- history, how good so was

- wh offered tax cuts

- tourism biggest industry, what they make

- pandemic effects

- implications, food shortages, power shortages, riots, medicine shortages

- 99 year debt-trap on port

-list of countries in loan with China

- why china giving money tot those countries

- opinion, moral ( dont do things you cant afford)

On March 27th, the 94th Academy Awards, or Oscars, took place. That night, one very, unforgettable incident occurred. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. Now, Will Smith is a big actor, who would obviously not do something like this for no reason. And there was. Within this situation, I believe that both sides were wrong that night, and there could have been a better way to handle this. 

Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock 
{ Link to see entire scene}

Comedian Chris Rock had made a “G.I Jane 2” joke about Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. He said, “ Jada, I love ya. ‘G.I. Jane 2’ can’t wait to see it.” This was a comparison of her shaved head to Demi Moore’s buzzcut in the 1997 film. Mrs. Pinkett Smith didn’t smile or laugh at the joke, most likely because she has a condition called alopecia, which causes either temporary or permanent hair loss. Despite that she’s been very open about it, she has shared in the past her experiences with alopecia and how it’s affected her emotionally. She’s said that she cut her hair because of this condition. In her Facebook Watch series “Red Table Talk”, Mrs. Pinkett Smith said, “My hair has been a big part of me. Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual-and having the choice to Janehair or not- and then one day be like, ‘Oh my god, I might not have that choice.’” She also said, “ I really had to put it in a spiritual perspective of like, the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here who have cancer. People have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day, and by golly, if the higher power wants to take your hair? That’s it? God, you want my hair? When I looked at it from that perspective, it really did settle me.” Having such an important part of yourself gone must have hurt her a lot. I find it admirable how she took this into such a wider perspective and looked at her situation compared to much worse ones. Even though it would be almost devastating, she knew it would be the best decision to make, and took it upon herself to make it.

Knowing this, however, it was quite insensitive of Mr. Rock to make this joke. Regardless that he was trying to make a joke and make the night an enlightening experience, it wasn’t right to make a joke out of something that’s very personal or can be upsetting about someone. Mrs. Pinkett Smith might have just ignored it or looked annoyed, but she could have been deeply offended by this remark.

For this reason, Will Smith slapped Chris Rock. Hearing that someone made such an insensitive comment about something that has strongly affected his wife, would have of course angered him. However, this is where he was also wrong. Usually, in the heat of the moment, we don’t think. This strong emotion overcomes us, and we’re not able to control how it affects our body, until we realize it later after it passes. In that moment, Mr. Smith was furious and acted as a husband, rather than a respected actor. He slapped Chris Rock, and yelled, “Leave my wife’s name out of your f—king mouth.”




In this situation, both of them were wrong. I’m not sure whether Chris Rock knew about Mrs. Pinkett Smith’s condition or not before making the joke, but even if he didn’t, I think he should have at least made some research or asked her beforehand if it was all right to talk about this. It was said to be unscripted, and was possibly added to enhance the mood. But, by doing so, it shows he was insensitive to this topic, and casually made a joke on it without realizing how much it could hurt someone. Will Smith also should have taken matters differently. I understand what it’s like when someone you love deeply is being, not exactly slandered, but hurt you want to stand up for them. You want to relieve that pain and correct it. That’s a very common response. However, violence shouldn’t have been the first response. Perhaps after this Mr. Smith could have talked to Mr. Rock about the gravity of his joke and asked him to apologize. Or maybe even made a response back. Any other response that wouldn’t result in violence would have been the better option. Although Mr. Smith later apologized in his acceptance speech, and later after than to Mr. Rock on social media, it wasn’t right in the first place. 

Mr. Smith d took accountability for his actions, and has expressed an apology to Mr. Rock, Mr. Rock’s family, everyone in attendance, global audiences at home, and the Academy. He has even announced his resignation from the Academy, and described his actions as “shocking, painful, and inexcusable.” Although this apology may not be able to relieve the embarrassment mr. Rock must have felt that night, it does show that Mr. Smith realizes that his actions were unacceptable, and is ready to accept whatever actions are taken against it.

So, in conclusion, both Mr. Rock and Mr. Smith was wrong in this situation. I would mainly say Mr. Rock was wrong, since he was the one who decided to make a joke about a topic that is very sensitive. He had an option to say it or not, and yet he did. Mr. Smith’s reaction was hsi triggered response to that. Most likely, if Mr. Rock never mentioned that joke, could things have gone better? Most likely. But, even so, Mr. Smith’s response to this was also, equally as wrong. Violence should never be the first response to anything. If I were in his place, I might have called him out then and there, or maybe just pulled him aside later. Maybe even make a remark back at his joke during the Best Actor Award Speech. Mr. Rock needs to know that it wasn’t right, and so I would have made him realize that before it was too late. 


Big things are happening in the world right now. Specifically, Russia invading Ukraine. I want to talk about the major questions that have come in throughout these past few days involving this war. Why is Russia invading Ukraine? Why isn’t NATO or the UN helping? Why isn’t the US helping? These questions all go back a long way to WWII. From the midst of it up until now, so many events have accumulated, leading us to this problem today.

Let’s start with the main question.

 Why is Russia invading Ukraine in the first place?

The answer to this is a bit complicated. The main start to this begins a long time ago when the USSR was ending. After the Soviet Union was declared as no longer existing, many republics began to declare independence. Among these included Ukraine. After this, Russia remained. The USSR was heavily ruined after WWII. It faced a lot of damage in the aftermath, and with the republics declaring independence from the Union, Russia - after the collapse- lost many resources.

