Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Litspiration Challenge #1: Touching Spirit Bear

If you were part of Cole’s Justice Circle, what kinds of information would affect your decision-making? What things have you learned about Cole and his life that provide you with some important clues to understanding him? How might this context affect your decision regarding the consequences Cole should face for his actions? Consider what you have learned so far about the YCJA and its intentions for youth. Explore this in a well-developed paragraph or two that includes specific supporting details from the novel as well as your inquiry

So far, in the novel Touching Spirit Bear, I feel that whatever has been laid out for Cole under the judicial system is made as fair and equitable as possible. This is because, considering his circumstances, the sentence that he was given under the YCJA was worthy of the crime he committed. Since Cole is above 14, he can in the future be charged and sent to jail for the serious crime he committed. Also since this isn’t Cole’s first offence under the YCJA, the charges laid out against him are more harsh and developed. By this, I mean that he would still be charged under the YCJA, but he could go to jail for his actions of essentially assaulting Peter.
Cole was essentially given a chance to live up to all those whom he had wronged and limit his jail sentence by going to the island and living there for at least a year. Although he initially went on the island with the intentions to escape, he ended up being in a close encounter with death. Cole’s view on life changed in merely a timespan of two weeks as he was left alone on the island to think and really considered his actions in the past. He soon realized that all the power he thought he once had was all ‘fake’. He realized that all this power he thought he had, really didn’t benefit anyone especially himself. He also realized that he did not want to die like this. This is what motivated him to push harder to survive on the island.
After he came back from the island, he went back to the circle and they re-evaluated his case. Initially they thought that his case should be sent to court as he could not complete his time on the island. Garvey and Edwin, however, advocated for his case and through this he was given a second chance to go back to the Island.
If I were part of the Circle of justice, I would listen to Cole’s side of what happened on the island, but from what the others were concluding in the novel, it is very unlikely to spot a spirit bear on the island that Cole was on. I would also be, as they were suspicious about how exactly he ran into such close contact with the big white bear. Another change that Cole went though as he was lying lifeless by the shore of the island was something he didn’t realize until later on. This being, that he would always try and tell the truth with the only proof being his word. This was quite powerful and Cole stuck by this even when no one else believed him in the circle while he kept to his word about coming in close contact with the bear. Although no one at the time believed him, he was strong enough to believe in what he saw and stick to it no matter what the consequences of this would be. I also believe in second chances and due to this if I were part of the circle, I would with certainty give one to Cole; to return to the island, prove himself and limit his jail sentence.
Cole, throughout his life, went through many traumatic experiences such as facing abuse from his father as a child. Also he was a first hand witness to both of his parents misusing alcohol. As a result of all this, he ended up being a young offender, facing trouble under the law several times. If I were to give him a chance to right what he had wronged, I would firstly assign him to anger management classes as this is something he was in dire need of. Also for the most part I agree with the circle’s decision to send him to the island. Going to the island was a chance for him to reconsider all those he had wronged and once his anger washed away, in came the feeling of loneliness, sadness and being afraid. Cole was flooded with these emotions, especially as he was clinging on to life. After this, he began to realize that what he had once thought was the way he should live his life, had merely been a way for him to feel dominant and better about himself. As the novel progresses I expect to further see a change in Cole as he transforms into more of a dynamic character and overcomes some of his biggest emotional barriers with the help and guidance of the symbolism that initially is the presence of the spirit bear.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Word Art: GINS 8

The assignment we were given:
Today your challenge is threefold.
First, must select from your GINS novel what you believe to be the MOST POWERFUL quotation. This quotation should tell us something about the issue! This is your chance to refresh your knowledge of the novel in preparation for our final task next week.

Second, turn that quotation into a striking piece of word art. You may only use one piece of standard-sized paper, AND you only have 80 minutes. Make sure to include the page number of where you found the quotation in an unobtrusive area of your word art.

