Monday, September 1, 2014

School Begins With Talk of ISIS And The #FergusonSyllabus

The regular crew was on the bridge Sunday at noon in Skowhegan, Maine and we had several visitors. This Navy man, who crews on a nuclear submarine, stopped to talk for quite a while about his perceptions of whether the use of depleted uranium is a war crime (he didn't think so) and the toxic chemicals that do permeate every military base he's been on. Also the work of the Navy pursuing "narco-terrorists" outside Columbia, drug lords who employ one-use fiberglass submarines to ship drugs around.

It was a respectful dialogue, and that is one of the things I love about my bridge community.

My friend Fang's sign can only be partially seen here but says in full:

By carrying this sign, he is creating a space for the discussion to happen. For a long time he had a sign that said D.U. = WAR CRIME but most of his audience didn't know what D.U. stood for and probably just read it as Duh. So maybe stupidity = war crime?

Which bring us to ISIS. Click through to Vimeo to watch this video on the confusing situation where the US first arms militants like ISIS and then subsequently bombs them. Or, if you prefer text to video, you might want to read Edward Snowden's latest revelation, documents showing that Israel's spy agency Mossad trained ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, aided by the CIA and Britain's M-16.

Pentagon Hymn, the shores of Tripoli from MarkFiore on Vimeo.

Our ten year old grandson told us that he loves his new teacher, that she is young, that she told them about ISIS and what bad guys they are, and that she mentioned that in 5th grade they would be studying the Bill of Rights. Then she mentioned that people standing on the bridge every week in a nearby town is an example of the First Amendment. Our grandson raised his hand and told her some of those people were his grandparents.

I worry when I hear that kids are going back to school learning about ISIS, but not Ferguson. (Maybe she'll cover that, too, who knows?) I've seen news reports that some school administrators are telling their teachers "change the subject" if Ferguson comes up. I'm sure many educators will ignore that particular directive.

Others have put forth a hash tag #FergusonSyllabus to help organize material to teach about racism in the USA, police brutality, and let us hope some lively debate on whether racist policing is a standalone problem or part of a larger class war in which people of color are far more likely to be low income than white people are. And how white racism sows confusion.

The more confusing, the better for our corporate masters. How do you explain ISIS to 5th graders -- and still keep your job? Maybe Irony Guard would help.

Today is Labor Day when educators everywhere rest an extra day and write lesson plans. Will they be teaching that organizers called for people to stop driving at 4:30pm today and use emergency blinkers for 4 1/2 minutes in solidarity with the demand that Police Officer Darren Wilson be charged and tried for the death of Michael Brown?

Because Ferguson. Everywhere. Now.
Morgan Bradley (left) asks school girls what they plan to be when they grow up as protesters demonstrated against the police shooting of Michael Brown at the Ferguson police station on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. Photo by Robert Cohen,

From Popular Resistance "Over 1,000 Protest In Ferguson, Call For Highway Shutdown Monday"

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