Monday, December 14, 2009

Hey.


Hey. I just wanted to give a little update for those who actually read these things.

I have taken a ton of pictures that I plan on posting sooner or later; they are, for the most part, better than the mediocre ones I previously posted. haha eih ;jtrk tnsar

But here is one picture that I adore. It turned out very well and clear. Trust me, it is the only decent one.

I want an SLR camera... preferably a Canon Rebel.... But I guess it is okay to dream!

I heard a great pianist in the Peabody in Memphis around Thanksgiving. His name is John Boatner. He is incredible. It makes me appreciate true talent...look it up and get you some!

My interest in music and history and current events and writing and Africa and helping people has increased to the MAX. I guess, pray for me. I feel like helping people is my calling....
I know a guy who heads a new organization called Operation Broken Silence. It is awesome. I immensely appreciate people willing to take a stand for helping others.... Another great one is Dollar For A Drink. It is headed by a 16 or 17 year old guy in my city. He is so young, but he is making a huge difference. They have raised a tremendous amount of money to build clean water wells in Sudan. While you are there, read his story Contrasts.

1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

Anyways....This is all random. But yeah. Thanks. Bye.

Leadership: As Emulated by Brutus (The Tragedy of Julius Caesar.)


Woodrow Wilson once said, “Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise.” Compromise is an agreement resulting from each party reaching a mutual concession. A leader is one who guides and represents those under him in the most advantageous way possible. A leader does not always compromise, specifically when it is best for those under him. He has a character consisting of attractive qualities, which, when utilized, become beneficial to those he cares for: those under his leadership. In the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, there are two quality leaders who rise above the opposition: Marcus Brutus and Caius Cassius, who are both influential members of the Roman society during this time period. Throughout the tragedy, however, Brutus, the protagonist and tragic hero, proves to be a more effective leader because of his honor, his confident, honest, and trustworthy character, and his selflessness, mostly concerning those under his influence and position.

First of all, Brutus tends to be a better leader than Cassius in that he is an intensely honorable man. He holds a high position in Roman society: a politician. However, he plays more roles successfully throughout the story: as a husband, a military leader, a servant master, and a friend. He is adored by those around him, including Julius Caesar himself. He is influential and well respected. Brutus initially joins the conspiracy because of the deception Cassius manipulatively forces upon him; however, he has selfless intentions. He does everything for the people of Rome. Brutus says, “I love the name of honor more than I fear death.” (Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 82-89.) He knows he is honorable, and so do those around him. Mark Antony speaks of Brutus’ honor multiple times during his speech at Caesar’s funeral. Although he is against the conspirators, he willfully admits that Brutus is one of the most honorable men in all of Rome. Casca excitedly states that Brutus “sits high in all the people’s hearts.” Cassius deprives himself of the ability to be as honorable as Brutus. This is revealed in his galvanizing suggestion to murder Mark Antony along with Caesar. Brutus, being an honorable man, strongly denies this proposal, saying, “[Their] course will seem too bloody.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 162.) Another example that exemplifies Brutus’ honor is that of his reasoning behind their conspiracy. He respectfully says, “Let’s be sacrificers, but no butcherers,” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 166) and he states his desire for the conspirators to be “called purgers, not murderers.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 180.) In other words, he wants their legacy to be left as a good one; one recognizing them as healers, not heartless monsters. During the execution of the conspirators’ plan to assassinate Caesar, Caesar is stabbed by each of them. Brutus is the last to pierce the flesh of the desperate, dying Caesar; after he takes his blow, Caesar, in disbelief, says, ”Et tu, Brute?-Then fall Caesar!” (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 77.) This Latin phrase translates into “And you, Brutus?” At this action of Brutus, Caesar is overcome with incredulousness. Brutus has been his friend, and they have never had anything personal against one another, for Brutus is an honorable man. However, he joined the conspiracy for the good of his country. Brutus tells the servant of Mark Antony, who seeks to know if Antony will be safe upon his arrival to the Senate house, where the conspirators have just killed Caesar, that “[His] master is a wise and valiant Roman; I never thought him worse. Tell him, so please him come unto this place. He shall be satisfied and, by my honor, depart untouched.” (Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 138-140.) As a result of Brutus’ honor, he will do no more than he is presumed to do in order to stay honorable and to honor others.

