May 2013 Official Newspaper of the International American School of Warsaw
Formal to Freaky Spirit Week 2013
Blondelle: The Final Act
Talkin about my generation
Nuclear Earth Day
No does not mean yes
Tyrant or boy (or both?)
INTERNATIONAL AMERICAN SCHOOL • WWW.IAS.EDU.PL • SECRETARY@IAS.EDU.PL UL. DEMBEGO 18 • 02-796 WARSAW, POLAND • +48 22 649 1440
A city gets back on its feet by Tommy Le
were the Boston Marathon and a stunningly popular baseball game where Boston’s favorite Red Sox were supposed to play at home in Fenway Park. What was believed to be one of the happiest days in Boston turned out to be a nightmare as two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Three people were killed and 180 more injured, including many who suffered amputations of the limbs. Among those amputated was Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dance instructor for whom surgeons had to amputate five inches below her left knee. But she hasn’t given up on dancing. She plans to get prosthetics and continue her way of life. Barely three days after her amputation, she had already started walking on crutches. If that wasn’t enough, she is even planning to take part in next year’s Boston Marathon. Another inspiring story is that of Jeff Bauman. Even though he lost both of his legs at the knee, he reportedly helped authorities identify one of the suspects in the attack. Bauman also brought an 18th birthday gift to a high school senior who was critically injured in the blasts. Bauman’s story shows the power of human cooperation and how people unite in times of grave trouble. People like Jeff Bauman keep the world strong.
The city underwent a surreal 48 hour lock-down in which federal investigators, local police and the Boston citizenry worked together in pursuing the two suspected bombers. Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were identified on surveillance cameras at the time of the bombings and cornered two days later in Watertown, where Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police and Dzhokhar later found wounded and hiding in a boat. His capture was made possible thanks to a tip from the boat’s owner, who noticed blood there and a torn tarp. Dzhokhar is currently in confinement and charged as an enemy combatant possessing weapons of mass destruction. The brothers’ motives may never be totally clear, but the outcome of their act is: Boston, a proud a most historic American city, is coming together like never before. President Obama led the city’s healing process when he gave the eulogy at an interfaith service in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. He was joined by dignitaries and relatives of the dead and wounded. Among the attendants was Nicholas Yaini, who provided first aid for people within ten feet of the blast near the finish line. Yanni, representative of all those directly effected, arrived to the Cathedral on crutches, still nursing his own wounds. In the weeks and months to come, the city will likely get back to normal again, though once terrorism strikes at home, things are never really the same. One thing is for sure—next year’s marathon will be an epic event. Expect record numbers of runners, those with two legs and even those with just one.
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or boy (or both)? by Sunny Dong
As we all know, the infamous leader of North
Korea, Kim Jong Un, has decided to increase tensions with the USA by saying he has nukes (and will use them!). He has also released pictures with horribly photoshopped weaponry to try and provoke other nations, none more so than its neighbor, South Korea. Although it must have seemed like a good idea for the alienated leader at first, the plan backfired. Rather than creating panic and disorder, Kim Jong Un and North Korea yet again became the laughingstock of the world. He became a popular meme for the raring online community, daily material for Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert, and in short, a running political joke. But is the young leader just a boy or a serious threat? To answer this question, I’ll need to give a short history lesson first. As we all know, Kim Jong Il was a terrible dictator. He was famous all around the world for leading a starving country to nowhere for about two decades. After his death in the latter half of 2011, Kim Jong Un took the reigns and had to make up for the heavy losses that North Korea suffered. With pressure from all around him at such a young age (29 at the time), he had to make his first political statements. Lil’ Kim decided to prove himself and show a strong side by instilling fear in the westerners. But rather than provoking a response, he was mostly brushed off (by everyone except late night talk show hosts). He gave us a good laugh and a small dose of paranoia. It is that paranoia that does create some fear. Many believe that the megalomaniac Kim is not to be underestimated, because a cornered rat is more dangerous than you think.
Although the political situation is ongoing, the media does a good job at glossing over things and keeping people free from fear. The 24 hour internet news-entertainment feed keeps everything humorous and this gives people the illusion of safety. Look at South Korea. They are supposedly the main target of North Korean belligerence, but most people there don’t even care about the threat up north. They don’t believe that Lil’ Kim has the guts to do what he says he will and that he is just talking the talk, not walking the walk. Tyrant? Or just a boy? Regrettably, I’ll have to say yes to both. Although he seems like an international joke, he’s too young to lead with a cool head. He also has a massive arsenal at his fingertips and like his father, cares very little about the actual circumstances of his people. His unpredictability makes him an ongoing problem for neighboring countries. Comedians tell us that he might one day decide to send domestic animals to moon. But no laughs here, because no one knows for sure what he’ll do next.
