Value of visitors

When I first searched for high schools to apply for I was always looking for the one where I could truly interact with the world outside of Norway. That’s one of the many reasons why I was thrilled to hear of our upcoming visits with people from other countries, like refugee Kawthar Sheheda from Syria and multiple teachers from the US.

Due to the fact that I go international, I got to travel to spain outside of our english class and meet native spanish speakers from local areas like Malaga and Montellano. This experience was not only fun, but truly thought provoking in how everything in our lives could completely change only by flying for a couple hours. The weather, the language, the culture, the food and even how people acted around others was extremely interesing to see and learn about. Not only that, but I definently improved my spanish speaking skills along the way.

The reason I whole-heartedly believe that interactions with people outside of Norway is so terribly important is because of the fact that your life can change vastly depending on the country or region you find yourself in. It’s extremely important that we acknowledge and learn about outside traditions and cultures so that we can not only expand our own culture, but also accept the differences between humans as a whole.

A special case when we talked with the refugee from Syria was how interesting it was to see someone go from a victim of war and grief to a life of education. The fact that she’s here today speaking with our class tells us how strong humans are, and opens up for our chance to learn about the tragic stories around us.

Because of these reasons listed above, I belive that inviting people from all over the world is not only extremely important for our knowledge of other parts of the world; but also important in a way where we can keep countries interactive with one another.

The knowledge and experience we gain from these interactions are also relevant to almost every part of our daily life; wether it be a pop quiz about foreign countries, or a friend asking you a question. We have also seen that the countries whom interact and make peace the most, like Scandinavia and most of Europe, always end up being some of the happiest countries. This is in contrast to countries with a society of little to no knowledge like North-korea, Syria and China.

All in all, I think it’s great that we use time to speak with people from outside our own country. We gain knowledge that we can bring to work, school or maybe even learn something that causes us to go learn even more; thus expanding our knowledge again. It’s reasons like that I’ll always be forever grateful for choosing international class.

Russia vs Ukraine

Ukraine has for several years done its best to join the NATO alliance. As Ukraine is not a particularly rich country, boarding to some of the most dangerous nations in the world; it’s no surprise Ukraine wants to entrust itself into NATO. NATO would help Ukraine with its military, save Ukraine from conflict and war, as well as provide better circumstances for travel and trading.

Russia, one of the most powerful countries in the whole world did not like this idea. For years Russia has sabotaged Ukraine’s involvement with NATO, because of Putin’s fear of NATO’s control. From what we know, Putin is a very reserved, power-hungry and fearful leader that has great connections and control over his neighbourhooding countries. Thus the biggest reason Russia is threatening Ukraine.

At this moment, war has struck out between Russia and Ukraine. Several lives have been lost, and many have lost their homes. Ukraine is now in a position where it can only ask help from non-NATO members, as well as only countries with enough resources to make a difference. The reason for this, is if NATO were to interfiere it would cause the third world war. As most countries have to stay put as to not let this happen, many have opened their borders for ukrainians even through the covid situation.

Most Russians and Ukrainians are against this war, however due to the incredible power Putin has it is not avoidable. Most countries are also scared to help, in case Russia targets their country next; leaving Ukraine all by itself.

(Note: It’s grusome, and I’m sure a lot of norwegians are scared of how close we are to Russia. Not only that, but the rumors that Russia would go after Sweden next. Also shoutout to »Ghost of Kyiv», a russian solider who managed to shoot down 6 jetplanes by themselves.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_of_Kyiv

New year, new politics (jk)

As the earth grows older and our animals are going extinct, one thing will always stay the same; politics. In this blog I will summarize briefly the content of the two latest videos from the Fagerlia web link, and tell you what I believe should be our main focus.

The first video goes through issues including natural distasters across the globe, the COVID19 pandemic and its effect on 3rd world countries, conflicts between countries such as Russia and Ukraine and 1st world politics.

The second video continues topics that has been relevant for quite some time, like the cold war between the US and China. There was also information about the pandemic, and conflicts inside the US.

I personally believe that COVID19 in 3rd world countries should be the priority for everyone, in which we stop our so-called cold wars to help out one another. It was stated that multiple 1st world countries had made an agreement to help out suffering countries, which I believe is a step towards the right direction. If every country could help out to spread the vaccines, we’d see a decrease in fatality numbers.

