The Reluctant Fundamentalist

By Mohsin Hamid (2007) is the novel we are reading this school year. We are now into he first four chapters of the book.

I find the story quite interesting. So far I have only read 4 chapters, and I am yet not to be disappointed. The book is different from other books, which I find really fascinating. The story is told through monologue, without any response from the stranger listening.

The company Underwood Sam seemed like a prestigious and exclusive company, with top-quality workers. The trainee program seemed pretty harsh, but very fair. This gives the employees the vision of the American Dream. If you work hard, you will get rewarded.

Changez really liked New York. He felt like home there, not hard to understand when so much around him reminded him of his home town. The taxi drivers spoke the same language as him, not far from his apartment was a serving establishment called Punjab Deli. Tourists would even ask him for directions.

During the story, we get introduced to a woman named Erica. She was the love of Changez’ life. She is presented as a really attractive and smart woman. “She attracted people to her; she had presence, an uncommon magnetism.”

Bilde av The reluctant fundamentalist

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Outsourced

The movie “Outsourced” is about an American man named Todd, who is forced to go to India to train his replacement, after his entire department is being outsourced to India. 

The first culture shock comes when a huge crowd of taxi drivers start to fight over him at the airport, and he ends up in a scooter with a roof, from which then he has to jump on an overcrowded train in speed. As the train does not have any free seats, Todd looks grateful when a young boy offers his seat, but when Todd sits down, the boy sits down on his lap. 

When he arrives at his destination, he learns his first lesson about India’s sanitary issues when he purchases a drink with ice made from polluted water. 

The new department manager meets up with him and insists that he ​cannot​ stay at a hotel, but takes him to a boarding house run by an older Indian couple. This is where he ​learns​ that you should not eat with your left hand, it is considered unclean. The owner of the ​boardinghouse explain​ by sign language why Indians do not eat with their left hand. 

Language problems, like when he tells the staff that recommending rubbers to “back to school shoppers” are inappropriate, and poor ​Todd who​ they call Mr. Toad decides to teach his staff “​American​”.

Todd craves an all American cheeseburger and spends a small fortune on a taxi to Bombay only to end up at a vegetarian burger place, where he meets another American who advises him to “give in to India” He follows the advice, and now he is sharing the leftovers from his meals with the poor family on the other side of the wall and his willingness to finally give in to Indian culture helps him in all aspects​. ​He strikes up a romantic relationship with a girl at the office, who opens his eyes to Hindu religious practices, for example Kali, the goddess of destruction, not necessarily is a negative influence because she can help to end one cycle, so that another can begin. He is invited for lunch with the poor family on the other side of the wall, and when he gets back his stolen phone from the young boy, he knows that he is accepted.

Todd’s boss arrives unexpectedly from America, and when Todd takes him to the office there is a flood. While the staff are trying to save the computers, Todd shows that he has adapted to the Indian culture by moving the office up on the roof, and getting help to illegally rewire the electricity​ ​from the pole with help from his neighbor from the other side of the wall. After work the crew goes out to celebrate, and Todd’s boss takes him to the side to tell him the real reason he is in India. They are outsourcing to China, and he must fire everybody. To his ​surprise​, the crew are not sad about losing their jobs. They get one month’s severance pay, and look at it as paid vacation.

The only one who got sad about losing their job was manager, he was finally making enough money to marry his sweetheart. However, at the end it all worked out. Todd turned down the job in China and gave it to the Indian manager.

Todd has learned that in India, the key to survival is adaptability, and when one door closes, another one opens. He goes back to America happy, unemployed and with a new outlook on life.

Why is #Metoo so important?

In the past few years, sexual violence has been a very highlighted subject in our society. In the past, men and women were often shamed if they spoke out about their experiences. But now that awareness is being brought to the subject. We are finding out, that there is a shocking number of people have dealt with this issue. It is important that we continue to foster an environment where victims of sexual violence can speak out without the fear of criticism or judgment. The “Me Too” Movement is doing exactly that. It is creating a space where victims can tell their stories feel supported, but they aren’t forced into telling every detail—which is often why it so difficult for victims to speak out.

