What is this?

Hi! My name is Ulrik, and this is my student blog. My posts will be based on tasks and subjects given to the class by my English teacher Ann. I am currently in my third year at Sandvika High School, Norway.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Think before you act!

thinkb4u is a very informative website that definitely learned  me a thing or two. On the website you learn about the dangers on the web, by following a family through videos. After each video, you are given a question, and the next video reflects your answer.
The following paragraph is from the about page, and it gives you a clue of what answers you'll find

As more of our life happens online, Internet skills are crucial to living responsibly. What are the skills needed to navigate today’s Internet society? How can parents and educators teach themselves, their families, and their communities about important topics like identity protection, fraud detection, and digital citizenship?

Not only is the site informative, it has a beautiful design as well. It's easy to understand, and there is something for everyone. By experience I would say adults probably are in most need of this site though. Everyone can learn something, but adults are often struggling most with the internet norms! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Visit from the Norwegian minister of foreign affairs

On Tuesday 03.09.13,  the minister of foreign affairs, Espen Barth Eide(Labour party), visited our school. Well over 200 students gathered in the gymnasium, where a stage was set. Eide then had a long presentation about Norway's foreign politics, and our role in the world's global issues, with focus on the ongoing conflict in Syria. 

The Syrian civil war

Eide opened with informing that he had just arrived from a meeting with other northern foreign-ministers, explaining that they dictated a letter, as an appeal, to the UN security-council, demanding that the UN must deal with the fact that chemical weapons has been used in the conflict. He also stated that Norway has a responsibility to react to the use of chemical weapons He would however, not answer to what kind of reaction he had in mind when asked, other than mentioning different possibilities, such as sanctions or a military intervention. With Afghanistan still fresh in mind, Norwegians are sceptic to an intervention without UN-mandate, and Eide did express this in some way. He also stated that there has been to little focus on the foreign-politics in the election campaign, which unfortunately for Eide ended with conservative victory yesterday, 09.09.13. 

Norway's role in the world

During his presentation, Barth Eide expresses his concerns with the possibilities(now reality) of a conservative victory. Not only because he would loose his job, but because Norway's role in the world would get significantly smaller. Norway has had an important role in the negotiations between Israel and Palestine, the conflict on Sri Lanka and the conflict with FARC in Colombia among others. With a new government, he said, we would probably be much more EU, and less UN oriented. This could mean the end of negotiations with both HAMAS and FARC, which are both considered terrorist organizations by the EU. The new conservative government has also promised to cut much of development aid, which he also expresses his concerns for. However, unlike Norway's diplomatic role, development aid has been discussed much in the media. Nevertheless it's a fact that with the new government soon in place, Norway's international role will change. If that's a good or a bad thing, you will have to decide on your own.

Monday, September 2, 2013

They stood up

This week we watched the movie "Erin Brockovich". It tells the true story about the fight against PG&E, a massive energy-corporation, which was responsible for leaking poison into the drinking water, making lots of people sick. It ended with PG&E loosing in court, having to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the victims. Erin Brockovich has become a symbol in the fight against big corporations, and a proof that one person can make the bad guys pay. However, she did not do it alone. She had the help of lawyers, and financial help to make the case come through. But, i guess you need help if you are going to change something. Now, I will write about three other figures in history, all of whom stood up against something bigger than themselves.

I'll start with a picture we all have seen. Perhaps the very symbol of this subject. The tank-man, as he is known as, stepped out and blocked a Chinese tank-column on the day after the army had suppressed the Tiananmen square protests(June 4, 1989). His fate is unknown, except that he was dragged away by two men in blue attires.

Helmuth in center
The second person in my post is Helmuth Hübener, leader of the "Hübener gang". Helmuth was born in 1925 in Germany, and did as every other youth did, he joined the Hitler Youth. But, as the years went by, he started to question the Nazi-regime. The Kristallnacht, in particular, made an impression on him. In 1941 he started listening to enemy broadcasts, and together with some friends, he started writing down the British programs and making pamphlets, which were distributed in Hamburg.
However, in 1942 he was discovered translating pamphlets into french by his colleague at work, who was a NSDAP member. He was reported to Gestapo, and arrested. He was sentenced to death by the People's court in Berlin, and after the sentence had been given, he said to the judge:
"Now I must die, even though I have committed no crime. So now it's my turn, but your turn will come." Helmuth was executed by guillotine two months later.

The last person i will mention is Ehren Watada. He is not as famous as the persons above, and that's the point. I feel he needs to be mentioned, because he did something that probably required a lot of strength at the time.
He was the first officer in the US army to refuse deployment in Iraq. He said the war was illegal, and that by participating in it, he would be part in war crimes. He was offered deployment in Afghanistan instead, but refused that as well. He also refused a desk job in Iraq, to show that it was not about getting away from combat.
Watada ended up being court-martialed, charged with desertion and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman". The judge said that the question could not be solved in the military justice system, and ruled a mistrail. After a second trial, not leading anywhere, the case was dismissed by the Justice Department, under the new Obama administration. Watada ended up being discharged from the army.