Vol. 7, Issue 5 April 2011
KATTENBERG THE PAGE
H PE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI IN JAPAN - NUCLEAR ENERGY - FDR BELGIAN POLITICS - MIDDLE EAST DOMINO EFFECT - WESTERN INTERVENTION SPRING SPORTS - NHS BENEFIT CONCERT - REBECCA BLACK’S “FRIDAY”
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KATTENBERG news & opinion
community & features
12 Safe Place at ISB
14 Spring Sports
16 Vien Voir, Vien Voir
Middle East Domino Effect
17 NHS Benefit Concert
10 FDR and the New Deal
19 The Election 20 Sparsholt College
We live in a world of limited resources and increasing demand. Becoming an international citizen is about the environmental impact of decisions we make, and the responsibility this understanding brings. It is for this reason that all school publications are printed using vegetal ink on products from controlled sources, managed forests, recycled wood or fibre or 100% recycled papers.
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from the editor Faithful readers,
sr editor in chief layout editor
J.P. Carroll Joanna Heinz Shawn D’Souza Leila Elabbady Rebecca Tanda Adele Clifford Patrick Tan Anne Brennan Tina Shobbrook
senior editor senior editor
associate editor associate editor associate editor associate editor associate editor
faculty advisor faculty advisor
Jaewan Bahk Harry Cross Phoebe Galt David Haughan Jack Hull Jenny Lee Jennifer Light Georgia Littlechild Max Pässler Laura Weir Special Thanks to Amanda Shorten for IT and printing support.
Interested in writing? If you would like to submit writing to the Kattenberg Page, please feel free to do so! Just send an e-mail with your piece attached to the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org
What you see before your eyes has an immense power. In these last few months in the High School, we’ve come to realize the command of the written word in launching trends, dispersing information, and prompting thoughtful discussion. In many forms – in art, on paper, and on the World Wide Web – the written word has helped our eye to capture beauty, directed our attention to conflict, and influenced the way we perceive and interact with the world around us. In this issue of the Kattenberg Page, you’ll read about some of the world’s great leaders, in past and in present. You’ll listen to personal recounts of successes and challenges faced in our school. You’ll be exposed to opinions on some very current events, abroad and in our own back yard. You’ll meet a humanitarian aid worker who is working with ISB students to realize his dream and ambitions for his country and you’ll note the tragedy that recently occurred in Japan and the initiatives of some ISB students to contribute to the relief. A very powerful issue of the Kattenberg Page, and one that I am very proud of. It sounds cliché, but it’s important to note that, with great power, comes a greater responsibility. While the written word opens many doors, when abused, it will close others. Our words have an immense power over our peers, our families, and even the people we don’t know, halfway across the globe, that may one day come across something we’ve written. As responsible wordsmiths, we express our ideas freely but with the utmost of care and respect to potential consequences and implications. This is what our newspaper is about: sharing new, original, and possibly controversial ideas and opinions in a safe environment where people and their beliefs are treated with respect. As, with this issue, I retire from two years as an Editor-in-Chief of the Kattenberg Page, I cannot think of a better team to carry forth this mission than Shawn D’Souza, Leila Elabbady, and Rebecca Tanda. Two motifs currently dominate the High School. As seniors prepare for the last (continued on page 2)
No article is meant to cause serious insult to any reader. If you feel you have been wrongly accused or personally insulted, you are entitled to a right of reply. Contact either the editors or the teacher advisors, or email email@example.com. No writer should be harassed or insulted over opinions stated in any article.
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From the Editor
(continued from page 1) days of classes, external examinations, and eventually Graduation, we talk of closure. As we step down from leadership positions and hand over the reins to the next the crop of student leaders, and as the High School itself prepares for a major shift this summer, we talk of transition. These themes are reflected in the end of an era in the storied (albeit brief) history of the Kattenberg Page, as the three new Editors-in-Chief themselves prepare a transition for the Kattenberg Page. I’ll leave it to them to announce this in the final issue of the year, slated for June release. Looking back on my time on the Kattenberg Page team, I thank our staff and contributors – without whom this page could not happen – no words to print nor ideas to spread. I thank our lovely faculty advisors, Ms. Brennan and Ms. Shobbrook, for coaching us, advising us, and for generally being very lovely people to work with. I thank Ms. Shorten, the IT department, and the staff of the ISB Communications Office for consistently turning our ideas for a newspaper into a reality. I thank you, dear reader, to have picked up this paper and shared in these ideas with your friends and classmates. On behalf of the retiring Kattenberg Page Editorial Staff – myself, Joanna, and J.P. – I officially and symbolically pass on the editor’s quill to Leila, Rebecca, and Shawn. Together with Adele Clifford and Patrick Tan they will be the leadership of the Page next year, and I wish them all the best of luck, not that they need it. With that, I bid you adieu, mes amis. Good luck next year, and into the future. It’s been a pleasure putting together this newspaper for the past two years – I hope you’ve enjoyed the articles. All the best,
Community and Announcements
Matthew Finney Retiring Editor-in-Chief
FROM THE METAIRIE Dear HS student body, Thanks for the warm reception at the community meeting last Monday. In the 14 years I’ve taught at ISB, I’ve never seen support such as you showed your classmates playing on stage. It was much appreciated. Ms. Janet Smith HS Orchestra Director CONCERNING THE ARTICLE “REVOLUTION OF THE GRADING SYSTEM” APPEARING IN THE MARCH 2011 ISSUE OF THE KATTENBERG PAGE The tables showing a comparison of the current letter grading scale and the IB scale which will be introduced in the 2011-2012 school year do not accurate depict the flexibility of the IB grading system, as well as variations in both grading scales from department to department in the High School. The Kattenberg Page staff apologizes for this error and refers further inquiries about the IB grading system to the High School Administration and individual department heads.
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news & opinion
Japanese Earthquake jenny lee
March 11th 2011. A 10m wave rose up from north-eastern coast of Japan and struck down mercilessly on many coastal cities. Along with it came an earthquake that was recorded as the strongest earthquake in Japanese history. The 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan is one of the most powerful earthquakes in world history. The earthquake also brought along a giant tsunami wave which struck down on many coastal cities of Japan, mainly Sendai. The instantaneous attack of the giant wave brought devastating consequences. The wave turned black as it swept through the city of Sendai, swallowing everything in its wake. Ships and cars were overturned, houses were torn down and people were swept away by this black wave. People of Sendai are still left devastated and the search teams have identified thousands of bodies. With the sudden amount of deaths, the bodies have not been able to find places to rest yet. It is the Japanese tradition to cremate the bodies after a person dies. However, all the crematory facilities were immobilized. The great number of bodies meant many families have been faced with burying them instead of cremating them. This dilemma is just one of several that show how massive the destruction of Japan is. The tsunami was devastating indeed, but the damages done by the earthquake was quite large as well. The earthquake affected a wide range of people in Japan. Many people were hurt in the fall of an auditorium while a graduation was taking place. Other buildings fell down; destroying the homes of millions of people, posing yet another problem that has to be solved. On top of all these problems, Japan faces a major crisis.
The earthquake not only damaged the cities and buildings but also affected the Fukushima power plant. The power plant is one of the major nuclear power plants in Japan consisting of 6 nuclear reactors. After the earthquake hit, 4 of the 6 reactors became unstable. The damage to the plant has caused a leakage of radioactive materials in 2 plants. Though it is not certain if isotopes of plutonium or uranium have been leaked, scientists have confirmed that isotopes of iodine and caesium have been leaked into the atmosphere along with nitrogen isotopes. These isotopes are less dangerous to the human body than plutonium or uranium, but they stay in the environment for a long time which may influence the people within. Recently some scientists claim that isotopes of plutonium have been found in the Pacific Ocean increasing the fear of the danger of nuclear radiation. The Japanese government reacted almost immediately after they found out that there had been damage at the Fukushima. The pri-
ority of the officials was to supply cooling water to the power plants to make sure that the fuel rods would not surface above the water and prevent it from radiating armful material. Unfortunately, at the time of the earthquake, no supply of cooling water was available. The USA offered to help the situation but the Japanese prime minister refused saying that the Japanese officials were capable of controlling the situation. The government officials of Japan had a hot debate on how to cool down the power plants. The plants required a massive amount of water to cool them down and the only source at hand that could provide this amount was the sea. However, if they used the sea water to cool these plants down they would never be able to use them again to generate power. This would result in massive losses for Japan. This late decision caused the government to experience another fall of two more reactors. Because of this, the Japanese government finally made the decision to use all means to cool (continued on page 4)
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news & opinion (continued from page 3) down these power plants. The Japanese government has been using fire fighting tools to provide this massive amount of water to the nuclear reactors. Helicopters have been flying overhead the plants to spray down water and fire fighting trucks took turns pouring water into the plants continuously after the earthquake. Now, the Japanese government seems to be getting on top of the situation with the collaboration of its citizens and also the world as a whole. As we are in an international community, the ISB students have been making a continuous effort to aid the situation in Japan. During the community meeting the Japanese students reported the situation of the earthquake calling up awareness of the need of aid. Advisories have been collecting money
for donations and the Japanese booth at the International Festival also collected large sums of money for donation. Various clubs have also volunteered to host events to donate money to the victims of the tsunami. On April 1st the Korean Club hosted a Karaoke Night to raise money and other events are on the way to stretch their hands of
aid to those in need. Building back the damaged buildings will take a long time and a lot of money. However, with cooperation and perseverance, and the help of other nations, it can be done. So until that time comes… PRAY for JAPAN!
