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Newsmotion - Education http://newsmotion.org/taxonomy/term/16/all en Happy Birthday! USDA Celebrates WIC Program Anniversary, Accomplishments http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/happy-birthday-usda-celebrates-wic-program-anniversary-accomplishments <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Happy Birthday! USDA Celebrates WIC Program Anniversary, Accomplishments </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thu, 10/23/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ed. Note: This is cross-posted on the Department of Agriculture&#39;s blog. See the original post <a href="http://blogs.usda.gov/2014/10/23/happy-birthday-usda-celebrates-wic-program-anniversary-accomplishments/">here</a>.</p> <div class="embed"> <div class="clearfix" id="small-node-embed-image-detail"> <img src="http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/imagecache/embedded_img_small/image/image_file/wic1.jpg?itok=KKJOGLrO" alt="Moms Participate in Group Discussion with WIC Counselor" title="Moms Participate in Group Discussion with WIC Counselor" width="430" height="286" class="imagecache imagecache-embedded_img_small" /> <p> New moms participate in a group discussion with WIC counselor. </p> </div> </div> <p>Birthdays are truly special occasions, celebrating a milestone of achievement. This week, USDA&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/women-infants-and-children-wic">Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children</a> (better known as WIC) celebrates the program&rsquo;s 40th anniversary, highlighting four decades of helping improve the lives of millions of infants and children across America.</p> <p>Since the first WIC clinic opened in Pineville, KY, back in 1974, the program now provides services through almost 1,900 local agencies in all 50 states, 34 Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.</p> <p><a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/23/happy-birthday-usda-celebrates-wic-program-anniversary-accomplishments" target="_blank">read more</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/23/happy-birthday-usda-celebrates-wic-program-anniversary-accomplishments" target="_blank">http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/23/happy-birthday-usda-celebrates-wic-pro...</a> </div> </div> </div> american samoa Diane M. Kriviski Diane M. Kriviski District of Columbia Education Guam Kentucky Northern Mariana Islands Official Pineville Puerto Rico Samoa U.S. Virgin Islands White House Women Thu, 23 Oct 2014 19:51:22 +0000 feed 343129 at http://newsmotion.org Hiro's Forest, an Increasingly Rare ‘Satoyama’ School Connecting Rural Japanese Kids to Nature http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/hiros-forest-increasingly-rare-%E2%80%98satoyama%E2%80%99-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-nature <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Hiro&#039;s Forest, an Increasingly Rare ‘Satoyama’ School Connecting Rural Japanese Kids to Nature </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thu, 10/23/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_32566" class="wp-caption alignnone" style="width: 800px"><img class="size-large wp-image-32566" alt="生まれて初めてのこぎりで竹を切り、手作りした装置や食器を使って流しそうめん体験。外で食べるそうめんの味は最高! 撮影は2014年8月2日、SanoRieによる。使用許可済み。" src="http://jp.globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/hirotannnomori-800x533.jpg" width="800" height="533" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Children are being taught how to make use of an abundent satoyama resource, bamboo. Bamboo can be used for tools, food, or in this case, a sluice for slurping noodles in the summertime (eating noodles outside in summer is always fun). Photo taken in August 2014. Image credit: SanoRie.</p></div> <p>A <em>satoyama</em> school in rural Toyama Prefecture Japan&#39;s Hokuriku &#8220;north lands&#8221; that was <a href="http://jp.globalvoicesonline.org/2013/12/09/26374/" target="_blank">closed down earlier this spring</a> has been given new life.</p> <p><em><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satoyama" target="_blank">Satoyama</a></em>&nbsp;is a term rich with meaning in Japan, and broadly refers to an intensively cultivated land that blends in with the surrounding environment.&nbsp;Much of rural Japan was once such <em>satoyama</em>, where wet rice cultivation not only depended on clean water flowing from the surrounding hills, but the rice fields played a keystone role in supporting a rich, vibrant ecosystem.</p> <p>A <em>satoyama</em> school, then, resided at the heart of a community, serving as a method for transferring important lessons about land stewardship to future generations who would continue to live in and help sustain the <em>satoyama</em>. As Japan&#39;s rural population declines, over the past two decades these schools have continued to shut down.</p> <p>In the case of the Toyama school, a group of local parents, caregivers and other volunteers have resurrected the school and have called it <a href="https://ja-jp.facebook.com/hirotannomori" target="_blank">Hirotan No Mori</a>, which roughly translates as Hiro&#39;s Forest.&nbsp;The school posts photos and information about classes and events on their Facebook page.</p> <p>The purpose of Hiro&#39;s Forest is to provide local children of all ages the opportunity to experience nature. The school is located about 30 minutes by car from the small rural city of Takaoka in Toyama, quite close to the Japan Sea coast.</p> <p>Hiro&#39;s Forest gives kids a chance to experience the traditional pursuits of rural kids: digging up bamboo shoots, gathering to watch fireflies in June, and making traditional crafts out of bamboo. In November there are plans to give children the opportunity to build a treehouse in the forest.</p> <p>The idea is to teach children about rural traditions while allowing them to experience a deeper connection with the natural world. The hope is to pass on methods of living within and protect their <em>satoyama</em> and at the same time learn how to enjoy both working and passing time in the surrounding forest.</p> <p>Ultimately, the <em>satoyama</em> school and Hiro&#39;s forest are also all about preserving a way of life that is vanishing in the rest of Japan as the population ages.