partisans who kept on fighting against the Soviet occupants well into the 1950s. The KGB had their own spies within the Lithuanian communities in the U.S., so we were extremely careful with what we said outside the home."  Now, when the KGB archives have been made public, are there new traces of KGB post-war activities to be found also in the U.S.?

4.
In a meeting at the Lithuanian Embassy in Washington last year, representatives of LAC (Lithuanian American Council) expressed their concern on a wide range of topics including Lithuania's developing energy policy, the country’s image in the international community, emigration issues and their demographic impact, the prospect of maintaining citizenship rights of recent immigrants, ongoing cooperation between organizations of the Diaspora and Lithuania, and minority issues in Lithuania. LAC representatives suggested that Lithuania would benefit significantly by availing itself of the expertise and knowledge found in the Diaspora communities in developing energy and security policies and a host of other areas such as environmental issues, ecology, medicine, economic development, and the promotion of improved interactions between the government and the people through non-governmental organizations (ref. http://vilnews.com/?p=5031). Has there been any official Lithuanian response to this?

5.
In November 2011, the Jewish Lithuanian Heritage Project hosted a roundtable “Think Tank” at the Lithuanian embassy in Washington. The theme of the discussion was, "A comprehensive Five Year plan to improve Lithuanian-Jewish relations: Cultivating Sunflowers." (ref. http://vilnews.com/?p=9949). In a response, one of our readers wrote: “Is this about the establishment of a new Judenrat to apologize for Lithuanian anti-Semitism? “If truth be told” having a holiday party at Lithuania’s D.C. Embassy is not revolutionary. What would be revolutionary would have been, and would be, is the prosecution of Lithuanian collaborators and SS members, the prosecution of today’s neo-Nazi youth groups, reinstatement of the ban against the display of the swastika and ending the noxious practice of the Uzgavenes holiday when people dress as Jews and beg on the street.” Harsh words?

COMMENT 1:


Rimantas Aukstuolis

“I am very pleased to see this intra-Lithuanian forum open up and give vent to these prejudices we have about each other”

I am very pleased to see this intra -Lithuanian forum open up and give vent to these prejudices we have about each other. VilNews is perhaps the best and only such place I am familiar with, with a broad enough readership to bring disparate but, hopefully responsible discussion to bear on this topic.

I am the American born son of a post WW2 DP father and a US born and raised, second generation Lithuanian mother. The DP's and old immigration Lithuanians never did mix very much and we all have a similar disconnect with the new "third wave". So it's not surprising to see a gap between the Lithuanian diaspora (of whatever immigration) and modern Lithuanian-Lithuanians.

My wife Vita and I, together with our four (at the time) young children lived in Vilnius while I worked as an adviser from the US Treasury in the early 90's. We sure did experience the cultural differences but, on balance, came away, humbled and culturally enriched by the experience.

Yes, I have seen the dark prejudice and defensive suspicion held by some native Lithuanians, some of whom would, on balance, be more comfortable in a Russian dominated, Soviet style environment than a capitalist, democratic society. I have also seen the "successful" overseas Lithuanian who, of course, knows everything better than his native cousins and isn't bashful about letting them know. I hope I wasn't one! I think each of these extremes are embarrassing for people of good will on either side of the divide, of which there are many.

We do need to reach out, however. Lithuania can benefit by the skills of the diaspora which should not be turned away as help from any quarter is needed (President Grybauskaite notwithstanding). Likewise, in spite of our active Lithuanian cultural lives in the diaspora, our Lithuanian language and ethnic identities are fading, our children assimilating. Lithuania, for all its issues is our living, modern cultural cradle.

Rimantas Aukstuolis
Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Rimantas Aukstuolis:
I was born 1952 in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. Mother (Genevieve Jesonis) was born in Omaha to old immigration (1906) parents. Father (Mecys Aukstuolis) was born in Lithuania and DP, post war immigrant. Married to Vita (Musonis), daughter of post war immigrant parents (Vytautas and Genovaite). Vita is a clinical psychologist. We have four children; Kestutis, Algirdas, Lina and Vytautas who is youngest and studying at Ohio State University.

Currently living in Cleveland Ohio area where we have spent most of our lives although Vita was born and raised in the Chicago area.

I have been an international and commercial banker since 1976 and have worked for several large regional US banks. Currently working at Fifth Third Bank in Structured Trade Finance which involves export financing. In 1993 I moved with my family to Lithuania where I worked for the US Treasury Department as an advisor to the then fledgling Bank of Lithuania. We lived in Lithuania for two and a half years.

