Monday, September 6, 2010

Current Event for September 10th

Middle East Peace Talks- search for an optimist

On Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Clinton met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.  Their goal was to restart discussions about peace between their countries, facilitated by the U.S..  These negotiations between Israel and Palestine were the first since talks ended 20 months ago.  U.S. President Obama has told each side that their goal is a permanent settlement that ends the Israeli occupation of Palestine territory captured in 1967, and an independent, democratic Palestinian state existing peacefully next to Israel.

Many critics of these talks say that talks have happened before, with no peaceful results.  At the beginning of the talks on Friday, September 3rd, Clinton acknowledged these critics' pessimism, but said that "The core issues at the center of these negotiations - territory, security, Jerusalem, refugees, settlements and others - will get no easier if we wait, nor will they resolve themselves."

For this weeks blog, read the BBC article "The Search for a Middle East Optimist" by Wyre Davies.  An optimist is someone who always looks for the good side of every situation.

Article:  "The Search for a Middle East Optimist."

After writing your summary, reflection, questions and prediction:

1. Explain why Elie Wiesel is optimistic about the Peace Talks. 
2. Do you agree with Wiesel's optimism?  Why or why not?


Map of Israel and Palestinian territories
The division of the former British mandate of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel in the years after the end of World War II have been at the heart of Middle Eastern conflicts for the past half century.

The creation of Israel was the culmination of the Zionist movement, whose aim was a homeland for Jews scattered all over the world following the Diaspora. After the Nazi Holocaust, pressure grew for the international recognition of a Jewish state, and in 1948 Israel came into being.

For more information on the Conflict read:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Censoring Art - During the Renaissance and Today

During our unit on the Renaissance and Reformation we will be learning about how various types of art communicated ideals of Renaissance humanists.  During the Renaissance, many artists feared censorship by the government and catholic church.  For example, Michelangelo's fresco of the Sistine Chapel was censored when the Pope Paul III hired another artist to paint fig leaves over the parts of Michelangelo's frescos that the Vatican believed were "obscene."

For this week's blog post:
1.  Read about censorship of the Sistine chapel during the Renaissance (text below)
2.  Read the Time magazine article about political censorship today in Russia.  Then complete your blog post.

Definition of censor from  "censor"

Read below about how the Sistine Chapel was censored by Pope Paul III during the Renaissance
"Excerpt from the "Virtual Vatican Museums."  

In the vault of the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo created an extraordinary gallery of characters (more than 300 figures) that gives life to the whole history of humanity, from creation until the coming of Christ.

Two decades later, Michelangelo was again called to work on the Sistine Chapel on behalf of Pope Paul III.  Between 1533 and 1541 he painted the Last Judgment on the wall behind the altar.  It is a painting of a great expression; in the centre of the painting you can see Christ surrounded by Saints and Angels, who proclaimed the Last Judgment.  Toward him rise the resurrected for eternal salvation, while the damned are falling to hell.

The Last Judgment was the issue of a tough dispute between the Cardinal Carafa and Michelangelo.  The artist was accused of immorality and intolerable obscenity, because he had painted nude figures with their genitals clearly exposed, in the most important church of Christianity.

Therefore a campaign of censorship (known as the campaign of fig leaves) was organized by Cardinal Carafa and Monsignor Sernini (Ambassador of Mantova) to remove the frescoes.  Giordano Vasari said that the Master of Ceremonies for the Popes, Biagio of Cesena, made a similar complaint, saying that it was more suited to a thermal bath than a chapel.  Also when Michelangelo painted a self-portrait, painted on the figure of Minosse, Judge of Hell, Biagio da Cesena complained to the Pope.  The Pontiff replied that its jurisdiction did not apply to hell and so the portrait remained.  According to other studies, the character portrayed in the Minosse is Pierluigi Farnese, the son of Pope Paul III, well known in Rome for being violent and to have raped a young cleric causing his death.

Coinciding with the death of Michelangelo, a law was issued to cover the genitals of the painting (‘Pictura in Chapel coopriantur’), so Daniele of Volterra, who was Michelangelo’s apprentice, carried out the work.  After, he was nicknamed ‘Braghettone’, because he covered the genitals, but left intact the rest of the painting.

When the work was restored in the 1993, restores did not uncover the figures that Daniele had painted.  However a replica of the painting, without being censured, by the artist Marcello Venusti, is displayed in the Museum of Capodimonte in Naples.  The Chapel was restored (from 1981 to 1994).

Read about Russia's crackdown on political art that occurred in 2009 as described by Time magazine.,8599,1905202,00.html

Answer the following questions in your reflection:
1.  Why do you think art is targeted for censorship?
2.  What power does art have today (as well as in the past)?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Current Event for August 24th

Read the August 21st, 2010 BBC article at the link below.  Then write your blog response as a comment to this post.  Don't forget to include the following in your comment:

3 sentence summary of the article
2-3 sentences of reflection
2 questions
1 prediction

Questions for reflection:
1.  How does U.S. aid to Pakistan compare to U.S. aid to Haiti earlier this year?

For more information on the impact of Pakistan's monsoon floods:

A note about posts


As you post, I have to monitor each of the submissions and post them to the blog.  So once you enter your post, I have to check it from my computer before it is posted to the blog.  Although I am working on my computer tonight, it might take me a while to get to all your posts.  If your post doesn't show up right away, don't worry about it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Welcome to Escuela's Honors World History Blog

The purpose of the current events blog is for you to read, question and reflect upon current events and discuss them with other students in your section.  What’s so important about Current Events?  Current events are the making of history – right now!  You can’t understand how history impacts us today unless you know what’s happening right now!!  Being aware of current events also makes you a more educated person – stun your parents and friends with knowledge of what’s going on around the world!

The weekly current events blog reflections will be on a variety of current events topics from many different news sources.  Sometimes you will be asked to read and respond to an article.  Sometimes you will be asked to find an article yourself and write a response.  You are encouraged to respond to other student’s blog posts in your post (please do so respectfully). Weekly blog assignments will always be posted by Monday morning and all posts are due before class on Fridays so that we can discuss them.  Each blog post is worth 10 points or 10% of your grade.

Reflections and responses to the discussion questions will be graded as follows:

____/ 3 points        3 sentences, summary
____/3 points        2-3 sentences, meaningful reflection
____/2 points         2 questions you have about the article, author, or event.
____/1    point        1 sentence, prediction of what you think will happen next
____/1 point        Proper grammar and writing mechanics

Extra Credit
If you find an interesting article on a topic that you wish to share with your classmates, you may always post that article for 1 extra credit point IN ADDITION TO your required blog post for the week.  When posting this article please also reflect upon the article using the same format you do for the weekly blog posts.  Up to 10 extra credit points may be earned per quarter.

Possible Reflection Responses

a. Likes and dislikes.  Something you like or dislike about the text.  “I think…”

b. Questions that pop into your mind about the content, characters, vocabulary, or intent of the author. “I wonder…”

c. Connections you make between the:
- text and your own life
- text and another text
- text and events in the world.
     “This reminds me of…”

d. Emotions.  Something in the text that brings up an emotion.  Does the text make you feel scared, angry, joyful, confused? “I feel…”

Final note:
You must have a professionally named google e-mail account to participate in the blog.  To create a google e-mail account go to and select “create an account.”  When creating an account use a version of your name as the e-mail address title (not a nickname or joke)