The movie: Suffragette

At the beginning of the 1900s, women in the UK started to peacefully campaign for equality, freedom and their right to vote like men. Sadly, their arguments were ignored. In response, Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the suffragette movement, called for a national campaign of civil disobedience. The Suffragette movie introduces us to one group of hardworking women who joined the fight and participated in a lot of non-violent demonstrations and protests to get their voice heard. The film also shows women’s suffrage through this hard time, and how bad they were treated by men, politicians, the police, and the government in England. Maud Watts was an actual British suffragette who was jailed several times for her protests. During a hearing, Watts told the government that she had worked in a laundry fabric since she was 13 and never been able to continue her schooling. Furthermore, she said she only earned 13 shilling a week, compared to men who got 19 shilling and worked many hours less. She explained her feelings of unfair treatment, and that she wanted women to get voting rights, just like men. However, Watts said she didn’t know what to expect or wish for, since women never have had the chance to vote anyhow.

The second time Watts was caught by the police for protesting, her husband Sonny kicked her out of the house. He was filled with so much anger and embarrassment towards her, that he left her on the streets, even though he actually should be very proud of her standing up to women’s fight to achieve freedom equal to men. Watts was then left from his son George, which was extremely sad for her. When she came back to give him a gift and visit him on his birthday, George was being adopted to another family. It is just a very touching movie, that everyone should watch, to get the actual perspective of what it was like for women during that time. At the end of the movie, we see miss Emily Davison, a militant suffragist, who threw herself in front of the King’s horse at Epsom Derby to protest women’s suffrage. Four days later, she died from her injuries after the horse crashed into her. She died on the 8th of June in 1913. This death drew global attention to the fight for women’s rights. In 1918, the vote was given to certain women aged over 30. In 1925 the law recognized a mother’s rights over her children, and in 1928 women finally achieved the same voting rights as men.

In the United States, there was a movement called “the woman suffrage movement” who began in 1848, when a women’s rights convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. The Seneca Falls meeting was not the first in support of women’s rights, but suffragists later viewed it as the meeting that launched the suffrage movement. Under the leadership of Elizabeth Stanton, Susan Anthony and other women’s rights pioneers, suffragists circulated petitions and lobbied Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to enfranchise women. Over time, women began to realize that in order to achieve reform, they needed to win the right to vote. Because of that, at the turn of the century, the woman suffrage movement became a mass movement. The 19th amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920 and granted all American women the right to vote 😊

Sources:

https://tv.nrk.no/program/KOIF23003919

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/us-history/rise-to-world-power/1920s-america/a/the-nineteenth-amendment

 

Stormzy

Stormzy, born as Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omari Owuo Jr, is a famous English rapper and activist. Stormzy started out as a road rapper, rapping in a way closer to hip hop than grime. He then started making Youtube videos, but it wasn’t until the rapper began posting his Wicked Skengman freestyles that he attracted much wider attention. Eventually, he became well-known and joined the music industry. In February 2017, he released his debut album titled “Gang Signs and Prayer” that peaked at #1 on the UK Albums Chart, making it the first ever grime album to reach the position on the chart. The songs in the album are about religion, masculinity, knife crimes, racism and candid stories about growing up in the hood.

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Stormzy calls himself a political analyst as he has always been interested in addressing political problems. He is a huge admirer of Jeremy Corbyn’s activism, the current leader of the Labour Party. Stormzy pledges his support for Corbyn and says he is the first man in a position of power who is committed to giving the power back to the people. In a lengthy Instagram post, the rapper said he will be voting for Jeremy Corbyn as there are several reasons to why. He also went on to describe the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, as a “sinister man” who can’t be trusted. On 14th June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, West London. In total, the accident caused 72 deaths and 70 injured. Stormzy called out Theresa May over Grenfell and she has also admitted that her initial response to the fire was not good enough.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/jun/11/theresa-may-grenfell-tower-fire-response-not-good-enough

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/stormzy-mn0002912220/biography

 

After reading “The Hate U Give”

