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GLOBAL EDUCATION: Obama should take part in summit

Letter by Phyllis A. Bjorkman, Tacoma on May 31, 2010 at 11:55 am with 22 Comments »
May 31, 2010 11:55 am

While world attention focuses on the World Cup starting June 11, leaders of the world will head for Johannesburg, South Africa, and the high-level summit on global education that will be held at the same time.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who was in the U.S. recently, spoke with President Obama and urged him to attend the summit. His government has associated itself with 1GOAL which is supported by the global football community and its governing body, FIFA.

Recently the Education for All Act of 2010, H.R. 5117, was introduced in the U.S. Congress by Rep. Nita Lowey and Rep. Dave Reichert. I ask all the Washington delegation to be co-sponsors. Obama’s attendance at the summit would help bring this worthy multi-donor initiative to fruition.

Leave a comment Comments → 22
  1. aislander says:

    Sounds like another initiative to fleece the American taxpayer…

  2. BO shouldn’t participate for fear of having his asshat handed to him.

  3. I don’t know anything about this, but I am immediately cautious about the one-world, global initiatives. Convince me just why this act is something I should support. I’m listening.

  4. LuckyCharm says:

    It’s not hard to find information on this via Google, sozo. But, I can understand how a dyed-in-the-wool (but trying oh so hard not to appear that way) rightie would be alarmed at the thought of “providing basic education to all children.” You, as a former teacher, must know how scary that prospect really is.

  5. Any attempt at educating Obama is a good thing. Everything has failed so far.

  6. I make no apologies about being a social conservative, LUcky. On the contrary, I believe that I represent the people of this nation who actually want to see kids grow up independent, educated, and strong, as opposed to dependent, entitled and weak.

    I have devoted many years of my life to helping children in dire situations get an education. You reveal much about yourself in your preumptions.

    If you and your pals could just see the right way to go about this…pun intended,…it would be a day of jubilee, but no…perhaps you must feed the monster (your Ego) by making out as if you care more than others, are more generous, good and kind. It’s not about you, though LC. It really isn’t.

  7. Roncella says:

    Notice, more One World talk, this time its about Global Education.

    President Obama has enough on his plate to keep him busy for the next 2 1/2 years already.

    He has a major oil spill to deal with down south, he has an employment of over 10% and climbing, he has a mortgage and banking crises, he has North Korea again threatening war with south Korea, Iran is about to have Nuclear Weapons cabpability, Terroist are trying hard to cause death and fear in America, Iraq war, Afg. War. on and on and on.

    He needs to get busy at the Whitehouse with some of those problems before traveling off to some far away Country for more Photo Opts.

  8. Volks253 says:

    The right hates education, more education means less republicans/conservatives.

  9. LuckyCharm says:

    I still don’t see how anybody could find 1GOAL’s aims so ominous. The idea is to get organizations, celebrities, and noted personages around the world banded together to use the World Cup as a platform to advocate for basic education for children around the globe. It has nothing to do with a world government, period, except maybe in the foreboding recesses of the right-wing mind, which cannot conceive of the possibility that anyone would actually want to help anybody else without some sinister motive. Our consolation is that the rest of us don’t have to live in that kind of mindset, because the world must seem like a very scary place indeed….

  10. 1GOAL may be just peachy, LC, but surely you’re familiar with the term “reflection,” and I believe what folks are cautious about rests in the question: What does this reflect about our nation, our world?

    IMO the problem with many progressives is that they do not see long-range; they see only what’s right in front of them. I frequently found myself asking people over the years…What will this look like ten or twenty years from now?

    Do you see a pattern here that we should be mindful of?

    Example: I see a person who needs my help, a few dollars in his guitar case, and I give it. No harm. Compassion in its proper place in my heart and in my actions.

    When I see hundreds of unwashed, broken-spirited men and women sleeping under bridges, however, I ask myself where we took the turn that made this the choice they made. How did this come about?

    Do I understand the agonizing choice a young woman is faced with when she finds herself pregnant and penniless. Without question. But who will ask her the questions about 10 or 20 years out from this moment? Or shall we just make it easy…in fact encourage termination…to solve her immediate problem?

    Roll a thing out to its logical end…think. Look for patterns, reflections. This is not hard, but it does require more than a knee-jerk, self-aggrandizing response.


  11. LuckyCharm says:

    What would the world be like in 10 or 20 years if children everywhere grew up with better education and opportunity? And if people learned to work together to reach that goal? Um, I think it’d be fantastic!