When making machinery or militia, not everything is made in the same place. Different parts are built in various places and then brought together in one place to assemble the final product. Because of this, Russia lost many weapons and nuclear arsenal when Ukraine declared independence. That’s one thing. Although Ukraine and Russia had an agreement and Ukraine gave up all the arsenal to Russia, there is another thing that Russia could be after. The reason why Ukraine had a nuclear arsenal in place. Ukraine sits on an abundant amount of Uranium. Uranium is used to make nuclear weapons. Although Russia does have Uranium, Ukraine has a plentiful amount of it, hence a reason to invade.

Another reason is oil. Ukraine is near the Black Sea, which leads to the Mediterranean Sea and then to the Middle East. What’s found in the Middle East? Oil. 

Source{Library of Congress}


Oil and Uranium are the most possible reasons why Russia is invading Ukraine. I’ve done some research on this incident and officials- or merely just reporters- are saying there are other reasons relating to why Russia is invading Ukraine other than the ones I’ve listed. So, we don’t know just yet.

Why isn’t NATO helping? 

Well, what exactly is NATO? Let’s backtrack.

During WWII, the heads of the United States, United Kingdom, and Soviet had a meeting to discuss the postwar reorganization of Germany and Europe. This was known as the Yalta Conference, which took place near Yalta in Crimea, Soviet Union. Within a few years, the Cold War began.

The Cold War was a period of tension between two major superpowers at the time, Russia and the United States, and each of their respective allies. Although this conflict was never through any actual war, many proxy wars occurred between the two. One example is Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was used for one of the proxy wars that occurred between the US and Russia. Neither wanted to get into a war on their turf, as seen during WWII, so it was better to fight on another country’s land instead. The US helped a group grow to fight Russia. It’s one we’re very familiar with. The Taliban. However, Afghanistan isn’t surrounded by water. So, the US was pretty much bringing the Taliban through Pakistan, to Afghanistan. This led to Pakistan being on US’s side, as the US was helping them. Since Pakistan and India have many, many conflicts, Russia decided to help India. But anyways, the US was trying to grow the Taliban under their influence so they’ll fight against Russia. In the end, they left Afghanistan in ruins and decided they weren’t going to do anything with the Taliban anymore. This led to the group growing even more and becoming a terrorist group, which was led by Osama bin Laden to attack the Twin Towers. A bit ironic isn’t it?

Another proxy war was the Vietnamese war. Russians fought on Vietnamese land with Vietnamese people against the United States and ended up leaving Vietnam in ruins as well.

Anyway, the Cold War pretty much created a division between the continent. Germany was split into two parts, West and East Germany. East Germany was controlled by the Soviet Union, while West Germany was controlled by the US, Britain, and France. After this, the United States and its allies created NATO.
Russia, seeing this, forms its own “group” called the Warsaw Pact with Eastern European Countries, as an equal balance of power with NATO. 

Source {The Glass Files}

Now, as I said before, the United States is not surrounded by any other countries, except Canada and Mexico. Russia, on the other hand, is bordered by 14 countries. This is a problem for Russia, as they cannot get close to the USA as easily. The US, on the other hand, can. The entire Western border of countries that surround Russia- except for Ukraine- are all part of NATO. Why not Ukraine? Well, Ukraine is directly next to Russia. If Ukraine were to join NATO, that means the US would have access to have its missiles and troops directly at Russia. Ukraine is an aspiring member of NATO, not yet a member, and Russia wants NATO to promise to never accept Ukraine as a member. They said that Ukraine joining NATO would be a threat to Russia’s borders, as already there are 5 NATO countries currently bordering Russia. Because of this, NATO, unfortunately, cannot help Ukraine. 

Source { Quora}


What about the UN?

In the United Nations, there is something called a Security Council. In the Security Council, there are 5 permanent members and many temporary members which change. The 5 permanent members are the USA, UK, France, China, and Russia. These 5 members have veto power over UN resolutions. This means that a permanent member can block the adoption of a resolution without having to debate on it. So, if one member says no, then the resolution is vetoed, even if the others say yes. Everyone has to agree.

Source {Cambridge Global Affair}

Source {dw.com}
Council meeting to discuss Ukraine-Russia
Situation

When Ukraine came to the UN, Russia- a permanent member- vetoed the resolution to help Ukraine. Because Russia said no, nobody could do anything, which means that the UN cannot help Ukraine as well.
There is one country that could help Ukraine, but they have stepped back. India. India became the President of the Security Council, and could help Ukraine, but has already said that it will remain independent and balanced, and will not help. India has a very strong reason to do so.

When India was testing nuclear weapons, Ukraine thought of India as bad. Many times, Ukraine has always condemned India and said India was bad for many things, including its conflicts with Pakistan. Ukraine even sent tanks to Pakistan, which were then used against Indians. So, when Ukraine came to India to help them, India chose to stay out and remain independent.

What about other countries?

Many other countries in Europe can’t help Ukraine, as Russia controls an energy supply, which can be cut off by them.

One other question I'd like to talk about is about what was to happen if Ukraine ended up being taken by Russia.

First, let’s go back to the end of WWII- again- and start from there. When Germany realized it was going to lose the war, it started to crumble and was destroyed. However, there was still one country that was still fighting. Japan. At this time, the United States decides to finally stop this and dops two nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Seeing the effects of the bombs, the world was shocked. This was when they realized the United States was on a completely different level compared to them. At that time, the United States didn’t see Russia as a threat. Russia was left in ruins after the war, while the US was perfectly fine, as there was almost no fighting on US soil.

Slowly, over time, Russia began building itself up again, until it became a superpower as well. Soon the Cold War emerged, and Europe was divided between two sides. Pro-USA or Pro-Russia. As I mentioned before, Ukraine has an abundant amount of Uranium. Russia has already close to the level the US is at now, so there is some tension between the two. The US doesn’t want them to be the same, and so they don’t want Russia to get their hands on that Uranium. So, as far as I have heard, the US has troops ready and planned to send some, but they are still not sent just yet.

