There once was a young man named Student. Student set out a goal for himself to reach the land called Educated and set up for himself a livelihood and fulfill his calling. To reach his destination, he needed to travel by bus because the path leading to Student’s goal is long and also winding in some places. So, Student found a place where he would meet up with a bus and begin his voyage to Educated. After a short while, a bus pulled up and Student walked up into the large vehicle. He looked upon the man at the wheel and said, “My name is Student and I seek the land of Educated. Will this bus take me there?” The man at the wheel looked over at Student and replied, “I am Motivation and I will drive you to your destination, but you must pay the price. Behind me sit three brothers, Literature, Criticism, and Reading Response. You will be well acquainted with them before your journey is done.”

     Motivation closed the door of the bus and began to pull away from the stop as Student sat between Literature and Criticism. Criticism began the conversation with Student by asking him his thoughts on Humanism and Puritanism. After Student replied to Criticism’s query, Literature told Student a story about a prince and the means by which the prince came to have his power and what he had done to maintain it through difficulty and hardship. Once Literature had completed his story, Reading Response looked at Student and said, “I’d like to know what you think about what you’ve just heard; not about the prince himself, but about the story.” So Student took a moment to think on the story and then to separate his thoughts of the prince from his opinion of the things in the story, and then replied, “I think it is a framework of a bygone time for how one might consolidate power from among many smaller powers so that the consolidation brings more security for the people and more power for the one who consolidates it. I don’t think it would be successful in this land at this time though.” Reading Response nodded and stroked his beard while pondering Student’s answer.

      This provided an awkward silence which Literature decided should be filled with yet another story. Student wondered if Literature would ever run out of stories to tell or if the bus ride would bring Student to his destination and Literature would still have things to share. Literature said before beginning this new story, “This time we’ll make a game of it. Once I’m done telling the story, I want you to imitate me and make up your own story that’s like mine, but different. Then we’ll see if you understand what I’m about to tell you.” Student made sure to pay close attention to what Literature had to say as he didn’t want to disappoint Literature with a poor imitation.

     So Literature began to relate his new tale to Student, when suddenly the bus stopped to pick up three new passengers. They walked on board, took their seats on the bus and introduced themselves as Fatigue, Distraction, and Procrastination. The bus resumed its travels toward the Land of Educated. Distraction called to Student and asked him to sit with Distraction’s friends so that they might spend their time on the bus leisurely instead of burying their thoughts in what was being discussed with the other three. Fatigue yawned, stretched, and asked, “Don’t you just get tired of all those stories? My head gets so worn out from thinking about it all.” Distraction looked at Fatigue quickly and said, “What? I’m sorry. Were you saying something? I saw a bird flying up in the sky and I was watching to see where it might land.”

      As this was going on, Motivation kept looking at Distraction, Fatigue, and Procrastination through his rear-view mirror to survey their conduct on the bus as they were strangers to him. “Student, do you know those three men?” Motivation called out loud while turning at an intersection. Student hollered back in reply, “Yes, I’ve known Procrastination and Distraction for many years and Fatigue is somewhat newer acquaintance of mine from previous outings I’ve gone on.” “I see. Well, just remember where you’re heading and why. If those three start giving you problems let me know and I’ll help you take care of them.” Student nodded in acknowledgement of Motivation’s offer.

      As the bus proceeded down the road, Student remembered that he had sort of neglected his new friends in favor of these old ones. He also remembered that in reality, these old friends had never been very good friends. Distraction sometimes had wonderful ideas, but was often going in twenty different directions and almost never finished anything he started. Fatigue always seemed to be exhausted as though he’d done some great physical labor, even though no one has ever seen him lift even his pinky to get some work done. Procrastination always had great ideas and even the energy to do them, but he always put off some project or goal for an other day, so he never had any great accomplishments even though he had the mind and means to do such things.

     Student went back over to Literature to see if he could perhaps listen in on the last bit of the story he was telling so that he wouldn’t have missed the tale completely. Noticing that they’d lost Student’s attention, the three decided to move up close enough to bother Student and the others, but not all the way up to the front where they actually were sitting. Literature and Criticism were discussing the meanings hidden within The Faerie Queene when Student returned to them and apologized briefly for his rudeness. Motivation had been following what was going on in his bus and rebuked Student for not keeping with those which would help him reach his destination.