    One of the biggest challenges we face in the Middle East is the relative lack of education within the populace. They simply cannot conceive of a peaceful society wherein people of different clans, tribes, sects, and faiths coexist and work together for the common good despite their differences. Violence and corruption are all they have ever known, and they’re actually suspicious of anyone who claims that life really could be different. If it’s different from what they’re used to, it must be immoral or dangerous, to them. So the Afghan kids grow up addicted to opium and tutored in its production and sale, and Iraqi kids grow up with the reality of suicide bombs and honor killings. What would those regions look like if they were actually able to learn a trade, acquaint themselves with different cultures, live up to the potential within them, aspire to something greater than what their parents and grandparents handed down to them? Very different than what we see now, I suspect.

  12. I’m all for it, LC. How do you propose that “we” make that happen?

    As for your long range vision, it’s fine as far as it goes, but try looking through a window rather than a pinhole.

  13. LuckyCharm says:

    Start with 1GOAL and similar initiatives, and stop recoiling in fear at any effort that involves people and groups from other places in the world, lest they somehow swallow us up into some nefarious “One World Government.” We don’t have live in that state of constant fear, and we don’t have to always do everything we do all alone, let the rest of the world be dammed. Part of teaching other people how to be good global citizens is to be that ourselves.

    The divisiveness and fear that permeate American society nowadays are exactly what Al Qaeda wanted to create. It almost hurts to see how, rather than everybody pulling together like right after 9/11, we’re more at odds now than we’ve been since the civil war, and much of the reason for that lies in our reaction to the terrorist threat, the way people talk and think about all Muslims now, etc. These knee-jerk reactions have got us polarized to the point of being paralyzed — just watch one session of Congress for an example.

    In a similar vein but a different topic, Andy Borowitz wrote in his latest satirical piece how Osama bin Laden is “professionally envious” of BP’s gulf gusher, as it puts his own attempts at mass destruction of our country to shame. “Man, I’ve got to step up my game.”

    In other words, OBL didn’t have to lift a finger to wreak this latest onslaught of destruction — our own policies of deregulation and our addiction to fossil fuels did it for him. And did he ever imagine in his wildest dreams how successful 9/11 would be, almost a decade later? Rather than pulling us together in unity, it has fractured our society to an extent not seen in a century and a half.

    So, to answer your question, I think “we” could make that happen by first dropping our automatically suspicious attitude toward anything that didn’t spring up within our own borders, and have the humility and generosity to support those causes that are doing something good in the world. Make an effort to learn about other countries and cultures, because this could inspire some to take on the challenge of helping them improve their situation. Require ethnic studies in public schools!

    You know, I’m reminded of a military pilgrimage to Lourdes many years ago when I was stationed in Germany. Armed forces came from everywhere — there were Italian carabinieri, British navy, American army, and so on and so on, representatives from over a dozen or more different nations and every branch of military service they had. The little town was overrun throughout the event, and walking the streets, you might see a platoon of this or that type of unit marching along, their own distinctive uniform and marching style and all. Of course, there were the big events en masse as well, and it was almost magical to see the melding of all these people who had come to one place for one purpose, delighting in one another’s particular characteristics. At night, there would be huge gatherings in the pubs, and those who could speak a common language would chat long into the evening. Everyone’s pride in their own nationality and branch of service was evident, but no one felt threatened by it. I could admire the majestic uniforms and demeanor of the Italian carabinieri or the Brits’ dry humor and still be just as proud to be an American, and the feeling seemed mutual for all. I suppose that was one of the defining events of my life, an exercise in celebrating other cultures’ wonderful qualities without feeling my own were somehow demeaned.

  14. LuckyCharm says:

    Here is a video that tries to capture the spirit of that annual pilgrimage. It ends with the words, “Here, we experience peace. Elsewhere, we work for peace.”

  15. aislander says:

    Prolixity is the soul of the halfwit…

  16. Wait, you’re PROUD to be an American LC?

  17. So Phyllis, what do you stand to gain in all of this. Normally when I read a letter like your’s, it turns out to be self-serving. LuckyCharm thinks that more education is the answer to the worlds problems. O.K lets bring more Muslims over to attend our colleges and major in Chemistry and Physics so they can make better bombs. Jihadists don’r really want to harm us, it’s just that they don’t get enough educational opportunities, it’s America’s fault.

  18. LuckyCharm says:

    sozo, I generally don’t go along with the notion of being proud of an accident of birth, but in that context I was proud to have the opportunity to represent my country among all the others that were represented there, without any feeling of competitiveness. That was the main point I was trying to make.

