Wednesday, 30 April 2014

YCJA: Touching Spirit Bear

     As we head into our third and final term of the year we have begun to read Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. This novel explores topics similar to what we are learning about with the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Of course we are learning about what happens in Canada and as the novel takes place in the USA there are certain differences however for the sake of this post we will think about the Justice system as it would be done in Canada. 
     If I were to be part of Cole's Justice Circle I would look first at his family life. What happened at home in order to make Cole act the way he did? The answer being that his father beat him and his mother did nothing to stop it as she herself was drinking at the time. We later learn that Cole's father was beaten as a child and that this was the only was he knew. This doesn't make any of the behaviour acceptable however it enables us to see to the root of the problem that goes back by a couple of generations. 
    Being beaten made Cole feel as though he was unloved, as he has mentioned many times throughout the novel, one of the countless things that made Cole angry. He was so angry that he acted rashly both in committing his first crime, beating up Peter and finally attacking Spirit Bear. But then as Cole lay on the ground in the storm, dying, as he watched the baby birds' lives were whisked away by the falling of a tree, he realized he didn't want to die. He thought about all that he had done in his life and realized it was nothing impressive. Was he as fragile as the birds?
     From the view of the circle it would seem that when Cole explains that he really has changed that after two days he is able to control his anger it all seems so fake. All Cole has done is lie to people and in the eyes of the circle he is untrustworthy but I would say Cole deserves another chance to prove he really has changed. It'll be harder for him to earn back the trust of the circle after he lost it but if Cole really wants to change then he should at least have the opportunity to try again. I also feel that after what Cole did to Peter part of his consequence should be to help right the wrong he did. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

GINS Post #8: Word Art

      For our almost final task we were asked to choose a quote from our GINS novel that we thought was the most powerful and make in into a piece of word art. I chose "A good mother is someone who raises children well and gives them love and security." from The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber. I chose this quote because I believe it sums up what Jaber learned throughout the novel. At the beginning she wanted to be a mother more than anything and she was devastated because she couldn't give birth. However as Jaber's mother explains in the quote above that you can be a mother by providing love and security which Jaber does to several children including to Ali a young boy whom she wrote about and managed to get donations to send him to a proper hospital to get the help he needed and she also helped Hawra in more than one way. 
      When making the quote pretty I choose the four words I thought were the most important in the whole quote and made them the first colour that came to mind when I thought of the word. The image of the playground I made black and white because I wanted the eye to be drawn to the mother and child. I decided to use a playground as a background because that's the classic thing I think of when I think of a mother and child going somewhere together. 
     Stay tuned for another post sometime next week with my final GINS challenge. 

Images from:
http://www.peaceforthejourney.com/walking-mom/
http://www.panoramio.com/photo/18153754

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

GINS Post #7: Exploring Empathy

For our seventh GINS Post we were given an amount of time to free write from the perspective of the main player/character in our various novels. Here's what I wrote from the perspective of Hala Jaber the author of The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles:
     I’ve been in Iraq reporting for a month now and in all my time here the fear I first felt upon landing has yet to dissipate. At night I lie awake terrified the hotel will be in ruins when I wake and me, only a body. Everyday I continue to travel around the city and neighboring area in search of a good story. From the moment I set out from the hotel in the morning to the time I return at night my heart beats faster than I thought imaginable but I know I am safer where I am than others. I worry for the children who have been left alone in this harsh world without anyone to love and care for them. When I went to a nearby hospital this afternoon I heard the cries of motherless children that sent shivers down my spine. I had to turn and leave the hospital for a moment because I felt so overwhelmed with powerlessness. I write about the events occurring here and let everyone in the UK know what is going on but I feel like it is never enough. Words are only made of twenty six letters that form sentences and paragraphs but in the end words are only twenty six letters. In the distance I hear a bomb and I know the time has come to put down my pen and go through another sleepless night. 

