Akko riots were planned
The Muslim rioters have cost tons of money in damages to property. But who knows if any are going to pay for their crimes.
According to the report in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Hizbullah's new chief military commander is Muhammad Riza Zahdi, aka Hassan Mahdawi, who in the late 1980s served in the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.We can't let that happen now, can we?
According to the report, Zahdi will be in charge of coordinating weapons smuggling to Hizbullah from Syria as well as the construction of military positions in southern Lebanon. The paper said that the appointment was part of an Iranian plan to restructure Hizbullah in the wake of the Second Lebanon War.
"There is a real Iranian command now over Hizbullah," a top IDF officer said at the time. "This doesn't mean that Nasrallah is a puppet, but it does mean that whenever he pops his head out of his bunker he sees an Iranian official standing over him."
Reports of Iranian discontent with Nasrallah began to surface following the 2006 war, which Teheran reportedly was not interested in seeing erupt at that time.
Several reports in the Arab press claimed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had ousted Nasrallah from his post as Hizbullah secretary-general and replaced him with the Naim Qassem, Hizbullah's second in command. Iran has denied the reports.
Iran's consolidation of its control over Hizbullah is seen as an attempt to gain the ability to fully direct its military forces in the event of a conflict in the Middle East. If Iran is attacked by the US or Israel, it may now be able to order Hizbullah to retaliate on its behalf. In the past, the IDF's Military Intelligence has speculated on what Nasrallah would do in such a scenario and had even raised the possibility that Hizbullah wouldn't necessarily attack Israel.
Ever wonder what advantages could have accrued to US intelligence reliability, and therefore freedom of action had George Bush FIRED EVERYONE at the CIA for missing 9/11? Or after the Iraq invasion and discovery of no WMD?East-Asia-Intel.com, October 3, 2008North Korea helped Iran develop nuclear warheads for missiles, according to an Iranian opposition group.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an anti-Iranian government organization, said last week that Iran set up a secret facility in the suburbs of Teheran for dozens of North Korean experts to design rockets and warheads.
According to the group, the North Koreans used an improved version of the Shihab-3 missile, modeled after North Korea's No-Dong missile. Its warhead is said to be compatible with that of the No-Dong.
The group first disclosed details of Iran's nuclear program in 2002.
U.S. officials have said that the nuclear supplier network headed by Pakistani A.Q. Khan provided blueprints of nuclear missile warheads to Libya. The blueprints, in Chinese, were found during Libya's denuclearization program.
U.S. officials suspect that the Khan network also supplied warhead blueprints to Iran and North Korea.
WASHINGTON - emerged from a meeting with foreign financial officials on Saturday and said they were cooperating on a global response to the credit crisis that will lead toward a "path of stability and long-term growth."
Bush announced no new strategies to attack the economic woes circling the globe, stressing instead, "We will do what it takes to resolve the crisis and the world's economy will emerge stronger as a result."
Bush spoke in the Rose Garden outside the France, Italy and Canada, in addition to the United States. and also attended., joined there in a show of solidarity not long after daybreak by finance officials from the so-called G-7 — Japan, Germany, ,
"The United States has a special role to play in leading the response to this crisis," the president said. "That is why I convened this morning's meeting here at the White House and it is why our government will continue using all the tools at our disposal to resolve this crisis."
He added, "We've all agreed that the actions we take should protect our taxpayers and we've agreed that we ought to work with other nations ... As our nations carry out this plan we must be sure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another."
It was only eight days ago that Congress approved a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry, and the Fed has pumped billions of dollars into the economic systemhoping to provide greater access to credit for potential borrowers.
On Friday, Paulson announced the Treasury would begin buying part ownership in American banks, the first time the government has taken such action since the Depression of the 1930s.
The G-7 officials discussed the global economic crisis for three hours on Friday and issued one of the shortest communiques in the history of the group. It pledged to take "all necessary steps to unfreeze credit and money markets" to end the crisis.
Earlier this week, Britain had moved to pour cash into itsin exchange for stakes in them — a partial nationalization. Paulson said the U.S. program would be designed to complement banks' own efforts to raise fresh capital from private sources.
Look for the European Union to attempt to exploit this situation as an opportunity to usurp power against the will of the people of Europe.