NO DOES NOT MEAN
YES by Razan Al-Enezi
A month does not go by without despicable cases of rape making headlines and forcing society into a conversation it would rather ignore. India, still recovering from backlash after the New Delhi rape in December, now deals with the shocking rape and death of a 4 year old girl. In America, two cases of adolescent rape show another disturbing pattern. This article will explain the basics of this severe cultural problem leaving it up to us to find a solution.
Why is rape committed within our society?
Misogyny & Patriarchy
There are multiple theories that explain the trigger for rape, one being that the motives of rapists are multilayered. That rape is not just a sexual act; it is an act of power, more specifically of entitlement, that there are other emotions involved such as anger, desire for power, sadism, as well as burdening stress and sexual satisfaction. The frequency of rape is a function of what’s alleged to be somebody’s entitlement in society and the opportunities it provides for release of resentment when such beliefs are not met.
Misogyny is the loathing or dislike of women. It can be expressed in plentiful behaviors: sexual discrimination, cruelty or violence against women, and sexual objectification. The Steubenville case is an example of misogyny at its worst. To see how unchecked misogyny is interlinked with patriarchy, we can note the recent rape of a female student at Forest Hills Central in Michigan.
Consent? One of the most critical matters concerning rape is consent. Any form of sexual activity should not ensue unless consent is understood by both individuals. A case that shows this lack of consent occurred in Steubenville Ohio. An under-aged girl (16) had been raped by two juvenile athletes (16 and 17). She had been intoxicated, drugged, and urinated on. If that was not enough, the rape was filmed and leaked over the internet as added humiliation. The girl obviously wasn’t able to give her consent, due to the influence of a drugged drink she’d been served by one of the two assailants.
Patriarchy involves social methods which continuously manufacture and exert male dominance over women. At Forest Hills Central, to paraphrase an article by Jessica Mason Pieklo, a high school student was sexually assaulted at school by a star basketball player. The victim reported the assault to school officials but the principal decided not to pursue the matter, given the basketball player’s status. Two weeks later, that same “basketball star” committed rape on a second victim. As Pieklo states,“In many ways the story echoes the tragic high school rape story from Steubenville, Ohio, which should lead all of us to ask just what kind of culture are we raising our children in, and what kind of culture is being cultivated at our high schools?” Unfortunately, the principal’s behavior is not uncommon in our broader culture, where powerful men are protected at the expense of powerless women.
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Victim blaming is holding the victim of a crime to be responsible for the crime. In the context of rape, it refers to behaviors such as flirting or wearing sexually provocative clothing. In extreme cases, victims are said to have "asked for it".
Rape apologism occurs when rape cases are discounted; as when rape accusations are claimed as false or not to be taken seriously. In fact, the percentage of false rape accusations is about 1-2%, the same as for other crimes. Unaware to rape apologists, doctors are able to make tests and see if a victim had been raped or not.
Women are told they are not supposed to do a lot of things, lest they will get raped, or even murdered. Most women have heard these messages. Don't wear provocative clothing. Don't leave your house at night. Don't walk alone. Don't travel alone in unfamiliar places. Don't go running in the park alone. Don't go camping alone. Don't do anything alone. As someone who has traveled alone by bike, backpacking and hitchhiking, I cannot count how many times people have told me that I am “lucky” that I wasn't raped. If women follow all of these “avoid being raped” messages, they severely limit the ways in which they can move through the world. The question is, does this practice actually protect women from violence? If we were basing our violence prevention messages in reality, we would be telling women to carry mace in the kitchen and into the bedroom. Because the “don't walk through the woods alone” message is so divorced from reality, it does nothing to protect people from actual violence. What purpose does it serve? The fear of rape is used to control women and limit their lives. The threat of rape is used as an excuse to narrow what women ought to do and limit women's personal freedom.
Since rape apologism is widespread, rape victims often do not convey their distress to anyone. For this reason, victims do not get the support they need from family, friends, doctors, and the police. This lack of support makes it less likely they will overcome their trauma. Rape apologism not only causes life destruction; it promotes rape, since it reassures rapists that their victims will unlikely stand against them. This matter can be seen in the Steubenville case, where the rapists got less prison time than Aaron Swartz, the benevolent hacker featured in our last issue. Swartz had been sentenced 35 years for downloading academic research, whilst the two Steubenville rapists got one year in juvenile center. But rape apologism is worst when seen in the mainstream media. In response to the Steubenville trial, what did CNN do? They sympathized with the rapists. Why? Because those rapists cried in court. There were also protesters outside of the juvenile center demonstrating against the “accuser”. This is the most heinous and revolting truth about apologism within our society.
“Male victims? Raped? Haha, I’m sure that they won’t mind.” This line gets its own section due to the ridiculous amount of times I’ve heard this sickening statement (apparently hilarious to oblivious individuals). Rape does not apply to a specific gender. Just as it’s possible for men to rape women, it’s possible for men to rape men, women to rape men, and women to rape women. Even infants get raped. As stated above, rape is not about sex as much as it is about power and resentment. Recently, I finished the novel “Men in my town” by Keith Smith, which was inspired by events in the author’s life. He was only fourteen years old, got abducted, abused, and raped. See where I’m going here? Not only is he male, but he was only a child when the event took place. For my last words, I would like to repeat that rape jokes are not funny, that it is never the victim’s fault, and that yes, there ARE male victims of rape. Stop the humorless “jokes”. With proper attention and respect, we can even stop rape.
