Global Voices Information Sheet

Omar Khadr

Omar Khadr: Brief Biography Omar was born in Toronto on Sept. 19, 1986 and spent most of his childhood moving between Pakistan and Canada.  Omar Khadr is the son of Ahmed Said Khadr, an Egyptian-Canadian who had ties to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.  At 10, the family moved in Afghanistan and Omar was entered in weapons training.  On July 27, 2002, Khadr was captured in Afghanistan by American soldiers at age 15, accused of fatally injuring a U.S. army medic with a hand grenade. He was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in October where he currently remains.  In March 2008, Khadr claims he was threatened with rape and violence by interrogators when he confessed years earlier to being a terrorist.  In August 2010, Khadr’s trial officially began. However, it came to an abrupt halt when his lawyer collapsed in court. Khadr’s trial resumed on October 25, 2010. Khadr’s Plea Bargain On October 25, 2010, Omar Khadr pled guilty to a series of terrorism-related charges including murder and attempted murder.  After hearing arguments from both sides, a jury recommended he serve 40 years in jail.  However, because he agreed to plead guilty, he was sentenced to eight years in jail. The first year will be served in an adult prison in Guantanamo Bay. After that, he can apply to transfer to Canada. The Canadian government has indicated it will accept this request. Key Terms        child soldier – There is no set definition of a child solider. According to UNICEF, this is any child under 18 years old who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group demobilized – to discharge from military service indoctrinate – in teach a set of principles in a way that doesn’t allow criticism rehabilitation – to restore to a condition of good health reintegration – to return to a society following a period of mental illness or trauma terrorism – the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce unconditional – not limited by conditions, absolute  

Global Voices Elementary Educator Resources
Note to Educators:
The following activities are designed to stimulate a current events discussion. Generative in nature, these questions can be a launching point for additional assignments or research projects. Teachers are encouraged to adapt these activities to meet the contextual needs of their classroom. In some cases, reading the article with students may be appropriate, coupled with reviewing the information sheet to further explore the concepts and contexts being discussed. From here, teachers can select from the questions provided below. Activities are structured to introduce students to the issues, then allow them to explore and apply their learnings. Extension and conclusion activities are included to challenge students and finally, encourage them to reflect on the issues at hand. Ontario curriculum connections charts for grades 6 to 12 are included on the Global Voices homepage, www.thestar.com/globalvoices.

General Expectations: strategies are not included.

Since these activities are designed as discussions rather than formal lessons, assessment

Themes and Course Connections
  Rehabilitation, behaviour, negative reinforcement, violence, child soldiers, forgiveness. Course Connections: Social Studies and Language.

Materials
  Chart paper Writing utensils

Specific Expectations and Learning Goals
Students will:  Participate in active class discussions.  Learn about the ways in which behaviour is influenced.  Write a poem about child soldiers.  Practice their media literacy skills.  Discuss the power and importance of forgiveness.

Knowledge and Understanding
1. Behaviour (estimated time: 15 minutes) a. Ask students to go through the following examples and explain how their behaviour would be affected by the outcomes of the following actions: i. Every time you complete your homework you are given $5. ii. Every time you don’t make your bed you are punished. iii. Every time you wash the dishes you are allowed to watch an hour of television. iv. Every time you open your bedroom window, the noise from the street bothers you. v. Every time you answer a question in class, your teacher gives you a sticker. vi. Every time you speak out of turn in class, your teacher takes away a sticker. 1 of 3

b. After students have documented their behavioural reactions to the above scenarios ask them the following suggested questions: i. Were you more or less likely to perform a specific action if you received a positive reaction or reward? ii. Were you more or less likely to perform a specific action if you received a punishment or a negative reaction? c. Explain to students that these are natural behavioural reactions to positive or negative events. You take on actions in order to avoid punishment. Explain that in the case of child soldiers, they are forced to take on a lifestyle of violence through this same sort of process. d. Hold a discussion around child soldiers using the following suggested questions: i. Are these children naturally violent? ii. Why do child soldiers adopt such violent behaviours? iii. What would happen to them if they did not do as they were asked? e. Explain to students that children become child soldiers because their violent actions are rewarded, where as if they were to refuse to do as they were told, they would receive punishment or risk being killed.

