This World We Live In: Gay Marriage-A Human Right or a Moral Evil?

For every generation, there is a defining moment. In the twenties, it was women’s suffrage; in the sixties, people of color fought for their basic human rights and the seventies was a decade of reinventing spiritual, intellectual, and sexual ideologies. As long as there will be people, there will be movements to challenge societal beliefs that have held fast.

So with that in mind, what will be the turning point for our generation? What will be the gay rights flagmovement that graces the history textbooks of our grandchildren thirty or forty years from now? It seems that this undertaking will be the LGBT Rights Movement and the recognition of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered/transsexual people as active citizens and full owners of the human rights they have previously not been allowed.

On the fifth of this month, February, England legislators passed a bill recognizing the union of two same-sex partners by a measure of 400 to 175, and a majority of 225 votes for the bill. David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, said the bill was an “important step forward” to strengthen society. This legalization of gay marriage follows in the domino effect of other states and countries that are fully recognizing the gay community’s right to marry. New York and California are among the seven states in the United States that allow gays to marry, Washington becoming the seventh state to pass this legislation on the 13th of February. It seems that the stigmatization of gay couples is slowly diminishing with each bill passed. However, this does not hold true in all cases, especially in the mindsets of some Rosslyn students and in the country of Kenya nationwide.

When asked the question of whether or not gay marriage should be universally recognized, Adora Lushugurhi, a 10th grader, remarked, “It isn’t right, biblically and morally speaking. God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and…” here she stopped to laugh a little “Adam and Eventon!” Though the joke adds some humor to the issue this is a belief held by many religious people. It becomes less of a governmental issue and more an issue of arguing against the Bible. “It’s against God’s will. It’s a lifestyle choice and it’s wrong,” said another high schooler who chose to go unnamed.

However, there are still some people within our Rosslyn community who see no real moral issue in legalizing gay marriage. Sanjana Sharma, a ninth grader, said that she really saw no point in paraphrasing the Bible when in reality, homosexuality is not a choice. “It’s a biological implication, not something that just happens or someone just decides.” Yet another student, who chose to be unnamed, said that “I don’t really see gay marriage as a huge issue. There are bigger things to worry about that what people do behind closed doors.”

When it comes to gay marriage, it always boils down to the argument of whether or not human sexuality is a choice or if it’s a biological “gene” that one is born with. But do these questions really give the government the right to take away the rights of some people because of who they choose to be committed to? Is it ethically okay to write Constitutions that treat certain individuals as second class citizens? Is it this really even such a big deal or is it a non-issue that can be taken care of at another time? These questions have sparked countless theological, scientific, ethical, and personal discussion and it seems that there is no clear answer in the near-future. However, as the acceptance of the LGBT community grows worldwide and as more governments are stating their positions on the issue of gay marriage, it is an issue that will be marked down in our grandchildren’s history books for years to come.

– Milkah K

Gotham Needs Me: A Review of the Batman Games for PS3

I recently borrowed “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City” for the PS3 from a certain Carter Harrell. Together the games present a story line that every superhero fan can connect to, as gamers are called to put on a cape, dress in black, use an array of gadgets and defend the people of Gotham and Arkaham City and play the part of Batman. The game presents a very comic feel. Unlike the movies where villains have been shaped to appear more realistic (Bane in the last installment of the movie franchise), the game presents Batman and his enemies on how they were originally created for DC comics. The game also presents its own unique story with Batman fighting the likes of Joker, Bane and Scarecrow in both Arkham Island, a city off shore of Gotham and the city itself. With large cityscapes and a large interactive environment the games present a fun place to explore or just to waste time gliding from one building to another. However, the game is from a third-person point of view, so you control Batman’s running, crouching, gliding and fighting, rather than actually playing as the character through a 1st person view. But the game does make up for this with Batman’s clever stealth and detective skills and his sophisticated gadgets like smoke pellets, freeze grenades batarangs, explosive gel and a bat claw grapple hook which keeps the game very entertaining.

