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A little piece of the ground
This is one important book in child development collections and it has been chosen considering a number of reasons for this undertaking. The author of this book is a famous young adult author who has made a significant contribution towards the Palestinian people through her literal works. The book has been highly appreciated by advocates of Palestinian situation while on the other hand the Israeli sympathizers have condemned the book and even called for its withdrawal. This is one of her best works and forms the basis of this book report.
Purpose of the research
The main purpose of this paper is to analyze the way in which the author has used the book as a tool for articulating issues such as political conflict, foreign policy and child development. Child growth and development varies from one region to another as depicted in the story. It is a fact that children in Palestine did not pass through the same circumstances as the children in the United States and other parts of the world. There are so many contributing factors as articulated by the book. In this regard, it has been fundamental to first of all summarize the plot of the book followed by an analysis of the main issues that have been brought forward through the book and the impact they can have on the society.
The struggle of a young child under the oppressive regime in Palestine has been the main focus of Elizabeth Laird. Unlike other authors who have paid more attention to successful people, Laird chooses to highlight the life of an ambitious young boy who has lots of dreams to achieve in life despite the circumstances he was born. In the book, she articulates how Karim Aboudi is an ambitious 12 year old boy with a vision to make a difference in the society. This young man has a list of things he wishes to achieve in life. He has a dream of becoming a great footballer in future and makes a history like that of Zidane. He also likes computer games which have also contributed towards his dreams in life. He would wish to become a great designer of computer games so as to produce the best designs that would be liked by most kids in the world.
Aboudi wishes to become a national hero who will liberate the Palestine from their oppressors. He also wants to become a reknown TV presenter or media personality. He wants to be involved in the invention of an acid formula that would be used in dissolving reinforced steel in aircrafts and tanks. Above all he wants to remain alive and independent such that other people cannot control his time and things. He wishes to achieve all these things in a free Palestinian country. Aboudi and his two friends Joni and Hopper are all against their oppressors in Palestine. They therefore endeavor to be nationalists who will liberate their country from the bondages of oppression and conflict. The three boys find a piece of ground and make it their own. They clear it making it fit as a football playing ground. They utilize a junk car and Old tanks to make their base for their operations. The three go to the extent of making a painting of a Palestinian flag on stones located on corners of their base. As they start enjoying the fruits of their new play grounds they have no idea of what is awaiting them. The Israeli Soldiers are always on the look and they always thwart their hope to happiness. (Laird, 2006).
Concepts, Metaphors and Philosophical development
The conflict between Israel and Palestine particularly over Gaza must have influenced Laird in using the young people to articulate her perspective on the situation. There are so many aspects that have been put forward in the book which point at the conflict and how it has impacted on the common man. Conflict is an issue that has been occurring in Palestine in the 21st century. So many local people have lost their lives as a result of this conflict. It is important to mention that the conflict has been brought about by the political interests of the two countries, Israel and Palestine. These two nations boarder one another and they have special interests on the Gaza strip. The people who are affected by the conflict are therefore those that are located in the Gaza region where there is animosity between Israeli soldiers and the local Palestinians.
To the Palestinian people and their sympathizers, this is a very important tool that enlightens them especially those who are in their early adulthood. The book can be said to be motivational to some extent. This is by considering the fact that the main character Karim Aboudi has a big ambition at such a tender age. In most countries, young people of his age are known to be fond of video games and other technological objects of play. However the fact that the young boy likes video games and has an ambition of creating his own designs brings out a special feature about the boy. The boy is determined to go against the odds and become a very successful person in the society. This can only be achieved if he is given the opportunity by those who are standing in his way. The message that comes out clearly to the Palestinian people is that there is hope even when they are in conflict. The larger proportion of the story takes place in the city of Ramallah. It is in this city where the worst aspects of the Israeli expansionist are witnessed. Young people like Karim find themselves in the city of Ramallah where they encounter the Tel Aviv military forces. There is no place in the world where young kids can be presumed to have become a threat like in the case of the Palestine.