Overall, I think Ukraine might be the one to blame here. It got itself in its mess. Although Russia is wrong to just attack Ukraine like that and is using hostile force, Ukraine can’t do anything about it. Although the rest of the world is trying to help them, I feel like they should have planned or even seen this coming. I mean, Russia and Ukraine have been having problems since 2014. Ukraine should have been better prepared in case this happened. They also shouldn’t have been too hasty in taking sides. India could have helped Ukraine and talked with Russia about this issue If Ukraine hadn’t condemned India many times in the past. Ukraine was hasty to make a decision and jump to say that India was bad, without even thinking of what could have happened in the future. It’s practically karma. Not only that, Ukraine was aspiring to be part of NATO.

There are many requirements to joining NATO and Ukraine didn’t meet any of those at first. With the help of NATO, Ukraine was getting there. However, many European Allies were against Ukraine joining since it could affect their relationship with Russia. They hoped they could have a closer relationship with Moscow, and Ukraine joining NATO could be a problem. If those Allies could have overcome those thoughts, we possibly could have saved a lot of Ukrainian and Russian lives by now.

The UN is also at partial fault. I feel like their system is very slightly biased. Out of the 5 permanent members, there are three European members, one Asian member, and one North American Member. There are six continents, excluding Antarctica. More than half of the permanent members are from one. Not only that, these countries are all those big powerful ones, and they won't give up their positions. Because of that, they don’t let countries that need voices to speak out have a chance. Yes, sometimes you need these stronger countries to lead and make decisions because they have the resources and can often make the best decisions to help, but it’s always biased. These big countries that have conflicts with other smaller countries- Russia or China- will use their power as permanent members to prevent those smaller countries to have a voice in decisions. They kind of overpower the others. The concept of the UN was made with good intentions, by a great man. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a dream and decided that the United States cannot ever turn its backs on the world again. From this dream, the UN soon came to be. Although many beneficial things have come out of the efforts of the UN, sometimes the resolutions to certain problems are biased. Or the problems may not even be solved, like what’s happening with Ukraine. I believe there should be a better division of power between the permanent members. Maybe a member per continent or even an ally speaks on behalf of many other countries and is represented. I’m not sure how that could or even would complicate things, but it is a suggestion.

Anyways, that was my take on the Ukraine-Russia situation. I wonder how the other countries will assist Ukraine, and how Ukraine figures out a way to solve this matter. I also wonder if Ukraine will still be an aspiring member and if it ever will get to be a part of NATO.




















So this quarter in ELA, we’ve begun learning about the Holocaust. Or really, we’re learning more about the Holocaust. It’s been more than halfway through, and we’ve talked about many different themes and factors that contributed and could be seen in the Holocaust, as well as the novel we’re focusing on, Night. We’ve talked about genocide, propaganda, cruelty and inhumanity, and even silence. To get more involved regarding this unit, we’ve had a major summarize project to do on the book Night, and just this Wednesday, we- my entire grade level- went on a field trip to the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum. 

I’m not going to give a step by step explanation of my trip, as that would be boring. However, I wanted to share some of the things that caught my eye and really interested me. For example, how the museum is split into three wings.

The Holocaust/Shoah Wing, Human Rights Wing, and a Pivot to America Wing. Although the main focus of this museum is about the Holocaust, it also incorporates a section about human rights, something which the Jews had taken from by the Nazis, and how the rights of people are restored in America over the course of history.

First, the Holocaust Wing. I would say one of the most interesting things to see was a map of all the concentration camps. When we think of the Holocaust, the most common names such as Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Buna, and many others come to mind. But we don’t really comprehend that there were more than 1,200 until we get a visual. Seeing all the concentration camps put onto one big picture was really eye-opening. It was put into context and I was pretty much just shocked at how many there were. Another thing was the propaganda. 




Obviously this isn’t an immediate effect, but rather something continuous over some time in order to really sway the opinion. But seeing the posters and commercials of the propaganda at that time really is interesting to look at. It was fascinating to watch and read about the views and ideals that the party and Hitler were trying to enforce, and seeing how that slowly changed the public’s opinion and led to the crimes made against the Jews. Hearing about the Holocaust makes us think about the cruelty of teh Nazis and Germans against teh Jews. We have this sense of, not necessarily disgust, but resentment towards them for their actions. We don’t realize that some of these people were swayed and “manipulated” to do so. Although they were the ones who ended up being swayed and carried out Hitler’s orders, they were merely influenced by someone who took advantage of power. Some people, though, didn’t need swaying and did so almost proudly. 


I also liked the small details in between the sections. For example, displays of the clothing worn- The Boy in Striped Pajamas reference- and the different versions of the yellow star the Jews were forced to wear. There were also artifacts of stamps, shoes, and even silverware that was made or used. There was even a ‘shower head’ from the gas chambers, as well as a solid form of Zyklon B. ( Displayed and secured of course) There was also a part about religion, and how leaders of different religions- like the Pope- responded to this situation.

My other favorite part of this wing was the box car they had. You were able to sit inside and watch a video on the deportation of Jews. Reading books and listening to testimonies of survivors about deportation and the journey isn’t broad enough to understand how poorly they were treated. There were very few, if not no windows, and no room at all as at a time hundreds of people were shoved into one car at once. Being able to sit in one and actually picture and see how many people would have fit in it is really something. Watching the video and imagining the situation while sitting inside is a new level of understanding, for me at least. I was able to picture the conditions they had and try to visualize how it must have looked like when they got in the cars. The Germans carelessly shoved them in, and promised them it would be a few hours, when it was really days. ( In some cases, 5 or more) Another thing is the sound. I never thought about how it must sound inside. I’ve read about the space and conditions, but never about how LOUD it was. In the video, a survivor talks about how loud it is inside the boxcar. Some people were praying, some were singing, some were crying, and some had gone mad. And one by one, people would be dropping like flies. The only times the doors opened would be to take out the dead. Otherwise, they were inside. 



