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UN Wives Ask Mrs Assad To Stop Syria Violence (19th April, 2012)


 

The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations have released a video addressed directly to Asma al-Assad, wife of Syria's leader. It is part of an online campaign designed to urge Mrs al-Assad to help stop the killing in her country that has now gone on for over a year. The video is titled: "A letter to Asma al Assad, signed by women all over the world." Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall and her German counterpart, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, ask Mrs Assad to "stand up for peace...for the sake of your people". The video contrasts the glamorous lifestyle of Mrs Assad with that of Syrian women running for their lives in battle-scarred Syrian streets.

Mrs Assad, 36, was born and raised in west London. She married her husband Bashar al-Assad in 2000, the year he became Syrian president. She has spent the past decade looking after her husband's international image. She has recently come under criticism for her shopping expeditions in luxury London stores while 7,000 opposition Syrians lost their lives in various Syrian cities. The video addresses her by her first name many times to make the plea more personal. A voice says: "Some women care for style, and some women care for their people. Some women struggle for their image, and some women struggle for survival." It reminds Asma that: "No one cares about your image we care about your actions."

Watch the video here (4 minutes, 7 seconds). Video has English subtitles.

WARM-UPS

1. SYRIA VIOLENCE: Walk around the class and talk to other students about the violence in Syria. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

ambassadors / video / online campaign / counterpart / stand up for / glamorous / raised / past decade / international image / shopping expeditions / struggle

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. PEACE: What's the best way to bring peace to Syria? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

 

Pros

Cons

Plea to Mrs Assad

 

 

Military invasion

 

 

Economic boycott

 

 

Regional talks

 

 

Aid for opposition

 

 

UN diplomacy

 

 

4. FALL: Students A strongly believe Syria's president Bashar al-Assad will fall; Students B strongly believe not.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. ASMA: What's the best way to get Asma al-Assad to help bring peace to Syria? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the best at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • online video
  • freeze her bank accounts
  • ban her from shopping in London
  • a global campaign to write to her
  • pleas from the families of those killed
  • pressure from the United Nations
  • threat from International Criminal Court
  • other _____________________

6. AMBASSADOR: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word 'ambassador'. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Ambassadors wives started a campaign to bring peace to Syria.

T / F

b.

Syrian president Assad's wife appealed online to wives of UN workers.

T / F

c.

The wives of three UN ambassadors are responsible for the campaign.

T / F

d.

A video highlights how Syria's presidents' wife's life is a little different.

T / F

e.

Syria's president married his London-born wife while he was president.

T / F

f.

Asma al-Assad shopped in London while people were dying in Syria

T / F

g.

The video never called Asma by her own name.

T / F

h.

The video says no one is interested in Asma al-Assad's image.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

ambassadors

a.

slaughter

2.

urge

b.

appeal

3.

killing

c.

opposite number

4.

counterpart

d.

reputation

5.

glamorous

e.

trips

6.

raised

f.

diplomats

7.

image

g.

glossy

8.

expeditions

h.

fight

9.

plea

i.

encourage

10.

struggle

j.

brought up

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

ambassadors to the

a.

for peace

2.

a video addressed directly

b.

by her first name

3.

stand up

c.

Syrian streets

4.

for the sake

d.

more personal

5.

battle-scarred

e.

United Nations

6.

the past

f.

survival

7.

shopping

g.

of your people

8.

The video addresses her

h.

decade

9.

make the plea

i.

to Asma al-Assad

10.

some women struggle for

j.

expeditions


 


 
 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations have (1) ____________ a video addressed directly to Asma al-Assad, wife of Syria's leader. It is part of an online (2) ____________ designed to (3) ____________ Mrs al-Assad to help stop the killing in her country that has now (4) ____________ on for over a year. The video is titled: "A letter to Asma al Assad, signed by women all over the world." Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall and her German (5) ____________, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, ask Mrs Assad to "(6) ____________ up for peace...for the (7) ____________ of your people". The video contrasts the glamorous lifestyle of Mrs Assad with that of Syrian women running for their lives in battle-(8) ____________ Syrian streets.