</p> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://jp.globalvoicesonline.org/author/yuko-aoyagi/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Yuko Aoyagi'>Yuko Aoyagi</a></span> &middot; <span class="contributor">Translated by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/nevin-thompson/' class='url user-link' title='View all posts by Nevin Thompson'>Nevin Thompson</a></span></span> &middot; <span class='source-link'><a href='http://jp.globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/18/32565/' title='View original post [jp]'>View original post [jp]</a></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/23/hiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoyama-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-to-nature/#comments" title="comments">comments (0) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F23%2Fhiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoyama-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-to-nature%2F&#038;text=Hiro%27s+Forest%2C+an+Increasingly+Rare+%27Satoyama%27+School+Connecting+Rural+Japanese+Kids+to+Nature&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F23%2Fhiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoyama-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-to-nature%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F23%2Fhiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoyama-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-to-nature%2F&#038;title=Hiro%27s+Forest%2C+an+Increasingly+Rare+%27Satoyama%27+School+Connecting+Rural+Japanese+Kids+to+Nature' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F23%2Fhiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoyama-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-to-nature%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/23/hiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoyama-school-connecting-rural-japanese-kids-to-nature/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/23/hiros-forest-an-increasingly-rare-satoy...</a> </div> </div> </div> Citizen Citizen Media Education Environment Japan Japan Nevin Thompson Photos Quick Reads youth Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:08:14 +0000 feed 343103 at http://newsmotion.org Online Tributes Pour in for Former Australian PM, ‘Giant’ Gough Whitlam http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/online-tributes-pour-former-australian-pm-%E2%80%98giant%E2%80%99-gough-whitlam <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Online Tributes Pour in for Former Australian PM, ‘Giant’ Gough Whitlam </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 10/21/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_494673" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 1600px"><a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:E1282-27A_Whitlam_1973_detail.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-494673" alt="Whitlam walks with President Nixon " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Whitlam_1973_detail.jpg" width="1600" height="2215" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Prime Minister of Australia Edward G. Whitlam leaving the White House, walking with President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger behind them. Photo by Jack Kightlinger, White House photographer (Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons</p></div> <p>Two words have <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%22Gough%20Whitlam%22%20near%3ASydney%20within%3A2500mi&amp;src=typd" target="_blank">trended</a> on Twitter all day in Australia on 21 October 2014: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gough_Whitlam" target="_blank">Gough Whitlam</a>. The death of the former prime minister from the left-wing Labor Party at the age of 98 has dominated all media, especially social media.</p> <p>His three-year government from December 1972 until November 1975 is remembered for its reforming zeal, economic turmoil and its controversial dismissal by the Governor General Sir John Kerr.</p> <p>The online valedictories have focused on his legacy, often with personal touches. Michael Halliday was one of many who commented on his physical and political stature (which is evident in the photo above with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger):</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Sad news R.I.P. Mr Whitlam, a literal giant of an Australian, condolences to the Whitlam family</p> <p>— michael halliday777 (@michaelhallida4) <a href="https://twitter.com/michaelhallida4/status/524319869001412608">October 20, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>State Labor parliamentarian Anthony Carbines recalled the end of compulsory military service related to the Vietnam War:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Vale Gough. Ended conscription My dad still has letter cancelling his call up Poster in my office inspires me <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gough?src=hash">#Gough</a> <a href="http://t.co/c4DRrdvBiR">pic.twitter.com/c4DRrdvBiR</a></p> <p>— Anthony Carbines (@ACarbinesMP) <a href="https://twitter.com/ACarbinesMP/status/524423197278498816">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>Others mentioned the impact of health care reforms. Economics professor Rebee Tourky referred to his father in that and other contexts:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Without Gough Whitlam my dad would not have been able to afford his extensive ear reconstruction. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thanks_gough?src=hash">#thanks_gough</a></p> <p>— Rabee Tourky (@RabeeTourky) <a href="https://twitter.com/RabeeTourky/status/524438453853757441">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Without Gough Whitlam my family would not have been admitted into Australia. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/thanks_gough?src=hash">#thanks_gough</a></p> <p>— Rabee Tourky (@RabeeTourky) <a href="https://twitter.com/RabeeTourky/status/524437609569742848">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>Nadine Simone Watson, a freelance French-English translator, thanked him for a head start:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Like so many of my generation I owe Mr Whitlam the privilege of a university education because he made it free of financial charges. MERCI.</p> <p>— Nadine Simone Watson (@watjam46) <a href="https://twitter.com/watjam46/status/524416890207096832">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>His groundbreaking work in promoting the rights of indigenous people and women has been widely acknowledged:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Vale Gough Whitlam, a great Australian leader who championed indigenous &amp; women&#39;s rights via <a href="https://twitter.com/ArtGalleryofNSW">@ArtGalleryofNSW</a> <a href="http://t.co/53kWvywMK7">pic.twitter.com/53kWvywMK7</a></p> <p>— Janice Duffy (@drjaniceduffy) <a href="https://twitter.com/drjaniceduffy/status/524465598634283008">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>His environmental accomplishments were recalled by the Labor Environment Action Network:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>LEAN farewells Gough Whitlam, pioneer of Federal environment action <a href="http://t.co/KWnAlkiDrz">pic.twitter.com/KWnAlkiDrz</a></p> <p>— LEAN Australia (@LEANAustralia) <a href="https://twitter.com/LEANAustralia/status/524419250786553856">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>Some of the recollections of Whitlam&#39;s achievements were more obscure:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>My favourite &#8211; removing luxury tax from contraceptive pill: things you didn&#39;t know Gough Whitlam did <a href="http://t.co/7NHEMAEILc">http://t.co/7NHEMAEILc</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/FamPlanningNSW">@FamPlanningNSW</a></p> <p>— Alex