Friday, November 30, 2012

"The good die first"

William Wordsworth, The Excursion

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trusting the WTO-Have We Gone Bananas?

International Baccalureate: May 2006
Subject: English A2           Level: HL
Candidate Name: Samar Al-Ansari
Cultural Option: Global Issues-International Finance and Trade/Role of International Financial Institutions
Title: Trusting the WTO-Have We Gone Bananas?
Area of communication and type of text: Mass-Opinion Column
Subject: Criticism of the World Trade Organization, specifically how they are handling the Banana War.
Purpose: To show the weakness of the WTO as an organization and to appeal to the British public to purchase Honduran bananas.
Audience: Brritish adults of a relatively high class who are well informed and who both understand and are interested in Economics. Terms like " banana war" are not footnoted in the actual column and are expected to be familiar to the reader.
Context: This opinion would be in a local English newspaper due to its simple language, but in the Economics Section of the newspaper.

Having learned about the Banana War, I decided to write an opinion column on it. The Banana War is a ten year long dispute between the EU and the US as well as Latin America over trade barriers put by the EU on the banana market. The EU has placed trade barriers on Latin American bananas,making the EU's former colonies bananas cheaper in comparison to Latin Ameican ones. Thus Latin American exports suffered significantly which consequently lead to drastic effects on Latin American economies.
My objective was to write a piece that would persuade the British reader to take action and purchase Honduran bananas. This was done through a variety of techniques.
Firstly, I tried to make this column very personal by including personal experience and direct quotations in an effort to make the issue real to the reader.Personal pronouns such as "I" and quotations sich as "Bananas are all we Hondurans have" or "Why would your country do such a thing to my father's bananas" were used to make the reader feel that he was being talked to and not talked at.
In addition, humor is used throughout the piece in an effort to create a light,conical tone that would not overwhelm the reader.I tried to entertain the reader by using such comments as "Did I die and go to some sort of monkey heaven?" I referred to Western economies as "banana Mcmuffin economies"also is acomical tone in an effort to entertain and keep the reader interested. Furthermore,relatively short sentences and short paragraphs were used in order to keep  the reader interested.
The use of the word 'banana' usually in rather humorous ways such as "said the poor man, such as he handed me a banana candy" was to show how dependant the Honduran economy is on bananas and the extent of damage the economy was facing because of the Banana War. I did not want to bore the reader with statistics and figures. Furthermore, 'banana'was used in other humorous ways in an effort to entertain and grab the reader's attention. Ending the column with the wity metaphor of the WTO as a banana peel, will enable the reader to understand the weakness of the WTO.
Showing the failures of the WTO was another technique to persuade the Honduras to take action. The WTO's failures were mainly shown through the rhetorical questions which are very persuasive in nature. Examples of that are "but has the WTO done anything to stop us?" and "Now come on,when has the WTO ever remained true to the ideas ofit preaches?" In addition,bias is used as a persuasive technique through sentences such as "I lost faith in the WTO long ago".
 The effectiveness of the WTO as an organization and the double standards it seems to implement are a serious issue as our international economies become more integretated. Less developed countries pay the price and are being driven into high debt levels because of the policies,  or the lack  of policies, the WTO implements.This specific event, the Banana War, just goes to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the WTO as this conflict enters its tenth year. Countries such as Honduras need assistance, assistance that is unfortunately not  being provided by the WTO.

Trusting the WTO-Have We Gone Bananas?

"NO MORE BANANAS" was the only thought on my mind as I was dining in one of Hondura's busy restaurants last month. I was served nothing but babnanas for the entirety of my meal. Upon my entrance, I was served a banana daiquiri, followed by some banana bread, fish wrapped in banana leaves,banana icecream,and finally some banana tea. I couldn't help but think to myself: Did I die and go to some sort of monkey heaven?
On that note,I went to satisfy my curiosity by asking the owner of the restaurant,who was none other than the son of one of the founders of the famous Honduran banana company Las Isletas, why the chef insisted on putting bananas in everything. "Well, ever since the banana war[1] began, I have tried my best to keep my father's bananas from going to wate. If they aren't being sold on the international market,we Hondurans have to deal with our bananas. Face it, bananas are all we have," said the poor man,as he handed me a banana candy.

