Choosing an Ottawa Private School

Most of us want to give our children the best possible start in life. That usually means a really solid education. I think that sending your child to private elementary school is even more important than sending him to private middle and high school. Why? Simply because your child needs to learn how to read properly and get a solid foundation in conceptualizing and all those other basic skills which he learns in primary school.

Once parents have decided that their child needs more than the public elementary schools in Ottawa can offer, they have the decision of which Ottawa private school best suits the needs of their child. Parents must begin the process of identifying the schools they think are suitable, evaluating them, selecting the ones they like and sending in the applications.

When considering Ottawa’s private schools, there are a number of factors parents should consider beyond the obvious question of tuition rates.

Ottawa offers a variety of French language schools, of course. In addition, there is a rich variety of private school philosophies and religious affiliations to choose from including several Christian schools, Montessori schools, Muslim or Jewish schools, Waldorf Schools and even a virtual private school based in Ottawa.

Location may be an important consideration. There are many private and independent day schools throughout the Ottawa region, such as Ashbury College, Counterpoint Academy, Elmwood School, Joan of Arc Academy, Lycée Claudel, Macdonald-Cartier Academy, Westboro Academy.

When evaluating the various schools, also make sure that you know and understand the reputation of the school, the principal or headmaster and its teachers.

* What reference points can the school offer to convince you that it is the right Ottawa-area private school for your child?

* Meet with teachers to find out their philosophies and their commitment to children.

* Consider how up-to-date the technology, sports and education facilities are.

For Ottawa parents interested in acquiring a private education for their children there are few places in Canada that can offer more than the nation’s capital city of Ottawa, Ontario.

Source by Markus Wong

The Main Setbacks of Content and Language Integrated Learning

1. Introduction

Content and language integrated learning, more commonly known as CLIL, is a term coined in 1994 and originally defined as a set of educational methods which aim at teaching a subject in a foreign language, thus bearing a dual focus: learning the contents of a subject and a foreign language, simultaneously. Since then, many authors have strived to further define what CLIL means, as well as to gain further insight into what it implies. Coyle et al (2010) define it as “an educational approach in which various language-supportive methodologies are used which lead to a dual-focused form of instruction, where attention is given both to the language and the content“. If we look at both definitions, the former given by Kohonen (1994) through UniCOM (a project integrating the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and the European Platform for Dutch Education), we see that most elements are repeated, namely educational methods/approach, dual focus, language and content, etc. Hence, we can see that despite time, almost a good twenty years now, the essence of CLIL still remains the same.

But why has CLIL become an important approach in terms of teaching? Although this question may be answered at length at any time by many respected authors, it may also be summarised in only a few lines. Its importance is widely understood to lie in the idea that any given language should be the means towards achieving something else. In our context, an educational one, language learning is regarded as a tool towards learning other contents, as well as an educational goal in itself. In this sense, CLIL may be regarded as the perfect educational approach. Firstly, we learn a subject’s content. Secondly, we acquire a foreign language. Thirdly, we are to use the foreign language, not just to learn about it, which is as optimal as it gets. Sadly, the sociocultural and educational contexts in which CLIL may be implemented are in most cases far from perfect, making it difficult or even impossible to be carried out. In this sense, we should ask ourselves whether CLIL is actually as good as it sounds, whether it is really determining the course to be followed, or if it is simply another utopic approach that will eventually be cast into oblivion. This article aims to clarify this particular issue: is CLIL the approach for the future? In order to be able to answer this controversial query, I will outline some of the drawbacks in relation to the implementation of CLIL, dividing them into those which I consider have a greater importance in terms of difficulty, and those which may be overcome more easily.

2. Major CLIL setbacks

CLIL, just as any other teaching approach, has its supporters and detractors, and it is our goal now to focus on the arguments expressed by the latter, in order to determine whether CLIL is worth all the fuss or not. Let us now see some of the greatest difficulties that implementing a CLIL approach brings about.

Firstly, off the top of any teacher’s head, arise what are surely regarded as the major obstacles when even considering implementing CLIL in any given educational context: time constraints and attainment of goals. These two issues, though they may be treated separately, should be dealt with together, as they always come hand-in-hand. On the one hand, we have to take into account that learning a language, by whatever means, is no easy feat. It takes years to master a mother tongue, how easy can it be to excel in a foreign language? Not at all. In this sense, we ought to consider the time that pupils under a CLIL approach are exposed to the foreign language. Ideally, if every subject were taught in that foreign language, every student would benefit from a good 25-30 hours a week of language exposure, at least. This amount of time is surely enough to become fluent in a foreign language in several years. However, thinking so is unrealistic. Firstly, it is rather unlikely that such amount of exposure really took place, due to other related issues such as culture-related problems, shortage of teacher training or lack of linguistic fluency or mastery. Also, some students would need a good deal of instruction in their mother tongue to take place so as to be provided with a comprehensible starting point. Besides, during these 25-30 hours, how long do students spend speaking to each other for non-academic purposes? And more specifically, which language would they use to do so, or even for academic reasons, their own comfortable mother tongue or a second language with which they might not feel confident enough? This would deduct a considerable amount of time from the initially given figure.

On the other hand, closely related to time constraints, there come the different educational demands expected from teachers and higher spheres. In the first place, teachers ought to fulfil a set of goals in terms of what students must learn and the skills they must acquire or develop. That is, not only in a foreign language, but in every subject of the educational curriculum. In this sense, it is already difficult to meet these demands, so simply imagine how hard it would be for both teachers and students to add the element of working entirely in a language which is not their own and still being compelled to fulfil the same educational goals. This would only be possible in contexts in which the foreign language is well rooted into society, as it happens in countries such as the Netherlands, where the English language is widely spread amongst its population as well as its culture. However, in other countries, take Spain for instance, there is hardly any exposure to a second language outside an educational context. In such case, how can students cope with the dual-focus of a CLIL approach and still accomplish the same objectives as non-CLIL students? It is virtually impossible, and pupils are at risk of what it is called backsliding, meaning that CLIL may even have counter-productive effect on students’ performance, not only in their subjects but also in their first language. Per contra, there may be a possible solution to this, though it may not be fair for some students. However, we will see to that at the end of this article. Let us now continue focusing on some other related CLIL issues.