The Human Rights Wing was, I think, the smallest. This mainly was about what happened after the Holocaust, like the formation of the UN, and some of the activists such as Eleanor Roosevelt. The thing that stood out to me was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There was a 3D visual of the rights people from different countries put in. There were many similar to the first 10 amendments in the Constitution. However, what really intrigued me was that the United States did not sign the UDHR until 1992. Why? Because one of the rights was that everyone was equal. At that time, however, a big issue was slavery. I’ll get back to this part later when we move to the Pivot on America Wing.


The other part of the Human Rights Wing was the 10 stages of genocide. I absolutely loved how it was made. ( The exhibit to be clear.) It highlights the 10 main signs of genocide and how they can be seen throughout history all over the world. The ten stages are:
  • Polarization
  • Dehumanization
  • Organization
  • Preparation 
  • Extermination 
  • Denial
  • Persecution 
  • Classification 
  • Symbolization
  • Discrimination 


I think what really amazed me by this exhibit was how you could define something so…brutal into these 10 stages. How do you even classify that? That’s what really amazes me. How people are changing, or trying to change. Genocide has been- not exactly common- but present throughout history, and even today with the Uyghur Muslims in China.

However, it’s never been seen as a problem. It’s never been addressed or seen as a problem we need to fix, until the Holocaust happened. I think that was a major turning point in history that really made people stop and think. Although our world is not perfect, and there are still many injustices being faced by people today, we’re working towards solving this to not repeat the past.

The final wing: Pivot to America Wing. This wing was made to show how hindu rights are changing in America. Similar to the other wings, it included testimonies and interactive displays and kiosks that talk about making a difference. Most of the displays were about slavery, as that is a big part in American history. There were some activists who were working or worked on creating foundations and improving the lives of many others who faced injustice. I think there was one on Native Americans, but I unfortunately did not get much time to see the entire wing. During our field trip we were given a packet to fill out as a grade. However, under the worry that it’ll be graded, I ended up spending my time trying to get everything filled out. Because of this, I ended up not being able to actually read and learn more about the wings. I was - and still am- upset and disappointed it turned out this way, but I am hoping to go again and be able to actually learn this time. It really was an excellent experience and I really enjoyed the trip. I really just wished we didn’t have an assignment, as that prevented a lot of students, including myself, from learning properly.


The final part of our visit was a film called Voices of Courage. This was a “documentary” or a collection of interviews put together of Holocaust survivors that live in Dallas today. The one thing that stood out to me was the interview with a man from the military who liberated those in the camps. You always hear about the survivors’ experience, but never about the liberators. That was a new perspective. He explained that when they had entered the concentration camp, they were cautious. They had no idea what was happening. They were expecting Nazis seeing the barracks, but instead they were shocked to see Jews, malnourished and abnormally thin and sick. They had no idea what was happening, and seeing all these Jews completely surprised them. Listening to how the Jews were overjoyed and crying seeing their liberators was just devastating. They had been taken from their homes, dehumanized, starved, and lived under the fear of being sent to the crematoria everyday. They became malnourished and frail, most of them becoming living corpses with decaying skin and frail limbs, and hoped everyday to be saved. Most of them lost hope, and now they were finally saved. After going through all that, it must be overwhelming. They’ve lost almost everything, including their own identities.

Something I want to add is that the world is changing. I mentioned before that we’re working to stop genocide and injustices in human rights, but never exactly how. We’re doing so by speaking up. Let me backtrack to the very beginning. Remember when I mentioned a summative project we had to do over Night? Well, our main idea in this entire book is about silence. “…to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all…” . This is our main quote. The Holocaust could have been stopped before if people had not remained silent or indifferent to wards the crime. By remaining silent, the crime is only being increased and fueled to continue. The Jews didn’t know what was happening, and that made their death even more painful. Yes, they had warnings, but those were unclear as no one could confirm what was really happening. The world was too preoccupied by the war, and didn’t notice them. And those who did notice, chose not to say anything. This is what helped the Holocaust continue.

However, after the Holocaust, people began to deny it ever happening, and that it was a myth. In response, Holocaust survivors decided to speak up. If people forgot about the Holocaust, it would be bound to happen again. In Night, Elie Wiesel- a Holocaust survivor- himself writes that it is their responsibility to speak out about this so that the future generation don’t have to go through another Holocaust again. Similar to the UN. The United Nations is dedicated to protecting human rights after witnessing what happened with the Holocaust. That’s why the Uyghur Muslim genocide is a problem that the countries are trying to stop. To prevent another Holocaust from happening, and because the Uyghur Muslims are facing injustices against their human rights.

I really enjoyed this field trip. I haven’t been on a. Field trip in like 3 years so it was really fun to go on one again. I also definitely enjoy the museum. I really liked the experience. I haven’t been to a history museum in a one time, and I think that I was able to learn a lot about how the Holocaust has influenced and changed our modern society today. I really really hope I can go again though in order to go through EVERY exhibit and read through everything again so I can actually have a good experience, but other than that I really liked it. I was able to see so many new perspectives in the Holocaust, be Abel to listen and hear about teh small details and events that went on between the event, how the UN was formed and why it’s important, 10 stages of genocide which I didn’t even know existed, and got to get a brief introduction on how this has helped shape our society today, So, I hope you all have an excellent weekend, and also got to learn something new through this post. Bye!

https://www.dhhrm.org/exhibitions/holocaust-shoah-wing/ - Museum link for more information and picture of the wings




So in History we’ve started a new unit. We’ve finished Madison’s Presidency, War of 1812, Industrial Revolution, and Monroe’s Presidency. Now, we’ve started Jackson’s Presidency. We’ve only just started the unit, so I’m still learning. However, we did a brief insight on what the unit covers. One of the things that stood out to me- well two- were the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears.

