Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Background: Thích Quảng Đức was a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk. He lived for peace, and did not support the decisions of Ngô Đình Diệm, who was the leader of Vietnam at the time. Ngô Đình Diệm pursued policies that rankled and oppressed the Republic's Montagnard natives and its Buddhist majority. Thích Quảng Đức burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963. Thích Quảng Đức was protesting against the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Ngô Đình Diệm administration. Photos of his self-immolation were circulated widely across the world and brought attention to the policies of the Diệm regime. All those who saw this spectacle were taken by the fact that Duc did not make a sound while burning to death. After his death, his body was re-cremated, but his heart remained intact. This was interpreted as a symbol of compassion and led Buddhists to revere him as a bodhisattva, heightening the impact of his death on the public psyche. Thich Quang Duc was quick to point out (in letters left for the press) that his self-immolation was not an act of suicide, which would go against his Buddhist beliefs. Instead, Duc viewed the burning as a wake up call, a way to call attention to his cause. His death has been termed a "religious and/or political suicide" by Chinese Buddhism scholars, who state that it was religiously justified based on texts found dating back to the 5th and 10th centuries BCE.

Mohamed Bouazizi was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on December 17, 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that was allegedly inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides. A woman came up to the fruit vendor and stole his scale, which had happened before, but because Mohamed had made ten dollars a day, this was a big deal for him. He got really mad at the woman and she slapped him across the face. In an act set for a revolution, Bouazizi made his way to a gas station, where he set himself on fire. This act became the catalyst for the 2010–2011 Tunisian revolution, sparking deadly demonstrations and riots throughout Tunisia in protest of social and political issues in the country. Anger and violence intensified following Bouazizi's death, leading then-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to step down on January 14, 2011, after 23 years in power.

A: Freedom is KEY in both of these cases- something Thich Quang Duc and Mohamed Bouazizi were losing, or didn’t even have. We have to stand up for what we believe in, and both of these brave men (heroes) knew that. They had both caused the world to know the same. When a leader, who thinks they are the “President Forever” (Ngô Đình Diệm and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali), tries to take away and run a country without freedom, extreme measures can be taken, whether you are a monk or a fruit vendor. These two cases compare with each other because both men had to reach the state of self-immolation to gain freedom and rights from corrupt leaders. They had BOTH given up everything for their before-peaceful countries; they had BOTH been true leaders and heroes.

B: I couldn’t help but think about the circumstances of each situation. As I was reading and watching, peace had become and issue! This is especially surprising because peace is not supposed to be an issue, but a result of bravery. Yes, bravery was displayed, but in the most atrocious way imaginable (to me): self-immolation. This really got me thinking about the measures that one has to take to make peace. Self-immolation is an issue that can make peace. Peace is not supposed to be an issue. Peace is gained through bravery. Bravery can be displayed through self-immolation. Do you see the cycle?

C: If Pain for Peace Prepares by Emily Dickinson

If pain for peace prepares
Lo, what "Augustan" years
Our feet await!

If springs from winter rise,
Can the Anemones
Be reckoned up?

If night stands fast -- then noon
To gird us for the sun,
What gaze!

When from a thousand skies
On our developed eyes
Noons blaze!

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

OPTION 2/ Literary Analysis of WWI

Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck was a German-Prussian statesman who was a strong believer in, and conductor of, the unity of Germany. In addition to this thought of peace, Bismarck was a dominant figure in world affairs at the time, serving as the imperial chancellor of Germany from 1862-1890. He came up with the Bismarckian Alliance System (a defensive system of alliances created by Otto von Bismarck to isolate France through a system of German alliances with both Russia and Austria-Hungary) to try to create peace (through making alliances) and unite Germany. While Otto von Bismarck was a supporter of peace, he made many witty remarks about the effects of war and politics on the world.
“The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood.” This quote suggests the idea that the conflicts going on cannot be resolved by politics, but rather by the human kind having to turn to war: the weapons and the bloody violence. In the antebellum period before WWI, there was much imperialism going on. When one country would take control of another, there would be a lot of fighting (in order to get the common people of the overtaken country to give up their culture and to agree with what was going on in their lost land). This could not be settled by the imperialistic new leaders making speeches to the fallen hearts of the natives. In many cases, this would make the natives become more resentful.
Bismarck also states, “When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.” This quote is quite a metaphor, and can be perceived in many directions. However; I believe that Bismarck meant to further inform the world of the crisis that he foresaw (war because of the violence going on). This situation was literally “unbelievable,” so that if you told the truth about the world at this time (politically and economically), it would sound as if you were tying to decieve everybody into a horrid trick.
Last but not least, Otto von Bismarck makes a point to say, “The main thing is to make history, not to write it." This, Otto himself did, in many ways. This quote lives through Otto von Bismarck’s very legacy! By supporting peace, Bismarck was never really trying to form and sculpt history into the way he wanted it to be. Instead, he added to the mix something beautiful (with alliances): his Bismarckian Alliance System. This goes for war, also. Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck believed that if we just try to add our own culture and ideas to the “mix of history,” that we will be better, and happier, off with more life to live and less to lose; with a dream of peace, HIS dream of peace.