“The Hate U Give” is an amazing book which illustrates the importance of being brave and speaking up for what you believe is right. It shows that raising your voice will not only inspire those around you, but also add awareness to significant topics, such as racism. As we already know, America is suffering from a disease of racism, where black people are getting oppressed too often; not only by the average citizens, but also by police officers. We know for a fact that in “The Hate U Give”, Khalil and Starr, two innocent teenagers, were just driving their way home from a party, when a random police officer pulled Khalil’s car over for no reason. The police officer acted suspiciously towards Khalil because he neglected his orders and thought he had something to hide. When the police officer asked Khalil to step out of his car and stand still, while checking the vehicle’s registration number, Khalil walks back to his car, sticks his head through the car window to check on Starr, grabs a hairbrush and is then getting shot by the police. You can obviously tell that Khalil shouldn’t have made a move when receiving a concrete order by a police officer. However, it was a very unfortunate situation, because the police officer thought Khalil was armed, when in reality he just wanted to talk to Starr. Regardless of the teenagers’ skin color, the irresponsible move by Khalil could have caused a police officer pulling his gun at a white person too. That being said, the racist part is clearly that the police officer shot Khalil in his chest, and not in his legs. A leg shot is not that lethal compared a chest wound.

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When Starr and the police officer realize he actually was holding a hairbrush in his hand, and not a gun, the incident created a media storm. Starr was the only one who faced this incident besides the police officer, which got her traumatized for life and afraid to speak up. However, she eventually understood the significance of raising her voice for her dead friend and how it could mean justice for Khalil if the police officer got convicted. In the book, it was once said that “what’s the point of having a voice, if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”. This is an important reminder everyone should think about, and probably what I like the most about the book. I find it unnecessary using weapons or violence towards others to be heard, as long as we use our powerful voice to achieve justice. During a neighborhood demonstration for Khalil, Starr ended up raising her voice, telling everyone she was the witness of the incident, and how unfair the majority of black people gets treated by the police.

 

The 13th documentary

The 13th documentary is an important movie which explores the history of race and criminal justice in the United States. The film’s title refers to the 13th Amendment which was ratified on December 6th. in 1865. It provides that “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” This amendment abolished slavery in the United States. However, many blacks are still being perceived as criminals and dangerous people to society, when in reality they are just like white people. In the 13th, many speakers offer valuable, insightful pieces of information and evidence regarding America’s racist culture. At the very beginning of the film, Barack Obama states that the U.S. is home to 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of the world’s prisoners. This shows us how many people in the world who are incarcerated in the U.S. Angela Davis also meant that the so-called “war on drugs” was a war on communities of color, a war on black communities, a war on latino communities. The War on Drugs began in June 1971 when U.S. President. Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one” and increased federal funding for drug-control agencies and drug-treatment efforts. It was supposed to stop illegal drug use, distribution and trade, but what happened was that thousands of innocents were sentenced to prison. When getting convicted for a crime you didn’t commit, many people are just at the wrong place at the wrong time. What happens is that several people serve time in prison for years, until the court finds out they are innocent. Then they end up receiving a huge compensation in return. However, millions of dollars will never give back vulnerable time with your family and friends, and your own dignity. In the film, we get an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality. In 1970 there were about 200 000 prisoners, but today we are talking more than 2 million inmates, which is an absolute devastating thought. When hearing these huge numbers, you understand that something is wrong with the American legal system, at least towards black people.

Sources:

13 of the Best Quotes from ’13th’

https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/thirteenth-amendment

The UK General Election

On Thursday 12 December 2019, the United Kingdom general election was held. What happened was that The Conservative Party won a big majority of at least 78 MPs, its biggest general election victory since 1987. Altogether, the conservatives got 365 seats out of 650 in the House of Commons. When having this overwhelming majority, they no longer need to depend on the Democratic Unionist Party. In addition, they swept aside Labour in its traditional heartlands. Now, the Labour Party only have 203 seats, which means they lost 59 MPs. The socialist leader of the party, Jeremy Corbyn, announced Friday after the election, that he will step down after the tragic election results. The Brexit date for when the UK leaves the EU, is currently set for 31 January 2020. Conservative leader Boris Johnson is promising to take the UK out of the EU at the end of this month. Of course, he has been to see the Queen to ask for permission to form a new government.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50746464

The Hate You Give (chapter 1-3)

“The Hate You Give” is a novel written by Angie Thomas in 2018. The book is about a teenage girl named Starr, who deals with racism in her everyday life, police brutality and activism after witnessing her black friend getting murdered by the police. So far, “The Hate You Give” illustrates the importance of teaching your children that every human being is worth the same, no matter what sex, religion, beliefs, mother tongue or skin color you have. As Martin Luther once said in his famous speech; “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character».