Third, publish your word art on your litspiration blog as a new post and provide your readers with a brief explanation (1-2 paragraphs). Explain why you choose the quotation you did AND why you made the artistic choices you did for your word art piece. It’s probably easiest to upload your word art as a picture, so that means it has to be a .jpg. Please ask one of your teachers for help if you need it!

To submit this assignment, copy and paste a link to your published litspiration blog post and submit.                       

I chose the quotation, “Their poppy field was prettier when the flowers were in bloom. All pink and white or purple. It wasn’t so pretty now that the petals had dropped off and blown away, although the round heads on top of the tall slender stems were beautiful in their own way. Tahmina liked the way they bobbed in the wind.” (Page 12) I chose this quote because I felt that it best represented the major overarching idea that Deborah Ellis tried to bring out from the story. The message being that although the poppies and the opium were merely an income source for Tahmina and her family, it did in turn have a negative impact on several thousand people in Europe. Heroin, made majorly using opium is a deadly drug that has lifelong lasting impacts on many individuals worldwide. Although Tahmina, her father or other members of her family were not aware that their simple action of growing opium would be the cause of death of several people around the world that is the cold, bitter truth. Sometimes the way we view things is not always now other individuals view them. This was one of the major things that I took away from the story. I felt that throughout the story, Lunch with Lenin, this theme was continued as Ellis chose to talk largely about the impact your actions could in turn have on others. Actions that play out to look completely harmless to you at the time but go on to leave someone else's life in ruins. The artistic choice I chose to make represent that many things in life are two-faced. How we might view something isn't always how someone else views it. The same way, poppies can be viewed in two ways. As beautiful flowers that they do transform into and become, or as opium; all ready to be harvested and transformed into heroin. This was the major artistic statement I was trying to make while putting emphasis on some of the key words in the quote and making it look all glamourous.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

GINS Post 7 - Exploring Empathy

Empathy is defined as the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.

The GINS novel study was designed to help you understand the human condition around the globe, and build empathy for others. In order to explore this idea, you will free write for an allotted period of time from the perspective of the main player/character in your novel.

Consider the following to help guide this creative process:
What does daily life look like for your character?
How can you most effectively communicate the issue(s) facing your character in such a brief piece?
What strategies can you employ to engage your audience?

This post should be completed as a post on your listpiration blog. Please submit the link to your published post!

We were given about 20 minutes to Free Write about the topic

Free Write:
As the oldest I am responsible for the well being and the social security of my family. Being a girl of course, this is not easy but I love doing it. I love helping out father out in the open harvesting opium from our large opium fields. I cannot wait for the opium to finally fully blossom so we can harvest it and then sell it, We will finally be debt free after this. I love harvesting opium, I love cutting open the flower and collecting the white liquid that then oozes out. I have to be careful of course to not spill any of it as the white liquid for us is money. When the police come and shut down our opium fields, I am frozen to my spot, with a million thoughts rushing through my head. “What will we do now?” How will we eat? How will father pay back the debt?” I am unable to process that our biggest income and more importantly our biggest support for life has just been snatched away. Moreover I am not able to understand why as it all happened so quickly. Father, I am sure is just as shocked to learn that what was one the major root to our living has been taken away from us. As father, being the oldest in the family tries to process the fact that we have to arrange for something else and that too quickly, I try to recover from the bomb that has just been dropped upon my family. The next morning, father comes into the house, with a sad smile plastered onto his face; I approach him slowly awaiting what is yet to come. He doesn't say anything for a while and just stands there watching me intently. I look up at him and ask him what’s happened? And he replies and informs me that our worries have come to an end as he has found a solution to this tragic disaster. I instantly light up and go in to give him a hug, he hugs back, tight and firmly. If only, I knew what was put in store for me. My father, my brother and I head off to the market. Only if I knew what I was headed towards. When we got to the market I found out what lay ahead for me, my future sprawled in front of me. I was being sold, sold to a man I did not know before today. Sold. My mind, and my body handed over to another man.

