Acrostic Poem Examples

Acrostic poems bring me right back to when I was a young boy in primary school. The teacher set colourful paper in front of us and told us about the poems before setting us on our way to create our own. They are really simple and are really enjoyable for children as they encourage them to use associative language to create a feeling from the name or term that is being used.

Commonly, the first word of each line spells out a name or phrase, however they can appear anywhere within. Take a look at some of my examples below and then go away and do some of your own. You can broach any number of topics and it can be really fun to engage in whether you’re a child or adult.

Acrostic Poem Examples

Using the First Letter of Every Line

Spelling out “Swamp”

Squelching footsteps on the ground!

Wellies pulled right up tight!

All around the fog builds up!

Moist marshes!

Pretty stinky if you ask me!

Spelling out “Tea”

Time for a cuppa?

Earl Grey alright, my love?

A ginger nut or two?

Spelling out “Chess”

Chess is the game of kings

Hunched over the board with wrinkled brow

Every move counts

Should I move my knight or pawn?

Surely they’ve thought three steps ahead

Spelling out “Fish”

Fishing requires patience

In the lake they await

Splashing around when they’re hooked on the line

Haddock!

Spelling out “summer”

Summer time and the living is easy

Umbrellas cover me in shade

Maybe we’ll go to the beach

Melting, my ice cream trickled down my hand

Everybody and their dog is out enjoying it

Resorts are packed with sunburnt holiday makers!

Spelling out “winter”

Winter gives me an awful chill

Icicles form on my window ledge

Nights last longer and longer

Tomorrow there will be a snow ball fight and I will win

Ever street is buried in snow

Really slippery floors

Spelling out “spring”

Spring has come

Perfumed smells from all the plants opening again

Roses in bloom

Incredible amount of colour on the trees

Nearby the butterflies flutter

Gardens alive with life once more

Spelling out “autumn”

All the leaves are brown

Under the trees are littered with leafs

Time to prepare for winter again

Underneath my feet the sound of crunching leafs

Nearby a squirrel gathers nuts

Different positions within the lines

Spelling out “Paper”

Please Pass me that paper

A quick note to Aunt Judy

Maybe Patrick would like one too?

Where on earth is that bloody papEr?

Spelling out “Truck”

Across The highway the truck charges on

Pulling up behind a sports caR

Near the Underpass a traffic jam starts

The trucK reaches its destination

Spelling out “Worm”

In the garden a Worm wiggled

I Overturned it with a garden spade

It coiled aRound the time of my finger

Mr worM

Using Names

Spelling out “Philip K. Dick”

PreCogs and Pre-crime

Hunting down runaway androids

Isidore mistakes real for artificial

Lincoln reborn as a Simulacrum

Insanity through false reality

Pris

Kindred

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

In Milton Lumky Territory

Clans of the Alphane Moon

Kindred

Spelling of “Sagan”

Scientific mind of wonder

Astronomer

Gazing at the stars

An agent of reason

Now, sadly no longer alive

Spelling out Shakespeare

Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them

Hell is empty and all the devils are here

As soon go kindle fire with snow, as seek to quench the fire of love with words

Knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven

Edward III

Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind

Prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?

Elizabethan playwright

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players

Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving

Entertained the masses

Acrostic Poems by Famous Poets

Edger Allan Poe

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
“Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L. E. L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breathe it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His folly — pride — and passion — for he died.

Lewis Carroll – A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky

A boat beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July–

Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear–

Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die.
Autumn frosts have slain July.

Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.

Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.

In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:

Ever drifting down the stream–
Lingering in the golden gleam–
Life, what is it but a dream?

EllaBella – Terror

Try as I might I can’t get out of bed, stuck to it with fear

Every inch and the horrid shadows get so near

Rogues I can only think of lurk in my dreams

‘Run downstairs’, I tell myself, ‘No more screams!’

Open the door and fear stands in your way

‘Ruthless thoughts, go away, I want to have my own say!’

There are some what I have done myself and some that I have found by published writers, but you could easily write your own, and do a lot better than the ones that I have done. As mentioned it is great for kids, but getting back into the swing of it myself was so much fun.

You can write on anything that you like and approach topics that are close to your heart.

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Slang Language Examples

Slang is an expression of that which is truly wonderful about our language. As the years move on, more and more informal speech is added to the broth, much to the dismay of the generations that came before them.

