Thursday, May 18, 2006

The leave flitters in the wind
Because the wind pulls it onto the dance floor.

A pebble is old
even when the earth reforms it.

I am but a shell
Until I lie in the grass or swim in the sea

A building is like the earth-
It is only a term, for a space filled with activity.

The birds' flight is the product
of God exhaling.

I hear an Angel!
When silence fills me.

To an ant
I am like the wind
It senses me but can not feel me
But through the tangible crush.

A petal without her flower
is still as silky as heavens' garments.

The air acts as a transporter
for sents and sounds and feelings.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Ponder This:
Am Not I Who I Was?
(A reflection on My Reflection)

I lift my hand in a slow buttery swish. My walls. They are cold and impersonal. I have lived here for a year and the memories seem as foreign as strangers passing on a smoggy street. Like friends of another life, like I have shed a shell and am me not her. My green eyes, they glance across the room and focus on a photograph on the wall. It is shiny and reflective. It is like a mirror. In this photography I see my reflection. The reflective is immediate and true, it does not lie. Yet it is bendable, flexible. What is this place, this college for? What has it made me? I am part mirror part photography. The photograph- a concrete specimen of a second. My body is a tangible specimen of the evolution of my soul. I am textured and shiny, and I am not alone. I am the photograph- in all its gumby nature it still preserves the past. I am not new, I am not recreated, I am my past, I am real, I am a memory, and I am tangible.
I am the mirror. I am a reflection, but not of me alone. I am this room, this space in the Universe. These walls, these tacky posters, these drawers, that bunk bed. I am the desk; I am the books thoughtfully strewn in organized chaos across the earth. I am the song I listen to. I am me, it is I. A photograph: a single second of college fun captured in infinity. I have stolen that moment and in return it has stolen me.
So I revisit the memories and they no longer seem as foreign as strangers passing on a smoggy street. We meet, we shake hands, and then explain “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The next two paragraphs of SG paper (scroll down to May 2nd for the beginning)

Civil war created an ideal environment to cultivate human rights violators. With the presidency of Jacobo Arbenz the United States viewed Guatemala as a communist threat. True to United States habit, in 1954 the Central Intelligence Agency investigated and eventually exiled Arbenz. With his exiling came horrific commotion which inspired human rights violations by guerilla forces, the succession of military juntas, and the indirectly even the CIA (Readers Digest). Aboriginal peoples experienced torture, targeted killings, disappearances, and displacement from their Mayan communities, increasing human violation towards indigenous groups (Readers Digest). Additionally women were denied healthcare, economic security, and political access, while children became malnutrition, received inadequate healthcare, and became victim to sexual abuse or child prostitution (Readers Digest). With only one doctor for every 10,000 rural Guatemalans, even infants experience an extremely high mortality rate and malnutrition among Guatemalan children is one of the worst in the world (Madre).
From a sociological perspective Guatemala’s structural adjustments have caused an increase in poor living conditions that lead to crime. The countries structure caused an increase in unemployment. Furthermore, living costs are three times the minimum wage, leaving eighty percent of the population impoverished and almost sixty percent of households without access to proper health facilities (Madre). Women searching for work raise the frequency of the maquila, or sweatshop, where poor wages and abusive conditions plague the workforce (Madre). Indigenous peoples residing in the Guatemalan highlands have been inundated with poverty and hunger after a huge drought in 2001 and a decline in the main export, coffee (Madre). Over 40 percent of Guatemalans are unemployed because of the coffee crisis and destructive World Bank policies (Madre). Although currently at its worst, violation of human rights historically plagued this country.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

First two paragraphs of a research paper in Social Geography on "Human Rights Violation in Guatemala"

A country no larger than Ohio and consisting of extreme diversity in climate and terrain, ranging from steep mountain ridges to the Peten rain forest, Guatemala is a country of a rich history buried amongst its physiographic qualities. Regrettably Guatemala’s history involves severe battles which sprang from the deep wounds of political conflict. About twenty-one miles outside Guatemala City sits the Pacaya volcano, a magnificent view that “when active, a deep orange ribbon” of lava skids down, vanishing into ash at the foundation (Simon 13). This beautiful picture turned gloomy when, in the mid-1960’s, the Guatemalan government declared Pacaya a dumping site for hundreds of victims of systematic repression. Since 1970 nearly tens of thousands of people have been murdered by the Guatemala government, reaching its peak in the 1980’s with the inauguration of President Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo (Simon 16). Since his inauguration, the country has somewhat improved, but still struggles with a highly controlling military force. Due to a historically shaky political system the Guatemalan people have incessantly undergone tremendous human rights violations in various ways and by various offenders.
By examining Guatemala’s geography, perhaps some understanding will result about the cultural influences on human rights violation. Guatemala is the third-largest country in Central America, with an area of 42,042 square miles and 8.5 million people. Of those 8.5 million people fifty-five percent of them are Mayan Indians, belonging either to the Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, or Pocomam ethnic group (Simon 19). Most of these people live in rural highlands, while non-Indians live in either Guatemala City or coastal and eastern lowlands (Simon 19). The country is geographically divided into twenty-two provinces and 329 municipalities (Simon 19). Only 1 percent of Guatemala’s people are considered to be elite, and the lowest income groups have worsened in recent decades (Nyrop 50). The lowest income groups live in the western Highlands, an area inhabited by about 70 percent of the nations Indians (Nyrop 50). Not only have these people survived poverty, but they have survived a history of continuous political tyranny. Although Guatemala has recently transitioned to democracy in recent decades, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples have undergone extreme abuse from the rulers of this conflicted nation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Style Lesson 10: The Ethics of Style
In the previous chapters Williams discusses how to make a sentence structurally correct and stylish, and now he explains the ethical responsibility of writers and readers. Writers have a responsibility to write clearly enough that our readers understand us. Similarly, readers have a responsibility to read hard enough to understand the complexity of ideas. Therefore, Williams creates a golden rule: “Write to others as you would have others write to you.”
Williams also explains that some writers unintentionally write poorly. For example, writers may employ unintended obscurity, intended misdirection, rationalizing opacity, and salutary complexity. Finally, how do we decide what counts a “good” writing? What is more important: writing that is clear but does no good, or writing that does well but is unclear? Williams warns college students to take all of his lessons seriously, because in “the real world” bad writing is common and distasteful.