Tuesday, December 4, 2007

HW 42: Third Podcast

Hi this is Renee again with my third podcast. I am a member of the gamma pod, and this is homework 42. Today I will be discussing a passage that I found memorable in Baghdad Burning. There was a quote on page 260 that stated, "To see those smiling soldiers with the Iraqi prisoners is horrible, I hope they are made to suffer... somehow know they won't be punished." This passage was very touching for me, because in one way or another it represents America as a whole. When Iraq people suffer from America's harsh choices it may impact them to have a negative view towards all Americans. When she used detail and said smiling soldiers it made me sick to my stomach. How can people be smiling about torturing these people? To me they represent heartless and awful people. I have very few words to put out to people who may be taking this class in the future. While reading this book, you can expect to learn about controversial issues that Americans are involved in, and it will help you understand what it is like to live in Iraq. This is a very touching book, especially since it is being told directly from someone who is experiencing it herself. This is all I have time for today, but thanks for tuning and listening to my last podcast.

HW 37: Second Podcast

Hi this is Renee Miner and I am a member of the gamma pod. As I informed you earlier I am a student in the thinking and writing class called A Blog Of One's own. This is my second podcast for this class. This assignment is homework 37 and I will be discussing the holiday Eid that is mentioned in the book Baghdad Burning. Eid is like Thanksgiving for Muslims. A traditional Thanksgiving for me as an American consists of a nice turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing. All of my family comes and we have a large festive dinner. Before our meal we might say grace and talk about what we are thankful for. This is very typical for not only my family, but a huge percentage of American families. Considering this description, we have it lucky. AS Riverbend discusses her Eid, it makes me wonder what it would be like to be in that position. Their Eid consisted of having lamb, chicken soup, and bread. This may sound appetizing, but the seating arrangements weren't that pleasant for them. The generator was making obscene noises in the background, and some conversations grew fierce. On page 202, she describes the conversations with much detail. " The elders soon began the usual discussion- politics. Politics in Iraq isn't discussed like in any other place. We have to do it the Iraqi way- mobile expressions, erratic hand signals, and an occasional table- pounding to emphasize a particularly salient point." This type of conversing lead to nothing but arguments when it was supposed to be taken as a peaceful celebration. If my Thanksgiving was encountered with family arguments and disagreements I know I would be in some sort of misery. Having read this example of Eid, it now makes me realize what a catastrophe they are living in. Within the past two weeks of reading, many things have changed my views of Iraq. One specific example being that Iraq women supposed freedom. It seemed to me that there was a small amount of freedom to women in Iraq, but I guess that is not the case. She states on page 191, "If I get any more e-mails about how free and liberated the Iraqi women are *now*

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HW35: Letter to my blog readers

I have been writing blogs for my ITW blogging class for the past thirteen weeks. I have learned from blogging that there are many different ways that people can express themselves, and publish their work. Blogging is a way for people to get information out in the open without having to be an author; normal everyday people go onto these sites and either write their own posts or comment on others. This has helped me become familiar with the new techniques of technology. Maintaining my own blog has been important to me and has been considered an advantage to me. I hope that people can gain knowledge and understand different perspectives of situations from my blog. I also hope that my blog will attract new members to blogging. My proudest piece of work is the blog I posted on November 13, 2007 named "HW33: Respond to a Podcast". I am proud of this, because I have posted video clips of actual people in Iraq telling their agonizing lives. This will give people an outlook on life, and will help people understand the challenges our globe is going through. As this class comes to an end, I think that I will still update my blog. It may not be an everyday event, but once in a while I will view blogs and check up on what is happening out there. Blogging is a wonderful opportunity, and I think that whomever is reading this (if you do not have one currently) should subscribe to this free blogging site. It is a chance for you to be yourself without letting the world know who you are (or you can let them know who you are).

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HW34:Responding to Riverbend