      Fatigue shouted from the back at Motivation, “Hey! I’m tired of you telling this young man what to do and where to go! Just leave him alone!” “Yes, I do tell Student what to do, and I suppose you would get Student to his destination all the sooner than I ever could.” Motivation replied sarcastically. “Well of course I know a way that would get us there…or rather…to a place that’s just as good.” Fatigue replied. Procrastination chimed in, “You see, not far from this very road we’re traveling there is a way that can take a man through a wood called Plagiarism and around a hill called Academic Dishonesty which points the traveler to the town of Unscholarliness which is a fine and delightful community where many set up a career and do quite well for themselves. Even if you do not find the town to your liking, you can always resume your journey to Educated on a later day.” As Student heard Procrastination’s description of these places, there appeared out the window of the bus a billboard which had written on it “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.” Then, Student knew that Procrastination, Fatigue, and Distraction were only trying to get him off the route to Educated so that they could rob him.

     Just then, Motivation pulled the bus up to an intersection with a red light. He took the opportunity and asked Procrastination, Distraction, and Fatigue to leave the bus. The three didn’t seem interested in leaving without Student, but Student remained as he knew what awaited him if he went with those three. Motivation got up, grabbed Procrastination by the collar, and pushed him out of the bus and onto the sidewalk. “You’ll not make this Student an other one of your victims!” Motivation yelled out the door, then looked over at Fatigue and Distraction and said, “I believe this is your stop, gentlemen.” The two got off reluctantly and Motivation returned to the steering wheel while Criticism discussed with Student about the different levels of an allegory and how they are important to each other. Student still travels toward the land of Educated. Even though Motivation has proven to be a faithful guide, he hasn’t yet reached that destination, but then again does anyone ever really?

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So as promised, here is my lesson plan, powerpoint presentation, the outline to go with the presentation, and an assessment which I used today for my lesson on Poetry.

Powerpoint
https://yeshuaknight.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/poetry.pptx

Outline
https://yeshuaknight.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/poetry1.docx

Lesson plan
https://yeshuaknight.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/christopher-stone-lesson-plan1.docx

Assessment
https://yeshuaknight.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/poetic-devices-worksheet1.docx

So this, Lord willing, will be my last assignment for my English Lit II class. It was a creative assignment in which we were to take one of the works that we’d studied over the course of the semester and make some sort of creative work inspired/based on it. I took the poem “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti and, well, just read for yourself. At the end of the letter is an explanation that was part of the assignment, so you’ll not only get to see my creative work, but also a bit of the thought behind it. Enjoy.

Letter from a Rat-Faced Goblin

To my comrade on the corner in the city,

How has business been for you? Fruit sales in our region have been a bit off lately. I’m not quite sure why, but I have my suspicions. I heard about how you handled the young girl named Jeanie, a textbook case if I may say so. Oh, the delicious knowledge that such a young maiden even now lies amid the worms and filth that may one day feed a whole new fruit tree of our own design. The thought of it pleases me almost as much as that venomous nectar which you used to lure that maiden pleased her lips.

I must tell you about this one case that you simply will not believe. In fact, it’s the main reason I’m writing to you now.  It happened to a few of my comrades and I one day at the end of last summer. The four or five of us were out one afternoon making the rounds. We’d been trying to lure at least one young lady for a while and had begun to lose hope for success. We still suspect that word about that young girl in your region had reached our part of the country and the young ladies had been put on the lookout lest such a thing happen to them. Anyway, we’d been unsuccessful with our business and had begun to make our way back to our homes, all the while calling “Come buy! Come buy!” as is our custom, when two fair, young maidens whom we believe were also on their way home walked past and we called to them with great fervor, “Come buy! Come buy! Apples and quinces, lemons and oranges, plump unpecked cherries, melons and raspberries, bloom-down-cheeked peaches, swart-headed mulberries, wild free-born cranberries…” and so on and so forth, you know our pitch.

One of them managed to resist our call, but the other leaned close and listened with intent. We continued to call, “Come buy, come buy” as we continued on our own way home. Once we reached where the young maiden was, we stood there for a moment and gave each other the proper signals so that we all understood what the plan was to approach this fair young maiden. The young maiden then told us that she had no money, so we told her that if she would just give to us a lock of her golden hair we would be glad to give her some of our fruits. So the deal was struck, the lock was severed, and right before us she began to feast upon our tainted offerings. Even now, I chuckle at the thought of that girl, little did she know, little did she realize that it was never money that we sought after in exchange for our fruits, but it was her life that we wanted. She wandered off from there once she was done. I have little idea where she went that night. However, the other maiden who traveled with her that afternoon came to us a day or two later.