The White Man's Burden & Imperialism

1. “burden |ˈbərdn| (noun) : a load, esp. a heavy one that may cause hardship and grief.

The reason that I put the definition of “burden” here is because it is quite the word in this title, and intrigues me for the fact that it sounds as though it is carrying its own “burden.” For this poem, it is The White Man’s Burden. There is one thing that this phrase REALLY shows me, and it can, and DOES, run and ruin lives: greed. Greed for power, greed for wealth, and greed for imperialism. <imperialism |imˈpi(ə)rēəˌlizəm|(noun) a policy of extending a country's power and influence through diplomacy or military force.> At this time period, the white men of the world were vigorously urged toward imperialism. Kipling wrote this poem in 1899, and it was published in McClure’s Magazine. When Theodore Roosevelt read it, he copied it and sent the poem to his friend, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, claiming that “ it was rather poor poetry, but good sense from the expansion point of view.” This greed for imperialism led to the white men pursuing their urge for imperialism, but this resulted in high costs. You see, when one country gains land by taking another country under its rule, the extra land costs a lot of money. To me, this results in the white men having a large burden of both the costs and the urge of/for imperialism.
2. MY ANSWER: Kipling justifies Imperialism by referring to it as The White Man’s Burden. As I explained before, the burden is a synonym for the urge for imperialism, and after this is done, the burden of the cost for the extra land. Kipling also states, throughout the poem, more justification for Imperialism by stating “The easy ungrudged praise: /Comes now, to search your manhood / Through all the thankless years, / Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom.” In this quote he is describing that, in imperialism, there is easy reward with the bravery that the white men receive in imperialism. Also, Kipling states “To seek another's profit.” This line alone suggests rebellion against the leaders of the Empire. The common people of the land that was taken over would want to rebel against the leading country for taking away their religion and, mainly, culture. The government then feels like they have to control the mass of people in the larger land mass that they control, thus being forced into a communism of sort. WHAT WE SAID IN THE DISCUSSION IN CLASS: Kipling is being sarcastic throughout this poem. This is Rudyard’s realist poem. So, by stating the effects of imperialism, and because of the fact that Kipling is being sarcastic, he does not justify imperialism. This is the answer that we said in class during the discussion, and I believe that it proves an O.K. point.
3. Such a justification may be appealing because of the major power that it suggests, especially for the white men. Even though slavery was abolished in the United States, in other parts of the world there was still a lot of mistreatment toward the African Americans. The white men felt superior to them, so they felt that they could take over their land (especially in Africa) easier. This way, the white men could gain both LAND and POWER (both geographic and economic power). This was extremely appealing to the white men of that time, especially because the land would earn the empires more money (which was brought by power).

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Reconstruction Self-Reflection