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Picture retrieved from Mvhsoracle.com

In the first chapter of “The Hate You Give”, we get to know Starr Carter as already mentioned above. She is a sixteen-year-old black girl, who decides to attend a party in her neighborhood, Garden Heights. She goes with a girl named Kenya, whom she also shares an older half-brother with, Seven. Ever since attending a primarily white school, Starr feels out of place in the social scene of Garden Heights. When Kenya goes to catch up with some other friends, Starr runs into Khalil Harris – her childhood best friend. Suddenly, gunshots sound out. Starr runs with Khalil toward his car, and offers her a ride home.

In the car, Khalil is listening to some old rap music by Tupac Shakur, which isn’t Starr’s cup of tea. However, Khalil is a big fan of him and explains Shakur’s idea of “Thug Life”, which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody”. After some time driving, a white police officer with the badge number One-Fifteen pulls them over. Khalil is upset for the stop, and ask the police officer several questions as to why he pulled them over. Of course, One Fifteen gets suspicious and orders him out of the car and searches him – without finding anything illegal. Then he commands Khalil not to move, and returns to his car. Once Khalil opens the door to check on Starr, who was still sitting in the car worried, the police officer shoots Khalil several times. Starr is in shock and jumps out of the car to check on Khalil, finding out he is dead. She starts bawling her eyes out while One-Fifteen is pointing his gun at her.

As more police officers’ comfort One-Fifteen, Starr’s parents, Maverick and Lisa, bring her home. Starr remembers playing in the street with Natasha when she was little, getting caught in a gang-related shooting. Natasha died while Starr was so lucky, she fell into a rose bush. These deaths blur together in Starr’s mind, which is totally understandable. Next morning, Lisa offers Starr regular bacon, and Maverick complains about pork in his house because the Nation of Islam avoids it. Starr recounts the shooting and realizes that Khalil was unarmed. Her biggest fear is getting backlash if news leaks that she witnessed his death. Therefore, her parents agree to let her keep it secret and decide not to tell Sekani, Starr’s younger brother.

The day after, Starr and Maverick open the family’s store for the day. Barber Lewis arrives and rekindles an old argument with Maverick over replacing the photo of Martin Luther King Jr. with one of Huey Newton, the founder of the Black Panther Party. Lewis also blames Khalil for his death because he dealt drugs, but Starr didn’t agree with him because he didn’t know he did it for a “good” cause. He raised money to protect his mother. Later, some other Garden Heights residents arrive the store. Mrs. Rooks is one of them, and asks Maverick to help Ms. Rosalie, Khalil’s grandmother, to pay for Khalil’s funeral. We also get to know a little about Starr’s white boyfriend, Chris.

Sources:

https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/the-hate-u-give/

 

 

Joe Sestak

Joe Sestak is an American politician and retired U.S. Navy Officer from Pennsylvania. He is an experienced and independent leader who served in the Navy for 31 years and then as the highest-ranking military officer ever elected to Congress when he represented Pennsylvania’s Seventh Congressional District. He commanded an aircraft carrier battle group that conducted combat operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sestak stands by the democrats and thinks that the United States is in desperate need for a president with global experience and an understanding of all the elements of our nation’s power. He states that the democracy only confronts problems when in crisis, and that it is a loss of faith in the U.S government and its leaders. Sestak wants to see what a democracy can do, instead of undermining the country’s sense of national unity. Climate change and environmental protection is an important political issue. For instance; Sestak wants to re-join the Paris Accord and restore leaderships among the community of nations working together to fight climate change. He also wants so stop subsidizing fossil fuel industries. However, it is easier said than done.

