Wilfred Owen/Sylvia Plath - Just what was so bad about the two world wars? Part 1
Let me begin by saying that if you really, genuinely are confused about why WWI and WWII were as bad as people say it is, you’ve either had a terrible history teacher or you…well, I have no hope for you.
As a history student and a lover of all things dead and gone, my particular expertise lies in 20th Century history, particularly post-1919. So while I’m not as well-versed on the Great War (WWI) as I am on World War II, I can still hold my own.
What strikes me most about Anthem for Doomed Youth is how unconventional it was for the time. There have only been very few occasions where war poetry has portrayed war as something negative, as a plague rather than a myriad of blessed angels coming to sprinkle holy water over the rightful country. Now, of course, anti-war literature, media, artwork etc is not exactly rare; but that’s because the veil of nationalism has been lifted from the eyes of many people, particularly after the Vietnamese War, which was the first war to be aired on television (but this would make a good blog topic for another day, actually!).
Now, patriotism by itself isn’t bad. I myself am a patriot. But so were many of the young men who flung themselves head first into the battlefield…and found themselves face to face with the real horrors of war.
Think about it - how easy is it for people to cheer on their soldiers from our living rooms, crying out for them to serve their country? It isn’t until you’re actually witness to how ghastly war is that you begin to realize, “Maybe this isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
That was the case with Wilfred Owen. He too was a patriot. He too wanted to help his country rise above the rest, and he did that the best way he knew how - to join the army as it was recruiting soldiers for the first world war.
All well and good. Until you get Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Until you lose your limbs. Even if you come back from the war alive, you’re an invalid for the rest of it. And at a time where prosthetic didn’t even exist, that’s not exactly the easiest life to live.
And then all those teenagers who had their entire lives ahead of them, blown up on a battlefield, for a battle that wasn’t even their own?
"It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country."
It’s the first day of eid and the third day of a desperately needed break from school. Honestly, as much as I love all my classes - seriously, I do - it’s just too much.
I’m mentally preparing myself for a lot of crying over the next few months, what with university applications, hounding teachers (<3) for recommendation letters, various extracurriculars, studying etc.
Speaking of university applications, however, it should be noted that writing essays for uni, while not as stressful as for English, is exhausting work. What’s most irritating is how the questions usually have two extremes - painfully specific and painfully allowing. For example -
Painfully specific - “Given what you know about [XXX], what attracts you about its emphasis on creative inquiry and activity and how would you convey what is exciting about your own interests to other students coming from very different intellectual or artistic backgrounds?”
Painfully allowing - “What intrigues you? Tell us about one work of art, scientific achievement, piece of literature, method of communication, or place in the world (a film, book, performance, website, event, location, etc.), and explain its significance to you.”
I have never wanted to shoot a question more.
My favorite essay question so far was hilarious, and there was another one - thankfully optional - that made me cackle but feel ridiculously confused.
"We understand that the college application process often feels stressful, when instead it should be an opportunity for self-reflection. Stop worrying for a minute and have fun with this response.
Much of the work that students do at XXX is a form of storytelling. If you were to write the story of your life until now, what would you title it and why? Please be brief (100-200 words).”
"Imagine you have to wear a costume for a year of your life. What would you pick and why?"
Seriously. As stressful as all these essays are, gems like the two above make it totally worth it.
“This sky where we live is no place to lose your wings so love, love, love.”—
Hafiz of Shiraz.
I’m just going to start off with this particular quote. It has…honestly always struck me as something so beautiful but I’ve never actually conjured up the desire to mutilate such a perfect sentence with my analyses.
So here it is in all its glory. I’m just going to let that hang around there because it’s just beautiful and needs a place in my blog. I’ll probably analyze some of Hafiz’s work at some point.
Before I proceed with this post, can I just appeal in advance against my public lynching? Let’s not forget, people, homicide is wrong.
I realize I’m treading on tumultuous ground with the topic of my writing - i.e. the cricket world cup - but it is something that needs to be said, especially by such an avid supporter of the losing team, and a patriot of the country it represents. A country whose name in the news is annotated by implications of terrorism, corruption, civil unrest, sexism and poverty, amongst other less-than-flattering terms.