The “Me Too” Movement is growing and bringing to light just how many untold stories there are. Maybe they will be told or maybe they won’t. Either way, there is a large support group for victims of sexual assault made up of fellow victims as well as many who haven’t been through it themselves, but continue to support.

International Day 2017

This​ ​year​ ​the​ ​goal​ ​of​ ​Operation​ ​Day’s​ ​Work​ ​was​ ​to​ ​Support​ “Friends​ ​of​ ​the​ ​Earth​ ​Norway” and​ ​their​ ​youth​ ​organizations​ ​educational​ ​projects​ ​in​ ​the​ ​midst​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world’s​ ​largest​ ​oil disaster​ ​in​ ​Nigeria.​ ​We​ ​used​ ​“International​ ​day”​ to​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the​ ​topic.

My​ ​task​ ​on​ ​“International​ ​day” was​ ​to​ pick two different subjects and study them,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​would​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​host​ ​a​ ​room​ ​where​ ​fellow​ ​students​ ​could​ ​gain information​ ​about​ ​my​ ​theme.

I​ ​choose​ ​the​ ​subject rooms;​ ​Social​ ​studies,​ ​where​ ​you​ ​had​ ​to​ ​compare​ ​your​ ​own​ ​situation​ ​with someone​ ​who​ ​grew​ ​up​ ​in​ ​Nigeria,​ ​and​ ​refugees​ ​in​ ​the​ ​crisis ​and the room where police​ ​officer​ ​Joachim​ ​Olsvik​ ​had a lecture ​about​ ​his​ ​service​ ​aboard​ ​the​ ​Siem​ ​Pilot,​ ​where​ ​he rescued​ ​refugees​ ​in​ ​the​ ​Mediterranean.​ ​Both​ ​these​ ​topics​ ​are​ ​interesting,​ ​and​ ​do​ ​show​ ​that pollution​ ​“half​ ​a​ ​world​ ​away”,​ ​can​ ​have​ ​ripple​ ​effects​ ​all​ ​the​ ​way​ ​to​ ​us​ ​here​ ​in​ ​Europe.

I​ ​started​ ​international​ ​day​ ​with​ ​reading​ ​up​ ​on​ ​my​ ​tasks, ​gaining​ ​information, ​and​ ​thereafter, ​I hosted​ ​my​ ​rooms​ ​for​ ​two​ ​hours​ ​each.

Outside ​the​ ​rooms, ​we​ ​had​ ​made​ ​informative ​posters,​ ​which​ ​made​ ​it​ ​easy​ ​for​ ​other​ ​students,​ ​and teachers​ ​to​ ​gain​ ​information​ ​about​ ​our​ ​subject.

In​ ​our​ ​social​ ​study​ ​room​ ​we​ ​decided​ ​to​ ​talk​ ​about​ ​human​ ​rights​ ​in​ ​Nigeria,​ ​and compare​ ​them​ ​to​ ​human​ ​rights​ ​in​ ​Norway.​ ​Both​ ​countries​ ​have​ ​large​ ​natural resources,​ ​Nigeria​ ​is​ ​about​ ​two​ ​and​ ​a​ ​half​ ​the​ ​size​ ​of​ ​Norway,​ ​but​ ​have​ ​a​ ​population of​ ​178​ ​million​ ​people,​ ​that​ ​is​ ​a​ ​big​ ​difference​ ​from​ ​Norway’s​ ​five​ ​million.​ ​We​ ​can​ ​turn on​ ​the​ ​kitchen​ ​fosset​ ​when​ ​we​ ​want and get​ ​a​ ​glass​ ​of​ ​water,​ ​we​ ​can​ ​fish​ ​in​ ​the​ ​many​ ​thousand lakes​ ​and​ ​rivers,​ ​and​ ​we​ ​do​ ​know,​ ​if​ ​any​ ​company,​ ​oil​ ​or​ ​other​ ​business,​ ​pollute,​ ​they will​ ​be​ ​held​ ​responsible​ ​for​ ​cleaning​ ​it​ ​up.

