My Favorite Scoop- Zohair Ahmed

This article shows how GMO’s may save chocolate from becoming sparse and expensive. More and more chocolate lovers are being born in India and China, causing a increasing demand of chocolate. Cocoa trees are plants that bear their fruit 5 to even 10 years after being planted. This long period will not be able to sustain the demand, as more and more cocoa plants are being attacked by diseases and insects. This pushes people to turn to GMO’s to make the cocoa trees resistant to diseases and insects they are being attacked by. GMO’s are a major topic of unit 5.

Unit 5- GMO’s

GMO’s have negative effects as well as benefits, it is just a matter of importance. GMO’s may harm people in the long run, but also may save foods such as chocolate, and may also help achieve MDG goals such as reducing malnutrition. As more and more yield is created by GMO’s, more people will be able to get enough food.

luscious chocolates of Belgium


Palestine and Israel Conflict

Zohair Ahmed P.3

The conflict concerning the the two groups of Israelis and Palestinians occurs in the western edge of the Middle East, Israel having ports in the Mediterranean sea, and bordering many primarily Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The state of Israel is a primarily Jewish nation surrounded by Arab countries. The conflict’s root start as early as the 19th century, when the Ottoman Empire falls to the British. This time period was also when Zionism, the idea of Jewish nationalism was spreading among many Jews, causing them to come back to their origins, which they believed to be their homeland. When the Jews arrived to the lands, they discovered that people had occupied the land after they left, these were the Palestinians. in 1917, after the British had emerged victorious, the Balfour Declaration was created, which claimed a mandate on the land, and supported “The establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” – Balfour Declaration. The Jewish numbers now exponentially increased in the land. Terrorism acts against this immigration started as early as the 1920’s, an example of such terrorism is an organization that started in Syria called “Black Hand”, used as an attempt to root out migratory Jews. After World War 2 and the Holocaust, which was the systematic extermination and ethnic cleansing of six million European Jews, European Zionists acquire a stronger argument and reason for why they need the land of Israel. The U.N., an intergovernmental organization created to promote international cooperation, voted, in 1947, on resolution 181, which gives pieces of the land of Palestine to the Jewish people in the new state of Israel. These borders were not very strong, and divided the land awkwardly. In May 14th, 1948, the British mandate on Israel ends, and, on the same day, the nation of Israel is born. The day Israel is created, the Arab-Israeli War of 1948 begins. This war begins when Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Iran declare war on Israel, with the argument of self-determinations, that outsiders gave land to people who haven’t occupied the land for a long period of time. These nations all attack Israel, and Israel attacks back, winning the war. The war results in Israel’s borders expanding to 1/3 more land than the U.N. proposal stated. From 1948 to 1953, 700,000 Jews move to Israel, mostly from Europe, and 700,000 Palestinians flee to neighboring Arab countries. Jordan annexes the West Bank, and Egypt remains in control of the Gaza strip. The situation escalates when Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal, cutting Israel off of it’s shipping lanes. This is better known as the Egypt Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. Reacting, Israel allies with the British and French, taking control, through military, of the Sinai Peninsula, increasing Israel’s size and giving them control of part of the Suez Canal. In 1967, another war called the 6 Day War takes place. This war, pertaining to it’s name, lasted 6 days. nations participating include  Egypt and Jordan. These two countries attack, but are defeated, resulting in Israel taking even more land, including the Golan Heights, West Bank, and the Gaza strip. The next and final war to take place was called the 1973 Yom Kippur War. This war took place as a surprise attack by the nations of Egypt and Syria on the holiest calender day of the Jews. This war had no clear winner, for both sides were dealt major setbacks and damage, no land was gained. The Oslo Agreement of 1993 stated that West bank and Gaza strip would eventually be given to a new, independent country of Palestine.  In more recent years, Israel is not following the Oslo Agreement, occupying agreed upon Palestinian land, and building on it, and Palestinians increase their acts of terrorism, such as electing the terrorist group of Hammas to represent the Gaza strip. These ongoing terrorist acts galvanize Israel to attack back with airstrikes, and other types of warfare. A common misunderstanding is that this conflicts revolves around religious differences, which is wrong, this is a border conflict which may show relation to religion, but is mainly focused on border disputes between Israel and Palestine. Groups carrying out the most attacks include Hammas, and The Israeli Defense Forces.

Key Institution #1: Palestine

Palestine is a stateless nation which has been in conflict with Israel over borders. The Palestinian people have been denied a state from before the formation of Israel, and now they live under a situation equal to a Military Occupation. Palestinians also retaliate to the massacres against them by Israel, such as the Safsaf and al-Dawayima massacres in 1948.

Key Institution #2: Israel

Israel is a state that is primarily ruled by Jews and has grown in size several times after winning wars against Palestine and it’s neighboring countries. Israel needed a state for the many Jewish people without a state, and the U.N. established this. They also are not one of the first countries to increase their territory over a victory in war. Lastly, Israel needs to protect itself and it’s people from the terrorist acts committed against it by Palestine, and from it’s neighboring countries surrounding it.

Suggestions for Peace.

This Conflict will only start to be solved when Zionists and Palestinians recognize the right for each to exist and the reasons for their differences. A suggestion for peace would be to split the land occupied by both nations by population, so that each country has land proportioned to it’s population. There would still be conflicts of ports and etc, so I suggest to split it in a way that there are no landlocked parts, and that both countries get ports in the Mediterranean Sea.

Loss of land shown by map of the conflict over time.
Israel poster 1.A pro Palestinian poster, demonstrating the perspective of Palestinians 2. A Palestinian explanation to why Israel belongs to Jews, perspective of Jews on the conflict
Map showing the geographic location of this conflict. Next to Arab countries, and on the western side of The Middle East. This map also shows the amount of land Palestine owns today.
Map showing the geographic location of this conflict. Next to Arab countries, and on the western side of The Middle East. This map also shows the amount of land Palestine owns today.