Another important setback of CLIL is the fluency of the teachers in the foreign language. If a teacher is to teach a subject by means of a foreign language, he or she undoubtedly needs to be extremely fluent in this particular language, as well as versed in the subject in hand. Anyone can learn something by heart in another language, and just “spit” it. However, a teacher has to explain concepts, has to provide with examples, has to face challenging questions from students, has to be able to simplify things, has to have the necessary skills to improvise, etc. Therefore, if a teacher is not extremely fluent in the foreign language, he or she is not qualified to teach content and language in an integrated manner. It is just absurd to even consider so. This is for example the problem that some countries are facing nowadays. In the case of Spain, there is a huge demand for bilingual schools, in which every subject is taught in English by means of CLIL. In doing so, teachers, both veterans and newly-qualified ones, are expected to be fluent in the language. Be that as it may, it is quixotic to think that all of a sudden teachers are going to become fluent in a foreign language. It must be said that it is not a matter of teachers not willing to learn a language, but rather that based on historical educational tradition, even some language teachers are not fluent enough in the language they teach, let alone subject teachers, who have not received proper language instruction in years or even in their lives. It is for this reason that, although many Spanish schools, both state and private ones, claim to be educating pupils in a bilingual environment, it is a lie or rather a dream from which society will eventually have to awaken. For a school to be able to provide students with a bilingual education, it must count with a fully bilingual staff, and that, in current Spanish state schools can simply not happen nowadays. Some private schools offer effective immersion programmes where teachers are either native or completely bilingual. However, attending these schools can only be afforded by wealthy families, which leaves middle and lower classes at a disadvantage from a linguistic and academic point of view.

Related to teachers as well, we encounter the problem with current foreign language teachers. In this regard, if CLIL were to be the future of all schools’ approach, what would happen to language teachers? Maybe, in a primary school context language teachers would be able to adapt, since in many countries they are also trained in teaching other subjects apart from the foreign language. However, language teachers in higher educational levels would be in deep water. They would either end up out of a job or would have to transform their role drastically. In some cases, they could aid subject teachers in adapting and creating teaching materials or maybe provide linguistically weaker students with language support and assistance. Either way, the role of the language teacher would become practically extinct or obsolete.

3. Minor CLIL setbacks

We will now be looking at some downsides of any CLIL approach that even though they are not as hard to overcome as the ones previously analysed, they still need a fair share of thought and consideration.

Closely related to the issue of teachers’ linguistic level and so-called bilingual schools, we have some political issues. With reference to this, one must consider that any political party that promises to improve and foster how foreign languages are taught, will no doubt attract the attention of those parents that are worried about their children’s education and future. And this promise may be done by means of implementing CLIL in schools. Nevertheless, politicians only convey to voters the bright side of any political decision. Therefore, some gullible parents may be lured into believing that their children will be bilingual if they vote for one particular party or another, while in fact this “change” will only take place on paper, and not as a real enhancement or improvement of students’ linguistic level.

In addition to political lies, we encounter the Trojan Horse argument. The problem in this case is that, in multilingual countries, CLIL may be used for politico-linguistic reasons (Ball, 2012). In some countries, such as Spain, there are regions in which there are various official languages. Such is the case of Catalonia or the Basque Country, where there are two official languages and the use of each is closely linked to political, cultural and social issues. In these cases and in educational contexts, there exist tensions as regards the language in which pupils are taught. Therefore, implementing CLIL in Catalonian or Basque, respectively, has consequences that transcend educational boundaries and both sociocultural and political elements come into play. As a result of this, CLIL in this type of regions must be very carefully planned and considered, in order not to give rise to further social and political tensions.

Veering towards non-political issues, another setback that we encounter when thinking about CLIL is the issue of materials. This affects not only teachers, but also publishers. On the one hand, teachers under CLIL circumstances would have to invest a considerably larger amount of time in creating and adapting materials so as to make them suitable for pupils. This is not only rather difficult to do, but also quite unfair. Teachers already have enough work and responsibilities for a couple of lifetimes, so undertaking such a time-consuming task is just not fair on them. On the other hand, since CLIL is difficult to export across frontiers, publishers seem reluctant to publish any general textbooks (Ball, 2012). In consequence, all the work falls upon teachers, and for them to painstakingly adapt everything is almost impossible. Furthermore, how would publishing most materials in a foreign language affect the industry of publishers of subjects such as history, maths or science? How would they react to having to translate and adapt everything? I do not believe that they would be willing to do so overnight.

Finally, an important change has to take place when testing and assessing students being taught from a CLIL approach. Since CLIL has a dual focus, content and language, teachers have to create a different means of “measuring” students’ performance that took into consideration both content and language performance at the same time. As a result of this, the task of assessing students becomes remarkably harder than it is nowadays.

4. Conclusion

Throughout the course of this article I have focused mainly on the downsides of Content and Language Integrated Learning, and not on its upsides. However, and although I believe the drawbacks are numerous and somewhat tough to overcome, CLIL probably has greater advantages than disadvantages. By saying so, I mean that whilst CLIL is far from being perfect, it is definitely closer to perfection than what came before it. In my view, CLIL is an approach towards which we should steer our educational system. The fact that something is utopic does not mean that it should be disregarded. All to the contrary, it means that it is what we should be seeking.

Humans use language to communicate. Thus, communicating is the only reason for language to exist. In education, communication is the basis for conveying and transmitting knowledge. Therefore, if we can use a foreign language as the main tool to share and acquire knowledge, we are learning a second language in the most meaningful way possible, and that is, or rather would be, the perfect way to acquire any foreign language, by using it. And, fortunately, CLIL meets this requirement. Accordingly, I believe that CLIL is the approach for the future. However, I believe that in my country, Spain, it is not being implemented in an appropriate way. I feel that the cart is being put before the horse. Teachers leave college with barely any knowledge of CLIL, and they are expected in so-called bilingual schools to teach subjects in a foreign language. The government sells to parents the idea of raising bilingual children, while they pressure teachers to attain a B2 level of English that is hardly enough to be teaching English at a primary level, let alone to teach all the different subject contents, such as Maths, History, Science, Philosophy, etc.

From my point of view, CLIL is an ideal approach. But it calls for a change that cannot happen overnight. It cannot even happen in the course of ten years. I am in no position to say how long it may take, but I know that if it is to be implemented flawlessly it must be done from the bottom, starting in kindergarten and moving up through primary, secondary and college levels. It is either that or stumbling once and again over the same mistakes that we are currently making. Pupils must start with CLIL from the very beginning of their educational stages. And, although this seems ideal and somewhat viable, it would be highly unfair to previous generations of students who would miss out on a great opportunity of being by far more fluent in a foreign language. Nonetheless, I still believe it is the only way of making things right. With regard to teachers, these should be fully qualified and competent in the use of a foreign language, and should have received specific CLIL training throughout their studying days. Besides, veteran teachers should not be forced to learn another language. It is unfair that they are being made to do so nowadays, after so many years studying and teaching in their own mother tongue, as, in most cases, it is impossible for them to acquire a level that would enable them to competently carry out their service in a different language from their own.

