Education

November 30, 2006

A debate has been opened at: http://tygerland.net/2006/11/30/why-europe-fades/#comments, on the problems of education in Britain and Europe.

Something that has never been arranged anywhere is the problem of education. There exist public schools and universities and there are private ones, and the teaching in the former in most cases cannot be advantageously compared with the education in the latter, despite they are funded by the state.

Every time a government of a new political sign gets the power,  new educational instructions are imposed either by regulations or by law, but as can be easily seen, those regulations or laws are issued in accordance with the political postulates of the ruling part. Which has been proved to be to the detriment of the integration of students in the system, apart from the prejudices caused to the teachers and professors.

If we want that education be democratic, it is necessary that a great international debate be organised – as are organised debates on environment or human rights to just name a couple of them – so that a general system of education be agreed upon by all.

Education is a human right, but it should be understood that Education should be, within the freedom that allows us to exercise that right, without any bias or political influences or interferences, and to that end it is necessary that professionals of all over the world meet and reach conclusions for the subsequent system to be approved and put into practice. Needless to say that any intervention in the UN would have that political influential I am talking about.

And, mind you, I know these debates would be subject to enormous pressure by interested parties in that the educational system be concordant with their postulates, as I said above.

Something that should be avoided at all costs if we want the system to work properly.

And of course, funding of official schools and universities to be done exclusively by the state, while the private ones should be excluded from any state funding.

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An article on today’s BBC : http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6194092.stm tells us of the decision to impose cuts on emissions of carbon in the European Union. 10 developping countries are sulky,  because of this measure  their industrial growth will be seriously affected, and the overall growth of the EU will be affected, too, naturally.

It is not enough. In these times when so many taxes are levied on the citizens, why is there not a change in the allotment of these taxes to ends that will really matter? Perhaps if the money wasted in so many meetings around the world to talk of the greenhouse effect or pollution or anything having to do with contamination, were invested in renewing the energies that will really be a positive step.

Why are countries permitted to compensate others for their increase of their own emissions? If the others are already adhering to the norms, the infringing countries should not be allowed to exceed their permitted quotas of contamination. Ridiculous, a loop in the system as there are so many loops in other sectors of our living standards.

China is growing rapidly. India is growing rapidly. Both countries are sending off so a large quantity of carbon emissions that any efforts Europe can exert to reduce its quota will be annulled by the Asian countries, together with the US, a large producer, perhaps the largest in the world.

The more I think about this problem the more I am convinced they are kidding. Everything is done to minimise the dangers scientists, doing their duty, warn us of.

When we will be tranquil in this connection must be the objective of our leaders, that is one of the reasons they are elected for.

Why do Churches seek unity?

November 30, 2006

What is behind the pursuit of unity of Churches? The present visit of Pope Benedict XVI’s main objective was to calm down the angry protests which his unfortunate speech in Germany provoked when he spoke of the ancient mixture of religion and violence of Islam. He made a blunder that day – Islam is not a violent religion as are none of the monotheistic religions which exist in our world. That violence has been used in many cases in the name of them does not mean they are violent, just it means violent people have used them in their benefit.

But turning back to my questions, I have been wondering of late why the established churches are always proselytising and trying to unite their faithful in what is called “the fold”. Why so?

In my opinion a faith is a subjective trait of every individual. In the olden times of Christianity, we remember how catacumbs were built in Rome to defend Christians from the Roman Empire, an empire that believed in what were called pagan gods and which used its power to suppress anyone with a new faith, as was the Christian case, that they said imperilled the existence of the state. The sacrifices of Christians were the pastime of Romans during that epoch, but not long later the Empire changed and there were even Emperors who professed the Christian faith. So there was no fear that the sacrifices continued, but despite this change the habit of being united continued to be the norm of Christians for centuries to go.

We read in books that there are numbers of allegedly practicing members of the three monotheistic most important religions: 1 billion plus Christians; 1 billion plus Muslims, and not so many Jews, who despite  being the first religion have not seen their members increased noticeably along the times.