Oliver (@AlexKOliver) <a href="https://twitter.com/AlexKOliver/status/524445077955813377">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>One of his art purchases for the National Gallery, which came under fire at the time, seems to have paid dividends:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoughWhitlam?src=hash">#GoughWhitlam</a> pushed for purchase <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JacksonPollock?src=hash">#JacksonPollock</a> Blue Poles for $1.1m now worth $100million <a href="http://t.co/tFNG988xth">http://t.co/tFNG988xth</a> <a href="http://t.co/lNizGezExg">pic.twitter.com/lNizGezExg</a></p> <p>— Piermarq Art (@piermarqart) <a href="https://twitter.com/piermarqart/status/524386852552183808">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>He often made fun of himself but this self-deprecation was often been mistaken for arrogance or intellectual snobbery (criticisms that were often made of his character). His claim that he had walked across Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin was just <a href="http://www.smh.com.au/national/first-of-pms-wives-to-speak-her-mind-20120317-1vc59.html" target="_blank">one instance</a> of his jokes being reported seriously.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Gough Whitlam is up here and already has presented Me with a number of suggestions for reform.</p> <p>— God (@TheTweetOfGod) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod/status/524343223343280128">October 20, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>Journalist for The Australian newspaper Peter van Onselen summed up the spirit with which most Australians wanted to remember the passing of our controversial PM:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>To all those seeking to debate Gough Whitlam&#39;s failures, do it tomorrow instead.</p> <p>— Peter van Onselen (@vanOnselenP) <a href="https://twitter.com/vanOnselenP/status/524418214776672256">October 21, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <p>Tigtog (aka Viv) from blog&nbsp;<a href="http://hoydenabouttown.com/20141021.17295/media-circus-rip-gough-whitlam-edition/" target="_blank">Hoyden about Town</a> echoed a common comparison between Gough and today’s politicians:</p> <blockquote><p>The giants who strode the political landscape of my youth are toppling one by one, leaving only gnats swarming over the entrails of serious political principles while Big Money shakes shiny things at us all, politicians very much included.</p></blockquote> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/kevin-rennie/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Kevin Rennie'>Kevin Rennie</a></span></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/21/online-tributes-pour-in-for-former-australian-pm-giant-vale-gough-whitlam/#comments" title="comments">comments (0) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F21%2Fonline-tributes-pour-in-for-former-australian-pm-giant-vale-gough-whitlam%2F&#038;text=Online+Tributes+Pour+in+for+Former+Australian+PM%2C+%27Giant%27+Gough+Whitlam&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F21%2Fonline-tributes-pour-in-for-former-australian-pm-giant-vale-gough-whitlam%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F21%2Fonline-tributes-pour-in-for-former-australian-pm-giant-vale-gough-whitlam%2F&#038;title=Online+Tributes+Pour+in+for+Former+Australian+PM%2C+%27Giant%27+Gough+Whitlam' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F21%2Fonline-tributes-pour-in-for-former-australian-pm-giant-vale-gough-whitlam%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/21/online-tributes-pour-in-for-former-australian-pm-giant-vale-gough-whitlam/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/21/online-tributes-pour-in-for-former-aust...</a> </div> </div> </div> Australia Australia BREAKING NEWS Citizen Education English Environment Health Indigenous Kevin Rennie Migration & Immigration Oceania Politics Vietnam Weblog Women & Gender Tue, 21 Oct 2014 10:39:55 +0000 feed 342472 at http://newsmotion.org West Wing Week 10/17/14 or, "The Geography of Hope" http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/west-wing-week-101714-or-geography-hope <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> West Wing Week 10/17/14 or, &quot;The Geography of Hope&quot; </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Fri, 10/17/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="p1">This week, the President continued to lead the federal&nbsp;Ebola&nbsp;response, met with members of the international coalition to degrade and destroy ISIL, and designated the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument.</p> <p></p> <p><a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/17/west-wing-week-101714-or-geography-hope" target="_blank">read more</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/17/west-wing-week-101714-or-geography-hope" target="_blank">http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/10/17/west-wing-week-101714-or-geography-hop...</a> </div> </div> </div> <a href= Adam Garber California Counterterrorism Defense Ebola Education Foreign Policy Higher Education Official San Dimas The President White House Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:38:29 +0000 feed 340782 at http://newsmotion.org Will Ayotzinapa Case Become Mexico's Political Firestorm or Will It Be Forgotten? http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/will-ayotzinapa-case-become-mexicos-political-firestorm-or-will-it-be-forgotten <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Will Ayotzinapa Case Become Mexico&#039;s Political Firestorm or Will It Be Forgotten? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thu, 10/16/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_256657" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 800px"><img class="size-full wp-image-256657 " alt="Fotos de algunos de los 46 estudiantes desaparecidos en Guerrero, México" src="http://es.globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/FotosDesaparecidos.jpg" width="800" height="533" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Candles burn for the 46 students who have vanished in Guerrero, México, October 8, 2014. This photo courtesy of Enrique Perez Huerta. Demotix</p></div> <p>What lies ahead for Mexico, where the discovery of <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/07/with-ayotzinapa-attack-have-violence-and-corruption-reached-a-tipping-point-in-mexico/">mass graves</a> in Iguala and dozens of <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/07/with-ayotzinapa-attack-have-violence-and-corruption-reached-a-tipping-point-in-mexico/">missing school students</a> in Ayotzinapa has led to <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/10/mexicans-demand-safe-return-of-students-taken-alive/">protests</a> and a tense national debate about law and order? The future is uncertain, but Internet users are busy now discussing what to expect tomorrow. Some say these tragedies will be forgotten with time, while others believe they might serve as catalysts for social change.