Nuclear Earth Day by Mohit Keswani
A trip to the nuclear reactor in Świerk and an Earth Day
celebration, all in a span of ten days—isn’t that something? Two of the world’s most opposing developments, sprouted from one original nature. On April 8th, grades 8-10 visited the Nuclear Research Center, 30km from Warsaw. Nine days later, the whole school went to clean up trash in Kabaty forest. What are these two events trying to tell us? On one hand, nuclear development is harming the planet more than ever, and on the other we are picking up plastic bottles? It does not seem we care enough for this 6-elemented world. On Earth Day, each class was split into their homerooms and we were given gloves and bags and asked to clean up the environment. We were led by biology teacher Ms. Iza, and then given time to collect all the trash into one place. Even the young kids were inspired and collected a lot of rubbish. While on the “nuclear trip”, we went through models of nuclear reactors and were taught how they function, noting all the chemistry and physics behind their power. Both trips showed us how inside and outside of the classroom, science is everywhere in today’s world. Our past and future development is based on it; whatever we call “progress” is in fact science. We always want something new; new forms of energy, new weapons and defense systems, new technologies at home. Just looking at the school calendar, more than 50% of events have been science related.
Some (not me) find science to be a kind of curse. Think of all the problems it creates, like pollution, disease, destruction of nature. Science creates the problems and then finds the solutions too. So, it is like a cycle. Apple makes the latest iPhone 6, it damages our eyes, and then we turn to the medical industry to fix our eyes. Our cars create pollution, and so we turn to science to clean our air. The ongoing events with North Korea and proliferation of nuclear weapons is a major threat to the world. This is another example of how science can be used to cause harm, and how the topic of science often divides people. Earth Day is like an anecdote to all the harm science can cause, but it is unlikely that the holiday will be celebrated in places like North Korea. That kind of “progress” depends on the mindset of people in general. The people who have control over science often do not have control over themselves. So, Earth Day plus a Nuclear Reactor visit strikes me as an appropriate pair. Science is the undercurrent to both. Without it, we would not be reading this newspaper itself! It’s everywhere, even where we don’t see it—like the air, or the imagination.
"Science does not know its debt to the imagination" Ralph Waldo emerson
GROUP 4 GETS A GRADE by Mohit Keswani
On March 15th, 12th graders completed one of their compulsory IB diploma tasks: the Group 4 Science Project. Supervised by science teachers Ms. Iza, Ms. Ewa and Ms. Sarika, the student groups were comprised as follows: Group 1—Daniela, Daria, Chen; Group 2—Maria and Agnieszka; Group 3—Sebastian; Group 4—Michal and Oleh. And not to forget the chief assistant—myself! All the groups were tasked to think innovatively and show the results of an experimented process Of note, Maria and Agnieszka measured the presence of the enzyme amylase in common household detergents. Daniel, Daria and Michal checked the pH levels of different cosmetics, and Sebastian tested their conductivity. All of the experiments were a success in that the students were able to determine for themselves the results of empirical testing. Each group gave a presentation explaining their results to the student body. The presentations were well detailed, but I wonder if some of the 6th graders could understand all the scientific data. At least they know what they’re getting into when it’s their turn to enter the IB program.
Overall, this was another event on the school calendar which has contributed to the rapid development of the science curriculum. Nice job 12th graders!
Tunisia Day at IAS by Tommy Le
This April, French teacher Mr. Rabi Chibani, with support of his students, invited to IAS the Tunisian Ambassador, Mr. Ali Bousnina, and the First Secretary of the Tunisian Embassy to discuss how life has changed before and after the Tunisian revolution (which sparked the massive protests known as the “Arab Spring”). Through the talk, students managed to get a glimpse of Tunisian culture and a taste of Tunisian food. We learned how prosperous life currently is in Tunisia and how the people are adjusting to the new democratic life. Students asked many questions, both in English and French, regarding topics ranging from tourism during the revolution to the Tunisian national sport (surprise—it’s football). To our astonishment, we learned that Tunisia has mandatory English lessons in public schools along with other choices, such as Chinese for elementary school students. The former president of Tunisia, Ben-Ali, who was overthrown by the Tunisian Revolution, was also surprisingly the former Ambassador of Tunisia to Poland. Along with the taste of Tunisian cuisine, we received a small bag of goodies with a pen, souvenir fridge magnet, Tunisian map, and some touristic brochures. This visit forged a stronger cooperation with the Tunisian Embassy in case students want to take part in a student exchange program or Tunisian cultural trip. The embassy will gladly help with necessary paperwork. Thanks to everyone who participated in this rewarding event.