Several recent studies have shown that American students are alarmingly ignorant about U.S. history and world events.
Experts have contributed the problem to everything from failing schools to substandard teachers.
But what about content?
For instance, did you know that Muslims discovered America? Or that Jerusalem is an Arab city? That's just some of the "history" that students in America's K-12 classrooms have been taught in recent years--with the help of taxpayer money.
A new report by the non-profit Institute for Jewish and Community Research finds that American high school and elementary textbooks contain countless inaccuracies about Christianity, Judaism, Israel and the Middle East.
The Institute examined 28 of the most widely-used history, geography and social studies textbooks in America. It found at least 500 errors.
One book ignored the Jewish roots of Christianity, saying the faith was founded by a "young Palestinian" named Jesus.
Another stated as fact that the Koran was revealed to Mohammed from God.
Yet another said ancient Jewish civilization contributed "very little" to to the arts and sciences.
Textbooks like these are used by millions of schoolchildren in all 50 states. Sandra Stotsky--now an endowed chair at the University of Arkansas--has seen some of them firsthand.
Stotsky was a commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999 until 2003. In that role, she helped set standards for students and teachers on the K thru 12 level. Stotsky wrote a book about her experience called "The Stealth Curriculum."
"We heard from a number of groups who were outraged because they didn't want what they called a 'Euro-centric' version of history," said Stotsky. "They literally wanted an Islamo-centric version of history. Which means you look at the world from the perspective of Islam and you don't talk about any negative aspects of Islam."
After the 9/11 attacks, Stotsky and the Massachusetts board organized a special seminar for K-12 teachers to learn about Islamic history and the Middle East.
Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies helped organize the seminar. Stotsky said she was shocked by the Center's suggestions:
"They ranged from having students make prayer rugs; describe what it would be like to go on a hajj--a pilgrimage; learn and memorize the five pillars of Islam; listen to and learn how to recite passages from the Koran; dress like a Muslim from a particular country.it was, to me, a clear violation of ethics involved in how one would expect children to learn about another culture. That they would literally go through the memorization and the learning of religious beliefs."
"These are unacceptable practices in a public school," she added. "In fact, they would be unacceptable academic practices in any school."
Harvard is one of 18 universities that receives government funding under Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965. To qualify for that funding, the universities are required to conduct outreach to K-12 teachers, helping them to shape lessons for schoolchildren. Elementary and secondary teachers have taken full advantage of the arrangement: after all, they believe they're getting expert insight on Islam and the Middle East from distinguished university scholars.
"You have a lot of politically naive teachers--well intentioned teachers who do want their students to learn more about Islamic history," says Stotsky. "It has not been well covered in most history courses they've ever taken, so they do genuinely want to learn more for themselves and teach their students more."
In some cases they may be getting more than they bargained for: the Saudi government has donated millions of dollars to Middle East Centers at universities that receive Title VI funding.
The Harvard Middle Eastern Studies Center--whose recommendations to the Massachusetts Board originally drew Stosky's concern--is one of them. As CBN News reported earlier this year, the Harvard Center received a $20 million donation from Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in 2005. Georgetown University--another title VI recipient--also received $ 20 million from the Prince that same year.
It's through these Title VI university centers--all of them government-sanctioned and taxpayer supported--that Saudi-funded materials find their way into K-12 classrooms.
"Saudi donations to American universities should be seen in a much larger picture of Saudi promotion of a Saudi point of view," said Daniel Pipes, Director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. "Whether it be Islamic or political, the Saudis have a point of view. And they have been very clever and very generous over the decades to promote that point of view."
Among the textbooks the Saudi-funded Harvard Center recommends for schoolchildren is the Arab World Studies Notebook. The book is published by a New Mexico-based group called Arab World and Islamic Resources , which was founded in 1990 with funding from organizations that include Saudi Aramco, a Saudi government-owned oil company.
The Notebook has come under fire for negatively portraying America and Israel while whitewashing Islam. It's been banned by some school districts.
"It's very difficult to find any discussion of ancient Israel--that it actually existed in time as a country,' Stotsky said of the Notebook. "That it had a king, that it had kings. That King Solomon existed, that Jerusalem was established as their capital city. It would discredit even the founding of the state of Israel by claiming that it was imposed by European or Western powers."