Though its dreading how many variants of this virus keeps being exposed, I truly believe we must stand united to get through this pandemic. It is definently easier said than done, however there is no other alternative. I hope it continues to die down in which we soon can go back to normal.

Gun laws

Do guns protect, or do they kill?

After reading upon the school shooting in Michigan, and the allegedly »self-defense» at a protest in Wisconsin it’s clear nothing about gun laws has changed. US citizens pride themselves in the second amendment, which is the right to carry arms for your own protection. Considering the number of harassment and kidnapping that’s happening today in the US, its not a surprise that citizens would want to protect themselves. However, the right to carry arms has been proven misused time and time again. Usually by teenagers like the previously stated incidents, whom were both 15 and 17 years of age at the time.

There is a huge conflict when it comes to gun laws in the US, because even though the statistics say to make gun laws stricter – it’s never followed up due to the weaponary income for the country.

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/09/13/key-facts-about-americans-and-guns/

At the end of the day, you could argue that it’s the person behind the gun who kills and not the gun. Even though that’s true, there would be no mass shootings like we’ve seen in the US if guns were restricted to its fairly use. Do guns kill or protect is a very black-and-white question, because there is no right or wrong answer. The use of guns can save a life, as well as take one.

A solution to the gun violence is to make it difficult to get, almost like a drivers license. – Not only this, but to prevent such disasters from happening more citizens should gain access to things like therapy, and psychology. (for free). The US is one of the richest countries in the world, and if they truly wanted to be the greatest then free healthcare and stricter gun laws would already be implemented.

GLASGOW CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

(I was not attending class at tuesday, and therefore will only answer the first two questions.)

» The COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference, hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy, took place from 31 October to 12 November 2021 in the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow, UK. In light of the worldwide effects of COVID-19, the COP Bureau of the UNFCCC, with the UK and its Italian partners, had decided to re-schedule the conference initially slated for November 2020. Rescheduling the conference ensured that all parties could focus on the issues to be discussed at this vital conference and allowed more time for the necessary preparations to take place. We will continue to work with all involved to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions »

https://unfccc.int/conference/glasgow-climate-change-conference-october-november-2021

1. What did they agree on at the conference?

Emissions – the agreement made at the COP26 conference was to cut emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) as to not rise the global temperature any further, or at least slow down the process.

Coal – There was a plan to reduce use of coal, which is responsible for 40% of CO2 emissions. However, after an intervention from China and India it was agreed upon a weaker comittment to this goal.

Fossil Fuel Subsides – Though no date has been set, world leaders agreed to phase-out subsidies that artificially lower the price of coal, oil, or natural gas.

Developing countries – The agreement pledged to significantly increase money to help poor countries cope with the effects of climate change and make the switch to clean energy. There’s also the prospect of a trillion dollar a year fund from 2025 – after a previous pledge for richer countries to provide $100bn (£72bn) a year by 2020 was missed.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56901261

2. what were the most contested points, and were there any last-minute changes?

The agreement upon reducing coal emissions was heavily contested by India and China, two of the most polluting countries in the world. The agreement of 40% reduction was minimalized for their benefits, where the countries might have a hard time continuing their work ethics from its respective country if reduction of coal were to happen. And although the other critierias were in agreement, none are binding. – meaning that none of the countries HAS to partake.

THOUGHTS

»Blah, blah, blah» – Greta Thunberg

After reading a little about COP26 I now understand what Greta Thunberg meant by saying this. The fact that none of the agreements are binding, means that countries as large as India and China will be hesitant to partake – or have the chance to go back to old habits if things dont work out right away. As said in the video on International Fagerlia, even though a little bit of progress has been made there is still a long way to go if we want to save our earth.

Media Freedom

South korea has finally ended their battle against Park Geun-hye in 2016, where she was impeached and removed for corruption of the south korean media. The moon administration also managed to end the decade-old conflict at different public broadcasters. Here, journalists objected to having bosses foisted on them. Structural problems still remain in South Korea, as the system of appointing managers for public broadcasters now need to be revised in order to guarantee their independence. Defamation is still punishable by up til 7 years, and leak of sensitive information such as north korea still faces serious consequences.

Japan has done nothing to improve the climate for press freedom. Japan respects the principles of media freedom and pluralism, but journalists continue their battle due to the influence of tradition and business interests. The japanese goverment refuses any debate about laws protecting »specially-designated secrets,» under which journalists face up to ten years in prison if convicted of illegally obtained information.