After having expressed my views on the subject, I believe that the only thing left to say is that CLIL should either be carried out properly, or not carried out at all.

5. Bibliography

– Ball, P. & Master in Applied Linguistics (University of Essex) (Eds.) (2012). Content and Language Integrated Learning. FUNIBER

– Coyle, D., Hood, P., and Marsh, D. (2010). CLIL. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

– Kohonen, V. (1994). Teaching Content through a Foreign Language is a Matter of School Development. UniCom. Jyväskylä University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

Source by Luis PW

How People Pass Leisure Time

The primary target of a hobby is to pass leisure time. During this time, the person does what he likes most and this usually does not include any financial business. When people are just passing extra time, they want to relax their mind and keep it away from all the surrounding troubles of life.

The most favourable way of passing time is watching television. Most people like to sit in front of the television after working the whole day. For modern invention of cable brings a lot of choices to the viewers and there is always something to watch for everybody. This cable is very cheap and available in almost everywhere in the world.

Another most watchable thing on television is film and it is a very popular hobby. The film industry is very big and growing faster and so is the number of viewers. Beside the television set, cinema hall or modern multiplexes there is also a very popular among the hobbyist, is to watch a film. Some create their own home theatre with a gigantic television set with surrounding hi-fi sound system.

Reading a book is a very common and popular hobby for passing time. Most like to read literature, but other subjects like history, magazines etc. are also very well-liked. Serious subjects like science or philosophy is not a usually a choice for reading in leisure time.

Some people like to hear a song while they pass their leisure time. Most of the people like to hear music and with the growing modern technology, listening to music is possible, almost everywhere, with your portable music player or your mobile phone.

Video game and internet is a very common time passing method for the young people. They spend a lot of time on the internet for browsing or chatting. The new addiction of social networking sites like Facebook is also spreading rapidly. Gaming consoles as well as computer is used for playing video games and dedicated players spend hours after hours in playing.

Some people do exercise while they are not working. The exercising can be both light and heavy. Light exercise is more popular and it includes walking, jogging, hiking etc. Some of them practice yoga for relaxation and mental satisfaction. Practising performing arts like acting, singing, dancing or magic is vividly common among people at their spare time.

Designing is another way of passing extra time. Some people design models of practical things like aero plans, house etc. Beside that painting is very popular. Cooking is also a very accepted way of time passing. Many people like to cook when they are not working on their professional job. It is a common practice to create a new menu in a leisure time cooking.

Gardening is another way of passing leisure time by many people. The presence of a flower gives a mental satisfaction and peace. Collectors spend many hours for collecting and maintaining their collections. Most of the collections need a lot of time and care. The most common collecting items are stamps, coins, or notes. Nevertheless, there are some other items which are very costly and cannot be done by the average person, like collecting rare antiques, vintage cars, original paintings etc.

Source by Christopher John Bennett

Servant Leadership – A New Model For The 21st Century

Recently, I attended an interesting talk with Rusty Gordon, CEO of Knowlagent who spoke about servant leadership. It was entitled, “Leading From Behind!” and it was hosted by The Institute For Enterprise and Innovation.

Wikipedia states, That “servant leadership is an approach to leadership development, coined and defined by Robert Greenleaf and advanced by several authors as Stephen Covey, Peter Block, Peter Senge, Max De Pree, Margaret Wheatley and Ken Blanchard.

Servant leadership emphasizes the leader’s role as steward of the resources (human, financial and otherwise) provided by the organization. It encourages leaders to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization’s values and integrity.”

Rusty Gordon, shares a convincing argument that current leadership models have failed and that leadership methods based on “I” do not work! He believes that the “You” style of leadership is the best and most successful for today’s companies. This style promotes the idea that, “You decide and I will help you! ” It communicates to employees that, ” I know and trust you.” A leader’s success is defined by other’s success. A President or CEO who believes in servant leadership says, ” My success is based on your success.” Simply, you can only be successful, if your clients and employees are successful!

To understand the philosophy of servant leadership, just think about the popular Home Depot commercial, “You can do it – we can help!”

That refreshing! It’s common sense! The business owner or leader serves as the role of coach and trainer. However, it also dictates extreme caution. One who advocates servant leadership must choose her employees and clients very carefully.

Would this leadership style work for you? You must ask yourself the following questions: Are these candidates a good fit for your company? Do they believe in the company’s vision, mission and principles? Would these new employees feel comfortable with your corporate culture? As for your clients, do these prospective clients truly fit with your company? How does this prospect compare to your target market or best clients? Do they see and understand the value your products or services? Would you enjoy working with these companies?

Servant leadership promotes the idea that you choose to work with employees and companies based on not who they are now, but who they could become in the future!

Rusty says that servant leaders are not found in the front, but behind. When you lead from behind, you do not block their vision! Powerful! Insightful. The Knowlagent CEO stated, “You are pushing your employees and clients to become the very best! “

Yes, it sounds terrific! But, does it really work? The success of Google and Microsoft is tied to the philosophy and practice of servant leadership. We have often heard the popular advice, “Surround yourself with good people” Mr. Gordon, remarked that Bill Gates, Co-Founder and Chairman of Microsoft, says, “It’s about surrounding yourself with intelligent people and getting out of the way!” Apparently, Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have adopted this leadership strategy for their successful company. Google has launched many new products and services: Gmail, Google earth, AdWords, Google Desktop, Google Video, Google Tool Bar, Google Web Accelerator etc Recently, Google stock climbed to $500 per share! That is rather impressive, considering that the IPO price was about $85 in 2004! Microsoft is not doing so bad either. Perhaps, if servant leadership works for Google, Microsoft and CEO Knowlagent Rusty Gordon, it might work for you too!

Source by Kenneth Darryl Brown

Single vs Double Quotation Marks and When to Use Them in Academic Writing

What’s Up with Those Single Quotation Marks?

Lately I have been seeing single quotation marks on certain words and phrases in the headlines that float across the bottom of the TV screen. These phrases have nothing to do with the story being reported on. I am referring mostly to CNN. I started noticing these rolling sentences shortly after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. I am not sure what annoys me more-the fact that they are using single quotation marks in place of double quotation marks or the constant bombardment of information on the screen.

