Tag Archives: US elections

Academic Freedom Or Propagandizing?

Swedish television showed a documentary made by their correspondents who traveled in
America seeking out views on the upcoming election. “From Bill To Barack” aired on Swedish television a few days before the election, but it has now caused an uproar in several parts of the United States because of comments made by a teacher to a student. Fifth grade teacher, Diantha Harris, was discussing the election and asked a girl named Kathy to give her opinion, given that her father was in the military service. The girl remained silent and then Mrs. Harris said, “it’s a senseless war. And, by the way, Kathy, the person you are picking for president said our troops will stay in iraq for another 100 years.” Her comments were picked up by conservative bloggers and played on Youtube. Many were upset at the words of Mrs. Harris to a fifth grade student.

School Superintendent William Harrison expressed his dismay arguing while “neutral discussion of the political process is appropriate, at not time, particularly with elementary students, should a teacher infuse his/her political views into the discussion.” Mrs. Harris argues her comments were edited to reflect a certain perspective.

A teacher has a right to hold political views, but they should be conveyed in an environment that protects the dignity of children. A fifth grade student does NOT have political views, she was merely reflecting what her mother and father said. According to the report, Kathy did not speak in response to the question, and therefore, the teacher should have respected the silence of the child. There was no need to make negative comments about Senator McCain because to do so is insulting parents– who are not present to defend themselves.

Hamas Leader Blames Israel For Region Problems

Mahmoud Zahar, one of the founders of Hamas, told reporters(including one from the Jerusalem Post) that Israel is responsible for the current impasse about freeing an Israeli soldier held by his group. He idenitified the issue of how many Palestinian prisoners would be released in order to return Cpl. Gilad Schlit as a sore point in negotiations since he beieves Israel is playing games with the number of those who will be released from their side. Zahar was upset because he believes Palestinian groups had reached an agreement with Israel with both sides halting all military action against one another, a “hudna for peace, but “the Israelis are agan playing with us, (they) say they want to wait for a few months after the cease fire before opening the gates(of Gaza). Why wait?”

Zahar hoped the next American president would be “more neutral” and refused to respond to a question by a Jerusalem Post reporter as to his preference in the American election. “No, I will not fall for this trick. You are trying to play politics by getting me to say something good about Obama.” He thought Senator John McCain would win the presidential election because “the United States will not vote for a black man or a woman to be president.”

The Hamas leader believes Israel is suffering a moral and spiritual crisis which is sappping the determination of the nation to confront Hamas and other militant groups. He pointed to a declining immigration and the fact many Israelis hold two passports and will eventually leave for a safer climate. He mocked the idea of a two state solution asking “where are the borders? What about the refugees? I have to know the dimensions of everything. I don’t give answers until then. We don’t trust the prime minister or any Israeli, our way is not the Fatah way.”

Zahar’s rambling reflections offer both hope and doubt about a peace. There apparently is a possibility of attaining an immediate cease fire, but little hope of a far reaching long term solution at the moment. But, one step at a time might be the best approach for the Israel-Palestinian conflict.