 

 

 

counterpart
urge
sake
gone
released
scarred
campaign
stand

Mrs Assad, 36, was born and (9) ____________ in west London. She married her husband Bashar al-Assad in 2000, the year he became Syrian president. She has spent the (10) ____________ decade looking after her husband's international image. She has recently come under (11) ____________ for her shopping expeditions in luxury London stores while 7,000 opposition Syrians lost their lives in (12) ____________ Syrian cities. The video addresses her by her first name many times to make the (13) ____________ more personal. A voice says: "Some women care for (14) ____________, and some women care for their people. Some women struggle for their image, and some women (15) ____________ for survival." It reminds Asma that: "No one cares about your image we care about your (16) ____________."

 

 

style
criticism
past
struggle
raised
actions
plea
various

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

The wives of the British and German _____________________ United Nations have released a video addressed directly to Asma al-Assad, wife of Syria's leader. It is part of an online campaign _____________________ Mrs al-Assad to help stop the killing in her country that has now gone on for over a year. _____________________: "A letter to Asma al Assad, signed by women all over the world." Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall and her _____________________, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, ask Mrs Assad to "stand up for peace... _____________________ your people". The video contrasts the glamorous lifestyle of Mrs Assad with that of Syrian women running for their lives _____________________ Syrian streets.

Mrs Assad, 36, was _____________________ west London. She married her husband Bashar al-Assad in 2000, the year he became Syrian president. She has spent _____________________ looking after her husband's international image. She has recently come under criticism for her shopping _____________________ London stores while 7,000 opposition Syrians lost their lives in various Syrian cities. The video addresses her by her first name many times to make the _____________________. A voice says: "Some women care for style, and some women care for their people. Some women struggle for their image, and some women _____________________." It reminds Asma that: "No one cares _____________________ we care about your actions."


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words 'online' and 'campaign'.

online

campaign

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • wives
  • urge
  • gone
  • titled
  • stand
  • battle
  • west
  • past
  • lost
  • plea
  • image
  • reminds

SYRIA VIOLENCE SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Syria violence in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.


 
 

SYRIA VIOLENCE DISCUSSION

STUDENT A's QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word 'ambassador'?

c)

What do you think of the idea of sending the video to Asma al-Assad?

d)

What do you think can stop the killing in Syria?

e)

Do you think more ambassadors' wives should take part?

f)

Do you think Mrs Assad will care if women all over the world write to her?

g)

How much do you think Mrs Assad cares for "her people"?

h)

Do you think Mrs Assad has any influence over her husband regarding the situation in Syria?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B's QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

How Syrian do you think Mrs Assad feels, having grown up in London?

c)

Do you think Mrs Assad can do anything for her husband's international image?

d)

What do you think of Mrs Assad going shopping in London while other Syrian women die on the streets?

e)

What can Mrs Assad do to restore her image?

f)

Where do you think Syria will be ten years from now?

g)

What do you think Syrian woman think of Mrs Assad?

h)

What questions would you like to ask Asma al-Assad?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations have released a video (1) ____ directly to Asma al-Assad, wife of Syria's leader. It is part of an online campaign (2) ____ to urge Mrs al-Assad to help stop the killing in her country that has now gone on for over a year. The video is (3) ____: "A letter to Asma al Assad, signed by women all over the world." Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall and her German (4) ____, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, ask Mrs Assad to "stand up for peace...for the (5) ____ of your people". The video contrasts the glamorous lifestyle of Mrs Assad with that of Syrian women running for their lives in battle-(6) ____ Syrian streets.

