Posts tagged Germany

World Cup and Malaysian Airline

I suppose I am your typical American, I did not watch any of the World Cup. I’m not interested in soccer or “football” as it is called elsewhere. I haven’t even watched our own games of baseball so I guess I am not “INTO” sports. I think Germany was a good win for the World Cup, they probably worked hard and a great team effort. Someone wrote that the main objective is to keep kicking the ball towards the net, the more you do that, you wear down the goalie and the ball is apt to get into the net for a score.

Life is like that in a way. If you keep working towards your objective, you will little by little achieve your goal. If you are wandering around the field with no good plan or teamwork, you will have no success. I have been getting stronger and stronger where I weeded a flowerbed that was entangled with quack grass and lilies of the valley plants. The latter had taken over and was very intense as a root system, superficial but irksome nonetheless. My husband helped me free the ground up because it was too big of a task for me. Now I have impatience plants and begonias replacing the tall grass. What a marked improvement in my flower bed that has old bed posts on the top and bottom of it with railroad ties on the sides.

This morning I went after another area by our shop to put in holly hocks that I got from my mom. I found all sorts of metal pieces that had been thrown out perhaps 75 years ago. LONG nails and other ancient items that don’t decay with the soil. So, now I hope to have holly hocks growing, an old kind of flower.

That’s the thing, you have to keep fighting the weeds. If you give the weeds’ roots just an inch, it will go the full mile. Kind of like the northern neighbor to Ukraine. They want more land and are having a full out war over this. The Ukrainians want peace and do not want separatists or others that are known by another term in the eastern part of their country. It is like weeds, they need to be pulled out NOW otherwise, worse things will happen.

The commercial airliner that was just shot down with almost 300 people on board is an example of someone using their missile to take an aircraft out. The bodies are strewn throughout Ukraine over 7 miles, we know the impact happened in the air. Maybe it was a bomb on board coming from the Netherlands and its final destination was Malaysia. Not now, currently they will be pulling all the pieces together to find out what hit this plane that should not have been hit.

This is a world wide problem, this is not just some small incident. The World Cup was big, yes, but it seems that what is happening in Ukraine is much, much bigger and will start to affect us all.

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Gun Control Gone Hay Wire Around the World

Make sure you REALLY look at the photo below.  Based on the interviews I have done about the Soviet Union with older Ukrainians and the stories I have received from my students in Kazakhstan, the following rings true.  If there is “gun control” put in place in the U.S., the crazies and evil people will still find guns to use against innocent people. With no guns, they will not be able to defend themselves.  Interesting facts to consider:

In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. >From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated

In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.
Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.
You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.
Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.
Take note my fellow Americans, before it’s too late!
The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.
With guns, we are ‘citizens’. Without them, we are ‘subjects’.
During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!
If you value your freedom, please spread this antigun-control message to all of your friends.
SWITZERLAND ISSUES EVERY HOUSEHOLD A GUN!
SWITZERLAND’S GOVERNMENT TRAINS EVERY ADULT THEY ISSUE A RIFLE.
SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE OF ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!
IT’S A NO BRAINER!
DON’T LET OUR GOVERNMENT WASTE MILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE ALL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AN EASY TARGET.
Spread the word everywhere you can that you are a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment!It’s time to speak loud before they try to silence and disarm us.
You’re not imagining it, history shows that governments always manipulate tragedies to attempt to disarm the people~
Photo: A LITTLE GUN HISTORY<br /><br /> In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. >From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated<br /><br /> In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.<br /><br /> Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated.<br /><br /> China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated<br /><br /> Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.<br /><br /> Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.<br /><br /> Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.<br /><br /> Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.<br /><br /> You won't see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians disseminating this information.<br /><br /> Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws adversely affect only the law-abiding citizens.<br /><br /> Take note my fellow Americans, before it's too late!<br /><br /> The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson.<br /><br /> With guns, we are 'citizens'. Without them, we are 'subjects'.<br /><br /> During WWII the Japanese decided not to invade America because they knew most Americans were ARMED!<br /><br /> If you value your freedom, please spread this antigun-control message to all of your friends.<br /><br /> SWITZERLAND ISSUES EVERY HOUSEHOLD A GUN!<br /><br /> SWITZERLAND'S GOVERNMENT TRAINS EVERY ADULT THEY ISSUE A RIFLE.<br /><br /> SWITZERLAND HAS THE LOWEST GUN RELATED CRIME RATE OF ANY CIVILIZED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!!<br /><br /> IT'S A NO BRAINER!<br /><br /> DON'T LET OUR GOVERNMENT WASTE MILLIONS OF OUR TAX DOLLARS IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE ALL LAW ABIDING CITIZENS AN EASY TARGET.<br /><br /> Spread the word everywhere you can that you are a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment!</p><br /> <p>It's time to speak loud before they try to silence and disarm us.<br /><br /> You're not imagining it, history shows that governments always manipulate tragedies to attempt to disarm the people~