In the United States authorities can just scare rowdy kids away if they feel that they are causing trouble. They can never go to the extreme of shooting and killing these young ambitious lives. The Palestine case therefore raises concerns about the humanitarian situation that has been occasioned by the conflict. In most conflict situations in different parts of the world, women and children are the most vulnerable and the worst hit. Through the book, the Palestine situation presents the perfect example of the impact of conflict on children. Karim and his friends have been subjected to the suffering and shuttering of their dreams because of the conflict.(NPR,2003).
The deadly actions of military forces on innocent young lives can easily be felt within the mindset of adult readers. This is just like the young man Karim comes into terms with the brutality within his country as perpetrated by the Israeli forces. From this perspective readers can come to the conclusion that indeed the lives and dreams of young people in war torn areas are actually at stake. The leaders do not seem to be bothered by the fact that they are killing the dreams of young people who are supposed to be the future generation. The interests of political leaders have become so important that they do not care the impact of their ambitions on the local people and particularly children. In this case, the book has kind of put the blame on the Israeli and Palestine authorities for maintaining their stands in the conflict and causing more harm to women and children in the region.
It is important to note that the author has created the impression that it is actually the Israeli side that is to be blamed for the suffering of the Palestine children. This can be arrive at while considering the fact that the ambitions of young people like Karim and his friends are shuttered by the Israeli forces when they feel that the kids have become a threat. (Genevieve,2004).
The potential impact of such a conflict environment on the development of the child has been over emphasized in the book. To some extent the author has raised a concern over the future of children like Karim.
Theoretically, the children might grow up to become enemies of their Israeli neighbors. This is because, the Israeli forces are feeding the children with hatred when they destroy their play grounds and deny them a chance to exercise their talents and freedom of movement. Kasim for instance witnesses an incidence where the Israeli soldiers are seen harassing a Palestinian family. The soldiers pull over the car in which the family was being driven and ordered the father to get out and line up for a strip search. This is an incidence that shows the injustice that is being perpetrated against the Palestines and it affects the psychology of the children when they see their parents subjected to such measures. Children witnessing such as incidence can later own develop fear over future leadership.
The book has presented a number of concepts that can stimulate change in America and other world powers. Concepts about ethics in policy have been articulated by the author in this fiction work. The Israeli soldiers are using the tax money paid by their mother country to cause humiliation and destruction of the lives of the Palestinians. This has been evidenced in the way the young people are mistreated in the course of pursuing their dreams. The approach taken by Israel in the Palestine can be related to the policy of the United States in the Middle East. Efforts have been made by individuals, activists and organizations to make the Federal government to change its policy in the Middle East. However this has not achieved much based on the number of obstacles that have always come in the way. Ethical issues have been raised by researchers on the motive behind the Israeli mission in the Palestinian boarder. Some people have complained that their tax responsibility schemes do not go towards helping them improve their livelihood, yet the same is used in destroying the lives of other people in the Palestine region. (Genevieve,2004).
Considering the metaphors advanced by the novel , it is important that readers should look at the book further than just the plight of the Palestinian people and their children. The book is a good metaphor for all the children and landless people in the world who are victims of the greed on other people who wield power and they have control over land resources. Such people have led to the suffering of children in developing countries because of their land grabbing practices and other corrupt practices they do enrich themselves. As Karim and the other boys build their soccer field that is later on destroyed, they begin to realize the issues of class that have dominated their society. Parents of some lucky children stay in good estates while the children like Karim are staying in the refugee camp.
The plight of children in different refugee camps especially in the conflict areas has been reflected in the book. The book is also a metaphor to children in other parts of the world who are always obsessed with the playing of football. In the modern world football is a skill that is learnt at childhood in most cases. The children deserve to be given space to exercise their talents at this young age. Most young boys have role models such as Ronaldo, Rooney and other football stars that have existed in the modern world. They also have dreams of rising in love and achieving their dreams through football. However these children are denied an opportunity to pursue their soccer skills when the greedy land grabbers and other people in authority take away their space. (Anne&Miller,2003)
The title a little piece of ground is a metaphor representing the hope of the young boys for owning a small land where they can play soccer. The young men are obsessed with playing soccer just like any other kid can be obsessed with video games and other games that are common to kids. The strong ambition of a boy like Kasim is symbolic of nationalism amongst the Palestinians. When the audience is treated to images of the boys printing the flag of their country at their perceived base, it is an indication that they are patriotic to their nation and would not be cowed by the Israeli forces. People like Kasim would grow up to become future nationalistic leader. Philosophically, the experiences the young boys are passing through would be reflected in their future lives. In future they would have nice testimonies to tell their followers as leaders in the countries. (Genevieve,2004).
