My Son the Fanatic and Free for all

“My Son the Fanatic” is a short story written in 1997 by Hanif Kureishi about a father and a son living in London, and struggling to adapt. The father left Pakistan and loves England, he wants to become as English as possible, because “you can do almost anything here.” The son has never been outside England, but still struggles to find his place in the English society, and is looking for something else, going back to the culture and faith of his ancestors, and becoming more and more angry with the society he sees around himself – the society his father is so in love with.

“Free for All” is a short story written by Moin Ashraf in 1999. This story too depicts a father and a son, this time in the US, the father doing everything “right” to become an upright and successful man in his new country, and being frustrated at seeing his son leaving the ideals of his own country and tradition. It is a culture clash, between a son who has grown up American, and a father who still looks back to and values of his Pakistani homeland.

Write a blog post where you EITHER compare these two stories in terms of father-son relationships and the question of identity and belonging, OR discuss what these two stories say about being an immigrant, and raising a family in a different culture. What are these two stories saying about multiculturalism?

Character sketches Kite Runner/Reluctant Fundamentalist

Write a blog post of your impressions so far of the main character(s) in the novel you are reading. What do you know about this person and how do you know this – through dialogue, descriptions or in other ways? What about their relationship to other characters you have been introduced to? Write 2-3 paragraphs by Monday, January 28.

 

Ingunn

Two immigrant voices

Comedians Trevor Noah and Hasan Minhaj use their own experiences and background in their stand-up shows «Homecoming King» and «Son of Patricia».

Write a blog post in which you discuss how they use examples from their own lives to illustrate their experience as immigrants in the USA.

Choose one or two of the sub topics they include in their shows and comment on the questions below:

Do you think other immigrants can recognise the challenges the two talk about being an immigrant or part of an immigrant family? Why? Why not?

Can we learn something about being an immigrant watching these shows? Explain.

Elin and Hanna

 

Freedom under attack

Democracy is under pressure in many parts of the world. Take a look at this video to find out more.

Another sign of threats to the freedoms associated with democracy, is the number of journalists killed while carrying out their job. According to CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalists, 53 journalists were killed in 2018. Read about some of them here and pick one story that you share and comment on in your blog.

Cultural differences in the Kite Runner

As we are finishing The Kite Runner, the main character has spent many years both in his homeland and as an immigrant in the US. Through Amir we are introduced to both an Afghanistan before and under Soviet rule, and then finally, we get a glimpse of a devastated country under the Taliban.

How did the descriptions of Afghanistan agree with or differ with the ideas and impressions you already had of this country?

What cultural differences become evident in the parts set in the US?

How easy is it for Afghans to settle and find their place in the US?

Write a ONE paragraph blog post answering these questions.

In the news: Youth Climate Activist addressing the UN plenary on climate change

Listen to 15 year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden address the UN climate plenary in Poland – you are stealing our future

Greta Thunberg holds a placard reading "School strike for the climate" during a protest outside the Swedish parliament on November 30, 2018.

According to the Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen, the countries represented are getting close to a climate accord.