Furthermore, Brutus proves to be a more effective leader in his outward illustration of his confident, honest and trustworthy character qualities. Throughout the tragedy, Cassius and Brutus disagree on very significant decisions. One disagreement occurs when Cassius wants to include Cicero, a wise acquaintance of theirs, in the conspiracy. Brutus fears that he will be a burden; he knows from personal experience that Cicero is upright in behavior and therefore too difficult to work with, due to his inability to successfully work with others in accepting ideas other than his own. In this, Brutus is entirely confident and overpowering, as a leader should be. Cassius and the others easily give in. Another disagreement between the two concerns the assassination plot of Julius Caesar. Cassius feels strongly on his own opinion and suggests that they “let Antony and Caesar fall together.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Line 161.) Brutus intuitively responds by saying, “Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius, to cut the head off and the hack the limbs, like wrath in death and envy afterwards; for Antony is but a limb of Caesar.” (Act 2, Scene 1, Lines 162-165.) Brutus shoots his assumption towards Cassius that Antony will not have the ability to properly function and retaliate if Caesar is annihilated, for he is only a part of Caesar, not a full, blown out threat. He intends to curtail the violence as much as possible, so that the act may appear honorable. Brutus takes initiative and confidently states his opinion and analysis. Once again, Cassius and the others agree and yield to his argument. Another disagreement between the two occurs during the meeting at Brutus’ house. Cassius inadvertently calls for an oath, or swearing of their resolution to their conspiring cause. Brutus is convinced by their honest faces; he feels that should be enough in such a serious matter. Brutus and Cassius disagree on a battle plan, as well. By this time, the triumvirate, or ruling body, which consists of Antony, Octavius, Caesar’s heir, and Lepidus, is moving in with a plan to avenge Caesar’s death and directly combat the armies of the conspirators. After the flame of Cassius’ and Brutus’ argument, which is lit when Cassius accused Brutus of wronging him, is acclimatized, Brutus proposed that they make a strategic move to approach the armies of Octavius and Antony presently. Cassius immediately responds with a sheer rejection of the idea, and, when asked for reasoning, says, “‘Tis better that the enemy seek us; so shall he waste his means, weary his soldiers, doing himself offense, whilst we, lying still, are full of rest, defense, and nimbleness.” (Act 4, Scene 3, Lines 196-200.) Brutus responds with a self-conceived, shrewd description that captivates those present and flaws their perceptions, specifically Cassius’. This intelligent, strategic machinery present in Brutus’ mind and the ways which he comprehends methodology all insinuates his dominant leadership on the battlefield; this is but another key aspect of a person that, when combined with the other present aspects of Brutus, creates an ideal leader. Once again, Cassius and all other parties are fully submissive to the wise Brutus’ ideas. Brutus is entirely confident in his decisions, and he is obviously trustworthy and honest, for those around him accept his reforms without question.

Finally, Brutus is presented as a more desirable leader due to his selfless ambitions, more prevalently concerning those under his position and influence. Brutus feels that Caesar is too ambitious, and is therefore a threat, especially if he becomes king. From the beginning, Brutus feared Caesar’s crowning. Brutus states that he has nothing personally against Caesar, but he inquisitively reasons with himself constantly, and arbitrarily persuades himself that it is best to conspire against Caesar and abolish him as a threat to Rome. The fact that he is quite selfless is presented in his motive for such an act; he states that it is for the “general,” or the people of Rome. He cares for the people of Rome, obviously; enough to kill for their safety and well-being. Brutus is also thought to favor an established republic. This gives the people a say in government affairs and development. Also, Brutus’ compassion is unleashed when Cassius promotes his proposal to kill Antony along with Caesar. Brutus does not agree at all, saying that Antony cannot rise without Caesar. Contrarily, he argued to keep Antony safe and offer protection and friendship. When Antony’s servant arrives at the Senate house to attain information on whether or not it is safe for Antony to make an appearance, Brutus says to the servant, “Thy master is a wise and valiant Roman; I never thought him worse. Tell him, so please him come unto this place. He shall be satisfied and, by my honor, depart untouched.” (Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 138-140.) Brutus also lends Mark Antony the privilege of speaking at Caesar’s funeral in the market place. Cassius, however, does not agree with Brutus’ decision; Cassius fears Mark Antony deep inside himself, and he is afraid of being oppressed. With this decision set, Brutus cannot speak the last word, and thus cannot calm the plebeians; rather Antony will utter the last word and enrage the plebeians and persuade them to avenge Caesar’s death. During the deliverance of Brutus’ speech at Caesar’s funeral, he justifies his act with heart-felt, righteous cause, saying, “If there be...any dear friend of Caesar’s, to him I say that Brutus’ love for Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.” (Act 3, Scene 2, Lines 17-22.) Brutus truly feels for those below him, especially due to his honor. He cares for Rome and the good of the people, and he joins the conspiracy for the honest benefit of the people of Rome.