Political awareness is an aspect that has been reflected in the novel. It is a fact that the young boys are well aware of the injustice that is being perpetrated to them by the soldiers. This is unlike the children in the US and other developed world who are always preoccupied with video games that do not seem to enlighten them on important issues such as social justice and nationalism. Philosophical theories of power and powerless have been articulated by the author in the book.
In light of these theories, it is vital to mention that the Israel seem to be having a lot of power over the Palestinian nationals. That is the main reason why they cannot allow them to live freely in their area of interest. They feel very much offended when they see the young Palestinian. The Palestine nationals and their young children are a representation of the powerless people in the world who have to bow down to those who are their oppressors. The children cannot fight their oppressors because they lack skills and other weapons that can be used for resistance. The author has been in touch with the situation in the country. Specifically she has been at Ramallah and was deeply touched by the increasing state of poverty and the harassment from the soldiers. The author must have witnessed the survival of the children under such conditions of curfews and injustice in the society. (Anne&Miller,2003)
Contribution to knowledge base
The book has an important contribution to philosophical and psychological development knowledge. The impact of conflict on children has been greatly highlighted in the book. This helps to add more knowledge on the nature of conflict that affected the Palestine's as a result of the actions of the Israeli policies. Knowledge on foreign policy and international relations has been acquired in the book. Laird has tactfully brought to our attention the reality of the Israeli foreign policy. Even though her critics have been offended by her boldness in addressing the harassments and oppressions that were subjected to the Palestine, the important thing is that she has so far enlightened the world on the unfortunate events that characterize international relations. They also believe that some children do not have a political voice. But this book has indeed shown that young children can make an important contribution towards change in policies. They have expressed their lack of satisfaction in the decisions of the Jews which have denied them a chance to practice what they like. Further to this, they have been exposed to curfews and harassment that they do not even understand why they are being applied against them. In terms of anthropologic theories, it is important to mention that the book has brought forward more knowledge on how to gather information from the local people during research projects. Laird must have moved into Ramallah and made her observations on the way the people were interacting. He was very keen and was able to come up with finer details of the behavior of the young boys , their parents and the Israeli soldiers.(NPR,2003)
Influence of the book on Philosophical perspectives
Laird tells the truth about the situation in Palestine in this book. Her mode of inquiry is unique and participatory in the sense that she had already visited the locality and had even witnessed some of the scenes that she has portrayed in the book. It is on the basis of her perspective on the situation that she manages to come up with criticism about the Palestine situation. Her mode of inquiry is also interesting considering the fact that she has portrayed a political conflict in a totally unpolitical style. With a mere glimpse at the title it is hard to tell that this is a form of criticism against the politics that surround Israel and Palestine. Some analysts and readers can perceive this to be a dishonest attempt to solve the problem. In normal circumstances children do not have the same critical faculty as the adults. This concept was utilized by the author to articulate the multiple sides of the sensitive subject of conflict between the two countries. This book has therefore influenced other researcher especially in the field of conflict resolution to explore such styles in making the oppressors to understand the deeper repercussions of their actions. (Genevieve, 2004).
A little piece of the ground was a bold work that was undertaken by Laird in her effort to uncover the injustices that were being perpetrated against the local people in Palestine by the Israeli soldiers. The author has used the voice of children to air out her discontent on the inhuman behavior of the soldiers on the innocent young ambitious minds. The book is an important source of information of matters of conflict and foreign policy and can be used as a justification for future changes in the interests of Israel in the Palestine region.
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