Rashid didn't mean to "destroy" Roland like that. It wasn't exactly something to apologize for, but he realized he shouldn't have gone "Full Imam" so quickly. At least everyone continued to be polite about it, and this was the debate club, everyone was already used to the (metaphorical, not literal) heat.
"So lets focus on the future rather then the past, shall we? I think were all in agreement that the war in the Middle East is near unjustifiable. But what can we, the students of Bayview Secondary, do about it? Oh! Idea! Can anyone think of something that could potentially help lessen the tensions in the Middle East? Some kind of solution
, a proposal, anything that could help?"
Dutchy had a point. They weren't all gathered here just to talk about something, they were activists. The word based off 'activity.' Action. They had to do something that would speak louder than words. Brendan built on that.
"How about raising awareness about all this stuff? I know you Americans, and your pre-disposition to protest against this conflict in the Middle East, but...there are HEAPS of more important things going on in the world that barely graze the news that we could be talking about; We all know everything there is to know about Iraq, how we're only there to institute American policy, and all that jazz. But....okay, so if I seem to be repeating stuff that everyone already knows, since everyone here is pretty obviously well versed in what's going on in the world, but it's just because I'm new, I swear. People at my school were under the impression that Australia was ruled by a President, and couldn't even find England on a map.
Rashid's eyes widened. There was definitely an idea forming now. The action was forming under the words.
...most high school groups like the environmental club usually just settle for the bare minimum of awareness. I think that we could do better than that. We may not be able to go straight to our senator and be like 'we want you to stop the war now' but we could possibly do something to catch his attention. We could focus on something small that we could take out of the equation of the war, like possibly organizing a 'bring our troops home' rally, or bringing people's attentions towards the atrocities of the Patriot Act. Something small like that could eventually snowball into a big change for our entire country.
The chance to outdo another club added flavor. And the whole debate in general certainly did its job with attracting another follower, as Vera Osbourne walked in during Roland's turn to speak, temporarily halting Rashid's runaway train of thought.
"Hello, sorry i'm late. Had to finish off this painting for Mr Corwin... Um, I'm not too late to join, am I?"
Rashid raised his hand to wave. "Nah, the more the merrier and the more money whoever led us all here will get when the NSA drops in," he added jokingly. As much as she looked like she needed some peace and quiet, it seemed like some good ol' activism talk was the ambience she really needed.
"I'm gonna be hitting the books, then I'm going to start finding out ways to print and publish pamphlets. Any of you guys are free to help me out if you want. I'm going to leave it to... Sarah over there."
Roland suggested pamphlets. No, it has to be more than that. Something that won't give the eco-club a reason to one-up us with more trash bins. But Vera's entrance had made it hard to get his train of thought rolling again. Thankfully, he had a lot of time when Sarah got up to speak.
"I think the length of this summary is kinda indicative of the scale of how incredibly fucked up everything is."
And, perhaps unsurprisingly given she was the de facto leader she kept going. Sure, Rashid knew there was a LOT of stuff that was fucked up, but it looked like she was about to snap if the world kept going along its course by the end of the night. Still, although he admitted to himself that all the agreement was spacing him out for all the elaboration, it did at least give him time to put an idea together again. With every person speaking, a piece fell into place. And as he stood up, he figured it was time to start the avalanche.
"I think I got an idea," he said as he stood up, smiling as he propped his arms on the table. "October 24 is United Nations Day. Granted, the UN aren't able to do shit because Bridges and Hu Jintao have veto powers, but that's besides the point."
He then took a deep breath. "We should hold a big informational...cultural...event...festival...thingy. To show that even though some of us aren't even voting age, we're not all just pop-culture tweens obsessed with Twilight. And to show that some Americans can locate small countries on the map at least."
Rashid could say Twilight with disgust here, as the book AND the associated movie were all the rage with his little sister's book circle, though the family did have their inevitable meeting about books that might be 'questionable.' Still, he could never imagine vampires acting like that and people loving them for it. Forget religion, that just wasn't right at all.
He then turned to Brendan, "We all have a few connections, we can get them to help out-" Rashid then hesitated, looking afraid for a brief moment with his Freudian slip. Now his parents HAD to get involved in whatever he was planning, if it actually went through. And suddenly, he didn't like where this was going. He didn't hate it, he just didn't like it as much as he planned.
"The primaries are going on, if we can get ourselves a candidate to drop by, that'd help too. Even though...we're all probably sure they won't listen." Whatever hope he had in his voice trailed off a little as he addressed the fact that as teens in the 21st Century, they were also probably more cynical about the issues than they were aware of them.
Officially, the Hassan family were always openly skeptical about political candidates in America given that they had to cater to both the Israel Lobby and the Saudi Oil lobby by default, and neither of them were keen to budge on the refugees they had driven out, and taken in and hadn't done shit about, respectively. But as much as the next President was still likely to be a cog in the well-oiled (pun intended) machine, one of the Democratic candidates did seem to inspire Rashid that maybe things would change.
"All great change came from the grassroots making their way to the top. Why can't we make that happen too? We got, what, 2-3 months? We can do this," he said, letting some silence settle in before sitting back down.
Okay, so my parents are gonna be a part of this after all. Hopefully it'll be something they'll be proud of me for... Rashid thought.