One of the Notebook's most controversial claims was that Muslim explorers beat Columbus to the New World. Older versions state that some Native American chiefs even had Muslim names, like Abdul-Rahim. These passages were eventually removed after widespread criticism from scholars and Native American groups. The Notebook's editor, Audrey Shabbas, did not respond to our requests for an interview.
The Middle East Policy Council--a pro-Arab advocacy group in Washington, D.C.--also conducts teacher training programs for K-12 teachers and has promoted the Arab World Studies Notebook as an ideal educational tool.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated $1 million towards the Council's teacher training programs last year. The group did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.
Stosky says there needs to be stronger standards for K-12 curriculums to help offset the influence of outside pressure groups. That's traditionally been a job for local governments.
"State governments have not been given the power to set curriculum," she said. "No, this is a local responsibility. It was devised this way by our framers. You know, the local governments, local communities, would develop their own curricula, decide what they would want to teach their children. State governments could assess, as they now do, but they can't prescribe curriculum for local communities. And the federal government certainly can't prescribe a curriculum. That's why we're having a battle over where national standards are going to come from."
The standards Stotsky helped craft for Massachusetts schools include what she calls "politically incorrect but historically accurate" lessons about the Islamic slave trade, Islamic expansionism and treatment of women in Islam.
"What state governments can do--which to me, is the path we were taking in Massachusetts--is to make sure that the standards you create for a subject have been thoroughly vetted by first rate scholars--and a range of first rate scholars," said Stotsky.
The battle over Title VI has also reached Capitol Hill. In August, Congress approved revisions to the Higher Education Act of 1965--which includes Title VI. Universities must now explain how their Title VI funds will be used--and K-12 schools are now required to reflect a wide range of views on global issues in their lesson plans. Whether the Saudi point of view is still among them remains to be seen.
On August 21st, 2008, the MV Iran Deyant, 44,458 dead weight bulk carrier was heading towards the Suez Canal. As it was passing the Horn of Africa, about 80 miles southeast of al-Makalla in Yemen, the ship was surrounded by speedboats filled with members of a gang of Somalian pirates who grab suitable commercial ships and hold them and their cargos and crews for ransom. The captain was defenseless against the 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades blocking his passage. He had little choice other than to turn his ship over to them. What the pirates were not banking on, however, was that this was no ordinary ship.
The MV Iran Deyanat is owned and operated by the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) - a state-owned company run by the Iranian military that was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on September 10, shortly after the ship's hijacking.According to the U.S. Government, the company regularly falsifies shipping documents in order to hide the identity of end users, uses generic terms to describe shipments to avoid the attention of shipping authorities, and employs the use of cover entities to circumvent United Nations sanctions to facilitate weapons proliferation for the Iranian Ministry of Defense. The MV Iran Deyanat departed Nanjing, China, July 28, and, according to its manifest, planned to sail to Rotterdam, where it would offload 42,500 tons of iron ore and "industrial products" purchased by an unidentified “ German client”. The ship has a crew of 29 men, including a Pakistani captain, an Iranian engineer, 13 other Iranians, 3 Indians, 2 Filipinos, and 10 Eastern Europeans, stated to be Albanians.
The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates - 50 onboard and 50 onshore. The Somali pirates attempted to inspect the ship's seven cargo containers but the containers were locked. The crew claimed that they did not have the "access codes" and could not open them. Pirates have stated they were unable to open the hold without causing extensive damage to the ship, and threatened to blow it up. The Iranian ship’s captain and the engineer were contacted by cell phone and demanded to disclose the actual nature of the mysterious “powdered cargo” but the captain and his officers were very evasive. Initially they said that the cargo contained "crude oil" but then claimed it contained "minerals." Following this initial rebuff, the pirates broke open one of the containers and discovered it to be filled with packets of what they said was “a powdery fine sandy soil” ....
Within a period of three days, those pirates who had boarded the ship and opened the cargo container with its gritty sand-like contents, all developed strange health complications, to include serious skin burns and loss of hair. And within two weeks, sixteen of the pirates subsequently died, either on the ship or on shore.