I have also noticed that approximately 20% of the writing I get from my clients employs single quotation marks to designate important concepts or key phrases. This clearly violates the U.S.-American convention.

When to use single quotation marks:

It is always appropriate to use single marks when you have a quote within a quote.

Ex., Mary said, “I don’t care that John said, ‘I won’t eat that old pasta.’ I am going to eat it anyway.”

So the enclosed quotation (what John says) gets the single quotation marks. British usage sometimes does the reverse, and this may be where the trouble lies. They put the single marks on the first speaker’s words and double marks on the second’s speaker’s words (the quote within the quote).

Another use of single quotation marks:

People in certain academic disciplines are accustomed to using single quotation marks on particular terms and phrases, which is contrary to what the vast majority of writers do in the United States. These fields are linguistics, philosophy, and theology. Tina Blue, an online writer, points out the following example:

Ex., There is an essential difference between ‘being’ and ‘becoming’.

Note that in this case the closing single quotation mark goes before the period, which is also contrary to common U.S. usage.

Aside from papers in linguistics, philosophy, and theology, there is no justification for the use of single quotation marks (except for a quote within a quote). When you want to draw attention to key words or phrases, use double quotation marks. What follows is an exhaustive list of the various occasions when double marks are called for.

When to use double quotation marks:

1. The first use is, of course, to designate words in a quote.

Ex., The doctor said, “You really should cut down on your smoking.”

Ex., Then I said, “I can’t do that without going to a smoking cessation program.”

Note that in U.S.-American English, commas and periods go before the closing quotation marks.

2. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010) lists another occasion when double marks are called for: “to introduce a word or phrase used as an ironic comment, as slang, or as an invented or coined expression” (p. 91).

Ex., This is considered “normal” behavior.

In the previous example, the writer is calling into question the whole concept of normality, which can at times be quite subjective.

Bell (2008) explains that when you use double marks, you will render the sentence sarcastic, as in her following example:

Ex., People in many countries enjoy the “liberty” of voting for the only candidate on the ballot (p. 128).

She warns, however, not to use quotation marks with idiomatic expressions. “Quotes are not for showing your discomfort with a colloquial expression. Either make your peace with the idiom and use it without quotes, or choose another way to say what you mean” (p. 129).

Ex., That test was a piece of cake.

There is no need to put “piece of cake” in quotes.

3. APA (2010, p. 91) recommends using double quotation marks “to set off the title of an article or chapter in a periodical,” as in the next example.

Ex., Riger’s (1992) article, “Epistemological Debates, Feminist Voices: Science, Social Values, and the Study of Women”…

4. APA (2010, p. 92) says to use double quotes to indicate a quote within a block quotation, as in the example that follows:

Ex., Miele (1993) found the following:

The “placebo effect,” which had been verified in previous studies, disappeared when [only the first group’s] behaviors were studied in this manner. (p. 276)

In the previous example, the writer wishes to call attention to the phrase “placebo effect.” Since this quote has more than 40 words (I didn’t put the whole quote, for the sake of brevity), the writer has blocked the quote; this means that every line of the quote is indented. Therefore, no quotation marks are needed around a block quote, as the indenting signals a quote. So if quotation marks are needed to call attention to a phrase, then we start with double quotation marks. That is why “placebo effect” is in double marks rather than single marks. Some people may get confused and think that this phrase should be in single marks, as it is a quote within Miele’s quote. We don’t put single marks because we already know it’s a quote due to the blocking; therefore, we start with the double marks.

5. Another use of double quotation marks is when you wish to give the translation of a foreign word. You can put the translation in double marks or in parentheses. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS, 2003, p. 291) offers the following example:

The Prakit word majjao, “the tomcat,” may be a dialect version of either of two Sanskrit words: madjaro, “my lover,” or marjaro, “the cat.”

6. Use double quotes for a word used as a term.

Ex., What do you suppose “liberty” meant to Mr. Henry? (Bell, 2008, p. 128).

In the previous example, we are asking about what the term “liberty” meant to someone. So quotation marks draw attention to the term.

7. Merriam-Webster’s Guide to Punctuation and Style (1995, p. 51) says to use quotes when you wish to highlight the words themselves.

Ex., He went through the manuscript and changed every “he” to “she.”

When not to use double quotation marks:

Do not use double quotation marks when trying to hedge (APA, 2010, p. 92), as in the next example.

Ex., The teacher rewarded the class with tokens.

In the previous example, it is not necessary to put “rewarded” in quotation marks.

The APA manual also advises not using quotation marks to introduce a key phrase or a technical phrase. It recommends the use of italics instead.

Ex., She compared it with meta-analysis, which is described in the next section (p. 91).

Disciplines may vary with regard to this last point, so always check with your department or professor to see whether your school uses quotation marks or italics. Remember, if you do decide to use quotes to signal key concepts, make sure they are double.


American English practice differs from that of British English. If you live in the United States and are seeking to publish in U.S. journals, it is advisable to use our system. Though nowadays there is a trend toward using single quotation marks instead of double marks, I recommend that you not jump on the bandwagon (even if CNN is doing it). The rule is simple: Use single marks only to indicate a quote within a quote. Unless you are writing a paper in linguistics, philosophy, or theology, you should be using double marks for all of the cases discussed in this article. Tina Blue sums it up nicely at the end of her article: “We should just stick with the conventions that are already familiar to us, so we don’t commit the crime of stylistic inconsistency, which is always a danger when you try to adopt someone else’s way of doing things.”


American Psychological Association (APA). 2010. Publication manual of the American Psychological Association(6th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Bell, J. (2008). Clean, well-lighted sentences: A guide to avoiding the most common errors in grammar and punctuation. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.

Blue, T. (2001, January). Single vs. double quotation marks: Once again British and American usage differ.

Merriam-Webster. (1995). Merriam-Webster’s guide to punctuation and style. Springfield, MA: Author.

University of Chicago Press. (2003). The Chicago manual of style (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Author.

Source by Vitalee Giammalvo

Green Bamboo: Strength in Flexibility

Those who have watched the movie “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” would be familiar with the imagery of bamboo: flexible yet firm, delicate yet strong. These unique qualities make the bamboo fit snugly into ancient Chinese philosophy and endow the health benefits of the bamboo with an air of wisdom and grace.