The Indian Removal Act authorized President Andrew Jackson to negotiate land-exchange treaties with tribes living east of the Mississippi. The treaties enacted under this act’s provisions led to the reluctant-and often forcible- emigration of tens of thousands of American Indians to plots of land west of the Mississippi. This is more commonly known as the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee Indians, and many other tribes, were forced to leave their lands and travel from North Carolina and Georgia through Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, and Arkansas. More than 800 miles ( 1,287 km)- to the Indian Territory. It’s said that President Jackson did so for the good of the Natives, and so they would be able to live away from the colonies and not be affected by them. However, if that was the intention, then why couldn’t the Natives be transported by train or cart? We had just gotten out of the Industrial Revolution at that time, and had developed all these amazing, efficient ways to travel yet we forced the Indians to travel by FOOT on a 116 day journey, and on which more than 4,000 out of 15,000 Cherokees died of cold, disease, and lack of food? We were doing this for their better good, yet we ended up killing a fourth of their population! And for what? The land we promised them, eventually was taken away. Again! By the US! Couldn’t we have provided them with food or clothing or even better transportation in order to help them safely reach their destination? It’s called the Trail of Tears because of the tears shed for the loved ones lost from this journey. However, this is only one event.

 In the past, the Treaty of Hopewell was signed in Georgia, protecting Cherokee Native Americans in the United States, yet we sectioned off their land. Then there’s the Treaty of Houston, in which all of their land outside of the borders previously established is given up. All within 6 years. 

The Battle of Timbers was the last major battle over the Northwest territory following the American Revolution. Then we have the Louisiana Purchase. France pretty much just sold it to us without caring about who lived there or not.

In 1814, US forces and Native American allies attacked Creek Indians who opposed American expansion and encroachment of their territory. The Creeks cede more than 20 million acres of land after their loss.

After President Jackson, President Martin Van Buren did a similar thing. In order to speed up the process of the Cherokees leaving their land, he enlists 7,000 troops to hold them at gunpoint and marches them 1,200 miles. GUNPOINT! Firstly, we strip them of their own land without their consent and force them to walk 800 miles to new land. Then, because there are still some left and we want to speed it up, we ( the US) decide to make them march 1,200 miles at gunpoint. How absurd is that?! 

Not only that, we start passing acts that forbid them from leaving their reservations unless they have permission. We basically trap them in a plot of land smaller than they once had, just because we want to settle further west and expand. What happened to ‘the good of the Indians’?

Daily living on the reservations was difficult. It was almost impossible for tribes to maintain their culture and traditions inside a confined area. Not only that, feuding tribes were carelessly thrown together, and Indians who once were hunters, struggled as farmers. They were forced to get out of their spiritual beliefs by converting to Christianity, learn English, and wear non-Indian clothing.

Although the intention of this was to help the natives improve their quality of life by assimilating into white culture easier and faster, it really didn’t do anything. As the land owned by the Indians grew smaller and smaller, more land was opened to white settlers and railroads. Much of the reservation wasn’t even good farmland, and many Indians couldn’t afford the supplies needed to reap a harvest.

After all this, in 1934 a new act was passed. The Indian Reorganization Act. It was passed with the goals of restoring Native American culture and returning surplus land to tribes. It also encouraged tribes to self-govern and write their own constitutions and provided financial aid for any reservation infrastructure.

Today, modern Indian reservations still exist, and fall under the umbrella of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The BIA is a United States federal agency within the Department of the Interior, and is responsible for implementing federal laws and policies related to American Indians and Alaskan Natives. It works with tribal governments to help administer law enforcement and justice; promote development in agriculture, infrastructure, and the economy; enhance tribal governance; manage natural resources; and generally advance the quality of life in tribal communities.

Despite that this is meant to help the Natives, I can’t help but feel it’s ironic. I mean, before they literally pushed the Natives as far as they could to help the US develop and expand, and this led to the reason they suffered and could barely survive. They did this without caring about the conditions there or how it could affect their lifestyle, and now they have an entire agency that helps advance the quality of their life. It’s basically like, okay we’re gonna take all your land despite the kindness you’ve shown, expand our own country and develop it first, and then we’ll create this agency to help you have a better life and help take care of your tribe. If only we had never pushed the natives, we wouldn’t be like this.

Even though we have an agency that helps the tribes, living conditions on the reservations aren’t ideal and are often compared to that of a third-world or try. Housing is overcrowded and often below standards, and many people on the reservations are stuck in a cycle of poverty. Health care is provided on reservations, but it's underfunded and, in some cases, practically non-existent. I get that the BIA may be doing as much as it can to help the natives, but this is really ridiculous.

We’ve pretty much forced them to adapt and live in a home smaller than what was theirs, and get used to our modern society while they're still struggling to survive and improve their living conditions. While it’s a good thing that we’re trying to fix our mistakes by helping them, it really just seems a bit ironic to me.

Another thing I want to add is the Worcester v. Georgia case. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Cherokee nation was a “domestic dependent nation” with no rights binding on a state. That being said, they should be able to do what they want, right? Well, no. Even though they lost in court because they were ruled as a distinct nation, they were never treated like one. They were practically treated like animals as they were forced to move and give up their land. The land that was rightfully theirs first.