My face turned as red as my banana flavored tea when the young man asked me,"Now why would your country do such a thing to my father's bananas? The World Trade Organization (WTO) assured my father that free trade would be good for us, so why can't your government just leave my father's bananas alone?" I remained speechless,only thinking about the poor,naive man in front of me. Now come on, when has the WTO ever remained true to the ideas it preaches?
Everyone, including myself at some point in time. Has idealized the WTO as a larger than life organization that can transform small banana economics such as the Hoduran economy into a Western banana Mcmuffin economy such as that of the US and the UK. The WTO can't do miracles; no one should expect it to transform an economy over night. But it is its goal to assist the less developed countries and their banana. However, it is incapable of doing that either.
The WTO 's job is simple really. All it has to do is make sure that trade runs as freely as possible between countries. Is that hard? It seems to think so as it remains powerless in front of giant economies such as ours. The EU has clearly violated free trade agreements, but has the WTO done anything to stop us?
Even though it is quite obvious that the WTO will never even think about taking a firm stand with the EU and forcing them to lift their banana barriers. Honduras, among other small nations, continues to run to them. The only way I see the WTO actually forcing the EU to do something is if one day a giant banana  falls onto the head of one of its board members leaving him with severe brain damage. The only way the WTO will force the EU to lift its barriers is if they literally go "bananas".
What really puzzles me is the fact that people continue to appeal to the WTO in their time of need, as though they actually have the power to do something. As you know, the banana war has entered its tenth year. For ten years, the WTO has been politely asking the EU to lift the trade barriers it places on Latin American banana imports. Ten years!! Well, at least no one can accuse the Latin American of being disloyal.
If the WTO isn't going to do anything, and everyone knows that the EU is going to remain stubborn, what will happen to those poor rejected bananas? Who has the power to save them? A major part of acheiving development in less developed countries is through foreign assistance. So, would it be such a sin if we got off our leather couches and drove our Jaguars to the store to pay the few extra pounds the Honduran bananas deserve? Even though I got sick of all the bananas I had during my trip to Honduras, I must say they were quite tasty.
The WTO has been unfair to Honduras, its people, and most importantly, its bananas. Their bananas deserve more than this. I lost faith in the WTO long ago, but I still have faith in our purchasing power. The WTO has been nothing but banana peel that the Honduran economy has been slipping on for ten years,but maybe one day, we can all help throw the peel into the bin ehere it belongs.
Samar Al -Ansari
IB no 0554007

[1] A 10 yearlong dispute between the EU and the US as well as Latin America over trade barriers put the EU on the banana market. The EU has placed trade barriers on Latin American bananas, making the EU’s former colonies’ bananas cheaper in comparison to Latin American ones. Thus leading to a decline in the level of Honduran exports and consequently effects on its economy. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Tears rushed down my face
As we entered my cousin’s place.

Six years since I was last here,
My memories are vivid and crystal clear.

Everyone was so happy to meet,
While I gazed at your empty seat.

I could see you everywhere
Moving around here and there.

Happily sitting at the swing,
Heard you with your IPod music sing.

Also remembered my loving Dad,
Couldn’t help but feel very sad

Imagined him with his peaceful smile,
Talking to me in his calm style.

I couldn’t hold myself and started to cry
Everybody looked at me, they knew why.

Your sister then took me in her arms,
and gave me a hug that calms.

Your brother's eyes followed me too,
Worried and not knowing what to do.

They were helpless and in pain
My tears triggered their sorrow again.

 Randah R. Hamadeh, Copyright © 2012

Author, Summer Rays: Solace for Bereaved Parents
Written in loving memory of my daughter,
Samar Ahmed Al Ansari (4/4/1988-4/9/2006)

Thursday, November 08, 2012


"Time does not heal,
It makes a half -stitched scar
That can be broken and you feel
Grief as total as in its first hour."

Elizabeth Jennings

Sunday, November 04, 2012

سماء الخالق

أيتها الطائرة إلى أعلى بنا حلقي
لعلني وابنتي الحبيبة في الشفق نلتقي
أسرق قبلة وأنا أحلق في سماء الخالق
.أيتها الدموع، روح ابنتي الحبيبة عانقي

لا تبكيني أمي بل على حالك أشفق"
،لست وحدك بالطائرة صدقي
ألا تشعرين بقلبك أمي يخفق؟
"!دوما معك أينما ذهبت،لا أفارق

رنده ربحي حماده
جميع الحقوق محفوظة للمؤلفة© ٢٠١٢
سمر غروب و شروق٢٠٠٧  
سمر شمس لن تغيب ٢٠٠٨
سمر معنا ٢٠١١

Thursday, November 01, 2012