By Andy Siu, Grade 10
As December 31st, 2011 approaches, the end of the Iraq War draws near as well. Over 30,000 American soldiers must clear out of Iraq by then. The war has cost the U.S. almost 1 trillion dollars and about 4,500 lives, not counting civilians and suicides, of course. The CEO of Camp Kalsu says that they are proud of what they’ve accomplished, which includes providing running water and electricity to Iraqi towns. However, taxi driver Hussein Matar argues that they still have “no water, no electricity, no reconstruction, and no nothing”. Matar then goes on to say that ever since they were liberated from Saddam Hussein, things got even worse as more countries began to take advantage of their situation. Iraqis have long been protesting against the American government, but to little avail.
By Jacqueline Ding, Grade 10
John McNamer, a member of Lawyers Against the War (LAW) from Kamloops, wrote a strongly opinionated article criticizing the Canadian government for their lack of action against former U.S. president George W. Bush. Permitting Bush to cross the Canadian border to take part in a paid speaking event angered many human rights advocates. They called upon the fulfillment of international law, which obliges Canada to detain and investigate Bush for war crimes and torture, yet nothing was done to prevent him from setting foot on Canadian soil. (more…)
By Winnie Liang, Grade 12
“We learn from history that we do not learn from history.“ - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Every year, on the 11th day of the 11th month, many people worldwide make a special effort to commemorate those whose lives were cut short by war. In a little over one week, we will do so once again. Sadly, remembering the brutality of previous wars doesn’t seem to change the fact that ever more meaningless and devastating armed conflicts are taking place, right here and now.
Historically, Remembrance Day marked the end of the First World War, which was declared official at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918. Sparked by an assassination in a small corner of a long-forgotten European empire, World War I spread throughout the entire world, causing over 35 million military and civilian atrocities. However, those 35 million souls would be all that we are memorializing today if “The War to End All Wars” had not revolutionized the way wars were fought. In the years that followed, regardless of all the ‘remembrance’, the world had put together a history of appalling violence.
As human beings, our ability to learn and transform sets us apart from other animals. We all know how important it is to learn from past mistakes and not repeat them in the future, yet reality tells us otherwise. (more…)
By: Claire Fergusson, Grade 9
After the devastation and heartbreak of the bloodiest war we can recount in our memory laid its weapons down almost a century ago, what was left behind were the reparations, and the Treaty of Versailles. Ninety-two years ago, on June 12, 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed, attempting to bring together Germany and the Allies after the destruction of World War I.
In early 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was bargained over in order for the details to be fair to all participating parties of the war. Talk was completed in three months and the conditions were presented to the German government on May 7, 1919. They had three weeks to look it over to either accept or decline the offers put on the table. However, if Germany declined, it would most likely equal more war, more fighting, and more money for all the countries involved around the world.
A lot of the countries did not want that; this was why they negotiated so hard to get the terms and policies to their liking.
With over nine million people killed during World War I, Germany had to face their actions. Although they were not happy with the terms set out, their complaints were mostly ignored. The Treaty took away 13.5% of their land that they held in 1914, handing most of it to Belgium. The Treaty also forbade Germany’s use of heavy armoury or weapons, gas, tanks, aircraft and submarines. They were also restricted to an army of 100,000 men for national defence only, and the navy was limited to shipping less than 10,000 tons.
The total sum Germany had to pay was 226 billion Reich marks, or £11.3 billion, which was worth three or four times more in US dollars during that time. In 1921, the amount was reduced to about £4.99 billion because of Germany’s disagreement with the terms.
It was set to be paid out in many forms, such as through coal, steel, property and agricultural produce. This was argued, because if it was paid in money, it would be a problem to Germany’s economy, create hyperinflation, and ultimately ruin their “Wall Street.” However, in spite of this fact, Germany’s economy faced a lot of damage, and has been on the reconstruction since the day they had to repay.
It has been over ninety-two years, and although pay was halted because of the reunification of East and West Germany, the country has finally paid off the bill. The payments have displayed that because of poor decisions by the government, and the war, the whole country has had to fight to rebuild itself. With Germany’s final payment of £56 million paid on October 3, 2010, it marks the end to a struggle that took nearly a century to pay off.