But why would this have happened? Why is it that now we started caring instead of back then? Well, the same reason why slavery existed. Because of the race and color. The Europeans fought with each other for territory. They didn’t just take it and say, oh this is mine now. Why? Well because they were mostly of the same color. They looked similar. They were white. But when they come to the New World and see the natives of a different color ( darker than them) they think it’s okay for them to ignore the natives. The color isn’t the same, so why should they care? It’s because they’re different that settlers pushed them back. If the natives weren’t, most likely there wouldn’t have been the same problems as there were in history.

But, even after all the problems and challenges they’ve had to go through in the past and even now, the natives continue to hold onto their heritage and thrive as a community. I admire that. Although they’ve experienced pain, and suffering, and gone through so many hardships, they continue to persist and pass down their traditions and beliefs. They continue to, and forever will. They’ve never given up, and that’s truly remarkable. 

I feel guilty knowing how the settlers pretty much kicked the natives out of their own homes. It’s upsetting how this part of history is skimmed over and not thoroughly understood. I know slavery and the actions with the natives are two different things, but they are similar in some ways. Recently, people have been taking out evidence of the Confederate to erase that part in history. If they’re taking that out, then shouldn’t they remove everything we did to the natives as well? Or at least bring it to light, as that’s what we’ve been doing with the BLM movement.  I find it hypocritical.The United States is always trying to defend human rights and speak out against genocide. However, what people don’t realize is that what we’ve done to natives in the past is similar. For example, Uyghur genocide in China, or the  Holocaust. I know that these topic are far more brutal and much much more worse than the history with Native Americans. It does not come onto the same level as them. The Holocaust was a genocide of European Jews, of which over 6 million were killed. Extermination through labor in concentration camps, mass shootings, gas chambers, extermination camps, and so many other ways to implement the persecution. In China, the Uyghur genocide is being done through state-sponsored internment camps, forced labor, suppression of Uyghur religious practices, forced sterilization, etc. I don’t even know how to describe them. It’s horrible. Although I cannot compare it to the situations with the Native Americans in the past, it is only slightly similar. It’s hypocritical of us to speak out and do so much to change all the racial persecution and discrimination in the world when it’s what we’ve done in the past. We need to change this. The United States is the land of the free. It’s shown in a good light. We’re always trying to make a change and show ourselves as a protector. But how do we do that if we never protected the people who welcomed us on their land. Who helped us survive and actually helped us grow? This brings up another thing. Thanksgiving. The whole idea behind this holiday is ironic. We celebrate Thanksgiving as a reminder of how the Native Americans helped us and treated us kindly when we arrived on their land. To be thankful. In reality though, we’ve never returned their kindness. We took it for granted and drive them out of their homes. While there are thousands out there suffering, and living in poverty, we sit at a table with the original Thanksgiving meal, thanking them for their kindness. How ironic is that. I don’t mind Thanksgiving. At least we’re acknowledging their kindness. But ho ware we going to repay it? That’s what we should  be doing instead. On Thanksgiving, instead of sitting and having a grand meal as a tradition, isn’t there something else we can do? A way to show we’re actually thankful? Maybe help get them out of poverty? Or even give back a proper compensation for all the land we’ve taken from them? Maybe not just in money, but if possible, in the land that is left?I only mention this because I think this is also an important part of history we should understand. We need to understand how 13 colonies grew to a country. Not just by the presidents and wars, but also by how we took the land from others. We need to know our mistakes and be able to fix them, or at least compensate for them in order to move on and progress. That’s how we understand history. 
This week’s post is another weekly school story/ breakdown. Well, more like a short light-hearted one-sided conversation. Hah. Well, let’s go!

Oh my god, was last week a daze. So last week was Thanksgiving break. One full week of no school, hours of free time, and no work. Something truly looked forward to every year. Well, so was I. Was. In the future, at that point I still will, but given how the after effects of this year’s break were, ehhhhhh. Not really.

Almost every time there’s a long weekend or a break at least 4 days long, I forget everything. Literally. I can never seem to get back into my schedule. Maybe this happens to everyone, but I’ve experienced it multiple times lately. Following Halloween, we got Monday no Tuesday off from school. On Wednesday, when I returned, I forgot my ID. I was panicking so bad because I was terrified some teacher would find out I didn’t have it and would make me stay outside until I did. I remember hearing a story in 5th grade of a boy who didn’t wear his ID and couldn’t go to school unless he found it. I was fortunate enough that my dad was able to bring it to me before school started. The next day, I forgot my chrome book. So once again I had to call one of my parents to drop it off. After a few days, it was normal again. However, this week was also a disaster.

So, on Monday I forgot my chrome book. And in the first half of the week I thought I lost my violin tuner. When I was reviewing for my quiz on Wednesday, I forgot all my proofs and theorems in Geometry. Oh and then I had a hard time reviewing for my Brain Function Test on Friday because I couldn’t get the Olfactory Bulbs/tracts and Optic nerves/chiasms right. I also completely blanked out on my math test for a good 5 minutes before I was able to get into my senses. ( I still got a 104/105 though. Disappointingly, I lost 1 point in a very minor and frustrating error.) I also messed up on one question of my math quiz and didn’t read my writing correctly , so I messed up and lost 2 points.

Before the break begins I’m so relieved and joyous and grateful I get a break. I mean, do you know how much work you get before the break?! Like at least 6 assignments and 3-4 quizzes or tests before. It’s such a relief when you finally get a break. But then it ends and you feel so drained. Breaks are helpful, relaxing, and exciting, but also annoying, troublesome, and tiring. Although I get a lot of time to myself and can feel good in that moment, it’s really difficult to get back into that same work mode again.

After seeing what happens after a 4 day break and full week break, I wonder what’s going to happen after winter break. I’ll be leaving for winter vacation a week early so I’ll miss the last week of school for the 2021 year. So after missing 3 weeks of school, I’m most likely going to be in the grumpiest and most sour mood to exist when I return. I’ll probably have forgotten everything and will leave the majority of my stuff behind at home. Can’t wait for that. It’s funny. I just get back into my regular schedule and routine, and then it’s going to break again.