But politics aside, it has to be said - well done, India. You were the better team. We were a notch sub-par to you. Our team made worse decisions than your team did. Your team was probably better practiced than ours. You are in the finals. Congratulations, sincerely.
And that said…congratulations, Pakistan cricket team. You did us proud, you made us happy and, most of all, you gave this country something to look forward to, and that isn’t something that happens often. We cried with you, we celebrated, we cursed our bad fortune… but we did it together. Unity. Faith. Discipline. And that last one, even though we lost and were bitterly disappointed, our collective hearts broken and our hopes shattered, we made sure not to tarnish.
Boom boom, Afridi lala. Boom boom.
Also, Indian cricket team, congratulations on winning the world cup!
If this wasn't a school blog, your respective eyes would burn from the sheer amount of Sailor Tongue that could have been employed here.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Muammar Gaddafi - a spectacular, benevolent fellow! Love for his people is oozing out of his every pore and orifice as he makes his monthly rounds to hospital wards, placing kisses on the temples of new-born babies, promising to make Libya - and indeed, the world - a better place for them. He would never dream of using violence against his people! After all, why would they ever protest? The standards of living are fantastic, are they not? And poverty line? What is this “poverty line” you speak of? Libya knows of no such thing!
I wish all of that could be typed without having been dipped in a vat of hot, toxic sarcasm first.
Muammar Gaddafi, I can safely say that you are the instigator of what can’t be called anything but a massacre in your own country. Anything that happens to you now - and something will happen, and soon - is what you deserve. Do not try to garner any sympathy from the international community; you are undeserving of any help that is offered to you and whoever does is equally awful.
Normally, I am quite a liberal, peace-loving person, but massacring your own people is crossing one too many lines and, let me tell you, Mr. Gaddafi, it’s a one-way road.
I get angry often and out of said anger comes a blogpost.
I have mentioned this woman before, a woman called Suheir Hammad. She is of Palestinian descent. An activist. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. She calls herself a Palestinian New Yorker, a writer, a poet, and again, an activist. She wants to liberate people from war and women from war.
Because, like it or not, do you know who suffers the most in war?
Women and children.
Civilians killings. Rape. Plundering. Misogynistic murder. Girls kidnapped at a young age, gang raped, left for dead. That is the disgusting truth of war that extends beyond soldiers killing soldiers.
You might be thinking, “What about the men?”
What about them? What about the men? Am I not allowed to talk about women without mentioning men? But it’s perfectly alright for me to talk about men without even breathing a word regarding women and girls, am I right? Gender equality! Misandry! Feminazism!
You know what?
You can accuse me of those things after women aren’t paid 70% of what men are under the same corporate position. You can accuse of of those things after the number of poor women in the world is the same as men because, as it stands, the amount of women living in poverty FAR exceeds that of men. You can accuse me of those things when the cases of women raped are taken seriously and not brushed aside by incompetent, chauvinistic police officers.
The list goes on. No, I am not ashamed of being a feminist and don’t you dare call me a feminazi because I am NOT sitting here ordering for men to be piled into gas chambers and mass graves. What is feminism?
1. A doctrine that advocates equal rights for women
2. The movement aimed at equal rights for women
Do you see the word “superiority” anywhere? I don’t.
Now what is chauvinism, a label so many men proudly adhere to?
1. Activity indicative of belief in the superiority of men over women
So why is feminism so much more radical than chauvinism, when the former only vouches for egality and not supremacy? It’s the estrogen that goes with it that people dislike so much.
How about some more statistics!
1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime.
60% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.
Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail.
In the US Army, females are more likely to be raped by their fellow soldiers than actually get killed in combat.
Most of the people who scream so loud against the immorality of abortion will never be pregnant in their lives.
This is why I’m a feminist.
This is why I am unashamed to be associated with all the negative connotations that come with women’s empowerment.
This is why being a chauvinist isn’t as edgy as you think it is, my good man and/or woman and/or whathaveyou.
(PS: I don’t hate men so you can keep your misandry accusations out of this.)
Attempting to organize my thoughts enough to produce a somewhat articulate blogpost is more difficult than you'd think...
I mean, how could I ever relate to a people who got their entire means of communication, save for proxies and the odd open land line, completely taken away from them?
