14 Year Old Girl Shot for Standing up to Taliban

On October 9th a Pakistani schoolgirl was shot by members of the Pakistani Taliban because of a blog post she published which spoke out against the group.  Malala Yousufzai, 14 accused the group of suppressing the rights of women and limiting education possibilities for women and girls in Pakistan. Malala was saved by Pakistani neurosurgeons and transported to a military hospital to receive continuous. All of Malala’s expenses are being covered by the Pakistani government.

The vicious and brazen nature of the shooting has incited condemnation of the Pakistani Taliban throughout the country. Thousands of Pakistanis have shown support for Malala, as well as disgust towards the shooters and a call for the justice of both the gunmen as well as the entire Taliban itself. The question now is whether or not the Pakistani government will accept its call to arms and condemn the Pakistani Taliban by name, or continue to provide the group with a “safe haven” in Pakistan’s tribal, northern border region.  

The three sources I used were CNN, The Times of India, and The Telegraph. The TOI and Telegraph articles focused mostly on Malala’s transportation to a hospital in England. The TOI article was the most brief, likely an update to a continuing series of reports on the story, which began over a week ago. The CNN article, the only non-British source I used, seemed to assume that whoever was reading the article had never seen the story before, as it was very comprehensive and covered every angle of the issue from the government’s involvement, protests, and the background of the Pakistani Taliban

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Egypt to Try 7 Coptic Christians, US Pastor

On Tuesday September 18 the Egyptian general prosecutor charged 7 Egyptian Coptic Christians and one American pastor associated with the crude anti-Islam film “The Innocence of Muslims” with insulting Islam, spreading false information, and upsetting Egyptian national unity. Among the charged is the film’s maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and American pastor Terry Jones, who allegedly helped promote the film. Although none of the accused are Egyptian residents, the prosecutor’s office stated that the charged could face the death penalty if convicted.

Egyptian reaction to “The Innocence of Muslims” film has been more violent and sustained than in most other countries where protesting took place. The charges were filed in efforts to curb some of the violence that is still going on in Egypt.

The three sources I used were CNN, ABC, and the BBC. The BBC article was by far the shortest and least informed source. The BBC article failed to identify Nakoula Basseley Nakoula as the film’s maker, calling the identity of the film’s maker as “unclear.” The CNN article was helpful and extensive; it covered the charging of the Coptics as well as additional background informat

ion regarding the film, the accused, and the reactions to the film in the Muslim world. The ABC article was the longest and most helpful. It was the only article that examined the story from a human rights perspective. The ABC article listed the names and circumstances of numerous Egyptians convicted under similar charges that now face the 8 people charged by the Egyptian general prosecutor.









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Two Ways to Belong

In “Two Ways to Belong,” Mukerjee compares and contrasts her views of citizenship and cultural identity with her sister, Mira. The sisters grew up together in Calcutta and emigrated to the U.S.A. in 1960-61 to pursue college educations. Both girls thought they would move back to India after acquiring their degrees, but both stayed, and remained in America until at least 1996. Bharati earns citizenship as soon as possible, while her sister remains a legal immigrant, forfeiting the benefits of a naturalized American citizen in favor of retaining her heritage rather than transforming it. Bharati marries a Canadian man and sheds her “pure” culture for blue jeans and self-invention. Mira views herself as an expatriate Indian fighting to keep her identity from the influence of American culture. That being said, she finds her life and work in America to be extremely rewarding. It is her choice to be outside of the community she lives in, while her heart dwells in India.
Bharati’s need to feel a sense of belonging to her community and Mira’s clinging to her former identity characterizes my understanding of the American immigrant’s predicament. It is a clash between the promise of a prosperous American future and the extent to which we are defined by our pasts and how much of our identities cannot be removed from the past.

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“I’ll Eat What He’s Wearing”

In “I’ll Eat What He’s Wearing,” David Sedaris tells about his food-hoarding father. The behaviors he describes- hiding food in stashes around the house, chewing on an old cap, eating fruit impregnated with fly eggs- sound more like a man spun into paranoia and desperation by the trauma of the Great Depression, but Sedaris’ father shines through in the end as a model human being. Sedaris starts us off at Christmas dinner, Paris style, with his family, where his father begins the story of the cap. Sedaris then takes us back through the list of his dad’s idiosyncrasies, trying to rationalize his madness.
I found the little details about Sedaris’ father hilarious, especially when he defends his diet. My favorite thing about his father is the humility and responsibility that underlies his behavior. My favorite line is “It’s not the food but people that are rotten.” This resonates with me as I’m sure it would with any high-school kid thrust swiftly into the real world. By the end of the chapter, Sedaris’ father is illuminated as a man who specializes in survival and taking what is really important out of life, because you never know when all of the comforts of your world could be eliminated.