BatmanAs I began to play the games, I really enjoyed playing through both story modes, but I did find that the game overall became very repetitive. With the usual fighting of minions before you take on the main villain gets boring and the plot becomes very predictable. I also found that the game packed in as many bad guys as it could, and you find yourself constantly fighting through the story mode. I found that the developers could have incorporated different types of missions to spice up the game play, rather than just mindless violence. I also found that game was not very fluid, as Batman’s movements were very stiff and just walking around felt like a chore.

On the up side, engaging with enemy characters was very fun, and with Batman’s huge list of combo moves and the use of multipliers, you look pretty good beating up bad guys. I also really liked the upgrade feature that came with the game as earning XP can be used to upgrade gadgets, add to Batman’s combat arsenal or even strengthen his suit. I also like the stealth factor of the game as sneaking around enemies gave me little adrenaline rushes and the nice detective mode in batman’s crow does help you out when you get stuck playing the game.

The game’s graphics are nice and sharp- buildings and the overall landscape of the game are pretty flawless, the character imaging was also quite nice and it had a nice comic book feel with characters having huge upper bodies and shorter lower bodies. They look like 3-D versions of their comic art selves.

Overall, the game is very enjoyable to play, and taking on the role of Batman overshadowed many of the flaws that were found in the game. The only main complaint I would have is the obvious repetition of the game, but once you get over that factor the game becomes very addicting and with the game’s huge story line, I spent hours having fun playing through it. I recommend it to all superhero fans and game junkies.

– Afraaz L.

Do You Have a Phobia?

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”

H.P. Lovecraft wrote this in one of his horror books, Supernatural Horror in Literature. Fear is a very strong emotion. One way that a phobia is defined as being is a relentless, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing that compels someone to avoid it. There are many phobias that people have in this world, because it is just so easy to have a fear of things. The lists of phobias just go on and on. In fact, there is even a phobia for fear of having a phobia, Phobophobia.

Since there are numerous amounts of phobias in the world, there is an abundant quantity of ridiculous reasons to be afraid. A couple of those irrational fears are fears of blushing, clowns, running water, wooden objects, and bald people. One of the most common phobias is Coulrophobia, a phobia of clowns. There are several different phobias for many kinds of animals. An eleventh grader, Luca A., has an irrational fear of slugs. It wasn’t until he attended primary school that Luca thought everyone acted in such extreme ways when seeing a slug.

Luca’s brother has known about his phobia almost his life. One of the times that Lucaphobia made his brother mad, Luca got the consequence through his phobia. His brother decided to download a picture of a slug on his phone, and put it right in front of Luca’s face. This happened at around 3 a.m., and caused Luca to scream and go into a corner. The phobia was so bad that he felt like there were slugs all over him, and Luca couldn’t go back to sleep that day. In fact, when asked about slugs, he said, “It is kind of scary even just saying the word.”

Whatever fears you have, from a fear of long words (hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia) to stage fright (topophobia), know that fear is a common element in everybody who lives on this earth.

– Tia H

A Piece of Cake

Birthdays are special occasions that always require something sweet. This chocolate Chocolate cakecake always hits the spot when you want a delectable, moist, and mouthwatering sweet. My great grandmother always made this at birthdays and only birthdays. It is one of those cakes that tempt you into eating all of it.  Not only is this the tastiest chocolate cake I know of, it also is part of my family history and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Little Mom’s Fudge Brownie Sheet Cake

½ Cup of Butter

½ Cup of Sunflower Oil

1 Cup of Water

2 Cups of Caster Sugar or Granulated White Sugar

2 Cups of White- Home Baking Flour

½ Cup of Cocoa Powder

¼ Teaspoon of Salt

1 ½ Teaspoon of Baking Soda

2 Eggs

1/3 Cup of Buttermilk or Lala

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Directions:

Combine butter, oil, and water. In a saucepan bring to a boil and then add     sugar. In a separate bowl combine flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Add to butter mixture and beat until smooth. Add 2 eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat well. Then pour into a greased pan (18 x 11 x ½ “). Bake 350°F or 175°C for 20 minutes

Icing:

½ cup of Butter

1/3 Cup of Buttermilk

¼ Cup of Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

3 ¾ Cups of Powdered Sugar or Icing Sugar

Melt butter and add all the ingredients. Mix well then pour over the cake while the cake is hot!