Technological parent by Linda Murphy
A recent article in the Washington Post, “Kid apps explode on smartphones and tablets. But are they good for your children?”, discussed the trend of parents using technology to help raise their children. Parents quoted in the article stated that the latest technological apps, designed for kids as young as two years old, are educational and make their parenting lives easier. The result? It’s not uncommon today to see toddlers playing on iPads and smartphones whilst being pushed in their trolleys. This is rather scary. Allowing a child to use smartphones and other advanced technology at a very young age disturbs the parent-child relation. Too commonly, it replaces the valuable experiences of being a parent. Teaching a child to read, write or speak is a bonding experience for both child and parent. Replacing that with a tablet or computer screen takes away the essence of parenthood. It is also preferable for children to play with real toys over apps, toys they can feel and touch, because it helps build their imagination. As Frederick Zimmerman, the chairman of the Department of Health Service at UCLA, said: “Kinds need laps, not apps”. The article led to a debate in our creative writing class. The main counter argument to my own was that the world is changing and technology is sewn into the fabric of our daily lives. Why not prepare children for the future so that they can get ahead in life? Well, hypnotizing them with technology from a young age makes them dependent on it, which in turn damages their social relations and sense of identity. Also,
parents should prepare their children for the world in their own way and pass on valuable lessons that will help shape the child’s future character and the kind of person he or she will be. Do they want that child to develop addictive habits? Another counter argument was that historically, new technology is always perceived as a threat to the old ways of life. For example, once upon a time even books were seen as antisocial and a threat to the more wholesome oral tradition. However, books don’t share in the seductive power of technology, which is extremely addictive and can take over the psyche of a young person. Nothing masters our attention as well as the virtual world, and it is very hard to detach once you have become accustomed to “living” there. So what is the solution? Parents should give their children access to technology when they feel they are responsible enough to handle it. They should teach them its dangers from the start and ensure they don’t overuse it. If not, technology gradually becomes the parent and real parents become nothing more than supervisors. No form of technology can replace the parent-child relationship. If parents aren’t more careful, they hand over their job to someone, or something else—the “technological parent”. Children need real human relations with their parents from a young age, to build a strong relationship with them in the future and become their own people.
The beauty within by Harriet Adeleke
Now, to the movie. It’s a short, pointless film about four girls whose main instructions were to keep their bikinis on for the entire movie and do drugs and smoke. Now, do we count them as cinematic characters or just four pretty bodies in a 90 minute ad? Were the girls cast because they fit society’s definition of beauty? I ask because impressionable girls will take the movie seriously and try to copy that way of life. They’ll expose their bodies to get attention and do things that might end up ruining their lives. They’ll think that this is what a girl is supposed to be, especially if she wants to be cool, accepted, and attractive to boys.
As many teenagers know, “beauty” is thought to be a great smile, nice eyes, perfect eyebrows, a good facial structure and so on. But is that really the beauty we need in this society? Girls especially, we all want thin tummies and all that comes with our culture’s definition of beauty. It’s wrong. We try too hard to fit in, which is the main problem with the world. This earth is filled with girls copying what they see on the screen, trying to be “bad-ass”, trying to be beautiful. Like the recent movie “Spring Breakers”. It’s one of those movies that banks on a teen audience, but has a negative influence on our generation. In the U.S., spring break is known as a time for teens to get wild and do as they please. To act “liberated”, but not in an appropriate way. If you know what I mean, you’ll understand why I don’t want to go into details.
This leads me to the next story—9th through 12th grade were recently treated to a joint presentation from IB students Thomas Sinton and Uchenna Josakweker. Their topic was how the media manipulates our understanding of reality. Thomas spoke about the U.S. military’s ad machine. And Uchenna spoke about female beauty. She included insights on the well known Dove campaign, and showed a short film on how much editing is involved in reshaping an “average” face into the ones shining from city billboards. Thinner is better. Sexy is getting sexier. But all this comes from the outside. What is real beauty? Where is it found? Honestly, the way you choose to see yourself, that is beautiful. The way you walk, talk, laugh, cough is all beautiful. As long as you choose to embrace it and accept yourself the way you are, you’ll see your beauty and others will too. Don’t follow the crowd, because the crowd don’t pay the bills. Build your own road, define your own beauty, and make use of the precious life you have.
Teens today are killers of the innocence that once ruled the earth. There’s less patience for this period in life, and more of a hurry to leave paradise. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many people in the world that I appreciate for helping keep some of our innocence. Beauty—isn’t it found where innocence is also found? The things people find beautiful nowadays are found with smoking and drinking. Wasting lives, skipping school and seeking highs. Yes, life’s short, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do useful things with it.
Formal to freaky—stud
dents show their stuff!
