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The Earley Edition has officially moved to http://earleyedition.com/blog. My dot com, that is. Thanks for joining me.





Wednesday, September 29, 2004

You have to go to school on Saturday??

The new school year, postponed by a month already, starts Saturday in Iraq. There are obvious fears about what may or may not happen in terms of violence. The Beslan school siege in Russia started on the first day of the school year, but I can't imagine insurgents being so stupid as to attack Iraqi children... who knows.

Brief tangent - I wonder how THEY think of themselves? Insurgents, jihadis, terrorists, freedom fighters, revolutionaries? [Update: 'resistance fighters' has been mentioned]

And back to the post at hand. Some parents are understandably going to continue to keep their kids out of school so as not to risk their lives. Hopefully that doesn't last more than a few months or a year. A generation of uneducated Iraqi youth would, I suspect, suit the fundamentalists quite nicely. Ali Hussain Mohamed is concerned, but will be sending his two young kids. Hopefully Mohamed's assessment is accurate, because better education for the children of Iraq is a great success story.
"Their education already improved last year because teachers received higher salaries," he says. "There were fewer bribes and teachers were able to focus more on teaching."
The story says 'A primary school teacher who made 3,000 dinars a month before the war now makes 240,000 - about $165.' I doubt every teacher has seen that money, but hopefully it is making a positive difference.
The following is the closest reason I see for fundamentalists to target schools:
"The new atmosphere in our schools can be seen in the reform of religion classes," says Majeed al-Alaq, director general of education for the Education Ministry. "Before there was only mention of Islam, but now these classes include learning respect for other religions."
It seems an odd statement. I could have sworn Saddam was, if not anti-Muslim, firmly secular in his outlook. The cynic in me could at least conceive the fundamentalists seeing this as US (Christian) conquest of the classrooms. Saddam's Vice Minister Tariq Aziz was a Christian, so you'd think there was some sort of plurality of religion. Apparently not, a quick search reveals Christians under Saddam suffered persecution along with everyone else. Anyway...

Whether you're mowing the lawn, washing your car, watching football, lying on the beach or clipping your toenails this Saturday, say a prayer - or if you're not the praying type, just spare a thought - for the kids on their way to school in Iraq.

the earley edition - Posted by Dave @ 9/29/2004 05:38:00 am || || Return to Top