All members of the family have been involved in Lithuanian activities all their lives and the children all speak Lithuanian. Currently I belong to the Exultate Lithuanian choir in Cleveland and Vita is active with Ateitininkai.

Category : Blog archive

OPINIONS


Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com



    • Vilnius authorities
      ban upcoming
      Baltic Pride march


      Vilnius municipal authorities ban the upcoming Baltic Pride march, even if Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court this week confirmed a ruling from the First Instance Court, stating that the Vilnius municipality was in breach of domestic law on peaceful assemblies by denying the possibility for the march to take place in the city centre.

      Last January, Vilnius municipal authorities said the march could not be held along the Gediminas Avenue, in the centre of the city, claiming it would force shops and hotels to shut down due to security concerns, and, instead, proposed a secluded location along the banks of the Neris River.

      Municipal authorities also claim the proposed route is too close to judicial and governmental buildings, raising national security concerns. However, in the past, demonstrations have been allowed on the same avenue.

      “The decision to ban the Baltic Pride march on security grounds is disproportionate, given that the Vilnius authorities refused to engage in constructive discussions with the Lithuania Gay League, despite rulings by domestic Courts’ saying that negotiations had to be re-opened,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe and Central Asia Director at Amnesty International.

      Amnesty International has launched a petition calling on Lithuanian authorities to ensure the event takes place according to the organizers’ plans and that adequate protection is provided.

      The Vilnius municipal authorities sought to block the first Baltic Pride in Vilnius in 2010, but the event ultimately went ahead following a court-ruling.

      “It is frankly amazing that three years after the first Baltic Pride in Vilnius, we are back in exactly the same situation as before, with the City authorities openly refusing to respect the freedom of assembly of Pride participants and seemingly prepared to ignore administrative court rulings.”

      Comments

      Arunas Teiserskis The problem here is social conservatism, which has nothing to do with nationhood or freedom. Discrimination of gays was just recently widely accepted by lots of societies in the world and even enshrined in many religions (and still is). So changing this attitude won't be easy and will definitely not be done by means of directives "from above". Take note, that Lithuanian people were liberated from Soviet ideology, which they tried to replace either by Western liberalism or the same Western mainly Christian conservatism. And both proponents of those conflicting ideologies are accusing each other of being Soviet-style, what doesn't help to discuss in calm fashion. And by virtue of being anti-Soviet even neo-Nazis are deemed by social conservatives as less appalling than the open gayness. This problem exists in the West as well (especially taking into account recent decision of Supreme Court in the US, because if there were no problems with than, there would have been no need of Supreme Court involvement), so this is just another case of worldwide problem in separate country - which should be confronted, of course. Though one didn't talk about the whole US and its all population acting in backward and primitive fashion, when the DOMA was voted in. So please reserve your criticism for the conservative part of Lithuanian society, not the whole country. Especially when the Lithuanian court already ruled out that Vilnius Municipality's policies towards the parade broke the already existing Lithuanian laws.


      Mary Ann Albee Bigotry in any form is still spelled the same.


      Ricardas Cepas If somebody decided to be Napoleon or Czar they have medical atention. If sobebody decides to be Gay, their rights are protected. Thats not fair towards Napoleons or Czars;)


      Arunas Teiserskis Ricardai, AFAIK, rights of "Napoleons and Czars" in modern society are to be equally protected as well of all other people, no matter what you decide or born to be. You should check your (total lack of) knowledge on legal matters in this field, if you think it is lawful in Lithuania to discriminate against people with mental disorder (not talking about your ethics to mock on this issue in this discussion).


      Mary Ann Albee Being gay is not a mental illness nor does it use brutal and deadly force against those who do not march to their drummer.


      Timotiejus Sevelis AMEN Sista!

      Don't forget, GAYS are environmentally friendly....We don't add new people to the planet!!! LOL

      NOW!! get out of my bedroom and let me have fun with my boyfriend!!!


      Ricardas Cepas Arunas,
      1. My problem is not that you Gay, its your private choice, my problem is, that you promote your private choice to children and people, which did not born Gay and you do it outside of your private life and do that hiding behind core values of human rights. By the way, Nazis use this strategy to come to power back then.

      2. You mentioned "modern societies" it usually comes and goes, in my humble opinion, its more fashion of these years, then shift of core values, for some of us fortunatelly for some unfortunatelly. But I agree fashion always was hot topic. Remember Hipies "free love" movements? Where are they today?
      So choice of promoting Gays by any means in press, demonstrations and etc., looks like natural survival strategy worldwide and has nothing to do with Human rights.