Talkin about my generation by Aristianna Voureka
I have heard a lot of adults calling my generation empty. They
think we don’t appreciate anything subtle and all we do is complain. Probably, a part of what makes them think this way is that we don’t do the things they used to do; for example, read poetry. Most teens feel sick when they hear this word and escape it by saying, “it’s not my taste”. This was spoken a lot this past year, as a week didn’t go by without either Mr. Krasner or Dr. McBride feeding us our vegetables…I mean, poems. But I’m not taking the common view. There is always space for everyone’s taste in poetry. As long as you search a little in poetry, you will find something that interests you. And you might be surprised that it’s closer to you than you think! So what is poetry? We hear mixed up sentences about “expressing oneself” but do we know its rightful meaning? In my opinion, we can’t because poetry doesn’t have a rightful meaning. The quest to find one is as asinine as asking people to define adolescence (teenhood). You can’t expect one definition because each of us know what we know from experience; we know something because we have lived through it. And that is exactly how we come to know poetry. A poem means something when we read it and it leaves a mark. It’s like being stung by a bee. So, if you do know what poetry is, it’s probably because you’ve been stung by a few bees! Your path and that of the poem have intertwined! You probably think of poems as living in dusty old books, but is that the only place we find them? I believe not; just like the meaning of adolescence is changing (as old ways slowly blend with the new) so is the meaning of poetry. We see, feel or express poetry in different ways. Once upon a time, poetry was a form of high literary writing, read clearly and slowly in literary salons. Now it is rapped to beats on microphones. Yes, that song you repeat play on your iPod contains poetry (and this doesn’t mean you should delete it!)
Poetry is still found in dusty old books, but it’s not afraid of the new mediums. If you Google “poetry” plus your favorite theme, you will find a thousand and one poems, (though most are rather cliché). If you turn the sound down on Youtube and read the lyrics of your favorite songs, you might find poetry there. The point is that while the “art” of poetry is thought of as a high thing, it is not beyond our reach. People make poetry. People make it every day. So is our generation this cold senseless creature as described so often by our elders? I think we are far from cold. We are just trying to find our place within this generation gap. We shouldn’t let stereotypes define us—like this generation being dull and empty. That’s just as bad as saying all poetry is boring. It’s not, and we’re not. So the next time you hear grumpy old folks labeling you as empty, rap your words at top of your lungs and leave them staring! Day and Night, by Aristianna Voureka Dark skin and irradiant eyes Tribute perfection to thee pale face As it falls, you arise Hitherto we both interlace Stardust swirls between us both Yet I see you distant Racing for each other; I make an oath! Yet declaring us both resistant Maybe you create the space So we two loath the other Till we envision with disgrace We both were born by a mother So seize, that we shall never be apart And treasure each other’s beating heart
Filling in the gap selected “adolescent” poems from 9th and 10th grade
Dreaming Him, by Lilla Orly It sings a gentle hymn, lulling me into an even deeper sleep, A seductive tune pulling me, telling me not to leave, As the daylight tries to kiss open my drowsy eyes The wool pulls me ever further into the abyss Until I feel the clay harden, and the mortar stiffen, And I know I cannot leave.
The mother in music, by Nnenna Josakweker The key to another world, your own preferably, where breathing comes second, and you first. As the sun rises, sets, and disappears; she is there whispering the words “I am here.” Her tunes cause radiance bright like the sun but though intensely vibrant, her waves lack nuisance. Warming the heart and tickling our ears, as we take caution while fist pumping our knuckles, to fanciful images visible to nothing but our hearts. Sensing not seeing her face, but yet still, we suck upon her nipple. Drawing life into our souls, becoming one, listening and hearing each other, she engulfs me into her arms with each word drawing me closer. Tender and beautiful as she is, she knows when to shut out the world during the time we are together. When all is lost, she bestows hope, Calling in the dark, she answers with light. And on every rainy day, when I take to weeping She kneels by me and whispers these same words “I am here.”
Where I’m from, by Linda Murphy I am from the smell of the pine trees and the sound of robins singing in the morning From the long swims in the lake and afternoon playtimes I am from the red number nine shop, where every allowance was spent From the loud and joyful Christmases and road trips that were loved, in spite of car sickness. I am from the birthday parties nearly every month From the cozy power cuts and board games played I am from the irritating “Don’t use my toy” and the early lessons on sharing And of course, the pizza every Saturday. I am from the foot in the bike wheel And the head split on the hill I am from the getting into trouble from sibling squabbles and the chewing gum in my hair I am from the stories told, and listened to eagerly. I am from the loving hearts of the ones who gave me life And the “Count your blessings, and remember the needy” I am from the feeling of my mother’s belly kicking, and the relief of no longer being the baby I am from the large backyard that gave the right to live freely.