Pope Benedict XVI has met with Orthodox Catholics and after the meetings a communiqué has told us that there is a new effort to unite the Christians of the world. There exist considerable gaps between Catholics and Protestants which in olden times were a cause of murder and destruction, we still speak of the Holy Inquisition and the crimes that this intitution committed in the name of the Faith. I think these gaps are not going to be bridged so easily, either of the two tendencies would have to cede in very important tenets of their faiths.

But again why the pursuit of the unity?

In my opinion it cannot be anything but power, economical power and otherwise, that presses the churches to add more faithful to their side. Pope Benedict dared to assure the Turkish Prime Minister that he would support the admission of Turkey into the European Union, something that politically speaking is still very far from happening. Just propaganda to quell Muslim fears about Catholic intentions, because if the Vatican could not achieve that “the traditional Christian values of Europe” were included in the European Constitution, little will his recommendation for the integration of Turkey achieve.

I cannot find any other reason for that sought unity: power. But power in the secular world, not in the spiritual one.

Which ought not to be the aim of a church.

I understand prologues when they are an introduction of the author, but I cannot understand those long prologues with views about the work they are introducing.

I followed the advice I had from Richard, who is very fond of George Orwell’s works, and finally decided to buy “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The prologue of the novel I bought was written by Ben Pimlott, a Warden of Goldsmiths College, University of London, and the prologue seems more a criticism than an introduction of Orwell.

Some prologues I have read in other works are in my opinion a brainwashing of potential readers making them read with a preconceived idea about their contents, and in the case of the prologue I am commenting I must check to see if what I will  think about the work coincides with what Pimlot thinks of it, something that will hamper my freedom of understanding. In a sentence Pimlott says: “Not only has the supposed warning been largely wrong within its time-span (there has, so far, been no third world war or Western revolution, and totalitarian systems are not more but less common than forty years ago)…”

I dissent. What happens today is that there exist totalitarian regimes, more perhaps than existed when Orwel wrote his novel, only that these totalitarian regimes are disguised under a democratic veneer which hides the true substance of totalitarianism. We have seen how by blaming terror for it, President Bush has adopted measures which, in some cases, are contested by the Judicial power, measure that attempt flagrantly against the rights and liberties of the American citizens.

The Labour government in Britain is following the same pattern, although in this case its steps are taken with more prudence.

I will keep comparing Orwell’s work with what Pimlott comments in his prologue, but I must state I usually refuse to read prologues because they, in many cases, try to conduct your way of thinking on the contents of the works.