Dr. Strangedove: or How We Need to Stop Worrying and Love rebecca tanda
On March 11th 2011, sixtyseven years after Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War comedy (of similar name and different purpose) was released a tragedy occurred. A seven point one magnitude earth quake hit Japan, setting off a domino chain of events. The quake created the tsunami which swept over an approximated 470 square kilometers. The Japanese National Police Agency estimates that, at this point the combination of the two disasters has killed 11,168 civilians, injured 2,778, and 16,407 civilians remain missing. Many more lives will be lost should the Fukushima energy plants continue to melt down. The plant’s remaining reactors (reactors four, five, and six were shut down for maintenance purposes leaving reactors one, two and three active)
were shut down due to the earthquake. It was the combination of the two elements, the earthquake and the tsunami that caused reactors to explode, shut down the emergency generators cooling the reactors and resulted in the core meltdown of the reactors. In another hemisphere, the German Christian Democratic Party (CDP) joint with their conservative counter parts, the Free Democrats (FDP) loses their majority in Baden Wuerttemberg to the Green Party. Interestingly enough, Baden Wuerttemberg houses four of Germany’s nuclear plants. Despite having been criticised for her compliance with the EU rescue fund for its struggling economies, it was her plan to extend Germany’s nuclear program that result in the loss of the CDP.
This is just one example of countries around the world having second thoughts on nuclear power; the capabilities of which Japan is all too familiar with. In 2007, sixty two years after the dropping of the plutonium bombs the United States and Japan signed a bilateral agreement to advance their respective nuclear programs. Needless to say, those affected generations later are in the hands of the current generation. Should the particles from the Fukushima plant spread, life in the surrounding areas will be affected years to come. However, the same could be said about excessive green house gases in the biosphere. The same should be said about fossil fuels. Nuclear power emits negligible amounts of carbon dioxide. When used respon-
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news & opinion sible it has benefits unsurpassed by any existing energy source. Carbon storage when used as energy sources (e.g. oil and fossil fuels) not only emits gases but is also responsible for its own share of disasters. The BP oil spill devastated those people whose livelihood depended on marine life; not to mention the marine life that was contaminated. However, BP has taken little action and even less responsibility. It can be argued that it is equally perverse that the event was not made subject to international scrutiny but into an economic case study. Tobacco manufacturers gain massive revenue from cigarettes but never allude to the fact that smoking on a large scale is deadly and contributes to climate change. There have been many campaigns against smoking and raising awareness of the health risks. However, none of these have ever been government initiatives. Aside from smoking bans in public places and restaurants the effect it has environmentally is often overlooked due to the monopoly of power tobacco still holds. Similarly, governments around the world are often reluctant to invest in nuclear science and very eager to invest in off shore drilling. Coal revolutionized industry and petroleum was an alternative to whale oil. They have been used and remain in use all the while being used up because of the impact they have had. Too often cold war fears are played upon to hinder development for the future, one which will not be sustainable if green energy sources are the only alternative to fossil fuels. These green energy sources (solar, thermal, hydro and wind) are not nearly develop enough to be sustainable on an international level. Although leaving a far smaller ecological impact in terms of construction and emission; using the four pillars of green energy would rival the ecological print of a nuclear plant but would not come close to producing the
same energy. However, alternatives such as nuclear fission, small modular reactors (SMR), and offshore reactors that are constantly cooled by the ocean have only begun to show their true potential. The insistence green politics and green parties have upon alternative energy sources. The construction projects such as the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in China is a true innovation and took only fifteen years to construct the turbine dam which in four years produces the same amount of energy as 84 million tons of coal. However, how many places is such an initiative possible? There are six regions in the world where solar energy could be harvested at optimum quantities. The figure is a fraction of that for wind power. Perhaps more interesting would be to reverse the question in how many places are such initiatives impossible? The Three Gorges Dam project from construction to production (1994-2009) cost was equivalent to 26 billion US dollars. The United States military budget is 692 billion US dollars annually. It would take twenty-seven ‘Three Gorges Damesque’ projects to reach the monetary equivalent of one year’s worth of American military spending. In contrast, Ningde, China’s biggest to-be nuclear plant in terms of megawatts cost 7.6 billion US dollars and is very near completion after only four years of construction. In this case, it would take 91 such nuclear plants to reach the US American military expenditure. The 692 billion is 4.7% of the American GDP. Now let’s take a country whose GDP is the amount that the United States spends on its military annually. Botswana investments will be quite different than those of the United States but none the less has a demand for electricity and fuel. Going back to the for-mentioned question; how many places are such initiatives impossible? The answer: quite a few regions in the world cannot afford green energy
infrastructure. Those who can however are often given a hard time or threatened with sanctions if their nuclear program is continued. Such is the case of Iran where the government’s claims to be developing the enriched uranium for a nuclear plant are under immense international criticism. Both India and Pakistan claimed to be developing enriched uranium for the same purpose as Iran but did so for the use of security. However, the United States remains the only country to have ever used it aggressively. It was shortly after the cold war that nuclear energy was put into use as it is now but what countries are allowed to develop their program for energy use is still governed by cold war sentiments. On a final note, I realize that a blank has been left in the title and is done so because I personally am not avidly pro-nuclear and realize its dangers and limitations. However, I also realize its potential and its sustainability. Dr. Strangelove said it to himself (literally) in 1964 ‘Mr. President nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely.’
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news & opinion
Liever Belg dan nationalist harry cross
Belgium’s political crises are now record-breaking. In March, the country overtook Iraq’s record for the longest period of time between a general election and the forming of a government. Iraq had managed 249 days and at the time of writing, Belgium’s new record is still being recorded. Having worked several years on the Kattenberg Page, it has always been difficult for me, and fellow writers, to summarise the political situation simply in an article, for the simple reason that it isn’t at all simple. However, on the verge of leaving Belgium after 18-years, I have still drawn several impressions of the politics here that put the current crisis in context and which often, to my mind, conflict with what is usually reported by the media about the situation. It is often reported that there is a linguistic division in Belgium in which the Flemish north are increasingly compelled to secede from the country to form an independent Flemish state. This linguistic division, resulting in an unwillingness of French- and Flemish- speaking parties to negotiate in government is usually blamed for the numerous political crises. However, this is to misunderstand the situation. The divisions in Belgian politics are between political, and not linguistic, factions. This has been the case since the creation of the country in the 19th century and before the creation of regions in the country. However, differences in wealth and the social structure in the two regions mean that the major right-wing parties (most notably the Christian Democrats) are almost exclusively Flemish and the major leftwing parties (notably the Socialist Party) are almost exclusively Walloon. Meanwhile, smaller nationalist groups use the differences of these factions to pretend that there is an irreconcilable cultural division in the country. Trying to reconcile Belgium’s many parties has, in the last century, prompted several drastic reforms of
the state, most notably in the move from a unitary state to a federal one. Despite claims by Flemish nationalists that there is Flemish-Walloon opposition rather than left-right, until 2010 no major party in an election has openly advocated the division of the country. However, describing the divisions as cultural plays into the hands of these nationalist groups, who want to create the impression that Belgium’s linguistic communities cannot unite. The Flemish nationalist movement has grown steadily through modern history and has often been associated with the political right. Until recently, by far the largest party advocating an independent Flemish state was Vlaams Belang (VB, previously called Vlaams Blok), a successor party to Flemish fascist groups that had collaborated with the Nazi occupation of Belgium during the Second World War. Recently, however, N-VA emerged from the June 2010 elections as the first party in Flanders and in Belgium, with 27.8 and 17.4% of the vote respectively. NieuwVlaamse Alliantie, an advocate of Flemish separatism led by Bart De Wever is now the largest party in the country. This was hailed in June as a victory for the Flemish cause and perhaps the beginning of the end for Belgium. It is hard to understand where N-VA’s success originated from. The party having won only 1 seat of 150 in the chamber of deputies in the 2003 general election;. iIt now holds
27 seats (during the 2007 election it was in electoral cartel with the Flemish Christian Democrats). As the name suggests, it is an alliance of supporters of separatism who are not necessarily monolith in their political ideology. An understanding of the political climate in June 2010 calls into question how far N-VA’s electoral success indicates a desire for secession among the Flemish electorate. N-VA received less than 3 out of 10 Flemish votes. Still a considerable amount that made it the first party, but it is by no means a majority. Its popularity comes from a more moderate approach to separatism than the fascist parties that typically embody the cause. De Wever’s immediate agenda is allegedly to push only for reform of the state that grants more autonomy to the different regions, seeing separation from the Belgian state as a gradual process. Many voters have been attracted to this policy; state reform has frequently been an answer to earlier political crises in Belgium. Many said voters will have come from the Christian Democrats, whose support was decimated in response to their perceived failure in the previous government. However, the vote of VB also declined drastically due to many supporters tactically moving to N-VA which, because of its lack of overtly fascist agenda, gives a better public image for the cause of partition. Many votes registered for N-VA will have also been in pro-
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news & opinion test at the repeated collapse of governments and political deadlocks, urging the other parties to rally for unity. On top of that, N-VA’s 17.4% of the Belgian vote does not include the 13.6% of the electorate who either did not vote or voted incorrectly (this number is considerably smaller than in most countries due to enforced obligatory voting). The recent failure of several governments ensures that in this group are a high number of individuals who refuse to select a party out of protest. Furthermore, the fact that political parties operate on a regional, rather than national level hides the fact that N-VA does not represent the largest political faction in the country. The Walloon Parti Socialiste (PS) finished just behind N-VA with 26 seats. Together with the Flemish Socialist Party, Socialistische Partij Anders (SP.A) the Belgian socialists hold 39 seats, putting them far ahead of N-VA, which has no Walloon equivalent. As an outsider, it is hard to see why parties such as PS and SP.A do not go before the electorate as a single entity to emerge as a strong first party. Bart De Wever announced he would enter coalition talks with PS as the second party of Belgium and the first of Wallonia. However, more than 9-months (and several broken records) later and no agreement has been reached. But for nationalists such as De Wever, unsuccessful coalition talks again strengthen the claim that Belgium cannot act as a united national entity. Once again, if the situation is being sold as a product of linguistic rather than political divisions, this helps the conveying of that message and it is increasingly asked whether he has any immediate desire to arrive at an agreement and form a government. Meanwhile, PS presents a stumbling block to negotiations by insisting that SP.A be included in any eventual coalition, which N-VA refuses. While a further complication to negotiations, the fact that central to the talks is the largest francophone party’s attempts to in-
clude a Flemish one in negotiations further dispels the idea that there is antipathy between the two language groups. This crisis differs from the previous periods without a government. A nationalist party in Flanders has managed to hijack the country’s political divides, greatly aided by voter dissatisfaction. Another election has been talked of to break the deadlock. It is possible that N-VA would not fare well: it was voted in by a strange mix of traditional supporters, disgruntled moderates, protest voters and fascists, which does not suggest a lasting core electorate. Those who turned to N-VA as an alternative to other parties that have proved ineffective at leading governments will now find an N-VA– led 9 months (and counting) without national government ridiculous. Many Flemings feel their vote has been taken hostage by N-VA. N-VA has fared well in polls cast by Belgian news corporations since the election. But unfortunately for those who favour the party for its moderate approach to partition, Bart De Wever is having great difficulty appearing as a moderate proponent of Flemish separatism. Recently, for instance, he was moved to tears by a eulogy he read at the funeral of a former member of the fascist party VB, Marie-Rose Morel. Another election with no government formed since the last previous vote would be to admit the failure of the different parties following the mandate given to them by the Belgian people. Another possibility is the formation of a government, with or without N-VA, has Elio Di Rupo (leader of PS) as Prime Minister and leader of the socialists. Were Bart De Wever to eventually form a government, the period of immediate crisis created by a lack of government would be over, but it would give him a platform for further policies that move toward separatism It is, on the whole unlikely that Belgium will split unless the structure of the state has been seriously transformed. This is largely due to the ambiguous status of Brussels and the surrounding communes in the event of such a split. Its own region, separate from Flanders and
Wallonia, Brussels is nevertheless 91% French speaking and its population are unlikely to form their allegiance with an independent Flemish state. For the Flemish, Brussels is central to their cause. It is the capital of their region (despite not being part of it) and is the location of the Flemish parliament. Since Brussels is historically Flemish-speaking, Flemings are unlikely to accept a split in which they do not receive the city. It is clear speaking with Belgians and understanding the political environment, that N-VA’s success, while it representative of a stronger nationalist movement than in most of Europe, does not represent as great a willingness to secede that it suggests. N-VA becoming Belgium’s first party is at best a product of disgruntlement with repeated failures of the conventional parties. This should be a warning signal to them, reminding politicians that the political divisions of Flanders and Wallonia have to be overcome lest they be turned into national divisions by right-wing groups who are laying siege to the idea of Belgian identity. However, most Walloons and Flemings are unlikely to hope for as radical and fantastical a situation as a partition of the country. There is a saying in Flanders: “liever Belg, dan nationalist.” The current period without government has prompted more demonstrations than any in recent years, as Belgians have recognised the strong danger posed by a powerful nationalist party. When the sense of unity that seems to blossom without government is brought into it, Belgium’s future can once again be assured.
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news & opinion
As the Dominoes Topple…. leila elabbady
Throughout the Cold War, the world watched the domino effect as many countries in the East began to adopt communism. Today we are watching a different domino effect as the Middle Eastern regimes tumble to calls for democracy. 2011 has been the year for change, with Tunisia and Egypt’s governments being overthrown within the first two months. One by one, the rest of the Arab states are following in their footsteps. Since February 17, 2011, Libyans have been rioting against current leader Muammar Gaddafi. Government supporters, known as the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, have taken control over Tripoli (the capital), as well as the majority of the western country. In the east, the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council tries to organize itself in order to oust Libya’s power-hungry leader. Due to the horrifying attacks on the civilians with over 100 casualties, NATO has recently taken control of the US-led military operation. The rest of the international community, including the Arab League and the African countries, have supported the UN Security Council resolution calling for a no-fly zone over Libya where military action will be taken in case of any violations. Gaddafi’s regime has begun to crumble from within, evidenced by Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa’s resignation while the West increases military and diplomatic pressure on Gaddafi’s leadership. The endless ruling terms throughout the Middle East make it harder to change current regimes in the region. Similarly to other Middle Eastern governments, the thought of organized riots brings leaders to a stand-still, where unfortunately they resort to violence. 7 innocent Bahraini people were fired at and killed from above while camping in the country’s capital, Manama. Not only did Bahrain’s Crown Prince try appeasing his people by giving $3,000 to each person, but he also called upon Saudi Arabian forces to aid against anti-government
demonstrations that started on February 14, 2011. 1,000 Sunni Saudi troops were sent to protect governmental facilities from mainly Shiite protestors. Surprisingly, the United States did not see this as an invasion, and merely asked those involved to “show restraint and respect the rights of the people of Bahrain.” As the Bahraini’s continue to protest, the government continues to weaken; making the next few weeks crucial in determining the future of this small country. People across the Middle East are trying to make a statement, but their leaders do not seem to be listening. Syrians gather calling for “freedom” and “change”, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad answers by considering the removal of the emergency law that has been in place since 1963. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Yemenis are protesting for and against President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his regime. An obvious first step towards resolving the current problem in Yemen would be for the opposition and President Saleh’s government to hold talks. Oddly enough, after their first talk, they agreed to “avoid confrontation”. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi claims that his people “love [him] and would die for [him]” while thousands of Libyans are fighting to overthrow his rule. Jordanians, Kuwaitis, Saudi Arabians, Algerians…everyone is calling for change and asking to be heard. This authoritarian rule is not what the people want, and as a government representing the people, it is probably a good idea to listen. People want to be able to elect their own leader, and with a considerably young Middle Eastern population, many people have never voted in their lives. Just a few weeks ago, Egyptians had their first elections where the people voted on amending the constitution or changing it all together. It was the first time my grandparents had been able to vote. I believe it is a violation of human rights for a country to go on for so long with the same regime and not let their people voice their opinion. Not
only that, but change takes time. As the dominoes keep falling around the Middle East, the Western world needs to give these nation states some time to get back up. The American constitution was not written overnight, and neither will theirs. As an international community, our job is to make sure the people are able to protest peacefully and safely. However, it is beyond our right to decide the leader of these nations; it is up to the citizens of the individual countries. Choosing who to lead is not our responsibility, but it is their right.
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news & opinion
Western Intervention: Encouraging Violence, Discouraging Democracy shawn d’souza
In western society, we look down upon centuries of old opinions in which the people of conquered lands are inferior to us. However, our politics tell us a different tale. They project the image that we still seem to find them undeserving or unworthy of democracy. In the past half-century, the great irony is that western nations, namely the United States of America, have been accused of promoting and imposing democratic ideals throughout the world. But to what extent have these attempts been successful? And how closely do they resemble a legitimate democracy? One would have to be naïve to believe that the recently invaded countries of Iraq and Afghanistan are even remotely democratic. In truth, the only democracy that currently exists in the Middle East is the state of Israel; a nation that, despite massive US monetary aid, conducts internal affairs independently. It is my belief that talks in the western world about foreign intervention and “humanitarian wars” (a contradiction in itself) arises from remnants of imperial sentiment, and a subconscious notion of cultural and racial superiority. There has been far too much emphasis placed on stability over democracy, a way of thinking in which I wholeheartedly disagree with. Among the areas afflicted by western intervention are Latin America, Asia, and Africa. These areas currently account for 5.5 billion people, or roughly 81% of the world population. Therefore, in a world where the powerful 20% dictate
their will over the other 80%, what role has western intervention played, and how will this role change in the future? Past examples of European and American interference do not bode well for its modern argument. Since the late 1800s, the United States has been intervening in Latin America to protect American interests and topple ill-favoured regimes. In the early 20th century, the US occupied Nicaragua for 20 years, Haiti for 19 years, and the Dominican Republic for 8 years. The 1898 occupation of Puerto Rico still continues today, where a rebellion for independence in 1950 was crushed. The US also set out to oust democratically elected governments in the region, like Guatemala in 1954 and Chile in 1973. There are numerous other instances where governments were toppled and locals were killed for the sake of protecting US interests. What is perhaps even more shocking is that events similar to these still occur today! The Bush Administration, in 2002, tried and failed to overthrow the democratically elected Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In 2004, the US government removed and ex-
iled Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Betrand Aristide, to South Africa. With the 2010-2011 general elections in Haiti, Aristide had planned to return to his home country to run. However, US President Barack Obama asked his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma to delay Aristide’s departure in order to keep him from participating in the election, and as a result, his party was not on the ballot. Although when Aristide arrived in Port-au-Prince airport, he was greeted by thousands of supporters who condemned the democracy-hindering interference. Speaking of South Africa, Nelson Mandela is currently seen around the world as a symbol of freedom, peace, and human rights. However, during his efforts to liberate Black Africans in White-dominated apartheid South Africa, the nations of the West labelled him as a terrorist. In fact, up until 2008, Mandela and members of his party were barred from entering the United States without a special waiver from the US Secretary of State. In both examples of intervention (one by force, one by political action), the will of the West was enforced to the detriment to the actual desires of the domestic masses. When protests broke out in Bahrain, Saudi Arabian military forces were sent in to put down the unrest. However, the West did not say a single thing about this action. This can very logically be attributed to Saudi oil and the close relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. With Libya, the situation is quite different. The issue of whether the West has a right to intervene is currently contentious due to the NATO imposition of a no-fly zone, with some governments discussing the possibilities of supplying the rebels or possibly even providing ground troops. Considering NATO’s track record in terms of bombings, there is certainly (continued on page 10)
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news & opinion
(continued from page 9) reason for many to be reluctant. For example, in NATO’s 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia, many of the people killed by airstrikes were reported to be both Serbian and Albanian civilians. According to the Yugoslav Committee for Cooperation with UNICEF, the civilian death toll as a result of the bombings was more than 1,200. Military historian Michael Oren has said that for every Serbian soldier killed by NATO in 1999, four civilians died. In addition to deaths from the bombings, electricity and water supplies were destroyed, as well as television stations. With so much destruction to its name, it may be difficult to have faith in any NATOled attack on Libya. The excuse is often made that foreign intervention is needed to prevent the atrocities being committed by Gaddafi to his own people. However, the situation in Libya is far from the worst in the world today,
especially when the country ranks the highest in the Middle East on the Human Development Index. It seems to me that the West is only interested in “humanitarian wars” when it comes to oil rich countries. I agree with former Director of the CIA’s CounterTerrorism Centre Robert Grenier when he said, “Clearly, Libyans must be the agents of their own liberation, if free they are to be. For this, moreover, they will have to pay a heavy price in blood.” This conflict, whether it has a clearly more favourable side or not, is a Libyan civil war. Therefore, it must be fought by Libyans. Lastly, Western powers must be very careful in regards to supplying the rebels. The rebel forces in Libya, who are significantly divided along tribal lines, are currently unified under the goal of removing Gadaffi. Once this goal has been achieved, there is no telling what government (if one at all) would emerge in any sort of democratic process. It would be extremely unwise to support a future rebel regime without knowing for sure what they will actually stand for. The massive protests throughout the Arab World are mere reactions to generations of western intervention in the region. Propped up authoritar-
ian leaders supported by the West, like Mubarak, are being overthrown from the people who actually live under them. It is time for the top 20% of the world to stop deciding the fate of the other 80. It is time to allow all countries to determine their future for themselves. Despite the negativity of this article, I am optimistic regarding the future of foreign policy. This is mostly because the West, especially the United States, will find its role becoming less prominent as countries from the former Second and Third Worlds rise in influence. The United States is likely to remain the enforcer of foreign policy around the world for several more decades, but it will increasingly have to be more accountable as it faces more opposition. Brazil, India, and China are all economically booming. Being previously “conquered”, colonized, and occupied, the three have opposed any measure of foreign intervention in the affairs of an independent nation. It seems that these rising powers are drawing from their culture and history, which do not have an aspect indicative of an aggressive and interventionalist power. Only the future will tell, but for me, I look ahead with positive eyes. Welcome to a new era of international politics.
FDR and the New Deal phoebe galt
From the Editor: Pheobe presented this original oratory at the NESDA Spring Speech and Debate Tournament in Prague, Czech Republic in early April. We find ourselves yet again victims of reckless bank action, an inflated stock market, and leaders whose economic knowledge is lacking. We must look back to the Great Depression. We find ourselves, as a global population, growing fatter and fatter, so we must look back to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. We find ourselves destroying our planet at such a rate that scientists estimate the death of all rain-
forests within 40 years. We must look back to the Civilian Conservation Corps. Here is: “Why FDR’s “Civilian Conservation Corps” Would Help Our World Today”. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt – FDR – was inaugurated as President of the United States on March 4th, 1933, he promised change. Roosevelt had strong ambitions for his country, and, following the 1929 stock market crash, he made his “greatest primary task to put people to work”. In his first 100 days of Congress, Roosevelt forced through 15 “New Deal” recovery programs. His new Civilian Conservation Corps (the CCC), – arguably the
most successful and well-loved program of the New Deal, – captures the gist of his plans. Firstly, the CCC single-handedly supplied work to millions, and spawned the birth of and the support for clean, forward-thinking industries. Secondly, it worked towards both conservation and environmental protection, and lastly, helped to decrease health problems in the greater population. I’m sure you’d all agree that it is high time that the UN organized a modern, global version of this Civilian Conservation Corps as an NGO. Here are some reasons why I believe this new Corps would help our world today.
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news & opinion To begin, the CCC performed around 300 types of work projects. They accomplished great achievements in structural improvements like bridges; transportation work like airport landing fields, and 125,000 miles of roads. They worked towards flood and erosion control through dams, terracing, irrigation and drainage; improvements in forest culture, by planting trees and shrubs, beginning seed collections and performing plant nursery work; and forest protection through insect and disease control. They practiced fire prevention and fire fighting. They built public camps and picnic grounds; helped wildlife through stream improvement and mosquito control; and conducted surveys and emergency work. There is not a person on this earth who could dispute the crucial importance of those projects, both then and now. Life in the CCC was also good. The work was hard, but rewarding for the men, who were clothed, given food, and even housed in military barracks. In the evenings, there was time for games, and, most importantly, education classes. Many enrollees also put on plays and variety shows, which would, in a modern Corps, foster appreciation for other cultures and work towards the eradication of racism. Now, in terms of the CCC’s goals that I mentioned… Firstly, in terms of putting people to work, the CCC succeeded, providing almost 3.5 million with employment. Though, granted, that number is only a small percentage of the 616 million currently unemployed worldwide, if applied on a global scale, a larger dent in that number would be made, particularly if there were a time limit, as this would free up more spaces for new enrollees. The new Corps should also adopt a similar policy of mandatory percentages of the salary to be sent home to the families of enrollees, for this helps to ensure the wise spending and investment of that money. It should
also accept enrollees of all nationalities, ages, marital statuses, and certainly of both genders, for that is the modern way. Following the Depression, when the job market picked up, businesses indicated a preference for hiring a man who had been in the CCC because they would know what a full day’s work meant, and how to carry out orders. Furthermore, the CCC provided newfound support for environmentally friendly businesses: Their building of dams led to hydro-electric power, and their replanting of grazing land promoted environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. If the NGO today guaranteed that many of the Corps’ projects would be, for example, to install wind turbines in windy, coastal areas, or to rig up solar panels in deserts, atop homes and in cities, then this modern-day Corps would foster an increased use of clean energy. Secondly, in terms of environmental protection, the CCC again succeeded. By the end of the program in 1941, enrollees had, amongst other things, planted 2.5 billion trees and protected 40 million acres of farmland from erosion. Today, the environmental threats we face are far more severe than they were in the days of FDR and the CCC. Immediate action is necessary. Habitat loss, pollution, species extinction, natural-resource collapse and climate change must be reversed. A modern-day Corps would take tremendous strides towards accomplishing such feats. In fact, the CCC’s reforestation program is responsible for more than half the reforestation, public and private, ever accomplished in US history. Applying this worldwide would help halt the shrinking of natural forest habitats and rainforests, and would provide more arable land in regions bordering desert, which would, in turn, provide further employment for people in those areas.
Another benefit of the CCC’s environmental protection was that it increased the public’s interest in nature and the environment – the most notable examples being the creation of 800 state parks and 52,000 acres of campgrounds. These increased the public’s healthy interaction with nature, which led to greater health benefits for the general public, and so, it’s not so hard to see that… Lastly, in terms of increasing physical health, the CCC was, yet again, successful. Each enrollee had to pass a physical exam and/or go through a five-day boot camp with physical training and orientation. These fitness opportunities, as well as the medical care that all CCC enrollees received, would of course be applied today. I firmly believe that a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps would bring to our world true accomplishments for the environment, economy, and health of its people. It is now time that our world adopted this innovation.
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ISB is not always a Safe Place matthew finney
Everywhere you look – student handbooks, faculty resources, admissions materials – they tell us that ISB is a “Safe Place”. But what does that actually mean? I was recently shocked by the deep-rooted and widespread use of offensive language in the High School. A student for whom I had the utmost respect jokingly referred to a teacher as “such a fag” for leading a reflection exercise. Then, in the reflection, another student wrote that a classmate was “a fag”. More students came over to laugh at it. After the excitement had died down, I discreetly ripped up the paper and recycled it. More extensive than just derogatory comments towards homosexuals, it has also become commonplace to hear verbal attacks against nationalities, religions and races. You may have heard of the incident last year, when, in a HS science class, a non-religious student claimed he couldn’t learn about evolution because he was Mormon and it was against his religion. This provoked a ‘heated discussion’ between that student, Mormon students in the room, and the substitute teacher. And despite a recent visit to our campus by disabled advocate Rick Hansen, students are increasingly using the words “special” and “retarded”, among others, to indicate being lame or stupid. A BRIEF HISTORY OF SAFE PLACE AT ISB In 1999, a group of committed students banded together in our middle and high school to form Safe Place. Safe Place was founded “to foster more open discussion of sexual identity issues and to eradicate homophobia in the school,” but the students involved eventually broadened the mission. They dedicated themselves to challenging hurtful language and behavior
and raising awareness for diversity issues. Although the student initiative started in ’99, “Project Safe Place gradually emerged because some faculty members were growing increasingly concerned at the use of homophobic language by students. It was the use of this word ‘gay’ to put down anything that seemed negative,” recalls retired English teacher James Bell. From 1999-2003, Safe Place was “a vital part of ISB,” says former Head of HS English, Jim Reese. School employment policy adopted in 2001 partially thanks to Safe Place prohibits discrimination “on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, religion or marital status.” The group helped start a chapter of PSP at the British School of Brussels and spoke to a group of teachers at St. John’s International School in Waterloo about PSP. Their efforts drew the attention of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS), which gave Mr. Reese and others an ECIS Fellowship Grant in 2000. A product of this was the ECIS Project Safe Place Handbook, written as in a collaborative effort between PSP members and allies at ISB which included a former head of the High School, and other members of the extended community. “We were/are very proud of it,” Reese says. Yet ECIS never published the handbook. “They could never tell me why not and they put obstacles in the way for two years following its completion. I finally gave up trying. It was a very frustrating experience for us.” After this, the role and importance of Safe Place at ISB in the school culture largely diminished. The group lost a key ally in the administration; teachers came and went, slowly taking knowledge of and commitment to Safe Place wherever they went next. Other
faculty felt the name and the movement had been tainted by negative student responses. Student groups evolved to deal with other issues. After successfully hosting a National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) diversity workshop, the administration switched from a proactive to a reactive strategy, only dealing with the issues Safe Place attempted to combat after they created serious disciplinary problems or threats to the safety of a particular student. THE CURRENT STATE OF SAFE PLACE As an organization, Safe Place no longer exists on campus. Occasionally, faculty leaders have intervened in situations where an employee experienced discrimination or a parent was concerned about making ISB a Safe Place for his or her child. Although one former coordinator sees this as evidence that ISB’s moved on from Safe Place, I see it as concrete proof that there’s still a need for Safe Place at ISB. The reality of the situation: the faculty and administration is unable to intervene in every case of bullying at ISB. This is why Safe Place is so important. Even more so at a school like ISB. According to Jim Leipold, Class of ’80, “ISB has always been a community made up largely of families who have been uprooted from their homes and homelands, and who find themselves temporarily in Brussels. That dislocation has always made fitting in at ISB particularly important. Having left behind the places where we belonged, each of us came to ISB for the first time with a tremendous need to fit in, to be liked, and to be included. ISB has always been a great and happy place for students who find a group of friends where they feel as if they belong, and it has always
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community been a very, very lonely place for those who don’t. Project Safe Place is all about reaching out to people to make sure that everyone feels welcome and safe, and that no one is isolated at the margin.” Reese agrees. “In international schools like ISB, where families and teachers come and go so frequently, there’s an especially strong need to have something like Project Safe Place – it should be part of the culture of the school.” REDEFINING THE CULTURE OF A SCHOOL How do we make Safe Place a part of ISB’s culture? First, it requires a legitimate commitment to change from the administration. According to Reese, “Every school needs to have a group of concerned individuals who are able to facilitate discussion of difficult issues. No school is immune to prejudice or bullying or the harmful effects of exclusion; if schools don’t confront these issues, then, in my opinion, they are not doing their job to ensure every child can reach his or her potential.” This rings true at ISB. Too often the community has an attitude perceived as “ISB is an International School, so it doesn’t and won’t happen here.” It does happen here. And ISB’s administrators should make a targeted effort to confront bullying and exclusion as it pertains to harmful language and offensive gestures affecting groups on campus (i.e., bullying is not just what one student writes on another student’s Facebook wall). The administrators are the facilitators of a conversation about bullying, multinationalism, sexuality, and wider issues at ISB, whether it means providing a Safe Place to meet, funds for resources, or compulsory training for all faculty. It takes a committed faculty as well. Bell recalls, “Eventually, in the MS the idea was established that every faculty member, if he wished, could declare his/her room to be a Safe Place. The idea of that was that putting down oth-
ers would not be tolerated and students were free to be themselves.” Faculty need to take a stand, stop ignoring what they see and hear inside and outside their classrooms, and take the issue seriously. It is important to note that some faculty members have already been doing this, and I thank and applaud them for their courageous efforts and cheer them on while they continue to encourage similar behavior among their colleagues. Faculty can also facilitate this ‘conversation’ – a successful rebirth of Project Safe Place will need faculty advisors and coordinators who keep the movement going even as the students come and go. As for students – we drive the movement. We keep it current. We make an effort to change our responses and our attitudes. We let our friends and peers know that “Saying that was not cool.” We lead the Project Safe Place meetings, we attend the events, and we use it as an open forum where no idea is stupid, no subject is taboo, and no student is too small or too unimportant to have his or her opinions heard by those on campus who make the decisions. “By not speaking up when a peer uses such derogatory expressions, you contribute to the problem, even though you may not be saying such things yourself,” concludes one ISB student, who wishes to remain anonymous. “And I definitely agree that the pervasive use of homophobic language at ISB is an issue which needs to be addressed both by faculty and conscientious students.” Our constantly changing staff and student population makes the Safe Place “message” a process of on-going awareness raising and education – for faculty, for students, for parents, and even for administrators. ISB is a place for lifelong learning: sure it’s about learning math, history, and science, but it’s also, and just as importantly, about learning about our differences, our commonalities, and ourselves.