    In general, feelings of national or regional pride strike me as silly. The idea of “American Pride” seems no more valid to me than “Samoan Pride” or “Chamorro Pride” or even “Gay Pride” or “Black Pride.” Unless you’re a Buddhist who believes that the circumstances of your birth are determined by the merits of your previous lifetimes, there is no reason to be either proud or ashamed of them. If you had nothing to do with the way or place you were born, how can you be proud of it?

    Now, if I contribute, insofar as I’m able, to making my country more of a force for good in the world, a better example to all, I can legitimately take some pride in that, I feel. But there’s no reason to be proud of the simple fact that one was born on American soil. It could literally happen to anyone.

    And yeah, frosty, maybe you’ve convinced me — it would be dangerous to educate Muslims. Because they’re all evil terrorists. If we deny them access to Western culture, so that they receive all their training from their mullahs and imams, they’ll surely forget how to make any sort of weapon at all, and their threat will be quickly neutralized. Just try to keep them stupid and impoverished, and they’ll leave us alone. Should take only a few years, I’d guess. We should pull out of both Iraq and Afghanistan now, deport any Muslims already on US soil, regardless of citizenship, deny entry to any future Muslims, and pull any funding we’ve been putting into their infrastructure or anything else. Within a generation they’ll all just starve and disappear. Right?

  19. Roncella says:

    LCharm, You had better hope the Muslims and their mullahs & imams do not destroy America and western society as we know it. You will have no rights as a women and will have to cover your body leaving just your eye’s showing, so you can see what your doing as you wait on all the men, cooking and cleaning and shopping.

  20. LuckyCharm says:

    And that’s why we should deny better education to those regions, right Ron? So they can be left to their radical clerics to train them up the way THEY want them? Hmmm….

  21. Did someone suggest that terrorists are stupid? Were that it were so.

    LC, here’s how I use the word proud in this circumstance.

    I am proud to be part of a country that took a global position to make freedom the cornerstone of their society.

    I’m proud of my uncles and my father and every man and woman who stepped up to address the cowardly act of the Japanese Emperor in 1941, and proud to be related to an uncle who lived out his life with a divot in his face from Nazi fire in Europe.

    I’m proud that our country stands apart from every other country in the world when it comes to the quality of life of its citizens.

    I’m proud to be part of a country that once stood for the belief in Everyman and his capcity to work hard and maybe even get rich if that was his objective.

    I’m proud to be part of a country that sends more aid to others than anyone in the world.

    I’m proud to be part of a country that has representatives, volunteers usually, in every corner of the world doing what they can to help others have a better quality of life.

    Right now, I have to say, I am saddened by an administratin and by fellow citizens who seem to think we have more to apologize for than to celebrate.

    I am saddened, LC, by your presumption that you have a better plan for America than the one that’s the foundation on which this country was built; that you would like to see us look like someone else, somewhere else; that you don’t even get what you “fought” for during your time of service.

    I am contemptuous of the pride and arrogance of our president, his team and his wife — all for perpetrating fundamental changes to our nation…an extreme make-over, a face transplant for crying out loud.

    Your hubris truly makes you a candidate for the current advisory board to the president. Too bad you’re stuck out here in pitiful little Tacoma. Your bad luck.

  22. LuckyCharm says:

    “Did someone suggest that terrorists are stupid?”

    Apparently some feel that keeping them uneducated, by Western standards, makes them less of a threat.

    I’m proud of the good things we’ve stood for too, sozo. I’m also proud that we can admit that we are not, and never will be, perfect, and that every once in a great while we have the courage and humility to admit that.

    I disagree that anyone thinks we have more to apologize for than to celebrate, besides maybe me, when I contemplate the fact that we consume, proportionately, far more of the earth’s resources and produce far more of its pollution than anyone else, and are the most reluctant to change that balance. That we condemn terrorism when it’s done to us, yet continue to send drones into other countries to kill civilians. That we, who champion the rule of law for everyone else, are quick to abandon it when it suits us.

    “that you don’t even get what you “fought” for during your time of service.”

    I “fought” no more and no less than did any of my colleagues in Iraq — in a firefight, they don’t segregate you by gender. But I will accept that many of us don’t get what we were doing that for. It was supposed to be about WMD, remember? Now, it never was that at all. Funny how stuff changes in hindsight, isn’t it? Some of us actually thought we were helping defend America from catastrophic ruin. Guess not….

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