– Kara N

The Perfect Date

Every teenage girl has her opinion on what the “perfect” date is, whether it’s a trip to a fancy restaurant that serves only the finest food, or a day spent playing mini golf, or for some a day watching a simple movie at home is the way to go. In romantic movies we’re shown that ideal dates are extravagant, unrealistic evenings that sweep girls off their feet, but when we come to think of it, there’s not a great deal of teenage guys can afford to take their girlfriend out on a high end date. So this leaves guys with the question of, what exactly is the ultimate date?

Since Valentine’s Day passed I decided to find out from different girls in Rosslyn what Perfect Datethey thought the perfect date would be for them (take note guys). A few of the girls that I asked had similar answers in the sense that they would love to be taken out for a candle lit dinner at an elaborate restaurant, and one girl whose identity remains withheld stated that she thinks the “best date ever” would be if a guy took her out for a movie then afterwards to an excellent Japanese restaurant for some sushi. She says that “I really love sushi, so if a guy took me to a Japanese restaurant it would show that he cares about me because not many guys like sushi.” I talked to a variety of girls in high school, and only a handful of them agreed that a high-quality night out would win them over. The rest of my interviewees said that their ideal dates would be more about the outdoors, or just doing some of their hobbies with their dates. Saher Amin said that she would much rather go for a movie or a picnic than be at a restaurant with a guy sitting “awkwardly” opposite each other. She believes that dates should be about having fun, and they aren’t necessarily about being at a high end place. Other date ideas that I received from people were hiking, going to an amusement park, visiting the animal orphanage/giraffe center, going rock climbing at Diamond Plaza, and going bowling.

Overall, from the people I interviewed, it’s clear that majority would prefer a more simplistic date as opposed to a top quality date. However, at the end of the day it depends on the girl and what she views as the “perfect” date.

– Sheree M

The Emergence of Match-Fixing in Football

In the world of sport, millions of people every year flock to stadiums and their television sets to watch good, clean entertainment and celebrate the triumphs of athletes or the teams they support. However, recently many sports have been corrupted by athletes or officials with allegations of match-fixing.

Internet betting companies and criminal gangs are allegedly the main culprits, but the

(sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
(sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

economic downturn has recently impacted sports all over the globe. Recently, the “beautiful game,” football, has come under much speculation. With the sport’s governing body, FIFA, being investigated over allegedly rigging match outcomes. In 2012, 50 nations underwent investigations over their national football teams being involved in a network of fixed match results. International teams aren’t the only ones under speculation. Large clubs such as Juventus of the Italian Football League have already been found guilty of match fixing and were deducted points and stripped of their titles. The trend seems to be following football’s most watched league, as the Barclays Premier League has to undergo investigations in over 150 cases with 100,000 euros being paid out per game. With large clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City all under speculation, it seems as if the large clubs have to fix their results in order to keep their global fan base and keep their millions of dollars flowing in from TV companies who broadcast the matches

The strong presence of large betting organizations is evident throughout the sport world, with companies making billions of dollars a year through betting rings they know they are going to win. The economic pressure on countries keeps the window of match rigging wide open as it brings in billions of dollars of revenue which some countries desperately need. European police network Europol has found that since economic downturns in 2008, there have been 680 suspicious games.

It seems as if fair and clean football has been lost for a long time, with even FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter accused by many critics as of a man with “itchy palms” after his recent plans of giving the countries of Qatar and Russia the rights to hold the whole cup. However, with Singapore Police recently joining forces to prevent future cases in Europe and Europol continuing their own investigations, football could have some hope, but the fear of the greedy men corrupting the game is heartbreak for both myself and football fans all over the world.

– Afraaz L

Letter to My Ten-year Old Self

(For every student that worries too much)

            Dear You Little Munchkin,

You are headed for great things, kid. Not the fantastical, unrealistic greatness of fame andletter fortune and an unlimited supply of Lindt truffles- I mean the kind of great things where you discover who you are, who you’ll never be, and who the world wants you to be. They’re the kind of great things that everyone will try to stop you from getting, but you have to promise me that you’ll do anything to keep reaching. And hey, you’re going to hear “Be Yourself” and “Never Give Up” so many times that you’ll wonder if everyone is reading off of some pre-planned Joel Osteen script. But you have to believe in the clichés, love yourself so much that it’s almost shameful, and never lose faith in humanity. That’s all I’ve got for you now, but just remember that you’ll be fine. You’ll be just fine.

