Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The self-burning of Mohamed Bouazizi and "The Burning Monk," Thich Quang Duc, are extremely sad events. At a first look, it seems that both of these cases are very much the same. However, there are distinct differences between them, too.
One similarity between the self-burning of Bouazizi and Thich Quang Duc is that both were politically based on not having the rights that we, as Americans, are allowed. Both violate our first amendment because Bouazizi wanted a freedom of speech (so that he could speak his mind and be listened to about losing his scale and not being able to have the dignity that he deserved), and Duc wanted to have the freedom of religion (so that he could practice Buddhism and the Buddhist flag would again be raised). Also, they both burned themselves in the public eye. This was most likely because they were fighting for a cause that they wanted noticed, and/or both wanted show their exasperation. Duc had burned himself at a busy intersection in Saigon, Vietnam, in the middle of the road. Bouazizi did his self-burning in the middle of the traffic that was next to the government building. Plus, both of the events ended up overthrowing leaderships. Bouazizi's overthrew the regime of Zine Ben Ali, while Duc's burning overthrew the Catholic Diem regime.
Something that stood out as a unique difference between these two events is the fact that one died immediately (Duc) and one died days later (Bouazizi). In addition, Bouazizi's self-burning happened in 2010, but Duc's self-burning happened in 1963. Even though both of the burnings caused a bit of an uproar, Bouazizi started a revolution and Duc did not receive as much attention as Bouazizi. Also, Duc had planned his self-immolation for a while, prior to the actual day, and Bouazizi's came out of anger that occurred from a woman's slap and a stolen scale.
b. My Personal Thoughts
The first thing that comes to my mind when looking at both of these topics is that we (meaning citizens of America) are extremely fortunate to have our Constitution and Bill of Rights. If Bouazizi and Duc had lived with a written constitution and bill of rights, their self-immolations most likely would have not happened, due to them being allowed to exercise their freedoms of speech and religion. That thought also makes me sad because they gave up their lives for something they truly believed in, and I wish that it wouldn't have had to go that far for them to be able to prove their points. In addition, it appears to me as if they felt such a deep desperation for these rights they couldn't have, and that maybe that was the reason they wanted to burn themselves, in order to express how they felt about what they were fighting for, as well as how much it meant to them. Also, the difference in time periods strikes me, mainly because rights are still not allowed in certain places where people definitely deserve and should have them; it just seems unfair to me.
c. A Poem That Conveys My Thoughts
Desperation by Darren Whites
Desperation comes flying out
Of the darkness, latching on
Taking hold, sucking out,
The life from me.
I try to break free;
There is no way.
Desperation is too strong,
Sucking me down into a
Whirling pool of death.
At the last moment,
I pull free swimming,
Swimming to my freedom
Breaking the hold Desperation has on me.
d. Questions for the Class to Discuss
1. What was the most significant part of the story of either the self-burning of Mohamed Bouazizi or "The Burning Monk"?
2. Do you believe that there was a better way for Bouazizi or Duc to deal with these problems, or do you think that was their only option, considering their predicament?
Thursday, February 17, 2011
1. Nationalism: Nationalism was a major long-term cause of WWI. It involved all those who shared a common language, history and culture and was a strong feeling of support for one’s own nation. Nationalism could also be classified as the doctrine that your national culture and interests are superior to any other. It often came along with imperialism as well. Nationalists believed that the needs of their nation were more important than the needs of other nations. Plus, nationalists were so proud of their nation that they wanted it to be the richest and most important – and recognized as such.
Though I have had friends
And a beautiful love
There is one lover I await above all.
She will not come to me
In the time of soft plum-blossoms
When the air is gay with birds singing
And the sky is a delicate caress;
She will come
From the midst of a vast clamour
With a mist of stars about her
And great beckoning plumes of smoke
Upon her leaping horses.
And she will bend suddenly and clasp me;
She will clutch me with fierce arms
And stab me with a kiss like a wound
Thad bleeds slowly.
But though she will hurt me at first
In her strong gladness
She will soon soothe me gently
And cast upon me an unbreakable sleep
Softly for ever.
You can find the poem here.
3. The poem by Richard Aldington, The Lover, which was written to synthesize fears and desires he felt during combat, relates to nationalism, meaning the aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination, because he writes, “She will clutch me with fierce arms / And stab me with a kiss like a wound / Thad bleeds slowly,” and it describes how he wants something, his lover. This is connected to nationalism because the people under foreign domination could feel like they are under a fierce clutch, because they want national independence. So, since nationalism is a strong feeling of support for one’s own nation, when Aldington writes, “But though she will hurt me at first / In her strong gladness / She will soon soothe me gently,” it shows how he had to get hurt first, then he could be calm, due to the fact he finally had his lover. In the nationalism term, the road of nationalism is a hard one because it is usually paired with imperialism, when a country extends it rules to foreign countries. However, when they won their “battle,” they could feel content. Also, another way The Lover relates to nationalism is through nationalists. Nationalists were proud of their nation and they wanted it to be, as well as recognized as, the richest and most important. On that note, the lines “She will not come to me / In the time of soft plum-blossoms / When the air is gay with birds singing / And the sky is a delicate caress; / She will come / From the midst of a vast clamour / With a mist of stars about her / And great beckoning plumes of smoke / Upon her leaping horses” show that nationalists might not be able to prove that their nation is the best in good times (In the time of soft plum-blossoms / When the air is gay with birds singing / And the sky is a delicate caress), yet, a mix-up of commotions (From the midst of a vast clamour / With a mist of stars about her / And great beckoning plumes of smoke), such as wars, will prove how great their nation really is.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
2. I think Kipling does justify imperialism because in his poem, The White Man’s Burden, he does say that men pay for what they have done, such as when he mentions “Take up the White Man's burden! / Have done with childish days- / The lightly-proffered laurel, / The easy ungrudged praise: /Comes now, to search your manhood / Through all the thankless years, / Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom, / The judgment of your peers.” This could explain how he shows mankind “paying their dues” for imperialism because he describes them as being judged, and their wisdom being cold, as if from their greed. Furthermore, I think he justifies imperialism with this phrase from his poem, “But toil of serf and sweeper- / The tale of common things. / The ports ye shall not enter, / The roads ye shall not tread, / Go, make them with your living, / And mark them with your dead.” I think this also show how he justified it because he, in a way, makes it seem as if they know that by extending their rule over foreign countries, they are going to lose something, even after they gain. Perhaps that is why he wrote, “To seek another's profit / And work another's gain.” That ties in to knowing they will lose something because when they “imperialized” that area, they could take over what it gained, in place of the lives they lost.
3. In my opinion, such justification would be so appealing because the “imperializer” or “the white man” has to now forever carry this burden. His cold wisdom, his greed, his gain, and his loss all add up and equal the burden that Kipling writes about. The White Man’s Burden would attract interest through this justification because of how, as it is stated, “Take up the White Man's burden- / Send forth the best ye breed- / Go, bind your sons to exile / To serve your captives' need; / To wait, in heavy harness, / On fluttered folk and wild- / Your new-caught sullen peoples, / Half devil and half child,” the effect that imperialism had, and what exactly it did to the “white man,” who was so overcome with greed, gain, wisdom and loss.