“I think I’m dying, too hot, too hot, I’m dying”

8 June 1972, Vietnam

South Vietnamese forces follow after terrified children, including 9-year-old Kim Phuc, center, as they run down Route 1 near Trang Bang after an aerial napalm attack on suspected Viet Cong hiding places, June 8, 1972. A South Vietnamese plane accidentally dropped its flaming napalm on South Vietnamese troops and civilians. The terrified girl had ripped off her burning clothes while fleeing. The children from left to right are: Phan Thanh Tam, younger brother of Kim Phuc, who lost an eye, Phan Thanh Phouc, youngest brother of Kim Phuc, Kim Phuc, and Kim's cousins Ho Van Bon, and Ho Thi Ting. Behind them are soldiers of the Vietnam Army 25th Division. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Such a famous image: young children crying and running for their lives from a napalm attack. The young girl in the centre cried “I think I’m dying, too hot, too hot, I’m dying”, and now fifty years later Kim Phuc who’s lived in Canada since the early 1990s, is having medical treatment in the US to reduce the pain from her scars. The napalm on the eventful day in 1972 had been accidentally dropped on civilians by the South Vietnamese.

Students often learn about Vietnam when they choose GCSE History. If you don’t know much about the Vietnam War, here’s a helping hand…

This BBC Bitesize website has revision, videos and tests about the Vietnam War. Whereas this BBC news website article gives a general summary of the war for both young and old.

Afghanistan – Pakistan Earthquake leaves hundred dead

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit north-eastern Afghanistan on Monday, with most casualties being in neighbouring Pakistan. Most people think the death toll will rise as the epicentre was in the mountains and very remote, so communication to the area to find out what’s happening is poor.

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The map above shows where the earthquake happened. When an earthquake is above 7 on the Richter scale it means it is Major:

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The earthquake was deep underground so the results weren’t as terrible as one which is closer to the surface (shallow). The BBC reported on numerous landslides which were triggered by the earthquake.

Blair admits there’s some truth in the claim Iraq War mistakes led to rise of IS

Tony Blair has apologised, not for the first time, for mistakes that were made in the Iraq War which has caused the rise of Islamic State. He said he didn’t want to apologise for removing Saddam Hussain from power in Iraq, but that those that had removed him must bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today. The interview has Blair saying that if they’d not gone in and removed Saddam Hussain there most likely would have ended up a civil war there like you can now see in Syria.

Even at the time of the Iraq War critics were saying how would the US and UK be able to replace a toppled dictator successfully and Blair has owed up that they didn’t plan or correctly help Iraq create a democratic and fair regime once Saddam Hussain had gone.

If your knowledge of the Iraq War is shaky then here are a variety of videos about it. The first one is from National Geographic:

Then there is a short clip from the BBC News in 2003 when the war started:

We watched this in class (often twice because it’s so fast!) which talks about how the Iraq War links to the rise of IS:

Then another short clip from an ex UK ambassador to the US explaining why he thinks the Iraq War did lead to IS’s growth:

You’ll need to understand the difference between Sunni and Shia Muslims and how this affects the geo-politics of the Middle East. Year 8 will learn about divisions in Islam next half-term; until then…

Or if you prefer reading then this BBC article tells you about why the divisions exist and what it means to Muslims around the world today.

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 – it’s an offence to stir up racial and religious hatred

Should we be allowed to be offensive? In the BBC magazine a philosopher and writer debates whether we should be allowed to be offensive in what we say so that there is still freedom of speech.

It’s quite a long and high brow article but worth reading to think about the debate on whether when someone says something offensive it’s better to ignore, turn the other cheek, or if when the offensive thing has some truth in it that becomes harder and people are more likely to cry “foul, stop saying that, you’re offending me!”.

John Stuart Mill, the famous philosopher said:

“If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”

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Pope Francis says there are even “closed hearts” behind the Church’s teaching

Bishops attend a morning session of a two-week synod on family issues at the Vatican, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

There’s just been a three week gathering of Catholic leaders, called a Synod, with them discussing issues of the family. Listening to Radio 4 this morning the journalist who’d attended the Synod commented that it seemed strange asking these celibate (not getting married or having sex) Bishops what they thought of family issues  and seeing a room full of only men voting on an issue.

It had all been quite challenging for the Pope as the Catholic Bishops were divided on numerous issues, with the conservative groups not wanting to change any policy and the liberal groups keen to change rules on homosexuality and whether divorced and remarried people are allowed to play a role in the Church. In the end policy on the latter did change, it was just about voted in that divorcees who’d remarried were allowed to play a key role in the Church but the doctrine on homosexuality didn’t: there should be no discrimination but gay marriage shouldn’t be permitted.

An introduction to Islam

With Year 8 students about to study ‘What it means to be a Muslim’ and GCSE students always trying to grapple with Islamic teachings for their studies, perhaps it’s time to watch some video clips and bring our knowledge of Islam up to scratch! Next time we’ll have some reading to do, for the time being let’s watch some video clips (of varying quality).

Stephen Fry on God

A few weeks ago in class when talking about if there can be a God if there’s suffering and evil, I couldn’t remember the name ‘Stephen Fry’. He’s an English actor and TV presenter for a programme called QI amongst others, who gave a memorable interview to RTI an Irish television channel. As an atheist he got asked what would he say to God if it turned out he’d been wrong and God existed…