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Conversation and Perspective.

While I was drafting my audience essays, I tried to imagine that I was in a conversation with each of the people I was writing to, so I could gradually acclimate myself to writing for them in an academic setting. As I continued writing my tones became more differentiable based on the different ways I interacted with the three audiences. The ability to write easily for varying audiences is like being an effective conversationalist; you have to know what’s appropriate and how to communicate your point in the best way. One must understand another person’s perspective and reflect that understanding in writing or speech by empathizing. A writer must be able to shift voices based on what’s appropriate. Factors that affect a writer’s tone and approach are not limited to simply the people who are taking audience with the writer. Timing, context, and goal of the essay or speech should be considered.
One of the first things an audience notices is the tone of the language in which they are being addressed. The correct tone communicates the writer or speaker’s goals to them, and leaves them to form correct inferences about what is being said. One of the first concerns of relating to an audience is the level of formality and what level of professionalism the language and tone should convey. For certain audiences, it may behoove the speaker or writer to establish a sense or mutual understanding or familiarity. Often times using the first person voice and engaging the audience allows them to relate and empathize easier. However, no writer should misinterpret the audience and use overly- familiar or offensive language when the opposite is called for. Underestimation of the formality and level of professionalism required for audiences is an easy way to offend and repel them.
Writing for varying audiences is more difficult than engaging in normal conversation because the writer doesn’t receive any information from the audience. In this way, writing for distinct audiences makes one realize that it is up to the writer to control how they are perceived by any audience, and in a way the writer must fill the gap left in the normal two-way human communication process. Writing for an audience means understanding their point of view, communicating all the correct facts and points of the speech or essay, while molding or adjusting tone and voice to reflect the audience’s point of view.

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Maryland Man Kills 70,000 Chickens While Intoxicated

On Friday August 31st an intoxicated 21 year-old male named Joshua D. Shelton entered a power control shed on the Shockley poultry farm in Delmar, Maryland, and cut the power to three chicken houses belonging to Shockley. By doing so, Shelton deprived the chickens of food, water, and air, causing them to die. By the next morning 70,000 of the chickens had died, resulting in $20,000 worth of damages to Shockley alone. Shelton was on the farm attending a party held by Shockley’s daughter. He stated that he doesn’t remember entering the control shed. Lt. Robinson found Shelton on Saturday morning in the control room, lying in a pool of his own urine. Robinson surmised that Shelton was so drunk that he confused the circuit breakers for a normal light switch.

The news sources I utilized for this post were the Time News Feed, NBC, and The Huffington Post. All three received the report from the same source- a local news site called DelmavaNow.com. NBC’s is the most thorough report of three, containing extended coverage of the damages to both the Shockley farm and the processing plant that was to take delivery of the chickens the following day. The NBC article reads like a police report. The Huffington article was terse and fact laden, while the Time article framed the story in terms of Shelton’s intoxication and focused on his bad choices. The Time article was the least effective, containing fewer facts than the other two sources despite its length.

Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/joshua-shelton-killed-700_n_1835848.html

NBC http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/28/13531163-sheriff-drunken-man-turns-off-power-on-poultry-farm-causes-death-of-70000-chickens?lite

Time http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/09/02/drunk-man-cuts-power-on-farm-kills-70000-chickens/?hpt=hp_t3

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The River That Runs Through Me

This short and personal essay by Mexican-American author Beatriz Terrazas unpacks the political connotations of the Rio Grande, a popular symbol of the tensions that strain the U.S.- Mexican border, and contends that the rest of the world should appreciate the mighty and historic river as an important aspect of culture in border towns. One of Terrazas’ predominate points is that the Rio Grande is a “living thing” and that it should be recognized for its role not just in “daily political discourse” but for the not insignificant role it plays in the daily lives of the people that settle nearby. Terrazas especially feels a profound connection to this river, and her concerns reflect this protectively and intimacy she shares with the Rio Grande. She worries her memories will evaporate once the place of the their formation boils its way to oblivion.

The duality of the Rio Grande in “The River That Runs Through Me” allows us to share in Terrazas’ anxiety about its demise. Its daily grind as the symbol of both illegal immigration and the site of massacres belonging to the drug cartels earns it only negative publicity. Her concern that the river will die without dignity is most affecting to me, but it is her conviction that the river is in fact not a barrier that characterizes this essay’s soul.

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