|Rouge Forum Letter: What Shall We Do?
The question, " Just what shall we do? " in response to the vile terrorist
attack is a very good one. We have been discussing that on the Rouge
list. I will send a summary of that to anyone who asks. I don't want
this list. By the end of the weekend, we will have a link on the RF
site that people can view.
I am passing along a note from Celia Oyler, which I think is helpful.
To me, it is clear that we must circumvent the unions, organize mainly
outside, but also inside. One foot in, but two feet out. Sure, a local
resolution against jingoism, racism, and the ruling class' war (on
else) is a good thing--even though the waterfall of pressure to jump
war wagon from the unions' top bosses will be hard on local leaders.
is a far better thing to build a teach-in that can create friendships
can serve as the basis of organizing people in new ways, across
communities, job-lines, and borders.
Most of the young women and men who are about to be called upon to go
this Oil War have little to gain from it. Many of them know that. We
not be wary of people in the military. Take a look at VA hospitals
need to see how the military treats its own. Ask the vets about Agent
Orange or Gulf War Syndrome. We should be talking to them as much as
possible. In part, it was troop mutinies that shut down the war in
This is a somewhat different military, and a different time, but the
economic draft that puts people in the military now is going to tell
There are several Vietnam Vets Against the War groups. Here is one
This is an international war of the rich on the poor. Poor and working
people are going to pay a horrible price, everywhere. The genuine divide,
as Bonnie has said, is not nation, race, or religion, but class. The
present hysteria in some areas (hardly groundless) is going to meet
life over time, and the reality of class war is going to become more
to more people. At issue to educators, in part, is: what is the
relationship of how people learn to what they need to know? How can
assist in breaking the patterns of abuse?
I'll add, we can teach critically, and Start the AntiWar Movement Now.
that context, it seems that we might note that friendship is a most
notion in the US, and something worth treasuring. While we resist,
to build genuine caring communities, in classes and out.
This is a headline in the vaunted NY TImes today: "Holy Warriors Escalate
an Old War on a New Front" No mention of the rush to prove just who
most born again at the last US election. Here is a template to criticize
this and other texts:
Good questions are probably more enduring than good answers.
all the best, r
>Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2001 17:27:50 -0400 (EDT)
>From: Celia Oyler <email@example.com>
>To: Richard Gibson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: Re: Work for educators
>Please distribute as widely as possible, thanks,
>Sept 15 New York City
>> >Dear educator,
>> >As teachers we have an urgent task in the days, weeks, and months
>> >Our Arab, Arab American, Muslim, Mideastern, and Southeast Asian
>> >and neighbors need our vigilance and sustained support. It
>> >for us to work in our respective arenas to organize with our co-workers,
>> >friends, relatives, neighbors and students for local citizen protection
>> >and outreach. For those of you living in areas without populations
>> >targeted for violence on the basis of skin color, religion, or
>> >please reach out to organizations that need your support.
>> >schools in the New York City area where children and teachers have
>> >been targeted. These children and teachers are not only suffering
>> >daze, depression, worry, and anger that so many of us feel, but
>> >also experiencing severe threats to their physical safety.
>> >On Tuesday night I wrote a very brief email to a first year teacher
>> >completing her teacher education program here at Teachers College.
>> >has taken a position at a school in Brooklyn that serves a large
>> >Arab and Muslim children. She herself is Egyptian American.
In my email,
>> >I inquired about her safety. This is an edited version of
>> >(She wishes not to be named at this time.)
>> >"Hi Celia,
>> >Thank you for your concern and support. I hope that all is well
>> >and that you have not faced too much grief as a result of the tragic
>> >incident. I have not suffered any loss myself - not that I know
of yet, at
>> >least. The loss I suffer is different now. It's the feeling of
>> >comfortable walking down the street anymore, the feeling that I
>> >participate in political debates, state my last name or ethnicity,
>> >Every time this type of thing happens I pray that the perpetrators
>> >Muslim or Arab - for it makes our lives that much harder. It's
like I have
>> >to deal with both sides of the issue: the WTC getting bombed (as
>> >American) and the potential retribution (as an Arab and a Muslim).
>> >loss of any human life is always a tragedy for all of humanity.
