Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HW 35: Hello to My Readers

Dear Readers,

It is hard to believe but I started this blog over 13 weeks ago! I have learned how to make a blogger account and create posts on blogger.com. I have maintained regular posts for homework assignments for my Thinking and Writing class; "A Blog of One's Own." In specific posts I was asked to supplement my writing with quotes from the text that I would be reading for class. I properly used a quote and then cited it using MLA style citation. I also learned how to add links to my blog that included my pod mate's blogs and three other blogs that were relevant to the class. I learned of the different features to use when making a post like spell check and manipulating text. In my blog page, I discovered the archives so I could view old blogs that were organized by the months of the year. If someone could learn something from my blog, it would be about Riverbend's novel "Baghdad Burning." In this book, the truth about what is going on in Iraq today is explained from an Iraqi's point of view. I think it is important to understand other countries especially one like Iraq because it is such a huge part of what is going on in the world today. My favorite blog post is my letter to Riverbend from "Baghdad Burning." I had the chance to tell Riverbend how I really felt about the events in Iraq due to the United States occupation and even though she will never read it, I think Riverbend would have appreciated it. When my blog class ends, I plan on saving my blog for historical purposes and maybe I'll show it off to my friends and family since I have written so much on it! I think that everyone should try writing a blog for whatever reason they see fit, if it is for political reasons, a class or for personal interests. Also, if everyone could take the time to read a few blogs, it might brighten horizons and views about whatever the topic is. Cleary blogs are a large part of the world today and they are growing in popularity every minute.

HW 34: "Cultural Literacy" of Iraq

As an American, it is important to learn about and understand different cultures from around the world. In Riverbend's "Baghdad Burning," multiple valued practices and rituals are depicted. One of these practices is the role of gold in family savings in Iraq. Back in 1990, many Iraqis started converting their money into gold because of the unstable flex in the Iraqi dollar. Gold held it's worth unlike Iraqi money. Iraqis gold is all the money that they have and it is held very dear to them. Riverbend describes how gold is handled, "Gold can be shown off and worn, but in times of economical trouble, a few pieces can be sold to tide the family over" (Riverbend 100). Iraqis wear their gold but the importance of it is when there is a war, for example, gold is used to make sure the family can make it through the rough times. Riverbend's aunt was extremely frightened that if their house were raided, the troops would take her gold. The gold represented all of the savings the aunt had collected since 1965, so obviously it meant a lot to her (Riverbend 102). Another common custom of Iraqis is evening tea. Iraqis make it tradition everyday to meet around the table and share a cup of tea together. Unlike here in the United States where tea is prepared as a tea bag, Iraqis have a whole process they go through to make their tea. Water is boiled in a kettle while tealeaves are placed in a different pot of water and the water and tealeaves simmer until they reach the top. The final step is the pot is put on the kettle so the tea can "yihder" which means settle. (Riverbend 108-109). The tea is served in glass cups with either glass or porcelain saucers. Tea time is a scared time for Iraqis when they are all together and can discuss different topics, usually whatever is going on in Iraq that day. Riverbend explains the conversations that happen around her tea table, "Stories (vary from) abductions and hijackings, to demonstrations, to empty gas cylinders and burned out water pumps" (Riverbend 109). These subjects that are discussed are very serious. We are lucky that here in the United States, we don't typically tell stories around our dinner tables about a road side bomb or a raid that we witnessed today.

Monday, November 12, 2007

HW 33: "Challenges at a Girl's School in Baghdad"

"Alive in Baghdad" captures real stories about Iraq and its people who are facing so many troubles today. One episode is titled, "Challenges at a Girl's School in Baghdad" which can be found at http://aliveinbaghdad.org/2007/05/21/challenges-at-a-girls-school-in-baghdad. This episode was published on May 5, 2007. The general topic that is covered in this episode is the problems that Iraqi schools and children are dealing with due to the violence and the disturbance from American troops. The episode takes place at an all girls’ school at the Safina Middle School in Adhamiya, which is unfortunately located in a very unsafe place in Baghdad. The school is quite rundown: there are holes in the walls, desks are small, and it is a primitive environment. The female director of the school and a teacher are interviewed during the pod cast along with several students. One student in particular, tells her story of being an Iraqi girl going to school today. Some days this girl cannot even make it to school if there is a bombing near by or raids or roadblocks. Because of this, the girl has a very unstable education and she misses lessons that were taught on the day she wasn't there. Her family doesn't want their daughter to go to school because of the chance that she could be killed on her way there or while she is in school. Although she admits she is scared, she continues to push to get an education. Everyday all around Iraq, families struggle with either sending their child to school to get an education or to keep them safe at home. A viewer watching this episode might learn that the occupation of American forces is not only damaging Iraq today but it is causing a problem for it's future who are the children of Iraq today. If children are not properly educated, the literacy rate will decline in Iraq, which will cause even more problems down the road. Most other video footage that I have seen about Iraq is American troops and Iraqis fighting; there is nothing about an innocent girl's school in the middle of a war zone. What I find most memorable about this episode is that the girls are continuing to go to school even though they are risking their lives to do so. If I were one of those girls, I don't know if I would be able to do that.

HW 32: "Barbie Notebooks and Strawberry-Scented Erasers"

In Riverbend's "Baghdad Burning," she describes shopping for her cousin's daughters. It was the beginning of the school year for two young Iraqi girls who were seven and ten years old in October 2003. Riverbend, her cousin, her brother E. and the girl's mother went out to a stationary store to pick out school supplies while the girls stayed safe at Riverbend's house with her parents. Unlike here in the United States were we have large shopping complexes with Staples and Wal-Mart, Iraq has it a little different. Stores are spread out down along the streets of Baghdad and the stores range from small to large in size. Riverbend explains what she decides to pick out for the children, "I went with a few Senafir (Smurfs) copybooks, some Barbie notebooks for the older one, and was hard-pressed to choose between Winnie the Pooh and Lion King for the younger. I went with Winnie the Pooh in the end" (Riverbend 95). When Riverbend chose the notebooks with Barbie and Winnie the Pooh on the cover, it made me think back to when I was younger shopping for school supplies. I was into Barbie and Winnie the Pooh just like these young Iraqi girls were. Maybe Iraqis and Americans aren't that different from each other after all. Other supplies that were purchased for the girls were pencils, copybooks, crayons, and erasers. Riverbend was determined to pick out interesting erasers like ones that were shaped like strawberries and she had a good reason for being picky, "S. wanted to go with some generic pink ones that looked like pieces of gum and smelled like tires, but I argued that kids don't take care of their school supplies if they're ugly" (Riverbend 95). Although the girl's mother was fine with buying ordinary pink erasers, Riverbend believed that the girls would be more likely to respect their supplies if they liked them. The shopping was a success except that Riverbend learned to her dismay that the youngest girl had outgrown Winnie the Pooh.