3 million people displaced, 14 million facing starvation – heard of the civil war in the Yemen?

A YouGov poll by the Independent newspaper found that only 49% of people questioned had heard of the conflict currently causing death and hunger in the Yemen. This number got even smaller with the younger age group of 18-24 year olds with only 37% knowing about the conflict. The map below shows that Yemen is located south of Saudi Arabia:

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Thanks to Sophie our school’s BBC School reporter even more people will have heard about what’s going down in the Yemen. You may need to search Global, RE on the school’s BBC Report page to read Sophie excellent report. The Independent are trying their best to make  UK citizens aware of a conflict where British weapons purchased by Saudi Arabia are being used in questionable circumstance.

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Banksy Bethlehem Hotel

The Walled Off Hotel by Banksy in Bethlehem is certainly artwork with a political message. Its owner says it has “the worst view of any hotel in the world”, while its 10 rooms get just 25 minutes of direct sunlight a day. Why? Well it is placed right next to the 8 metre high concrete wall which Israel has built to defend itself from terrorism and refugees. Sound familiar?

People stand outside the Walled Off hotel, which was opened by street artist Banksy, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem

The hotel opens to guests on 20 March, with bookings via the website. The media have swooped in to report on the hotel, with Channel 4 going for a tour around the rooms

. The team hope Israelis, who rarely see the barrier wall up close or visit Palestinian towns, will be among the guests, even though visiting means breaking the law. Israelis are banned from visiting Bethlehem and its holy sites, and even though the hotel is situated in an Israeli controlled spot, it is surrounded by Palestinian controlled territory.

“I would like to invite everyone to come here, invite Israeli civilians to come visit us here,” said manager Wisam Salsaa. “We want them to learn more about us, because when they know us it will break down the stereotypes and things will change.”

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In Year 9 we have done a unit on war and conflict, questioning whether religion is dangerous, as well as a current unit on Pilgrimage which looks into the importance of Jerusalem for Christianity, Islam and Judaism. This has lead us to briefly study the Arab Israeli conflict and how Palestine and Israel interact. Newsround give a brief and simple background to the conflict, whereas there is also a BBC History page which catalogues the events from 1250 BC to the modern day. If you’d rather watch a video then VOX have a 10 minute quick run through of how the conflict arose, and in a similar fashion CrashCourse History have 13 minute video explaining the conflict.

If all this has peaked your interest in Banksy then:

Super Bowl 51 – a spectacular show

Adverts by Coca-Cola  and Budweiser; an amazing half time performance by Lady Gaga; and a thrilling final catch to swing the game to the Patriots. A spectacular show!

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Lady Gaga is no stranger to our RE lessons with year 9 students studying the Lady Gaga video for her song Judas for all the religious symbolism. We also know her for all the work she does for LGBT+ rights. At the Super Bowl she mainly sang the choruses from her hit songs but when it came to her 2011 hit, “Born This Way,” she again offered another clear message of acceptance by choosing to sing lyrics from a verse towards the end of the song: “No matter gay, straight, or bi, Lesbian, transgendered life/I’m on the right track baby/I was born to survive.”

Coca-Cola’s advert won praise from many for its multli-lingual singalong advert which emphasised the multicultural nature of the USA, whereas Budweiser was both praised and criticised for its story of how Adolphus Busch moved to the US from Germany in the 1850s and then co-founded the Anheuser-Busch company. The company maintains that it is not intended to be a political statement, and that it has been in progress since well before the US election in November last year. This didn’t stop Trump supporters sending out the call to #BoycottBudweiser.
But if all you want out of the Super Bowl is the sport: here’s the Edelman catch right at the end!
USP NFL: SUPER BOWL LI-NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS ATL S FBN USA TX

Human Rights and Amnesty International

We’re lucky to have an Amnesty International Youth Group at school where students on Wednesdays after school in Room 8 can meet, discuss, learn and take decisive action on Human Rights issues happening all around the world.

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If you’re feeling that world events are spiralling in to a dangerous position of racism, discrimination and intolerance, perhaps a visit to the Amnesty group might allow you a place to safely voice your fears and learn how to take action.

One of the issues that Amnesty International‘s works tirelessly on is the treatment of refugees.  They do however also get involved in debates about any issue which affects human rights such as the death penalty, the Hillsborough disaster and North Korea.

 

Ancient Greece

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Quite a lot of what we learn Religious Education or Religious Studies lessons isn’t completely new to us in that moment but often involves topics first discovered at primary school or in English, History, Geography or Science. Certainly the facts and ideas about Ancient Greece that students are exploring in Year 9 RE right now as part of their Philosophy unit could very easily have been first explore at Key Stage 2.

If you can remember nothing from those dark days before WCSC then here’s a refresher:

Heard of the war in the Yemen? Thought not.

You may never have even heard of the Yemen which is just south of Saudi Arabia. So it is therefore highly unlikely you’ve ever heard of the war which has been taking place in the Yemen since September 2014. When rebel troops took over the capital city and ousted the President, Saudi Arabia tried to set up a coalition of countries to fight back and re-instate the old Present because they were fearful that Iran and Shia Islam would rise to dominance.

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In March 2016 the BBC published a report which clearly explains who is involved in the war, and showed that the British were selling weapons to the Saudi troops. When those weapons are used like they were this weekend, killing a funeral party of 140 people, questions should be asked on whether a trade embargo should be put in place against the Saudi kingdom. Amnesty International provide a thorough analysis of the conflict so far.

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UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, condemned Saturday’s strikes on the funeral gathering as a “horrific attack”. He said that aid workers who arrived at the scene had been “shocked and outraged”.