In China, the highly revered bamboo reflects celestial unity in ancient art, such as ethereal paintings of misty mountains with bamboo leaves, delicate bamboo weavings and bamboo baskets.

The strength of bamboo is apparent when the fury of the atomic bomb unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War Two only damaged bamboo marginally. It was also one of the first plants to reappear after the deadly war, thus occupying a special place in the hearts of the Japanese. Visitors to Japan will be charmed by the melodious sound of nature when a breeze rustles through bamboo-made wind chimes.

In Hawaii, where bamboo is known as “ohe”, bamboo crafts have been elevated to an art, with intricate designs of delicate tapa stamps carved from split bamboo.

Before the invention of wheels, bamboo provided stout shafts for carrying baskets woven from bamboo fibres, hence revealing its wide spectrum of uses.


Bamboo has strong survival skills. Like grass, it grows rapidly and is able to propagate by itself. Like wood, it is strong and can be found throughout the world. Although bamboo only needs minimal water to sustain itself, as little as 20 inches of rainfall for some species, most large bamboos grow quicker when exposed to full sunlight.

Growing profusely in poverty-ridden and resource-scare areas, bamboo is like a gift to humanity, giving the most of itself during its short lifespan of a few years.

The height of bamboo varies from 30cm dwarf plants to hovering timber bamboos of over 40m.

Bamboos are classified according to the type of roots. Runners, which belong mainly to tropical bamboos, spread exuberantly while clumpers, which belong to temperate bamboos, expand slowly from the original planting. There are also root systems that combine the two types.

Bamboo leaves come in a large variety. There are soft velvety leaves, leaves with saw-toothed edges and leaves with tiny wisps of hair-like adornments around the bases of the stems and culm (stem) sheaths.

Health Notes

Bamboo, a vital element in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has a temperament that ranges from mild to cooling. So although specific health benefits differ according to the various parts and flavours of the bamboo, generally, bamboo is able to help detoxify, repel insects, eliminate heatiness, clear phlegm, curb vomiting, restore vitality and quench thirst. Small wonder then that the bamboo is the panda’s favourite. In fact, with plenty of crude protein, bamboo is also used frequently as animal fodder.

Bel’Air’s green bamboo essential oil is the result of comprehensive research. From the joints of bamboo stems, a beneficial essence known as bamboo sil is extracted. It contains abundant amounts of silice, which is a rich store of calcium. After aromatherapy with green bamboo essential oil, calcium would be replenished and bones would be strengthened. This innovative essential oil can also alleviate old age problems such as backache and rheumatism, as well as enhance calcium contents in children and teenagers, hence boosting their growth.

Source by Nur Syahid

African American Poetry – The Players, The Times, The Themes, The Struggle!

African American Poetry is a form of literature that is basically an expressive and colorful form of the emotions of the black and enslaved populations of America. Many of the themes of early African American Poetry revolve around issues such as slavery, murder, familial problems, and lifestyle. The tone of most of the literary works of this era entertain an emotional tone rather than reserved philosophical style. This allows the poems to be more personal and engaging. The journey of African Americans in America from the days of slavery until now can be traced through the history of these poems.

This genre found its roots during the 18th and 19th centuries with poets such as Phillis Wheatley and orator Frederick Douglass, reaching an early high point with the Harlem Renaissance. It continues today with well known authors such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley. Many of issues explored in African American literature are the role of African Americans within the larger American society, African American culture, racism, slavery, and equality.

One of the first most famous African American authors was poet Phillis Wheatley. She was well known for her book Poems on Various Subjects in 1773 which was published three years before American independence. Originally from Africa, Wheatley was captured and sold as a slave at the tender age of seven. She was then brought to America and owned by a Boston merchant.

At first she spoke no English, but by the time she was sixteen she had mastered the language. Her poetry won praises from many great leaders of the American Revolution, including George Washington. Despite this, many white people found it hard to believe that an African American woman could be so intelligent as to write poetry. Thus, Wheatley found herself in court trying to prove that she actually wrote her own poetry. Perhaps Wheatley’s successful defense can be regarded as a true recognition of African American literature.

Jupiter Hammon was another early African American author who was actually considered the first published Black writer in America for his poem “An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries” in early 1761. He was well remembered for his Address to the Negroes of the State of New York in 1786. This speech also planted the idea of a gradual emancipation as a way of ending slavery. According to public records, Hammon remained a slave until his death.

Another great poet was Paul Laurence Dunbar who was known for his poem, “The Poet”. He wrote this a mere three years before his untimely death in 1906 at the age of 34. Dunbar was not only the most famous African American poet, but was also one of the most famous American poets, of his time. He was celebrated for his folk poetry about African Americans which was written in dialect–the “jingle in a broken tongue.”

Source by Sarah H

Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace

Some books aim to make readers laugh; some aim at the heart- make them fall in love with the characters; some aim the tear ducts- make them cry; and others aim to make them feel the cocktail of myriad emotions. John Green’s “The Fault in our Stars” does it all.

Narrated by Hazel Grace, the very first page of the book grips you with its witty and philosophical lines. “Depression is a side effect of dying.” While you gasp at the beauty of the sentence framed, the narration continues at its pace. The lines are all realistic and true to their word- neither is pain or tragedy romanticized, nor joy or laughter. They don’t make you cry out your heart, but keep you constantly in the verge of tears. The exact word for it is ‘tragic realism’. And there’s a food for thought in every page.

Hazel suffers from stage 4 thyroid cancer, and lives her life with the waking realization that she could be dead any moment. She has left school, lost her friends and her social life owing to cancer. She thinks about death, lives around her-people who love her, and wonders about their lives after her death. She is depressed- a side effect of cancer, which is in turn a side effect of dying, as she chooses to phrase it. Until she meets Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor, and an amputee- who has a tremendous sense of wit, wisdom, quip, and metaphor. Both share their likes and dislikes- her immense admiration for ‘An Imperial Affliction’ and Peter van Houten, and his love for video games. The very presence of this fictitious book is alluring.

Hazel gives Augustus the book, who reads it and is all praises for it. He shares her views; opinions on the book- the fate of the characters in the book; and her agitation that the ‘ending’ is not actually an ending. They together embark on the mission of emailing the author, who is a recluse, and asking him about what happens next, and if sequel to it is due. Augustus does everything he can to fulfill Hazel’s only wish- to know what happens with her favorite characters, after the narrator of the book dies. This takes them on a journey to Amsterdam, Netherlands. There is love, unfulfilled expectations, and realization of the impending doom and amidst the entire commotion sweet dying hearts beat for each other. The last part is about fighting through disease, pain and embarrassments and unfulfilled dreams; and living through death, loss, and the void left behind.