      3. And if you born Gay-be it, dont promote it to children who were not born Gays. Respect their rights similary like I respect your private choice.


      Linas Johansonas Ricardas Cepas Gays are born gay. And every gay was a child. What kind of "promotion" are you afraid of for children? You cannot turn a child or adult gay. Just like you didn't choose to be straight. It happens naturally within us. There is nothing wrong with teaching children that there are gay people in the world. It's a part of life.

      and yes Ricardai, gay rights have to do with human rights.


      Ricardas Cepas Linas Johansonas, Children are addicts to any advertising and they tent to try stuff when its promoted everywhere so hard.


      Arunas Teiserskis Ricardai, I'm not gay, I'm very straight, married and have children. Meanwhile you're obviously dumb. Because you don't realize, that one in no possible means can "advertise" any straight person into being gay. And vice versa. It's not drugs and neither it is fashion. Go and educate yourself a bit, before pretending being smart.


      Linas Johansonas  Ricardas Cepas: no one is promoting gay sex to them. For example, the gay march is about gay rights, not sex. yes, some teenagers do experiment with gay sex just like they experiment with straight sex & you know what, thats how some find out whether they are straight or gay. Teenagers having sex is going to happen without any promotion. It's a fact of life. Thats why you have to have sex education for teens. As for young children, they aren't developed enoiugh to be interested in any sex.


      Wyman Brent I am straight and married and my wife and I will soon have our first child. We do not believe that knowing gay people exists will turn our child gay. He may be born gay but it will have nothing to do with the knowledge that others are gay. That would be like saying all gay people will become straight because they know that most people are straight.



    • How can we make the world aware of Lithuania, its 50 years of nonviolant resistance against the USSR?

      GameChanger: A film about Lithuania's nonviolent resistance
      __________________________


      Ruta Musonis 
      This is great, Aage!!


      David Zincavage 
      My grandfather came to America in 1912 after violently resisting the Russian Occupation.


      Mia Pia 
      My grandparents and parents lost everything, due to the violent wars and occupation by the USSR.


      Ida Hardy 
      We need a feature film like Hunting for Red October - but with more of the details of Lithuania. Or an epic romance featuring the beautiful countryside, following ten generations and what they saw in their lifetime. But whoever writes it please let there be a happy ending?


      Aage Myhre 
      Rima Alessandra, please let Ida Hardy have some idea about your potential 'happy ending'


      Rima Alessandra Gungor,
      GameChanger Director, at the remaining barricade elements that still remain outside the Parliament as visible symbols of Lithuania's nonviolent revolution in 1991.


    • Lithuanian Midsummer

      Midsummer Day is a festival of simple people, connected with the veneration of fire. Young girls adorn their heads with flower wreaths. A tall pole with a wooden wheel soaked in tar or filled with birch bark is hoisted at the top of the highest hill in the vicinity. Men whose names are Jonas (John) set the wheels on fire and make bonfires around it. In some places a second pole is hoisted with flowers and herbs. Young people dance round the fire, sing songs about rye, play games, men try to jump over the fire. The burning wheels on the poles are rolled down the hill into a river or a lake at its foot, men jumping over it all along. On the Midsummer Day people weed the rye and burn all the weeds.

      On Midsummer Day's morning witches acquire special powers, they drag towels over the dewy grass to affect cows' milk. To save their cows from the witches' magic farmers shut them in cowsheds for the Midsummer Night and stick bunches of nettle in the door to scare the witches away. On Midsummer Day cows are driven out to pasture in the early after- noon when there is no more dew on the grass. Horses, however, are left to graze in the open throughout the night, or the witches magic has no effect on them.

      On Midsummer Day dew has special healing powers. Young girls wash their faces in it to make themselves beautiful, older people do the same to make themselves younger. It is good to walk barefoot in dew on Midsummer Day's morning, for it saves the skin from getting chapped.

      Midsummer Day and the time immediately preceding it is believed to have special powers. Medicinal herbs collected from June 1 to the Midsummer Day can cure 12 (some say 99) diseases.

      Read more…
      __________________________


      Ida Hardy
      What are YOU doing for this year's Solstice and Super Moon?
      http://vilnews.com/2011-01-su-joninem


      Boris Bakunas What a wonderful post! Thank you, Ida!


      Sandra Abramovich Love this and am sharing it!


      Ida Hardy Thank Aage Myhre - he's the original! It is a beautiful description isn't it? Are you doing something special?

Click HERE to read previous opinion letters >

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