Message to the American People

http://www.ahmadinejad.ir/

2006/11/28
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful O, Almighty God, bestow upon humanity the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers.
Noble Americans,
Were we not faced with the activities of the US administration in this part of the world and the negative ramifications of those activities on the daily lives of our peoples, coupled with the many wars and calamities caused by the US administration as well as the tragic consequences of US interference in other countries;
Were the American people not God-fearing, truth-loving, and justice-seeking , while the US administration actively conceals the truth and impedes any objective portrayal of current realities;
And if we did not share a common responsibility to promote and protect freedom and human dignity and integrity;
Then, there would have been little urgency to have a dialogue with you.
While Divine providence has placed Iran and the United States geographically far apart, we should be cognizant that human values and our common human spirit, which proclaim the dignity and exalted worth of all human beings, have brought our two great nations of Iran and the United States closer together.
Both our nations are God-fearing, truth-loving and justice-seeking, and both seek dignity, respect and perfection.
Both greatly value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity, and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and bullies.
We are all inclined towards the good, and towards extending a helping hand to one another, particularly to those in need.
We all deplore injustice, the trampling of people’s rights and the intimidation and humiliation of human beings.
We all detest darkness, deceit, lies and distortion, and seek and admire salvation, enlightenment, sincerity and honesty.
The pure human essence of the two great nations of Iran and the United States testify to the veracity of these statements.
Noble Americans,
Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world.
Hundreds of thousands of my Iranian compatriots are living amongst you in friendship and peace, and are contributing positively to your society. Our people have been in contact with you over the past many years and have maintained these contacts despite the unnecessary restrictions of US authorities.
As mentioned, we have common concerns, face similar challenges, and are pained by the sufferings and afflictions in the world.
We, like you, are aggrieved by the ever-worsening pain and misery of the Palestinian people. Persistent aggressions by the Zionists are making life more and more difficult for the rightful owners of the land of Palestine . In broad day-light, in front of cameras and before the eyes of the world, they are bombarding innocent defenseless civilians, bulldozing houses, firing machine guns at students in the streets and alleys, and subjecting their families to endless grief.
No day goes by without a new crime.
Palestinian mothers, just like Iranian and American mothers, love their children, and are painfully bereaved by the imprisonment, wounding and murder of their children. What mother wouldn’t?
For 60 years, the Zionist regime has driven millions of the inhabitants of Palestine out of their homes. Many of these refugees have died in the Diaspora and in refugee camps. Their children have spent their youth in these camps and are aging while still in the hope of returning to homeland.
You know well that the US administration has persistently provided blind and blanket support to the Zionist regime, has emboldened it to continue its crimes, and has prevented the UN Security Council from condemning it.
Who can deny such broken promises and grave injustices towards humanity by the US administration?
Governments are there to serve their own people. No people wants to side with or support any oppressors. But regrettably, the US administration disregards even its own public opinion and remains in the forefront of supporting the trampling of the rights of the Palestinian people.
Let’s take a look at Iraq . Since the commencement of the US military presence in Iraq , hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed, maimed or displaced. Terrorism in Iraq has grown exponentially. With the presence of the US military in Iraq , nothing has been done to rebuild the ruins, to restore the infrastructure or to alleviate poverty. The US Government used the pretext of the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq , but later it became clear that that was just a lie and a deception.
Although Saddam was overthrown and people are happy about his departure, the pain and suffering of the Iraqi people has persisted and has even been aggravated.
In Iraq , about one hundred and fifty thousand American soldiers, separated from their families and loved ones, are operating under the command of the current US administration. A substantial number of them have been killed or wounded and their presence in Iraq has tarnished the image of the American people and government.
Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq .
I consider it extremely unlikely that you, the American people, consent to the billions of dollars of annual expenditure from your treasury for this military misadventure.
Noble Americans,
You have heard that the US administration is kidnapping its presumed opponents from across the globe and arbitrarily holding them without trial or any international supervision in horrendous prisons that it has established in various parts of the world. God knows who these detainees actually are, and what terrible fate awaits them.
You have certainly heard the sad stories of the Guantanamo and Abu-Ghraib prisons. The US administration attempts to justify them through its proclaimed “war on terror.” But every one knows that such behavior, in fact, offends global public opinion, exacerbates resentment and thereby spreads terrorism, and tarnishes the US image and its credibility among nations.
The US administration’s illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of “the war on terror,” civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death.
I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it.
The US administration does not accept accountability before any organization, institution or council. The US administration has undermined the credibility of international organizations, particularly the United Nations and its Security Council. But, I do not intend to address all the challenges and calamities in this message.
The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices.
Undoubtedly, the American people are not satisfied with this behavior and they showed their discontent in the recent elections. I hope that in the wake of the mid-term elections, the administration of President Bush will have heard and will heed the message of the American people.
My questions are the following:
Is there not a better approach to governance?
Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war?
We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent.
But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents?
If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved?
The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all.
What has blind support for the Zionists by the US administration brought for the American people? It is regrettable that for the US administration, the interests of these occupiers supersedes the interests of the American people and of the other nations of the world.
What have the Zionists done for the American people that the US administration considers itself obliged to blindly support these infamous aggressors? Is it not because they have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural and media sectors?
I recommend that in a demonstration of respect for the American people and for humanity, the right of Palestinians to live in their own homeland should be recognized so that millions of Palestinian refugees can return to their homes and the future of all of Palestine and its form of government be determined in a referendum. This will benefit everyone.
Now that Iraq has a Constitution and an independent Assembly and Government, would it not be more beneficial to bring the US officers and soldiers home, and to spend the astronomical US military expenditures in Iraq for the welfare and prosperity of the American people? As you know very well, many victims of Katrina continue to suffer, and countless Americans continue to live in poverty and homelessness.
I’d also like to say a word to the winners of the recent elections in the US :
The United States has had many administrations; some who have left a positive legacy, and others that are neither remembered fondly by the American people nor by other nations.
Now that you control an important branch of the US Government, you will also be held to account by the people and by history.
If the US Government meets the current domestic and external challenges with an approach based on truth and Justice, it can remedy some of the past afflictions and alleviate some of the global resentment and hatred of America . But if the approach remains the same, it would not be unexpected that the American people would similarly reject the new electoral winners, although the recent elections, rather than reflecting a victory, in reality point to the failure of the current administration%q%s policies. These issues had been extensively dealt with in my letter to President Bush earlier this year.
To sum up:
It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice.
It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion.
It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war.
It is possible to lead the world towards the aspired perfection by adhering to unity, monotheism, morality and spirituality and drawing upon the teachings of the Divine Prophets.
Then, the American people, who are God-fearing and followers of Divine religions, will overcome every difficulty.
What I stated represents some of my anxieties and concerns.
I am confident that you, the American people, will play an instrumental role in the establishment of justice and spirituality throughout the world. The promises of the Almighty and His prophets will certainly be realized; Justice and Truth will prevail and all nations will live a true life in a climate replete with love, compassion and fraternity.
The US governing establishment, the authorities and the powerful should not choose irreversible paths. As all prophets have taught us, injustice and transgression will eventually bring about decline and demise. Today, the path of return to faith and spirituality is open and unimpeded.
We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur’an:
“ But those who repent, have faith and do good may receive Salvation. Your Lord, alone, creates and chooses as He will, and others have no part in His choice; Glorified is God and Exalted above any partners they ascribe to Him. ” (28:67-68)
I pray to the Almighty to bless the Iranian and American nations and indeed all nations of the world with dignity and success.