It was very late, almost evening, and we were well on our way to our homes when she found us. We could only assume that she had been running, for she was short of breath and urgent in her manner. She pulled a silver coin from her purse and tossed it our way and asked for some of our fruits for her to take home to her ill sister. You and I both know that this is not the way we conduct our business, so we bid her to stay and eat the fruit with us. She insisted on taking the fruit with her, so we encircled her and insisted that she stay and eat the fruit herself.

You simply would not believe the struggle this maiden put up. I have never seen the like before or since. We grabbed her, clawed at her flesh, did all we could to make her cry out so that we might cram a bit of the fruit down her throat and have a second victim on our hands, but her lips remained as sealed as a miser’s purse. In the end, she never so much as tasted the juice from the fruits, but she was bathed in it. As the sun crept over the horizon, we knew that no matter the outcome, our work here was complete. So we all scattered to the countryside; one to the river, one to the bushes, and one of us ran until out of sight.

It wasn’t until a few days later that we heard about how the young maiden whom we had managed to get to eat our fruits had been totally cured of our curse. Infuriated, we have begun to plot a new scheme in the hopes of getting both of the sisters to fall, so that when they do, there will be no one to help either up.

I hope that this story has shown you some of the things to be watchful for. These days, it is the single and solitary maiden who is our sure target. It is she who is unprotected and has no peer to guard her heart or mind. When such an obvious prey presents itself to you, see to it that she does not leave you with an empty stomach.

Your Rat-faced Colleague in the Country

Explanation:

I decided to do “Goblin Market” by Christina Rossetti because I like the story and I wanted to do something creative as a response to it. I thought that rather than keeping the story told only from one side as it’s told in the poem, that I would tell it from the point of view of one of the goblins, and through that, present a possible explanation about why it is that they seem to be out to ruin the lives of so many young maidens. In this case, I sort of drew from The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis in that the goblins seem to revel in the torment of their victims and they themselves are driven by a hunger and thirst of their own which is only satisfied by draining the life out of the young maidens. This also explains why a goblin would settle for a lock of golden hair as payment for his fruit, even though the lock of hair is often interpreted as being symbolic for the maiden giving herself sexually to the goblins.

I did quote directly from the poem, specifically the lines where the goblins give their full pitch about all the different kinds of fruits they have to offer. My goblin also referred to the incident with Jeanie that the two sisters talked about in the poem. I used both the quote and the allusion as means to tie my letter in to the original poem because I wanted to give the letter that sense of “Ok, this could have actually happened in the world of the poem” rather than just running off on a tangent for the sake of fan-based fiction.

Finally, I decided on putting the story as told by the goblin in the context of a letter honestly because I couldn’t think of any other suitable context in which a goblin might divulge so much information on his trade, especially since such information could endanger his livelihood. I also made an allusion to the “Cornerboys” YouTube video in the introduction of the letter and closed it out under the title of the “Rat-faced goblin” referred to in the poem. It is my hope that any and all who read my “Goblin’s Letter” would view it as a work inspired by the works of others, not unlike “Standing on the shoulders of giants”, instead of just an other fan-based fiction.

The following is a paper I wrote for my English Lit II class. Enjoy. 🙂

The Poets say London is Rubbish!

Poets throughout the years have written about many topics which range from nature to emotion as well as the status of society and even politics. Poets such as William Wordsworth and Percy Bysshe Shelley have even taken a similar stance on the topics of society and its short-comings in their poetry. Both Wordsworth’s poem, “London, 1802”, and Shelley’s poem, “England in 1819”, demonstrate a negative opinion on the status of society, but while Wordsworth directs his poem towards humanity itself, Shelley’s poem is aimed at the problems with social authorities such as government and religion.

