More Sea Turtle Days

June 30, 2014

I went to the sea turtle center twice more over the past two weeks. And new experiences.

Linked to the video

For week 2 I went on Thursday and met some regular volunteers there. Among the four coworkers, I spoke with Shir the most. She is a high school graduate and has been working here for a year now as her national service. On that day I realized the toughest work wasn’t touched at all during my first visit. Lettuce!

… I was happy to be invited to go on a trip to collect lettuce for our green turtles. Sat in the car, watching the fields, groves and clean handsome village houses of the nearby moshavim, we arrived at a vegetable company – but it was a big warehouse sort of, waste plastic bags and other materials piled randomly on a sandy ground. In front of the warehouse was a shady working area for their employees. There were two groups of workers, on one side were Muslim women and on the other were Asians. It seemed the two sides didn’t communicate at all. One curious Asian girl came up to me and asked me in English where I’m from and if I work or study here. I explained my turtle mission and learned these people are from Vietnam. Indeed, look at the conical Asian hat!

They cut the bad leaves away from the lettuce and washed it. And it is our mission to take in the bad leaves – bad in human eyes – and fill as many plastic bags as possible. It’s a piece of cake to bring a handful of leaves from right to left. But a hundred pieces of cake is quite a big thing. All the time I bent down and lifted up. The plastic bag was like a black hole, whenever I thought I finally fill it up, Shir would shake her head and violently give it a push – what power of compression that the bag was half empty again. Although dismayed, I kept going. I guess the efficiency ratio between Shir and I was 2 to 1. I was truly happy we didn’t have to continue after I collected three bags. But that was too early for celebration. What comes after loading the giant lettuce babies unto the car is of course, unloading them. Then we teared these bags open and released the lettuce into a metal cart, from there we had to transfer the lettuce again but into another white numbered bag and weigh according to the data on the daily sheet. I am going insane just by writing all these down. In short, everything about lettuce is labor intensive. read more …

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First Day Helping The Sea Turtles

June 18, 2014

A bit history first. On the last day of the summer Ulpan, everyone was asked to go in front and make a small speech in Hebrew about oneself and the future plan here. I remember saying אני רוצה לעזור לחיות בים among other things. The seed of green Zionism was already there even in the earliest days. As the second semester was just begun, I heard from Reuven that he had a friend who helped the sea turtles near Caesarea and it was a once-a-week thing. I carefully remembered this information since. In a recent trip along the seashore from Akko’s Argaman beach with Roy, we found two very big sea turtles on the sand, but dead for long. One of them was entangled in fishing net. I was saddened by the scene and made up my mind to volunteer for this good-natured animal soon. Now that I finally finished the paper draft, caught a break between the stages of research, I have to seize this chance to make the seed grow.

The early Zionist pioneers saw returning to the soil not only through a pragmatic perspective, but also as a means to rebuild, strengthen themselves in body, characteristics and identity. Parallelly, I think practicing green Zionism both does good to our nature and liberates myself from the unhealthy state of office-sitting and computer-staring. So much for the ideological babbling, here is my first day helping the sea turtles.

Israel Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is in Michmoret. It isn’t as easy to reach the exact spot by bus as with nearby places like Caesarea or Netanya. After a constant fear of getting late for the bus or missing the stop to get off since 5 a.m, I got off at Yannay interchange and walked for half an hour to the center. Along the way I passed the Alexander Stream National Park. I should walk inside of its more pleasant and shadier wood in the future, as I was later told that it’s straightforward to reach the center along the beach.

Dotan, a heavily tanned guy in clothes that rejoice to  be untidy, received me with warmth and I walked with delightful curiosity among many sea turtles – all in various water tanks. Each water tank has inflow and outflow of fresh underground sea water, underground for stable temperature. One turtle is very uneasy. it constantly splashed the surface with its fins and tried to get out. But I learned this one is blind because of a collision accident and can no longer be released back to the sea. In the same tank is another one, a quieter one. It doesn’t really surface so I could only vaguely see some plate attached to it. This one is called חופש, it lost two left fins due to lack of blood circulation when entangled in fish net. They attached a flipper to help it balance when it surfaces to breathe. This is actually widely reported in the news. I was also impressed by the messy staff office. But that only makes sense for people dealing with wildlife and work often in the sea. Shortly, another new volunteer Avi came to join us. He looked around 50 and was tall and fit. We gathered in the main working place, a space with a dozen water tanks. read more …

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A Night Sky In Beer Sheva

November 16, 2012

Since Operation Pillar of Defense, I’ve been watching and watching the news, but could only remain silent.

It is not in Haifa, but my heart is heavy. I’m not afraid for myself, but for people in the south and the innocent people in Gaza. It saddens me so much to see the empty streets and ghostly towns after the sirens. We need to stop all this but there’s only one bitter option. It couldn’t be helped and so I’m speechless.