  1. How did I feel during planning this presentation? Why did I feel this way?
    1. In the planning of this presentation, I felt commanding. I felt this way because I would make the due dates for close to everything and I believe that this made my group run like a well-oiled machine, even if some people in my group could have thought that I was a little too commanding.
  2. How did I feel prior to presenting? Why did I feel this way?
    1. I felt stable and proud prior to presenting. I felt stable because I felt that my group did a great job and we really made an effort to do well in this presentation. I felt proud of my group because they did such a wonderful job with their presentations and learning what they were to say.
  3. How did I feel while I was presenting? Why did I feel this way?
    1. I felt dominating while I was presenting. I felt this way because I was pushing my words out of my mouth and I was really using the content to my team’s advantage.
  4. What did I personally do well?
    1. Personally, I directed my team well. We all knew what we were to do and when to do it. I was sure to take the initiative in this debate. My group dealt well with my intensity.
  5. What did not go as desired in this presentation?
    1. Something that did not go as desired in the presentation was that maybe we would stumble a bit with our words, and sometimes be a bit repetitive. This was the worst thig that happened in the presentation. Otherwise, everything went smoothly.
  6. On a scale from 1-10, how well do I think I understood the content? Explain.
    1. On a scale of 1-10, I believe that I understood the content as a 8.5. I knew the important facts that are key to know of the Wade-Davis Bill and the Proclamation of Amnesty, but I did not study exactly what each section mentions. I am not an expert at this information, but I am good at understanding it.
  7. How do I think my group members perceived me? Why do I think this?
    1. I think most of my group members perceived me as their leader. They knew that I was the one (of two other group members/leaders) making final due dates and making sure that everyone was doing what they were supposed to. I think that a few of my group members might have thought that I was a little too commanding. I could have been more flexible with the decisions.
  8. How do I think the 8th graders perceived me? Why do I think this?
    1. I think the eighth graders perceived me as a good public speaker who knew the content well. They might have also thought that I get caught up in debates (as I do think that I was a bit competitive in the conclusion statement). I think this because they complemented me on my public speaking throughout the day of the debate, and they also voted for my group to win (without counting up the points). They might have thought that I was competitive because I had a HUGE dramatic affect with the point that I made in the conclusion and I asked the eighth graders a question when I was finished. This question was a bit pushy: “Do you REALLY want to follow a policy written by people who do not trust their OWN decisions?”.
  9. Knowing that I can only control how I act and react, if I could do this presentation again, what would I change about my actions to make it a more ideal experience?
    1. If I could do this presentation again, I would change how I feel during prep for the debate and really focus on the content, not winning. This is because I need the content to win! If my group was to have more content, we could have won the vote of points.
  10. What are my strengths in groups?
    1. I am an intense person in groups. I always want to be the leader, and I often am. When I have group members that are okay with that (like I did for this debate), I really do enjoy being in a group. When I do not, it’s a different story.
  11. What areas do I need improvement?
    1. I need to improve on my tendency to dictate a bit in the groups that I am in. I am a good leader, but I want everything the way I want it. I should work on being more flexible to the people in my group.
  12. What is the most important thing I learned about myself? Why is this so important?
    1. In this presentation, I learned that with direction, projects can run smoothly. This is important for future projects. If there is a lot of direction toward what we are to do, this puts a lot less stress on me as a group leader.
  13. Are there any other things that I need to express?
    1. I need to express the way I felt right after my group (Block I Lincoln A) presented in the debate. I was so proud of all of the work that we accomplished! We had run trough with ease, until the questions from the eighth graders came along. I learned from these questions that, when presenting, I need to know anything about everything that we cover, plus more (if I want to win).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Reflective Blog Entry

Being in the DLC has really changed me. I have grown from what I was a year ago to someone who actually feels prepared for the highly technological future. I am beginning to notice how much of a perfectionist I am, and that this is not always a good thing. I am so proud of myself, though. I had never thought that I could learn so much about technology and the old, current, and future world so quickly. I have learned more this year in tech than I have in my seven years of elementary school! To achieve success, though, you have to face challenge. The main challenge in this year for me was definitely the “Thematic Causes of the Civil War” digitally narrated product. It wasn’t that the project itself was hard, but that I made it hard for myself. I remember staying up all throughout the night, just to discover that I had done something that I didn’t even need to do! This project was challenging because of my horrible time management. This was also my favorite project, just because of the way it turned out. The product looked really nice. I also loved how my second Stephen Crane product, a poem with a Ken Burns movie to go with it, turned out. My entire class could not believe that I wrote the poem (in a good way) because it was so dark and sad, the opposite of me. I hope that in the second semester I will manage my time better. This will take a LOT of work, though. I will need to accept the fact that not everything can be perfect. Project wise, I hope that we can do something like make the plays that we are making for Ms. Binder into a presentation. We could create our own characters and script and make the play look spectacular! The great thing about this idea is that we could do things that we would not be able to do on a stage.