President of Iran

The Environment Agency has invited experts to name people who have done most for the planet at all times.

http://environment.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,,1958602,00.html

This is a good initiative to further the world’s interest in the defence of our environment which is no more no less that the interest in our survival. In effect, we must be all concerned in making our existence on earth cleanest and purest, and that people in past times have been conscious of this imperative is something worth prizing.

But today the most important aspect of this issue is to find out what are the main contaminants, those elements or individuals who contaminate the most and whose activities are bound to ruin our planet – I do not discard the perfect balance of our planetary system – if they persist in those activities.

The use of a new source of energy is top urgent and imperative. Studies that have been carried out by inventors and specialists have not had the necessary push by our authorities,  in benefit of the oil industry.

I am not totally against the oil industry, I am against the exclusive use of oil which has proved to be poisoning our atmosphere given the exaggerated amounts of this resource that are being employed in our daily life. Other sources such as the sun, the wind, the sea could replace oil in our daily needs, but the problem is that oil is at the base of every industrial activity in use by our capitalist system, and, of course, pulling down the whole set-up is too costly for those exploiting it.

Scientists have recently warned that the first consequences of the destruction of essentials in our environment will be seen and experienced in a shorter period than was being previously announced, the year 2010 being reckoned to be the beginning  of the end if solutions are not found before, and this very urgently.

It is a situation of emergency that should be dealt with right away.

We elect politicians to fight for our interests, not to fight for the interests of others.

This ethnicity, one that suffered persecution and death in the times of Nazism, are again involved in persecution and violence. Countries that should have overcome past racist behaviours, that are new members of the European Union, are again at it against the so-called gypsies.

The European Union should take exceptional measures to protect this layer of our society which so many times has been persecuted and despised along their  existence since they came to Europe from the faraway lands of the Indian sub-continent.

