Posts Tagged ‘Peace’

Teaching for Peace and Change in the World’s Biggest War Zones

Republished from the New Indian Express   By Blessy Mathew Prasad Published: 30th May 2016 06:00 AM Last Updated: 28th May 2016 01:51 PM Gun shots, bloodshed, refugee camps, hatred, basically …

Source: Teaching for Peace and Change in the World’s Biggest War Zones


Teaching for Peace and Change in the World’s Biggest War Zones

Republished from the New Indian Express


Published: 30th May 2016 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 28th May 2016 01:51 PM

Gun shots, bloodshed, refugee camps, hatred, basically anything that says ‘war’ – would probably scare away millions of us who have never seen that side of life. Except maybe for a few like Siraj Davis. An American citizen of Japanese origin, Siraj made one of the biggest decisions of his life six years ago, when he entered Syria, determined to do everything he could to remove refugees from their misery. It would come at a huge price, of course. And he was ready for it.

Six years without departure, witnessing war first hand, and even being deported for his pursuit of refugee rights, Siraj has seen it all. Syria to Jordan and Jordan to Erbil, Kurdistan, Siraj has spent the last six years researching, documenting and helping Iraqi, Palestinian and Syrian refugees in the Middle East.

He has taught at numerous international private schools and language institutes and now teaches at the American International School in Erbil, Kurdistan apart from teaching Permerga fighters and fighting for the rights of Yezidi refugees.

Ask him why he loves teaching so much and he emphatically replies, “because that’s the only way out”. For Siraj, education is the door to peace in the Middle East. “It is absolutely necessary to employ and uplift education to deter a trajectory of violent struggle derived from alternative ideologies  surrounding our youth outside of the schools, as opposed to non-violent resistance and tolerant meaningful dialogue,” he says.

He believes that it is the responsibility of teachers to introduce students to the acceptable  rhetoric, to be more forthcoming in the dialogue with the ‘other’ society that teaches them to repel, and to do away with the negative intolerant impediments.

When injustice and violence have become the cultural norm, when you’re constantly told to flee your home to avoid being mistakenly bombed as a terrorist, when you’re separated from loving families for prolonged periods of duration, endure second to third class citizenship, experience languishing penury and cruel abuse and merciless exploitation in your own region and specific nation of refuge, and desperately await a visa to a developed nation which is the only pathway to a real life for them, so often, the young are led to believe that it’s hopeless to even attempt to change things.  That, according to Siraj, is the worst form of submission in any human, to attempt nothing and feel content at such hypnosis. “I have taught students that simple things such as viewing or liking a video about humanity can improve the world. Sending a thank you letter to those who fight for our rights is a step. Making a blog can make a difference. But the first and most exigent step is getting the students to believe in themselves. If it takes an entire school year to convince them of this,  it is absolutely worth it,” he says with conviction.

Deeply inspired by his mother’s compassion for the downtrodden, Siraj has made it his life’s mission too. Little wonder then that the legend Noam Chomsky penned a note of appreciation for Siraj, something that will remain safe in his treasure box.

The Davis Docu

His first book was Religious Fanaticism and Abolition: Early 19th Century Marginalization of David Walker and Nat Turner. In it, he researched the application of religion by the abolitionist movement to justify violence at slave rebellions

He did something never done before in the historiography of the abolition movement by taking prolific author Herbert Aptheker’s record of slave rebellions in America and analyzing it statistically, which demonstrated the phenomena that every 20 years, the level and frequency of violence of rebellious groups tends to increase in a struggle, as it did in abolitionism

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Cheers for a Palestine by Name, Forget the Rights

September 13, 2014 1 comment

Cheers for a Palestine by Name, Forget the Rights

July 21, 2014 Leave a comment

Cheers for a Palestine by Name, Forget the Rights

January 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Let me disabuse some further clear fallacies I have been reading about this event on Facebook.One Facebook user stated in support of a second Palestinian state,“A bird in the hand is better than another 64 years of nothing. America Indians can’t eliminate USA just as Israel is not going to disappear… the “real” revenge is to thrive and develop a working Palestinian economy despite the hardships.”Sacrificing for an inclusive and Democratic state is very possible and it doesn’t necessarily entail hate, as some assume (some perceive that a one state solution translates into the destruction of the Jewish culture and rights). Similar enigmas of conflict have existed in many situations across the globe within the pages of history and it is very possible to apply in the Palestine conundrum. Although there are Palestinian voices that emphasize angry rhetoric in regards to the formation of one state, there are just as many voices that desire cultivation of peaceful coexistence, whose vernacular does not entail this. furthermore, what one says and does are two different things.Moreover, we should expect that Israel and the US will make the economy for Palestinians scream (as Nixon said about Salvador Allende in Chile) after their embarrassment in the UN. Facebook user stated about the one state solution,“It’s unachievable. If Palestine can get most of the pre-67 borders and the right to return, it should be taken. I know it’s all Palestine, yet, it’s unachievable.If I have an illness and years are lost, will I except a cure at 50 or lose it all? The answer is rhetorical. Take the 67′ borders and shun Israel in perpetuity.Remember Star Wars…’Don’t give into hate, Luke.’ “As we see in the two prior posts, the error in reasoning is that a one state solution coalesces with the idea that violence is an intractable condition of that aspiration, that it is unattainable, and that there will be economic stability with a second Palestinian state.To ignore the pre-conditions of peaceful coexistence before this nightmare all began, is to be so exhausted from injustice and the pursuit of its anathema, that one is willing to capitulate for the sake of trading justice, even the tiniest fabrication of it, for temporary peace. That is in fact what one will ascertain with two states.

via Cheers for a Palestine by Name, Forget the Rights.

The World Declares to Israel “Hands Off Gaza!”

June 14, 2013 Leave a comment

Collective Consciousness and TJP: Why We Refuse to Surrender

April 6, 2013 Leave a comment

These are not perfect people by far. They have tough skin and like many great minds in history, they have flaws, sometimes huge ones. Sometimes those who have above normal passion and resilience against injustice by the powerful over the weak are misconstrued as insane, incorrigible, anti-authority, or/and misanthropes. The fact is the experiences they have endured and fights they have stood strong against have created a turtle’s shell on the outside to protect their fragile inner parts, which could be used against them to diminish their will to be resilient or to loosen the grip of their clinch on their own humanity, honor, and integrity. To protect themselves from the harsh cruelty and despicable natures of those brainwashed by years of national and zealous religious indoctrination who call themselves citizens of the very same governments that create the injustices that make people like them squint in horror as they cry on the inside while trying to control their rage at such disgusting, barefaced, and shameless injustice. Sometimes our hearts are pure and honest, too honest as some say. People hate others who are too honest or speak truth to power as Ray Luv, the late 2 Pac’s friend, explained was a reason why people hated and wanted 2 Pac Shakur dead.2 Pac: people or leathernecks for humanity are human rights activists. And yes. We all are eccentric! Some may have peculiar habits such as wearing the same suit everyday of the week or failed in high school as Albert Einstein, some may have been former criminals who turned their lives around like Malcolm X, some may have a high libido as Franklin Roosevelt and Dr. King Jr, some may have huge debts like Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln and Mark Twain who all filed for bankruptcy, and more flaws. We are human.

via Collective Consciousness and TJP: Why We Refuse to Surrender.

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