These things, honor, confidence, honesty, trustworthiness, and selflessness, a leader must possess, or he is not a leader, rather he is a ruler. A ruler exercises dominion, while a leader guides by example. Leaders set the standard of greatness for their followers to emulate. Leaders literally illustrate the way in which people should go. In Psalms 32:8, God says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. I will counsel you with my eye on you.” To this, we are to submit; a person should seek God’s guidance so that he can lead according to God’s will. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.” In this, God desires for everyone to be leaders in a sense; and for everyone to act according to His will. In the Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus attempts to emulate a leader, and he accomplishes his goals for the most part. He truly overpowers Caius Cassius in his leadership. Brutus is entirely honorable, he strives to be honest and trustworthy in everything, he is confident and ready to take on anything, and he is selfless and positively ambitious in his actions to help others. John Maxwell once said, “A great leader's courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”


A Report on Past Child Labor.

During the Industrial Revolution, there was an irrepressible appeal for labor. Due to this demand, many families moved from rural areas into cities in search of stable occupations for a means of providing for themselves. However, everyone was immensely discouraged once they arrived, for the conditions were much more atrocious than anyone ever expected. The urban areas to which they migrated had a standard: poverty. Poverty spread like a disease throughout; it held no mercy upon anyone, and it was ruthless. As a result, desperate families, which were extremely prominent, hurriedly sent each and every functional member of their family to work in these abominable working conditions, just so they could attain the upmost necessary fundamentals needed for survival. This meant that even young children were forced to work. This proved to be beneficial for the factory owners and managers, however. This entrance of children into the industrial system provided for cheap labor; this was undoubtedly appealing to factory managers. In this, they took advantage and overworked, abused and underpaid the children without any remorse whatsoever. This continued for a long time before anyone made a dramatic, lasting attempt to stop the inhumane acts.

The conditions in which the children were forced to work were atrocious and perceived as outrageous by the sane human mind. They were physically forced to work; they had no say in the matter; and they were punished if their “work ethic” did not meet the benchmark. The factories were often improperly cared for and disease easily spread throughout in the unsanitary, enclosed environments. The machinery that the children often worked with was dangerous. Children would lose their limbs and other body parts to rotating, or sharp, machine components. The colossal machinery proved to promote accidents, which would often kill the children. They were also involuntarily drafted to repair the machinery; this was more easily approached due to their small size, which allowed them to fit into small areas that older men could not fit into. There were men and older boys who oversaw the children during their work hours. If the children slipped up, they would be punished and humiliated. The children were beaten and verbally abused. The punishments were radical and led to permanent health problems. On many occasions, boys and girls were pulled out of their bunks and thrown into the factories with their clothes, often for no reason, just to make a statement concerning lateness. Although the factories often housed the children, there was no provided safety, and the “assets” presented for the well-being of the children were highly insufficient.

These children, who were often employed as young as six years of age, worked unreasonably extensive shifts for hardly any pay. It was common for young children to work for up to 19 hours in one day, with only one break hour. The labor forced upon the children resembles that of slaves. The jobs also differed as a result of the age and gender of the children. The girls mostly worked at textile industries, for they had a “gentler touch.” Also, the youngest employed children were sent to work in the textile industry. The older children, specifically the boys, were sent to do the more rigorous work.

Although many people in the industry strongly embraced and practiced child labor, there were many others who despised it, or called for more acceptable working conditions. While the factory owners and managers attempted to justify the horrific practice, saying it was beneficial for the economy, the advocates of the practice attempted to make reforms to change the system. Even the parents had to accept it, because they desperately needed the income. However, in 1833, Parliament passed the Factory Act, which limited the amount of hours a child of a certain age could work. It also established a set age; factories could only hire children older than nine. The activists even went further throughout the early 20th century, working hard to establish more rights for children.

Conditions for those in factories, specifically children, worsened more than anyone could have imagined. The cities proved to be awful environments compared to rural areas. Harsh treatment, neglect, abuse, disease, and dehumanization were entirely prevalent throughout the cities in the 20th century Industrial Revolution.


