Words for Application

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I really enjoyed listening to Azar Nafisi. She seems like she manages to stay down to earth despite how intelligent she is. As an english and education major, her thoughts were very relatable to me and very inspiring for not only like me but for others who are staring at the future of a classroom of students in a time of economic crisis and having to persuade them that Shakespeare is important. I think my favorite part was when she touched upon the topic of "political correctness" and how all of us are offended too easily in this society we are living in. I couldn't agree with her more.

She made so many interesting points that I don't know which ones to talk about in my blog. Her point that we need to look beyond the culture and religion of a nation to the people, in reference to the standards women are forced to follow in other countries, really had an impact on me. I thought of our present situation with Iraq. Having several friends over seas and a few in Iraq right now for our military, I hate to say that my original opinion of Iraq's culture and people had been tainted by a one sided perspective. However, after taking what Dr. Nafisi said, I can see more purpose in what we are trying to achieve over there. I still won't admit either way if I agree with our presence over there or not, but Dr. Nafisi's point that we have to give more credit than what we do to that nation's history, culture, and especially its people is true. There is probably more to that culture than beating women for not dressing in heavy garments from head to foot or for preventing women from becoming uneducated. But now I realize that anything potentially good in Iraq is overshadowed by what we want to see. Many Americans view Iraq as completely bad, as something that cannot be made good without our interfence. Others see Iraq as something dangerous that we should stay away from. It seems like only the destruction and bad aspects of Iraq are always highlighted, but there is good. 

For the first time since the war in Iraq began, I happened to meet someone this year that helped me realize there is so much more going on over there than what we see. This meeting just so happens to relate alot to what Dr. Nafisi was talking about. I met Rafeef, a young teenage girl from Baghdad this year. Rafeef became an exchange student at the high school I used to attend. She explained to several of us her home life in Baghdad which was littered with nearby bomb explosions and unhealthy living conditions. Violence and poverty surrounded her, yet she and her family raised the money for her to come to America in order to receive a chance at an education. Here was a young girl who came from a country where education for women was almost completely prohibited, and yet her family still wanted her to get an education and found the means to do so. Her family was not reaching to violence to solve their problems, but rather to the younger generation and education. As Dr. Nafisi was commenting on the neglect of libraries and books, books is where Rafeef and her family were turning to for hope for their country and lives.

In relation to our class, I think alot of the points that Dr. Nafisi made are examples of how much interepretation of literature affects our lives. For example, she pointed out that for the economic crisis we are in today, politicians and economists are turning to the texts of the past in order to look at the successful processes used in to help our country regain build/regain its confidence in past hard times. Also, her story of how she taught an underground class of women the books that were considered forbidden in her country show that the interpretation of literature is not only important to learn about other ways of thinking and others' lives, but is even seen as dangerous and threatening to some countries.  

 Dr. Nafisi also gave some solid ground for me to stand on and actually accept that it's ok for me to have an English major. As Dr. Jerz mentioned before, I do have a practical side that tends to flare out at why I'm not doing something in the medical field that is more useful and work with material that is more tangible. However, Dr. Nafisi's speech did remind me of how imporant majors like English and majors in the humanities area are. So...I'll admit...I actually don't mind being an English major....for today at least.   

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