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Teaching in the Trenches, Shooting from the Hip

Since October of last fall, my ten students in the Professional Development program (PDP) have enjoyed listening to many qualified speakers (besides those on Ted.com).  I am thankful to all those professionals who took time out of their busy schedules to respectfully answer my invitation to talk to my students.  In two cases we only had a very short time due to scheduling limitations, but even so all these speakers need to be recognized.  I want to thank the following people who impacted and influenced my PDP students who are actually busy teachers themselves.  They are the following:

1) Marinka Franulovic, author of “Two Kyrgyz Women”

2) Anne Lonsdale, from Cambridge University

3) Harold Samuels, Regional English Language Officer, U.S. embassy

4) Alan Ruby, from University of Pennsylvania

5) Glen Tosaya, Toastmasters – public speaking issues

6) Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative – KZ statistics related to youth

7) Jon Larsen, U.S. embassy – language and reading issues

8 ) Chad Harris, UCL teacher – Kazakh language issues

9) Josh Lange, UCL teacher – multiple intelligences

10) David Kemme, economist from University of Tennessee – writing issues

11) Annemarie Bechert, Goethe Institute – teacher and KZ culture issues

The following thoughts are taken from my rough notes concerning Annemarie’s visit to our classroom.  My PDP students clamored to have her come back because of her very astute contributions when she came last week with other expats to watch my students’ Powerpoint presentations.  She delivered more salient points for my teachers to think about because we are ALL in the trenches trying to figure out how to do our job more efficiently in Kazakhstan.

Many obstacles are put in the path of truly dedicated teachers in Kazakhstan who are not respected for their profession and are paid so low in salary.  (No wonder Kazakh teachers moonlight with extra English lessons or in some cases accept bribes from their students).  Small wonder, the younger teachers are often asked to do so much translation work for their sometimes older, clueless or inept administrators because of the three language policy in Kazakhstan.  Who has time to come up with creative lesson plans that are stimulating to the students if the teachers are required to know three languages PLUS their subject matter?  Okay, I’m shooting from the hip now, on to what Annemarie discussed with my students.

Annemarie is German but has impeccable English, a kind of British English. She has lived in many countries besides German, Canada, U.S., Ukraine and other places in the world.  She is well travelled.  She started off by saying what was obvious to all of us educators in the room, “Tremendous challenges await us as teachers to pick up the latest in methods of teaching because we live in a globalized world.” She asked, “What are the teachers’ roles besides being the meta teacher?”  That means being above and knowing all across the curriculum.  The relationship of teacher and student is shifting where Kazakhstan is on the road to becoming more like Europe, not in a geographical sense but taking on what is known as “enlightened society.”  Teachers in Kazakhstan need to cope with globalization and modernization and becoming more “student-centered.”

The Germans, as early as the 14th century, had merchants and free citizens and were independent from any czar, king or ruler.  (Economics and education go hand in hand and that is an important point to keep in mind.) The same cannot be said about Kazakhstan’s past.  The Germans had a strong understanding of self-government, roles and responsibilities of governance.

