Recently, there have been many mass protests, particularly in countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
A mass protest is when many people (often hundreds of thousands) gather in a city to show their government that they don’t like it, or that they don’t agree with something it is doing.
In Tunisia protests began last December, to force the country’s president to leave. The people were upset because they had no jobs, food was too expensive and many people in the government could not be trusted. The protest worked and President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family were forced to leave Tunisia. They are accused of having stolen money and property.
In Egypt, protesters successfully forced their president, Hosni Mubarak, to step down this month. He is said to have stolen billions of dollars from the people. He finally agreed to let the military take over the country until a new president can take over.
In Libya, people are gathering in the streets. They want their country’s long-time leader, Moammar El-Gadhafi*, to step down. Gadhafi has been a terrible tyrant for many years. He is refusing to step down and has ordered the military to harm the protesters. This situation is still very difficult and is changing every day. Many people in Libya are using the Internet to tell others what is happening to them and get their message out. Yesterday, 200 Canadians were airlifted out of Libya. It is no longer safe for them to be in that country. Tomorrow (Saturday), peaceful demonstrations are planned for Toronto and other major Canadian cities in support of the people of Libya. The demonstration in Toronto will be held at Yonge-Dundas square downtown.
In Algeria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen and other Arab countries people are protesting because they want democracy and they want new leaders who will give the people more money, food and freedoms. Many of these protests have become very dangerous as police and the military try to break up the gatherings. These protests are still going on.
*Believe it or not, there are 112 different ways to spell the Libyan leader’s name! We’re using the spelling that he used on a letter he signed to some children in a Grade 2 class. But his name is normally written in Arabic. Depending on who is doing the translating to English and what part of the country they are from, his last name can be spelled Qadhafi or Gaddafi or many other ways.
There is a saying ,”a picture is worth a thousand words.” It means that in a single photo we see things that would take lots of words to describe. What words would you use to describe the pictures of the protest in Egypt?
The events that are taking place in many Arab countries are historical and will have a very big impact on the world now and in the future. How do you feel about what is happening in these nations? Is it good, bad, or somewhere in between? Why do you think so?
Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).
Grammar Feature: Conjunctions
A conjunction is a word that is used to join words or groups of words. For example the words until and or are the conjunctions used in the following sentence: “My friend Jahnell is going to stay until her mom or dad come to pick her up.”
Here is a list of the most popular conjunctions in English: although, and, as, because, but, for, however, if, or, since, than, that, though, unless, when, whether, while, yet.
Underline all of the conjunctions you can find in today’s article.