</p> <p>Ishtar Cardona, who participated in a march on October 8, shared <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ishtar.cardona?fref=photo">these&nbsp;reflections</a> on Facebook:</p> <blockquote><p>Pienso en cosas que me hacen temer que Ayotzinapa tiene el mismo destino que ABC: después de los gritos, el silencio&#8230;</p> <p>Resentí que durante el mitin al final de la manifestación del miércoles no se hablara de un plan de acción, de un acuerdo sobre puntos a seguir y peticiones concretas entre las que se encontraran:<br /> a) Exigir la renuncia del gobernador Angel Aguirre (la inercia de la política nacional va a permitir que no se responsabilice por lo que le corresponde en lo sucedido).<br /> b) Exigir el esclarecimiento por parte de las autoridades judiciales de Guerrero de las circunstancias en las que se produjo la desaparición de los normalistas y aprehensión inmediata de las autoridades municipales que participaron en los hechos además del presidente municipal y su secretario de seguridad pública (funcionarios, ministerios públicos).&nbsp;<br /> c) Exigir por parte de las dirigencias nacionales de los partidos políticos la firma de un compromiso de transparencia y profesionalismo en la elección de sus candidatos a puestos de representación pública bajo supervisión ciudadana.&nbsp;</p> <p>Era necesario gritar nuestra rabia y arropar a los familiares de los muchachos normalistas, pero ¿y después? ¿Vamos a dejar en manos de los que no hicieron lo que tenían que hacer la solución de lo que ya pasó y puede volver a pasar? [...]</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>Some of the things I&#39;ve seen make me afraid that the end result of the Ayotzinapa incident will be the same as what we saw after ABC [<a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2010/06/07/mexico-one-year-since-the-tragedy-at-guarderia-abc/">Day Care Center fire</a> in Hermosillo, Sonora]: after the protests, silence&#8230;</p> <p>I felt resentful because no one mentioned a plan of action during the rally that followed Wednesday&#39;s demonstration, and no one laid out any kind of mutual agreement about the next steps to be taken or specific demands to be made, which should have included the following points:<br /> a) A call for the resignation of Governor Angel Aguirre (the apathy of national politics will allow him to evade responsibility for issues that are clearly his fault).<br /> b) A call for judicial authorities in Guerrero to explain the circumstances that led to the students&#8217; disappearances, and a call for the immediate apprehension of all city officials who participated in the incident (in addition to the city&#39;s mayor and his public secretary, staff, and public prosecutors).&nbsp;<br /> c) A call for political parties&#8217; national leaderships to sign, with citizen oversight, a commitment to transparency and professionalism in the election of their candidates to positions of public representation.&nbsp;</p> <p>We needed the chance to shout out our rage and to surround and protect the missing students&#8217; family members, but what will happen now? Are we going to leave the solution to a tragedy that has already happened (and could very well happen again) in the hands of the same people who didn&#39;t do their jobs in the first place? &nbsp;[...]</p></blockquote> <p>Around the time of the mass protests, Mexico&#39;s federal government suddenly announced it had captured the well-known drug trafficker&nbsp;<a href="http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicente_Carrillo_Fuentes">Vicente Carrillo Fuentes</a>, aka &#8220;The Viceroy&#8221;. Independent news medium Revolución Tres Punto Cero <a href="http://revoluciontrespuntocero.com/detona-descontento-popular-cortinas-de-humo-no-logran-apagar-indignacion-por-ayotzinapa/">wrote</a>&nbsp;soon thereafter:</p> <blockquote><p>Ya no hay manera de que se sigan montando cortinas de humo con éxito, ni la captura de “el Viceroy” o la del hermano de la esposa del alcalde de Iguala ha logrado detener este descontento popular que está latente, que se deja ver en las manifestaciones, en las marchas que se están llevando a cabo en todo el país y que marcan como un detonante lo ocurrido con los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa. Este caso ha unificado, como no se veía desde hace años, a los ciudadanos quienes ven incrementada su insatisfacción con el gobierno y los partidos políticos [...]</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>The creation of smokescreens will no longer work; the captures of &#8220;the Viceroy&#8221; and the brother-in-law of the mayor of Iguala have not been successful in quieting the smoldering popular unrest that is becoming evident in the demonstrations and marches that are taking place throughout the country and marking what happened with the 43 students in Ayotzinapa as a catalytic event. This case has unified citizens in a way not seen in many years as they sense a growing dissatisfaction with their government and its political parties [...]</p></blockquote> <p>Some Twitter users have noticed suspicious activity online that they attribute to pro-government bots. The accounts in question echo the state&#39;s concerns that social unrest surrounding the Iguala case might threaten foreign investments in Mexico.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>y esta maquinaria quien la echo a funcionar ? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Iguala?src=hash">#Iguala</a>&nbsp;[en] <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AyotzinapaSomosTodos?src=hash">#AyotzinapaSomosTodos</a> [en]&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a>&nbsp;[en] quién paga a estos <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bots?src=hash">#bots</a> [en]&nbsp;<a href="http://t.co/gsKnwj4KM9">pic.twitter.com/gsKnwj4KM9</a></p> <p>— Leonidas (@masterwarex) <a href="https://twitter.com/masterwarex/status/521049401045692416">October 11, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>So who put this machinery in motion? Who is paying for this?</p></blockquote> <p>The tragedies in Mexico have changed the political landscape, as well.&nbsp;Faith in&nbsp;<a href="http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%81ngel_Aguirre_Rivero">Guerrero&#39;s governor</a> and elusive mayor of Iguala has slipped, and their political party faces grim prospects in the next elections.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>El <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PRD?src=hash">#PRD</a> esperaba triunfo en las próximas elecciones&#8230; el <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PRD?src=hash">#PRD</a> esta acabado <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AyotzinapaSomosTodos?src=hash">#AyotzinapaSomosTodos</a> [en]&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/guerrerorojo?src=hash">#guerrerorojo</a></p> <p>— HemeAqui (@PoliticStalker) <a href="https://twitter.com/PoliticStalker/status/521076242150596609">October 11, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PRD?src=hash">#PRD</a>&nbsp;was expecting a victory in the next elections&#8230;but the&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PRD?src=hash">#PRD</a>&nbsp;is finished.