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be valued for Origin of Heiroglyphics

Ancient Egypt conjures up thoughts of a great civilization, one very advanced for its time.  The Ancient Egyptians invented all different forms of literature, including poetry and short stories, and they were extremely advanced as far as art, medicine, science, and religion went.    One of the more mysterious aspects to Ancient Egyptian civilization was their use of hieroglyphics.  Very few people to this day can understand the complex language. The origin of these hieroglyphics seems to also to be misunderstood by many people. Some think that since the Egyptians were such a close, rigid society that they invented the form of writing called hieroglyphics, but that is simply not true. The origin of using pictures to represent things can be traced all the way back to caveman times, but the main influence for the Egyptians came from the land of Sumer.
In fact, the beginning of Egyptian civilization was very similar to that of the Sumerians.  By 500 b.c., farming settlements were established all along the Nile River (Warburton, 69).  Civilization in Egypt brought problems similar to those that arose in Sumer, but it was the growing government bureaucracy, not business, that created the need for writing, and the eventual development of hieroglyphics.
Because the Nile flooded every year, the Egyptian farmers had begun to build dikes to keep the floodwaters out of towns, basins to capture and hold the water after the floods receded, and irrigation canals to distribute the water throughout the fields (Warburton, 70).  Those projects required a very organized effort among every one of the farmers, and a strong central government and bureaucracy developed to manage and control this effort.  Eventually, this bureaucracy, including the king, the upper-class, and the ever powerful priests in charge, became a huge, rigid network that managed everyones life. By 3100 b.c., when the Sumerians had invented their picture writing, it had become impossible to run that network without an accurate record-keeping system (Warburton, 74).
For a long time before then, the Egyptians had been trading gold and linen with many other countries from throughout the middle east. In exchange, they got timber, gems, copper, and perfume (World Book Encyclopedia, 224).  While trading in the land of Sumer, the Ancient Egyptian traders must have noticed how helpful a written language was and how it could help their governments bureaucracy function much more smoothly. Then, they brought back the idea back to Egypt, where it was quickly and openly accepted.
The Egyptians, however, did not acknowledge the borrowing from Sumerian culture.  Instead, they believed that writing had been invented by their god of learning, Thoth, so they called it words of the gods (Warburton, 70).  And since written words came from the gods, they had magical powers. By carving a persons name on a tomb or monument, the Egyptians believed that they were helping to keep that person alive if they had passed on. Similarly, by erasing a persons name from the inscriptions would make the person disappear.  Words were so powerful that putting a written list of objects in a tomb was the same as putting the objects in themselves.  Since the Egyptians believed that a persons life was bound up in his name, the Egyptian Kings often had five names, the most important being the throne and birth names (Harris, 18).    
Egyptians developed this gift from the gods into their own unique writing system, using the pictograms they borrowed from the Sumerians but drawing them in a very different style. When the Egyptians first started writing, they used simple pictures to represent objects, just as the Sumerians had. In combination, these pictures could also narrate an event.
Egyptians, like Sumerians, must have quickly realized the limitations of writing with only pictograms. Their population and business was growing rapidly, requiring an even more accurate record-keeping system. Also, the power of the kings was growing and so was their desire to glorify themselves, especially on the massive tombs they had built.  They could not  use pictograms to write The King triumphed over his enemies in a mighty victory (Helfman, 42).  The priests, who at the time, were the only ones who could read and write, responded by developing ideograms and then ... more

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"A Night of a Thousand Suicides" by Teruhiko Asada

"A Night of a Thousand Suicides" by Teruhiko Asada

The novel based on actual events "A Night of a Thousand Suicides" by Teruhiko Asada, took place in an Australian prisoner of war camp, during World War II. The story involves captured Japanese soldiers planning an escape from an Australian POW camp. The soldiers knowing that a successful escape was most unlikely were faced with the reality of certain death.  The battle came not only from their captors but mostly from within themselves. The struggle within came from their loyalty to their country, obedience to their leaders, and their own desire to die with honor. The views a Japanese solider and an American have on the value of human life greatly differs.
While discussing escape plans with the other section leaders, Cpl. Hotei, says, '"There is not a single coward of that kind in my section. We're all ready to die defying any such order. That's the fighting spirit of Japan'" (Asada 17). This quote defines the spirit of the extremist views of a Japanese soldier.  To be captured meant dishonor for them as well as their families. This extremist view is also displayed in the Samurai's motto:  '"The way of the Samurai was the way of death"' (Asada 17).
The soldiers in the Australian camp were not mistreated. On the contrary, they were well cared for. Despite their treatment by the Australians, a Japanese soldier would follow his leader's orders regardless of the final outcome.   The idea that being captured meant dishonor to a soldier and his family was enough to drive him to die needlessly.
The escape attempt took the lives of 234 Japanese soldiers. Some committed suicide prior to the escape taking place. Those who committed suicide before the escape were the invalids that were unable to attempt escaping with the others.

As the escape progressed, it was apparent the Australian soldiers did not want to kill the attempting escapees, but rather they fired over their heads in an attempt to stop the revolt. This did not succeed, but instead only enticed the Japanese to continue their revolt. As a result, the Australians were forced to kill the escaping prisoners. The actions of the Australians were that of people who valued human life. They did what was in their power to give the Japanese an opportunity to stop and save their own lives. With the Samurai warrior mindset, this was not an option. To stop the revolt would mean dishonor. The thought of being dishonored was greater than the fear of death. The soldiers must continue.
How does this differ from the way an American feels towards being captured? To fully understand why the captured soldiers felt that their intentions were honorable is intriguing. If the soldiers were being mistreated or abused in the camp one could better understand the resistance, but this was not the case. They had convinced themselves and each other that to be moved would be a disgrace to their country and each other.  If the soldiers thought it disgraceful to be moved, why did they not think it disgraceful to be captured?  Being captured and take prisoner does not define dishonor.
What price is placed on human life? In countries around the world, human life is held in the highest value. It is apparent the Australians felt this way, therefore, they did not immediately shoot to kill the Japanese soldiers, but rather gave them warning shots. The Japanese, on the other hand, felt that death in this manner was be coming of a Japanese solider.
In summary, loyalty, honor, and obedience are the main focal points. The Japanese soldiers held honor in the highest regard. They were loyal to their country and obedient to their leaders. The honor that they portrayed in battle would not only honor them but their family as well. Could a lesson be learned from the Japanese soldiers? Yes! We all need to be loyal to our country, defend our beliefs, and be obedient to our leaders. Yet, we must also have our own clear minds and ask ourselves, will the tasks at hand show our loyalty, honor, and obedience? If the answer is no, then ... more

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