The use of slang can be seen to bring joy and richness to conversations amongst friend groups, but this form of dialect has barriers and depending on your geographical location, your age group and the people you associate, you will all have informal terms flying around!

Slang has served as a dividing rod between parents and youngsters for as long as time. It is perfectly natural to wish to rebel against your parents at the time of adolescence and one way that seems to solidify this is by the use of language.

Slang Language Examples:

“That’s mint!” – This is not somebody calling out in surprise after discovering what their toothpaste tastes like, it is in fact something that is ‘great’. Those are mint trainers, that film was mint.
The term “Sick” has a similar implication.
Cockney rhyming slang was an elaborate means for East End gangsters to discuss their business without the police being able to listen in and understand what they are talking about. This particular style of rhyming is still popular today and more and more people understand its meaning but there are still terms that will catch people out.

The way it works is by using words which rhyme with what it is intended to mean.

Examples:

Apples and pears – Means stairs
Trouble and strife – Knife
David Starkey – Parky, which is a slang term in itself for describing cold weather. David Starkey is a historian and it is due to the rhyme in his surname.
Sometimes this is abbreviated to just the forename. For example ‘It’s a bit David out ‘ere!’
The rapid change in slang often shows that names begin to change in meaning by those who use them causing confusion and humour alike from all generations. It shows the passage of language in all its beauty, but it can also be used to quite dramatic effects. This is particularly the case if one looks at words which where once meant to cause misery to other people.

For example:

Queer: Queer was originally a term to express that something was unusual, like in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Chapter 7 is called Queer Lodgings. However, the term was later used as a derogatory name towards homosexual men it imply that there was something wrong with them, and that they were strange and out of the ordinary. The term ‘queer’ has now been reclaimed and appropriated by the gay community as something positive, thus removing the power of the oppressor.
“You’ve got spunk!” This term often causes a snigger amongst high school students when reading a book which uses the term to denote courage or determination. Now the term is use for, well, you get the idea.
“Busted” – Busted is a fantastic example of how a slang term can completely change meaning over time. If something was busted when your grandparents were younger, then it was broken. It the changed to mean somebody who had been apprehended by the police and subsequent taken in. In today’s lingo, “Busted” is a way of referring to somebody who you feel is unattractive.

Slang words can come about through a variety of different means, and one of the most popular ways is by splicing together words on a seemingly molecular level to create combination words or hybrid words. These tend to be two combinations of thoughts that intensify one and other.

For example:

“Omnishambles” – The term ‘Omnishambles’ was first uttered on The Thick of It, a master class of political satire created by the legendary Armando Iannucci and is recommended to all who don’t mind elegant swearing. ‘Omnishambles’ has been since added to the Oxford English Dictionary and even won the word of the year. It quite literally means ‘A situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations’, or for a better term, a situation that is shambolic from all possible angles.
Chillax: This is an incredibly popular term of phrase used by people today and it is simply achieved by fusing two words which are often used for the same purpose. That is to ‘Chill’ and to ‘relax’.
Frenemy: Very simple one to get your head around. This term uses contradiction to highlight a characteristic within people. A frenemy is somebody who apparently behaves as though they are your friend, but can be seen to act in a very unfriendly way. Fusion of ‘Friend and Enemy’
Smasual: Ever received a party invite that requests that you arrive in smart/casual wear? Well, now we can put those together to make a word that really rolls off of the tongue quite nicely!
Totes Amazeballs: This term is much to the annoyance of certain groups in the UK, if not, the world. It is a perfectly harmless term that is taken from ‘totally’ and ‘amazing’ with ‘balls’ thrown in for good measure. True, it does sound awfully silly, but once you look at the word flabbergasted then your argument becomes invalid.
In this ever changing world that we live in more and more words are needed to answer our existential problems regarding the removal of an individual from your Facebook profile. As more activities come along their will be words to denote them. Take these for example.

