Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ideas from Parapluie

When I began this political series, I invited any readers who had thoughts or opinions, agreeing with or differing from mine, to email me a possible blog. Parapluie and I are friends, and she hadn't written this for that purpose but rather was just writing her ideas to me. I asked if I could publish it for others to read, and she agreed. So what follows is from Parapluie:


Going back to the recent history behind our war in Afghanistan and Iraq will reveal all the ways that have not worked yet. World War II concluded with the Europeans carving up of the Middle East into countries that are not yet governable and peaceable. Neither totalitarian governments or democracy has worked yet.
The United States present involvement is a sink hole. Winning a war will not work. Winning will not empower our enemies. They will be humiliated and needing terror all the more. We are not ending terror with war. Terrorists have always existed where people feel they are powerless.

So the problem is to give people in Middle Eastern countries the feeling of power. OK we have given them a chance to vote but is it really giving them power over what is happening in their lives? NO!!!. Why? The enemy has propaganda that is stronger than placing a ballot in the ballot box. Our problem is how to educate the world to believe in their own power and worth.

Education can start in the smallest grass roots communities here in the United States. The Evangelical Church movement towards home schooling is a step away from victory on the world front. I don't care if these home schooled children get social interaction and have social skills among their like minded families. What the world needs now is education that will make each child aware of their own individual self-worth with the feeling of power coming from their own individual background. They need to know how to solve problems in groups of diverse backgrounds. Respect for oneself and others and learning to work together can only be learned in mixed classrooms where the teacher respects the students.

A little seed of hope that I enjoy is Public Broadcasting Channel 28, The Learner Channel. The taped workshops are presented "in the pursuit of excellence in teaching." I like seeing the teachers step down from a totalitarian pedestal and how they become partners in learning with their students. I like how they encourage students to bring their own background to class to help the group solve problems together. And how individual children can suggest courses of investigative problem solving. The thread of investigative learning is present in all subjects whether they are studying statistics, writing, the visual arts or physics or biology.

This learning begins as early as the first grade and builds as the children mature! They are all learning to think in every learning discipline. It is wonderful watching the children express their understanding of concepts to peers and adults. Especially encouraging are the classrooms in underprivileged neighborhoods where the diversity is great and the children are not used to being listened to. There is evidence of these children opening up and beginning to express their views - the true beginning of being self impowered and readiness for democracy.


Parapluie said...

No readers have left comments that they resonate with these ideas of mine. If these ideas or similar ideas do develop, I have a quote that will give encouragement.

Winston said...

Wonderful idea, but I fear it will never work in the Middle East countries that are almost completely Muslim. Their religion is completely integrated with their culture and politics. A program that would work here or in European or other countries, faces a whole set of new hurdles in a place like Iraq.

When they believe so strongly that women should be subservient and cover their entire body except the eyes, and when they start training young boys the fine art of hating and killing all who are not like them and sacrificing themselves for the good of Alla as a sure way into eternal grace, how do you design a program to reach them and begin to make change?

Parapluie said...

Thank you for your kindly put comments on my ideas.
I beg to differ with you on the use of these Learner Tapes in Iraq. These programs would be for segregated groups now but later intergrated. I base my opinion on the joint Israeli/Palestinian youth programs and education organized by the International Zionist Hadassah women's organization in Israel.

Rain said...

I don't know if this will work or not because the power of religion often overcomes logic. We see that in our country also with religious fundamentalists. It doesn't have to make sense. It could be several generations to make real changes and even here we see women who choose to wear the burqua because they have become convinced it's the spiritually right thing to do. There are women who circumcise their girl babies in Africa for the same reasons. I think your ideas are the right way to go, parapluie but just not sure that they can be put into place given the culture currently dominating so many of the Middle Eastern countries. And the worst is when some do want to choose education, take their chance for it, others will murder them to stop the progress.

I like that quote by Margaret Mead though and believe she's right. You have to start somewhere and try.

Winston said...

I did not mean to imply that we should not try. Let us fail through trying rather than because we sit back and assume it can't be done. By trying and failing, we at least learn how to better design a program for the next attempt.

Paul said...

Does powerlessness excuse terrorism? Are there different agendas for possessing power and the lack of it. I don't care how you cut it murder is murder reagardless of who does it !

Parapluie said...

Terrorism should not be excused. But that doesn't mean we have the right to invade Iraq supposing that we are punishing the terrorists. We are not punishing the terrorists who attacked us on 911 and we are causing the death of many innocents. Where I get confussed on the topic of leaving Iraq is about our responsibility when we invade. If we got up and just left would there be more or less death than if we stay? I don't know. I guess once we invade I feel as bad about their loss of life as I do ours.
Paul, I would like to know if there are other agendas for possesing power other than the self-esteem gained through education. And in small ways I do believe some kind of awaking is possible in the Iraq education. Baut it fwould be different than what is possible in the United States.