Europe Day

Europe Day is an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe. There are two separate designations of Europe Day: 5 May for the Council of Europe, and 9 May for the European Union. The latter is the EU’s flag day and has a greater visibility. The Council of Europe’s day reflects its own establishment in 1949, while the European Union’s day is also known as Schuman Day and celebrates the historical declaration by French foreign minister Robert Schuman in 1950. Europe Day is designed to foster unity among Europeans.

The Council of Europe was founded on 5 May 1949, and hence it chose that day for its celebrations when it established the holiday in 1964. In 1985, the European Communities (which later became the European Union) adopted the European symbols of the Council of Europe such as the Flag of Europe. However, the Community leaders decided to hold their Europe Day in commemoration of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950. The declaration proposed the pooling of French and West German coal and steel industries, leading to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the first European Community, and hence is considered a principal founding moment. Hence, at the 1985 Milan European Council, 29 September was adopted as the EU’s flag day. The European Constitution would have legally enshrined all the European symbols in the EU treaties, however the treaty failed The Constitution’s replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon, contains a declaration by sixteen members supporting the symbols. The European Parliament formally recognised the 9 May holiday in October 2008.

9 May is celebrated in various forms in most member states of the European Union and EU candidate countries such as Turkey. people are taught about the European Union and speaking in support of European integration.The flag as another symbol plays a major role in general celebrations. Despite a preference for 9 May, with the European Union’s greater visibility, 5 May is still observed by some Europeans due to the Council’s role in seeking to defend human rights, parliamentary democracy, and the rule of law. In contrast, the Schuman declaration was merely proposing the pooling of French and West German coal and steel. Since 2003, Ukraine has celebrated Europe Day on the third Saturday of May.

Karl Marx

Often described as one of the most influential people in human history, the German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx was born 5th May 1818 .His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto and Capital; some of his works were co-written with his friend and fellow German revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels.

Born into a wealthy middle class family in Trier, formerly in Prussian Rhineland now called Rhineland-Palatinate, Marx studied at both the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in the German philosopher G.W.F Hegel , whose ideas were widely debated amongst European philosophical circles at the time. He became involved with a group of radical thinkers known as the Young Hegelians, who gathered around Ludwig Feuerbach and Bruno Bauer. Like Marx, the Young Hegelians were critical of Hegel’s metaphysical assumptions. In 1836, he became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, marrying her in 1843. After his studies, he wrote for a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out his theory of dialectical materialism. Moving to Paris in 1843, he began writing for other radical newspapers. He met Engels in Paris, and the two men worked together on a series of books. Exiled to Brussels, he became a leading figure of the Communist League, before moving back to Cologne, where he founded his own newspaper. In 1849 he was exiled again and moved to London together with his wife and children. In London, where the family was reduced to poverty, Marx continued writing and formulating his theories about the nature of society and how he believed it could be improved, and also campaigned for socialism—he became a significant figure in the International Working men’s Association.

Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics—collectively known as Marxism—hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class which controls production and a lower class which produces the labour for such goods. Heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, he called it the “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie”, believing it to be run by the wealthy classes purely for their own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism. He argued that under socialism society would be governed by the working class in what he called the “dictatorship of the proletariat”, the “workers state” or “workers’ democracy”.

He believed that socialism would, in its turn, eventually be replaced by a stateless, classless society called communism. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for the former’s implementation, arguing that both social theorists and underprivileged people should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change. Revolutionary socialist governments espousing Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of such socialist states as the Soviet Union in 1922 and the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Many labor unions and worker’s parties worldwide were also influenced by Marxist ideas. Various theoretical variants, such as Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism and Maoism, were developed. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.

Marx sadly passed away 14th March in 1883 but is widely thought of as one of the most influential thinkers in history, and had a significant influence on both world politics and intellectual thought, and in a 1999 BBC poll was voted the top “thinker of the millennium” who profoundly affected ideas about history, society, economics, culture and politics, and the nature of social inquiry. Marx’s biographer Francis Wheen considers the “history of the twentieth century” to be “Marx’s legacy”, Marx’s impact is comparable with that of Jesus Christ and Muhammad. “Marx’s ideas brought about modern sociology, transformed the study of history, and profoundly affected philosophy, literature and the arts.”

Marx has been called one of the masters of the “school of suspicion”, alongside Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud, and his ideas have led to him becoming “the darling of both European and American intellectuals up until the 1960s”. Marx has influenced disciplines such as archaeology, anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociological theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy. Whose ethical message was a “morally empowering language of critique” against the dominant capitalist Society and his ideas led to the establishment of governments using Marxist thought to replace capitalism with communism or socialism, whilst his intellectual thought has heavily influenced the academic study of the humanities and the arts.

