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Aleppo destruction

Done in a meeting. Our task was to watch drone footage of Aleppo and describe it in 2 ways; 1 paragraph with a neutral tone and 1 paragraph using emotive language.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkb3y6K3waU

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Paragraph 1 – Neutral tone

There are no other words to describe Aleppo apart from a seemingly unfinished mess. Houses were missing large parts of their walls, as if, in the middle of construction, the builders abandoned it.Debris from slowly collapsing buildings lay strewn all over streets where people still walked and children still played. A view from the sky showed the dusty, cream-coloured mess of the roofs. Giant, gaping holes could be easily seen in the houses with roofs still left; many structures had no roof and instead had what appeared to be half finished rooms, with the walls gradually crumbling down to the streets below. Potholes infested the roads, where cars could be seen shaking as if there was an earthquake driving through them. Bricks had been thrown off of buildings and onto anything else, from the streets below to other buildings.

Paragraph 2 – Emotive language

My home is gone. Well, it isn’t entirely gone, part of the building remains standing (albeit looking like a tornado ripped through it) while the other part of the building has crumbled and fallen to the streets below. All my possessions are destroyed, lost or both in the debris that is left all around the pavement I stand on. Everything that marked my existence in this world has been taken from me. If I didn’t live here, I would think this place was abandoned; a city decimated by war that no one had returned to. I know better though, I know that people go through the city like ants in an anthill, from dirty, dusty streets to newly-made tunnels through buildings, hard to see but hard to ignore. There was a faint buzz somewhere far off of people talking, but I couldn’t tell where.

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Hope


For those into legends, have fun finding all the symbolism in this fiction based on legends.

Firdavis Xireaili 10D


 

The sky split as the heavens roared, lightning crashed down upon the earth as the gentle ran accompanied it. The rain gathered upon the summit flowed down through the crevices and into the river whilst the divine rods of lightning set lone trees ablaze. In the middle of all the chaos stood a small hut, by no means large nor elegant, just an ordinary, mud brick hut covered by a straw roof no larger than a few square meters.

A table and two bumps on either side occupied the interior of the room. Two men sat on either side, both focusing their attention on the small board placed upon the wooden table. A torch dimly lit the room, just enough to allow both men to visualize the board.

One man was larger than the other, blonde hair with a beard and all covered from head to shoulder with a decorated set of iron armor which lustrously shone even under the foul sky. A long-sword laid on his thighs with its scabbard missing. Not a dent nor chip was present on the blade, making it seem as it if was newly forged, but the two knew all too well that it had shed more blood than any other blade.

The other man was slightly shorter and younger, donning a blood red cape and tunic with his helmet resting at his side, no weapon present on his figure. In one hand he held a small piece of carved wood with a round white head, playing with it as he concentrated on the board.

“Quite the predicament you’re in Arthur, perhaps your days are coming to an end.” He chuckled to himself with a smirk as he placed the wooden piece down onto the board with a thud.

“Check.” He called with confidence.

The man called Arthur gave no response as he moved the largest black piece on the board forward, surprising the other man.

“Really? The king? There was plenty to sacrifice there, was there not? Why choose the weak?” He let out a mocking laugh.

“Perhaps weak, but also the strongest.” Arthur let out with no change to his expression.

“Old age really is getting to you,” He ridiculed as he moved another piece forward without hesitation, “it is time you give up.”

Arthur only smiled.

“Mordred, what is hope?” He asked.

“Hope, you say? Hope is only for those too weak to achieve their goals themselves. They delude themselves into thinking that possibilities still exist whilst there are none. Wishful thinking will only ever be wishful thinking.” He answered after some thought.

The smile on Arthur’s face didn’t budge whilst he looked Mordred in the eyes, “Wrong.” He said with a sigh.

“Hmm? Then what do you say, oh former king?”

“Hope itself is a power, a power that drives us humans to achieve what we thought we could not, it gives us power to be who we want to be. Hope is for those with a vision, as those without goals cannot Hope for anything. If one has the courage to hope for something, then they possess the power and potential to claim it. Hope also comes with responsibility, as greater the fire, the greater the destruction if not controlled. If the torch of courage was to be extinguished, then the lamp of Hope would no longer burn.”

Mordred squinted his eyes and glared at Arthur, “What are you getting at?”.

“Hope is no delusion Mordred, it gives us strength you cannot even imagine.” Arthur moved his knight further onto the board before continuing, “The pawn, the weakest piece on the board, has the potential to become a menace rivaling the queen, do you know why that is, Mordred? It is because of Hope. Men fight whilst knowing its kill or be killed in this broken world because they believe that they will achieve glory and honor, to survive- they hope for these things, and with it they find strength within themselves to turn the delusions into reality. It is hope that drives this world forward, Mordred.”