Pakistan’s Culture

Pakistan’s Culture

Folk Food-

Tender meat curry called mutkah ghosht is a traditional food of Ther ( rural town ), which is cooked in a tandoor stove.

Pop. Food-

Naan and Kabobs ( seekh, gola, tikka, aalo, chapli, and many more!) are some of the most well known Pakistani foods worldwide. Naan is a type of leavened bread, and shaped (sometimes) as a tear drop made from flower dough. Kabobs are made of minced meat, and there are many forms.

Naan, sometimes served with seasoning.


Folk music/art-

Ghazal, a type of traditional song sung in a way to praise somebody or something. Other types of folk music include Sufi, Qawwali, and Sufi Rock, all traditional songs sung by different groups in Pakistan.

Pop. music/art-

Nasheeds such as Julwa-e-Jannah, are popular religious songs which use instruments such as drums, sitar (instrument used), and tablahs (instrument used). These songs are heavily influenced by religion, and have a praising nature towards religion.

Folk Clothing-

Ghagra choli, a traditional clothing for the people in gaw [gha- ao] , or a rural place in Pakistan (next to Baloch), is part of their daily lives. Y
These clothes are worn on a day to day basis, and are made to be used in all parts of the day.

This woman sieves rice in her Ghagra choli.
Pop. Clothing-

Kameez and Shalwar are popular clothing in Pakistan. These clothes are worn on a daily basis and fancier forms of these clothes are worn on special occasions. The clothes that are more expensive are usually hand sown, and may have beads and other embroidery designs on the clothing. Women and men wear Shalwar and Kameez, different types of clothing but they share the same name.

(He thinks he’s Swag)

(All of their poses were weird!!)

Folk Shelter-

Many people who live in a Gaw have shelters made of straw and rags called a jhopri. These shelters are easy to make, and provide enough shelter for one or two people, and are cheap.


Pop. Shelter-

Shelter in major cities are mostly made of brick (mostly white, sometimes red) and covered in plaster to have a smooth effect. Houses like these are common in major cities such as Karachi.


Folk Technology-

Many areas in Pakistan have been introduced to technology such as TV’s, video games, and computers. Some of these places have certain types of tools even depending on their careers and daily work. Gears are used in certain villages for work, and laptops in accounting.


Pop. Technology-

Nowadays, in major cities such as Islamabad and Karachi, Technology thrives thought the population. People have access to smart phones, TV’s, computers, laptops, and more. Technology has advanced very quickly into the major cities on Pakistan.


Folk Beliefs-

Some Folk beliefs include tying threads onto a grave of a well known religious scholar. They believe that if they do this, they will get help in following their religion. They also ask for repentance through these people. This belief is a deviation from the pure teachings for Islam, the religion that the people who practice this follow. Some people even believe that Hakeem’s , a form of chiropractors, are a better alternative than doctors.

Pop. Beliefs-
Popular beliefs include the life after death, which is stated in the religion of Islam. This belief is widely popular in Muslims, which is majority of the population in Pakistan. The belief is that you will have a life after death, and will be punished or rewarded according to your previous life

AP Human Geography: Mapheads Chapter 5 Book Review

Hey. I am Zohair Ahmed, a freshman at Lake Travis High School. I had moved to Austin, TX a year ago from Dallas, TX. I was born in St. Louis, Missouri on 9/28/2000. I have been out of the country eight times, and have gone to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, The Bahamas, and Canada. I speak English, learning Spanish, Arabic (I can read, write, and somewhat speak it), and Urdu (I can speak and understand it). I grew up in Missouri, Ohio, and Texas.

I am reviewing Chapter 5 of Maphead by Ken Jennings. The title of Chapter 5 is Elevation. The focus of this chapter is on older maps and map collectors. Older maps because they “combine all sorts of facets of art, history, scarcity, antiquity, intrinsic interest- all in one.”(82).

“Collectors used to be loyal”(92) Map Collectors now focus on making a good deal rather than finding maps. They hide what they don’t want you to know, and display what they find would make them a deal. Collectors now try “to protect a trade monopoly.”(92) such as when King Manuel I of Portugal ordered that if anyone left his kingdom with a single Portuguese map, they would face a death penalty. The Collectors seek a competitive advantage. Dealers used to have knowledge, but the internet has made it easy for dealers to search for information which may be true or false.

Smiley was an extremely knowledgeable map dealer had been stealing valuable maps from various libraries, stealing a total of $3 Million in map value! Why? because he had debts. This has started to become common in the world, “Smiley might never have been caught”(95) if not for dropping his knife on the ground. This was an easy process to get away with, people who stole maps developed the name “tome raiders”(96).

Map collecting has started to fade. Old maps are getting lost and stolen from libraries. Old maps were made of rag paper, cotton, linen, or hemp fiber. These map’s materials are durable, and many of these maps will stay around for long. They may even carry on after map collecting fades.

I enjoyed this chapter because it informed me about the importance of map collecting, and how had started many years before us. The chapter also made me feel anxiety, for map collecting is fading and may soon come to an end if maps continue to be stolen, lost, and collectors always seek a competitive advantage. Hopefully map collectors change over time and preserve their maps, and sell them to the right hands. I will try to help preserve the maps myself, such as making sure an antique map does not get lost, and sit in boxes, never to be enjoyed again. This concludes my “Elevation”, Chapter 5 review of the book Maphead by Ken Jennings.


Above is a map of the world from c. 1623 by Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas