Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Global citizens means global reading

We know we need an awareness of what's going on in the world to understand the world.

Here are some links to short and medium length articles and opinions on events past our borders.  They are all thought-provoking.  The one on the woman who was murdered and found yesterday in Mexico is heartbreaking and inspiring.

Take some notes as you read.  And yes, I know you are not used to doing that, but give it a try.  It will help you for the Quiz on Monday and believe it or not, I do want you to do well.

All best,


This one connects to our discussions of social media, and unrest in China.

These two cover the murder in Mexico of this very brave politician.  Feels great for the U.S. to be Mexico's number one customer for drugs, doesn't it?

Maria Santos Gorrostieta
These two deal with religion and environment in China.  They are both huge issues of concern in the West and East.

Enjoy, and learn!

Exploration 11

My favorite passage was #18 from Nelson Mandela’s speech.  “In relation to these matters, we appeal to those who govern Burma that they release our fellow Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, and engage her and those she represents in serious dialogue, for the benefit of all the people of Burma.”  The reason this passage was my favorite was that on a day when he was receiving such a distinguished honor that the Nobel Peace Prize is, he was thinking of others facing similar struggles that he had endured. 

This article was interesting to me because it was a present day take on FW de Klerk’s opinion of Nelson Mandela.  It is only a surface level view, but the article is basically stating that FW de Klerk’s disagrees with the public perception that Nelson Mandela is a saint like figure.  He does not go into great depth as to why he believes this, but nevertheless it is interesting given that these two men shared the Nobel Peace Prize almost 20 years ago.  There is also a link within this article of FW de Klerk trying to justify his position that apartheid was not “completely repugnant”

Tibet is a region located in China. China became a Communist nation after the end of World War II in 1949. Prior to this transition to Communist Rule, the region acted as an independent country remaining autonomous from The People’s Republic of China despite their proximity. After an invasion of Tibet in 1950 by the Chinese government, the people of Tibet were now considered a part of the rule of the new government of China. The people of Tibet practice Tibetan Buddhism; their Spiritual Leader is named the Dalai Lama. It is the Tibetan Buddhists’ belief that when a current Dalai Lama dies, their spirit is reincarnated into a new body; the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama then becomes the current Spiritual Leader of the people. Based on the standards of their religious culture, the people of Tibet believe the current leader of their country to be the 14th Dalai Lama – Tenzin Gyatso. It is their religious belief that the process of reincarnation chooses the next Dalai Lama, not political practices. This is a basis for the strife between the people of China and those of formerly independent Tibet - the Tibetan people believe Tenzin Gyatso should rule as decreed by their religious beliefs; however, the people of China believe their current political leader’s rule is ultimate. Needless to say, this has caused much strife and conflict between the two areas. There is currently no resolution to the political power struggle. After a failed Tibetan uprising in 1959, the current Dalai Lama fled to India and has led the Tibetan Government-in-Exile there ever since.
The Dalai Lama pictured here in India. He has been
                                         in exile since 1959.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is considered a spiritual leader for Buddhism in Tibet. For many years Tibet has always been apart of china and never an independent country. Currently there is some tension that is being created between the Tibetans and the people in China, the Tibet people want independence  from China and the Dalai Lama wants to give the Tibetans a little bit more of self government to some extent but the Chinese people find it very strange that the Dalai Lama wants change all of the sudden so they refuse to negotiate with the Dalai Lama and want to continue to rule over Tibet.  The Dalai Lama strives for peace and doesn't believe in violence, this makes it hard because China wants to fight with Tibet but the Dalai Lama hates violence, which creates a struggle for the Tibetans.

This is a picture of the Dalai Lama in a recent interview with Obama. The Dalai Lama is telling him what is occurring over in Tibet and China and also telling the president what has been said back and fourth between him and Chinas president. 

Exploration 11

One of my favorite passage from the essay, "The Revolution of Spirit" by Aung San Suu Kyi, would have to be "'To live the full life,' she says, 'one must have the courage to bear the responsibility of the needs of others . . . one must want to bear this responsibility.'" This is important to me because all my life, I blamed others for my lifestyle and I never took responsibility. I never had courage, until recently. I have now taken the responsibility for myself and the needs of others. I understand now, reasons why everyone turns to God for help and for prays. I have turned to God when I need help when times are difficult. Also, I have learned that if I take the car out for fun and the car gets damaged, it is my responsibility for everyone in the car and the damages done to the car. I have grown up to understand why my parents do what they do and why it is their responsibility to teach me right from wrong. I have been responsibility to tell my parents where I am and who I am also, I have taken responsibility to donate clothes and money to those in need.
I found interesting that Aung San Suu Kyi's mother Aung San, Burma's independence hero, was assassinated when she was only two years old. Aung San Suu Kyi campaigned for the NLD and was banned from personally standing in the 1990 election. Also, she was released in July 1995 after being on house arrest for five years, she faced restriction on travel. When Aung San Suu Kyi's husband, Michael Aris, died of cancer in London on March 17, 1999, he petitioned the Burmese authorities to let him visit Aung San Suu Kyi one last time and they had rejected his request even though he had not seen her since Christmas of 1995. In 2000, she was on house arrest again for attempting to leave the capital, Rangoon, again. When she was released in 2002, she was able to travel the world. She traveled the country and holding meets for thousands of people turned out to see her and hoping of the Generals that during her long period of detention the people would have forgotten her.

Dalai Lama is a the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He states that his life is guided by three major commitments: the promotion of basic human values or secular ethics in the interest of happiness, the fostering of inter-religious harmony and the welfare of the Tibetan people, focusing on the the survival of their identity, culture and religion. The tensions created in China, was when the Chinese started attempting to eliminate Tibetan religious and culture to earn control over Tibet. When Dalai Lama was exiled, tension increased. The Tibetan Nacional Assembly decided that the Dalai Lama should leave Lhasa immediately because in their view, his life was in danger. The Tibetan government was dissolved and China was in direct control on March 28 and the Dalai Lama was on his way to India when he establish his new government in exile.

Exploration 11

            The Noble Peace Prize speeches we read gave some insight to the ethical problems countries around were and are facing. My favorite passage is when Frederik de Klerk says, “We are political opponents. We disagree strongly on key issues and will soon fight a strenuous election campaign against one another. We will do so, I believe, in the frame of mind and within the framework of peace which has already been established.” The reason this is my favorite is he is showing unity between two politically opposite humans. This I feel is also important because of what it is he which made it so he got the Nobel Peace Prize. He is the one who decided to release Mandel from prison and set the foundation for a democracy in South Africa which since he is white and white people are a minority he was setting himself up to fail in the next election. When doing some research I found some very disturbing statistics from 1978 that have to do with South Africa. The statistics show that the white population was “4.5 million” and the black population was “19 million” yet the blacks only owned “13 percent” of the land. The numbers go on to compare the blacks’ “1:44,000” doctor to population ratio and the whites’ “1:400” ratio along with the blacks’ “1:60” and whites’ “1:22” teacher to population ratio (see link below).
            The 14th Dalai Lama, according to the Noble Peace Prize website “is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people.” In 1987 he made a “Five-Point Peace Plan” that was to help free Tibet from Chinese tyrants. According to the Dalai Lama website the five parts of his peace plan included: making Tibet into a peace zone, destruction of “China’s population transfer policy,” acknowledgement of Tibetan human rights and freedoms, stopping the production of nuclear weapons in Tibet, and negotiations for future policies that affect Tibet. I found that along with many other problems that Tibet is having some priceless Tibetan artifacts are being stolen (see Fig. 1) according to the CRS Report for Congress titled, “Tibet: Problems, Prospects, and U.S. Policy.” These artifacts are important to the Tibetan culture. Chinese suppressers have been linked to some of these sales and that shows the blatant disrespect some people in China have for the Tibetan people.

Exploration 11: Nobel Speeches & Dalai Lama

            One of my favorite passages from the speeches was on page 633 where Mandela talks about Martin Luther King Jr. He states: “Let the striving of us all prove Martin Luther King Jr. to have been correct, when he said that humanity can no longer be tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war.” This passage was important to me, because it helped to connect the situation in Burma to what happened in the United States during Martin Luther King Jr.’s time. It helped to relate the two situations, which made me understand more of where Mandela was coming from.

            One interesting fact that I found was that the government would react to political protests with severe action. Even though the protests were nonviolent, they still killed and wounded hundreds of people. If you went to trial, you were banished, killed, or put into prison for life. An additional fact I learned was that Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for life. I knew he had been put into jail for his political actions, but I did not realize that it was supposed to be a life sentence. I found this information at:

            The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet. He is responsible for promoting that all humans are equal. He teaches proper values humans should have as well as promoting religion and tradition. The Dalai Lama is looked at as a person that the Tibetan people can trust.
Tibetan Monks protesting in Nepal in front of a Chinese Embassy.
            The challenges that I found between the two countries were that the people of Tibet feel that their religious freedom is being oppressed. They feel like China is also trying to control who they want as the leader of their religion. In addition, Tibet people feel that there are a lot of Han Chinese migrants in the area. They feel invaded in a sense. The Chinese government claims to be helping Tibet by industrial growth as well as a better economy.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Exploration Eleven

             One of my favorite passages is on page 637, where he states that “At the root of  that responsibility lies, and I quote, ‘the concept of perfection, the urge to achieve it, the intelligence to find a path towards it, and the will to follow that path if not to the end, at least the distance needed to rise about individual limitation…’” I found this to be very inspirational and encouraging. I believe that it would be a good quote to live by.