How could I relate to a people whose men stand guard in front of apartment to save their women and children from thuggish brutality and rape at the hands of government employed “officials?”
How could I relate to a people whose right to control their own country has been taken away from them, not now, but that hasn’t existed for the last 30 years?
I can’t. I can’t begin to, and honestly, I’m privileged for not being able to relate. But at this point the world can’t sit by idly and just watch the chaos in Egypt with faux-concerned faces. Even worse is the plethora of comments I have seen pertaining to how Egypt is doing things all the wrong ways-
Who are you, sitting comfortably (presumably) in your home, miles away from the scene of action, trying to dictate a liberation?
We need to support, not dictate. Global pressure goes a long, long way but for anything to happen, you actually need to get up off your posterior end and t r y for it.
As a child, you have it constantly drilled in your head that, “Oh, you’re too skinny! Eat up, eat up, you’ve got to be nice and healthy if you want to grow.” And so, you do, knowing that with every bite you eat, the smile on your parent, guardian, aunt, uncle, grandparent’s face widens. And so you begin to feel a sense of accomplishment.
Hey, you’re healthy.
But the minute you hit puberty, it all turns around. You’re chastised for eating too much, teased relentlessly for not showing your rib-cage, or aversely for showing your rib-cage. You’re either too skinny or you’re too fat.
Here’s what I have to say - are you a doctor? Do you have any knowledge of how body type works? Do you realize that healthy for someone may not be what’s healthy for you?
Until you understand the difference between big-boned and obese, skinny and malnourished, kindly keep your opinions to yourself.
…I don’t think I ever articulated just how much I loved my time spent in Kenya. Those 5, 6 days I spent in a foreign country with people from my school that I formed such an unbreakable bond with were possiblywere some of the best in my entire life. I can’t coherently put across how much my heart aches to be back there, to get up every morning and feel the fresh air sweep through my body, look up at a sky bluer than any I’d ever seen, clouds that put cotton candy to shame. People I hardly knew before Kenya - soon, it felt like I’d known them for years.
As I work on my latest art coursework, designing costumes for a jazz and jive production, my hand aches as I fill in all the intricate details - sequins, tassels, ribbed fabrics and abundant feathers. Despite all my complaints, I enjoy doing this. Moreover, I enjoy thinking to myself, “God, I wish I was in that era. I’d love to wear clothes like this.”
1) Post 15 facts about yourself. 2) Write about the best friends you’ve had over the years. 3) If you only had 24 hours to live, what would you want to do? 4) Write about a period of time in your life where things seemed to be constantly going good. 5) Write about a period of time in your life.
6) When was the last time you were truly honest with someone? What was it about? 7) Post your favorite quote. 8) How do you feel today? 9) What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you? 10) What’s the meanest thing anyone has ever said to you? 11) Write about the best day of your life. 12) Write about the worst day of your life. 13) What are your plans for the future? Far and near. 14) Post your favorite book, favorite movie, favorite band, and favorite food. 15) Write about something you worry about a lot. 16) Write about your relationship status. 17) Bullet your day. 18) Post one confession/ secret. 19) Write about your last birthday and how you plan to spend your upcoming birthday. 20) What did you eat today? 21) How has your life changed over the past year? 22) Find a horoscope site and post yours. 23) Post your Tumblr crushes. 24) How was your week been? 25) Write about your first kiss. 26) Write about your best/ favorite kiss. 27) Where is somewhere you would want to visit? 28) If you had three wishes, what would they be? 29) Write about any particular habits/mannerisms that you have. 30) Where do you think you’ll be in 5 years?
Last entry delayed because of the 32 hour Tumblr Blackout of Doom, 2k10.
18th December, 2014.
We’re in Cyprus.
It was all a ploy, it was all a trap, it was all one elaborate farce to make us believe we were going to be safe, when really? We’ve just been rounded up in the corner of a barn like chickens awaiting their slaughter.
It was painful, seeing my brother’s expression when he tried over and over to call his girlfriend, however futile his attempts were. He would be hopeful everytime there was a ring, and then his face would fall, fall into the most heartbreaking frown I’d ever seen, and then be replaced yet again by determination. And so the cycle would repeat.