– Milkah K

Eye On The Road: The Solution to Kenya’s Ethnic Problem

I remember watching the news in 2007 and hearing a woman, mid-thirties probably, a mother and a wife, tell the story of how post-election violence forced them to leave her home with nothing but what her and her family managed to carry in their hands and on their heads. There was pain in her voice, as she poured out to the camera. Her and her family’s future was now bleak and uncertain.

She was not, by any literal sense, wealthy. It is not the rich, the well-off, that suffer when violence breaks out. Comfortable residents of Nairobi suburbs very rarely have plausible fear for their security. Unless the country does in fact break into full-scale genocide, you are safe behind the gate of your two story Runda maisonette. The people who truly do suffer are not the top ten percent of Kenyans, but the fifty percent of Kenyan citizens that live below the poverty line. Those that have nothing are the ones that lose everything.

It is campaign season in Kenya, and leaders are driving their big cars and landing theiridp woman helicopters in parts of Kenya that they would not ordinarily take a step into, were they not lobbying for votes. One cannot help but wonder how much the campaigns actually affect the decisions of voters. Kenya still remains, by professional analysis, largely tribalist. Kenyan votes are divided into ethnic blocs rather than ideological planes, the consequences of which we witnessed in 2007. As much as every single citizen should claim responsibility for the events that transpired, our leaders are most to blame. A people free to choose will always choose peace. Willing to pit neighbor against neighbor in the interest of their very own advancement, our leaders have failed us as a people. The fifty percent are led to believe that a certain group of people are to blame for their grievances, diverting their frustration from the government to one another, at the benefit of hatemongers whose self-seeking desires dictate their every action.  The damage has been done. Kenya has bled, and continues to bleed. Our economy has taken fatal blows. 300,000 remain homeless. What is the way forward?

Kenya’s only solution is to take back the power to decide. To decide who is fit to lead and who is not, what is best for Kenya and what isn’t. Not to make their electoral decisions based on ethnicity, but rather on ideals and policy. A policy-based election rather than an ethnic one will be one of the key steps to putting Kenya where it should be: A diverse and economically sound power on the Global scene.

Kenya, I believe, is moving in that direction. For the first time in Kenyan history, Presidential, policy based debates were held and aired across the country, a sign of Kenya’s momentum towards true democracy. Citizens are scrutinizing our candidates and asking the tough questions. Despite the still elections approaching being largely ethnicity-based, these are the last kicks of the proverbial horse, as tribalism is rapidly making its way out of the hearts of minds of Kenya. It may not be tomorrow, and it may not be in five years, but Kenya’s bondage to ethnicity is being broken, and we are privileged to witness the beginning of a glorious era in Kenya’s history.

– Luca A.

Why Such a Short Season?

When one asks about season two sports at Rosslyn Academy this year, many will feel the same thing. Where did it go? It seems like only yesterday people were trying out for basketball, football, or hockey and now the season is practically over for most of the teams.  Once the school got back from Christmas break, high school went on CFS, and as a result, this year most teams either haven’t played much, or their games have been cramped into weekends.

Short SeasonOne may wonder, why have season two sports been cut short? Well, it’s due to the upcoming elections. Most schools will be closed at the beginning of March, and as a result two weeks have been cut off each sport, and this definitely has had its effects on both team members and coaches. Sharon Bressler, head of sports at Rosslyn and coach of boys hockey, states that because there aren’t any semis only one team per pool can move up, as a result if one game is lost it’s difficult to guarantee a spot in the finals. She goes on to say that because of the shorter season, it’s “hard to find games to fill the schedule at the end.” From experience, the girls’ hockey team had a tournament at RVA on Saturday, February 2 then had two league games at Hillcrest on Saturday, February 9. Other teams have also experienced having unexpected games over the weekend or in the case of JV football, they’ve only had four games and one tournament this season. Their coach, Pastor McGee, says that he’s disappointed for the team because, “It is tough for them to maintain the intensity and engage in practices when they have so few games.” He then goes on to say “They have handled it well but I’m sorry they didn’t get more playing time.”