            I found it interesting that Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, Aung San, was an independence hero in Burma, and that he was assassinated when Aung San Suu Kyi was only two years old. I also found it interesting that she went back to Burma to take care of her dying mother, Daw Khin Kyi, and then she became a big part of the democratic movement. At her mother’s funeral, the large crowd that came to honor her ended up turning into a large crowd of people that were peacefully protesting against military rule. I also found it very interesting that she was actually placed under house arrest many different times, but the first time was under the Martial Law, which allows her the be held in custody for three years without even have been charged or had a trial. That just seems ridiculous to me that they can put you on house arrest for 3 years, keep you confined so you cannot see your family, and yet they have not even charged you with anything, let alone have you gone to trial.
I found my information on:
The Dalai Lama is a high ranking religious figure in Buddhism. He is believed to be the rebirth of tulkus. I found that the Dalai Lama created tensions in China just earlier this month he associated with the Japanese right-wing forces over some island dispute between China and Japan. China believes that he was doing this because he wants to split China under the appearance of religion. The article goes on to say that the Dalai Lama says that China is making it all up. This is obviously causing tension between China and The Dalai Lama.
                              This is a photo of the Dalai Lama meeting with the           
                              Japanesse, where he blamed “narrow-minded
                              Communist officials” for believing that Buddism
                              is a threat to government.

Exploration 11

            Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk were awarded The Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.  They both worked to end the Apartheid in South Africa.  Nelson Mandela once advocated for the creation of a military wing within the ANC party after it’s banning in 1960; this lead to the creation of the Umkhonto we Sizwe.  Eventually the group’s leaders were captured, including Mandela, and sentenced to life in prison.  He spent 26 years in prison until he was finally released.  He still retained his goal but this time he strived to do it democratically. I believe this passage is a reflection on his change of methods and the hope that one day war will not be the deciding factor for control;
“We live with the hope that as she battles to remake herself, South Africa will be like a microcosm of the new world that is striving to be born.
  This must be a world of democracy and respect for human rights, a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to become refugees.”

This link gave me some insight on Nelson Mandela’s life; not just political but some personal aspects that gave a little bit of clarity on what type of person Mandela is.

Exploration 11

                In Nelson Mandela’s speech the passage that stuck out the most was at the very end with the start of “let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to the ideals of humanism which the Nobel Peace Prize encapsulates”. After this passage he begins three more passages beginning with “let the” and ending with “let a new age dawn”. The use of repetition makes the last several paragraphs of this speech memorable and really stand out.

                An important research finding I found on Nelson Mandela was that he was imprisoned for twenty-seven years for sabotage and other charges. After his release he led his party to create democracy in 1994 with the goal of attacking poverty and inequality in South Africa.  

Dalai Lama is a religious leader who is highly looked upon. Dalai Lama’s are said to be the “latest reincarnation of a series of spiritual leaders who have chosen to be reborn in order to enlighten others”. The conflict regarding Tibet and China began when china overthrew Tibet, forcing the exile of “HH the Fourteenth Dalai Lama into India” along with many Tibetan people. Chinas control over Tibet has been considered a cultural genocide by Tibetan people.  


Events directly related to China's rule over Tibet.

Two Great Leaders: Mandela and the Dalai Lama

One passage that was particularly remarkable and powerfully written was passage 8 of Nelson Mandela's Nobel Peace Prize speech on page 630 in the Essay Connection.

"The children must, at last, play in the open veld, no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance, molestation and abuse, and no longer required to engage in deeds whose gravity exceeds the demands of their tender years."

Mandela's writing here seems remarkably similar to Martin Luther King Jr.'s in his Letter From Birmingham Jail in it's similar strategy to use children, pure and innocent, to shed light on how dark the black evil of prejudice has become. Besides this the writing is very compelling through its use of words like "gravity" in a context that is somewhat peculiar for the term.

One thing I found that was interesting about Mandela was that he held a political office while imprisoned and also got degrees while imprisoned. It makes sense that he quoted Dr. King, because many of their circumstances were very similar. For one they were both imprisoned for things that they believed in, though Mandela was behind bars for a quite a bit longer than Dr. King having been imprisoned for 28 years.

Interesting Facts About Nelson Mandela

The Dalai Lama is a religious figure and the leader of Tibet. He is thought to be a reincarnation of a Bodhavissta which is an enlightened being in Buddhism. He created tensions with China by trying to gain independence for Tibet which China believes to be a western province, and not, by any means, a separate country. Admirably, he has worked for this goal peacefully, using nonviolent methods as an attempt to gain independence for his homeland of Tibet. Although the Chinese are unwilling to cooperate.

Resposibility leads to enlightenment.