News about the illness and the toxic cargo quickly reached Garowe, seat of the government for the autonomous region of Puntland. Angered over the wave of piracy and suspicious about the Iranian ship, authorities dispatched a delegation led by Minister of Minerals and Oil Hassan Allore Osman to investigate the situation on September 4. and they witnessed some of the deaths due to exposure to ‘something on that ship.’The Somali pirates initially set the ship's ransom at $2 million and the Iranian government provided $200,000 to a local broker "to facilitate the exchange." The $2 million dollar ransom agreement, which was supposedly secured on September 6th, never took place for reasons unknown. After September 10th, sanctions on IRISL were applied specifically because the company was said to engaged in illicit operations on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Serious negotiations were broken off completely. Iranian authorities subsequently denied that it agreed to the price nor had paid any money to the pirates. Nevertheless, after sanctions were applied to IRISL on September 10, Osman says, the Iranians told the pirates that the deal was off. "They told the pirates that they could not come because of the presence of the U.S. Navy." The region is patrolled by the multinational Combined Taskforce 150, which includes ships from the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet. Subsequently, it was disclosed that the U.S. government had offered to pay $7 million to the pirates to "receive entry permission and search the vessel." Officials in the Pentagon and the Department of State have consistently refused to comment on the situation.The exact nature of the cargo remains officially a mystery but officials in Puntland and Baidoa are convinced the ship was carrying weapons to Eritrea for Islamist insurgents. "We cannot inspect the cargo yet," Osman said, "but we are sure that it is weapons."The US Navy (and the French and the Russians) have been hove to off the coast of Eyl, going anywhere once released, it will be seized once it gets to sea. The specific clauses that have been approved in both the UN and in Congress would allow the US Navy to seize the ship under the suspicion clause. The claims that there are weapons onboard, and the possibility there might be chemical weapons, has insured there is at the very minimum, an inspection of the ship by outside authority will be mandated. At this writing, the MV Iran Deyanat is at anchor, watched closely by American, French and Russian naval units.
Although American intelligence and government sources are maintaining a strictly observed silence, the same does not apply to the Russians and so it is that we learn the real story of the MV Iran Deyanat. She was an enormous floating dirty bomb, intended to detonate after exiting the Suez Canal at the eastern end of the Mediterranean and in proximity to the coastal cities of Israel. The entire cargo of radioactive sand, obtained by Iran from China (the latter buys desperately needed oil from the former) and sealed in containers which, when the charges on the ship are set off after the crew took to the boats, will be blasted high into the air where prevailing winds will push the highly dangerous and radioactive cloud ashore.
Given the large number of deaths from the questing Somali pirates, it should be obvious that when the contents of the ship’s locked cargo containers finally descended onto the land, the death toll would be enormous. This ship was nothing more nor less than the long-anticipated Iranian attack on Israel. Not the expected rocket attacks (which could be intercepted by the Israelis) but an even more deadly and unexpected attack by sea.. It is very interesting to note that the Israeli government has in the past few weeks, been loudly demanding that the United States establish a naval blockade of Iran.
The reason for this blockade would be to prevent any more Iranian ships with deadly cargos from attacking either Israel or other targets from the sea.
The ClarionFund.org:Tell them who you are. Let them know you are influential, you're an active participator in this fight, you run a blog, you do a radio show, or whatever else you can tell them to convince them you're worth listening to. Let's get this tool available to us.
John McCain, why aren't you thundering this message? Why are the people still leading ?
John McCain where is the outrage?
Why are the people still leading ?
Two jets and an attack helicopter were scrambled to the border one hour before the fast ended after an unidentified aircraft was spotted flying very close to the border. The aircraft, together with ground forces, conducted searches on the ground and shortly later returned to base after the plane turned around and flew back north into Lebanon.There's plenty to worry about, especially with both Olmert and Livni being gun shy and having zero deterrence value.
The IDF was on a general high level of alert throughout the country over the holiday and particularly in the north, where intelligence officials have said it is possible that Hizbullah will carry out a cross-border attack during the holiday season to avenge the assassination of arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh earlier this year.
A similar incident occurred in April when fighter jets were scrambled to Acre after an unidentified aircraft was spotted over the city raising fears that an enemy plane had infiltrated Israeli airspace. The plane turned out to be an Israeli civilian aircraft that had forgotten to coordinate its flight plan with aviation authorities.