“And what does this mean for me, Arthur?” Mordred asked.

The smile plastered on Arthur’s face slowly turned into a grin.

“No matter the situation one is in, there is always a way to turn it around… through hope.” He moved his king forward again whilst speaking.

Mordred gritted his teeth in impatience as he couldn’t understand what Arthur was attempting to do. The state of the board was completely in his favour, with him retaining most of his pieces whilst Arthur only had a single knight, a bishop, a queen and his king left.  In fact, Arthur’s king was only getting closer to his own king.

The game known as chaturanga (note this is the original version/name of chess) was only introduced in the region a few years ago, and few knew how to truly play. Even Mordred himself didn’t know what Arthur had up his sleeves. He decided to end it as fast as he could and moved his bishop to pressure Arthur’s few remaining pieces.

Arthur broke the silence once again after moving his King piece another block further.

“Do you know why the pawn can only become a queen, yet not a king? It is because no matter what they do, they will not break the shackles of a servant as long as they follow the rules, the norm.”

“What are you getting at?”

“Doesn’t it sound like you?”

‘…!?”

Mordred was left speechless by the claim. His mouth agape but no words came out. As much as he wished to deny it, he couldn’t. Seeing this, Arthur continued.

“An unimportant pawn, slowly making his way up the hierarchy through effort… and the power of hope. By taking all opportunities presented to you, you have taken the throne and the seat of the king, but what now?”

Mordred didn’t utter a word.

“You have gained the most powerful, yet weak position. You have become the sole ruler who your servants look up to, yet you are now the most vulnerable. If you fall, so will everything you’ve achieved, do you understand?”.

“It doesn’t matter, the throne is mine and you only have a few feeble men at your disposal, you have lost Arthur.” Mordred moved his queen for the first time up the board and ‘ate’ the bishop. Almost immediately, Arthur moved his King forward again, leaving only a single space between the two kings.

“No matter how bleak the situation may look, I will continue. The position of King not only holds all the power, but also all the hope from his servants and those who believe in him. It is our duty to bear it, and never let the flames die. Those who ignore this will never be the king he wishes to be.”

Mordred moved to take down the final knight Arthur possessed, leaving only the unmoved queen piece and king with Arthur.

In fact, there was no feasible way for Arthur to turn the match around, but the light in his eyes did not die, but instead burned brighter as if conveying a message.

“Do you remember when I said that hope can make anything possible? For that, I will not abandon the hope of those who believe in, and I will carry both the strength and burden of their hope with me until my very last breath!”

With this, Arthur moved his king forward once more.

Now, the two kings stared at each other, both in position to ‘eat’ each other, and both vulnerable, but Mordred did not make the move – no, he couldn’t, he was in too much of a shock to make a move.

“No… are you suicidal? You have just signed your own death sentence, what was the point? I can simply take your king and it would be my win, did you forget what you just said!?” Mordred exclaimed.

Arthur let out a dry laugh, “My fate doesn’t lie beneath the board, and only I will determine it.” His gaze sharpened as if it were meant to pierce through Mordred. “I am the master of my fate.”

Arthur held the sword on his lap with his right hand and silently stood up, heading for the exit, surprising Mordred.

“Let us continue this match another time.” He said with his gaze still on Mordred.

“Where?” Mordred asked even whilst knowing the answer.

“Camlann… Yes, let us conclude this then.”

Mordred silently closed his eyes and looked out the window to the chaos. Only when Arthur reached for the door did he talk again.

“Arthur, why did you move your king in the end and not your queen, and also, what is hope without courage?”

Arthur pondered for a second before answering with a smile.

“How can a King expect his subordinates to follow if he does not lead? And to answer your second question…” He opened the wooden door only to be greeted by a lightning strike which landed a few dozen meters away.

“Without courage, there is no hope.”

He closed the door behind him as he left.

“Goodbye, nephew.”

‘There Will Be Blood’ Creative Response

Hi everyone, one of the film texts lots of classes have studied is There Will be Blood (2007). This is a creative response in the form of diary entries as part of an English assignment to the movie. It will make more sense to people who have watched it, but if you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend it! Enjoy and feel free to give feedback.

Saturday 24th November, 1937

To H.W, the man who was always there,

I don’t know what to feel. I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to do.

I am ashamed. I am humiliated.

Begrudgingly, but honestly, I will concede that this was all my doing, my harm. If I was not so insecure or disengaged and obsolete, then perhaps none of this would have occurred. Perhaps. But it doesn’t matter now. I am where I am and there’s nothing I can do to go back and change what happened.

I’m sorry I write to you in this way but it feels as if control has abandoned my body. You are well, I presume and I pray Mary is well. I wish it were the same here, but the truth is, our livelihoods deteriorate by the moment. What was once a tranquil, peaceful grassland where we merrily lived our simple lives has become a rotting hell for each and every one of us. We could hunt quail, drink goat’s milk and sing songs without fear once upon a time, without a care.

