Thursday, November 29, 2007

HW#36 and #37 my podcasts

Here's a link to my very first podcast about Riverbend's book "Baghdad Burning."

And this is a link to my second podcast about the holiday called Eid in Riverbends book Baghdad Burning.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

HW# 35 Letter to My Readers.

Dear Reader's, this is not the end, but it is getting very close. After these past 13 weeks that we have been reading and creating blog post I can say that I have learned a lot. Through the various readings we learned about politics, foreign issues, and they way life used to be back in the old days. When you read my blog's I hope that you can get a better understanding on all of the things I just mentioned. I know that I got a better feel for people’s life styles and what’s going on in the world today. I would have to say that I am very proud of the work I have produced, I was able to talk about issues that I have never really been interested in. I learned about the war in Iraq and what's really going on behind the scene. And without reading Riverbend's book "Baghdad Burning," I would have never been able to fully understand and share with all of you. After class is over I think I will keep my blog, but I don't think the posts will be as frequently as they are now. I think I will keep sharing information about readings, and possibly new life lessons that I'm learning along the way. So as for deleting it, I don’t think I will just yet. And I think it would be pretty cool to look back on this years from now, and see what has changed since the time I wrote these blogs. So I hope that you all gained some knowledge from reading my blog's, because I know I have gained a ton of knowledge. And if I post in the future, I hope you will come back to read the new ones. And please feel free to comment on whatever issue I am talking about. So thanks again!!! -Jackie B-

HW#34 Repsonse to Riverbend

After reading this weeks assigned pages in Riverbend's "Baghdad Burning" we were asked to pick 2 questions and write about them. The first question I chose was to talk about the role of gold in family savings in Iraq. Riverbend states “Gold is a part of our culture and the role it plays in “family savings” has increased since 1990 when the Iraqi Dinar (which was $3) began fluctuating crazily. People began converting their money to gold-earrings, bracelets, necklaces-because the value of gold didn’t change. People pulled their money out of banks before the war, and bought gold instead” (Riverbend 100). I think what Riverbend is trying to tell us is that the value of gold is not changing, while on the other hand the value of a Dinar is. And it really is a big part of the Iraqi culture. So by pulling their money out of the banks they are less likely to be losing profit.

The other question I chose to talk about was the importance of date palms. "In the winter months, they act as 'resorts' for the exotic birds that flock to Iraq. We often see various species of birds roosting between the leaves, picking on the sweet dates and taunting the small boys below who can't reach the nests" (Riverbend, 103). They produce many products and it is a hope for the Iraqi people that they still have a way of life and productivity.

HW#33 "Alive in Baghdad"

For this assignment we were asked to view two of three pod casts from "Alive in Baghdad," and choose one to write about. The first one I chose was called "Iraqi Teens Work to Help Their Families." This was published 10/15/2007. You can find it at It basically talks about kids that go to work at a young age to help provide for their families. There are three boys who appear in the video, Hussein Kammall, Yousif, and Mustafa Malek Fathulla Ali. Mustafa is a 14 year old sixth grader who has been working in the carpentry business since he was a young boy. He talks about how it is not safe where he lives, "There is no peace here, and our financial condition is hard. I ask our neighborhood countries to take care of us." I find what he say's to be kind of sad. He knows that things in his country aren’t the best right now, and he is asking for our help, to protect them and take care of them. They say how security systems are very difficult and no one can protect themselves. In the background you see the kids mostly in a workshop area set outside, the ground looks dirty, and the buildings look old. I think from watching these videos you see what is really going on behind the scenes. You see how young kids have to live in fear, they can’t even get to work a certain way because of the traffic jams and killings. The most memorable thing for me in the video was when one of the kids, Yousif, talked about how he was born with a disability because of the war. To say it plain and simple, children should not have to live like this.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HW#32 Response to Riverbend