Annemarie admitted that she knew more about Kazakhstan with its recent Soviet past and didn’t know as much about it as a country, as a Kazakh civilization before Russian intervention of the tsars.  She boldly stated there was no real Kazakh government that ruled over this massive territory yet it functioned as a civilized society during nomadic times.  Therefore, what we know as “civilization” from a western approach is completely different from a Kazakh perspective.

Her strongest point was “Astana is not Kazakhstan.” I would wholeheartedly agree with that because of what I witnessed in a village school just 30 minutes outside of Astana.  Her concern is about carrying the knowledge that is in the “elite” schools of Astana out to those places in the rural areas of Kazakhstan.  This country is the ninth largest in the world.  Landscape and geography does matter and greatly influences the kind of people who grow up and are educated.  How can education be evenly distributed to ALL the people who live in Kazakhstan? That is one of the questions that Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education is grappling with now along with the many issues attached to the three languages that are required to be taught to the young people.

Pity the poor Kazakh teachers who are in the trenches yet need to know all three languages (Russian, Kazakh and English) PLUS their specific subject!  Where are the programs to give them a leg up to do this impossible task?  We have money from the Kazakh government being poured into the youth with our elite schools, but I believe if you invest in the young teachers (who are too busy kowtowing to the older Kazakh administrators) then the ripple effect would be even better for the young people in the classroom.  Can the money be more evenly distributed throughout this vast land, to the rural areas?  Where are the incentives for qualified teachers to go out to the outbacks of this great nation?

(to be continued)

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Double Punishment for being a Captive Soldier in WWII

I continue to learn new things from my advanced Speaking class, sad things about death and repressions. What irony there is in life but it often happened in the former Soviet union, double punishment for fighting as a soldier in a war and being caught as a prisoner. One of my student’s grandfather on her mother’s side was arrested by a German officer and put in a German concentration camp.  After the war, the Kazakh soldier was released and he returned to Kazakhstan only to be put in a Soviet gulag camp according to Stalin’s orders.  After Stalin died in 1953, he was released and lived only another 8-10 years, he died in the early 1960s.

Another student said that his grandfather on his mother’s side wasn’t imprisoned, he somehow avoided prison.  But he did not avoid the police station every night for several years.  He was asked over and over again the same questions and by 1953, he was convinced he hated communists.  I asked if he was beaten or tortured.  No, he just had to answer the questions correctly otherwise he would have ended up in a Siberian concentration camp.

Another instance in the same family was the grandfather was an officer for the NKVD.  After the Great Patriotic War there were a lot of gangs with guns in the Pavlodar region and he had to interrogate those who were causing much unrest in the area.  He would have been on the opposite side of the table as the other grandfather as he was the head of this police station.

Another Kazakh student of mine is from the Karaganda area and she doesn’t know much about her own grandparents.  [this is typical because there was a strict code of silence for all those in Karaganda and especially those who were finally released from the KARLAG once Stalin died]  She said that many intellectual people were sent to Kazakhstan from all over the USSR to the Karaganda region and they helped develop and build the architecture of that city.  Many Japanese, Russians and other nationalities brought enrichment to this area because of their expertise. The very skills that had drawn attention to themselves in a favorable climate, won them disfavor in the eyes of the ruling Moscow elite.

She did remember that her mother’s older brother had driven a tank during WWII and when he returned from the war he worked in a mechanical factory or plant.  When he was alive still she was very small.  She did say that what was a prison for political prisoners in Karabass is now a prison for hardened criminals.

Another interesting story came from a woman whose mother’s uncle was a tall Kazakh man with BLUE eyes.  He was somehow so unusual in his appearance that a German officer didn’t put him in prison but rather he stayed in his big house and helped built things around the house.  He was good with wood and made things for three years while living in Germany.  This Kazakh man spoke German very well but upon his return to Kazakhstan he was directly sent to Magadan in Siberia.  He stayed there ten years and when he returned to his native town he built a beautiful home.  He died at the age of 95-96. This student remembers that he was a vigorous, proud man who didn’t stoop but had good posture the last time she saw him at age 92.  He walked with a cane but had the regal look of a decorated officer, perhaps like the German officer who had spared him from prison camp while in Germany.