But as I lay here on this bench, I feel the warmth dissipating and it’s not because of the weather. I’ve snuggled myself up against this grey seat but nothing will take the pain away. My knees are tucked against my chest and I moan in pain. I call his name but nothing will bring him back. Nothing.

He’s done it, son. He’s insane and he’s gone and killed Eli. Eli. What hope there was for me before you left has been crushed in the hands of the man who went insane- Daniel Plainview. Boy, I would do anything to have him back, anything. They were speaking with each other in his house, Daniel’s house. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they were arguing- there’s never been much the two of them have agreed upon. I watched them exchange insults from the corner of the room. I was a coward. I whimpered in anticipation just as I whimper here now, except now there is nothing I can do to bring him back.

Daniel, being the abusive drunkard that he is, hurled a bowling pin at the man who I have watched grow before my very eyes. I can’t comprehend him; his actions, his motives, the man is a foreign alien who came here and conquered and eradiated what didn’t please him and there’s nothing I can do about it. Nothing.

Sunday 25th November, 1937

The night has done me some favours. Or perhaps it was forcing my thoughts onto a piece of paper. Either way, I am now more rested than yesterday. I wish time healed me as much as they say it does. I wish the hard things in life were easier, but again I ask for too much. If it weren’t for Daniel Plainview, that emotionless pile of scum, then I wouldn’t have to suffer today.

Daniel Plainview. Daniel Plainview’s arrival to me was a blessing at first sight. Here was a man and his innocent son- you, out for quail like everyone else. But he had a feeling about him- almost like an aura. He carried an attribution of authority and a mentality of nothing but intention.

That is what has brought us here. Intention. When the wrong intention is put in the wrong person’s head, then there lies no method behind his madness- only madness. Plainview’s intentions, however, seemed as just as his presence. His motivator seemed to be quail and the Sunday Ranch seemed to be the best place to look for it.

What was it that brought the most innocent of intentions, the merest of motivations to the downfall that I live and breathe every single day? From the corner of the room, I watched him make a mockery of the village I loved. I put his evil down to only one thing; greed.

Greed is what has gripped Daniel by the hand and never let go. His selfishness and desire for all the material wealth he could get his dirty hands on is what has led to the failure of this ranch. No success was ever enough to quench his thirst. With every dollar he gained, he lost one of his morals. Now he is the richest person on the land.

That’s enough from me. It is Eli’s funeral now and I must mourn the loss of another life since the appearance of Daniel Plainview.

Monday 26th November, 1937

This is not the first time Plainview and I have crossed paths. You’ll remember I said that there’s things I needed to tell you.

Many years ago, when the likes of you were learning to walk, I, like Plainview, mined to support my family. I’d spend hours toiling rigorously in the scorching conditions for a pebble who’s worth kept me living. I worked alongside Plainview for quite some time- we’d both bring our young children to the sites in the hope that they would watch and learn.

One day though, and I recall it vividly, on a Tuesday afternoon, I had a terrible accident. I was working with a team on a hole, including Plainview. To put it frankly, one of our team members, I don’t recall his name, made a simple miscalculation which resulted in me tumbling down the hole. I’ve never felt such pain until recently. This was a different kind of pain though, it was physical, not emotional. Anyway, I fell and my team could not locate me. I was assumed dead when they returned. Slowly but surely, after days of being trapped, my younger body found its energy and I crawled my way out and back to our head site.

Barely breathing, I took some water and looked around. There was no-one there. They had lost all hope in me and that is what still shatters my confidence today. I limped slowly around the barren room, an oasis in the scorching desert. In the corner of the room, crouched underneath the shadiest bench was a baby girl. I picked her up and she cried and cried. I didn’t know what to do so I cried with her.

I searched and searched for my own little boy but he was nowhere to be seen. Disheartened, he became my only goal for the rest of my life. For years, not a day went by when he didn’t cross my mind, but what gave me some hope was the girl who was still there for me.

She is all grown up now HW. And I consider myself a fool because I realise Plainview’s very same greed is what left her there.

She is his daughter. I named her Mary.

And the scariest part, HW, is that I named my son Hugh-Watford Sunday.

Now I have found him.

HW.

You are my son and I am proud of you.