Friend and Unfriend: No longer do you just say to somebody that you are no longer their friend and that you don’t wish to speak to them anymore because the chances are they are still on your social media profile and can still view images and anything else that you post. The act of ‘Unfriending’ someone is the simple act of removing them digitally. The opposite is obvious for ‘friend or friending’.
Follow and Unfollow: In the Twitter age the term as changed from being that creepy person following your movements to those that are interest in what people have to say or do online.
Twerking: A form of dancing which is sexually provocative as it involves thrusting of hips and a low squatting stance. People have been outraged by it in the media due to a certain female singer to whom I’ve past the point of caring about. It is a combination of the words ‘twist’ and ‘jerk.’
YOLO (You Only Live Once): A term that usually characterises hedonistic behaviour as it is states you have one shot at life, then you may as well try things out no matter how ridiculous or stupid it is. Basically, it is ‘Carpe Diem’ for those that aren’t too familiar with Horace.
Surfing: Quite an oldie but still relevant. It is the term used for using the internet.
Slang is good for your mind it would seem, as it displays a great deal of creativity to achieve. Take Dickens and Shakespeare, those guys made up their own words and they are widely used to! Get creative and have some fun with your language!

Alliteration Examples in Literature

Alliteration, as discussed in some of my other articles, is a literary device which involves the use of two or more words that share the same consonant sounds at the beginning of these words. So, Peter Parker picked pickles perfectly, is an example of alliteration, as they all share the ‘P’ sound.

It is an incredibly simple device to identify, and thus it can be enjoyed by children in the form of tongue twisters which can really build on a child’s audio processing and linguistically skills.

However, it is a tool that is not just for the enjoyment of children and has been employed by a number of writers throughout a number of mediums of literature, whether that is verse or prose and it allows for thoughts and feeling to be conveyed in a particular way. For instance, because of the repetitive sounds, alliteration can generate a sense of franticness if a character’s mind is unsettled by some external force, or if they are excited and rushing to tell another character about their experience.

Below are some examples from famous pieces of prose and verse which you may be familiar with already, however, if there are none that you recognise then don’t fret, because they are examples which will show you how to identify alliteration with relative ease and simplicity.

Alliteration Examples in Literature

The Siege of Belgrade – Alaric Alexander Watts

An Austrian array, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery, besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders, cannonading come,
Dealing destruction’s devastating doom;
Every endeavor, engineers essay
For fame, for fortune, forming furious fray.
Gaunt gunners grapple, giving gashes good
Heaves high his head heroic hardihood.
Ibraham, Islam, Ismael, imps in ill,
Jostle John Jarovlitz, Jem, Joe, Jack, Jill:
Kick kindling Kutusoff, king’s kinsman kill;
Labor low levels loftiest longest lines;
Men march ‘mid moles, ‘mid mounds, ‘mid murderous mines.
Now nightfall’s nigh, now needful nature nods.
Opposed, opposing, overcoming odds.
Poor peasants, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, “Quarter! Quarter! ” quickly quest.
Reason returns, recalls redundant rage,
Saves sinking soldiers, softens signiors sage.
Truce, Turkey, truce! truce, treacherous Tartar train!
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish, vile vengeance! vanish, victory vain!
Wisdom wails war – wails warring words. What were Xerxes, Xantippe, Ximenes, Xavier?
Yet yassy’s youth, ye yield your youthful yest.
Zealously, zanies, zealously zeal’s zest.

On Thriftiness – Thomas Tusser

The thrifty that teacheth the thriving to thrive
Teach timely to traverse, the thing that thou ‘trive.,
Transferring thy toiling, to timeliness taught,
This teacheth thee temp’rance, to temper thy thought,
Take Trusty (to trust to) that thinkest to thee,
That trustily thriftiness trowleth to thee,
That temper thy travell, to tarry the tide;
This teacheth thy thriftiness, twenty times tryed,
Take thankfull thy talent, thank thankfully those
That thriftily teach thee thy time to transpose.
Troth twice to thee teached, teach twenty times ten,
This trade thou that takest, take thrift to thee then.

Beowulf

Now Beowulf bode in the burg of the Scyldings,
leader beloved, and long he ruled
in fame with all folk, since his father had gone
away from the world, till awoke an heir,
haughty Healfdene, who held through life,
sage and sturdy, the Scyldings glad.
Then, one after one, there woke to him,
to the chieftain of clansmen, children four:
Heorogar, then Hrothgar, then Halga brave;
and I heard that — was — ‘s queen,
the Heathoscylfing’s helpmate dear.
To Hrothgar was given such glory of war,
such honor of combat, that all his kin
obeyed him gladly till great grew his band
of youthful comrades. It came in his mind
to bid his henchmen a hall uprear,
ia master mead-house, mightier far
than ever was seen by the sons of earth,
and within it, then, to old and young
he would all allot that the Lord had sent him,
save only the land and the lives of his men.
Wide, I heard, was the work commanded,
for many a tribe this mid-earth round,
to fashion the folkstead. It fell, as he ordered,in rapid achievement that ready it stood there,

Paradise Lost – John Milton

Behemoth biggest born of earth upheaved
His vastness: Fleeced the flocks and bleating rose,
As plants: Ambiguous between sea and land
The river-horse, and scaly crocodile.