Wordsworth’s poem was written when he had returned from a trip to France and was startled by the contrast to London. He starts off by calling on one of his main influences, “Milton! Thou shouldst be living at this hour: / England hath need of thee:” (Wordsworth 232). He uses this reference to Milton as a sort of mirror. Through all the good things that Wordsworth points out about Milton, one is able to see the things that are wrong in London because they are lacking these positive traits. Since the writer makes this comparison to an established writer, then the reflection is made more directly against the writers, artists and musicians of the period. A further example of this reflection is made in the writer’s lament, “They soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart: / Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like a sea: / Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,” (232).  Again, by pointing out these things in Milton, the writer is suggesting that these positives are no longer present. It’s similar to one of the optical illusions that use staring at a certain color to trick your eyes into seeing something that’s not there. In this case, the writer emphasizes so heavily on Milton’s greatness that the reader can’t help but to see the negatives that surround them whether or not they are really as bad as it may seem. As an echo to what Wordsworth has already done, he seems to emulate Milton’s own style by invoking Milton himself to come and remedy the problems that Wordsworth is writing about just as Milton had invoked the “Divine Muse” in “Paradise Lost”. His invocation is brief, but serves as an additional reminder of things that the poet sees wrong; “Oh! raise us up, return to us again; / And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.” (232).

Wordsworth does come out and directly say what he thinks about the state of things concerning the people of London. He starts off by calling London “a fen/ Of stagnant waters;” (232) and goes on to say that “…the heroic wealth of hall and bower, / Have forfeited their ancient English dower/ Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;” (232). So the poet’s follow-up to his more suggestive method of pointing out what’s wrong is by calling it what it is according to what He’s seeing. In this case, Wordsworth is seeing a dead swamp, which is the fen, and, in an almost-allusion to the story of Jacob and Esau, a kind of selling out in which something that could give such long lasting happiness is given away for something that would bring such fleeting pleasure according to Wordsworth.

The sort of common ground in one’s observations of these two poems is in not only the opinion itself, which is shared by both Wordsworth and Shelley, but also in their use, or lack of use, of ownership to the problems that their respective poems address. Wordsworth, though often thought of as proud and even arrogant at times, reveals a sense of humility and puts himself in with the same men whom he calls sellouts by declaring to one and all, “We are selfish men;” (232). He’s owning the decay that he’s witness to just as much as he blames his fellow countrymen for the state of the people around him. Shelley, on the other hand, seems to not really have much room to lay claim to any part of the problems that he is addressing as they all seem to be more closely associated with corruption in the government and hypocrisy in religion.

This brings me to Mr. Shelley’s poem, “England in 1819”. If Wordsworth’s “London, 1802” was directed at the hearts of people, then Shelley’s “England in 1819” is directed at their minds. This poem is really a strong criticism against the social authorities of the day; specifically in government and religion. Shelley starts off his poem with the morbid imagery of “An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, – / Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow/ Through public scorn, – mud from a muddy spring, – “(Shelley 477) and follows through with a long list of complaints citing “Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know” (477) and “A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field, -“ (477). Towards the end of the poem, Shelley brings up the point of hypocrisy in religion and calls it “Religion Christless, Godless – a book sealed;” (477). This statement carries with it a few layers. First of all, there’s the top layer which deals with a christless religion. Since the mainly observed religion of the day in Europe would have been some sort of Christianity, this is making the statement that the churches in Europe were not living up to what they claim to believe. Then there’s the second layer, which delivers a similar message, but perhaps to a different group of readers. This quote calls the state of religion “a book sealed;” (477). For a person who lived from the Renaissance and after, the importance of books has grown immeasurably. So for a book to be sealed, especially when it suggests that the Bible is somehow being sealed away from the people, this is bad news indeed because it demonstrates irrationality and also promotes the idea that religion and reason are opponents to each other if someone from such a religion would hinder someone’s search for the truth even in the context of that religion’s own sacred text.

Once Shelley is completed in citing his complaints against both government and religion, he makes a statement that seems to threaten revolution. He says “Religion Christless, Godless – a book sealed; / A Senate, Time’s worst statute unrepealed, – / Are graves from which a glorious Phantom may / Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.” (477). He seems to be reveling in what he’s heard perhaps about the American Revolution against Britain and also what he’s heard of the French Revolution and seems to be hoping that eventually the people of Britain would rise up against the social authorities and have a revolution of their own. It may even be that Shelley wrote the poem in the hopes that it would stir up feelings against these things so that people might react against them.

