connections: from past to present

in the word question, there is a beautiful word-quest. i love that word- we are all partners in a quest.-Ellie Wiesel

Comments 15.04.2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 6:23 AM

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Elizabeth-Faith lost during night

Elizbeth, I find your blog to be very interesting. As Wiesel becomes fully involved in the Holocaust he begins to question his faith. Which I would find it hard not too. It seems that people question their faith with far less horrific events. You brought to my attention that he was there mostly because of his faith. I had never thought of this before. It seems that I would completely doubt my God that I put so much trust into prior to the war. Although Ellie was seriously angry with God he never fully gives up on him. Even after he states that God is dead, he mentions him and mutters prayers to him. It is interesting to look at the perspective of a veteran who fought in the current war. He offers the view of war and God being completely separate and you cannot make excuses for it. I think that this would be extremely daunting for anyone who has ever fought in a war. I find that everyone whether you have ever been involved with war or not has to constantly check their faith and that it is okay if it continuously changes with changes in your life. 

 

Done already?

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 6:16 AM

This class was quite intimidating to me at first. I had never used the RSS technology before and did not know what to make of it. I now see it as a great tool, especially for a busy college student who remains in her little box for not having any time to watch the news. It is fun to have very current news fed to you on topics that you want to learn more about. When relating it to current situations, I mostly found that things rarely change particularly when talking about humans and human emotion. I also think that technology has played a big role in the current war from which most things are beneficial.

 

RUF 14.04.2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 9:43 PM

While reading about the atrocities done in A Long Way Gone, I often found myself having to take breaks. I could not believe not only the war but the way that the leaders took advantage of the population of children in order to fight their war. The army manipulated them and ruined their childhood. Not only this, but also changed them for life. In order to get them to fight they feed them with anger and hate against the Revolutionary United Front.

“I could become angry, yes, begin to visualize scenarios of shooting or stabbing a rebel. “The rebels are responsible for everything that has happened to you.” I imagined capturing several rebels at once, locking them inside a house, sprinkling gasoline on it, and tossing a match. We watch it burn and laugh” (113).

You can see how right away the mentality has instantly changed. The RUF (Revolutionary United Front) did the same thing when recruiting their child soldiers. This is evident when the boys at the rehabilitation center meet and realize they fought for opposite sides. All the anger feed to them by each side towards the other, comes out in a full on brawl in which six people end up dead. One of the boys from the RUF states,

“We fought for the RUF; the army is the enemy. We fought for freedom, and the army killed my family and destroyed my village. I will kill any of those army bastards every time I get a chance to do so” (134).

This happens after they are removed from the war and it shows how they have completely transformed into animals. Needless to say the center has a lot of work ahead of them in order to restore the children’s lives.

Although the war ended in 2002 and Ishmael was released before this time. There are still many investigations going on in regards to the internal conflict. Just last week,

“Three senior leaders of the Sierra Leone rebel group, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), were sentenced to long prison terms by the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL)”

They were found guilty in February for war crimes committed against humanity including, “unlawful killings, rape, forced marriage,” and “acts of terrorism.” The article goes on to say that several hundred more people should be investigated and fairly tried without the possibility of the death penalty. I am glad that justice is being served and that these unfathomable crimes are not forgotten.

Amnesty International, Senior Rebels Sentenced to Long Prison Terms in Sierra Leone, April 9, 2009

 

Carry

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 6:31 AM

The Things they Carried, not only the title of Tim O’Briens book but also something that he pays close attention to in the beginning of the story. He goes on and on about the things that the soldiers carry whether it is something of necessity or intangible. He uses these things as a way to introduce the characters and kind of get a feel about what they are about.

For instance, “As a medic, Rat Kiley carried a canvas satchel filled with morphine and plasma and malaria tablets and surgical tape and comic books and all the things a medic must carry, including M & M’s for especially bad wounds, for a total weight of nearly 20 pounds.”

Each member had a different weight to carry seeing as how they all had very different jobs, but as a soldier you carried everything that you owned amounting at least to 50 pounds. They carry other things as well.

“They carried all the emotional baggage of men who might die. Grief, terror, love, longing- these were intangibles, but the intangibles had their own mass and specific gravity, they had tangible weight” (21).

Although soldiers today carry these same emotional burdens their physical loads seem to be getting lighter with new technology. This new technology includes a robotic exoskeleton that helps them carry more weight. It was developed by Lockheed Martin and allows soldiers to carry up 200 pounds for greater amounts of time and less effort. The exoskeleton is made up of battery powered titanium “legs” that attach to the soldiers legs. The micro-computer ensures that the “legs” move in sync with the human body.

The army is also making great improvements to soldiers’ combat apparel mostly trying to lighten the load, especially for those who are going to Afghanistan. Combat gear has recently been made fire resistant. The helmet used now is three pounds, at least a half pound lighter than what it had been in the past. It protects better against bullets and covers the neck.

A lighter load does not mean a lighter conscious though it may help in the trek. I think what was true in Vietnam will always be true about war and that is with “all the mysteries and unknowns, there was at least one single abiding certainty that they would never be at a loss for things to carry” (16).

Fox News, New Robotic Exoskeleton Helps Soldiers Carry More Weight, March 11, 2009

USA Today, Tom VandenBrook, Army gear gets tailored for Afghan mission, March 31, 2009

 

Draft

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 4:55 AM

For extra credit in history class I recently viewed the movie “Punishment Park” which was a fictional yet very intense movie about people being punished for hindering war effort in Vietnam. The different characters represent political activist from the Black Panthers, War Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement. For punishment the characters are able to choose between six to ten years of prison or Punishment Park. Punishment Park is when the characters are given the opportunity to escape punishment by walking 54 miles in the desert in attempt to make it to a certain destination. They have a three day time frame, and no supplies. After the first two hours, police and National Guard are released to try and capture the characters, if they are captured they are forced to serve their prison time. All the characters put up some sort of resistance and were shot.