I did not get to go into as much detail as I would've liked because of the time limit.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Gins Post 6/Task 3 - Create Your Own Charter for the World!

Global Charter of Rights and Freedoms; Created by: Haniya, Jack, Darren and Lily 

         While creating our own global version of the Charter, we choose to keep some of the subsections similar to those of the Canadian Charter such as equality rights, fundamental freedoms and more. Other sections we chose to add to our charter were things such as education rights and child rights. These were two of a few, that we added to our Charter because we felt that there were basic rights that every human should be guaranteed  Everyone should be able to walk around feeling with their held up high, completely free. While creating our Charter some of the issues we came upon were as follows; in both Jack's and my novel, we had several countries and global issues being discussed  In the end we decided to include as much as possible and talk about whatever we could fit in under a much broader umbrella. Later on, I was quite surprised to find out that a Global 'Charter' already exists under the name of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When I looked at this I found that some of the things that were discussed in this piece of legislation were also some of the things we chose to include in our document. This included things like basic equality rights against discrimination. That was one of the first things we added in our charter because we felt it was key as everyone has the right to feel good about themselves and walk around with high self esteem. This can only be done if they are able to walk around with no discrimination. Also the Declaration talks about how; "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." We also included this into our charter as we felt that every individual should have an equal right to enjoy life to its fullest. One thing we included into our charter was Child rights and associated with this education rights. We believe that all children should have an equal opportunity to education. All children should also be given the right to sustain life and create a bright future. Our charter protects these rights for children to be free from child labour and any form of mental or physical abuse. In conclusion, I was quite pleased to know that there is a Universal Declaration of Human Rights in place currently. Although it isn't enforced to its fullest right now, I believe that if we were to really put it into consideration and make an effort we could put a lot of what is listed under the Declaration into immediate action.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Global Issues Novel Study: Post #5

The country I chose to look more into was Afghanistan, from the novel Lunch with Lenin. The Taliban, while in rule, were known for numerous human rights abuses. Even though now the taliban rule is over, several human rights violations continue to take place. Afghanistan does somewhat have a similar document, that is situated along the same lines as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Constitution promises equal rights for men and women, which is one thing that the charter also provides to all Canadian citizens. In Afghanistan, women are permitted to work outside the home, to engage in political activity. Also the Constitution requires each political party to nominate a certain number of female candidates. Even today, violence against women in Afghanistan is high although the situation is improving slowly as something is being done about it. Freedom of religion in Afghanistan has changed in recent years because the current government of Afghanistan has only been in place since 2002, after the fall of the Taliban.  
The Constitution of Afghanistan is dated January 23, 2004 and in three of its articles, it briefly states that Afghanistan shall be an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary, and indivisible state. The religion of Islam shall be the leading and main religion of Afghanistan. Even though this is very true, followers of other faiths are free within bounds of the law to exercise and perform their religious practices. In the constitution, it has also been made very clear that no law shall interfere with the doings of Islam. In Canada, under the charter, citizens are provided with the chance to practice whichever religion they choose freely. This is what makes Canada a multicultural and diverse society. Afghanistan, with much of a market economy, does provide its citizens with Fundamental freedoms as well. This includes things such as; any kind of discrimination and privilege amongst the citizens of Afghanistan is prohibited. But, is this really the case? In many stories heard and told about the country, are people really guaranteed these rights? Just because they are put into the constitution, does this mean this what's been happening in Afghanistan? 
In my novel, Lunch with Lenin, a family is confronted for growing and then selling opium. This family, like many others in Afghanistan are doing this merely to make a living and have no intentions of causing harm to others. It is just their income source, something they cannot survive without. So thus they make harvesting opium their business in order to pay off various debts. When they are confronted, their land where the opium is harvested is destroyed and when they cannot think of anything else to pay off the debts, they plan to take the daughter to the city, and sell her to another man. While reading this story, I was not at all surprised as I believe it to be mostly accurate as to what takes place in Afghanistan currently. Although the novel didn’t specify a moment in time when this story took place, I assumed it was sometime before 2002, during the Taliban rule. This is because during the taliban rule, the opium that was grown became much more limited as they wiped out most opium farms as was done in the story. This was done, because they believed that growing and harvesting opium went against the religion they worship, Islam.
Although the constitution act wasn’t put into action until two years after the taliban rule ended. Before this there was a Constitutions of the past that has been in place since 1990. This document, however did guarantee some of the same rights and freedoms as the new one does. This includes religious things such as the right to practice any religion freely within bounds, basic equality rights and many others. Although rights such as gender equality and women rights was not in action back then, they were recently put into the new constitution.
If the charter was put into action in the scenario that took place in the novel, it would work to punish those who were committing the crime; harvesting opium. But they would be innocent until proven guilty. They would be given the chance to be put on a fair trial, and would be given an attorney of their choice. They would also be given fair treatment until convicted and proof was found of the crime they commited. In conclusion, although Afghanistan's constitution is a lot different that what we know as Canadians under the charter, it is moving closer to a much more fair community in terms of human rights.