Keeping in mind that this is, well, a school blog, I do occasionally post assignments up on here. In this case, a range of diary entries spanning 4 days after the invasion of my city. Morbid? Perhaps. Interesting? Very, very much so. This is not a conspiracy theory, by the way. Just saying. …though I certainly do hope I don’t get deported for what is nothing more than a student’s perspective on something.
15th December, 2014.
I’m still choking on remnants of the fumes that made their way into my respiratory system, even though I have long been brought to what is, at the moment, claimed to be “safety.” I’m still confused. Still dazed by the events of the day which now seem to be little more than a nightmare, though the wails and cries resounding throughout the four walls of our temporary shelter remind me that this is very, very real and I’m not about to be woken up soon.
Neiha Lasharie, but you all knew that. I also go by Nei’, Neinei, Nena, Nehneh, Neins. How original.
02 – Your first love.
I had a crush in this guy in my kindergarten class. But my actual first love was the movie Hercules And Xena. Love that movie still. 03 – Your parents.
Are all kinds of silly and possibly more immature than I am. But I love them for it. 04 – What you ate today?
…nothing. People stole my KFC. I’m starving. 05 – Your definition of love.
That one feeling that makes your tummy flutter, your smile widen, leaves you utterly at ease with the person you’re with. Also known as coffee. 06 – Your day.
Was exhausting emotionally, graduated into relief, then exhaustion physically. Also foodless. 07 – Your best friend(s).
Live in New Jersey, Lahore, Canada and here respectively. 08 – A moment.
Laughing so hard my gum fell out of my house. So if any of you are running in the auditorium and step on it…I’m sorry. It’s Nikol’s fault. 09 – Your beliefs.
Are heavily influenced by Sufi Islam and my own morals of sheer awesome. Also how much faith I have in the world at the moment. 10 – What you wore today.
School uniform? Plus my awesome Cirque Du Soleil hoodie :3 11 – Your siblings.
Consist of one older brother that’s studying in Malaysia when he should be in Julliard or Berkeley making a name for himself as one of the most talented up-and-coming musicians in the world. Hopefully he will be, someday. I love my brother. 12 – What’s in your bag.
Lots of books that I want to burn. 13 – This week.
Has been incredibly exhausting so far. 14 – Your work
is long, tiring, and overly ambitious. 15 – Your dreams.
same as the above. Especially the overly ambitious bit. But, really, I just want to keep studying for as long as I live. 16 – Your first kiss. Is an inappropriate thing to write about for the school blog. 17 – Your favourite memory.
Is…well, I don’t really know. I have so many good memories. Maybe the day we all played in the rain at school? I don’t know. 18 – Your favourite birthday.
Was my ninth one. Hee. I got cake’d in the face. Since then my birthdays have been a little disappointing. But my 15th was awesome too. Nintendo DS. 19 – Something you regret.
There’s a lot I regret but refuse to dwell on. 20 – This month.
Has been all too tiring and I can’t wait for December to begin. 21 – Another moment.
Digging aimlessly at the beach with my older brother. We found a toy soldier. And laughed a lot. 22 – Something that upsets you.
Ignorance. Unforgiving, unabashed, ignorance. 23 – Something that makes you feel better.
Coffee. And my best friend. And being cuddled. 24 – Something that makes you cry.
A lot of things can make me cry. I’m an awful sap. 25 – A first.
Speaking fluent English by the time I was three years old. Also acquiring all of my knowledge from cartoons and books. Anyone who says cartoons are bad for kids can bite me. 26 – Your fears.
Insects, being alienated for being me, burning, my family getting hurt, losing my best friend. Bah. But I prefer to think about the things I love :3 27 – Your favorite place.
Lahore, Pakistan <3 28 – Something that you miss.
Lahore, Pakistan. Then again coming to Dubai was probably the best thing that happened to me, despite how I feel about it. 29 – Your aspirations.
Acquiring a great deal of knowledge over my life, making a difference, writing something, helping the world, going to the United Nations, living in Boston, being able to cook meals for someone. …yes. That last one is also an aspiration. I love cooking/baking, okay? 30 – One last moment.
That feeling of pure euphoria when something you weren’t expecting happens and the happiness swells from the pit of your stomach and pours out of every orifice <3 Also known as coffee.