Sir Galahad – Alfred Tennyson

I leave the plain, I climb the height;
No branchy thicket shelter yields;
But blessed forms in whistling storms
Fly o’er waste fens and windy fields.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I closed my lids, and kept them close,
And the balls like pulses beat ;
For the sky and the sea, and the sea and the sky
Lay like a load on my weary eye,
And the dead were at my feet.

Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

‘Harry Potter’s appearance did not endear him to the neighbours, who were the sort of people who thought scruffiness ought to be punishable by law, but as he had hidden himself behind a large hydrangea bush this evening he was quite invisible to passers-by.’

Moby Dick – Herman Melville
‘The first unknown phantom in the other world; – neither of these can feel stranger and stronger emotions than that man does, who for the first time finds himself pulling into the charmed, churned circle of the hunted Sperm Whale.’

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

‘Something displeasing, something down-right detestable. I never saw a man I so disliked and yet I scarce know why. He must be deformed somewhere …’

These are but a few examples from some notable works, however I am sure that there are plenty piece of alliteration hidden somewhere within your book shelf. Like most things, jargon can be off-putting to the extent that it can make things sound far more complicated than it actually is, but once we begin to deconstruct these features it all becomes a little more clear.

Soliloquy Examples

A soliloquy is the literary term for a device used in stories or plays when a character speaks to themselves about their personal thoughts of feelings, thus sharing these thoughts or feelings with the audience. The comments are not directed towards the audience, as an aside may be, nor are other characters in the play aware of what is being said by that character. Soliloquies are a way for writers to explicitly alert the audience or the reader to the inner thoughts and motivations of the character. Unlike character interactions with each other, they should not be second guessed, because the character who is delivering the soliloquy has no real reason to be deceitful as they is conversing with themselves.

Whilst soliloquies were frequently used in Elizabethan drama (Shakespeare, Marlow, Webster etc), they fell out of fashion in the late 18th century as playwrights began to favour realism. However, some script writers and directors still use soliloquies to make specific points in television shows or movies. Many independent film makers enjoy trying out older techniques to see how modern audiences react to them. Soliloquies can vary in length – whilst some can last for the entire length of a scene or chapter, others are just a few lines long.

Here are some famous Soliloquy Examples:

Hamlet – To be or not to be

“To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep—
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life:
For who would bear the Whips and Scorns of time,
The Oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s Contumely,
The pangs of despised Love, the Law’s delay,
The insolence of Office, and the Spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his Quietus make
With a bare Bodkin? Who would these Fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.
Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all,
And thus the Native hue of Resolution
Is sicklied o’er, with the pale cast of Thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment,
With this regard their Currents turn awry,
And lose the name of Action. Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia. Nymph, in all thy Orisons
Be thou all my sins remembered.”

During this soliloquy, Hamlet speaks of his thoughts about committing suicide. Whilst he is troubled by the pain and perceived unfairness of life, he admits that he does not know what would await him in death, and he acknowledges that death may be worse than life.

Macbeth – Sound and Fury

“She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.”

Macbeth has just been told news of his wife’s death. Lady Macbeth had been driven mad by her part in the murder of the former king of Scotland, and it is implied that she committed suicide. He uses an extended metaphor about minor actors in a play to highlight the frailty and fragility of life.

Blade Runner – Tears in Rain

“I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe… [contemptuous laugh] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those… moments… will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears… in… rain. Time… to die…”

This short soliloquy is frequently cited as one of the most moving death soliloquies in cinematic history. It is reported that many members of the cast and crew were in tears as they filmed this scene.