Both Shelley and Wordsworth looked out into the world around them and wrote these poems about the negative things that they saw going on and one might wonder “Which one made the greater impact?” To that one might say that it was the Shelley poem because it was published during a time when revolution was still fresh in the minds of the people who would be reading these poems and it would have had a much wider appeal because while Wordsworth’s poem does deal more with the heart, and with it the artist, Shelley’s poem deals with politics and that seems to be on everyone’s mind in some form or an other. However, the truly effective way to get lasting change is when people’s hearts change. So in that sense, Wordsworth was maybe more right in what he wrote about than Shelley because the time to change the way a government is run can come and go, but the people will remain.

            Throughout the ages of history; empires, nations, and kingdoms have risen to great glory and crumbled over time to other rulers and adverse circumstances. Though some have lasted much longer than others, they have all fallen. This is all the more true for the kingdoms of the ancient world. However, there is one nation that has returned to existence and that is the Nation of Israel. The Nation of Israel was created in 1948 as the nationalist response to the hatred and animosity that was held against the Jews and because of the personal significance to many Jews who migrated to Palestine.

            Anti-Semitism, the type of discrimination that is directed specifically towards the Jews, has its roots in ideas that were formed in the Middle Ages; Replacement Theology, the idea that the Church somehow replaced the Jews to God, and the idea that the Jews were to blame for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ because they rejected him. These ideas, combined with a general distrust of the Jews because they were often stereotyped as being wealthy and miserly formed a very negative view of the Jews that has survived in varying forms to this very day.

            In the 1800’s came the idea of nationalism and with it just one more reason for the spread of Anti-Semitism. For the Jews in every nation did not have the ethnicity associated with that country, so they were regarded as outsiders. Nationalism also spread into the Jewish community during this time. “A number of Jewish writers were impressed by the nationalist fervor developing in Europe that led to the creation of new nation-states and also by the resurgence of messianic expectations among Jews that, some believed, might include the return of the Jews to the Holy Land (Reich 15).”  In the 1880’s the Political Zionist movement was formed.

            Theodor Herzl was the first to take the ideas of Zionism, the belief that the only solution to Anti-Semitism was to establish a Jewish State, and turn them into a political movement. “In Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), published in Vienna, Austria, on February 14, 1896, Herzl assessed the situation of the Jews and proposed a practical plan for a resolution by creating a state in which Jews could reconstitute their national life from biblical days in a territory of their own (Reich 16).” So the combination of Anti-Semitism driving the Jews out of these countries and the creation of the Political Zionism movement drawing the Jews out put many in a state of mind that was more open to the idea of a nation that the Jews could call theirs. About 10 years after the birth of the Political Zionist movement, on August 23, 1897, Herzl held the first World Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland. “The congress established the World Zionist Organization (WZO), whose primary goal was enunciated in the Basel Program: ‘to create for the Jewish people a home in Palestine. […] Thus, by the beginning of the 20th Century, there was a movement whose goal was a Jewish state in Palestine… (Reich 17).” Now, by this point, it had been decided that the place where a new nation-state for the Jews should be created would be in Palestine, which at that point was held by the Ottoman Empire.

            This came into play during World War I when the British asked the Arabs and Jews who already lived in the Palestine area to aid them in fighting against the Turks. “During World War I, Great Britain and its allies, including France and the United States, fought against Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and several other nations. Great Britain promised the Arabs independence after the war in exchange for their support of the Allies. In an other commitment – the Balfour Declaration of 1917 – Britain promised the Jews, whose help it also wanted in the war effort, a Jewish “national home” in Palestine. Thus, when the war ended, the British felt obligated to ensure Arab independence and to help create a Jewish state in Palestine (Goldstein 24).” This put the Jews in the perfect position to begin to work their way towards their own nation in the very place they wanted to have it. As a result, there was an increase in Jewish immigration to the Palestine area. The Arabs in the area began complaining to the British about the influx of Jews, so the British began to restrict immigration to Palestine. “The Balfour Declaration had stated that a return of the Jews to Palestine should not negatively affect the native Arab population. In keeping with that goal, Great Britain set strict yearly limits on how many Jews could immigrate (Goldstein 24).”