While watching this movie I instantly thought of Tim O’Brien. He too did not understand the war in Vietnam and why on earth he would be sent there, he states,

“There should be a law, I thought. If you support a war, if you think it’s worth the price, that’s fine, but you have to put your own precious fluids on the line. You have to head for the front and hook up with the infantry unit and help spill the blood… A law, I thought” (42). 

I never really thought of people actually being sent to fight in war against their will. I thought of my father and my brothers and wondered if the draft could ever be reinstated. It also made me question how far the government can go concerning people’s rights and infringing upon them.

Since the draft, the military has incorporated a stop-loss policy in which the military can retain service members longer than their original contract. I was not aware of this policy until a recent movie came out in 2008 called, “Stop-Loss.” Although there is currently not a draft this policy reminded of the draft and I looked up what the current policy is. I found that the military is currently phasing out this program,

“The Army will phase out use of the so-called “stop-loss” program between now and January, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today.” He goes on to say “that there will always be the need to hold a few people in the service, but it should be a small number. “I would like to get it down to scores, not thousands,” he said.”

They are instead looking to offer incentives for service members who decide to extend their time in the military. I think that this is a great alternative to forcing someone to stay passed what they originally signed up for.

Jim Garamone, Army’s Involuntary Extensions Plan, March 18, 2009, http://www.army.com/news/item/4943

 

 

Children 26.03.2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 12:21 AM

“DEAR DADDY/ Bertil Erling/ ARE you VERY LONESOME?/ Do you LIVE in A housE?/ SUNDAY We EAT VERY GOOD./ Ruth Erling”

A letter written by six-year-old Ruth Erling to her father, Bertil Erling who was an Army chaplin who was stationed in the Pacific.

I never really thought about how war affects the people fighting in it, or the affect it has on their families. This was until my Political Science class last year when a classmate gave us a talk about his time as an officer in the marines. I became a little less ignorant and even more so with this class. Yet I have still only considered the person fighting or the loved one at home. The letter above, from the book Since You Went Away, has called to mind the children with military personnel as parents and how they are affected by war. I find the letter to be especially interesting because you feel the innocence, caring nature, and curiosity of the child at the age of six.

I was separated from my father through divorce, but I at least knew he was relatively safe and close. I can not imagine what it would be like to be separated due to war and having to grasp the concept of it at a young age or any age for that matter.

I have blogged about a woman before who writes blogs on her site named, Confessions of an Army Wife. She explains in a blog, “Daddy is Absent” how her daughter is affected by war.

“As soon as we got in the house, our DD was asking for her Daddy. She was calling, “Da-di, da-di”. I told her that Daddy is away for a while and he is at work. Every morning as soon as she wakes up and get out of her room she will always call Daddy. I let her peek out the window and explain to her where Daddy is.”

This young girl is two and has a harder time understanding the “where abouts” of her father, although it is obvious she realizes that he is not with her. It seems that the situation would be extremely hard for the parent remaining at home to not only worry about the spouse over seas but to constantly be reminded of it through a child that does not fully understand. Depending on how long the person is deployed; the child could go through different stages, first being aware that someone is missing, then realizing that they are living somewhere else and then maybe the scariest realization is that that other place is most likely dangerous. Although it is hard, it is important for the parent to try and have the child understand to the best of their ability, “Confessions of an Army Wife” agrees by saying,

“I think when your kids are growing up already and your spouse is in the military, it is the time that you need to explain more to them why their parent is away and not always at home. When hubby was deployed overseas our daughter was still a baby so she is not looking for him yet. This is why it is always emphasize during briefings when the service members are deployed to give importance on the children. They are the one’s most affected by the absence of a parent/parents because of call of duty.”

The child needs to be aware of the purpose the parent is there, their personal reasons for joining the military, and the importance of the war. All these things should be addressed so the child can attempt to understand the absence of their parent.

Confessions of An Army Wife, Daddy is Absent

 

Death Penalty 24.03.2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bizbet8 @ 9:35 PM

I was looking at the information provided by Wikipedia regarding the Auschwitz concentration camp complex. After describing the operations within the camp it goes on to explain that it was managed by Heinrich Himmler’s SS. One officer under the SS was Rudolf Hoess, he started at Dachau concentration camp and grew respect learning and perfecting mass murdering techniques. He was appointed commandment of Auschwitz, which became the most efficient murdering camp of the Nazi Final Solution. He was hung on April 16, 1947.

This sentence could seem satisfying to many people, he paid for the insane massacre he helped to create, but did he?

As I read that he was hung, I thought to myself, yea, because that was acceptable back then, to hang people. Then I thought about it and realized that it is still acceptable today recalling Saddam Hussein’s recent hanging and the craze it created when leaking unto YouTube.

With all the hot-topic issues out there I have always seem to avoid thinking about the death penalty, until now. Amnesty International is an organization that works to eliminate the death penalty. The Secretary General of the program, Irene Khan, talks of the multiple executions in Asia and the Middle East and how they have no place in the 21st Century.

picture-1

The article goes on to talk about the cruel and inhumane ways the death penalty is carried out across the world for example, “In Saudi Arabia, where execution is usually by public beheading and is, in some cases, followed by crucifixion, at least 102 people were executed.” When I read this I find it to be medieval and can not believe it goes on today.

I absolutely believe that people need to pay for their crimes but I do not think that killing them is the best solution. If anything it is putting them out of their misery and continuing this cycle of death. Someone kills many people so authorities can kill them and that makes it right?

 Amnesty International, CRUEL, DISCRIMINATORY, UNFAIR AND DEGRADING – THE DEATH PENALTY IN 2008