When Leipold visited ISB in 1999 to speak to members of Project Safe Place, he said this about ISB: “The ISB community can be proud that it has taken the initiative to start a dialogue about including and excluding and fitting in, and about words that hurt and words that isolate. All students who are at ISB now can know that they are valued and that there is a safe place for them on campus. That is what ISB has always stood for. Some things never change.” I wish it were that simple. Over the last few months several students have approached me about bullying and harassment in their daily lives. I do what I can, but I can’t do it alone. We need to be aware of how comments we make can affect people from different parts of the world; people of different nationalities, races, and religions. As the current students of ISB, we need to do our part to make sure that the school continues to remain an inclusive place where all students can feel welcome and achieve success. Bullying of any form should not be tolerated at ISB. Each of us has the responsibility to ourselves and our peers to consider our actions effects’ on other people and stop bullying at ISB. It’s that simple. ______________________________ Jim Leipold is the Executive Director of the Association for Legal Career Professionals and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the ISB Foundation. Jim Reese is currently Curriculum and Staff Coordinator at Washington International School and holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from George Washington University. Many Thanks to James Bell, Jeannie Cross, Jim Leipold, Angela Purcell, Jim Reese, Tom Smith, et al., for their invaluable support in writing (and editing!) this article.
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Spring Sports 2011 leila elabbady and patrick tan
It’s that time of the year again: the start of a fresh new season. The fresh feeling of early morning dew on the turf, the bright lights of the tennis bubble, the cool air breezing by as we run, the clean ping sound as the driver makes contact with the golf ball, and the passion burning in our eyes all mean that spring sports are here! This spring we’ve got a lot going on with several of our ISB sports team, and as part of the ISB community make sure YOU come out and support your school any time you can! BASEBALL One of ISB’s Varsity Teams who hit great success in the 2010 season was the baseball team (no pun intended). Game after game, homerun after homerun, the Varsity Baseball team has never slowed down in any inning! After losing many “key players from key positions” last year, Varsity Captain Kit Greenop feels that the team will remain strong he feels that the newcomers are strong and everyone is “stepping it up”! The baseball team will compete head to head with 12 other international schools from Europe and North Africa. “We will have the target on our backs at ISST’s this year, but that gives us all the motivation we could need to make sure we’re good enough to go all the way.” The team is determined to defend their ISST’s Division I title, but they know it doesn’t come without effort. With 3-4 two hour practices a week, the boys are at top physical condition and are more than motivated to do everything that will help them defend their title! Their captain adds, “I am looking forward the most to seeing the improvement of the team, which I know will come with time, we work very hard every day on perfect practice, and I’m excited to start seeing that pay off in the season.” Not only that, but our ISB baseball team is a group of
internationally aware humanitarians as they organized a fundraiser for their recent game to support the Japanese people. Each time one of our players makes a home run people from the ISB community will sponsor them, raising money for the cause. Keep it up guys and you’re sure to bring home the gold. Go Raiders! BOYS SOCCER/FOOTBALL From what I’ve experienced, I know that Coach Kaisin is an inspiring coach who expects results from student athletes, no matter what sport he’s coaching. I am confident the boy’s soccer/football will live up to these expectations! Similarly to the baseball team, the boy’s soccer/football team has suffered a loss of numerous seniors who greatly contributed in the past season. Nevertheless, thes boys will step it up led by their captains and other upperclassman on the team. With a slightly young team this season, the boys head to Ramstein for the DoDD’s European Championships to face a strong home team. After a tough loss against Ramstein in a pre-season match, Varsity Captain, Christian Faaborg-Anderson says, “I am sure we will be able to develop as a team, and produce a much more favorarble result when
it really counts.” Aside from the battles across the pitch, the team is one that is quite close from the numerous hours at practice etc and their captain is also, “looking forward to not only having a fun time on the field, but also off the field with bus rides, team dinners, and the DoDD’s Championship”. With a lot of good matches lined up for the boys, their hard work will pay off throughout the season as their “most important priority as a team is of course to win as many games as possible and hopefully the championship!” Go Raiders! GIRLS SOCCER/FOOTBALL The Girls Varsity Soccer/Football team is yet another team that is very close together as Varsity Captain Monica Rangel-Calderas says that, “The soccer/football team has always been recognized for how much of a family we are. A lot of the players on the team this spring season were on the team during the fall, and the majority have been on the team for at least two years now so we’re all pretty close.” It is evident that their strong bond is beneficial on the field as they opened their season by putting six goals into the back of the net against Bitburg! The team’s main goal is focused around dominating the
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community DoDD’s League and keep up their 1 year undefeated reign rolling. They will go head to head against many strong DoDD’s Schools at their European Championships at Ramstein where they look forward to facing the home defending champions, Ramstein. The team sends a challenge to them, “Ramstein better be on the lookout because we’re coming back to win the title that we should have won last year!” With this kind of motivation and attitude, I have no doubt that they can put Ramstein back in their place! Go Raiders! TENNIS As the 2010 Division I ISST’s defending champions, the ISB Tennis team opened the fresh seasoning season with a spirited drive to stay the best. Not only do we have many power hitting returning players from the fall but strong new members have joined to add to the dynamic atmosphere in the vibrant bright-lighted bubble. Varsity Captain Patrick Tan tells us that the team’s “goal is to remain undefeated in the regular season and follow it up with a clean sweep at the fast and high-bouncing hard court ISST’s Championship at ACS Cobham. As the defending Division I Champions, our opponents will look at us as the ‘team to beat’. We’ll try to not let them down!” With morning and afternoon practices the tennis team members seem to eat, play, and dream tennis, but with a strong, dedicated, and cooperative group of athletes this season will surely be a success. Go Raiders! LACROSSE Lastly, the spring season also brings the start of a new Lacrosse season. This group of dedicated guys has had to wake up early for training, followed by a long school day, which I can tell you is not easy. Similar to the golf team, player Lorenzo Cook tells us that “this year’s team is a much smaller (in numbers) than last year. However, the lack of players hasn’t re-
ally been a handicap as we have a lot of speed and good stick work. We’re all pretty good friends, even with some of the age differences.” The team has just recently had a successful annual home tournament against several club teams from England and other European countries. Even so they still have some upcoming matches where they will travel to England looking for revenge! We wish them the best of luck in their training and the final results. Go Raiders! TRACK AND FIELD “Our sport is your team’s punishment,” a slogan which I believe is perfect when referring to the track and field team. To be a track runner you need to really love running around for two hours a day, with sore legs, and sweaty faces. Rain or shine the runners are outside pumping their legs, jogging around our singing softball team, and training for their final tournament. This year ISB is hosting the Track and Field ISST’s tournament in May, where schools from around Europe and Africa will be coming to compete against us. Louis Couture, Varsity Captain and one of our committed runners believes in his team and says, ‘if everyone keeps working hard, we should have no problem achieving great results.’ Unlike most years where the track team is probably our biggest team in terms of numbers, this year’s team is a bit smaller giving everyone a chance to get to know each other and bond as a group. With a tough season ahead of them we wish the track and field team the best of luck! Go Raiders! GOLF Even though they may not be as well known as our other teams, the ISB Golf team is made up of a group of dedicated golfers who spend almost 3 hours every practice out on the greens. Not only is golf a physical sport, but a great part of it is mental strength and concentration. Having the patience to play 18 holes takes a lot of time,
devotion, and effort from these athletes. Unlike Track where the team is made up of over 30 athletes, the golf team consists of 8 players who don’t let their small numbers hinder them! On the contrary, one of the players told us that “As a small team everyone gets to know each other a lot better, especially during our bus rides. Also, the age range isn’t playing a factor; in fact we all learn from each other and give tips along the way.” Just recently our team won against the BSB golf team placing them in a strong standing in terms of competition. Go Raiders! SOFTBALL While running around the track last Tuesday, the only sound that could be heard was the powerful and spirited scream, “V-I-C-T-OR-Y, VICTORY IS OUR BATTLE CRY!” Our Varsity Girls Softball Team went head to head with St. John’s International School and with that much spirit there’s no way they could have lost! Not only is this team training several days a week and playing hard all throughout their games, but being able to sing and cheer the whole time is true school spirit. This kind of attitude along with their high motivation, there’s no doubt that they will be successful! After a competitive week of try outs, team member Adele Clifford says that the team is “talented” and has promising potentials”. With 6 wins and 1 loss the girls seem to be strong competitors for the championship as they’re currently tied in first in their league. If they can keep up their spirit and hard work we hope they can come home with the gold. Go Raiders!