Paradise Lost –Extract from Satan’s Solilioquy

“O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned,
Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars
Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,
Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in Heaven against Heaven’s matchless King:
Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompence, and pay him thanks,
How due! yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I ‘sdeined subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome still paying, still to owe,
Forgetful what from him I still received,
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharged; what burden then
O, had his powerful destiny ordained
Me some inferiour Angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had raised
Ambition! Yet why not some other Power
As great might have aspired, and me, though mean,
Drawn to his part; but other Powers as great
Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within
Or from without, to all temptations armed.
Hadst thou the same free will and power to stand?
Thou hadst: whom hast thou then or what to accuse,
But Heaven’s free love dealt equally to all?”

In this soliloquy from Paradise Lost by John Milton, Satan thinks about what he has already done and what his options will be in future. He wrestles with the reasons why he fell from heaven, and whilst he wants to blame God, he ultimately realises that he own free will was responsible. He concludes that his only real course of action will be to continue to divide and destroy the kingdom of God.

Ulysses – Extract from Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy

“…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish Wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Molly Bloom’s soliloquy ends the novel Ulysses. Due to the unusual writing style and lack of punctuation, many readers find it quite hard to understand this section. Molly talks of her love for Leopold and some of the experience from her early life. The lack of punctuation aims to highlight how this section is Molly’s stream of consciousness. In the 22,000 section, her thoughts are only occasionally broken up by incidences such as the noise from a train whistle. This extract is right from the end of the soliloquy and gives details of Leopold’s proposal to Molly.

Examples of Genocide

Genocide is a term which refers to any attempt to systematically destroy all or part of a specific racial, ethnic, religious or national grouping. Whilst scholars have been debating the definition of genocide for a number of years, a formally codified definition was developed for the “1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide”. This definition defines genocide as follows:

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”.

Although this definition is the one which is most widely referenced by people who are discussing genocide, some academics raise questions about it, because it fails to include mass killings based on political affiliation, class, sexuality, gender or any other group of people who may be destroyed due to their identification with that characteristic. Because the word “genocide” is technically derived from the Greek word genos (meaning race) and the Latin cïdere (meaning to kill), these other concepts and characteristics are often excluded when discussing genocide and killings based on these concepts may be given other names (such as politicide, democide and gendercide.) However, as these alternative terms are less widely used and are themselves widely debated, many different types of mass killings are still considered to be genocides. Here are a few examples of events which can be considered to be genocides.

Genocide Examples

The Holocaust

During World War II, the leaders of Nazi Germany developed a programme to systematically exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe. Of approximately 9 million Jewish people residing in Europe pre-1939, around two-thirds were massacred during the Holocaust. As well as setting up extermination camps with the specific purpose of killing large numbers of people at a time, Death Squads were also responsible for mass public killings of Jewish citizens. These citizens were often rounded up, taken to a specific area and then killed. Millions of Jewish people were also forced out of their homes and into concentration camps where they were made to work until they died. Although the term Holocaust is usually used to specifically refer to the killing of the Jewish population, large numbers of Romani (gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, disabled people and homosexuals were also killed by the Nazis during this period. Members of the political opposition were also systematically destroyed by the Nazi party.

Cambodian Genocide

Between 1975 and 1979, around 3 million people were killed in Cambodia by the ruling regime, led by communist revolutionary Pol Pot. In his quest to create an agrarian society, Pol Pot ordered the systematic killing of the elite classes of Cambodia, including the majority of educated groups, such as students, lawyers, doctors and journalists. Some people were even executed just because they wore glasses, which were believed to be a sign of education and wealth. The majority of the urban population of Cambodia were forced out of their homes and ordered to attend “re-education” camps in the countryside, where they were indoctrinated with the beliefs of the government and made to work the fields for hours each day. Thousands of people died in these camps from malnutrition and overwork. Some scholars do not consider the events in Cambodia to be a true genocide, as the majority of the killings were not based on race or nationality, and therefore some people use the term “autogenocide” to distinguish that it was the killing of citizens by their own government, rather than the killing of a specific race or minority grouping.