Thailands long-promised election held in March 2019 has made no difference in the role of media freedom. Any criticism of the goverment is still held to impossible standards, which you must follow not to break the law. Journalists in Thailand have been especially targeted, where spread of covid-19 disinformation will result in prisoning not only in Thailand, but also in China. The reform of the thai monarchy was also heavily hidden within the media, which is one of the many reasons Thailand has scored extremely low in media freedom.

Personally, I was surprised when I saw Japan scored lower than South-Korea. Japan is known for its great technology, safe enviroment and welcoming culture – which is why it is difficult to believe that laws controlling freedom of opinions and speech are still not entirely welcome. However, I was pleasantly surprised finding out South-korea scored reletively high, where theyve jumped up a couple scores.

I was not surprised about the events in Thailand, as we rarely hear about their politics or political opinion. Though Thailand is a very concrete, beautiful country – it is known for its schools and students where in new modern dramas they tell us a little of the lacking voiceful freedom. Overall, these graphs both made me happy and dissappointed in the future of these chosen countries.

Maria Ressa

Maria Angelita Ressa is a filipino-american author and journalist known for her co-founding and CEO work of Rappler. Maria was born October 2nd 1963, and fights against injustice, violent acts and abuse of power. She’s also known for teaching courses surrounding politics in universities like princeton, USA. Her unsweetened cover has landed her in jail for breaking cyberlaws, however she was pleaded not guilty. Due to this, she was the first ever Filipino awarded the nobel peace price for «their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace.» According to newscaster CNN.

Se kildebildet

Human Rights

20 years after Durban Declaration, racism reverberates in ‘echo chambers of hate’

Re-cap of Article

»Marking the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), Heads of States and Governments gathered in the General Assembly hall as part of UNGA76, to discuss reparations, racial justice and equality for people of African descent.»

Racism is still a leading conflict around the world along side xenophobia, misogyny, white supremacy and neo nazi conspiracies. Humans of African decent continue their battle for equity and equality inside our society whilst our leaders sit back and watch. Though racism in many countries is thought to be demolished by many of their population, no country can say they are free of discrimination. People whom have not faced racism due to their priveliged race, has long rejected racisms existance. However, after COVID-19s spread around earth we have seen more and more discrimitory actions towards others of different ethnicities; especially asians. This has opened eyes for many white raced about racism, but the problem is yet to be anywhere near resolved.

WHAT UNIVERSAL RIGHTS ARE BEING VIOLATED?

ARTICLE 14 – HUMAN RIGHTS FOR DISCRIMINATION

»Article 14 requires that all of the rights and freedoms set out in the Act must be protected and applied without discrimination»

»The Human Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate on a wide range of grounds including ‘sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status»

ARTICLE 4 — NO SLAVERY

»In Guinea-Bissau, children as young as five are trafficked out of the country to work in cotton fields in southern Senegal or as beggars in the capital city. In Ghana, children five to fourteen are tricked with false promises of education and future into dangerous, unpaid jobs in the fishing industry.»

Because the article is about wanting to end racism, slavery, and other forms of discrimination, I feel these two human rights are the ones mainly being violated. It is not unknown that these basic human rights have been violated for centuries, not only in the United States, but world-wide across the globe.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE POPULATION?

For years people whom appear to be anything other than a white christian has in some way or another faced discrimination for their identity. This has lead to poverty among people of color, disabled being rejected from jobs, and extremely harmful stereotypes that younger generations have been taught.

Though physical segregation has been demolished in the US, this has created a new type of segregation; mental segregation. It is common to hear a white US citizen speak up about their fear of people of color. – This because of those same harmful stereotypes. Segregation now is where the different races of human cannot trust each other, and keep within their own communities.

The reason why the DDPA’s meeting in The General Assembly hall is so important is to show actively that hope is not lost for freedom. Even though we see time and time again that human rights are being broken, there is someone fighting for it. This affects not only people being discriminated, but also bystanders whom maybe has chosen to turn a blind eye in the past.

As long as the DDPA, UN, FN and many other world organizations keep fighting for the human rights we have established long ago there will be hope. More people will eventually open up, and what feels like an endless conflict between our species will most likely cease.

All sources can be found in the text.

The Break-Down

The Kite Runner, chapter 1-9. How can the mind of a 12-year-old ruin another’s?