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community & features
Vien Voir, Vien Voir!
A SMALL MAN MAKING A HUGE DIFFERENCE Around this time last year, I went on the ISB Togo Service Trip and in doing so had the pleasure to meet a man who has personally inspired me. Physically, he stood a little bit higher than a hundred sixty centimetres, below average for an African man, but his dreams are far beyond average. His name is Kossi Amlalo Azpankpo or more familiarly known as “Kossi” by all of us. Kossi is probably one of the most cheerful people I have ever met as he never fails to carry a bright smile that automatically puts everyone in a high spirit. “Molo molo” has always been his way of life which is an African Tribal word that translates to something similar to “take it easy” or “relax”. Kossi’s skills as a leader and his personality as a joyful and compassionate person are something that is highly admirable. He is a proud Togolese who takes his national pride to the next level by striving to improve the living conditions of his countrymen. I believe that this is a characteristic of someone who is truly passionate about their country. Kossi was actually able to visit us here in Belgium, in early April and I had the opportunity to sit down with him and ask him a few questions about his recent experiences in Albany, New York and his ambitions for his country. Please note that the interview was conducted in French therefore all quotes will be paraphrased translations. Kossi was the founder and current director of the Éspace Social Organisation in Lomé, Togo, which is the organisation that ISB cooperates with in planning the annual spring break service trip. Éspace Social strives to improve the living conditions in rural village areas in Togo, HIV/AIDS vic-
tims, and handicapped children. When I asked him about his inspiration for his works, he said he felt a “calling” to help others in need and said that his commitment to helping “children rendered vulnerable by poverty and HIV/AIDS truly came from the bottom of my (his) heart ”. Kossi was given a scholarship to study English in the United States and to spend about 6 months in Albany, New York. I asked him what he thought of his new experiences and about his studies in English. He said, “It was definitely positive! I had the opportunity to discover the new language, ‘American English’, but it was difficult to understand the way they spoke and their way of life”. His study of English was unquestionably a challenging task as he had only had previous knowledge of French and various African tribal languages. He came across difficulties in pronunciations of words such as the “th” that precedes words some simple words like “the” and “thing”. With his dedication to his works, Kossi was able to clearly able to overcome the difficulties because there was clear improvement from last year to this year as he went from completely unable to speak to speaking at a high conversation level this year. Culturally, Kossi thought that the biggest difference between the two countries was the pace of everyday life. He saw people driving quickly with one hand on the steering wheel and the other with a McDonald’s Hamburger. Overall, Kossi felt that life was a lot faster paced than in Togo which had the “molo molo” attitude towards daily life. He stated that life in Togo was a lot more “outdoor oriented” and
“opened”, which is obviously due to the difference in climate in the two cultures. When asked about the mentality and personalities of the people in the western culture, he observed that “people did not pay attention to each other on the streets” and he felt that it was as if people were slightly “suspicious” of each. When comparing cultures, I felt that it was important to exploit all the positives of each society. I asked Kossi about what he like the most about the United States and he told me that, “We can find people of ALL colours, ALL nationalities, ALL languages… and that is what I loved the most about the country”. Personally, that is what I also find the most interesting about the country. As the United States has been nicknamed the “melting pot of cultures”, I think that both Kossi and I came to a general consensus about that this was quite a true description. Kossi felt that his experiences in the United States were not only beneficial for him, but for the organisation as a whole. “I believe that my experience in the United States was beneficial for me because I had the oppor-
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community & features tunity to be able to learn English, which I could put into practice and it would’ve been difficult to do so here in Togo. Learning English will help me a lot in my works here in Togo because I will be able to communicate better in my works, especially with ISB and other international English-speaking students who come to help us here in Togo. Being able to work with the English language opens many doors for our organisation to be able to move forward in our humanitarian works in our own country”. Kossi hopes to be able to use his new found knowledge to be able to help his organisation and his people. He also asked that I included a little message of gratitude to all the students at ISB who have
made the organisation possible. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank ISB as a whole for their confidence in and participation with the Éspace Social Organisation for the past years. ISB has worked and contributed greatly for a noble cause which I am very passionate about, and for that reason, I am very grateful. For those of you who are coming to Togo this year, I can assure you that we are currently making sure that everything is in place for you in the coming weeks. Furthermore, I would like to tip my hat to Mme. Colette Schoune who has always been dedicated to our organisation and our cause by leading her group, keeping you organised, and making sure that we never forget a single detail. Akpe kakaka
Colette et akpe kakakakakaka to all the students at ISB!” Kossi’s dedication to his humanitarian services, commitment to his country, leadership in his organisation and generally open and jubilant personality are things that I truly admire. I find it difficult to believe that an individual can be so determined to do such good deeds for people in need and even devote their life to it. He works for a noble cause and strives to ensure an improved life for those who need his help. He is beyond doubt a great inspiration to all of us. Kossi and his smile have positively affected the lives of thousands. One of these thousands was me.
NHS Benefit Concert for Oxfam jaewan bahk
Tuesday, March 15th was a special day for many of ISB’s great student performers. Middle School and High School students alike were able to showcase their admirable talents and contribute to the worthy cause at the NHS Benefit Concert. All of the concert’s proceeds went to Oxfam, an international confederation NGO working with various governments and projects around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. The concert brought together a diverse group of the most entertaining singers and musicians from both the Middle School and High School. The decision was made to invite Middle Schoolers to perform this year as there was no Student Talent Show. These students achieved great success in several talented acts. The various MS and HS performers included a String Quartet, guitarists, singers, and many, many skillful instrumentalists and dancers to applaud after each performance.
This concert proved to be a great success as it raised over 1000€ for Oxfam. The Benefit Concert went beautifully thanks to the ISB Family Association, the ISB
Music Department and Mr. Ed Grody, along with two most amusing MCs that took us through the night: Leila Elabbady and Javier Vega.