In​ ​Nigeria​ ​that​ ​is​ ​not​ ​the​ ​case, ​numerous​ ​large​ ​oil​ ​companies​ ​have​ ​had​ ​thousands​ ​of accidents​ ​over​ ​the​ ​years,​ ​a​ ​landmass,​ ​the​ ​size​ ​of​ ​Denmark​ ​is​ ​so​ ​polluted​ ​that​ ​it​ ​is​ ​not habituated​ ​anymore.​ ​Fish​ ​are​ ​dead​ ​in​ ​the​ ​lakes,​ ​ground​ ​water​ ​is​ ​so​ ​polluted​ ​it​ ​cannot be​ ​consumed​ ​by​ ​people,​ ​animals​ ​or​ ​plants,​ ​and​ ​nobody​ ​is​ ​taking​ ​responsibility.

Because​ ​the​ ​oil​ ​spillage​ ​impact​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ecosystem,​ ​one​ ​consequence​ ​is​ ​people​ ​leaving the​ ​affected​ ​areas,​ ​many​ ​of​ ​them​ ​poor,​ ​will​ ​seek​ ​fortune​ ​other​ ​places,​ ​some​ ​will​ ​even make​ ​it​ ​all​ ​the​ ​way​ ​to​ ​Europe.​ ​These​ ​people​ ​are​ ​environmental​ ​refugees,​ ​and according​ ​too​ ​many​ ​environment​ ​organizations​ ​worldwide,​ ​we​ ​are​ ​only​ ​seeing​ ​the beginning​ ​of​ ​these​ ​refugees.​ ​If​ ​steps​ ​are​ ​not​ ​being​ ​taken​ ​in​ ​Nigeria​ ​now,​ ​the​ ​country can​ ​loose​ ​as​ ​much​ ​as​ ​40​ ​%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​habitable​ ​landmass,​ ​imagine​ ​a​ ​hundred​ ​million environmental​ ​refugees​ ​from​ ​Nigeria​ ​only.

The​ ​whole​ ​day​ ​was​ ​really​ ​well​ ​organized,​ ​we​ ​all​ ​got​ ​our​ ​room​ ​numbers​ ​and​ ​schedules. We​ ​spent​ ​two​ ​busy​ ​hours​ ​in​ ​each​ ​room,​ ​and​ ​had​ ​many​ ​interested​ ​fellows​ ​students​ ​and teachers.

After​ ​finishing​ ​the​ ​two​ ​shifts​ ​we​ ​got​ ​some​ ​time​ ​to​ ​explore​ ​the​ ​other​ ​rooms,​ ​where​ ​we​ ​got information​ ​about​ ​the​ ​other​ ​themes.

I​ ​cannot​ ​say​ ​that there​ ​was​ ​one​ ​I​ ​did​ ​not​ ​like. ​All​ ​the​ ​different​ ​subjects​ ​was​ ​very​ ​interesting, and​ ​the​ ​effects​ ​of​ ​what​ ​happens​ ​in​ ​one​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​world​ ​can​ ​make​ ​an​ ​impact​ ​far​ ​away​ ​is really​ ​something​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about.​ ​Operation​ ​Day’s​ ​Work​ ​2017​ ​went​ ​to​ ​an​ ​important​ ​case!

Next​ ​year​ ​I​ ​think​ ​there​ ​should​ ​be​ ​made​ ​information​ ​flyers​ ​that​ ​could​ ​be​ ​posted​ ​online​ ​in advance​ ​of​ ​International​ ​Day​ ​so​ ​we​ ​can​ ​read​ ​up,​ ​and​ ​be​ ​even​ ​better​ ​prepared,​ ​because​ ​in my​ ​opinion,​ ​many​ ​of​ ​the​ ​students​ ​looked​ ​really​ ​lost.​ ​As​ ​of​ ​my​ ​own​ ​evaluation,​ ​I​ ​would say​ ​I​ ​did​ ​pretty​ ​good,​ ​I​ ​loved​ ​it,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​am​ ​already​ ​looking​ ​forward​ ​for​ ​next​ ​year!

