Wednesday, November 28, 2007

HW 35- its over

After taking the course, “A Blog of One’s Own”, I have learned how to keep up with a blog. I have never had a blog before, and quite frankly, I didn’t even know what one was. I think that the concept of a blog is interesting, but I did not find it appealing. Completing the requirements of this blog was interesting and insightful, but I do not plan to keep posting. If one were to look over my blog, they could see how I felt on certain topics that we discussed in class, the books we read, and movies we watched. Out of all the work I accomplished in this class, I would have to say I mostly enjoyed reading the book, “Baghdad Burning”. I found this book the most interesting and I was really able to get into it. Enjoying this book made it easy to post about on my blog. After this class is over, I don’t think I will touch my blog page. I know I will not post anything on my page, but I do think it will be interesting and comical to look back on over the years. Who knows, maybe I’ll get into this one day.

HW 34- Gold in the trees!

Improving my “cultural literacy” has never really been a topic on my mind. I think that it is important to expand your mind though. Reading, “Baghdad Burning”, I learned about the role of gold in Iraq. “Gold is a part of our culture and the roll it plays in ‘family savings’ has increased since 1990 when the Iraqi Dinar began fluctuating crazily” (Riverbend, 100). In 1990, gold became a very confusing topic. The value kept changing, which urged people to keep trading their money in for gold, such as earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Gold became somewhat of a currency. If people could not afford things, they could sell their gold for it. It became some sort of trade. Just like gold is important to the Iraqi public, Date Palms have a strong affect to. "A palm tree is known as a "nakhla" and never fails to bring satisfaction and admiration. They are the pride and joy of Iraqi farmers and landowners. A garden isn't complete if there is not a palm tree gracing it." (Riverbend, 103) Palm trees seem to be loved where ever they grow but in Iraq it is different. There are 500 different types of dates from the palms. Dates are used for a wide variety of purposes. They each have their own distinct features, which make them unique from one another. Some dates are used for hats, bags, food, alcohol, and much more. Palm trees in Iraq represent a lot about their culture and they are savored as a form of hope within themselves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HW 33- young and younger workers

For homework 32 I watched the episode called, “Iraqi Teens Work to Help Support Their Families”, from the Alive in Baghdad videos. It was published October 25, 2007. This episode talks about how young teens in Iraqi have skills to work in laborious fields to help support their families. With families being in such need of income, as soon as the children are capable of the skills needed they begin their working careers. Some of the young boys, ages thirteen to fifteen, were carpenters and painters. The mostly learn the skills from their fathers and work from home. Some used to work at a shop but it is now to dangerous to leave your home and they are not aloud to run business. One boy Hussein Kamal, who is fifteen, during the holidays works with his father in carpentry. His brother recently taught him a new career, furniture painting. The surrounding that theses boys are working are covered in dirt with green plants along the walls. It looks as if it could get very hot in the summers. This podcast was informative to show a viewer what the young life is like in Iraq. Due to the United States occupation, it is a solid example on how we (The United States) are affecting their country. I enjoy this video as well as others I have seen about Iraq. The translation is good and shown at a good speed. The most memorable part of this podcast was when a boy talked about how he was not aloud to work at his shop anymore because they will not let him. I found this sad and disturbing. What are we doing over there!!

HW 32- Life in Fear

After reading the assigned pages, I was really intrigued by the way in which they shop for school supplies. Riverbend discusses how her two younger cousins were not able to go along with their parents to shop for supplies this year. Even though it is supposed to be an exciting time, the outside dangers far exceed the reality of fun. Riverbend, her cousin, her cousins wife, and her brother E had to go pick out school supplies for their cousins. Riverbend picked out supplies that she thought her cousins would like, but she was wrong. When she got home her oldest cousin, who is ten loved the Barbie notebooks that Riverbend and E got her but her younger cousin did not like the Winnie the Pooh and said that she was too old for it. Over the past years, the children wake up early and walk to school together but this year it was different. They were not able to walk to school alone. They all had to be escorted by several adults in fear that they would be abducted. This year school started later than usual due to the war and the dangers on the streets. The parents in the community had meetings about how they wished to guard the school, reassuring themselves that the children and teachers would be safe. (Riverbend 94-97)

Monday, November 12, 2007

HW 30- Death in the air...

After reading the assigned section of “Baghdad Burning”, I recall reading about depleted uranium. I have never heard of this before, but the way Riverbend talked about it, I knew this was what I wanted to research. When Riverebend describes this she recalls, “remembering wasted, little bodies in huge hospital beds- dying of hunger and of disease; diseases that could easily be treated with medicines that were “forbidden.” I remember parents with drawn faces peering anxiously into doctors’ eyes, searching for a miracle.” (Riverbend 47)How sad and depression is that. After looking are websites I learned that depleted uranium is a waste product that is released into the air off of machines built with uranium. The depleted uranium is a diluted version but is still very dangerous. It can be inhaled or be released into cuts or wounds. It causes chemical poisoning to body, such as the way any other poison would. It is not health and it is being releases into the air on a daily basis. It can be stopped easily but is deadly when contacted. (Wikipedia)

Riverbend. Baghdad Burning. New York: The Feminist Press, 2005.

Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. 2007. Wikimedia Foundation. 7 Nov. 2007.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

HW 30- Symposium Sessions- BORING

The first speaker I saw at the Citizenship Symposium at Keene State College was June cross. They introducer introduced her as ‘Donya’. According to her, ‘Donya’ means a woman who deserves respect. The introducer was a Mexican woman who was dressed in it looked like a silk dress made with vibrant colors. Mrs. June Cross then came to the podium dressed in blue pants with a purple turtleneck, with a sweater over printed with colorful designs. She had what it looked like as long black dreaded hair and gold earrings hanging from her ears. The light reflected off her glasses a little bit. Mrs. Cross did not speak long; she got up and mentioned that there wasn’t much history that we needed to know. She stated, “How much history you need to know, is how much lets you know.” I though that was an intelligent quote. It really got me to think in a different way about history in general. I enjoyed that. She proceeded to say how she believes that a mother daughter relationship is the most important relationship because it is the most complex relationship that exists. The documentary then started to roll. I did not enjoy it very much. I found it somewhat boring but informative. Unfortunately I was not able to stay for the question answer period but I am sure some of my doubts could have been explained. I did not really learn anything but I would have to say that the thing that made me think the most was when she talked about how much history one needs to know.

The second Citizenship Symposium session at Keene State College that I attended was presented by the former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter. He talked about “Citizen Soldiers and Global Warriors”. HE was dresses in a gray suit with a light blue dress shirt. He wore a darker blue tie with a silver tie pin. He looked very professional and his attitude was extremely intense. He seemed very stern and into what he was saying. I could tell that by his hand gestures that were non-stop throughout his presentation. The purpose of his entire speech was to portray the relationship between and citizen and a soldier and then the term global and warrior and how both comparisons come together. He talked about how in the U.S. we have the privilege of free speech and how without debate we have nothing. However, I was only able to listen to him for an hour and I really got the impression that he was not really into debating. He seemed very firm with his opinions and did not seem open to others. He does like the right to protest though. He talked about how people are afraid to stand for what they believe because they do not want to be ‘anti-American’. He stated that people need to express how they feel without being scared. He thinks that just because you are against the war does not mean that you do not support your troops (The feelings of a lot of Americans). He proceeded to talk about the constitution (which we all received a pocket version of) and how it is the only document that holds the United States Citizens together. He made a nice analogy, which was the only part of his speech that I enjoyed, comparing war to fire. He was referring to how people do not like war and how it is still ok to support our troops. He said that it is just like fire and fireman. We do not like our houses being on fire but we do like firemen to fight it. Just because we do not like war, does not mean we don’t like soldiers to fight it. That analogy really made me think and I think that it was the only intelligent comment that came out of Mr. Ritter’s mouth that night. I thought his speech, which was an hour long, was really dragged out. He could have easily condensed it into a five our ten minute speech but talked really slow and said a lot of useless information. I had high expectations for this speech and was surprisingly let down.

The last session of the Citizenship Symposium I attended here at Keene State College was called, “Blogging, Are All Citizens Publishers and Reporters?” This session consisted of three different speakers, Mike Caulfield- a Blue Hampshire blogger, Jim Rousmiere- the Keene Sentinel executive editor, and Emile Netzhammer- the Academic Affairs Provost and Vice President at Keene State College. There was supposed to be a fourth speaker but unfortunately, the most famous in my opinion, Lara Clawson- blogger for Daily Kos, was not able to make it. Each speaker took a turn giving their opinion on blogging. The most interesting opinion on blogging was of Jim Rouismaniere. He proceeded to talk about how he believes that there are three main points of the relationship between blogging and journalism. The first point that he discussed was about disclosure. He stated that how in journalism the author states their name and how blogging it can remain anonymous or use a fake name if they didn’t want to reveal their identity. The second point he discussed was the difference of opinions versus factual information. A blog can and mostly does contain opinionated information where as a journalist can only write based on facts. The last but most important (in my opinion) point was that blogs are “written to the choir” were as journals are based for the public to view. All three speakers talked about how journalist and bloggers should be treated equally. However, I strongly disagree. Maybe I disagree because I am not a personal fan of blogging and do not really understand it, but I do disagree. A journalist requires specific writing skills, as well as in-depth research of a topic. Blogging on the other hand is purely opinion based for the most part and anyone can do it. I am writing in my own blog right now and I surely do not have the skills to be a journalist by any means. I did not enjoy this symposium session based on the mixed views that the speakers and I have.

Monday, November 5, 2007

HW 28: An Open Letter to Riverbend

Dear Riverbend,

After reading a portion of your blog, I am more aware to the conflict between our countries. Being a young American girl, it would seem that we do not have anything in common. However, unexpectedly we share a lot of the same. There are several occasions where I too dislike American soldiers. Except that is really hard to me to say. To correct that, I do not dislike them, I dislike what they do. I guess you can say I dislike what they are instructed to do. I can not even imagine living my life in fear, like the way you do. I do not think I could handle that. I am sure that the blog is a wonderful way to vent how you feel, especially being anonymous and all. When you talked about how the American soldiers shot and killed over a dozen kids and teenagers, that’s just wrong. I have you back in this one. The soldier’s explanation is just bogus too! The whole concept the occupation taking place in your country boggles my mind. You have my sympathy with everything that you are going though.

In my thoughts,