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Sources:

Home

 

 

 

 

The American Constitution

The American constitution was signed on September 17 in 1787, by 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The articles of Confederation considered the national government as weak due to states operating like independent countries. Therefore, delegates settled a plan for a stronger federal government with three different branches; the executive, the legislative and the judical branch. These branches do not have too much power alone because they are surrounded with a system of checks and balances. In 1788, the US Constitution was ratified. The delegates were wary about centralized power. However, loyalty to their states was significant to create a powerful central government. In addition, the representatives made sure the government included different interests and views by crafting compromises. By that, we can say the US Constitution today stands as one of the most emulated constitutions in the world. Article Five of the US Constitution prescribes how an amendment can become a part of the Constitution. All 27 Amendments have been ratified after two-thirds of the House of Representatives and Senate approve of the proposal and send it to the states for a vote. Then, three-fourths of the states must affirm the proposed Amendment.

The first ten Amendments are commonly known as the Bill of Rights. They were ratified in 1791. During time, 17 more Amendments have been added. To date, there are 27 constitutional Amendments. The Amendments are about a variety of rights ranging from the rights to vote to freedom of speech. It spells out Americans’ rights in relation to their government. The first Amendment guarantees and protects freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. The second Amendment protects the right to own and bear firearms. The third Amendment states that the government cannot force people to house soldiers during peacetime. The fourth Amendment bars the government from unreasonable search and seizure of an individual or their private property. The fifth guarantees that no one can be deprived of life, liberty or property without the decision of a court of law. The sixth provides additional protections to people accused of crimes. For instance; trial by an impartial jury and being represented by a lawyer in criminal cases. The seventh Amendment extends the right to a jury trial in Federal civil cases. The eighth Amendment bars cruel and unusual punishment and excessive bail. The ninth Amendment declares that the rights of the people are not limited to those in the Constitution. The tenth and last Amendment states that the powers not granted to the Federal Government are left to the states or to the people.

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Personally, I believe that the 13th Amendment is extremely important to the American Constitution as it in 1865, abolished slavery in the United States. All slaves and indentured servants were freed throughout the US. In addition, the 19th Amendment is significant as it gave women in the United States the right to vote. This law ensured that the voting was not on account of sex, but instead the importance of contributing to the democracy. On August 18th in 1920, women happened to receive the same rights as men had.

The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices, each with equal voting power to the chiefs. Each justice is nominated by the President, confirmed by the Senate, and serves for life. The Supreme Court takes its powers from Article III of the Constitution. It provides that “the judical power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish”. The court receives about 7000 petitions every year and choose about 90 percent of their 100 to 120 cases by writ of certiorari. This is an order which send up a case record from a lower court. Usually, the justices have almost complete control over which cases it will hear. If four justices vote to hear a case, all nine agree to it. The court tends to hear cases in which two lower courts have reached conflicting decisions. It also considers cases that have far-reaching implications beyond the two parties involved in the dispute. For instance; if a student sues a school principal for searching a locker. This could shape the privacy rights of all the students in public schools.

Sources:

https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/bill-of-rights/what-does-it-say

http://www.ushistory.org/gov/9c.asp

https://www.insider.com/what-are-all-the-amendments-us-constitution-meaning-history-2018-11#the-13th-amendment-freed-all-slaves-and-indentured-servants-throughout-the-united-states-13

 

 

Air pollution in India

As India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the country is among the most polluted countries in the world. This is causing serious environmental challenges to the land and its citizens. According to Aljazeera, 700 million Indians are exposed to unhealthy air on a daily basis. Many people struggle with breathing properly and have to wear respirator masks that protect them from inhaling the bad air. Oxides of carbon, sulphur and nitrogen are the most harmful gases to people, and the condensed air has increased rapidly over the last decades in India. Use of fuels, bad transportation systems, population growth, increase in the numbers of vehicles and ineffective environmental regulations – are one of the main reasons why the air pollution has become so extremely serious in the South-Asian republic.

New Delhi at “unbearable” levels

Air pollution levels in New Delhi and nearby areas are now considered hazardous. City authorities have declared a health emergency, urging people to stay indoors. More than 46 million people who live in the greater New Delhi area are exposed to the smog. About 5 million masks were handed out to pupils before schools were ordered to close. This is to ensure young children don’t need to move of their house and face the brunt of the condensed air. Even flights were diverted from the capital area. New Delhi residents say the people are suffocating and that the air makes them cough badly. In fact, the air quality index in Delhi are now at its shocking 485 AQI, when the safe limit for humans is less than 100 AQI.