            In the midst of all this, and even prior to the creation of Political Zionism, there had been Jews who had already been immigrating to Palestine for other reasons. “In the early 1880’s, a wave of Aliyah (immigration to Palestine or Israel), known as the First Aliyah, brought Jews from Russia and eastern Europe who wanted to settle the land. The Second Aliyah, which began in 1904 and lasted until World War I, brought additional immigration in Palestine to approximately 85,000 (about 12 percent of the total population) by 1914, with about half of the Jews residing in Jerusalem. (Reich 14) […]Although the numbers were small – only 10,000 settlers by 1891 – the First Aliyah (1882-1903) was important because it established a Jewish position in Palestine espousing political objectives (Reich 16).” Many immigrants continued coming in to the land after the end of World War I. “He [Sir Herbert Samuel, the first high commissioner of Palestine] called for Jewish immigration and land acquisition, which enabled thousands of highly committed and well-trained socialist Zionists to enter Palestine between 1919 and 1923. The Third Aliyah, as it came to be called, made important contributions to the development of Jewish agriculture, especially collective farming (Reich 24).” Over the next ten years, immigration into Palestine would be highly restricted by the British Mandate until the Nazi Party came into power in Germany in 1933.

            The Nationalist Socialist Party, also known as the Nazi Party, came into power in Germany in 1933. One of the big parts of their platform was that Germany should strive to become the perfect Aryan race, “untainted” by the lesser races. Their strong Anti-Semitic message caused many Jews who lived in the area to seek refuge in other countries such as the United States and Palestine. “On 30 January 1933 Hitler came to power in Germany. The anti-Jewish frenzy that had accompanied his political campaigns and path to power was immediately translated into action. Physical attacks on German Jews, their exclusion from the professions and a campaign to drive them out altogether from thousands of villages and even small towns led to a sudden upsurge in emigration. German Jews began to reach Palestine in ever-growing numbers. The pattern of immigration, dominated for the previous ten years by Jews from Poland, changed dramatically (Gilbert 71).”  Persecution of the Jews continued to escalate as well as emigration from Nazi Germany as the Nazi government began to place Jews in ghettos and in concentration camps. Finally, on September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland, which signaled the start of World War II.

Shortly after the official start of World War II, Nazi Germany began what is now knows as “The Holocaust” in which millions of Jews as well as people from other groups that were considered undesirable were placed into concentration camps and killed. “The mass murder of the Jews of Europe had begun with the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 21 June 1941. By the spring of 1942 as many as one million Russian Jews and many hundreds of thousands of Polish Jews had been murdered, and death camps had just begun operation, or were about to start, at four remote locations in German-occupied Poland: Chelmo, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. To the last of these as many as three-quarters of a million Jews were to be deported and killed, including almost all the Jews of Warsaw, the largest prewar Jewish city population outside New York (Gilbert 112).”

          Reports of the mass killings associated with the Holocaust finally reached Great Britain and the United States in 1942. “On May 6, 1942, as the first indications of the scale of these killings reached Britain and the United States, and as the British War Cabinet decided formally that ‘all practicable steps should be taken to discourage illegal immigration into Palestine’, an Extraordinary Zionist Conference was held at the Biltmore Hotel in New York. Its theme, expressed most forcefully by the Chairman of the Jewish Agency Executive, David Ben-Gurion, was that the Jews could no longer depend upon Britain to establish a Jewish National Home in Palestine, and that to secure this goal the Jewish Agency should replace the British Mandate as the Government of Palestine. When the conference ended on May 11 a majority of the delegates were committed to the establishment of Palestine as a ‘Jewish Commonwealth’, as well as an end to all immigration restrictions. The Biltmore Programme, as it was known, established for the first time the call for a Jewish State as the official policy of the Zionist movement (Gilbert 112).” This state of high restriction continued in Palestine, causing many refugee Jews to have to go into Palestine illegally, which lead to the creation of special camps that were designed to hold the illegal immigrants until the end of the war, when they would be returned to their country of origin. Some managed to evade capture and joined the collective farms in Palestine.

