Monday, December 10, 2007

HW: 25 Summary

The forward of Riverbend’s Baghdad Burning, is well written by Ahdaf Soueif. Souief reports that Riverbend is an Iraqi citizen that has almost lost everything due to the war and is looking for refuge in her blog posts. She agrees with Riverbend in her opinion of the US and their involvement in Iraq. Soueif claims that the novel lacks geopolitical perspective; this is for good reason because Iraq is the setting of the book and opinions don’t venture outside of Iraq. She counters by reminding us that the mass media is full of outsiders opinions but what they don’t have is an insider in Iraq that can repot how the war Actually feels (Forward: viii-ix).
James Ridgeway the author of the introduction to Baghdad Burning. He believes that the US has been causing unnecessary casualties ever since the Persian Gulf War (Ridgeway: xiv). Giving a brief background on the past wars fought in Iraq, He basically argues that the US has been greedy for oil for decades and it has diminished Iraq’s economy and infrastructure. This is a reasonable argument considering three-quarters of Iraq’s GDP comes from oil (Ridgeway: xv). Violence and destruction are the main reasons why electricity is scarce throughout Iraq. Power may turn on once a day or week or, the US doesn’t give Iraq time to rebuild there grid. Also Ridgeway reports that 2004 1,000 Iraqi schools were in need of repair. The education budget was not enough to repair the schools, the teachers pay ate most of the budget (Ridgeway: xix). In conclusion Ridgeway underlines the religious battles that are being fought in Iraq. He informs the reader that Riverbend gives us a far better understanding of the religious hardships than the American Government (Ridgeway: xxii).

HW: 22 Men not God

I can see why narrator would say an outsider who read the newspaper would think that England is a patriarchy. She backs this up by stating that men own everything and run everything. They are the “power and the money” (page 33) they control all but the fog. She also speaks about the work done by men and woman and hoe they aren’t equal. The domestic work done by the woman is of no economic value to society and is taken for granted. The men are in charge of the financial aspect of life and all the woman need to do is take care of the home and children. She is feels lucky to have received inheritance from her aunt because other wise she would be poor. She feels that the reason for her aunt giving her the money is so that she can be free. She doesn’t have to be a victim of the patriarchy she lives in.

HW: 19 Man on the Street

After reading The Web of Influence I have discovered that the chapter is basically stating one specific point and backing it up with details. Page 89 describes blogs as the "man on the street", the insider information that the media doesn’t produce. New York Times executive editor has said in an interview that when he reads blogs he sometimes feels that the Times up. Most of the popular blogs that are on the web have valid information. The less popular blogs become hyperlinks on the rich web logs. Thus the readers can save time and go strait to the source and not have to view a million pages. It is important for the public to know that the newspapers and television are not the only sources of news. Web logs can give an unbiased opinion and a side of the story that Fox news or any other mainstream media source would not show or talk about.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

School, Can You Make It There? HW: 33

Alive in Baghdad is a video website devoted to exposing the hardships in Bagdad through updated podcast. The video I just watched was Challenges at a Girls School in Baghdad - 05.21.2007, a short series of interviews with teachers and student at an all girls school in Baghdad. The students and teachers both agreed that the conditions are tough and the showing of girls dwindles each day because of wide spread violence. One student explains how her parents want her to drop out of school because the danger of traveling to school each day over powers the benefit of attending. The school its self is comparable to the old mills that I grew up next to that had broken windows and cracked foundations. The interior of the classroom was bland with not much on the walls except for dirt stains and broken concrete. The teachers insist on keeping the school in session despite the regular raids and occasional blasts nearby. What stuck me the most about the vide was the fact that they can find teachers willing to show up everyday never knowing if they will be shot at or bombed, and for what. So that they can teach the 10 students or so that could make to class today but might not be there for the next week because there family is arrested and she is abandon. I have only seen war footage of Iraq but I can imagine that the rest of the town where the school is located is badly beaten. This video can teach us that we should be ecstatic to use 2005 software for our computers because the schools in Iraq have chalk for recent technology.