Esmeralda, by Rawan Al-Enezi Silver swords scattered at her feet She could no longer endure to dance with them So she leases them to the ground and they allow the little January Sunshine to reflect on her petite brown body that Swayed to the sound of the aged wooden tambourine Stealing the glances of the mesmerized crowd which Surrounds her, it is where She is happiest
Symphonies of Rachmaninoff, Tommy Le Sudden crescendos, instant diminuendos, Later, the solo of a flute. Awakened by the violins Later descends into a comatose. Sudden crescendo! Violent winds ravages through the orchestra. Mortars raining on the audience. Then the ocean calms until; None can be heard. Sound of triumph Shifts into an orchestral chaos. Melodies prancing around the fields. As Rachmaninoff himself halts time And leaves the fields frozen.
That of within, by Harriet Adeleke Like the wind lifts a leaf You lift me The joy is that of another kind We mould like clay to become one Only to see the day of which we sought Never to see The day a swan loses its wings That of which is within My inner soul, rescue me
Becoming MUN by Mateusz Gradowski
Honorable Secretary General, distinguished President of
the General Assembly, dear delegates, distinguished readers, I hereby commence the writing of TBSMUN 2013…. If this introduction sounds familiar, you should probably take a break, quit reading and finish your policy statement. If not, think about writing one, and read on to feel how it is to be inside an MUN delegate’s skin. Or should I say, tuxedo? In this edition of MUN (Model United Nations) hosted by the British School in Warsaw, IAS students Ola Budny, Tommy Le, Sunny Dong, Temi Akinbo, Mohit Keswani and myself represented the delegation of Azerbaijan. We debated worldwide problems such as the ongoing violence in Syria and sustainable economies in Ethiopia. But we also found time for more pressing topics, like sending all domestic animals to, and I quote,“Planet Moon”. It may seem that the three day conference was a short episode in our lives, but it was three days each one of us will remember. Why? Perhaps the feeling of being part of the “elite”. Perhaps making new contacts. Perhaps the jokes, having fun, or the interesting debates. Perhaps declaring at the general assembly that all domestic animals be sent to, and I repeat, “Planet Moon!”
TBSMUN 2013 was different from past MUNs because of a loose atmosphere that allowed delegates more freedom and less unneeded tension. But MUN is not something you can just talk about. To understand it, you have to participate in it. You have to send your first “page note” or raise your placard to speak up in your committee room. You have to play tic-tac-toe during opening speeches, or try your luck declaring war with the rest of the world. You need to hear for yourself the words, “MUN is now officially opened…” and then become a part of it. Now I thank you for your attention, I am not open to any points of information, and I yield the floor back to the editor...
Troubles Being Teen
Perfect Perfect Pressure by Nnenna Josakweker
As girls mature they are not strangers to societal pressures. They are surrounded by them in their daily lives and this seeps into their lives at school as well. The majority fall under the pressure of trying to be who they are not. Girls are under increasing pressure to live up to the ideals of boys who want their girlfriends to look like super hot models, or, as some might put it, like “Kim Kardashian.” We live in society that encourages girls to judge themselves based on looks rather than abilities. As years progress, most girls are increasingly becoming concerned with their body image, comparing themselves to celebrities and unrealistic ideals portrayed by the media. They have now taken it as far as plastic surgery, which amongst teenagers is more common then you think. You know the pattern: narrow waist, long slim legs, big boobs. That's the trend, and it’s getting slimmer by the day. And I would add—unachievable. Girls begin to feel this “perfect pressure” around the age of 13 when they show more interest in boys and are worried about their expectations. All this makes me wonder, when will girls be judged based solely on their abilities and not looks? When will society stop creating pressure on girls to be perfect? The expectations for girls in this new millennium are sickening. Now girls have to embody a perfect blend of sporty, pretty, popular, ambitious, delicate and smart. Is this reasonable? Guys face their own pressures, like the desire to have six pack abs, but the physical ideals are not as severe as those facing girls. You don’t commonly read news reports about a guy committing suicide because he couldn’t get his abs. But such tragedies are not uncommon for girls.