Today as I was reading Baghdad, I read about many new facts of Iraqi people. Gold plays a large role in their lives. When Riverbend's aunt reached checkpoint she got very nervous, because she was carrying all of her jewels in her leather bag. Their jewelry is very precious to them, because they don't have very many valuables. Gold is a part of the Iraqi culture and plays a part of "family savings", this has increased ever since 1990. People converted their money to gold and jewelry, because gold's value doesn't change whereas money's value does. "People pulled their money out of banks before the war, and bought gold instead" (Riverbend, 100). It was so precious to the people of Iraq, and the American soldiers basically said that they weren't good enough to own gold. She had said about two Iraqi's marriage, once they are married the man gives the woman a mahar made of all gold jewelry. Paraphrasing what she had said that they do to prevent Americans from taking their jewels, they find unusual hiding places and often hide them in their clothing. "It was a game for days, during May, when the raids began and we started hearing tales of the 'confiscation' of valuables like gold and dollars during the raids" (Riverbend, 101).
Another importance to the Iraqi citizen's are date palms. This is a way for people to make money by growing date palms ( different types of palm trees). These trees are also known as "nakhla", and no yard is complete without one. These trees are a great significance. " In the winter months, they act as "resorts" for the exotic birds that flock to Iraq" (Riverbend, 103). Paraphrasing what she said about the summer months, the female palms provide hundreds of dates and are a good storage source. Many different food sources can be made out of different substances from the dates. These trees serve as a main source of many things to the people of Iraq. "Each tree is so unique, it feels like a member of the family... I remember watching a scenes from the war a couple of days after the bombing began -one image that stuck in my mind was that of a palm tree broken in half, the majestic fronds wilting and dragging on the ground" (Riverbend, 105). The way she explains this is almost as if she were looking at a dead body, that is how important they are to her.

HW33: Respond to a Podcast

Podcasts have been becoming a new interest to me and my blogging class. I viewed some of the podcasts, one being "Iraqi Teens work to help their families". This is incorporated on the site alive in Baghdad, and was published 10/15/07. You can view the podcast too at : http://aliveinbaghdad.org/2007/10/15/iraqi-teens-work-to-help-their-families
This covers the children in Iraq's daily lives and what they have to struggle through. 50% of people in Iraq are jobless, and most of the children (mostly males) work as much as possible to help support their families. The video showed clips of different young Iraqi citizens, meaning real evidence as to what is truly happening. One person states that their is a security and it is difficult to protect yourself. People can't even work at their job sites without being threatened of murder. That is why people are starting to have workshops at their own homes. The background in the video was devastating, the streets looked abandoned and all work was done manually. People's clothes were awful skimpy, and it looked like a horrific place to call home. One particular person in the clip is very memorable to me. His name was Yousif, and he was a student at the College of Agriculture; unemployed. He was born with a birth defect, and has had many operations to correct it. He looked very sad, and in agony of what he has to daily go through. Life is rough for him, and he tells us by saying "look at the situation we live in", meaning please stop terrorism and come at peace. We need to learn from this to consider the lives that are at stake. I have never seen such footage this revealing and devastating.

Another podcast that I viewed was called "Challenges at a girls school in Baghdad", published on 5/21/2007. This is also a part of the series Alive In Baghdad, which can be viewed at: http://aliveinbaghdad.org/2007/05/21/challenges-at-a-girls-school-in-baghdad
This particular podcast covers information on how it is difficult for females to go to school. They interview the director of the Al-Safina Middle School (an all girls school)Jinan Jamel Mahmoud, a teacher and students as well. 225 female students from all over Baghdad go here to get an education and they explain how extremely dangerous it is. Not only is it dangerous, but the quality of their schools is gloomy and run-down. The supplies for students seem to be low, and a poor quality. When it came to interviewing the director, she claimed that there was a variety of teaching experience. She was wearing a headdress along with many of the others. They asked if she felt as if her school was suffering and she exclaimed that schools everywhere are suffering. "Schools are often shut down for 10 days due to searches", this is showing us that we are damaging people's futures and present lives. Students even say that fear lives by going to school, because you never know if you are going to make it or not. That was truly memorable to me and it made me realize that these people are just like us and need some peace. People can also learn the same moral from this video. The video reminds me of news clips that I see on television showing all of the people suffering from lack of education.

HW32: Responding to Riverbend

As I continued reading Riverbend, she had mentioned that Iraqi's marry their cousins!! Why, I though to myself? " He simplifies the whole situation incredibly stating that because Iraqi's tend to marry cousins, they'll be less likely to turn each other into American forces for all sorts of reasons that all lead back to nepotism" (Riverbend, 87). She associated that in larger cities (Baghdad) people are more likely to not marry cousins. Mentioning that in small poorer cities there are sometimes only four or five large"tribes" or "clans". This meaning that everyone is related to one another, and in order to reproduce they must do it with a relative. Merely each person is referred to as a cousin, so tribes such as this one have one main leader or "Sheikh". Mainly it is a man that is the leader, and surprisingly they are the ones who make most of the money and often can be wealthy. "He is usually considered the wisest or most influential member of the family" (Riverbend, 88). Considering that most of them have very good college degrees this is bound to happen.The sheikh's first wife is often referred to as the "First Lady" and also is looked up to by the other family members.