Wednesday, November 28, 2007

HW 37: Podcast 2

This is my second podcast comparing and contrasting Thanksgiving to Eid and explaining what has changed my view of Iraq:

Monday, November 19, 2007

HW 36: My First Podcast

Here's the link to my first podcast. It's about what I learned about Ramadhan and the Iraqi culture:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HW 35: Letter to Readers

Over the past 13 weeks of blogging for this class I have learned a lot. I have learned a lot about not only writing and how to write a good paper or paraphrase, but also I have learned about different people, cultures, and the actual art of blogging and how it is changing our world. I have learned that maintaining a blog can sometimes be hard work but is sometimes in rewarding in the end if you get comments on your blog. Writing homework that people can view and learn things from you makes the homework more fun and encouraging to do. I have learned how to summarize, quote, respond, add my own voice to papers and writings that I have done, which has been really helpful. I definitely feel like a better writer after taking this class.
I hope someone reading my blog learns from it and becomes more open minded, as I have. Reading a variety of books has made me much more open minded to different people and cultures, and I hope other people can see that through my blogs. I think my best work on my blog is the posts that were about the book Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture combined with what I learned in They Say I Say. In those earlier blogs I was able to put what I learned in They Say I Say and intervene it with my thoughts about Blog! How the Newest Media Revolution is Changing Politics, Business, and Culture. That is what helped me to become a better writer.
Once the class is over I don’t think I’ll keep up with the blog, but I may check it every now and then. I might post once and a while but not much. I’ll want to come back and see if anyone found my blog and left any comments.

HW 34: Gold and Date Palms

I have always found it interesting learning about different cultures. Learning about Riverbend’s culture from her perspective is great, and I love reading about it, because we don’t hear good things about her culture here in America. “Gold is a part of our culture and the roll it plays in ‘family savings’ has increased since 1990 when the Iraqi Dinar began fluctuating crazily” (Riverbend, 100). The value of gold didn’t change so Iraqi’s converted their money to gold jewelry such as bracelets and necklaces. Iraqi’s receive gold as gifts for marriage or have a child, and that gold can either be kept or sold. The Iraqi people often have gold because it is very important to them. Of course American troops don’t believe that Iraqi’s could possibly own something as nice as gold so they automatically think they have been looting (Riverbend, 100). Date palms are also an important aspect for the Iraqi people. “There are over 300 different types of dates--each with its own name, texture, and flavor” (Riverbend 104). Dates are used for many things such as syrup used for rice, syrup used for bread and butter, the main sugar source for Iraqi sweets, and vinegar. Families trade dates with other families in the summer and it’s a great accomplishment to show off your dates. Palm trees in general are taken very seriously in the Iraqi culture. You cannot find a garden in Iraq that doesn’t have a palm tree, for they are used to protect the flowers and other products in the garden. Even when a palm tree dies it is taken seriously, and the owner is devastated. The cutting down of palm trees in Iraq because of American Troops make the Iraqi’s very angry (Riverbend, 104-105). The section of Baghdad Burning that I have just read was really interesting. I like reading about Riverbend and her culture more than about what is going on in Iraq, even though that is interesting as well. I just enjoy reading about her culture, and comparing it to ours to see how different it is.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

HW 33: Podcast

Episode: Challenges at a Girl’s School in Baghdad
Series: Alive in Baghdad
Date Published: May 21, 2007
Challenges at a Girl's School in Baghdad

The general topic of this podcast is going to school and getting an education. They interview a few girls in 8th grade and a few teachers. The girls are asked if the school is near their home, how they get to school, and if they get nervous if there is any kind of explosions throughout their day at school. One girl explained that the school she is attending is far from her school and her parents try to discourage her from going because it is difficult to get to. He insists on going though, and she likes it. She does get nervous when she hears explosions near school though. The podcast is mostly filmed in the girl’s school, and the walls are just plain cement, with what seems to look like peeling white paint. Not very attractive or school looking. They girls each have a desk and most of the girls wear hijabs. The filming in the streets at the beginning made Baghdad look really nice. There was a huge building in the back that was really pretty, and there were trees and apartments.
After watching this podcast a viewer will learn how it feels to be a girl in school in Baghdad, and how it might be difficult to get to school because of American troops, and how some girls are even discouraged from going to school, which is different from America. Usually the footage I see of Iraq is of fighting, explosions, and all the bad things that go on. I’ve never seen a calm setting in Iraq with girls going about their normal day and going to school. The most memorable conversation in this podcast for me was the girl whose parents were trying to convince her not to go to school, and the fact that all these girls love going to school. In America we take our education for granted and most of us don’t even want to be in school, and seeing these girls who strive to come to school, even under the circumstances in Iraq and with their parents telling them to quit it makes me realize how lucky I am to be able to go to school.

HW 32: School Supplies

When you are little, in elementary school shopping for school supplies is usually a big deal. I remember being excited to start off the school year and being able to buy a bunch of new notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, and a backpack. For Riverbend and her cousin it is like the highlight of the year. Riverbend gets really excited to go out and shop for school supplies for her cousin’s young daughters. They go to a shop, because Baghdad does not have big shopping malls, they just have tiny or big shops, for all the new school supplies. Riverbend picks out notebooks, pencils, and erasers for her cousin’s daughters. She chooses amongst Barbie, Winnie the Pooh, and Lion King notebooks, which is quite similar to here. When you are little you can get notebooks with Barbie, Disney movies, Strawberry Shortcake, and any movie that is a hit at the time. The little girls cannot go shopping for their own necessities because their mother will not let them out of the house, except now for school. Riverbend insists on not buying generic supplies, like a plain pink eraser. She instead buys an eraser that looks like a strawberry because “kids don’t take care of their school supplies if they’re ugly” (Riverbend, 95). I thought that was funny, but I believe she is right. In the end, the younger daughter doesn’t like the Winnie the Pooh choice because she has outgrown him, and she wanted a Barbie notebook like her big sister. It’s sad that these girls could not choose their own school supplies because of the war in Baghdad and their mother was too afraid to allow them to come. It’s also sad that Riverbend, being an older girl, got so excited to be able to leave home to go shopping for something like school supplies for her cousin’s daughters.