For all teenagers, weight and looks are an issue. You might doubt that you are affected, but you are. Isn’t that the reason you comb your hair every morning before coming to school? Or get a new haircut? Yup, I thought as much. The media feeds us with images of “perfect faces”. Whether it is Kim Kardashian or the local newscaster, the face is perfect, the hair is perfect, the shape is perfect. There’s no doubt that seeing these pictures frequently can lead a teenager to doubt herself. As for me, I look rather dull or dressed down on most days. Do people whisper that I don’t look okay? Is it wrong to accept oneself as imperfect? The media shows us one face, but it is a false representation of reality. Thinking that you’re ugly or overweight is just a symptom of wanting to be perfect in the first place. But if you accept yourself as you are, I don’t think there’s any need for that type pressure. On the other hand, if you fall into the trap of trying to impress others, then that sends you right back to the beginning of the cycle. It’s like looking in the mirror and never seeing yourself. Acceptance of one’s self is the key to a new beginning.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
GLOBAL WARMING, IN 500 WORDS OR LESS by Mohit Keswani
Global warming is making our days warmer, providing more rainfall and stronger hurricanes. It is affecting the climate right in front of our eyes, as climate extremes become more visible in our everyday lives. What is the truth behind global warming? In Warsaw, we just experienced a prolonged winter, seemingly proving global warming as false. Some say it is a bogus idea promoted by science, but they are misinformed. I have my own copyrighted theory and it is a simple one. Global warming simply means that the world is getting hotter. If the world gets warmer then the icecaps will obviously melt. When the ice melts at the poles, the water raises all the sea levels. If the sea levels rise, the water has to go somewhere, or more of it will be evaporated. If more is evaporated, the moisture goes into the clouds and then condenses. Then it has to fall down somewhere, so it falls as precipitation, in countries like Poland, after traveling some distance. I am not saying that the theory is 100% correct, but I believe in it. The recently prolonged winter was a clear example. The sun trying to make its way in, but then suddenly the heavy clouds came to shower it out. So, global warming is affecting the weather today, and it will affect the weather in the future. Over the last 100 years, temperatures have warmed about 0.75 degrees Celsius. This is a small change, but it is happening rapidly. In some ways it is beneficial, as we discover natural gas
and oil under the eroded region. On the other hand, animals are getting hurt. Polar bears and penguins are losing their homelands. Even small fruit flies are feeling the heat and developing genetic changes. So, it is not only affecting our species but all organisms. What will happen in the future? Only winter? As global warming increases each year, humans contribute to greenhouse gases with Co2 and methane, which kills off various animals and plants. This might cause the seasons to be reduced to just two: winter and summer. During summer, it will be increasingly hot, and winter full of snow. This is due to the temperatures reaching their extremes on both sides. It can have an even more alarming effect as well: the oceans taking over a larger percentage of the world. Now there are hundreds of proposed solutions to this problem. But these solutions are not applied daily which means we need to make a greater effort. We can ensure sustainable development, we can explore nuclear power, we can develop low-carbon and zero-carbon technologies, we can manage our fossil fuelsâ€”all of these are real solutions which the government should put into practice. What we can do as individuals is speak out in presentations and organized talks to spread awareness of the problem. Do we to do nothing while spring and fall slowly fade away?
The Adventures of Blondelle by Lilla Orly
Chapter 4, The final act Blondelle stood gaping at Gaby’s mangled body crammed into the trunk. Frederic peered over Blondelle’s shoulder with a look of disgust. “Wait, what’s that?” Frederic asked, pointing at something lying at Gaby’s feet. Blondelle reached in and pulled out a tiny, empty vial. She sniffed it and recoiled. “It smells bitter.” “Let me smell it,” said Frederic, bringing the vial to his nose. He sniffed once, then twice with a confused look on his face. “Blondelle, I don’t smell anything.” Gaby!”
“What do you mean?!” Blondelle raised her voice. “It’s obviously some kind of poison. It’s what must have killed “If it is then we have to take it to the police!” “How do we explain why we were back here?! We can’t Frederic!” “Then what do we do?!”
Suddenly the light went out and several things happened at once. There was a crash as Frederic dropped the vial. Blondelle felt strong hands grab her shoulders and drag her in the direction of the door. “Frederic!” Blondelle gasped. “The light!” And the small room was once more illuminated by the red light. Frederic looked over Blondelle’s shoulder with wide eyes. “You?!” he breathed. Blondelle turned her head up and looked at her attacker. It was Laurent. Frederic lunged forward with his hands in fists, but Laurent only grabbed Blondelle’s hair and pulled her back, bringing a knife to her neck. “Don’t you even think about it boy,” he said menacingly. The red light caused his already wild stare to appear even more demonic. “You killed Gaby?” Blondelle whimpered as the tip of the blade poked her neck. “Of course I did! That stupid woman! She had it coming!” “What did she ever do to you?” asked Frederic. “What did she ever do to me?” Laurent repeated, his deranged laughter filling the small room.“She left me! That ridiculous old bat left me!” “She left you...do you mean that this was meant for you?” Blondelle asked, reaching for her pockets. Laurent, anticipating a weapon, pulled her head farther back and pressed the tip of the knife harder into her neck. “No! Wait, it’s just a letter I found!” she pleaded. She pulled the letter from her pocket and Laurent took it. He stared intently at the note, reading it over and over. “Yes. This letter is for me,” he said quietly putting it into his own pocket and grabbing Blondelle’s hair again.“The cruel woman was so happy to leave me the first time that she had to do it a second.”
“How long had you been seeing Madame Deslys?” asked Frederic.