Overall, both students and coaches are disappointed in the shortened season; however, with the upcoming elections, the school needs to keep the students’ safety first; therefore if it means shorter sports seasons, then so be it. Pastor Kevin prays that “the election season is peaceful, not for the sake of future sports seasons but for the sake of Kenya’s future.” All we can do now is hope for the best when it comes to our sports teams moving into finals, and pray for the country of Kenya during the preparations for the elections.

– Sheree M

Travel Review: Zanzibar

Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Stonetown, Zanzibar was unlike any airport I’d ever landed in. It was smack dab in the middle of lush, green tropical vegetation. Getting out of the Precision Airways plane, one would feel that they had landed in paradise. Palm and coconut trees, swaying in the slight breeze, surrounded the airport. The cool, salty air from the Indian Ocean makes one forget about the cold weather that assaults one in Nairobi.

Zanzibar is located off the coast of Tanzania, on the Indian Ocean, and is actually madeNairobi-Zanzibar 291redone up of many small islands and two large ones called Unguja (usually referred to as Zanzibar) and Pemba.  It fell to the Sultanate of Oman in 1698, and up until recently was governed by sultans of Omani descent. It is a conservative Muslim community. Despite the locals being very tolerant because of exposure of tourism, it is respectful to dress appropriately, meaning no shorts and tanks tops. Zanzibaris speak Swahili that is very much different from Kenyan Swahili: it is never mixed with English.

There is a wide range of accommodation available in Zanzibar depending on your budget and how long you plan on staying. When looking for accommodation in Zanzibar, it is best to locate oneself around Stonetown, because of the proximity to some pretty cool sights.

A five to eight minute walk could take one to the Spice Market, with a plethora of locally grown spices and blends, like cloves, vanilla coffee. The smells of spices wafting through the air, the volume of desperate salesmen (most of the spice sellers at the market are men), and the fast pace of it all create a very typical African market atmosphere, but with an Arabic twist. Everything in Zanzibar has Arabic influence, because of Arabian presence on the island for many years. One thing that I noticed as I walked through the alleyways of Stonetown was that each door was either arched, or possessed a rectangular shape. I was later informed that the arched doors were “Arabic doors” while the rectangular shaped doors were of Indian and African descent. Every door was exquisitely carved and decorated.

Nairobi-Zanzibar 260A 20 minute walk through the bustling, narrow alleys of Stonetown and one can visit the House of Wonders, which was the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity. It was originally a palace built by the second Sultan of Zanzibar in 1688. It currently houses the Museum of History and Culture of Zanzibar and the Swahili Coast.

Right in front of the majestic looking House of Wonders is the Old Fort of Zanzibar. It was built in the late 17th century to defend the island. The Old Fort’s courtyard has been adapted into a cultural center where visitors can buy art pieces, and get henna. The Old Fort also hosts an open-air amphitheatre that is used for large events.

A minute away from the Old Fort are the Forodhani Gardens. They are located right on the waterway of the main island Unguja and provide a splendid view of some of the other small islands that make up Zanzibar. After sunset, the gardens transform into a very popular street food scene where locals and foreigners alike enjoy Swahili and Zanzibari cuisine.

The Palace Museum is a main historic site in Stonetown. It was originally the Sultan’s residence and was built in the late 19th century. It consists of three floors in which visitors can wonder into one of the Princesses of Zanzibar’s bedroom, the Sultan’s private quarters and the quarters of the African and Arabic wife. It was renamed the People’s Palace after the 1964 Zanzibar Revolution and used to be the government seat. It later became a museum in 1994.

There is so much more of Zanzibar to discover for oneself, not to mention the glorious beaches that surround the whole island! This is only a sneak peek into the amazing island. Mombasa might be your first choice, but make Zanzibar your second. I promise you, you would not want to ever leave.

– Norkor N