I need to stop spamming my tumblr so much but I just really wanted to make a brief mention of
how deeply it hurts when someone tells you what you’ve been working on for a month now isn’t good enough and you have to make another one and, oh, wait, this was your final piece? I expected better from you. She looks mannish.
Okay. So. A year ago, I would’ve been point-black anti-abortionist. But now, being aware of so many more things…you start to empathize. No, you start to think. My culture has taught me that abortion is murder, and to a certain extent, I suppose it is. But then again, my culture and religion also taught me that anything that poses a threat to your life is, well…yeah.
I’m not super-uber-pro-abortion. I’m pro-choice. I’m pro-women-thinking-for-themselves. I’m anti-men-making-decisions-on-behalf-of-our-uterus. I’m anti-careless-refusal-of-birth-control. Because, contrary to popular belief, not all women are sluts that go around having sex without contraceptives-
And I’m going to stop now before I get off on a tangent.
That said, I personally would not. Just…I really, really would not. I mean…I just wouldn’t. I have no other words.
Would you rather someone lie and not hurt you than or tell you the truth and break your heart?
This is an awful question. Who ever thought about this question must have no conscience. I…honestly, I still don’t know how to answer that question. Do what tact hints them off on, I guess. I really don’t know. I’d feel horrible if someone lied to me but I’d feel horrible if they broke my heart too.
“Let’s talk about rape for a moment. Rape is not what George Lucas did to your childhood. Rape is not what happens when a sports team beats another sports team by a wide margin. Rape is not what happens when your electric bill is higher this month than it was last month. Rape is when a person violates another person in the most despicable, degrading way imaginable and among the myriad of terrible things humans can do to one another, rape is among the worst. I think the casual misappropriation of the concept of rape extending all the way to its widespread comical usage is disgusting even by Internet standards. Off my chest.”—Jeffrey Rowland - Overcompensating (via tabularasae)
What you see yourself doing in 10 years and what you don't see happening.
Wow, I’m really spamming my tumblr right now, aren’t I?
Anyway, in 10 years, I fully expect myself to be Empress of the Earth, ruling the world with a hard hand and-
Haha, no. I expect to be out and about in the world, perhaps living with my best friend somewhere in Boston. I can see myself always taking some or the other course in some or the other subject, be it a language or an art or something, because I’m such a nerd like that ♥. I want to at least get an internship in one or the other UN organ. Or maybe be an opinion writer for some sort of newspaper. Or, heck, at least be illustrating for fashion magazines to get money. OR EVEN WORKING AS A BAKER. I just want to do something. Hopefully the first. But I don’t mind any of them. I also want to be fluent in French and go back to studying Urdu. …I also want a monroe piercing and teal hair. But that’s assuming I live away from my parents. I really do not want to be kicked out of the house, haha.
But what I don’t see happening is me living in a gutter, snorting cocaine and being stuck on an alcohol drip.
Not that I have a problem with people living in that lifestyle.
It’s just not me.
Jokes aside, I hope to God I won’t end up bumming off friends.
Nikol being all sage-y and smart and then ruining the moment.
Nikol:You have to be ready for the possible heartbreak you might face in the future and the longer you two are together the harder and more painful its going to be but honestly, its worth it- OMG *person whose name will not be stated* -_-
Me:... DAMMIT. YOU RUINED IT. dude i'm putting this on my blog.
Comical. What I just saw on the news was purely comical. Apparently, 81% of Americans support new body screening methods in airport security. Including searches which include a great deal of contact between the security officer and the passenger. But that number is the most shocking thing I had ever heard, 81%. This means that out of 310 Million people in the United States of America over 210 Million are comfortable with such detailed searches and hands-on checking. But how many of those people have actually flown on an aeroplane? Exactly, I laughed as well.
So why then, are some people reluctant to agree with more rigorous searches? Some of which have not passed through airport security in their lives.
While I agree that, yes, it’s ridiculous for people to make assumptions without ever boarding a plane, I in no way condone any of those searches. Why? For the simple fact that the TSA is completely negligent when it comes to training for how to handle people with disabilities.
I was weary of posting these sources here because, well, this is a school blog but now that someone else has brought the TSA up…this is now a free-for-all in my books.