While the IDF is concerned that Hizbullah will try to kidnap soldiers - as it has done in the past - current fears are that terrorists will cross into Israel, fly an explosives-laden drone into Israel like it tried during the Second Lebanon War or infiltrate a border community like Shlomi and barricade themselves inside a home with civilians.
The defense establishment is concerned that Hizbullah will use the holiday season, as well as the switchover in government - from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Kadima Party head Tzipi Livni - to launch an attack.
I am still stunned at the seeming epidemic of suicidal cluelessness which is seemingly so widespread in this country (far be it for the media to overstate Obama's true popularity.
Voting is a privilege, not human birthright; yet most Americans seem blissfully unaware that their votes are a 50/50 shot to be rendered worthless, should the Obammunists win. It is quite evident that they are spending money (foreign money?) massively trying to rig the game via ACORN and their other surrogates; just imagine what they can rig once they got to the catbird seat.
People seem to think that things cannot get any worse than they are now. Right.
Things could get a LOT worse, and not just economically. If America does not collectively snap out of it, and wake the hell up from this nightmare over the next three weeks, an economic crisis of confidence could quickly become an existential one.
And the most frightening thing is that Obama just the guy who can bring about that outcome; worse, the terminally clueless and their media cheerleaders seem poised to "make it so."
There is still time, but it is becoming very precious. As is, I fear, our very freedom itself.
Will settle whether Sheriff Scott violated federal actBy Rachel Myers
email@example.comFederal and state investigations into allegations that Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott acted illegally or unethically by speaking at a political rally while on duty and in uniform could take weeks - or possibly months - to complete.Scott has denied any wrongdoing after he referred to the Democratic presidential candidate by his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, at a rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Monday.Critics say that by doing so, Scott implied Obama is a Muslim. Obama, who is named for his Kenyan father, is a Christian.
A report from the Daily Telegraph discusses findings from a recent YouGov poll amongst British teachers. The poll was commissioned by Teachers TV, a digital TV channel linked to its own website which was launched on February 8, 2005.
More than 70 per cent of the poll's respondents were in favour of promoting "Britishness" in schools. 46% also thought that allowing children to wear religious symbols was contrary to British values, and potentially undermined schemes to promote racial and religious harmony.
The head of Teachers TV, Andrew Bethell, was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the poll showed a "shift away from multiculturalism" in "post 7/7 Britain....There seems to be an increasing feeling among teachers that simply embracing difference is no longer enough. Pupils need a sense of common identity and 'Britishness' is a big part of this."
The newspaper also noted that in July, a school which had banned a Sikh girl who wore a bracelet for contravening its jesellery regulations, was overruled by a court. In November, 2007, Sarika Singh of Aberdare School in South Wales had been excluded for not removing her bangle. Her case had been represented by Liberty.
Previously a Muslim girl whose brother belongs to the extremist and anti-democratic Hizb ut-Tahrir group fought her school through the courts. Shabina Begum of Luton had been a pupil of Denbigh High School and in March 2005 had won a ruling against her school which would not allow her to attend while wearing a head-to-toe "jilbab". Her lawyer was Cherie Blair, wife of Tony Blair. On March 22, 2006, the school won its appeal against the ruling after petitioning The House of Lords.
Centro Interncional Miranda
November , 2006
President Hugo Chavez, Vice-President Vicente Rangel, Ministers Moncada and Isturiz, invited guests, comrades. I’m honored and humbled to be here with you this morning. I bring greetings and support from your brothers and sisters throughout Northamerica. Welcome to the World Education Forum! Amamos la revolucion Bolivariana!
This is my fourth visit to Venezuela, each time at the invitation of my comrade and friend Luis Bonilla, a brilliant educator and inspiring fighter for justice. Luis has taught me a great deal about the Bolivarian Revolution and about the profound educational reforms underway here in Venezuela under the leadership of President Chavez. We share the belief that education is the motor-force of revolution, and I’ve come to appreciate Luis as a major asset in both the Venezuelan and the international struggle—I look forward to seeing how he and all of you continue to overcome the failings of capitalist education as you seek to create something truly new and deeply humane. Thank you, Luis, for everything you’ve done.