          Eventually the war ended and with it, the Holocaust in 1945, but that did not change things for the Jews in Palestine. “On 8 May 1945 the German armies surrendered unconditionally. […] Dr. Weizmann was full of hope that, as soon as the Middle East was discussed by the victorious Allies, a Jewish State would be on the international agenda, and that, just as in 1922 the League of Nations had confirmed the wartime British Pledge to the Jews for a National Home, so in 1945 the victorious powers would more that pledge forward one more step to statehood. But whereas Churchill was sympathetic to the idea of Jewish statehood, this was true neither of the Conservative Party which he led, nor, in fact, of the Labour Party which was hoping to come to power, even though it explicitly supported Jewish statehood at its Party Conference in the autumn of 1944 (Gilbert 121).” This went on until 1947, when the Jews began to fight against both Britain and the Arabs for their statehood. “The year had begun with Jewish and Arab armies each staging attacks on territory held by the other side. Jewish forces, backed by the Irgun and Lehi militant groups made more progress, seizing areas allotted to the Jewish State but also conquering substantial territories allotted for the Palestinian one (BBC).” The fighting went on until in May, 1948 the British withdrew from Palestine and Israel declared that it was a state. “The State of Israel, the first Jewish State for nearly 2,000 years, was proclaimed at 1600 on 14 May 1948 in Tel Aviv. The declaration came into effect the following day as the last British troops withdrew. Palestinians remember 15 May as ‘al-Nakba’, or the Catastrophe (BBC).” This didn’t go unnoticed and several neighboring countries went to war with the newly born nation the day after Israel declared its statehood. “The day after the state of Israel was declared five Arab armies from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq immediately invaded Israel by were repulsed, and the Israeli army crushed pockets of resistance. Armistices established Israel’s borders on the frontier of the most of the earlier British Mandate Palestine (BBC).”

          It’s incredible to think that such a nation has come about as the result of so much negativity towards a single people group. The mind boggles to consider how these people have persevered through hardships, warfare, even being hunted by their enemies, and even more so to think that this people has retained their identity throughout the ages even though their nation fell and managed to re-establish it 2,000 years later. If ever there was a nation that maybe deserved to exist, one might think that the Nation of Israel would be such a state.

Greetings once again, I know it’s been quite the blogging blitzkrieg over the past week or so, but unfortunately I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up. In any case here is a topic that I would like to address.

The United States “Performance Tax” Bill

This is a bill being presented to the United States Federal Legistlators that would make it so that whenever a song is played on the radio, not only does the station have to pay out royalties to the recording companies (or in some cases the independent bands), but they would also have to pay a tax to the government.

Why is it bad? – Because the radio stations already pay out to the record companies for the permission to play the music, in addition to the fact that it’s essentially free promotion for the bands/performers belonging to these companies. It is, in essence, a redundance to have the radio stations pay this tax because then it would bring an end to music based radio. This would, in turn, cause many of the radio stations we already know and love to close down permanently.

Why is it good? (Now, I grant you, this is solely from my own observations and rationalizations, nothing else) – It might very well bring about a renaissance to the programing style of the “Golden age of radio” when there was more than just music and mindless talk going out over the airwaves. There is already in existence on the internet a number of communities who record and produce very well done audio dramas. If the performance tax was to pass, it might make the way for these communities to make their presence known in the mainstream.

Now, let me go on to say that I don’t really support either side of the issue for this very reason. I’m torn between the two. No, I don’t think the performance tax is a good idea unto itself, but I think that it has the possibility of bringing about some good side effects.

‘Nuff said

So, we’ve been discussing abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning. I think all of these topics can be addressed with one question. What is the value of one individual life?

I think each life is equally valuable regardless of the stage of development. How can we justify taking one life to improve the lives of others? On the other hand, how can we also justify making a copy of one person and in a sense rob them of not only their sense of individuality, but also society’s opportunity to accurately acknowledge that individuality.

In making use of embryonic stem cells, fetal tissues, and the cloning process, we diminish the value of our contributions to society. For no longer are we the only ones who are capable of making the contributions that each individual is able to make.

We are so much greater than the sum of our parts, each person an individual masterpiece even with the flaws that we all bear. In many cases it is these flaws that allow for our true potential to show through, like cracked stained-glass windows.

Why would an artist, great thinker, or scientist strive to further his or her field if he or she knew there were more exactly like him or her who were just as capable as he or she of making the same discoveries?

It also diminishes one’s sense of self-value. The knowledge that there are others just like one causes one to think or feel that their actions are unimportant because there is an other or others who can do all the same things. So let the others be responsible for what at one time only the original could accomplish.

This is not the way it should be. Let our accomplishments be ours and let us take advantage of all the days set before us so that we do not waste a moment.