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Education

University has a crucial place in society

Tomorrow night (January 7, 2013), Brooklyn College in New York will be hosting a forum that will focus on the Palestinian-led campaign to boycott and ultimately free itself from the grasp of Israel. This forum is very important because it allows for the discussion, sharing of information and possible solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Unfortunately, New York politicians all the way up from Congress to council members have condemned this forum. According to Democracy Now (2013), ” In response, a group of New York City council-members has raised the possibility of Brooklyn College losing taxpayer support.” This should not be a surprise since there is an enormous amount of support given to Israel from Individual in America as well as top politicians. I mean we cannot forget that Obama’s 2013 budget, shows 3.1 billion in U.S. military aide to Israel, which is an increase from 3.075 billion in 2011. At the same time thousands of people who three months ago, were affected by Hurricane Sandy, still live in shelters and temporary hotels. As well as, all over America public schools are being shut-down because of the excuse of, lack of funding. With the support of Brooklyn College’s president, Karen L, Gould, the forum is going to continue despite the threats; the show must go on. So any of you who can make it to Brooklyn College, go to the forum and show your support for Important and beneficial information. The event I believe is in Brooklyn not New York at 6:00pm to 9:00pm. The exact address is this:

2900 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY, 11210

Room: Student Center Building: Penthouse.

phone number: (718)751-9000.

This is a very important step/stand, right, because for those who listened to the talk called, “University as a Factory,”given by Max Haiven, which I linked to my previous post* you would see how crucial it is that we have universities that allow and encourage positive free ideas that engage our conscience. The university should be a positive place where we can develop, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. How else would we be prepared for the world ahead of us? The link to Max Haiven’s talk can be found here. Democracy Now covered the events in New York; the video is below.

I would like to now transition to the Palestine-Israel conflict which is the fuel that gave fire to the events at Brooklyn College and New York as a whole. The Palestine-Israel conflict is one that has several stories, so ultimately it depends on who you talk to. But one story that is backed by documented history starts in 1967 when Israel under the order of the American military, defeated the Nasser regime. To this day America and Britain support Radical Islam because it prevents the rise of Secular Nationalism; this is why Israel was asked to defeat Nasser. Move forward several years (1970) and again Israel was called upon to scare Syria from intervening in the massacre of Palestinians by U.S. backed Jordan. There are other events such as the Yo Kippur War in 1973 and the peace treaties that were presented to Israel from Egypt (1971) and Jordan (1972). Two important points must be highlighted in these peace processes, the first is that they did not include the Palestinians who were being killed in the area. The second point has to do with the two countries (Egypt and Jordan) not giving up their territory. So, this is the beginning of the Israeli settlers who expanded within the territory that is today called Israel. So those Palestinians who were being massacred , are the same Palestinians who were being pushed back before: Till the only thing left was present the Gaza Strip and The West Bank.  November 29, 2012, was a day of joy for Palestinians and other supporters because finally the Palestine state was recognized by the U.N. (not including Israel and the U.S.)

An important aspect of the Palestine-Israel conflict, that I like to look at is the mentality that surrounds some individuals in the Jewish culture. This mentality is connected to history that can go back to the biblical times (if you believe in religion). Nonetheless, one point in history that cannot be mistaken is the events of World War II (WWII). Basically what I am saying is that there is a significant population of Jews who believe that someone or some group of people is or are, trying to wipe them out of the the face of the planet: to this day. This can be noticed in the video below featuring Noam Chomsky (Cool Guy), interviewed on Channel 2 News in Israel. He is featured here because he was denied entry into Birzeit University.

Noam Chomsky.”Well you get a free trip.”

Noam Chomsky,”Let’s try to find one country that like all my views…..I do not plan on it but if I am asked!” “Israel is at a position of security, well beyond above that of many other states.” This is because America supports Israel.

I like how Noam Chomsky highlights the plights of the Native American People.

Noam Chomsky,”A person should take responsibility for what they are responsible for.”

Notice how the Interviewer, emphasizes the past and believes that there is some imminent threat against Israel.

I hope that the videos above got things moving in your mind but we can go further. The videos below will focus on what the people in Palestine and Israel go through everyday. The first video below focuses on  a documentary, “The Gatekeepers;” which is about the  six previous members of the once secret Israeli security agency force called, the Shin Bet , which hunts and or kills Palestinian militants but some of the time civilians are killed in the process. The whole broadcast can be found here. The second video will show what it is like to live as a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip or the West bank.

The director, Dror Moreh makes the argument that both sides are responsible for killing and causing harm to innocent civilians. Because, it is important to point out that the biggest problem that should be addressed is that children, women and whole families are being killed on both sides and it is not right.

It is inadequate to bring out facts, information, and not give people something to do, if the opportunity is there. So I want you to take action, Today, and it is very easy, just sign the petitions linked here and here. Not only that spread the word get other people involved because it takes all of us to make a change. We can look back in history/present times and see that our voices together are what keeps the,” change train,” going. Join majority of people who want to live a peaceful fulfilling life.

I have provided another video below that focuses on the corporations that support the Israeli Occupation of the Palestine state.This video (below), which features activist Dalit Baum (I saw her speak, at an University on the same issue) highlights corporations that are supporting the Israeli Occupation; boycott them!

Dalit Baum,”Israeli weapons companies, they start a subsidiary in the U.S, in order to win contracts with the Israeli army, … it is cheaper.”

Peace

*”The Spark that could Initiate the Transformation of the American Education System.”

References:

Haiven, Max. “University as Factory.” Against the Grain. KPFA. 10 Oct. 2012.

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The spark that could Initiate the transformation of the American education system

Earlier this month (January), teachers at Garfield High School in Seattle, Washington came together and voted to boycott a standardized test called the MAP test. According to the teachers, the test not only puts unnecessary pressure on the students but it is also used to grade the teacher’s performance. What is good about the teachers standing up for what they believe in is that it brings awareness to the state of the education system in America. As a result of the boycott, teachers within the state and nation wide have expressed their support. For example,  The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, which make up some 4.5 million members have publicly stated their support.

I have always been critical of the education system in America and its big push for standardized testing. This is for many reasons, such as the atmosphere that it produces around the school campus which forces students to just regurgitate information. The problem with this is that  students don’t challenge themselves to to critically think about issues that they are facing or could face in the future. Today Democracy Now, hosted Jesse Hagopian and Wayne Au, who talk more about the Garfield High School teachers and their boycott of the MAP test as well as highlighting some of the critical issues that are present in the current education system. The prodcast can be found below and via direct link here: http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/29/seattles_teacher_uprising_high_school_faculty

I also would like to share a talk called “University as a Factory,” given by Max Haiven (I urge EVERYONE to listen to this talk, especially students and recently graduated individuals). This talk is one that I find very interesting in many ways. This is because Max Haiven, hits many points about the role of the university in current society, such as the debt crisis, capitalism, society, economic issues, and happiness. Some of the points that Max Haiven highlights are directly connected to the boycott that the teachers at Garfield High School are involved in. The link to the talk can be found here: http://www.againstthegrain.org/program/619/coming-wed-103112. Feel free to express your thoughts.

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