I also thank my youngest son, Chesa Boudin, who is interpreting my talk this morning and whose book on the Bolivarian revolution has played an important part in countering the barrage of lies spread by the U.S. State Department and the corrupted Northamerican media.
On my last trip to Caracas I spoke of traveling to a literacy class—Mission Robinson— in the hills above the city along a long and winding road. As we made our way higher and higher, the talk turned to politics as it inevitably does here, and someone noted that the wealthy—here and everywhere, here and in the US surely—have certain received opinions, a kind of absolute judgment about poor and working people, and yet they have never traveled this road, nor any road like it. They have never boarded this bus up into these hills, and not just the oligarchy or the wealthy—this lack of first-hand knowledge, of open investigation, of generous regard is also a condition of the everyday liberals, and even many of the radicals and armchair intellectuals whose formulations sit lifeless and stifling in a crypt of mythology about poor people. Everyone should come and travel these roads into the hills, we agreed then—and not just once, but again and again and again – if they will ever learn anything of the real conditions of life here, surely, but more important than that, if they will ever encounter the wisdom and experience and insight that lives here as well.
We arrived at eight o’clock to a literacy circle already underway being conducted in a small, poorly-lit classroom. And here in an odd and dark space, a sun was shining: ten people had pulled their chairs close together—a young woman maybe 19, a grandmother maybe 65, two men in their 40s—each struggling to read. And I thought of a poem called A Poor Woman Learns to Write by Margaret Atwood about a woman working laboriously to print her name in the dirt. She never thought she could do it, the poet notes, not her– this writing business was for others. But she does it, prints her name, her first word so far, and she looks up and smiles— for she did it right.
The woman in the poem—just like the students in Mission Robinson—is living out a universal dialectic that embodies education at its very best: she wrote her name, she changed herself, and she altered the conditions of her life. As she wrote the word, she changed the world, and another world became—suddenly and surprisingly—possible.
I began teaching when I was 20 years old in a small freedom school affiliated with the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. The year was 1965, and I’d been arrested in a demonstration. Jailed for ten days, I met several activists who were finding ways to link teaching and education with deep and fundamental social change. They were following Dewey and DuBois, King and Helen Keller who wrote: “We can’t have education without revolution. We have tried peace education for 1,900 years and it has failed. Let us try revolution and see what it will do now.”
I walked out of jail and into my first teaching position—and from that day until this I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a project intimately connected with social justice. After all, the fundamental message of the teacher is this: you can change your life—whoever you are, wherever you’ve been, whatever you’ve done, another world is possible. As students and teachers begin to see themselves as linked to one another, as tied to history and capable of collective action, the fundamental message of teaching shifts slightly, and becomes broader, more generous: we must change ourselves as we come together to change the world. Teaching invites transformations, it urges revolutions small and large. La educacion es revolucion!
I taught at first in something like a Simoncito—called Head Start—and eventually taught at every level in barrios and prisons and insurgent projects across the United States. I learned then that education is never neutral. It always has a value, a position, a politics. Education either reinforces or challenges the existing social order, and school is always a contested space – what should be taught? In what way? Toward what end? By and for whom? At bottom, it involves a struggle over the essential questions: what does it mean to be a human being living in a human society?
Totalitarianism demands obedience and conformity, hierarchy, command and control. Royalty requires allegiance. Capitalism promotes racism and militarism – turning people into consumers, not citizens. Participatory democracy, by contrast, requires free people coming together voluntarily as equals who are capable of both self-realization and, at the same time, full participation in a shared political and economic life.
Education contributes to human liberation to the extent that people reflect on their lives, and, becoming more conscious, insert themselves as subjects in history. To be a good teacher means above all to have faith in the people, to believe in the possibility that people can create and change things. Education is not preparation for life, but rather education is life itself ,an active process in which everyone— students and teachers– participates as co-learners.
Despite being under constant attack from within and from abroad, the Bolivarian revolution has made astonishing strides in a brief period: from the Mission Simoncito to the Mission Robinson to the Mission Ribas to the Mission Sucre, to the Bolivarian schools and the UBV, Venezuelans have shown the world that with full participation, full inclusion, and popular empowerment, the failings of capitalist schooling can be resisted and overcome. Venezuela is a beacon to the world in its accomplishment of eliminating illiteracy in record time, and engaging virtually the entire population in the ongoing project of education.