Rwandan Genocide

For approximately 100 days in 1994, around 1 million ethnic Tutsi Rwandans were killed by the Hutu majority, at the behest of the government. National ID cards in Rwanda at the time included a statement of ethnicity, and therefore checkpoints were set up at all major thoroughfares to check IDs to prevent Tutsis from escaping. Ordinary citizens were prompted to take up arms against their former friends or neighbours, and many people were told that if they did not join in the slaughter, they would also be killed. Many Hutus who “sympathised” with the Tutsi minority or had married outside of their ethnic group were killed. As well as mass killing, rapes and sexual mutilation were also used as a weapon against the Tutsi people. The government of Rwanda are now attempting to promote reconciliation and forgiveness between the two ethnic groups, because many of those involved with the massacre still live side-by-side with the families of their victims.

Armenian Genocide

In 1915, Ottoman authorities began rounding up Armenian intellectuals and community leaders. These events were closely followed by attempts to expel all ethnic Armenian citizens from their homes throughout the area. Whilst many of the able-bodied men were slaughtered immediately, the women, children and elderly people were forced to march hundreds of miles in an attempt to forcibly transfer them to different areas. Many people died of malnourishment or exhaustion on these gruelling marches. Although modern-day Turkey still refuses to accept that this incident should be classified as genocide, at least 21 countries now recognise it as such.

Bosnian Genocide

Mass expulsions and killings of Bosnian civilians by the Serbian army took place during the 1992 – 1995 Bosnian War. The campaign of ethnic cleansing also included unlawful imprisonment, sexual assault, robbery, rape and torture. In one of the most brutal events of the period of genocide, over 8000 Bosnian men and boys were killed in just a just a few days, in the Srebrenica area, and over 25,000 women, children and elderly people were forcibly transferred away from their homes. Many women were also raped and mutilated by the Serbian forces as parted of this population transfer scheme. International peacekeeping forces have been criticised for not doing enough to prevent these massacres, despite their close proximity to the events.

Examples of Communism

Communism is a political structure that leans towards the far-left, as opposed to Capitalism which is its ideological opposite. Characterised traditionally as red, there was a fear that a sort of ‘red mist’ would descend upon people and turn them into communists. Whether this was taken literally was entirely down to the mind of the individual; however there is no doubt that the rise of communism terrified the capitalist countries of the west.

The communist ideology was a means to strip away a class-based society in favour of one where everyone is equal (however, some are more equal than others as history shows) and was heavily influenced by Karl Marx’s 1848 work The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital which called into question the relationship between labour and capitalism. Marx saw that the workers were being heavily exploited under a capitalist system, namely those who owned the means to production and the workers to whom were mere appendages to the machine, being paid considerably less for the products that they create whilst at the same time generating a considerable fortune for the classes that happened to be in charge.

Communism is therefore Marxism/socialism in practice as they are both political and philosophical thoughts whilst communism was the implementation of these principles in a real-life economic process.

The most notable example of communism is the Soviet Union, or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR/CCCP). The Soviet Union began fully in 1922 under the leadership of one, Vladimir Lenin following the Russian Revolution of 1917 which saw the seizure of the means of industry. Through their efforts, the USSR became a major super-power which rivalled that of the United States.

Surviving until 1991, the USSR competed with the United States in a number of fields, namely the space race (which the Soviets won) and a race to the moon (won by the USA). These two opposing ideologies engaged in one of the most confusing and complex wars in human history which was titled The Cold War.

Holding the world to ransom, both super-powers controlled enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over and were only intensified by the two positioning these weapons within range of one another, such as Cuba, a fellow communist nation which underwent its own revolution in the 1950’s.

Cuba is particularly interesting, and in some way demonstrates how communism can work on a small scale in that the healthcare is state owned and state distributed freely to its people. This is something that the American’s have yet to do for fear that it is socialist, whereas the United Kingdom (which seems to embrace both capitalist and socialist ideals) and has the National Health Service (NHS) which is paid for by the taxpayers to be used when need be. Cuba also has a fantastic standard of education and literacy.

Interestingly when I went to Cuba five years ago, I visited Havana and saw the famous architecture of their building and noticed that a lot of the paintwork was faded and crumbled to which I asked a local woman why this was so. She informed me the inside the building, the people can do whatever they please in terms of decoration, but the outside of the buildings where owned by the state and so one would have to apply for work to be done instead of doing it themselves.

People often look at Cuba as being impoverished; however, everyone is paid exactly the same regardless of their profession, so a doctor is paid the same wage as say, a rubbish collector. After having conversations with those who worked at the hotel (the doorman was a trained electrical engineer), I found that they would prefer to work in hotels because they were more likely to receive a tip for their services.