This is an article from The Guardian that speaks about this persecution:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/eu/story/0,,1958740,00.html

I was remembering what happened in the preliminaries of the invasion and the discussion that took place between the American Administration and the military regarding the number of troops that were required for the said invasion. Many officers in the Pentagon were of the opinion that the proposed 130,000 troops were not sufficient for a quick victory over Saddam’s armies, but the Secretary of Defence along with President Bush said that the numbers proposed were enough and that no more troops were necessary.

If you remember how everything went at the beginning of the invasion you may also remember that the war in itself was extremely short and I for one was amazed at seeing as how Saddam’s army was easily routed and no real opposition was presented to the invaders, so much so that Bush, in a short period of time after the invasion, boasted on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier positioned in the zone, that the coalition forces had prevailed.

In my opinion if the Iraqi army had been perfectly organised for the battles that they did know were going to take place, the victory for the coalition forces would not have been so easy. Fiercer resistance would have met the coalition forces and perhaps to win a logical victory the coalition might have needed the number of troops suggested by the military in the US.

This consideration leads me to the conclusion that the American Administration knew that the foreseeable resistance was not going to be so important as the military not involved directly had suggested. And it knew this because its espionage services had already convinced most of the Iraqi commanders not to present any resistance in exchange for sufficient incentive. This may justify the number of troops sent over to Iraq.

Which makes me think that perhaps a coup against Saddam might have achieved the same results the 130,000 American soldiers plus the British plus other nationalities achieved, but conversely a coup d’etat would not have let the US  set up the 14 bases they have already in the country.

This is the conclusion I have arrived at which does not mean I cannot be wrong.

The Bin Laden connection?

November 27, 2006

Our brother group Respect Discussion Group has opened a thread giving a series de up-to-now unknown information about the Bin Laden family, which we think of the utmost interest. I transcribe part of a post therein:

Quote

The following is a collection of links related to W199I; a presidential directive forcing the FBI to “back off” the bin Laden family in pre-911 terrorism investigations.

 For a complete information, you may contact the following site:

http://groups.msn.com/Respectpoliticalparty/general.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=54556&LastModified=4675599460255227298

Afghanistan

November 27, 2006

I am sorry to see at : http://tygerland.net/2006/11/26/no-chance-of-victory-in-afghanistan/#comments  that there are still people who think that Afghanistan should not be left by itself. The blunders with Afghanistan started by the Russian invasion followed by the American invasion. But the most important of them all was the ancient colonisation of the country. Colonial powers made that Afghanistan prolonged for so long its access to what we call civilisation. It was not convenient that they were given the appropriate education and it appears now that all those mistakes are wanted to be fixed up now. Why? Afghanistan is strategically situated and has important natural resources – as may be oil. As happens with Iraq Bush’s America wanted Afghanistan to “enjoy” the marvels of his democracy. And a democracy they imposed in Afghanistan. As a sui-generis democracy is also imposed in Egypt, or Morocco(phosphates) or any other Middle East country, including Israel.

A democracy for the US now is a country which helps control oil interests in any zone. Oil which is the main resource and whose ownership means the control of the world’s economy. That is why Bush’s US claims that Venezuela or other countries having natural resources and which have leant towards the Left, are not democracies.

The strategy carried out at the beginning by the US in Afghanistan was doomed to failure because the principles wielded for the invasion were erroneous. They are now arguing that women are not respected under the Taleban, but you will please tell me any country where women are really respected, I mean any country in the world. How long it took the Western women to make their rights prevail, which they have not prevailed yet because the Law does not appear to protect them fully as it should be.

The NATO command in Afghanistan are thinking of leaving the country to its fate, in view of the growth of the insurgency, which tells much about the real support the Taleban have in the country. A few thousands of fighters are not enough to fight off organised armies.

I am afraid that the West’s invasion of both Iraq and Afghanistan has been carried out without a  recknoning of what the consequences of the invasion would be. Changing the political status of a country overnight is not the way for the new status to consolidate. In my opinion there is no other way to democratise a country than the real ambition of its inhabitants to be democratic, otherwise drastically changing old traditions as it has been wanted to happen by Bush and Co. would only lead that country to a catastrophe.

Facts prove what I say.