John Green keeps it so real throughout the novel without any exaggeration. Will surely read ‘Paper Towns’ soon- now in my TBR file. And waiting for the movie eagerly- to watch Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters on screen, and relive their lives.

Source by Pratikshya Mishra

Poverty Alleviation: An Aim Of Islamic Economics

Poverty is treated as WMD (weapon of mass destruction) of modern world. Eradication of it bears very importance. The economic systems like capitalism and communism have presented number of instruments for the alleviation of the poverty from the world. But, these extreme ideologies failed to satisfy the need of the people. Private ownership of property, laissez-faire policy of capitalism and class war, dialectical materialism, state ownership of property of communism did not touch the real cause of poverty. This situation necessitates seeking the possibilities of Islamic economics in alleviating poverty. The aim of poverty alleviation can be attained, in an Islamic Economic system through reducing the inequality. It never means attaining equality but equity and justice in the income and wealth distribution. Islam eliminates the absolute inequality which arises from unequal distribution of income, but relative inequality emerges from equitable distribution of income and wealth.

First part of this article has given a small introduction to both conventional economics and Islamic economics. Then it provides a picture of poverty of current world and Islamic perspective of poverty. Then Islamic economics instruments to alleviate poverty such as zakat, sadaqa, qard hasan, ganima, khums, fay, jizya, mudaraba, musharaka, prohibition of interest, abolition of extravaganza, prohibition of speculation and hoarding have been mentioned in briefly. Influence of Islamic economic instruments on marginal propensity to consume, multiplier, price investment and production have been dealt with.

The books and articles I referred for this article are Dr. Dr.Sabahuddin Azmi's Islamic Economics, SM Hasanuzzaman's Economic function of an Islamic state (The early experience), Towards understanding the economic system of Islam written by Dr.P Ibrahim and Introduction to the economic system by Moulavi.MVSaleem.


Nobody can undermine the importance of economics which is a social science that studies the production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services. This very importance of economics resulted in emergence of different economic systems in the world and all of those economic systems claim that they will fetch economic welfare. Those dominating and prominent economic system's failure to accomplish economic justice, prosperity, the eradiation of the inequality and poverty make necessary an alternative economic system which can successfully make a starvation free and poverty free world.

Definition of Economics

Social scientists have developed various definitions of economics. Lionel Robinson's scarcity definition of economics is most accepted amongst them. According to Robinson "economics is a science which studies human behavior as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses" This definition is based on two points which are scarcity of resources and the never ending needs. But in reality former is a myth. The survey conducted by UNO shows that are enough resources for 20000 million people on earth we have only 6000 million people on earth residing now. Latter point 'never ending needs' is also incorrect as the desire and greed of the man is unlimited but the need is countable and controllable.

Definition of Islamic Economics

As a system of life Islam has not left any area of ​​human life without guidance. Whether it is spiritual, individual, social, economical or political Islam gives clear cut guidelines. By considering the economic guidelines of Islamic sources, Islamic economists have developed plethora of definitions. Derivation of each definition of Islamic economics is based on guidance given in the basic sources of Islamic shariah which are Quran and hadith.

According to Yusuf Ibrahim, professor of Islamic economics, Qatar University "Islamic economics is a science studying the guidance of the human behavior towards the use of resources to satisfy the needs". This definition is based upon the following facts.

1. The resources are enough for satisfying the needs.

2. But the resources should be protected from the waste, and improper use.

3. The human behavior towards the resources should be controlled by divine injunctions.

4. Only legal needs, needs that build life on the earth, should be satisfied.

5. Illegal needs (desires), which destroy life on earth, should not be satisfied; they are never ending and never satisfied.

Islamic economic system, a normative economic system, has been built upon certain fundamental Islamic philosophies. According to Quranic teachings real and absolute ownership of the wealth belongs to the creator of the same, Almighty God. Quran says "To Allah belongs to everything in the sky and on the earth" (2: 284) .Role of the man is considered as trustee who is to manage the trust, ie wealth according to the directives of the real owner; God. Quran clearly states "And spend of that where of hath made you trustees" (57: 7). So man has been granted

conditioned and limited ownership.

Another Islamic philosophy is universal brotherhood and equality of men as their creator is one and parents are same. Hence distinction based on color, caste, creed, races do not suffer at any cost. This concept induces the people for cooperation and participation in their all efforts instead of cheating, exploiting and making fraud each other. Another aspect of Islamic philosophy is the faith in the Day of Judgment after death. In the life after death man is accountable for his deeds on earth. The implication of this faith is that economic choices one makes in world are to be judged according to the norms Allah has laid down.

These are the revolutionary points which differentiate Islamic economics from the liberal, capitalistic, imperialistic, mainstream, usurious economic system and communist, class war, state dictatorship economic system. Islam constructs a just world on the spirit of everlasting divine concepts.

Evil of any economy is poverty. The presence of begging hands in an economy pulls that economy into decades back. Poverty midst plenty is the challenge faced in the modern world. Impact of the poverty can not confine into starvation only, but poor people, apart from starvation, suffering limited income which leads to inaccessibility of good education it disables them for challenging careers which requires number of years long education. Absence of nutritious food results in more child morality among deprived sections. Since limited access for information and knowledge those are prevented from market and opportunities.

Every country and international organizations like World Trade Organization, World Bank and Asian Development Bank hard work to construct the countries and world on the foots of self sufficiency respectively. Mission of the World Bank is described as global poverty reduction and improvement of living standards. General Council of UN has declared October 17 as International day for the eradication of poverty. It shows how seriously they took poverty as a problem

But, it is wondering that out of 6.1 billion world population more than 1 billion are finding their livelihood in less than $ 1 per day and almost 3 billion on less than $ 2 per day. You might be provoked that 74% of total income of world is shared by the 20% of the elite class of the world. It is heartening you that there are countries whose national income is less $ 800 and morality of below five years age children is about 26% .It is worrying that 110 million primary school age children are out of school and 60 percent of them are girls.
Poverty and Islamic Economics

Below Poverty Line (BPL) fixes in Islamic economics system on the basis of ownership of nisab, which limit makes one eligible for the payment of zakat Whosoever wealth on or over the nisab is responsible for the payment of zakat. Those wealth is below nisab are zakat recipients and they are treated as poor. Hence, in Islamic economics, the size of deprived come under BPL will be large. Starvation and inaccessibility of food, shelter, cloths and education could not suffer in an Islamic economy which aims human falah, ie human welfare. It does not support any economic instrument that leads to the deprivation of the man. Since poverty emerges in an economy as a result of various causes so wiping out of these causes is primarily important.

