Sunday, January 25, 2009

Teach The Children Well

It's all over but the shouting, at least that is what the media and Israeli PR flacks would have you believe. Gaza is quiet now. There are no bombs falling on mosques, schools, and houses. There are no tanks rumbling through the streets. It's over.

Or is it.

Mosques, schools, and houses can be rebuilt. Streets can be repaired. Food and medical supplies can be trucked in. Reliable electricity and safe water can be turned back on, sooner or later. The generosity of the rest of the world can see to that.

Unfortunately, more will be needed. Much more. From today's NY Times:

The boys clapped and sang to pulsating music. They played games and shouted. It could have been a group activity at any school in any place, but this was the middle school in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, near where the United Nations says some 40 people were killed by Israeli mortar fire earlier this month.

Saturday was the first day of school since before the war, and 1,000 homeless people had been removed from the building so that classes could begin.

Even then, normal schoolwork had to wait. A team trained in trauma and group activities was running the assembly, and after the singing and clapping, there was a play devoted to how to handle dangerous materials, like shell parts, still in or near homes. Later, each pupil described what had happened to him and to his friends and family in Israel’s 23-day war aimed at stopping Hamas’s rockets.

“They are not ready to learn yet,” said Asem Bajah, an English teacher, as he watched the singing. “And I am not ready to teach.”
[Emphasis added]

Oh, I think they've already learned. I think they have learned lessons no child should ever have to. That's part of the tragedy of armed conflict, the part conveniently overlooked when governments decide they need to get their war on.

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Blogger shrimplate said...

Trauma is the harshest of school-marmes. Even with a lifetime of effort these young people may not be able to unlearn that which this recent violence has taught them.

6:08 PM  

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