The word ‘normalization’ had been floating around the hallways of King’s Academy in the days leading up to and following a visit from Seeds of Peace representatives. Seeds of Peace, an organization that brings together teenager from areas of conflict—notably Palestinians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and Israelis—has stirred up a lot of controversy, as many believe that going to such programs normalizes the Israeli occupation. For a word that has caused so much controversy, normalization is surprisingly difficult to define.
Once upon a time, there was a scary beast called Nian. It came out on the first day of every Lunar New Year to raid the countryside, devouring livestock and villagers, especially young children whose meat was considered the most delicious. To protect themselves, villagers prepared a huge feast on that day and presented the best dishes in front of their houses so that Nian might choose to eat these dishes instead of the innocent children. Unfortunately, the villagers’ generosity did not put an end to the beast’s brutality, leading them to seek revenge on Nian. Moved by their tragedy, a god came down from heaven and advised the villagers to put red paper and firecrackers in front of their houses on the day when Nian would attack.
Here at King’s Academy, global citizenship is highly regarded and revered. Language is an integral portion of being a global citizen. Graduation requirements at King’s include both Arabic and a (for some, second or even third) foreign language such as Spanish, French, or Chinese. Last summer I spent one month living and working in a chalet in Gruyeres where I experienced authentic Swiss culture and received an exceptional education in French. I stayed with a Swiss family that housed tourists in their quaint and cozy B&B, on top of keeping over 40 cows to produce mainly Gruyere cheese. The family spoke limited English, which helped improve my French language skills and my knowledge of Swiss culture.
As I repeat after Mr. Ryuji the next part of the choreography, I look around the dance studio at the Evening Dance Ensemble through the mirror, and observe how much our dance group has grown. Ever since freshman year, I have watched the dance program flourish and become more and more professional. Students have been joining, not only to learn contemporary dance, but to also learn Dabke and choreograph their own individual pieces. This year’s dance showcase was proof of all the hard work and vigor that was put into producing our all-encompassing show. On Wednesday, March 4th, about 26 dancers performed our pieces, with 14 of the dancers involved in 3-6 pieces.
After his unbelievable accomplishments in the hit television series Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan set the bar so high that many doubted that his next work, Better Call Saul, would ever even come close to competing with the status that Breaking Bad reached. However, many others also believed in the talent of Gilligan’s creative abilities and predicted that he would continue to astound his audiences with his great storylines. The latter group has been proven right.
I am calling this an Oscar rant. However, I am not going to talk about why the Academy Awards should acknowledge more independent films or why they should not operate on principles concerning whether so-and-so is an ‘Oscar-type actor’. Instead, I want to raise a few comments on several of the specific decisions that the Academy made in regards to this past year’s awards.
A Most Violent Year, directed by JC Chandor and starring Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, and David Oyelowo, succeeds on both entertaining the audience and posing questions of morality to its viewers. The film offers lessons on how a man has to make decisions in difficult times, a task made impossible by circumstances at hand. JC Chandor manages to portray realism on screen, doing so in an extremely convincing method.
They sat face-to-face at the lunch table, yet miles apart.
Whiplash An experience defined by spine-shivering menace, rapid heartbeat, and sheer entertainment, Whiplash is a state-of-the-art film directed beautifully by Damien Chazelle. It also includes a stellar performance by Miles Teller.
The first major international soccer competition of this year, the 16th Asian Cup, was, for the first time, held on Australian soil. Among the 10 Arab countries that participated, United Arab Emirates achieved the best results, winning 3rd place over Iraq. Australia, the host, won the Cup while South Korea was the runner-up.