View Full Version : Some General Observations

09-15-2001, 06:47 AM
As a few of you know, I teach English at the Community College of Rhode Island, one of the largest community colleges in the country. During the years I have been there, I've read many stories, written by students from all over the world, that have affected me deeply. I've also come to know many of these students quite well.

Johnson K.C. Ma, a student from China, told of his escape as a child from China. His mother dragged him and his young sister miles and miles before they came to a river. At that point, the mother was faced with a decision: which child do I save? Johnson never heard from his sister again. I have read so many stories of escape from the Killing Fields that I never want to read another again. One Russian man decided to come to America because, in his broken, yet heartbreaking, English, he wrote, "I have no meal for my son." Luis, a Columbian student in his mid-forties, left his wife and child in Columbia, while working and studying in the US for five years. Nearly every day, he came to me to discuss American idioms he heard on TV. Two years ago, I met Luis's wife and child; they had come to stay.

I have worked with a man who held a Doctorate in Islamic Studies, yet had little facility with written English. Monica, a Korean woman, came to our Writing Center every day one summer to practice her writing; just last June, Monica received her MA in Psychology from Northeastern. I've met three doctors from Poland, now working to receive nursing degrees. I delighted in an essay written by a monk from Sri Lanka in which he described sitting around with the other monks at the monestary watching America's Funniest Home Videos, their favorite TV show.

This week I've heard more backlash against immigrants than I've heard in the ten years I've worked at CCRI. (Thankfully, it has come from students--not faculty or staff.) The president of our college took the time to remind us that most students lacked the perspective and experience to find any frame of reference for this week's events; he reminded us that we could use the tragedy as a "'teaching moment'" for the students. Gee, I wonder which students he had in mind.

Last night, I saw a Ford Bronco flying a huge American Flag. As the truck drove off, the flag dragged across the ground and the last few gleams of light revealed the two confederate flag decals on the back window. It was getting dark out, so I went home.

Maybe I found my "teaching moment."


09-15-2001, 07:12 AM
a fantastic post...keep going...it is there...gl

09-15-2001, 03:22 PM
. . . the Pakistanis have agreed to everything that the American administration has asked of them, as far as pressuring Afghanistan is concerned. Thank God!

(Aatheists here can thank Malmuth.) The facts that Pakistan is an extremely devoted Islamic country and that it's 1 among 3 countries in the world formally recognizing the Taliban regime must have escaped the war mongers and the chest thumpers. Else, how to reconcile their demands for military action a.s.a.p. with the fact that Pakistan is a nuclear power ? Don't they at least consider the damn odds before going all in??.. Jesus Christ! (the atheists can invoke Ray Zee.)

09-15-2001, 04:21 PM

09-15-2001, 09:05 PM
1. Put straps on the bottom edge of a land mine.

2. Strap it to your head like a helmet.

3. Guide you to an important target, to which your run real fast with head lowered.

09-15-2001, 09:54 PM
They probably have the closest relationship with the current (ugh) Afghan regime, stemming from their decade long assistance to oust the Soviets. And Ossam bin Laden is a very popular figure within Pakistan. Additionally, there is a lot of anti-American and pro-fundamentalist sentiment within their country.

All of which means it took some guts on their part to throw their lot in with us, especially so early on. But they have good reasons to do so:

1. The attacks were an abomination and they aren't foolish enough to think the Taliban's bleatings of innocence are anything but self-serving lies. This plainly seems a question of simple morality.

2. Retribution figures to be terrible. They apparently had no involvement [an assumption by this ignorant Floridian] and deserve to escape it.

3. The fundamentalists pose a threat to them as well. If you don't appreciate what life is like for the average Afghani under the Taliban regime it pretty well sucks.

Their reasons seem perfectly reasonable and sincere and I hope everyone (of us) appreciates their cooperation.

09-16-2001, 02:00 AM
I've always maintained that immigrants are the true Americans. Only they have a real sense of what the experiment means...

09-16-2001, 02:47 AM
The Pakistanis are they key to any strategy adopted against the Afghanis, from legit to cowboy. (Former is total embargo for starters, latter is immediate & indiscriminate bombing.) Pakistanis must be co-operating with clenched teeth though because the Taliban are the "pure" followers for most devoted Muslims in the country. They are admired and supported without much gov't probing.

Could be that the current ruler of Pakistan (= current dictator) is a clever man? Lucky us.

09-17-2001, 08:34 AM
What a windfall THAT would be for the Fundamentalists.