For this homework assignment we were asked to pick a topic that Riverbend talks about and summarize it in our own words. I chose to talk about Akila Al-Hashami. Akila was recently chosen from one of the three governing councils. She was the first actual "foreign representative" of the new government. On September 20, Akila was leaving work when she was shot by men who cut off her car and began to take fire on her and her "body guards." She was taken to the hospital where they stated that she was wounded in the foot, shoulder, and stomach; she did survive but was in critical condition. This makes me wonder about how good her "body guards" actually were. They obviously weren’t doing a great job if this happened. But then again their is nothing they can do about a random pick-up truck with armed men coming at them. Riverbend says how this signifies that women are not safe anywhere. Akila was actually one of the more decent members on the council, and it lets us know that even her high power can’t protect her. Riverbend asks the question if Akila got a warning letter, and that she should have had better protection. "If they are not going to protect on of the three female members of the government council, who are they going to protect?" (Riverbend 76) I think that this is a very true statement/question. They were assigned to only ONE member, Akila, and they could not fulfill their duties. Riverbend sums it up by saying that "Baghdad is real safe when armed men can ride around in SUV's and pick-ups throwing grenades and opening fire on governing council, of all people." This is no way for anyone one to have to live, it’s not right or fair. And they should catch whoever did this.

HW#31 Reponse to Riverbend.

After Reading the assigned pages in Riverbend's "Baghdad Burning," we were asked to choose a person, place, or thing, and do a little research on them. I chose Donald Rumsfeld. I noticed that in "Baghdad Burning," Riverbend seems to have a little resentment for Rumsfeld, which made me want to learn a little more about him. Donald Henry Rumsfeld was born July 9, 1932. Donald is a U.S. Republican Politician; he was both the youngest and oldest politician to have held the position. As well as the only person to have held the position for two non-consecutive terms, and the second longest serving, behind Robert McNamara. I also found out that Donald served in the US Navy from 1954 to 1957 as a naval aviator and flight instructor. He also served as an official in numerous federal commissions and councils. In March of 2005, a lawsuit was filed against Rumsfeld by eight detainees who said they were subject to abuse and torture by US forces. I found this to be very interesting. By finding out more background information on Donald Rumsfeld, I find that now reading on in Riverbend's book, I can understand partly where she is coming from when she mentions things about him.

HW#30 Citizenship Symposium

On Tuesday November 6, I attended a session called "What Kind of Democracy Do We Want." The main speaker was Nancy Tobi. Nancy Tobi presented us with a slide show called "Citizens Gone Wild." To start off the speech she talked about Moses, being the leader of the democratic movement, and Lexington being the birthplace of American Liberty. "Moses was a poor humble refugee who did not get to see the fruits of his labor." I found this to be an interesting and descriptive quote. She also talked about the laws of checks and balances, "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Also she says when government becomes destructive; the people have the right to offer. In 1788, the New Hampshire Constitution was formed, stating that the government derives from the people, and all men are born equally free. Her main subject was on election crime. It was "Means, Motive, and Opportunity." Means being the control of vote counts, motive being the control of the planet, and opportunity being the control of electoral mechanism. She went into detail on counting votes, data mining and political activities, and the "problem." The glitch, which was everything that has ever went wrong with the voting system. She ended the session with a quote that she repeated many times, "feel the wind at your back," meaning that everyone should get involved in the voting processes. Overall I thought her speech was alright, but for me hard to sit through because currently I am not that involved with politics and voting, but I soon hope to get into it.

On Thursday November 8th I attended another session at the citizenship symposium. This session was called "Citizenship and Responsibility." It started off with Katrina Sweat, the daughter of the main speaker Tom Lantos. She mainly gave us some background information on Tom. He was the only survivor of the Holocaust to ever be elected into the congress. At the age of 19, he came to America; in 1940 he received a scholarship to the University of Washington, and in 1980 decided to run for congress. When Tom got up to speak he started off by talking about the new president of France. He attended a session with the president of France as its main speaker. Tom mentions one of his quotes, "American says he did not teach men the idea of freedom, she taught men how to practice it." He talks about how all men were created equal, but that didn’t prevent them form having slaves. He views American history as a gradual closing of the hypocrisy of the reality of in which you live. On November 7th, the day before he came to speak for us, he mentions that they passed the employment of discrimination act. "Yesterday represented a dream come true for me." He was thrilled beyond words at the speech of the president of France. At the end Tom speaks about how our forthcoming president has two responsibilities, one being that he must bring everything together, and secondly they must rebuild prestige and respect for the US. I think that overall Tom's speech was great; I thought his story was very happy and interesting story. He was very passionate, and I’m sure his speech might have inspired some people.