Apart from that, I’m super excited for the next few weeks. This Monday I literally told myself that days pass by really quick, and it’s only this week full of work before I get free days. Well, less work-filled days. See, next week after Tuesday, as far as I know I have the next few days a bit casual. I may have a quiz in between, but otherwise, it’s gonna be great. Next Thursday I have a Winter Orchestra Concert which I am super excited for. It’ll be my first time performing for a live audience in almost 2 years. I unfortunately wasn’t feeling well the day of my Fall concert so I had to miss that. However, this time it'll be great. I also get to perform as concertmaster for my orchestra, and I am really excited. Especially with the pieces we get to play. Jingle bell rock, Harry Potter, and Ode to Joy. Ode to joy is a kind of tradition each year where all orchestras play a part of the piece together. Jingle bell rock is pretty simple. But Harry Potter is the best. We did a run-through of the whole piece on Tuesday and it was so lit. It’s one of the harder pieces we are playing this year, so it’s a new experience. Because of that, it makes playing it even better. I cannot wait to play it in front of an audience. It’s so energetic in the end as the tempo increases, and it’s definitely an adrenaline rush just from listening.

Also, we have Holiday Tours on the day after. This is also a tradition with our school where we go around and play for the elementary schools nearby and show the kids there how great the fine arts department is. Band, Orchestra, and choir perform there, and it’s really exciting. When I was younger, it was something I always looked forward to and loved, and I’m really excited that Iget to be a part of it this time. I never imagined I would be in that same place of those musicians who I admired, and would be able to play for kids who would do the same in the following years.

Then, the evening of that Friday I have my first All Region rehearsal. It’s my first time getting into All Region and I’m looking forward to that as well. Compared to All District, I’ll be playing with kids from all over the region of Texas. On Saturday we’ll have one final rehearsal before we put on a concert. Then, on the following Monday I will be leaving for an early winter break. More details on that will come later. But anyways, it’s gonna be great. So many Orchestra live playing days. I’m really looking forward to next week. 

Oh and one last thing. I got to dissect a sheep brain. Twice. It was pretty enjoyable. A lot of people when they see organs or have to dissect body parts they get disgusted and cannot look at it or stand the smell. For me, it was fine. It looked pretty normal. I’d say the most amusing part to me was when my other teammates were completely disgusted by the smell while I was unbothered. It smelled like dead fish, and was oddly normal. The first of the two dissections was a labeling one where we had to dissect and label the interior and exterior of the brain. This included the cortexes, cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, lobes, hypothalamus, corpus callosum, and thalamus. The second day was a mystery disease activity. Our team’s patient had a problem in the Central Nervous System- more specifically the hypothalamus- so we got to dissect another brain to root out our problem. I found it most fascinating how you could see where the problem was inside the brain. Although there was a mix up with the labeling when they were being sent and we got a different group’s brain, it was fascinating to see how the part where there was a problem/disease was most prominent. Here’s a picture down below. 


So yeah. Sheep brain dissections helped me get out of my exhausted state and progress through the long week.

Other than that nothing else really happened. About 87% of my week was just me being done with everything and exhausted, 8% was me being excited for cutting open a sheep brain, 3% was me manifesting the excitements of next week, and the remaining 2% was me thinking life is good. I dunno. Sometime between the week I started feeling good and told myself everything was all right. I have no idea where that came from, but it’s positive reassurance that is comforting to know. That’s pretty much how my entire week went. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and an excellent evening. Bye!

Motorcycles. What a…rather unique topic to write about. It’s a slightly random post today, bringing up two-wheeled motorized vehicles out of the countless others. In reality, I couldn’t come up with anything else. But, I’ve been thinking about this. I myself don’t know much about them. At most, the only thing I could come up with from what I know about them is that they have two wheels and an engine.

I guess this is similar to my Whiskey post, where I randomly wrote on a topic and gave some facts. It’s not bad to randomly talk about something informational every once in a while. Plus, this will be another learning experience for me as well.

Let’s first start with what defines a motorcycle. A two-wheeled vehicle that is powered by a motor and doesn’t have pedals. Given that, we have a basic image in our heads, like the one down below.



But, this is only one of the different types of motorcycles that exist. They look similar, yet each one has a specific purpose and style as to where or how it is ridden. Out of the many different types of motorcycles, I’m choosing to write about 4 types. Standard, Cruiser, Bagger, and Touring. Also, I’m going to be going off of Indian Motorcycles and their bikes for this post.

I also want to explain what cc means. When I write something like 125 cc, I’m talking about 125 cubic centimeters. The cc is used to measure the displacement of a motorcycle engine. A motorcycle’s displacement is another way to measure the volume of its cylinders (hence cubic), or more simply, measures the amount of space the engine’s pistons sweep within one stroke.
More displacement can mean a more powerful engine, but not necessarily more speed. For example, a standard bike can go faster than a bagger, despite the bagger having more cc, because the standard bike is smaller and weighs less.

Fairing is an external metal or plastic structure added to increase streamlining and reduce drag, especially on a high-performance car, motorcycle, boat, or aircraft.


Standard-


The oldest motorcycle style that manufactures have been producing, and a common favorite because of it’s simple design and suiting for all purposes. It has an upright seating position with the handlebar at waist height that offers a balanced riding position.



It has variations from 125 cc up to 1,000cc and can be fit with luggage, a tank bag, or a different seat.