Limited income, unequal distribution of income and wealth, misdistribution of resources, regional disparities, unemployment, social injustice, and decreased investments … etc are some of the obstacles in the way of attainment of self-sufficiency and welfare. Islam considers the fulfillment of basic needs of every member of society is economic, moral as well as religious obligation of the ruler. List of the basic goods extends from traditional food, clothing and shelter to seasonal clothing, personal attendant to disabled person, and expenditure on marriage of poor and expenditure on entire family of poor, which are intensified by scholars from time to time and likely to extend the list time to time for the welfare of the citizen. Islamic economic system introduces a bunch of divinely guided instruments which bring to an end of poverty and build
poverty less world.

Islamic Economic Instruments to eliminate poverty

It is advised to Muslim citizens in an Islamic county, as the part of believe, to practice certain things in their life, some of them are compulsory nature and the rest are voluntary nature. The practice of these will have vast economic implications apart from the reward of God. Non Muslim citizens also have to make certain compulsory payments, which have economic impacts, as the part of their citizenship in the Islamic country. Compulsory duties and agreements of citizens are governed by the Islamic country and violation of any part would not suffer Islamic state. In addition to these functions there are other things the Islamic state has to carry out similar to any nation does for the welfare of citizens. Both positive and negative measures have recommended by Islam for wiping out the reason of poverty.

Positive Measures

There are numerous Islamic orders and injunction to perform certain things which have immense influence on economies justice, prosperity and growth. Important divine injunctions amongst them and their influence upon the economy are briefed below.


Zakat is the yearly obligation of wealthy Muslims to poor and it is the share of have-nots in the property and wealth of the rich. Quran commends "establish worship and pay the poor his due (zakat) and obey the messenger". Technically we can call it as spiritual tax. It is imposed on those forms of wealth which have the capacity to grow in value or otherwise produce further, is having the custody of whole year and have exceed a certain minimum value called 'nisab'. Quran has stated the eight specific heads for the distribution of zakat.
Due to the divine spirit for the performance of zakat, chances for evasion are less. The imposition of zakat on idle wealth urges the owners for the productive and profitable employment of idle wealth which increases the wealth of economy and again the share of zakat.


Sadaqa is the one of the voluntary economic instrument. No limit and eligibility criteria for performing contributions to needy. It can be divert, apart from the eight heads mentioned for the distribution of zakat, to any needy. and it will strengthen what economic implications emerged by zakat.

Qard hasan

It is an arrangement of interest free loans for unproductive purposes or for the needy to meet the expenses like hospital expenses, home expenses and education expenses etc which are do not make any earnings. So it is not able to charge any material benefit, like profit share, from qurd hasan. These are provided as the part of kindness to human beings. In an Islamic economy individuals and institutions like Islamic banks will offer this type of loans expecting the reward of Allah. Availability of qard hasan reduces the financial burdens like interest, of deprived.

Profit and loss sharing

Islam formulates profit and loss sharing as the tool of trade contracts instesd of interest. The motivation behind it is the cooperation amongst the people. In profit sharing there are different types of financing such as mudaraba (profit and loss sharing) and musharaka (participation) … etc
Mudaraba is the agreement between both capital owner and entrepreneur to share the profit arises from the business and in case of loss capital owner's capital reduces and entrepreneur's time and effort loose. Musharaka is the agreement to share profit and loss where all contributors participate in management of business. Both mudaraba and musharaka help the people, who have inadequacy of capital, to engage in business, production and contribute their share into the welfare nation and earn for their own.

Ganima (war booty), Khums (one fifth) and Fay

Ganima is the property Muslims seize from the enemy. Four fifth of the ganima is divided among the fighting army and one fifth (khums) of the entire ganima move to state fund, which is earmarked for the special beneficiaries mentioned in Quran. Fay is the property receives from the enemy without actual fighting. This source of state revenue is generalized for the common good of the entire population and public welfare.

Kharaj (Land- Tax)

Land-Tax, a source of revenue of state, is the levy imposed on land produce. This is actually the rent for the use of value of agricultural land. The rate of kharaj and method of collection can be declared by state from time to time as there is no direction of Quran and tradition of prophet in this regard.

Jizya (Poll tax)

Jizya (poll-tax) imposed on the non-Muslim citizens of Islamic country for securing their wealth, property and lives from damage. It helps them to contribute their skill, talent, health, wealth and property for the prosperity of the country

Waqf (Endowment)

Waqf (endowment) is regular source of revenue which is earmarked and dedicated fund of Muslim for supporting charitable and welfare activities
State ownership on uncultivated land:
Any economic instrument that hinders productivity is harmful to economies prosperous. According to Islamic shariah, if a land is remained uncultivated three consecutive years lead to moving of ownership of that land from current owner to other who is ready for cultivate the land and produce. Prophet (pbuh) said "The original rights of ownership in land are God's and the prophets and then yours afterwards. But he who revives any dead land acquires the right of ownership to it". There is an another institution, iqta, boost the circulation and tax revenue of the state by transferring the uncultivated / dead land to someone in return for ushr or khraj.

Combined ownership of natural resources:

Individual ownership of natural resources like fire, water, pasture and salt are restricted by the Islamic shariah. People have combined ownership in these natural resources which should be accessible to anyone. This rule allow anyone to use the benefit derives from the natural goods and ensure that nobody is away from the natural goods which are easy to get to without any hard work .. List of natural goods, in addition to mentioned goods, can be extended into more goods in time to time. Prophet (pbuh) said "people are joint owners in water, pasture and fire".
There are other sources of revenues like property of deceased with no legal heir, lost and found with no claimants and additional taxations.

Negative Measures

There are some prohibitions of God which has influence on the economies prosperity and welfare of every men of country.
Prohibition of interest
Interest, whatever form, has been contemned by Allah and His messenger. Quran says "Allah has permitted trade and hath prohibited riba" (interest). Islam does not support interest but profit and loss sharing. Every financial transactions of Islamic economy should be free of Interest. But absence of interest in an Islamic economy does not create any hindrance to prosperity but flourish the prosperity.

