Friday, November 11, 2016

Palestine Speaks Blog

I have always her about the conflict between Israel and Palestine in the context of politics, but I never actually knew anything about it. After reading Ibisam's and Jamal's stories I was shocked because I had no idea of the suffering that was taking place in that region, specifically the suffering Palestinians were experiencing at the hands of Israelis. I can't help but feel a sense of guilt by thinking poorly of the Israelis, especially after learning so much about the Holocaust, yet what they are doing to the Palestinians is wrong.

Ibtisam's story really touched me because of how raw it was. She was completely open and descriptive in explaining the checkpoints, harassment, and the lack of compassion soldiers had towards her. As I was reading her story, I got a sense of how strong and aspirational she is because despite what she has experienced she still hopes for something good for herself, her family, and her students. I love her quote on page 375: "I tried to make students thinkers before fighters", I really hope that she succeeds in her efforts.

I realize that there are two sides to every story, so although I disagree with the treatment of Palestinians by Israelis I want to read and learn more about the conflict before I make my own conclusions about the situation. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The VOW Blog 9-84

The "Voice of Witness Reader" begins with an introduction that was written by Dave Eggers, the founder of Voice of Witness. In the introduction Dave clearly states the aims of VOW; which is to, make the testimonies of peoples extraordinary hardships known to the world. Also, VOW makes sure that readers of these testimonies get to know the whole person not just who they were during a time of turmoil. I think it is brilliant to convey to the readers that the people sharing their stories are more than just their story, they are mothers, fathers, friends, and survivors.

Chris Ochoa and Beverly Monroe are examples of survivors who experienced being falsely accused of horrible crimes that they did not commit, but managed to keep fighting until they were proven innocent. Both of them have now used their life experience to try to help those who have been wrongly convicted of crimes and to make a positive difference in the judicial system. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Voice of Witness #1

Voice of Witness is a really cool nonprofit that gives victims of human right violations a platform to tell their stories. It is vital that people all over the world are exposed to the stories of injustice as a way to help or prevent it from getting worse.

Rodrigo Mejia's story really shined a light on the crisis in Columbia between the guerillas and the paramilitaries and how the peasants are, unfortunately, caught in the crosshairs. I personally first heard about the situation in Columbia on CNN, but did know all of the details, until I watched and listened to Rodrigo's story. Rodrigo is a peasant who was displaced from his home with his family 5 times over 20 years, since 1985. As I learned from he video is that, sadly, his story is not uncommon. In fact, about 5 million people have been displaced since the conflict began.

Reading the materials, makes me exited to learn more about the world and to maybe make it a better place.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Call to Action Day Reflection

Call to Action Day was so inspiring because I had the opportunity to meet Hans Angress.  Mr. Angress had survived the Holocaust, along with his mother and two older brothers. Unfortunately, his father did pass away at Auschwitz. Although, his father passed away, Hans said that his mother remained strong and got he and his brother into hiding. During the interview Hans spoke about his mother at the time of the war with admiration, but with a slight sadness. At the end of the war Hans, his two brothers, and mother were reunited; after being separated in hiding.

Hans was kept hidden by a family for eighteen months. They had become very close to one another and I could tell when Hans spoke about them, there was a deep love and gratitude towards them. Hans told Brandon, Chase, and I that the family did not think of themselves has heroes, but their actions were just the right thing to do. The family that rescued Hans are prime examples of altruists.  

Monday, October 10, 2016

Call to Action Day Questions

  1. What was your family life like before the war?
  2. When was the pivotal moment you realized that Jewish people were in danger?
  3. What was the transition like going to Holland from Germany, and what about Holland made your family think it would remain neutral throughout the war?
  4. What was life like as a student during that time?
  5. What were some similarities and differences between the public and Jewish schools?
  6. Are you willing to discuss your father?
  7. How did your father’s imprisonment affect your family?
  8. What was your experience of living in a ghetto, were you scared?
  9. We read that a woman had helped you and your family escape to the Dutch Underground; how were you able to maintain your safety?
  10. How did you feel when you were reunited with your family?
  11. What is your opinion of Altruism?  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Rescuers 158-229

Ivan Vranetic with Erna Montilio and Ella Schnitzer share an incredible story of heroism. Ivan was only seventeen when he began to rescue Jews in Yugoslavia, yet he was able to save so many. Ivan attributes his upbringing as the reason for his generous and kind nature as demonstrated in his own words; "we were brought up to love humankind."(226). Ivan and his father, a member of the Partisan army, did what they could to help.

Ivan was so successful in rescuing Jews during the war that he had become known as a man who "helps everybody"(228). When Erna first saw Ivan, she was with her mother, sister, and two year old daughter, Ella. Erna had asked Ivan to find her and her family a place to stay, so Ivan took them in. They had all become so close with one another that they had truly become a family. Ella thinks of Ivan as a father and since 1964 they have been living in close proximity to each other in Israel.

Ivan, Erna, and Ella's story astounds me in it's simplicity. All of the details are complex and heartbreaking of course, but at it's core Erna and her family needed help, so Ivan helped them.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Recuers 90-157 Blog Post

As I finished reading the section assigned in Rescuers I began to think about how Belgium was considered the least powerful, when compared with France and Germany, yet they resisted Nazism the most. Belgium's government-in-exile, the secretaries-general, and the Catholic church resisted the anti-Semitic laws and orders. Also, I think the Front Independence was brilliant because it disrupted the Nazi effort, while saving Jews and other targeted groups. In addition, I admire Gerts Jospa and Maurice Heiber for establishing the CDJ to reaffirm the commitment to save as many Jewish people as possible.
France is seen as one of the Allies ("a good guy"), but it is shameful that when the country became occupied, the Vichy government did not resist the Nazi ideals. The Vichy "puppet" government abandoned the Jewish people just to stay in the good graces of Hitler's Germany. Although the government at the time failed to stand up for what is right, the French people did. the statistic that "only 29 percent of France's Jews were killed."(112)
Germany was the region that was the root of the Holocaust. Many German Jews and other targeted groups saw and experienced the development of Hitler's horror in a way that few could ever imagine, or be spared. Fortunately, not everyone followed him like sheep, and instead became rescuers.
Each individual has the potential to achieve great things in life by helping others no matter how terrible the world may sometimes seem.