>> >loss affects us all. Watching all those people was so surreal and
>> >My school is closed until next week as a result of numerous bomb
>> >and physical attacks upon the school. Trying to evacuate the kids
>> >the school was a madhouse that day! Every time a little girl walked
>> >with her hair covered, she got things thrown at her and insulted
>> >onlookers. "Terrorist!! Go back to your own country!" they screamed.
>> >have had this told to me many times growing up in the U.S., but
>> >me to see a child go through it - especially since they have no
>> >what is happening. But what do I expect from a people that are
>> >saturated with negative media images of Arabs, Muslims, and foreigners
>> >general? How can I expect them to not realize that what happened
>> >by a small group of frustrated, angry, hateful people? Should I
>> >shirt that says, "We're not all that bad"
>> >We also had to deal with the children who have grown up in war
>> >-mainly Palestine and Bosnia. Many of them broke down and had flashbacks
>> >of their homelands and of the countless horrors they have witnessed
>> >their short lives. Nothing could have ever prepared me for the
>> >of witnessing a child throw themselves on the ground and scream,
>> >going to kill us! We're going to die!" and then start praying and
>> >I can't stop the tears as I write this even. Imagine all that on
>> >day teaching!!
>> >My family is very sad - grieving for the lives taken and for the
>> >about to be taken. My parents have warned me not to discuss politics,
>> >cover my hair, or state my ethnicity to anyone. They told me that
>> >not the time for political statements - what can I say, they are
>> >above all else. My mother and father have both left work early
>> >they couldn't handle listening to the comments people made about
>> >19-year-old sister's Palestinian friends are all staying with her
>> >death threats they receive on the phone. My 11 year old sister's
>> >that she set up for Muslim girls has been closed down due to too
>> >mail. My roommate who is also Egyptian couldn't go to class today
>> >of all the posters declaring war on Arab terrorists. She was shaking
>> >hard she couldn't concentrate. I don't know what to do if war breaks
>> >for surely some of my people will be absolutely demolished.
All of us
>> >have to listen silently when others talk of "bombing those Arab
>> >to death." Is it selfish to think of the struggle that we
have to face in
>> >the U.S. when so many people have been killed? I can't help it.
>> >that I don't feel sorry for all the people in the tragic incident,
>> >just that I know the repercussions will be enormous."
>> >This first-year teacher's letter eloquently outlines the reasons
>> >of us to take as many steps as possible to stand beside Arab and
>> >fellow citizens, extend our support to them individually and to
>> >communities and organizations, and to speak against national drumrolls
>> >war. Some resources to assist you:
>> >CHILDREN'S BOOKS
>> >Heide, F. P., Heide, J. H. (1995). The day of Ahmed's secret.
>> >Mulberry Books. (Elementary). A young Egyptian boy
in Cairo goes about
>> >his delivery work and then divulges his secret to his family: he
>> >learned to write his name.
>> >Schetlman, L. (1999). A Peddler's dream. New York: Reading Rainbow.
>> >(Elementary). A Lebanese man, who comes to the United States to
>> >fortune, suffers several setbacks, but makes his dream come true.
>> >ARTICLES FOR EDUCATORS
>> >Wingfield, M., & Karaman, B. (1995). Arab stereotypes
>> >educators. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 7(4), pp
>> >"Arab American Students in Public Schools"
>> >[a very detailed set of curriculum recommendations]
>> >[I have not seen these PBS videos, but the descriptions sound very
>> >"One Hundred Questions and Answers about Arab Americans":
>> >Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee
>> >Arab American and Chaldean Council
>> >Arab American Chamber of Commerce
>> >Arab American Institute:
>> >Arab Film Distribution:
>> >NEW YORK CITY AREA COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION TO SUPPORT:
>> >DRUM (Desi's Rising Up and Moving) is setting up a number to report
>> >incidents of hate crimes and bias attacks for South Asians in the
>> >New Jersey area. Please call in all information about incidents
>> >any contact information for those victimized. They
began follow-up and
>> >community outreach Thursday throughout Queens and Brooklyn, particularly
>> >at Mosques and Gurudwaras in the area. They will work with
>> >to collect information and organize response with the leadership
>> >in the community. THE DRUM BIAS ATTACK NUMBER IS (212) 631-3689.
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