</p></blockquote> <p>Others have turned their disappointment on President&nbsp;<a href="http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrique_Pe%C3%B1a_Nieto">Enrique Peña Nieto</a>:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a> no topa en el olvido, en dar vueltas a una realidad dolorosa. <a href="https://twitter.com/EPN">@EPN</a> pasará a la historia como el presidente que no supo serlo.</p> <p>— RickyBersosa (@Rbersosa) <a href="https://twitter.com/Rbersosa/status/521050731458330624">October 11, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a>&nbsp;is not stumbling into oblivion, it is not just spinning in its painful reality.&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/EPN">@EPN</a>&nbsp;[Enrique Peña Nieto] will pass into history as the president who couldn&#39;t do his job.</p></blockquote> <p>So far,<a href="http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2014/10/09/pena-ofrece-resolver-caso-ayotzinapa-201ctope-donde-tope201d-2523.html">&nbsp;the government has spoken out</a>&nbsp;against violence and has promised to bring justice. There are now accusations, however, that the state&#39;s investigations have become &#8220;<a href="http://www.proceso.com.mx/?p=384410">chaotic and hostile</a>&#8220;, and that the authorities leading the inquest have obstructed the work of international experts. In fact, Mexican officials have contradicted each other quite glaringly on several occasions.</p> <p>From the official Twitter account of the governor of Guerrero:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Algunos de los cuerpos encontrados, de acuerdo con los avances que se tienen con los peritajes, no corresponden a los jóvenes de <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a></p> <p>— Ángel Aguirre Rivero (@AngelAguirreGro) <a href="https://twitter.com/AngelAguirreGro/status/521022822077202433">October 11, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>Some of the bodies discovered, according to expert reports, are not those of the students from&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a>.</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OJO?src=hash">#OJO</a> PGR desmiente a <a href="https://twitter.com/AngelAguirreGro">@AngelAguirreGro</a>: &#8216;no se puede confirmar identidad de cuerpos&#39;, dice <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a> <a href="http://t.co/REuZeMXa3W">http://t.co/REuZeMXa3W</a></p> <p>— Vértigo Político (@VertigoPolitico) <a href="https://twitter.com/VertigoPolitico/status/521080948553949184">October 11, 2014</a></p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OJO?src=hash">#OJO</a>&nbsp;PGR [Mexico's Attorney General] contradicts&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/AngelAguirreGro">@AngelAguirreGro</a>: &#8216;the identities of the bodies cannot be confirmed,&#8217; says&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ayotzinapa?src=hash">#Ayotzinapa</a></p></blockquote> <p>Family members cherish the hope that their loved ones will return. In the meantime, however, they&#39;re left waiting for official confirmation about whether any of the tortured remains now being identified match the students kidnapped by narcotics police. If the mass grave turns out to contain the missing students, Mexico will find out if the tension now in the air is enough to cause a large-scale <a href="http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2014/10/11/actualidad/1412983552_310335.html">political firestorm</a>.</p> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://es.globalvoicesonline.org/author/elizabeth-rivera/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Elizabeth'>Elizabeth</a></span> &middot; <span class="contributor">Translated by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/jeff-gotfredson/' class='url user-link' title='View all posts by Jeff Gotfredson'>Jeff Gotfredson</a></span></span> &middot; <span class='source-link'><a href='http://es.globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/12/ayotzinapa-despues-de-las-protestas-silencio-o-rumbo-a-una-tormenta-politica/' title='View original post [es]'>View original post [es]</a></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/16/after-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in-iguala-be-mexicos-political-firestorm/#comments" title="comments">comments (0) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F16%2Fafter-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in-iguala-be-mexicos-political-firestorm%2F&#038;text=Will+Ayotzinapa+Case+Become+Mexico%27s+Political+Firestorm+or+Will+It+Be+Forgotten%3F&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F16%2Fafter-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in-iguala-be-mexicos-political-firestorm%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F16%2Fafter-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in-iguala-be-mexicos-political-firestorm%2F&#038;title=Will+Ayotzinapa+Case+Become+Mexico%27s+Political+Firestorm+or+Will+It+Be+Forgotten%3F' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F16%2Fafter-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in-iguala-be-mexicos-political-firestorm%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/16/after-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in-iguala-be-mexicos-political-firestorm/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/16/after-ayotzinapa-will-the-mass-grave-in...</a> </div> </div> </div> Citizen Citizen Media Education Feature Freedom of Speech Governance Human Rights Jeff Gotfredson Latin America Mexico Mexico Politics Protest Spanish War & Conflict Weblog Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:22:23 +0000 feed 340697 at http://newsmotion.org Protesting Students and Teachers in Myanmar Reject Law They Claim Will Strengthen Junta-Era Schooling System http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/protesting-students-and-teachers-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-e <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Protesting Students and Teachers in Myanmar Reject Law They Claim Will Strengthen Junta-Era Schooling System </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 10/14/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_493874" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 720px"><a href="https://www.facebook.com/confederationofuniversitystudentunions/photos/pcb.532955173470967/532953533471131/?type=1&amp;theater"><img class="size-full wp-image-493874" alt="Students Protesting Outside the Dagon University in Yangon. Photo from Facebook page of Confederation of University Student Unions. " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/protesting-students-in-myanmar.jpg" width="720" height="477" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Students protesting outside the Dagon University in Yangon. Photo from Facebook page of Confederation of University Student Unions.