Girl Rising Film Review

“One girl with courage is a revolution”

“Girl Rising” (2013) by Richard E. Robbins is documentary that follows nine different girls from Haiti to Nepal. They all fought for a chance to be able to go to school in spite of the heartbreaking injustices such as natural disasters, extreme poverty, and even forced labor. Through education these nine girls are able to break barriers, make change and offer inspiration and hope.

Surprisingly I actually really liked the documentary. I am usually not that big of a fan of documentaries, but this one was different. Girl Rising definitely deserves points for doing something different than relying on the bone-dry, academic approach usually employed for such informational ventures. It was a mixture of live action, animation and narration, of reenactments and reimagining as well as real life footage. It is stunningly made with a wonderful cinematography, writing and a unique approach to all of the different stories. The movie is also very fair; it gives all of the girls a voice. Which sadly has a lot to say about the abuse and being subordinated by the men in the stories, but it does make an effort to show the positive male figures, like nurturing fathers and protective brothers. People who are not already familiar with these issues will be flabbergasted. They will forever be thankful for not being in one of the nine girl’s positions.

Out of all the stories, I think the story of Wadley from Haiti made the greatest impression on me. She was just 7 years old when her world came crashing down around her. Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake destroyed her home and school, but something it did not break was her irrepressible spirit or her extinguishable thirst to learn. Her family could not afford to send her to school, but she still returned, even after being sent home day after day.

“One girl with courage is a revolution” is the movie’s quote. I do not think I would change it. Not only because I personally think it is such an empowering quote, but also because it fits the movie so perfectly. The phrase simply implies that any girl with courage can make a change, exactly what the movie is trying to show in the nine different stories.

Even through the storytelling, I do not think I could relate to their lives in any way to be able to fully empathize. I could try, but I will never be able to know what forced labor, having an arranged marriage or even having no education feels like. If the world was turned upside down, I think most of us would feel like victims, something the girls of Girl Rising don’t, and that is what makes them so important.

I would recommend this movie to pretty much everybody above the age of 15, simply because I think this is such an important topic. Since you already have the opportunity to read this film review, I would jump to the conclusions that you are healthy, you have had several years of schooling and last but not least, a safe place to live. It is important not to take these simple, but so important things for granted.

I would highly recommend you to visit Girl Rising’s website and reading more about their organisation. 

Quality education by 2030

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or also known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals”. These are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Out of these 17 goals, i find number 4 to be one of the most important. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. It takes no genius to figure out that education is the key to eliminating gender inequality, reducing poverty, creating a sustainable planet, preventing needless deaths and illness, and fostering peace.

Evidence also shows that:

  • One additional school year can increase a woman’s earnings by 10% to 20%.
  • Providing all children with quality basic education could boost annual economic growth by 2% in low-income countries.
  • 12% of people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in poor countries had basic reading skills.
  • Education empowers women to make healthy decisions about their lives. For example, women in Mali with a secondary level education or higher have an average of 3 children, while those with no education have an average of 7.

Education is an investment, and one of the most critical investments we can make.

To read more about the other SDGs

 

My comments on the article: How I Became Fake News

We have all heard that history repeats itself. I’v never given it much thought before today. Reading Brennan Gilmore’s story makes me feel like we are back in the middle ages with witch hunts.

It’s amazing how easily people are persuaded. Within days of his online post, he is getting death threats, just because some conspiracy enthusiasts are putting their heads together, one firing up the next. It shows how fast an online post can get out of hand.

I wanted to find out more about fake news. Historically, it’s not a new phenomenon, there is just a whole lot of new players and they are getting more surreptitious, and more dangerous. It really shows the importance of critical thinking.

Gilmore is right when he talks about how we need to stop reading and believing imaginary plots, and continue to speak out and act against racism, and the culture of conspiracy. The question is, how many of us are able to spot the difference.

Read the article: How I Became Fake News