But the ashes start to flare again. The warmth of the music is constantly injected to the artery, and dissolves the coldness of the sirens, filling the air with calm. Suddenly there are shooting stars rising to the arena of the night sky. They blossom in splendor and they die with a gleam.

iron_dome

To think the sirens are mother’s voice in panic; these flowers are actually rockets intercepted by Iron Dome… The contrast fills me with amazement and leaves me still. One can find vibrant beauty in humanity even in moments like these.

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Nami’s Simple Words

October 7, 2012

In Skypiea arc, there are mainly two peoples, Shandian, originally blue-sea dwellers living in their ancient city Shandra, and sky people. After Shandra’s flight to Skypiea realm by the knock-up stream, the soil-worshiping sky people took control of the land and expelled Shandians. Since then, the war between the two peoples have lasted for 400 years.

When Gan Fall, former god of Skypiea, Aisa, a little Shandian girl, and Nami and Luffy got stuck in the giant snake’s stomach, Aisa tries to fight Gan Fall, who says he is willing to offer his life if that would distinguish her anger. Then what touches my heart happens:

Aisa hesitated for a while, but still insisted to kill Gan Fall. At the very moment, Luffy stopped her and says:

The matter is as simple as that. But it takes 400 years to solve. Is it what’s going to happen here?

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News Reading

February 8, 2012

I used to consume news like a single cow consumes tons of grass daily, because I know it’s hard to get close to the truth, especially when it comes to disputed issues, unless I devote myself into massive reading, to hearken voices from all the directions. Although I did less so over the recent months, due to the weariness it brought to me and the apparent unnecessity for a 4th grade undergraduate to do so, I have long known of some Dishonest Reward[1] candidates, like Reuters and BBC. I know it by occasional reading of media watchdog Honest Reporting’s reviews. Yet a systematic analysis has broadened my mind.

It is a paper titled “Reuters: Principles Of Trust Or Propaganda?[2] Reading through the entire paper, I get to realize that propagandists have many techniques to employ. These include card stacking, name calling, bandwagon, repetition, appeal to pity…[3] just to name a few. According to this paper, the combination of Ethnographic Content Analysis (ECA) and survey is a reliable methodology to see if Reuters is biased on Israel-Arab conflict. And across the 50 article samples, 1104 occurrences of propaganda devices, logical fallacies and violations of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism are found, which makes my jaw drops.

The author, Silverman, listed some example sentences taken from these news articles. The phrases which falls into any categories of reporting/ethical failures are made italic. Even though I repeated reading those in italic, I find not anything suspicious until I read the author’s explanation. For instance, on the Flotilla incident, Reuters quote a passenger Tiiryaki as saying

“When we went up to the deck, they emerged from helicopters and military boats and attacked us. They approached our vessel with military ships after issuing a warning. We told them that we were unarmed. Our sole weapon was water.”

If I never knew that the passengers on Mavi Marmara were armed, I’d find no reason to disbelieve in this person, and then proceed to conclude that all the boats of Flotilla including Mavi Marmara are peaceful. But the author pointed out that this passenger wasn’t even on Mavi Marmara but on another peaceful boat. Mavi Marmara, as is clear, was filled with armed people and it was them who provoked the violence first. So the journalist failed to tell us that this passenger wasn’t on the boat where violence occurred. And as a reader I fail to notice it.

In other cases, propagandistic devices don’t work on me at all- mainly due to lack of English knowledge. For instance,

“Israel’s leaders have been unrepentant. Prime Minister Netanyahu accused Europeans of “hypocrisy” over efforts to stop Iranian arms reaching Gaza‘s Hamas Islamist rulers.”

In this sentence, I don’t even know the meaning of the word “unrepentant”. Usually my news reading habit tends to  walk me over unknown words. So I wouldn’t know that, in this case, the journalist “implicitly conveys a judgment of wrongdoing and moral condemnation of Israel‘s government officials for the incident which had neither been alleged nor proven by any juridical body”[4].

“The uprising erupted when [President] Clinton failed to forge a deal between the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Ehud Barak, then Israel‘s prime minister.”

Again, I don’t understand why the word “uprising” is inappropriate to describe the Intifada. But according to Silverman, this is a sort of euphemism.

To us, certain details such as figures, adjectives and phrases, aren’t remembered anymore the moment we move on to the next news article. They seem to be ignored, but who can tell what kind of impression they formed and left in our minds subconsciously? When a distorted summary of a person’s comment occurs, who would bother to check what the person originally said? Almost everyone has the commonsense that news are hardly neutral or unbiased. I am aware of this before and after reading news, yet I’m not when I am reading news. The problem is that I can’t identify the devices and logic fallacies.

One way to overcome this problem is, like I used to do, to read different versions of the same events, comments after the articles and media watchdogs’ blogs. However this is  impractical to us busy animals.

Since news reading has been so inevitable, perhaps there is a need for the public to receive a self-education on identification of propaganda devices and logic fallacies. Just like the attitude people take toward online security issues. If we finally learned the lesson by ourselves, maybe our civilization will advance who knows?

 

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