International Day of the Midwife

International Day of the Midwife takes place annually on 5 May. It was first celebrated In 1991, and has since been observed in over 50 nations around the world. The idea of having a day to recognize and honor midwives came out of the 1987 International Confederation of Midwives conference in the Netherlands. In 2014 it was celebrated in Iran and New Zealand among many other places.

A midwife is a professional in midwifery, specializing in pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum, women’s sexual and reproductive health (including annual gynecological exams, family planning, menopausal care and others), and newborn care. They are also educated and trained to recognise the variations of normal progress of labor, and how to deal with deviations from normal to discern what, and may intervene in high risk situations, such as breech births, twin births and births where the baby is in a posterior position, using non-invasive techniques. When a pregnant woman requires care beyond the midwife’s scope of practice, they refer women to obstetricians or perinatologists who are medical specialists in complications related to pregnancy and birth, including surgical and instrumental deliveries. In many parts of the world, these professions work in tandem to provide care to childbearing women. In others, only the midwife is available to provide care, and in yet other countries many women elect to utilize obstetricians primarily over midwives.

Many developing countries are investing money and training for midwives as these services are needed all over the world. Some primary care services are currently lacking due to the shortage of money being funded for these resources. A study performed by Melissa Cheyney and colleagues followed approximately 17,000 planned home births with the assistance of midwives. 93.6% of these families had a normal physiological birth and only 5% were Cesarean sections. In 2013, the rate of Cesarean sections in hospitals in the United States was 32.7%, which is double the rate that World Health Organization recommends.

According to the definition of the International Confederation of Midwives, which has also been adopted by the World Health Organization and the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, A midwife is a person who has successfully completed a midwifery education programme that is recognised in the country where it is located and that is based on the ICM Essential Competencies for Basic Midwifery Practice. and the framework of the ICM Global Standards for Midwifery Education; who has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery and use the title ‘midwife’; and who demonstrates competency in the practice of midwifery. The word derives from Old English mid, “with” and wif, “woman”, and thus originally meant “with-woman”, that is, the woman who is with the mother at childbirth. The word is used to refer to both male and female midwives.

The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures.

The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and the community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and child care. A midwife may practise in any setting including the home, community, hospitals, clinics or health units.

And now for something completely different…

English Telvision presenter, broadcaster and comedian Michael Palin CBE FRGS was born 5th May 1943. He is Best known for starring in the British Comedy television series MontyPythons Fying circus alongside Graham Chapman , John Cleese, Terry Jones and Eric Idle.The members of Monty Python were all highly educated. Terry Jones and Michael Palin are Oxford University graduates; Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Graham Chapman attended Cambridge University; and American-born member Terry Gilliam is an Occidental College graduate Before Joining Monty Python. Palin wrote comedic material with Terry Jones on other shows such as the Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report and Do Not Adjust Your Set. Palin appeared in some of the most famous Python sketches, including “Argument Clinic”, “Dead Parrot”, “The Lumberjack Song”, “The Spanish Inquisition”, and “The Fish-Slapping Dance”.

The first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC One on the 5th October 1969 and there were 45 Episodes spread over four seasons until December 1974 on BBC Television. The comedy was often pointedly intellectual, with numerous erudite references to philosophers and literary figures. The series followed and elaborated upon the style used by Spike Milligan in his groundbreaking series Q5. The team intended their humour to be impossible to categorise, and succeeded so completely that the adjective “Pythonesque” was invented to define it.The shows were composed of surreality, risqué or innuendo-laden humour, sight gags and observational sketches without punchlines. They also featured Terry Gilliam’s wonderful and imaginatively bizarre animations, often sequenced or merged with live action. Broadcast by the BBC. with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, The show often targets the idiosyncrasies of British life, especially that of professionals, and is at times politically charged. Over the years many of the sketches have attained classic status including The Lumberjack Song, Ministry of Silly Walks, Upper class twit of the Year, Spam song, The Dead Parrot Sketch  and Bicycle Repair Man. Graham Chapman also played the lead roles in two of the Python’s Films – Monty Python and The Holy Grail, Life of Brian. Eric Idle also appeared in the the children’s series Do Not Adjust Your Set, alongside Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam’s surreal animations which linked the show’s sketches together, and defined Monty Python’s visual language in other media (such as LP and book covers, and the title sequences of their films).

Since Monty Python split Michael Palin continued to work with Jones co-writing Ripping Yarns. He has also appeared in several films directed by fellow Python Terry Gilliam and made notable appearances in other films such as A Fish Called Wanda, for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role] In a 2005 poll to find The Comedians’ Comedian, he was voted the 30th favourite by fellow comedians and comedy insiders.After Python, he began a new career as a travel writer and travel documentarian. His journeys have taken him across the world, including the North and South Poles, the Sahara Desert, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe and Brazil. In 2000 Palin was honoured as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to television. From 2009 to 2012 Palin was also the president of the Royal Geographical Society