Thinking
1. Read the Global Voices Column as a class (estimated time: 10 minutes) a. Discussion i. Ask the class to work together to retell the events of the column in their own words. ii. Ask students to explain how they felt while the column was being read. Did they feel sad? Why? Did they feel angry? Did they feel hopeful? Why? 2. Media Literacy (estimated time:15 minutes) a. On a piece of paper ask each student to write the heading Omar Khadr at the top of the page. Underneath the heading, have them create a chart with two columns across and five rows down. b. In the first column, have them write the following questions: i. What is the title of this column? ii. Who is the author? iii. What is the purpose of the column? iv. What statistics or facts are listed in the column? v. Are there biases or obvious points of view? c. Have the students revisit the Global Voices column and fill in the chart answering the above questions. d. Discuss the student’s charts as a class. Address the reasons why it is important to understand the source and potential bias of a website or print resource offering news information. Explain that just because a source has a bias does not mean it has no value. One of the traditional purposes of publications is to express opinions and attempt to convince readers of their validity. Explain that this is why it’s important for each of them to form their own opinion while reading publications instead of agreeing with everything.

Communication
1. Word Web: Child Soldiers (estimated time: 10 minutes) a. Divide the class into groups of 4 and distribute chart paper to each group. b. Ask each group to write the words “child soldiers” in the center of the page. c. The groups must now create a word web, recording all the words they associate with child soldiers on the chart paper around the central title. d. When the groups have completed their work, ask them to present their word webs to the class promoting a discussion around child soldiers. e. Display word webs at the front of the room to assist with the following activity. 2 of 3

2. Poetry (estimated time: 30 minutes) a. Building off of their word webs, ask students to express the different emotions they feel when they think about child soldiers. List emotions on the board. b. Using the emotions on the board and the words found in the word webs created by the students, ask them to string words together arranging them in sentences. (e.g.: “With their guns under their arms, they marched in sadness”). c. Popcorn the class and ask them to volunteer different sentences they have created; encourage students to help each other during this time. Write the created sentences on the board. d. When this brainstorm is complete, ask students to look at the sentences written on the board and fit them together based on rhythm and rhyme. (e.g.: “Children become soldiers not by choice. Children become soldiers because they don’t have a voice”) e. When this exercise is complete, ask the students to write their own poem about child soldiers. f. When students have completed their poems, ask them to share their work with a partner.

Application
1. Think Pair Share: Forgiveness (estimated time: 15 minutes) a. Explain to students that they will be participating in a Think Pair Share activity. b. Students will begin by thinking to themselves about an instance where they had to forgive someone. They will reflect on the details of the event and how it felt to grant the individual forgiveness. c. When this is complete, students with join into pairs and discuss their personal stories together, focusing closely on the importance of forgiveness and how it made them feel. d. When all pairs have finished their discussion, bring the class back together and host a discussion around forgiveness asking the following suggested questions: i. How does it feel to forgive someone? ii. Why is it important to forgive? iii. What would have happened if you had chosen not to forgive the person who harmed you?

Additional Resources
In addition to the above lesson plans, you may want to share some additional resources with your students. Listed below are some links to useful online resources: Children and Armed Conflict - http://www.un.org/children/conflict/english/index.html BBC News - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1815223.stm CBC News - http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/10/27/omar-khadr-united-nations-childsoldier.html The Toronto Star - http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/883469--walkom-omar-khadr-sguantanamo-show-trial The Toronto Star - http://www.thestar.com/specialsections/omarkhadr/article/717885--omarkhadr-innocent-in-death-of-u-s-soldier The Forgiveness Project – www.theforgivenessproject.org War Dance - movie - http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/war-dance/ Invisible Children movie - http://freedocumentaries.org/film.php?id=114

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