Tribal not Terrible HW: 32

I chose to summarize the topic of “Tribes and Cousins.” The whole marital situation in Iraq is puzzling to most, mainly because of interfamily marriages. Basically in some parts of Iraq the only people that are eligible to marry are you cousins. This is because in some parts the area could be inhabited by 4 to 5 major tribes and that’s it. So unless you want to marry your aunt and uncle or parents then the cousins are the only choice (Riverbend 87). So in reality it isn’t a big deal for cousins to marry because it is the way of life in those tribes and that is how the youth is taught as they grow up. Much too popular belief these tribes we speak of aren’t always the camel top dessert goers that people think they are. In fact many of the tribe members are wealthy well educated. “They drive around in Mercedes and live in sprawling villas fully furnished with Victorian furniture, Persian carpets, oil paintings, and air conditioners (Riverbend 88).” Most of the tribe members aren’t big fans of US involvement in Iraq. One of the most prominent members of sheikhs lost 18 family members form a missile fired upon him by US troops. Another lost 8 tribe members the same way. The American Gov. Wont let them participate in any matter having to do with the war; they just boss them around like children. The tribe members are pissed because they aren’t tyrant rebels who want to corrupt Iraq. Unfortunately the US troops do not have the ability to tell who is bad and who isn’t.(Riverbend 90, 91)

Explosion Backfires HW: 31

The topic I chose to research further was a suicide car bombing that happened in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, right out side the American Intelligence Headquarters, In 2003. The blast killed three people and injured forty-one. On page 61 in Baghdad Burning, Riverbend speaks about this occurrence as if it is business as usual. Online the Associated Press wrote an article about the bombing. The article was a full two pages long as opposed to the quick two sentence blurb that Riverbend wrote. This makes me feel like bombings of this nature are happening too often. The bomber drove the car right out side of the building in hope to kill a few American soldiers or just anyone American. Unfortunately the explosion wounded more Iraqi citizens then Americans. The article also states that officials near by sent out a message encouraging people to give blood in order to save the injured. I am pretty sure that the officials were American and yes they were helping the Iraqi people by promoting a blood drive. Its interesting to see how Riverbend portrays the story compared to how an American reporter responds to the events. No mention of American soldiers dying when Riverbend spoke, only the casualty of an Iraqi boy across the street. This on sided point of view repeats it’s self often within the novel. I’m sure the remainder of the reading will share theame theme.


Work cited:Associated Press. “Three killed in Irbil suicide bombing.” Guardian Unlimited. Wednesday September 10, <2003,,1039273,00.html>.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Redfern Art Extravaganza HW: 30

A few days ago Keene State College held a series of symposiums for the students and faculty. I first attended a lecture on voting fairness and all of the different types of voting and how they differ. The speaker Vince ferlini covered four different types of voting; plurality method, Plurality-With-Elimination, Pairwise Comparison, Borde Count Method. The symposium was in a way confusing to me, because of the way Ferlini explained each method. He made it seem that depending on which method someone picks they can sway the result. By the end of the presentation I wasn’t shore if voting is phony and these different ways can favor whom ever someone wants to be favored. Ferlini spoke with a deep knowledge of the subject, I went into the presentation knowing nothing and this might have made it more difficult for me to understand him.
The second symposium that I attended was, Animation as Political and Social Constructions. Jiwon Ahn, Sander Lee, and Mark Timney are the Keene State professors who presented the symposium. Unfortunately I missed the first speaker Jiwon Ahn, but I was able to see the other two presentations. The first presentation dealt with America’s portrayal of the rise of Hitler through children cartoons. He showed two short clips of cartoons that played during the time of the Holocaust, one of Bugs Bunny and one of Donald Duck. Both sent the message that America is better then the holocaust, and the only power that can stop Hitler. This message isn’t the best to be sending kids or to be joking around about. The last presentation by Mark Timney, discussed south park episodes including one that her showed the audience. He felt that the controversial show instills moral lessons in each episode. Not just simple lessons such as sharing and caring but also political lessons as well. The episode Timney showed was about the fight between peace and war protesters. The episode ends with both sides agreeing that it is ok to have debatable opinions. Even if the presentation didn’t have a point, it was still a good time to watch an episode of South Park.