To the man who really was always there,

I love you,

Abel Sunday

Written Explanation

In this sequence of diary entries, Abel Sunday reveals to HW that he is actually his father, and Daniel is Mary’s father. Amidst these revelations, Abel expresses a state of emotional confusion proceeding the death of his other son, Eli Sunday. This is evidenced on Saturday via the use of shorter sentences and an intentional lack of coherence in his thoughts. Abel is ‘ashamed’ and ‘humiliated’ and feels that ‘nothing will take the pain away’. The use of shorter sentences, such as ‘…nothing I can do about it. Nothing’, illustrates that his mental state is compromised by the grief induced by Daniel’s act of homicide. This is done in an attempt to convey Abel’s emotional state to the reader. On Sunday, Abel explores the personality of Daniel Plainview, and examines the relationship between his motives and actions. A thematic explanation of greed as a motivator occurs, and it is concluded that the greed in Daniel has ‘gripped [him] by the hand and never let go’. On Monday, the revelation and backstory behind Daniel and Abel’s previous relationship is given, and once again, a variation in sentence structure illustrates a state of mind compromised by emotion. The entry commences in ‘to HW, the man who was always there’, indicating Abel’s failed search for his son, and also ends in a similar line; ‘to HW, the man who really was always there’. Ultimately, the aim of this piece was to explore the theme of greed through a tell-all perspective from a minor character, Abel Sunday.

My Slam Poem

Hi all, after hearing Safwan’s great slam poem about life and death a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d share my slam poem from when I was in year nine. Hope you enjoy!

we are always asking questions in our life, about our life, how to fix our strife, what we perceive as rife

some questions we see as significant like, does God exist?

others we see as insignificant, like whose cruel idea was it to put an ‘s’ in lisp?

well we ask these questions and sometimes we get answers, other times we get the same responses as how do we cure cancer?

well let me tell you something- while you’re brooding upon these puzzles in contemplation,

half of our Earth’s population is wondering something else

they are wondering, ‘am I going to get dinner tonight?’, ‘or will I starve for a fourth day in a row?’

in this world we live in, everyone is equal

and that is not my opinionated opinion that is a factual fact and that is that

whether you’re a man, woman, white, black, Asian, African, Muslim or Christian, when we are born, we are born the same.

no one of us is superior over a kid living in poverty on the other side of the world, without an education, without food, without shelter.

we are as equal to them as 10 millimetres and 1 centimetre are equal to each other.

so when we get to eat meals every single day and go home to a roof over our head

and be at ease and without a second thought eat our sandwich filled with ham and cheese

do we ever? and I ask you this- do we ever take a moment to stop and say thank you?

do we ever think about people who aren’t as privileged as us and be grateful that we live a happy life?

or do we just convince ourselves that it’s out of our control?

if all people are equal, then why do they suffer like a snipe stuffed in a snuffbox?

they don’t deserve what they are going through

and to be honest, we don’t deserve what we are going through

we deserve worse

and they deserve better

what’s the first thing we like to do when we get into class?

we get on our iPads and check our FaceBook status or how many like we got on that photo on Instagram

no-one thinks about what they have

we like to think about what we don’t have though

those new pair of shoes, that level we’re trying to get through on our game, that piece of food we hate that has the audacity to sit there on our plate

and so when we don’t have something, we become envious. we judge people when they show off those new pair of shoes, or that level they’ve finally gotten through, or a meal with them eating that food we so diligently detest

we accumulate jealousy from all the people we want to be and trap that jealousy inside a jar and hope that those things can somehow come to us.

we never want to appreciate what we have in life

the moment you finish a PE class and run for the water tap and quench what you thing is an unmanageable thirst

some people don’t get a PE class, others don’t get water

it’s difficult to think about that when we spray that water on our friends just for fun

so please

the next time you decide to stare stupidly at your smartphone whilst trying to avoid a conversation- and I do it too

think about where it came from and

please do the person you’re talking to a favour

please do the world a favour

and please do yourself a favour

and say thank you.

 

Poems about the ordinary

After watching Jim Jarmusch’s amazing film Paterson, where the main character writes poems about the ordinary and mundane, I was inspired to have a go at writing my own. Enjoy!

Train
Monday morning
Another week
I’m at the edge of the platform
The tracks dull and still and suddenly
A rumble
A clatter
The rails creak as headlights flood the station
An iron behemoth charges into the station
Full of power
Full of anger
Brakes grind and the beast has stopped
The great behemoth tamed by us
Humans

Road
The road stretches miles and miles
The road erupts like a hose following the bumps and dips of the land
The land which is a garden that blooms and decays
The water splashes and winds until it collides with another stream and then
The hose stops and what has been sprayed is what we walk on.
Sometimes the road is straight
And you know that the gardener had a steady hand
I cross the stream, careful not to get my feet weT

Powerlines
Powerlines strung up between poles
Sagging under the weight of a bird
Or a pair of sneakers
Sometimes when I’m in a car, I watch the powerlines from the window
Sometimes they cross
Sometimes they never cross
Will they?
Won’t they?
But they’re just powerlines. Does it really matter?
I like to think they have something to say about relationships and love

 

Bernard Tso 10H