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

GINS Post #6: Charter for the World

     We were tasked with the project of creating our own Charter for the world. In groups of four we chose the top issues from our various Global Issues Novels and from there made laws that we thought would solve the problems we identified in our novels as well as some other basic rights and freedoms we considered important.
     To begin my group members (Kirsten, Lada and Daphne) and I got into a huge argument about the differences and definitions of what makes a right a right and a freedom a freedom. Some said that a right could not be taken away while a freedom could and others said the opposite. We spent a while debating this because we believed that it was important to establish what everyone should have weather they do or not and what were privileges that certain people should have. Once we finished our discussion it was easy to decide on what should be included in our Charter. Individually we went through the Google Drive and added in the laws we believed would solve one of the main issues occurring the novel. In my novel, The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles) I said one of the largest issues the citizens of Iraq faced during the many years of war was war. There were several things that led to the war including a corrupt government. In the Charter we made a specific point to cover this topic by saying, "No government of any country can stay in office for more than five years unless the country in distress caused by war, plague, natural disasters or invasion."
If you're interested in seeing more of the rights and freedoms we established, take a look at our Google Drive: https://docs.google.com/a/cssstudent.com/document/d/1TovEGpltYI3u8hvKUdXnbayUKpcY15FnJx_FuqJJBnI/edit#
Thanks for Reading,
~Jami

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

GINS Post #5: Charter of Rights and Freedoms

My novel, The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber, takes place in Iraq. I found that it does indeed have a section in their constitution for the rights of citizens. From scanning it I noticed that many of the rights were similar to ones in Canada such as in the new constitution under Article 20 is says, "Citizens, men and women, shall have the right to participate in public affairs and enjoy political rights including the right to vote, elect, and run for office." However in the old act there were a couple of points that were very different from Canada. Under Article 31 section A the act said, “The defence of homeland is a sacred duty and honor for citizens; conscription is compulsory and regulated by law.”  Throughout the novel there were several times when it was mentioned that citizens of Iraq were not allowed to leave the country during the war however under Article 24 in the old act it stated that, "It is inadmissible to prevent the citizen from departure from the country except in cases laid down by the law."

    A Fox News article said “The United States will help write an interim Iraqi constitution that embodies American values and will lead to the creation of a new government, America's chief postwar administrator in Iraq said Sunday.” (See link below). Above is a rather recent example of ethnocentrism but despite this Iraq has written a new constitution. In this most recent constitution some of the laws have changed such as the one about the military. In Article 9 it reads, “Military service shall be regulated by law,.” Not perfect but better than before. 
    Were Iraq to be under the same Charter of Rights and Freedoms as Canada many of their already existing laws would remain the same however there would be some, such as the military rule, that would become nonexistent and others elements of the Charter that would remain.


http://www.foxnews.com/story/2003/11/16/bremer-us-will-help-iraq-write-constitution/

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

GINS/Consumerism Connections: Specific Post

I’ve been reading The Flying Carpet of Small Miracles by Hala Jaber. The novel revolves around a journalist covering the 2003 Baghdad war. At the time of the war Iraq was lead by the dictator Saddam Hussein. It can be assumed that he cared more for the land that was his country than the people who resided there. This left the people to resort to theft, murder, etc. during the war in order to meet their most basic needs because the dictator was not providing for his people. While the demand was high the supply was low. 

“Not the least of people’s worries was money.There was little work to be had, but hunkering down at home was hard with power cuts for up to twenty four hours a day, and many couples could barely afford to feed their children, let alone fuel a generator for air-conditioning.” pg. 141.
“Ali compensated his two young boys for their confinement with sackloads of toys, video games, and DVD’s. I asked whether he ever worried about spoiling them. “But Hala,” he said. “They have nothing else, poor things. We need to make up for the way they’re having to live.” What of all those families who could not afford such luxuries? I wondered.” pg. 141
Once the war ended and the dictator was overthrown the values of the people changed substantially. They went from being concerned only about survival to enjoying the luxuries of life including cars and more money. An employee of the government, Sa’ad al-Shimary, commented:
“Before 2003, Ba’ath Party was everywhere. It was hard to work in such an environment. I feared they might write a report against me, as they always did, if we tried to criticize their work for any reason. I feared I might go to work and not return home. Now my salary is enough for me and my family. I have no fear in the ministry. My life has changed for the better; I have more money, and I have a new car.”
Values certainly changed when physiological needs are met.