Traveling....

This is a simple essay I did for an English class a while ago. I just want to share my interest in traveling.

Traveling is an incredible and unsurpassed method by which an individual can learn and gain experience. It is an effective way to experience new cultures, interesting people, and never before seen geographical features, otherwise known as God’s extraordinary creation. Traveling is compelling, and therefore adored by many. The act of being in a different place, surrounded by different people, cultures and landforms is intoxicating in itself. Although I have not travelled far from home, I have obtained a great deal of information concerning people and their cultures, and the geography that surrounds them from the areas I have visited. The experiences I have been carried through while traveling are unmatched in my eyes. This only makes me wonder what I am missing; it makes me wonder what I have yet to see in this world. These reasons, among countless others, define the intensity of my desire to see the world and what lies within its unforgiving and rewarding settings. However, if I were to pick a single location to which I would travel over any other, I would, without a doubt, pick Rwanda. Rwanda is a nation that lies in the eastern part of Central Africa. I would choose to travel to Rwanda so that I could learn more about the history of the nation, experience the cultures, geography and people, and help people in need.

First of all, I would choose to travel to Rwanda so that I could acquire knowledge concerning the history of the nation and its people. I have an immense interest in history, especially that of Rwanda. If I were to travel to this country to learn, my main focus would be the Rwandan Genocide of the summer of 1994, where almost one million human beings were killed due to irrelevant, untrue racial hatred that sparked between two historically relevant people “groups”: the Hutu and the Tutsi. Although a majority of each claims to be different than the other, they are completely the same; they just have different names. This topic catches my interest above all others. In order to broaden my knowledge concerning this, I would visit historical sites relevant to the subject and document first-hand accounts by talking with survivors and others who experienced the catastrophe. In doing so, I would fulfill an eagerly burning desire that I have to reach out to others and further understand what they went through, although an inconceivable disaster such as this could not possibly be comprehended by one unless they experienced the suffering first-hand.

Likewise, I would choose to travel to the great nation of Rwanda so that I could experience the cultures, the people, and the geographical features first-hand, and capture the essence of the overall beauty that the region has to offer. I absolutely adore experiencing new things, especially new cultures and surroundings. The culture of Rwanda is, of course, far from similar to the overall culture of America. This is what makes it so interesting. Anything different from what we are used to experiencing in our own lives is attractive, in a sense. New surroundings and cultures ignite curiosity in our minds. This is what makes travel so insanely gratifying to me. Learning new cultures and interacting with new and interesting people definitely contributes to developing a new and respectful admiration and understanding of this world we live in. Also, taking in the beauty of Rwanda’s geographical marvels, such as its innumerable, widespread hills, sheds light on the glory of God, which is revealed in His creation. The people of Rwanda, as a whole, are said to be among the friendliest on the face of this earth. All of these extremely beautiful descriptions of this place draw me closer and increase my desire to visit.

Lastly, I would choose to travel to Rwanda so that I can help people. Rwanda is stricken with widespread poverty, just as many other African nations. AIDS is also prevalent here. This region has been affected by war and conflict for many years. These all started with racial tensions between the Hutu and the Tutsi people. The Hutu extremists, which often includes the government army, hate the Tutsi. Back in the colonial era when the Belgians had control of the country, they put the Tutsi in control over the nation. The Hutu had accused them of stealing their land and abusing them, This is what sparked these lifelong racial tensions that overpower and haunt Rwanda today. Even though the genocide of 1994 is long over, there are still hatred groups in existence. All of these factors cause this nation to be in dire need of help. Although the government is stable, and the president is effective, the people continue to be plagued by the past and disease. Therefore, there is a need for help. Many organizations are centralized in this nation. This, over all, would have to be my main reason for wanting to travel to Rwanda. I love helping people more than anything, and this nation, among many others surrounding it, needs it.

In conclusion, these three reasons, which include learning the history of the nation, experiencing the culture, geography, and helping people, define my reasoning for wanting to travel to Rwanda. Rwanda is a beautiful country by description. It is tremendously attractive to those who love new things. The history of this nation is complex and interesting. It defines the country’s status today. The cultures throughout the region are beautiful and divergent. The people are kind overall, yet few are purely evil and full of hate. This contrast is incomprehensible. These qualities are what make Rwanda so amazing. These qualities are what fabricate my yearning to travel to Rwanda.