Communism is obviously not exclusive to these nations, and other countries have adopted this political structure which has shown horrific abuses delivered to their people. They tend to be totalitarian dictatorships with one single party of government. Take North Korea, for example, and you will see in parade marches that there is a stripping away of individuality in the way that they move and the clothing that they wear. There is also a law of compulsory happiness in North Korea which means that people must demonstrate that they are happy despite their lack of freedoms which the western world takes for granted, such as a readily supply of food.

This uniformity was also demonstrated in Mao’s China which made citizens carry the red book of communism with them at all times. They also wore the exact same clothing and it is said that the Student Rebellion that took place in that country was a direct result of footage from the western world being seen which showed people wearing different clothing and the likes.

Communism is the name given to a socioeconomic system based on a principle of common ownership and an absence of class. Communist systems strive for full employment, with the intention that the majority of employees work for the state and state-run industry. In exchange, the state aims to provide all citizens with social and welfare provisions. Some communist thinkers also advocate the absence of religion because it creates a divide between people and may supersede the state. The heyday for modern communism occurred during the second half of the 20th century, as influential communist countries engaged in ideological struggles with the countries who believed in opposing capitalist ideas. Here are some examples of Communism:

Examples of Communism

USSR

The USSR was undoubtedly the most influential communist power during the 20th Century. Having become a Communist power in the early 20th Century under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the union continued to grow in power as it encourage communist revolutions and takeovers in neighbouring countries. Within a few years of the end of World War II, the Soviets had developed a huge sphere of influence which included much of Central and Eastern Europe. For the duration of the Cold War, ‘hot wars’ raged across Africa, South East Asia and South America as the Americans and the Soviets secrets scrambled for power in these areas. As time has gone by, more and more information has emerged about the support (weapons and agents on the ground) which was secretly proffered around the globe by both superpowers. The power of the Soviet Union began to falter in the later 1980′s as Mikhael Gorbachev announced a new period of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (reform). Revolution and serious reforms occurred across Central and Eastern Europe, as these countries broke free from Soviet influence. Eventually the Soviet Union broke down into 15 independent states, many of which choose to embrace democratic values instead.

Cuba

Communist Cuba has been a thorn in the side of America for the past 60 years. Having overthrown American-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in the 1953 – 1959 Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro was in power for nearly 50 years, only relinquishing power to his brother Raul in 2008. Soon after the revolution, the Cuban government began to nationalise privately owned interests in the country. Labour unions and other mass movements which were previously banned were reintroduced to the country, and many people joined these movements. Relations between Cuba and the United States rapidly deteriorated, and diplomatic ties were officially cut in 1961. In response to Cuban nationalisation of some American-owned businesses, trade and travel embargos were later introduced by the American government, who hoped to force Castro’s hand and change Cuban policy. The USA government also sponsored a counter-revolution attempt, known as the Bay of Pigs Invasion, which ended in humiliation, as most agents were caught and sent back to America. It is reported that American CIA operatives have planned or attempted to assassinate Fidel Castro in hundreds of different ways, including blowing him up with an exploding cigar and covering the inside of his scuba suit with a dangerous toxin. At the present time, Cuba is undergoing serious economic reforms, and some citizens are now allowed to engage in private enterprise.

China

Communism in China was established in the late 1940’s, as revolutionary Mao Zedong took control at the end of the Chinese Civil War. Communisation in China was brutal, and it is estimated that about 45 million people lost their lives as part of the collectivization process known as the Great Leap Forward. This ideological branch of Communism became known as Maoism, and Mao’s distinct interpretation of the communist ideology helped to lead to a major split between China and the Soviet Union.

Worried about the stability of Communism in China, Mao initiated another movement, known as the Cultural Revolution. This movement sought to remove many cultural, traditional and capitalist elements from Chinese society. Many senior Communist officials were purged from the party and the period was marked by periodic arrests, torture, harassment and the seizure of property from anyone who was considered to be too “bourgeois”. This period also saw the growth of the cult of personality which was associated with Mao. Since his death in 1976, Mao’s image has become iconic and can now be found all over China and beyond. His body was embalmed after his death and is now on show to the public in a mausoleum in Tiananmen Square.

