Let’s take the time to talk about the biggest country in the world. This country covers basically half of Asia (though not much of Europe) who’s northern extremities are basically uninhabited because of how cold it is. The reason this topic relates to books is that I read one recently for an AP Environmental Science project about Chernobyl (I know it’s in Ukraine but Russia was still involved) which I find really interesting. Russia is one B.A. country. From their impossible to pronounce names to practically drinking alcoholic fire, the Russians are pretty topnotch. Regarding their tough names in literature, Doctor Zhivago has characters with names that you have to skim over and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander I. Solzhnitsky kind of explains itself. One time I tried to teach myself how to speak Russian by reading a book, which proved to be difficult because all I remember how to say is спасибо (thank you) and красивый (beautiful) but maybe I will pick it back up over the summer. It’s a symbol-based language, like Chinese and Thai, which I find more difficult to associate to words than Spanish or English. Russia also has a pretty rad history: from what I remember, Peter the Great, the leader of Russia probably before the Middle Ages, went on a great tour of Europe to see refined society and the latest trends that he could bring back to improve his country. He ended up making all the men wear billowy pants and cut off their beards. They found the latter offensive because they believed Jesus had a beard and this made the connection to God for them closer. In more recent years, Russian relations with the United States have been rocky, with the Cold War to contain communism and nuclear missile crisis and whatnot. However, after the Berlin wall was knocked down a little over a decade ago, Russia and the US became somewhat friendly. Lately, tensions have been yet again rising due to Russian interference with the political turmoil in Ukraine, making people wonder how this will play out in the global scene. So there you have it, a rambling post about Russia all stemming from a book about an exploding power plant in Ukraine. But if you’ve put up with me for this long, I’m sure you’re used to it by now.
Over Christmas break, me and my mom have been alternating in reading the chapters of the autobiography called I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. This is the girl that was shot by the Taliban for wanting the right to an education. She is a very good role model and speaks truths about the hardships in her home country of Pakistan and how women are treated there. In the beginning chapters, she goes in depth on the history, culture, and traditions of her home country. We learn many things about Pashtuns and what they do and how they do things. She also talks about her family, focusing on her father because he is the one who helps her realize how important education is for all genders and how to take a stand on that important issue. Malala discusses the history of her country and the people in it and we see a different side of Middle Easterners than the side we see on the news where they are depicted as terrorists. As I said before, Malala is a very good role model and she is one of my own. Why should young girls be looking to Miley Cyrus who twerks and is half-naked all the time when they can look towards a young girl in Pakistan who just has a hunger for knowledge. It is these people that hardly get recognition, however Malala did because her case was extreme, surviving a gun shot to the face. I believe that we take education for granted here in America. Most teenagers I know dread going to school, while I am happy for the opportunity to. I know there are people out there like Malala that would love to take my place. We need to realize here that education is what brings people together and what can possibly bring world peace. Educating ourselves about other cultures and customs would prevent many conflicts or wars in my opinion. Malala is a bright light in a dark world of mistreated women who just want the opportunity to learn.