Government officials claims the smog may have been various factors. They blamed pollution, weather and fireworks used during the recent Hindu festival of Diwali. Another factor mentioned is the burning of crop stubble on farm fields in neighbouring states. To try and clear the air, authorities have limited private car use and construction work.

German chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will spend one billion euros in the next five years on green urban mobility projects to help clean up the toxic air in India. This is conceived under the new so-called German-Indian partnership. German funds will be used to replace diesel buses with electronic versions as electric buses. A single individual can help to reduce the air pollution by using public transport instead of driving and avoid burning of leaves, old tyres or any items in the open. In India, land fills should be better managed by the government and installation of solar panels should be encouraged at homes. The solutions are many, but India needs to act now!

Sources:

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/delhi-air-pollution-angela-merkels-visit-to-india-new-delhi-a-pitch-for-electric-buses-2126173

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/02/five-million-pollution-masks-to-be-handed-to-delhi-residents

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/air/14-ways-citizens-and-govt-can-help-reduce-air-pollution-in-delhi-62138

 

London

Last Monday, my English Social Studies class went on an excursion to London – where we saw and experienced a lot of things. We stayed at the Generator Hostel London, near King’s Cross and Russel Square. Personally, I think it was an acceptable stay, but shared bathrooms and a poor selection of breakfast made me a bit disappointed. However, I got used to the standard pretty fast and we stayed outside for most of the time. Experiencing different historical places was the important aspect of this trip anyhow.

On Monday, most of the day went to travelling and settle down at the hostel. Later that evening, we bought Oyster cards for the underground and went visiting the British Library. The library has around 25 million books and is perfect for the curious and literary minded. Actually, it has historical items and manuscripts dating back as far as 300 years before Christ. Among many things, I saw two exemplifications of the original Magna Carta charter. It was quite fascinating to see, as “The Great Charter” established the principle that everybody, including the king, is subject to the law. It also guarantees the right of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.

On Tuesday, we had a lot of free time to do whatever we preferred. At first, we went to the University of London. There we met with a former student at Fagerlia High School, who had just begun her studies in London. She explained what studying abroad is like, the advantages and disadvantages of living in a foreign country and why she decided to do so. We also got to see a huge part of the University, for instance the cafeteria and several classrooms. The meeting was an educational experience, because it made me realize more what I want to do next year. Later that day, my friends and I travelled to Leicester Square to get discounted tickets for a musical and went shopping at Oxford Street.

Wednesday was the most hectic day as we did a lot of different things. In the morning, my class and I took the underground to Westminster Station – because we were hoping to see Boris Johnson have his question time at the House of Commons. Sadly, we were not allowed to enter the building which made us watch some Brexit demonstrations outside the Palace of Westminster instead. As we continued to walk around the area, we realized the Horse Guards Parade, a ceremonial parade ground in St. James’s Park, had begun. The parade is located at one of the largest open spaces in London which is used for both royal parades and ceremonies. I have only seen these types of parades in movies, so it was special to experience them in real life. Furthermore, we went lunching on our own before we visited the British museum. The public institution is dedicated to human history, art and culture. For instance, we saw the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian Mummies and Parthenon Marbles. After all, we headed to the Dominion Theatre to see “Big The Musical”. The musical is about a 12-year-old boy who grows up overnight after being granted a wish by a Zoltar Speaks machine at a carnival. Suddenly, Josh is trapped in an adult body in a grown-up world. He regrets his choice immediately and strives to find back to the machine so that he can wish himself back to who he was.

Thursday was our last day in London. First, we visited the Parliament which was very special because we got to see the House of Parliament and House of Lords. Later that day we went evensong in Westminster Abbey. Evening prayer is a traditional service in the Angelican Church where people come to church to pray in the late afternoon. It has a lot of singing for the congregation to join in. Personally, I found Westminster Abbey very special due to the beautiful architecture and the spiritual fellowship that you felt inside this place of worship.

This excursion was an incredible trip I recommend future students signing up for. Personally, I had never been to England before but being there with my class made me realize how interesting the city of London is. As a Norwegian, I feel a connection to the United Kingdom and its people, through our history and many shared values. Besides, we got to see a lot of historical places and apart from this we had some spare time to explore the city on our own. In addition, I really got the feeling of what it is like to travel alone and the importance of managing things independently. London is a big city, so you have to be cautious about your belongings and aware of in which direction you are heading.