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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.

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.


  1. Hi. I can see that you have put a lot of work into your blog. I really like the design especially the water drops. The length of your blog post is very appropriate and your content is very interesting. I do, however, think that you could have focused some more on Erin instead of the three other people you mention. But except from that I really liked your blog post!

  2. 3 different and interesting stories. I knew about the first one but not the others. Interesting that the American who refused to serve in Iraq had his case dismissed. They are very strict in the American army and the discharge was expected I would say. It can probably be tied to what is going to happen in Syria if the Americans were to get involved there. Nice post, smart to compare Erin with others!