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Three Kazakh Teachers Making a Difference

I’m continuing the theme of what I blogged yesterday if you read Aigul’s piece. Yesterday I had given nine primary and secondary teachers the choice of two questions to answer in writing with a time limit of only a half hour.  The following three people, I thought, wrote very good answers to this question: “In what way do you think you can make a difference for the future of Kazakhstan?

Teacher #1 Our path to the future is going to be by knowing the past of our nation.  Without knowing the past of our country and people of our past, we cannot draw a future picture, make a brighter tomorrow. If any person does what he is up to, there will be no problem among people, no fight.

I am a teacher, so I will do my best to teach students to get more knowledge, as much as I can.  Everyone in our country has to sacrifice.  Sacrifice his free time, enjoyment, etc. just to be more useful in building of our new country and a new nation.  Our country has survived the Soviet Union and it’s up to us all to take part in this very process.

I am happy that I’m taking part with passing from a cradle period of our country to standing on its own feet steadily and still.

Germany has lost two world wars but could again be one of the seven big developed countries of the world.  How could they achieve that?  Sacrificing their legally free time.  They worked on Saturdays for free.  Why did they do that?  Because their country was in need of that help.

My aim in teaching English besides grammar, vocabulary, etc. provide my students with strong believe in future of our country. In period of more than 70 years, our land suffered from having no opportunity to think individually, to act as they wanted.  The very nation was like a nightingale with a beautiful voice, but chattering its wonderful songs not in a forest where it liked, but in a place where it was kept dependent.

My motherland has anything it wishes to be rich materially and spiritually.  It is rich with everything from the list of Mendeleyev and also have people who are eager to make their country one of the best.

Our history was lost or rewritten to make us believe that we had no remarkable past at all.  But nowadays everyone is aware of the history of the whole world.

As a teacher, it’s my job to make our students, a new generation, more patriotic and future confident.  Our president does all in his hands for a new generation to be highly educated and serve our country.  A lot of people are used to criticizing the leader, but we have to remember that we are ruled by someone like us, someone elected among one of us. Word Count: 408

Teacher #2 ” Children are our future says a proverb.  We, teachers have a greater responsibility for the future of our country.  Will it be wealthy and strong or poor and illiterate?  It depends on the knowledge that the young generation gets at school mostly.

Currently our country is undergoing sufficient changes in educational system.  The teaching process becomes open for students and their parents.  Pupils are now not the objects of learning, they are equal partners.

As a teacher of English, I have an opportunity to discuss any themes my students want to during the lesson.  So, I am not only a teacher, I am an advisor, trainer, and of course a friend.

The world changes, so do the youngsters.  Now they need the other approach, students want to be treated as equals.  Consequently, the educational system ought to fit new age demands.  I have knowledge and courage to work on the improvement of the educational system in my country. Word Count: 158

Teacher #3 I was born in the Republic of Kazakhstan and I am very proud of being the citizen of this country.  Before going to school my parents believed that I would succeed in my studies.  This belief and support they gave me were always great motivation for my further achievements.  I agree that education starts in the family.  Therefore what I gained in my childhood could help me make enormous difference for the future of my family and hence it would influence the future of the whole country.

Moreover, I believe that knowledge is power.  There is a constant exchange of knowledge and information between parents, teachers, professors, scientists and pupils, students and others.  Regardless of what we learn today or tomorrow, knowledge is one of the strongest powers that influence the future of one’s home country. 

First of all, I think I can transform my knowledge to future generations.  I also believe that having finished my degree program, I could be more aware of current situation in our country.  To be precise, the more you learn the more you realize the potential of your country, know its political strengths and weaknesses, and be clear about what should be done in the future.  One degree is only one step in which I could be useful for my country.  It is necessary to be in constant search.  By gaining more knowledge I believe I can make more difference for the future of my country.  Therefore everyone should think about being more educated so that he or she won’t regret about wasting time after all.