4/10/2011 2:04:04 PM
community & features
“Friday” – The Latest Viral Sensation Everybody’s heard about it. Everyone knows about it. Everyone’s talking about it. What am I referring to? The latest viral sensation to hit Youtube; song “Friday” by 13-year-old Californian singer, Rebecca Black. The song was written by Clarence Jey and Patrice Wilson, owners of Ark Music Factory – a record label that revolves around the discovery of ‘new teen sensations’. The video for “Friday” was posted on Youtube January 11, 2011 and was officially released as a single on March 14th. On March 11th, the video’s youtube view count was about 4,000. It now has over 84 million views, over 1.5 million dislikes – officially the most disliked video on youtube, finally a song to beat Justin Bieber’s “Baby” – and has said to be “the worst song ever”. Black’s mother, Georgina Kelly, is said to have paid Ark Music $4,000 for the production of the song and video, which features Black’s family and friends – most famously Benni Cinkle, aka ‘girl in pink’ in the back of the convertible. Some would say a wise investment, as it is estimated that she’s making between $25,000 per week and $1 million in total as the song climbs into the iTunes top 50. Ark Music offered Black a choice of two songs, but she picked “Friday” because “the other song was about adult love – I haven’t experienced that yet. I felt like it was my personality in that song.” Patrice Wilson, co-writer of the ridiculous lyrics, features as a rapper near the end of the video and explained “I wrote the lyrics on a Thursday night going into a Friday. I was writing different songs all night and was like, ‘Wow, I’ve been up a long time and it’s Friday.’ And I was like, wow, it is Friday!” – Clearly a true lyrical genius at work. The song has received its
heaviest criticism on the lyrics – no surprise there. They are said to be “over-simple and repetitive”. In fact, the song is ranked 2nd on a list of “Top 10 Songs with Silly Lyrics”, congratulations to whoever is ranked first. It has also been criticised for its extensive auto-tune. The song first became viral due the attention drawn to it by comedian Michael J Nelson’s twitter account criticism and a Tosh.0 blog post called “Song Writing Isn’t For Everyone”. I’ll agree that the song is pretty awful, and most critics are perfectly accurate, but some are taking it too far. Although it is the internet and she should have expected it, comments such as “I hope you go cut [yourself] and die” and “I hope you cut yourself, and I hope you’ll get an eating disorder so you’ll look pretty” apparently brought the girl to tears. She’s remained strong though, refusing to ‘give in’ and remove the video. Surprisingly, “Friday” has also received lots of support – even if it is for the wrong reasons. Simon Cowell praised her for the song, saying “I love her [and] the fact that she’s gotten so much pub-
licity. People are so upset about the song, but I think it’s hysterical. ... Anyone who can create this much controversy within a week, I want to meet. I love people like that.” So maybe not a whole lot of “I love it” from Simon then? She has however received some feeble praise over her acoustic performance from ABC news; an attempt at responding to auto-tune criticism. Also during that interview, she asked her idol Justin Bieber to do a duet with her, although he has not yet responded to this request. In fact, despite performing a cover of the song at one of his concerts, he posted on his twitter account “Sunday comes after Saturday? Weird.” – OUCH. Say whatever you want about the song, but in the end, I am certainly grateful to her for producing such hysteria, and after all, doesn’t everyone need a song that they secretly listen to on repeat while proclaiming “yeah it hate it!” to everyone else? Admit it, you really love it, and make fun of it too. Especially since making fun of Justin Bieber was so 2010...
4/10/2011 2:04:04 PM
creative & features
The Election To anyone coming in from the outside, the walls of the high school foyer would be hard to miss, being practically plastered with the campaign posters. Each A2 sheet of paper printed in vibrant color shouted out to those passing different slogans, the names of the candidates, and, of course “For Student Council Presidents”, in the event that you somehow had not already figured that out. As my footsteps echo across the tile floor of the foyer, I barely look at the posters, having becoming almost immune after the first week of the campaigning to what they had to say. Still, they added vibrancy to what would have otherwise been a dark and dreary area. Adjusting my two hand hold on my binder and books stacked atop of that, I push open the glass door. A door, which is not as transparent now as it is during most of the year. Other than the few posters that have managed to survive on this popular surface, the glass is covered with florescent stickers. The circular ones in orange and green say, “Michael and Tanya for Presidents”, the square pink and blue stickers boast, “We Represent You! G and E as Presidents!”, and my personal favorite, the white ones, with the lettering the school colors and with the mascot in the background, saying, “Vote Joe and Robert”, only that the ‘V’ was actually a checkmark in a little box. Classic. Over the past weeks the presidential candidates must have gone through thousands of those stickers. Sometimes you’d pass a student with stickers from each candidate pair completely covering his face, or shirt, or pants. Things could get pretty wild with those stickers. Still, they had been a good alternative for sticking on the walls and windows when the teachers had not been quite able to keep people from ripping down the posters of
the candidates they did not like. I push out of main high school building and head for the other building containing most of the science classes and the theater. As I head towards it, I see the place where someone had hung a huge poster up against the glass wall, so that everyone making the practically daily walk from building to building would see it. Notice the had hung, the poster’s not there anymore and I smirk to myself as I recall what it had read: “Harrison, Taylor, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Harding, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Hadley and Depaul”. While the irony was missed on most students, the AP US History teacher had not failed to notice that student council president candidates Joe Hadley and Robert Depaul had been put on a list of all the US Presidents to die while in office. The poster had been removed shortly after it was put up and the principle had made an announcement about being respectful to the campaigns. The door to this building is also covered with stickers and posters. I go though it and turn into the restroom to check up on my hair. Even on the mirrors have slogans been scrawled. Still, ignoring the words I focus on my appearance, though I can’t quite help blocking out an image in my mind from a few years back. It was of my friend who had decided to run at my old school for some position, I can’t even remember which. It was something minor, like secretary of the Student Council or treasurer, not the presidency. Anyways, the poor girl did not have a chance. We all knew that from the beginning, because there was another candidate for the same position who was simply more popular and much better known. Despite it, my friend had gone to the craft store and made campaign hats and buttons which she had handed out with great success at school. I re-
member people swarming to get their hands on one of her hats or buttons, practically fighting each other for them. No one voted for her though, maybe I did, I can’t remember. After the election results came out though, I found her in the bathroom crying and not understanding why she had lost. Funnily enough, right alongside her was one of the presidential candidates who had lost by a margin of less than fifteen votes. That was middle school though, more of a popularity contest. Now that I’m in high school the position of the president has not really changed that much, a bit more power over a few things like dances and charity fund raising. Still, the position seemed more important, something you put on your transcript, something that you can really be proud of, because the voters are not voting you in because you can do back flips down the hall, but because they think you will get the job done best. The bell rings and in the space of about three seconds there is a noise like the sound of a stampeded as students leave classrooms out into the halls. Agreeing with my hair, I leave the bathroom into the stream of jostling students heading towards the theater. I see one of the presidential candidates up ahead. He’s surrounded by four or five friends acting almost like bodyguards as they move the candidate to the theater, keeping hands, either friendly or malicious away from the candidate. It strikes me how pensive he looks, though there is a determination in his eye which is not usually there. He is preparing for the speech that will either make or break his campaign, though I’m sure the words to it have been memorized for days. Entering the vast theater I take my ballot from the teacher at the door and then trickle off into a row and (continued on page 20)
4/10/2011 2:04:05 PM
creative & features (continued from page 19) take a seat, my eyes on the podium mounted upon the stage. I finger
my ballot, ready to vote and be part of the decision that will determine the practically irremovable head of
the Student Council and student representative of the school.
Sparsholt College, Hampshire jennifer light
hope to go there in September 2011. The name of the course that
I will be in is Foundation LandBased Course (FLC)
Fish Food for Thought Introducing â€˜Freedomâ€™ the Fish
04/2011 M. Finney
On Monday March 28th 2011 Taster Day at College. My father dropped me off at 8:45am and I spent the day with the students from the college, going with them to their classes -Agriculture, Animal Care, Horticulture. I made new friends and swapped e-mail addresses and phone numbers. I had lunch with the support group in the cafeteria. The baked potato was delicious. I got assessed at college, so they will know what level I will be at and see what help I might need. I held a baby pig. I saw all kind of animals but I liked the dogs best. They are my favourite animal. I really enjoyed the college. The students and staff were so kind to me and so friendly. Sparsholt is my favourite college. I
4/10/2011 2:04:07 PM
4/10/2011 11:43:16 PM
International School of Brussels High School Journalism April 2011
4/10/2011 11:43:18 PM
The Kattenberg Page