Prohibition of speculative instruments

Instruments which do not have any advantage to real economy such as futures and option are not permitted in Islamic economy. Stock market instruments like day trading, marginal trading are prohibited, either. Absence of these instruments in the economy reduces speculation which is harm to the entire economy.

The implementation of shariah guidelines we discussed above in an economy lead to number of positive fruits which make the state free from every form of poverty.
Increased redistribution of income and wealth will result in, when the people perform the religious obligations like zakat, donation, waqf, inheritances, fithr zakat and kaffarath etc … It leads to flow of wealth and money from rich to poor. Thus the concentration and accumulation of wealth in a few hands come down. Poor and needy spend approximately eighty percent of their earnings to fulfill their basic needs. Economically Marginal Propensity to Consume (MPC) of the poor is larger than middle and high class. A large portion of whatever comes into handy of poor will flow to economy for consumption of basic goods; it lead to more demand for primary goods and then it result in the increased production of basic goods. It is difficult to restrict luxurious consumption and production completely by law and force. But the increased rate of redistribution of wealth and income increase the demand for basic goods and decrease the demand for luxurious goods. Automatically it reduces the utilization of resources for the production of luxuries. Consequently, natural resources use for the production of basic goods and for the benefit of public welfare
This increased redistribution of wealth to poor enables them to get the accessibility of good education and nutritious food. Increased knowledge and skills help the poor to get good jobs and earn. This raises the entire poor family and dependence to heights. In turn, increase of income more than a certain limit make them capable for performing zakat and other voluntary donations for the sake of the benefit of have-nots. Rise in the redistribution help to reduce the gap between haves and have-nots and bring economic justice to all citizens.

Increased MPC of poor as the redistribution of income results in more multiplier effect in economy that fuels more income to the overall income of economy that help the poor section of people to raise their per capita income and living standards.

According to Professor Keynes, investment depends on two variables which are current rare of interest and the marginal efficiency of capital or expected profit rate. Investment would take place only if the expected rate of profit exceeds of interest. Due to the absence of interest, in an Islamic economy, only the size of expected rate of profit of profit will be the determinant of investment.

Speculative motive of money and liquidity theory of money will have no place in an interest free economy which reduces investment. But the presence of only expected rate of profit will result in investments, even in low rate of expected rate of profit to increase their principle amount and to avoid the deterioration of principal through zakat. The increased investment raises the production, employment, wages and overall national income of economy. It flows wealth to poor and raises their economic status.

Fisher's quantity theory which states that quantity of money affects the price and value of money. It means that increase in the supply of money will proportionately increase the price in economy but the output will not increase. But in the case of Islamic economy money should not be supplied without making increase in the output. The central bank and commercial banks of Islamic state increase the money supply through making investment contracts on the basis of profit and loss sharing. So every flow of money into economy results in output growth without making proportionate hike in price. It is helpful to the poor to get need things at reasonable price


Way of eliminating poverty in Islamic economy is simple. Faith in the oneness of God (tawheed) motivates to the performance of zakat and profit and loss sharing and avoiding interest and extravaganza. Increased redistribution and productivity are the outcome of these instruments which helps finally to attain alleviation of poverty.
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Source by Nabeel Kattakath

William Gladstone – The Great British Reformer Who Introduced National Education and Secret Ballots

William Ewart Gladstone (1809-98) was the greatest British reforming statesman of the 19th century. He was Prime Minister of Britain three times.

Gladstone originally intended to become an Anglican clergyman but, following his father’s advice, he took up politics. He entered the British Parliament in 1832 as a Conservative (or Tory). During the prime ministerships of Sir Robert Peel, George Hamilton and Lord Palmerston, Gladstone became President of the Board of Trade (1843-45) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1852-55; 1859-66). During these latter periods, he set about cutting tariffs and government expenditure.

Careful husbandry of government monies would be an ever-recurring theme in Gladstone’s political philosophy. “Finance is, as it were, the the stomach of the country, from which all the other organs take their tone,” he wrote in 1858.

In 1867 Gladstone left the Conservatives to become leader of the Liberal Party.

He became Prime Minister for the first time in 1868. In 1870 he established a system of national elementary education (a first in British educational history).

He viewed the British rule of Ireland as the cause of many evils and injustices for the Irish people over a period of centuries. He therefore disestablished the Irish Church (that is, the Anglican Church in Ireland), thereby reducing the power of Protestant Anglicanism in the mainly Roman Catholic Ireland. He also passed the Irish Land Act, which made it more difficult for British landlords to evict their Irish tenants.

He undertook a scheme of parliamentary reform, bringing in secret ballots and extending voting rights to working class males (the latter went a long way towards achieving universal male suffrage).

In his final two periods as Prime Minister, Gladstone tried to bring in Irish Home Rule, another measure designed to end centuries of British misrule in Ireland. However, due to Liberal Party splits, he was defeated again and again on the Home Rule legislation that he tried to push through.

Even though he did not prevail on this issue, he still believed that Irish Home Rule would have to come in due course:

“We are bound to lose Ireland in consequence of years of cruelty, stupidity and misgovernment and I would rather lose her as a friend than as a foe.” (Gladstone as quoted in Margot Asquith’s 1933 book, More Memories.)

Gladstone’s magnificent record of Parliamentary achievements was somewhat tarnished by the death of General Gordon in Khartoum, Sudan in 1885 (an event blamed on the failure of Gladstone’s government to help the general in Khartoum and on Gladstone’s supposed disinterest in foreign affairs) and by Britain’s defeats in the First Boer War (1881).

On the subject of foreign policy, Gladstone certainly had strong views which were often at odds with the jingoism and imperialism of his day. For example, on Britain’s invasions of Afghanistan during the Victorian era, here are the eloquent words of Gladstone in an 1879 speech:

“Remember the rights of the savage, as we call him. Remember the happiness of his humble home, remember that the sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan, among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God, as can be your own.”

(These words, written as they are in Victorian English, still remain painfully relevant during the current NATO intervention in in Afghanistan.)

Like his parliamentary arch rival, the Conservative Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone was a magnificent orator. He was also an outstanding classical scholar.

Gladstone was a man of strong moral convictions, who, some say, acted more like a clergyman than a typical politician. These convictions – and thereby the achievements of his political career – were founded on the bedrock of his profound Christian religious principles.

William Ewart Gladstone left a strong legacy, not only in the extensive legislation he proposed, promoted and passed, but in the tradition of more democracy allied with more efficiency and the reduction of unnecessary government expenditure.

Source by David Paul Wagner