Cruiser-

Designed for cruising, the Cruiser has a lower seat height for relaxed riding position and easy control. The engine sizes vary from a small displacement to 1,000 cc or more. ( Usually from 125 to 1,000cc)




Power cruisers have greater performance than usual, more horsepower, stronger brakes, and better suspension. Thye have higher levels of power, and often come with upgraded brakes and suspensions, better ground clearance, and premium surface finishes.

Bagger-

Baggers are more comfortable bikes that can be taken on the open road. They can dominate miles with high-displacement engines . They have saddlebags which offer plenty of storage for riding gear, cargo, or anything needed to hit the road. Baggers have a customizable selection of frame, fairings, and windshields which can keep you from being knocked around by the wind. 

Baggers also can have a two-up seating configuration.

Touring-

Touring motorcycles are perfect for long-distance rides as it has amenities and comfort for both the rider and passenger. They commonly have large displacement fairings and windshields that offer a high degree of weather and wind protection, large-capacity fuel tanks for long ranges, engines with a great deal of low-end horsepower, and a more relaxed upright seating position.




It’s typically larger than most other motorcycles, and has typically large engine sizes to be able to keep up highway speeds, and haul a large amount of extra gear+ clothes. Engine sizes can range from 1,000 to 1,800 cc.

Why do people ride motorcycles?

My guess would be the thrill. I’ve gotten the chance to ride with my dad on his motorcycle a few times, and it’s always been exciting? Why? Because of the thrill. The thrill of going at an incredible speed with nothing but the wind stopping you. It’s something that gives freedom. No one can stop you at that moment from going wherever you want. Nothing holds you back, and allows you to feel that sense of flying because of it’s open build. Although having to sit pressed against someone’s back with a firm non-negotiable grip around their waist isn’t the same, it gives a similar feeling.

I would also say because of what it sounds like. You can’t really hear much when riding due to the wind, but it’s helpful. I don’t remember what it sounds like, but it’s a bit blurred when you ride. You don’t hear a lot of sounds other than the occasional cars and wind whipping past you, and that’s calming as well. It blocks out the sound that can distract you, and lets you hear how fast you’re going instead. You don’t get that type of power and speed with cars or other vehicles, making it much more exciting with motorcycles. That sound also builds the thrill. The faster you go, the more blurred it sounds, and more thrill you get.

It can also be there to burn stress. When you ride, you feel calm. It sort of reboots your system and re-energizes you. It allows you to forget what’s on your mind and just enjoy the feeling of being free, and by yourself.

I also want to include friendship. My dad always shares stories about his rides whenever he gets home, and it always sounds warm when he shares a memory with his friends along the way. Going on a solo trip is great, but it’s better with friends. On that trip, they’ve all put down hectic schedules and work to do one thing you all love, and that’s riding. Either for short trips to close states, or long road trips across the country, they'll be there. You create a special, a new specific bond with your friends when you ride, and that’s another reason why people do it.


Difference between a biker group and biker gang:

When I was younger, I asked this question to my dad. Whenever I thought of a biker, I was always thinking of some biker gang or a person who was bad and rode on a bike while harming people. So when my dad got a bike, I got confused, and a bit worried. He later explained to me the difference.

A biker group, or motorcycle club, is a group of individuals whose primary interest and activities involve motorcycles. They all share the same passion and interest in motorcycles, and that’s why they form a club. Most clubs are either organized around a particular brand or make, or around a type of riding.

Biker gangs/ Outlaw motorcycle clubs however, do not usually adhere to the American Motorcyclist Association’s ( AMA) rules. Some members of outlaw motorcycle clubs participate in criminal activities and organized crime.

Why I want a bike:

Like I mentioned at the beginning, I have a dream motorcycle/bike in mind that I want to have when I’m older. How did it come to this, well….I don’t know. Honestly, I never imagined myself ever wanting a motorcycle in the future. I never liked them that much or thought they were great. But one day very recently I guess something clicked in my mind and now I want a motorcycle of my own. 

I guess mainly because they're cool. I mean, look.
Indian FTR

                                                  


Doesn’t this look like a really cool ride to school. You can ride onto campus on this and get off cooly while everyone looks at you in awe. Heh. And maybe because I like bikes in general. I’ve always loved riding bikes. I really love that freedom of my own “vehicle” and going to my friends’ house by myself or hanging out with them. It’s like a form of independence I suppose. But you can’t take a regular bicycle everyday when you get older, so I guess that’s why I decided I wanted a motorized bike instead. ( AKA motorcycle.)

Achievements/Gear:

What comes to mind when you think of a motorcyclist? Probably some person with a vest covered with patches standing next to a bike. Or maybe not. But anyway, usually these vests serve a greater purpose than as protection or a stylish overcoat. They can represent a treasure for some. My dad owns a vest himself, and on it he had many patches of different places he's been. For example, the Three Twisted Sisters. It’s like a trophy. A piece of clothing that shows the different achievements and places you’ve been and have. Or it could just be a way to represent yourself. It doesn’t necessarily have to have patches of your achievements, but to show who you are. To show the world when you ride what it means to be a rider to you, and what you see of yourself.

The bond between a rider and their bike:

You know how ships have names? I’m not sure about big ships, but for small ships the captain or whoever owns it gives it a name. Ever wonder why? Because that’s their partner. It’s their most trusted friends on a journey. Same with bikes. Bikers name their bikes as well because that’s their only companion on the road. The bike is the one that is with them and the one that will take care of them on their ride. The vehicle is the one that’s helping you get there, and is the one that will protect you. You basically trust it to help you reach your destination safely. Giving it a name is like a form of respect. And that respect is the bond. If you treat it right, it’ll treat you right as well. Take care of it, and it'll take care of you as well.

And so that’s all I have on motorcycles and bikers. I hope you all got to learn a little more about them like I did. After doing some research and writing this, I actually became more aware of what it meant to be a rider and understand why they like it more as well.I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are well. Bye!