Anas Alahmed and David Stewart
About 50 Bloomington-area citizens learned about life in Occupied Palestine through a local woman's presentation on her time in a UN-sponsored student delegation to the Gaza Strip in May 2009.
"Every single person in Gaza has a war story," Evann Smith told the audience in a soft and sometimes quavering voice. "There is no single person in Gaza who has not had a direct experience with Operation Cast Lead. ... Everything there was destroyed." Operation Cast Lead was Israeli codename for its war against Gazans launched Dec. 27, 2008, a month before President George W. Bush left office.
Smith, a Bloomington High School South graduate and doctoral student in political science at Harvard University, spoke Aug. 13 at the Monroe County Public Library. Her speech and slide presentation was sponsored by the Bloomington branch of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
More than 480 high school students from around the United States learned about Islam during the IU High School Journalism Institute Summer Workshop in July. Zakariah D. Love, a member of the Bloomington Islamic Center, called it "a good opportunity for the students to create knowledge about Islam interactively, rather than to receive it from the media."
The Summer Workshop challenges students' viewpoints and enables them to have the chance to meet a variety of people from different perspectives and to approach and interview them, said Institute Director Teresa A. White, a full-time lecturer at the IU School of Journalism. "We want to instruct and improve journalistic and publication staff skills and give our students the opportunity to be more knowledgeable, professional and open-minded."
To help achieve this goal on the topic of Islam, students wrote feature stories, straight news stories or editorials about a lecture presented by IU professor Faiz Rahman, president of the Islamic Center in Bloomington. They also interviewed members of the Bloomington Islamic Center.