Global Issues Novel Study: Post #4


“Drugs are a waste of time. They destroy your memory and your self-respect and everything that goes along with your self esteem.” ~ Curt Kobain
For my Global Issue Novel Study, I chose the novel, Lunch with Lenin by Deborah Ellis. The novel is divided into ten short stories. The one I choose to focus on primarily for this task, was “Pretty Flowers.” The story was set in Afghanistan and it focused majorly on the cultivation of opium, which is then used to make heroin. In Afghanistan the consumption as well as the production of opium is going up. More and more afghans are becoming addicts and the numbers have tripled throughout the years. In a country with a population of thirty-five million, there are now more than 1 million addicts for the drug heroin. Heroin is one of the most deadly drugs you could possibly consume, yet why do so many people rely on it?To buy heroin in Kabul is ‘as easy as buying yourself something to eat’. Addicts say heroin in the country is so cheap that it is hard to resist. One gram costs about $6 (£3.91), and it is available in every corner of the city.
In 2004, the opium-poppy economy equalled more than half of Afghanistan’s legal GDP. GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product. Gross Domestic Product is the primary indicator used to determine how well a country’s economy is doing. It represents the total dollar value of all goods and services produced over a specific time period. Afghanistan went from a traditional economy to a planned economy up until 2002 when it was replaced by a free market economy. This means that the citizens of Afghanistan determine their needs and wants when it comes to consumer choices. The consumption of drugs is leading to many controversial issues in our society today that in the long run impact us all. Consumerism plays a huge role in drug abuse.
The over consumption of drugs is a growing issue that must be put an end to. Consumerism linked to drugs revolves around how people view their quality of life. Some people choose to resort to the path of drugs due to their poor quality of life. Scarcity is another idea that directly relates to this issue. Heroin, for example is made from a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the opium poppy plant. Over 90% of the world’s heroin production comes from Afghanistan. Due to the ban, during the Taliban rule, there was no land to grow and harvest the opium, which resulted in a major decrease in the heroin production all over the world. Ever since the uplift of the ban in 2002, the production and exporting of heroin has gone over the roof. Afghanistan is back at number one for being the world’s largest opium harvester. Although, the export of opium has proved to be good for the economy, does this make it ethically correct?
The income source made off of the harvesting of opium for certain families is what they live off of. It defines the good life they will move forth to experience. Without the land and the resources to harvest opium, many families in Afghanistan would go down in debt. This would cause a drastic change in Afghanistan’s economy. Overall, I think that drug abuse is a very controversial issue when it comes to consumerism.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Global Issues Novel Study: Post #3

Roundtable #2: 

For my first Roundtable, I was with Jada, Curtis, and Jacqueline. 
Hope you enjoy! Leave your comments below!