The great Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote a poem to his fellow writers called “The Poet’s Obligation” in which he instructed them in their core responsibility: you must, he said, become aware of your sisters and brothers who are trapped in subjugation and meaninglessness, imprisoned in ignorance and despair. You must move in and out of windows carrying a vision of the vast oceans just beyond the bars of the prison– a message of hope and possibility. Neruda ends with this: it is through me that freedom and the sea will call in answer to the shrouded heart.
Let those of us who are gathered here today read this poem as “The Teacher’s Obligation.” We, too, must move in and out of windows, we, too, must build a project of radical imagination and fundamental change. Venezuela is poised to offer the world a new model of education– a humanizing and revolutionary model whose twin missions are enlightenment and liberation. This World Education Forum provides us a unique opportunity to develop and share the lessons and challenges of this profound educational project that is the Bolivarian Revolution.
Viva Mission Sucre!
Viva Presidente Chavez!
Viva La Revolucion Bolivariana!
Hasta La Victoria Siempre!
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among liberal commentators after Austria's election on Sept. 28.
Two far-right parties, led by Heinz-Christian Strache and Jorg Haider, took 29 percent of the vote between them. Even more disheartening, a third of the country's new young voters (the voting age has just been lowered to 16) backed them.
Austria has form. In 1999 Haider's far-right party won 27 percent of the vote and entered a coalition government that was briefly boycotted by its European partners. This time, not least because the two far-right leaders hate each other, neither is likely to be invited into the government.
But although flavors of the far right vary widely, Austria is by no means alone. The Swiss People's Party of Christoph Blocher is the biggest party in Switzerland. Belgium's Vlaams Belang party remains strong in Flanders. Denmark's government depends on the backing of Pia Kjaersgaard's anti-immigrant People's Party. In Italy the Northern League, part of the ruling right-wing coalition, is explicitly xenophobic.
Some popular prejudices around Europe seem to have become distressingly illiberal and even racist.
Last month a shocking opinion poll by America's Pew Global Attitudes Project found that 46 percent of Spaniards, 36 percent of Poles and 25 percent of Germans had negative views of Jews; and 52 percent of Spaniards, 50 percent of Germans, 46 percent of Poles and 38 percent of French people had negative views of Muslims. In most countries, these numbers have risen significantly in recent years.
All of this is obviously to be deplored. The harder question is what to do about it. The Austrians argued that by including Haider in government they would defang him, a trick the Swiss later tried to play on Blocher.
For a time it even seemed to work (though the European boycott merely annoyed Austria's voters). But the far right has since won back even more electoral ground. Elaborate steps to exclude the far right do not seem to have been any more effective.
The Vlaams Belang has benefited from the other parties' decision to keep it out of government. In Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, extreme parties of both left and right tend to gain votes when the big parties form grand coalitions in the center.
The far right has prospered most when mainstream political parties have belittled or ignored the concerns of ordinary people about such issues as immigration. It does less well when political leaders accept its existence and try to respond to its supporters' concerns.
That points, for example, to reassuring voters that immigration is under control, not just to explaining why it can be beneficial. This is how the Conservative Party has neutralized the far-right vote in Britain.
In the 2007 French presidential election Nicolas Sarkozy did the same to the National Front's Jean-Marie Le Pen, who got into the runoff in 2002. Sarkozy ate into Le Pen's support partly by talking tough on immigration and crime.
This, however, must not include pandering to voters' racism and xenophobia. No respectable party should run on an anti-Semitic or anti-Muslim platform. Instead, political leaders should speak out loudly against all forms of prejudice.
They should try to ensure that criticism of Israel does not blur into hostility to Jewry, for instance; and, equally, they should do their best to ensure that legitimate fears of Islamist terrorism do not translate into a prejudice against Muslims.
Austria's politicians could make a useful start by dropping their strident opposition to the notion that Turkey, a mainly Muslim country, might ever join the European Union. Promoting the belief that the EU ought to be an exclusive Christian club is likely to promote racism, not quell it.