Mrs Assad, 36, was born and (7) ____ in west London. She married her husband Bashar al-Assad in 2000, the year he became Syrian president. She has spent the (8) ____ decade looking after her husband's international image. She has recently come (9) ____ criticism for her shopping expeditions in luxury London stores while 7,000 opposition Syrians lost their lives in (10) ____ Syrian cities. The video addresses her by her first name many times to make the (11) ____ more personal. A voice says: "Some women care for style, and some women care for their people. Some women struggle for their image, and some women struggle for (12) ____." It reminds Asma that: "No one cares about your image we care about your actions."

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

addressing

(b)

address

(c)

addresses

(d)

addressed

2.

(a)

cultured

(b)

highlighted

(c)

designed

(d)

pressed

3.

(a)

painted

(b)

titled

(c)

enticed

(d)

willed

4.

(a)

counterpart

(b)

countryman

(c)

countrified

(d)

countryside

5.

(a)

sale

(b)

same

(c)

sake

(d)

sane

6.

(a)

scary

(b)

scored

(c)

screamed

(d)

scarred

7.

(a)

increased

(b)

raised

(c)

upped

(d)

heightened

8.

(a)

past

(b)

upcoming

(c)

ten-year

(d)

annual

9.

(a)

over

(b)

under

(c)

through

(d)

inside

10.

(a)

varies

(b)

variety

(c)

various

(d)

vicarious

11.

(a)

plea

(b)

melee

(c)

flee

(d)

free

12.

(a)

pylon

(b)

fence

(c)

jewel

(d)

survival


 
 

WRITING

Write about the violence in Syria for 10 minutes. Correct your partner's paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about the video address to Asma al-Assad. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. SYRIA VIOLENCE: Make a poster about Syria violence. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. ASMA: Write a magazine article about Asma al-Assad. Include an imaginary interview with her.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to Asma al-Assad. Ask her three questions about the violence in Syria. Give her three thoughts on what she should do. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.


 


 
 

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

F

c.

F

d.

T

e.

F

f.

T

g.

F

h.

T

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

ambassadors

a.

diplomats

2.

urge

b.

appeal

3.

killing

c.

slaughter

4.

counterpart

d.

opposite number

5.

glamorous

e.

glossy

6.

raised

f.

brought up

7.

image

g.

reputation

8.

expeditions

h.

trips

9.

plea

i.

encourage

10.

struggle

j.

fight

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

ambassadors to the

a.

United Nations

2.

a video addressed directly

b.

to Asma al-Assad

3.

stand up

c.

for peace

4.

for the sake

d.

of your people

5.

battle-scarred

e.

Syrian streets

6.

the past

f.

decade

7.

shopping

g.

expeditions

8.

The video addresses her

h.

by her first name

9.

make the plea

i.

more personal

10.

some women struggle for

j.

survival

GAP FILL:

UN wives ask Mrs Assad to stop Syria violence

The wives of the British and German ambassadors to the United Nations have (1) released a video addressed directly to Asma al-Assad, wife of Syria's leader. It is part of an online (2) campaign designed to (3) urge Mrs al-Assad to help stop the killing in her country that has now (4) gone on for over a year. The video is titled: "A letter to Asma al Assad, signed by women all over the world." Sheila Lyall Grant, wife of Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall and her German (5) counterpart, Huberta von Voss-Wittig, ask Mrs Assad to "(6) stand up for peace...for the (7) sake of your people". The video contrasts the glamorous lifestyle of Mrs Assad with that of Syrian women running for their lives in battle-(8) scarred Syrian streets.

Mrs Assad, 36, was born and (9) raised in west London. She married her husband Bashar al-Assad in 2000, the year he became Syrian president. She has spent the (10) past decade looking after her husband's international image. She has recently come under (11) criticism for her shopping expeditions in luxury London stores while 7,000 opposition Syrians lost their lives in (12) various Syrian cities. The video addresses her by her first name many times to make the (13) plea more personal. A voice says: "Some women care for (14) style, and some women care for their people. Some women struggle for their image, and some women (15) struggle for survival." It reminds Asma that: "No one cares about your image we care about your (16) actions."

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 - c

11 - a

12 - d

 

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