By Riya Talwar, Grade 9
In a perfect world where there is no war and no drama, everything is in peace. In actual reality, we live in a world where people make mistakes. Yet none of us can imagine what life is like for people living in war-torn countries.
I have no more tolerance for what’s going on. Too many people have died. Too many families have been left to suffer and too many kids have been deprived of proper education. Having just one of these problems is already too much.
We are spoiled. We walk a few steps to the kitchen to get a drink of water; while others walk several kilometres for contaminated water. We walk to the fridge and eat in gluttony; while others are dying from malnourishment.
I know the world needs improvement; don’t we all? So let go of all the small problems in your life; forgive and forget them. Think about the bigger picture.
By: Emily Chan, Grade 10
What does the number 26 mean to you? December 26th is Boxing Day, it’s the atomic number of iron, and it’s the number of letters in the alphabet. What else has the number 26 in it? Did you know that the war in Sri Lanka lasted 26 years? That’s longer than most of us [students] have been alive. With this war, these painful years have passed insignificantly, but in fact, it’s all relative. For the average Tamil, or the Sri Lankan government, the last 26 years have been full of mental warfare and murders. Conversely, the majority of the western society hasn’t even heard of the war in Sri Lanka, let alone take a day out of their busy schedules to educate themselves about the situation of the 300,000 Tamils being forced to live in nazi-style concentration camps.
by The Ninja Twins
Poem by Neelam Khare
Children stripped naked on streets,
Beaten to death.
Families living with fear,
Never knowing if they’re next.
They are the enemies,
Communism Vs. Capitalism,
Good Vs. Evil,
But are we any different?
Classifying which weapons are just & unjust,
When the soul purpose is to kill.
Billions of dollars spent.
A few making money,
At the cost of others lives.
We go in to fight “evil,”
But only when we benefit.
Girls being raped,
Guns pointed leaving holes in their bodies.
A field full of blood,
Millions of civilians dead,
Spread of diseases,
Bombs being dropped,
Shrapnel metal leaving holes in bodies,
Children screaming for their parents,
Parents crying for their child.
Rape, Ravage, Murder.
by Peggy Lam
Due to the never-ending propaganda around us, we often forget that military [weapons are] invented to kill and [that] soldiers are [commanded] to terminate their enemies. But the question is: Can war ever be justified?
It is taught that the Allied forces entered WWII to stop the [Hitler’s fascist reign] and to put an end to the Holocaust. Or [is it possible that] they entered the war because the rise of powerful Germany was threatening the Allies’ control of power? Goebbels, minister of propaganda hired by Hitler, even stated in 1942 that, “At bottom, however, I believe both the English and the Americans are happy we are exterminating the Jewish riffraff.” Goebbels proved his point when Franklin Roosevelt handed over the Holocaust matter to the State Department – in which it was ignored.
The U.S claimed it was fighting against Nazi supremacy and racial segregation. Yet hypocritically, racial segregation was implemented at home. Black people were being discriminated and segregated from the rest of the white population on a daily basis in the U.S. In the American Navy, a veteran recalls,
Since this month’s issue focuses on Remembrance day and Peace – Jenn and Chitha have decided to battle it out a little bit more peacefully this month. Read and find out what they’re up to!
Topic: A Promising Future?
Jenn: Guess what Chitha – yesterday (November 4th) was history in the making. Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States – the first black president ever.
Chitha: Wasn’t that pretty much decided since Obama’s campaign started? All I’ve heard on the news is how McCain didn’t have enough support and how he had little chance of winning. So, I’m not surprised at the results.
Jenn: Well, okay technically he isn’t president just yet, since the electoral college still has to vote for him on November 15th and then he has to get sworn in on December 15th… but I mean there were a lot of doubts thrown about here and there in the media, and we all know how the media affects the masses.
Chitha: That’s true. Personally, I think that most people voted based on what they’d heard on the news and not really on what the candidates stood for.
But I guess the message was simple when it came to Obama. “Yes we can!”