In the first few chapters we are introduced to our protagonists, Amir and Hassan. Amir and Hassan grew up together in Afghanistan as two different ethnicities; Pashtun and Hazara. Amir and his father, Baba, are rich Pashtuns whom are looked up at as the greatest race. Hassan and his father Ali however, are slaves to Amir and Baba because they are Hazara. Even though Hassan is considered a slave, he is treated like Amir’s brother and Baba’s other son throughout the story.

Recently Amir and Hassan won the famous flying kite competition. Amir knows that bringing the winning kite home will definently make his father proud. However, things don’t go quite as planned when chapter 7 reveals to us the biggest plot point yet. Hassan is raped by Assef for not giving him the kite. Amir is shown to be quite insecure of who he is, while being desperate for his fathers’ acknowledgement. Due to this, Amir felt he had no other choice but to watch his bestfriend being humiliated. After all, Hassan is just another slave. Why should Amir help him?

Later in the book it is described how Hassan changed after this event. It is said that Hassan only does his chores, then hides in his bed for the rest of the day without making any contact with Amir. Amir is trembling with guilt, feeling devoured by shame. He could no longer tell Baba of the incident without being disowned, yet keeping it to himself will only dig the grave deeper for Hassan. How does a 12-year-old deal with this? Amir later comes to the conclusion that the only way for his feelings of guilt to go away, was to make Hassan disappear from his life.

The final sacrifice.

Amir had planted his gifts from his former birthday party under Hassans mattress. After being questioned by Baba, Hassan took the blame once again for stealing Amir’s gift. Amir sayed quiet, and with Hassan and Ali crying at their feet, they decided to leave Amir and Baba as their final sacrifice. Baba, known for being a cold-hearted liberal, shed his tears of love for Hassan and Ali- as we watch them leave Amir behind.

The fact that in only 9 chapters we’ve seen Hassans continuous loyalty for Amir in such many different situations, gives us as the readers no other choice but to be devestated at this. The story toys with our emotions, which makes us forget the reality of every move and outbreak of each character. This is why it is easy to feel sympathy for Hassan and create hatred for Amir, but are they not both just 12-year-old boys? Would you hate your child for being influenced by the society you have sorrounded them with?

How could Amir just ignore it? The answer is complicated, and rooted in many different problems. Such as Amirs insecurity of never being enough, his community that teach him Hazara are not to be cared for, and a father that never showed his love. Amir had been traumatized watching his dear friend being torn apart, and found the only solution of evading his guilt was to run away from it. Perhaps in another world, or with other people the story would have had a different outcome. Though, for now, we are left with our hearts broken and Amirs future without Hassan yet to unfold.

TKR: Chapter 1-5

The Kite Runner

The novel is set in 1975 and follows a young boy named Amir through the capital of Afghanistan. Throughout the novel we find ourselves in different situation from modernism, poverty, classism to religious dividing. Amir and Hassan, his friend and servant are the main protagonists thus far.

The characters that have been introduced are Amir, Hassan, Ali, and Amir’s father, Baba. Amir is a well-off Pashtun along with his father Baba. Baba is a rich businessman who’s been successful in his construction and building. Ali, Hassan’s father, has a mysterious yet deep relationship with Baba as we can tell throughout the novel. Ali and Hassan are Hazaras, which is why they must live with Amir and Baba as servants. Afghanistan’s Pashtun practices discrimination against the Hazara ethnicity, which is why we see Hassan being constantly harassed wherever he was to reside. Amir’s true feelings for Ali and Hassan remains unknown, but thus far Hassan and Amir have been displayed as close friends.

Hassan has been portrayed as a curious, yet patient person. He has shown great interest in Amir’s literacy, which goes unnoticed by most others. In the novel, Amir has explained to us how Hassan cannot provoke emotions in his lower face due to a disability. This is where we can see Amir’s care for Hassan as he instead reads his eyes, when he could choose to ignore it all together. Baba, Amir’s father, is displayed as a very traditional Afghanistan man; religious, hard-working, and disciplined. Baba has not shown any interest in Amir’s literacy, and have given up on his sportsman influence giving Amir’s obvious disinterest. Hassan’s father Ali’s background is still unknown, but the way he is written tells us that he is smart, independent and a kind man. We can see this through Ali’s interaction with the other characters.

The Kite Runner is set in a first-person perspective, meaning this novel is told from Amir’s point of view. This way we as readers can connect deeply with Amir and relate to his feelings and thoughts about the story that lies ahead of us.

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