Word Count: 262

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“Beary” United Buddy Bears Exhibition in Astana

Belonging to Astana’s International Women’s Club has its perks.  I received the following update on the Bear exhibition that I wrote about in my blog yesterday. This colorful display opens tomorrow to the public, but I was privy to it several days ahead of time because it is right in my own backyard from where I work.  I think I got some great photos yesterday of countries you will recognize.  If you live or are visiting in Astana, you must see them for yourself.

The “Buddy Bears” stand together hand in hand and promote tolerance and understanding among different nations, cultures and religions. Each bear represents a Member State of the United Nations and has been individually designed by an artist from that state. The „Kazakh bear“ has been designed by the prominent Kazakh artist Leyla Mahat, the „German bear“ by Frank Rödel.

Since 2002, when the first exhibition of the „Buddy Bears“ took place, more than 20 million people from all over the world had a chance to see them. The bears have travelled to all of the five continents. Thus, they have already been in Berlin, Istanbul, Tokyo, Sydney, Cairo and Buenos Aires. Wherever they were, the “Buddy Bears” became a special attraction and made the exhibition venue a place of interaction and meetings. Today, within the framework of the year “Germany in Kazakhstan 2010” 125 “Buddy Bears” will come to Astana, among them, of course, the bears designed by Leyla Mahat and by Frank Rödel. On invitation of the Akimat of the city of Astana, the “Buddy Bears” will remain until the end of July 2010 next to the Baiterek-tower. Visitors will have the chance to experience, how the interaction of different artistic styles creates one piece of art that spreads joy and promotes mutual understanding and tolerance. Each visitor of the exhibition will experience a small trip around the world, as each bear is individually designed in a manner related to his “home-country”. The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Akimat of the city of Astana have the pleasure to invite you, the interested public and representatives of the media to join the opening event of the exhibition “United Buddy Bears” on Saturday, 15th of May 2010 at 16:00. The event will take place between the Baiterek-tower and the National Archives, on “Nurshol”-Boulevard (former Vodnoseljonyj bulvar”).



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Meuryert’s Grandfather has a street named after him

When I run out of words or photos of my own experiences in Astana, Kazakhstan, I like to show off my students’ writings about their grandparents.  The following is written about Meuryert’s grandfather after she went through old photos and newspaper clippings, revisiting him in her memory.

Two weeks ago when I was at home in Karaganda, I found old photos of my grandparents. Also there were many articles from different newspapers. And all of them were about my grandfather. From one of the photos my grandfather looked at me. The photo, in which time was stopped, was very beautiful and professional. His eyes had reminded me of eyes of my mother. They were very kind and clear. His sight was very acute, it was full of confidence, aspirations, resoluteness, he knew what he wanted. But his wrinkles reflected everything which he endured. So this photo truly transferred the person of my grandfather.

My grandfather, Karimov Garibzhan Karimovich (1910-1995), was the participant of the Great Patriotic War. At war he was on the second Belarus front in a tank company. He was a commander of the tank. He had passed Russia, Belarus, Poland, Austria by 1945. The victory he had met in Germany. He had a lot of fighting awards and medals: the award of the Red star, the award of a Patriotic War of the second degree and others.

After the end of war and arriving home, he started his lovely favourite work. He was a teacher at a rural school. His subject was history. Pupils loved lessons of my grandfather very much, they attentively listened and asked many questions. Probably, because my grandfather was the participant  of many historical events he could tell about it very brightly and truthfully.

Even before the war when he was 18 years old, my grandfather participated in actions of illiteracy liquidation in rural cities. Such people were called «Red Teachers». Subsequently, he had received the higher pedagogical education, and all his labour activity has been connected with school, he worked as the school principal and director of the region.

Really, people die physically, but their soul remains in each of the surrounding people. I have read interesting thing about death in “Harry Potter”. The wizard divided his soul and left them in different things. And when he was killed one part of his soul became free and he has revived.  As in this fairy-tale my grandfather left his knowledge, wisdom and good qualities with us. My grandfather lives in every heart of my family, in hearts of his pupils, friends and colleagues.

Last year in village Kazgorodok of Akmola area for fighting and labour merits of my grandfather his name was given to street – Karimov Garibzhan’s street.

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