“Only a few weeks,” Laurent replied. He seemed to be deep in thought.“She never loved me though,” he said the words as if they left a bitter taste in his mouth. “How could she be in love with someone as young as you?” asked Blondelle. “In love with me?” Laurent seemed to awaken from his dream. He stared at Blondelle for a moment, puzzled. Then suddenly, he threw his head back in laughter. “Oh you stupid, little children. Gaby Deslys wasn’t my lover. She was my mother!” He spat the last word in disgust. “You see, before Gaby began her little business of making a fool of herself, she met my father and had me. When she decided that she didn’t want me in any part of her life, she left me and my father to tour the world like some circus act. When I found out she was coming to Paris, I knew I had to confront the brainless bimbo myself. When I finally came face to face with her, she said she was incredibly sorry for abandoning me. I told her that a simple apology could not make up for what she had done. So for the next few weeks she spent time with me, and bought me things to repay me for what she had put me through. Then suddenly, yesterday, she tells me that we can’t see each other anymore because it would jeopardize her relationship and career. Imagine that! HER CAREER IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HER OWN SON!” Laurent breathed heavily with a look of fury on his face. “So I killed the bloody wench.” “How?” asked Frederic. stuff.”
Laurent looked at Frederic as if he had forgotten he was there.“Cyanide. I drenched her little handkerchief in the
“Of course!” Blondelle exclaimed.“How did I not see it before? Cyanide has a bitter-almond scent that only some people can smell! Gaby was unaware of anything strange being on her tissue because she couldn’t smell it! All she had to do was inhale the fumes a few times and she was dead.” “Very good Blondelle!” Laurent said. “But I’m afraid that you and your little friend know too much now. It was lovely being your friend but I’m going to have to kill you.” Just as Laurent began to slide the blade across Blondelle’s neck, someone grabbed him from behind and pulled him to the floor. The knife clattered to the ground and Blondelle fell forward, into Frederic’s arms. They both turned and saw Vincent Bardeaux holding Laurent down. “You imbecile! You murdered my love!” he yelled. He pulled Laurent up and held his arms behind him. “I’m sure you won’t mind telling everything you just told that little girl to the police!” … Blondelle and Frederic sat in the lobby of the Olympia waiting for their parents to arrive. Laurent had been taken away in handcuffs. Blondelle and Frederic had been questioned about what had happened under the stage and Blondelle received attention from a doctor for the minor cut made on her neck. “Well, tonight was eventful,” she giggled, looking over at Frederic. “Blondelle Roux, the things you put me through,” he said shaking his head, pretending to be angry. “At least something interesting happened this summer.” “Is that what you call this?” “Yes, I just hope that something even more dramatic happens next summer.” “I sure don’t,” replied Frederic. But he couldn’t help himself. He took one look at Blondelle, saw that irrepressible charm, and began laughing. The both of them sat there laughing, and they didn’t stop. (…stay tuned for next year when fiction writer Lilla Orly takes on another adventure!)
d n i h l e e B e h w the by Michał Kolwas
As a lone wolf kind of guy, I don’t have much space in my
mind for positive thinking. It’s a sort of freedom, but a lifeless one. So, where do I feel alive? As an unfulfilled petrolhead, who despite his worship of classic cars and rock ‘n roll drives a French rustbucket, what’s worse, a diesel, and even worse—a Renault, I can only give one answer: I find life behind the wheel. It doesn’t really matter that I drive a piece of junk. When the sun is up and I have an empty road in front of me, I just forget it. There’s me, the rev-counter, and the vanishing point. What driving does is boost the emotions and perception. When I have a tractor slowly rolling in front of me, and an endless line of cars the other way, and a road train decides to make a U-turn at my hood, I am somehow happy there ain’t no one on the passenger seat to hear my growls. I feel robbed, robbed of my freedom of the road, the only place where I’m myself again. But when the traffic dissipates, when there’s the empty road, the wide meanders of tarmac in the setting sun, life is great. The click of the fourth gear, the sound of the engine when I release the clutch gently, step on the accelerator, adjusting the grind and allowing me to forget that it’s a French diesel. It’s my world, this confined space between the wheel and driver’s seat, a world surrounded by the sphere of fields, with the spring scattered sun reflected in a pair of 1980’s battered aviator sunglasses.
Please, leave the passenger seat empty. As a matter of fact, I rarely enjoy driving with anyone. Music’s not OK, volume’s not OK, or “How can you drive with that kind of music?” My kindness does not allow me to reply: “My car’s my realm! I’m its master, and don’t you snort at AC/DC; if you don’t like it, I’ve got the brakes and you’ve the door.” But there is one exception, when I’ve got my dog next to me. He doesn’t enjoy “Highway to Hell”, it’s true. So it’s some blues then. My car is my world. When there’s sun, music, the open road, it all unites in a harmony. When I see the sun setting, lighting the fields and the tarmac with its last rays of the day, I feel the curmudgeon in me slip away. And yet...some of him stays. Proof? I can hear someone saying now that I’m only 18, that I’ve had my license not long enough to brag about the wonders of the highway, that I should shut up and read some Jack Kerouac, etc., etc. Meanwhile, my mind is already driving and awakens a tune of long ago. 1973. Pink Floyd... And if the band you’re in/starts playing different tunes I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon!
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