Tiananmen Square is also known as the site of an infamous state-led massacre in 1989, when the Chinese government sent a series of tanks to disperse student protestors who had been occupying the square. Troops fired on the people who were gathered in the square, killing hundreds and injuring thousands more. This massacre helped to highlight some of the dissatisfaction that Chinese citizens felt with the actions of their government. Since 1989, China has attempted to introduce several economic and social reforms to increase their trade power.

Vietnam

Communist revolutionary Ho Chí Minh was integral in leading the independence movement in north of Vietnam, as the Vietnamese struggled for independence from colonial France. The country was briefly separated into two, during the late 1950s, as North Vietnam became communist whilst the south developed into a right-wing dictatorship. Amid serious political instability in South Vietnam, forces from the North eventually pushed south to attempt to reunite the country. Although American troops joined southern Vietnamese forces, the northern Viet Cong army’s guerrilla tactics helped to win the war for the Communists. In the immediate aftermath of the Vietnamese Civil War, hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese citizens were sent to re-education camps and mass collectivisation of private property began.

Vietnam is now considered to be a reformed-Communist country, because the government have been introducing economic and social reforms for the past few decades. The reform-minded government of 1986 began the long transition from a planned economy to a “socialist-orientated market economy”. The growth rate in Vietnam has been noted as being within the highest in the world, and Vietnam was allowed to join the World Trade organisation in 2007.

Below is a list of countries and the dates that they adopted communism and the dates that it fell.

Afghanistan – Communistic from 1978 to 1992, was the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan
Albania – A Warsaw Pact nation, Albania was communistic from 1944 to 1992 and was the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania
Angola – Communistic from 1975 to 1991, was the People’s Republic of Angola
Benin – Communistic from 1975 to 1990, was the People’s Republic of Benin
Bulgaria – A Warsaw Pact nation, Bulgaria was communistic from 1946 to 1990 and was the People’s Republic of Bulgaria
Cambodia – Communistic from 1975 to 1989
Congo – Communistic from 1970 to 1991 and was the People’s Republic of the Congo
Czechoslovakia – A Warsaw Pact nation, Czechoslovakia was communistic from 1948 to 1989 and was the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
East Germany – Communistic from 1949 to 1990 and was the German Democratic Republic
Ethiopia – Communistic from 1987 to 1991 and was the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Hungary – A Warsaw Pact nation, Hungary was communistic from 1947 to 1989 and was the People’s Republic of Hungary and Hungarian People’s Republic
Mongolia – Communistic from 1924 to 1992 and was the Mongolian People’s Republic
Mozambique – Communistic from 1975 to 1990 and was the People’s Republic of Mozambique
North Vietnam – Communistic from 1954 to 1976 when it became unified with South Vietnam
Poland – A Warsaw Pact nation, Poland was communistic from 1945 to 1989 and was the People’s Republic of Poland
Romania – A Warsaw Pact nation, Romania was communistic from 1947 to 1989 and was the Socialist Republic of Romania
Somalia – Communistic from 1969 to 1991 and was the Somali Democratic Republic
South Yemen – Communistic from 1967 to 1990 and was the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen
Soviet Union – Communistic from 1922 to 1991 and was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
Yugoslavia – Communistic from 1945 to 1992 and was the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

How to use “The point is moot”?

During a conversation, someone might throw out the comment “the point is moot” before steering the topic to another direction. The question is, exactly what makes a point “moot”? What is “moot” by definition?

Something that is “moot” is considered “debatable”, “disputed”, “unresolved”, or even “controversial”. It is subject to debate and dispute on account of high uncertainties, generally failing to end with a final decision. Commonly, the phrase “moot point” is used, but this is not the extent of how the word “moot” can be utilized in a sentence. As an adjective, it is meant to state that something is continuing to be an issue. Interestingly enough, it is often used to turn the conversation at the point when the speaker feels the conversation will no longer advance. In other uses, the term can mean the opposite – as in something started in order to advance a conversation around a particular topic or subject matter.

“Moot” is most commonly an adjective in spoken language, but the fact is it’s much more than just that. “Moot” can also be a verb. For example, to moot something is to raise up a question, topic, idea, or even possibility for discussion. Synonyms include raising something up, bringing it up, broaching a topic, mentioning a point, introducing or advancing an idea, proposing or suggesting something, or putting a though forward. For example, “the idea was mooted five decades ago”. Similarly, a moot court in law school is the equivalent of a mock trial.