</p></div> <p>The new National Education Bill of Myanmar, which was passed in late July this year and is currently awaiting the president&#39;s approval, is considered by some students, teachers and <a title="Backlash Grows Against Burma’s National Education Bill" href="http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/backlash-grows-burmas-national-education-bill.html" target="_blank">civil society organizations</a> as a violation of human rights standards.</p> <p>The elements of the legislation that are deemed controversial include restriction on the forming of student societies, centralization of the education system and emphasis on government control, marginalization of ethnic education and their languages, and the lack of transparency in the process.</p> <p>In early September, protests and demonstrations against the bill were organized in front of universities by students in <a title="Mandalay students protest education bill" href="https://www.dvb.no/news/mandalay-students-protest-education-bill-burma-myanmar/43612" target="_blank">Mandalay</a>, <a title="Sagaing students protest controversial Education Bill" href="https://www.dvb.no/news/sagaing-students-protest-controversial-education-bill/43759" target="_blank">Sagaing </a>and <a title="Education Organizations Continue Opposition After Controversial Law Passes" href="http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/education-organizations-continue-opposition-controversial-law-passes.html" target="_blank">Yangon</a>, among others. The opposition was later joined by several civil societies organization. <a href="http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/backlash-grows-burmas-national-education-bill.html" target="_blank">Aung Myo Min</a>, the director of the Equality Myanmar, thinks that the bill does not meet the human rights standards and failed to incorporate the suggestions of community-based organizations. He said:</p> <blockquote><p>Analyzing the bill, we have noticed that the National Education Bill has included [policies] that are not in keeping with the will of community-based organization. As a human rights activist, [I have] found that it’s a little bit slack on human rights standards, so we’ve taken a stand in favor of changes.</p></blockquote> <p>The latest support for the campaign came from the <a title="Education Organizations Continue Opposition After Controversial Law Passes" href="http://www.irrawaddy.org/burma/education-organizations-continue-opposition-controversial-law-passes.html" target="_blank">Myanmar Teachers’ Federation</a> which plans to join the protests if the bill is not going to be revised in Parliament. In their official <a href="https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=675095392579952&amp;id=669747043114787" target="_blank">Facebook page</a>, Myanmar Teachers&#8217; Federation declared:</p> <blockquote><p>We have learned that student associations around the country are determined to accelerate the peaceful protests if the authorities (will force the passage) of the bill, neglecting the wishes of the students, teachers and parents and deviating from the standards of Democracy; we fully support this determination.</p></blockquote> <p><a href="http://burma.irrawaddy.org/opinion/viewpoint/2014/09/13/64595.html" target="_blank">Nandar Phone Myint</a>&nbsp;from Irrawaddy Magazine wrote an article, explaining the controversial aspects of the bill and why it revived the centralized control of the education system by the state:</p> <blockquote><p>The reason the National Education Bill cannot progress is that it was drafted mainly by the people who had a very influential and major role in the education system during the junta&#39;s rule and they have incorporated into the education bill their entrenched predisposition for centralized rule and imposition of restrictions.</p></blockquote> <p>The military took power in 1962 and it imposed absolute control in the country for the next three decades. A civilian election was held in 2010 but the government is still backed by the military. </p> <p>During the junta&#39;s era, universities were established outside the city to prevent students from gathering to protest.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the&nbsp;National Network for Education Reform (NNER), which was formed in 2012 as an independent and diverse network of university professors, lecturers, Buddhist monks, ethnic education groups, opposition groups, teachers and students, has held seminars across the country to discuss education reforms that the country should pursue. They <a href="https://www.facebook.com/NNER.mmr/posts/717432984996853">noted</a>&nbsp;in particular that the nature of the Education Bill is discriminatory against students with special needs:</p> <blockquote><p>Despite the country&#39;s obligation to implement an inclusive education for disabled students in compliance to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD), the proposed legislation of the government states that a separate education will be given to disabled children with &#8220;special education programme&#8221;, which is a discrimination. This must be amended.</p></blockquote> <p>The network also drafted an educational policy and submitted it for parliamentary review. In their statement they also want that three languages, namely, ethnic native, Myanmar and English languages, to be integrated in the school curriculum for ethnic children.</p> <p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/NNER.mmr/posts/722873181119500" target="_blank">Dr. Thein Lwin</a> from NNER also said that students must be encouraged in the new education system to develop critical thinking skills:</p> <blockquote><p>Students need to have the chance to share their life experiences in relation to the lessons they learn inside the classroom. Currently, many teachers don’t approve of students&#8217; answers if they are different from their teaching notes, which prevents students to develop critical thinking skills.</p></blockquote> <p>The current education system of Myanmar is long overdue for reform from the tightly controlled schooling system which marginalizes ethnic culture and language. It is also highly criticized for suppressing creativity and critical thinking by emphasizing rote learning and memorization. </p> <p>The series of protests by students, teachers, academics and civil society groups shows the broad challenge raised against the decades-long authoritarian style education system implemented by the junta; and at the same time it reflects the government&#39;s failure to listen to the voices of the people.</p> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/thant-sin/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Thant Sin'>Thant Sin</a></span></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/protesting-students-and-teachers-in-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-era-schooling-system/#comments" title="comments">comments (0) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fprotesting-students-and-teachers-in-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-era-schooling-system%2F&#038;text=Protesting+Students+and+Teachers+in+Myanmar+Reject+Law+They+Claim+Will+Strengthen+Junta-Era+Schooling+System&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fprotesting-students-and-teachers-in-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-era-schooling-system%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fprotesting-students-and-teachers-in-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-era-schooling-system%2F&#038;title=Protesting+Students+and+Teachers+in+Myanmar+Reject+Law+They+Claim+Will+Strengthen+Junta-Era+Schooling+System' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fprotesting-students-and-teachers-in-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-era-schooling-system%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/protesting-students-and-teachers-in-myanmar-reject-law-they-claim-will-strengthen-junta-era-schooling-system/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/protesting-students-and-teachers-in-mya...</a> </div> </div> </div> Burmese Citizen East Asia Education English Human Rights Mandalay Myanmar (Burma) Thant Sin Weblog Tue, 14 Oct 2014 23:36:12 +0000 feed 340123 at http://newsmotion.org Artists Create Climate Change Mural in Grenada to Warn of Modern-Day ‘Paradise Lost’ http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/artists-create-climate-change-mural-grenada-warn-modern-day-%E2%80%98paradise-lost%E2%80%99 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Artists Create Climate Change Mural in Grenada to Warn of Modern-Day ‘Paradise Lost’ </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 10/14/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_493591" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 800px"><img class="size-large wp-image-493591" alt="Grenada's Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, the Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel, visits some of the artists working on the &quot;Paradise Lost&quot; mural - Suelin Low Chow Tung, Xandra Shaw and Victoria Slinger. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission. " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Minister-Alexandra-Otway-Noel-visits-Suelin-Xandra-and-Victoria-800x600.jpg" width="800" height="600" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Grenada&#39;s Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, the Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel, visits some of the artists working on the &#8220;Paradise Lost&#8221; mural &#8211; Suelin Low Chow Tung, Xandra Shaw and Victoria Slinger. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission.</p></div> <p>When it comes to climate change, better late than never. Inspired by the <a href="https://secure.avaaz.org/en/climate_march_reportback/">global marches against climate change </a>which took place <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/09/25/trinidad-tobago-climate-change-march-iamovement-jonathan-barcant-part-1/">on September 21</a>, a group of artists and activists in Grenada decided to paint a mural to raise local awareness about this pressing issue.</p> <p><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change">Climate change</a> and the threat of global warming have, many feel, been ignored for long enough by world leaders who, primarily for economic reasons, have lacked the political will needed to tackle the problem and commit to a changeover to clean energy rather than continuing to extract the earth&#39;s diminishing fossil fuels. The <a href="http://www.iisd.ca/climate/cs/2014/">Climate Summit</a> that took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 23 was intended to catalyse promises from member countries and turn them into action.</p> <p>Global Voices spoke to Victoria Slinger and Suelin Low Chow Tung about Grenada&#39;s climate change mural and what they hoped it would accomplish. The painting&#39;s design elements, conceptualised by Low Chow Tung, include elements such as the population of the island (crowded onto the highest points), Amerindian petroglyphs (in recognition of the country&#39;s <a href="http://www.grenada-history.org/ancestors.htm">indigenous people</a>), and fishing boats without fish (a foreboding of one of the possible effects of climate change).</p> <p>Taking inspiration from the country&#39;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coat_of_arms_of_Grenada">Coat of Arms</a>, the mural also contains ships (representing the country&#39;s yachting and tourism industry), a gold cross (as recognition of a God consciousness), a lion (as a symbol of strength and unwavering determination to face challenges), <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Etang_Lake">Grand Etang Lake</a> as well as cocoa nutmeg and banana trees, a star (symbolic of hope), and the <a href="http://www.gov.gd/our_nation/bougainvillaea_flower.html">flora</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenada_dove">fauna</a> of the island, including seven roses, which represent Grenada&#39;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parishes_of_Grenada">seven parishes</a>. They called it Paradise Lost, a reference to 17th-century English poet John Milton&#39;s <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Lost">epic poem</a>, which chronicles the fall of Man.</p> <div id="attachment_493589" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 447px"><img class="size-large wp-image-493589" alt="The Grenada Dove with a spray of Bouganvillea; a nod to the country's national bird and flower. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission." src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/The-Grenada-Dove-with-a-spray-of-Bouganvillea-447x600.jpg" width="447" height="600" /><p class="wp-caption-text">The Grenada Dove with a spray of Bouganvillea; a nod to the country&#39;s national bird and flower. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission.</p></div> <p><strong>Global Voices (GV): How did you get the idea to paint a mural instead of organizing a march, as happened in other countries, including <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/09/26/trinidad-tobago-climate-change-march-jonathan-barcant-iamovement-part-2/">Trinidad and Tobago</a>?</strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Victoria Slinger (VS):</strong> This was my doing mainly. I am interested in art and also wanted to do something that would be more fun to participate in. There are many people here who are concerned about climate change, but there are too many who are not &#8211; mainly because they do not have the exposure to the information and do not know enough science not to be swayed by the nay sayers who just baffle them with bullshit. I felt a mural being permanent would be able to reach more people. Also, a Sunday is no time to do a march in Grenada. St. George&#39;s [the capital] is a ghost town and nobody is going to come out to see a lot of people with banners protesting. I did not believe there was anywhere suitable to do [a march].</p></blockquote> <p><strong>GV: Tell us about the design for the mural and its dimensions.</strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>VS:</strong> The wall is between 6 and 12 feet high and 60 feet long, if we use all of it. That has not yet been decided, but it will be at the very least 6 feet high and 40 feet long. Suelin, as the designer, will decide what fits her design. It is the retaining wall at the back of the GSPCA [Grenada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] car park so many people will see it. I hope, if it gets enough publicity here, people will come specially to see it.</p> <p><strong>Suelin Low Chow Tung (SLCT):</strong> The mural&#39;s elements are taken from our Coat of Arms and they speak to the negative impact to the country by rising sea levels due to climate change.</p></blockquote> <div id="attachment_493594" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 800px"><img class="size-large wp-image-493594" alt="Kai and Anja Niermann and Lene Kilde in process, working on the mural. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission. " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Kai-Anja-and-Lene-in-progress-800x600.jpg" width="800" height="600" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Kai and Anja Niermann and Lene Kilde in process, working on the mural. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission.</p></div> <p><strong>GV: What inspired this particular design concept?</strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>VS:</strong> My feeling is that to some extent it should show what could be lost to us forever if something is not done about climate change. A large increase in sea level will be devastating to our main towns, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._George's,_Grenada">St. George&#39;s</a>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenville,_Grenada">Grenville</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gouyave">Gouyave</a> and will destroy tourism, the main earner for the island. Every way you look at it, it will be a disaster.</p></blockquote> <p><strong>GV: How many people participated in the event? What type of support did you receive?</strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>SLCT:</strong> The <a href="http://nowgrenada.com/2014/10/paradise-lost-grenada-artists-climate-change/">participants</a> in the project were&nbsp;Victoria Slinger,&nbsp;Suelin Low Chew Tung,&nbsp;Anja and Kai Niermann,&nbsp;Xandra and Kirby Shaw,&nbsp;visiting Norwegian sculptor <a href="http://lenekilde.blogspot.com/">Lene Kilde</a> and her daughter, and&nbsp;visiting Haitian artist <a href="http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2014/02/grenada-residency-amitye-exhibition/">Prensnelo</a>. We received&nbsp;paint and supplies from St George’s University,&nbsp;Sissons Paints Grenada Limited,&nbsp;Insurance Consultants of Grenada Ltd,&nbsp;Ace Hardware/Bryden and Minors,&nbsp;Ramdhanny’s Hardware, Sherwin Williams,&nbsp;and&nbsp;Renwick, Thompson and Co.</p></blockquote> <div id="attachment_493590" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 400px"><img class="size-large wp-image-493590" alt="Haitian artist, Prensnelo, paints the armadillo of the Grenada climate change mural. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission. " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Prensnelo-paints-the-armadillo-400x600.jpg" width="400" height="600" /><p class="wp-caption-text">Haitian artist Prensnelo paints the armadillo of the Grenada climate change mural. Photo courtesy the artists; used with permission.</p></div> <p><strong>GV: Do you feel Caribbean residents are as conscious of the issue as they should be?</strong></p> <blockquote><p><strong>VS:</strong> Never mind the Caribbean, I don&#39;t believe the average resident of any of the developing countries (in which category I include USA for this purpose) are as conscious of the issue as they should be. My feeling is that the main reason is they do not have the science background to understand it properly and to realise that after a certain point it will not be possible to reverse, and then it will just be a matter of time till the earth can no longer support most of life as we know it. It will be back to bacteria as far as I am concerned. Therefore they are too easily satisfied by the flawed science being fed to them by the fossil fuel, mining and other interests who don&#39;t want to act.</p></blockquote> <p>The <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribbean">Caribbean</a> region, which is primarily made up of small island states and low-lying continental areas with fragile economics, is particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change. Initiatives such at the People&#39;s Mural are critical to helping the population understand the importance of climate change.</p> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/matthew-hunte/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Matthew Hunte'>Matthew Hunte</a></span></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/artists-create-climate-change-mural-in-grenada-to-warn-of-modern-day-paradise-lost/#comments" title="comments">comments (3) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fartists-create-climate-change-mural-in-grenada-to-warn-of-modern-day-paradise-lost%2F&#038;text=Artists+Create+Climate+Change+Mural+in+Grenada+to+Warn+of+Modern-Day+%27Paradise+Lost%27&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fartists-create-climate-change-mural-in-grenada-to-warn-of-modern-day-paradise-lost%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fartists-create-climate-change-mural-in-grenada-to-warn-of-modern-day-paradise-lost%2F&#038;title=Artists+Create+Climate+Change+Mural+in+Grenada+to+Warn+of+Modern-Day+%27Paradise+Lost%27' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Fartists-create-climate-change-mural-in-grenada-to-warn-of-modern-day-paradise-lost%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/artists-create-climate-change-mural-in-grenada-to-warn-of-modern-day-paradise-lost/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/artists-create-climate-change-mural-in-...</a> </div> </div> </div> Caribbean Citizen Development Education English Environment Grenada Grenada Ideas Matthew Hunte New York Victoria Weblog Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:47:06 +0000 feed 339548 at http://newsmotion.org World Bank, Australia pledge $100m in education for Burma http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/world-bank-australia-pledge-100m-education-burma <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> World Bank, Australia pledge $100m in education for Burma </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Tue, 10/14/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="western">The World Bank and Australia have pledged US$100 million in assistance to improve education for millions of Burmese students.</p> <p class="western">Representatives from the World Bank signed an agreement on 11 October with Burmese government representatives at the World Bank’s annual meeting in Washington to initiate a project that will provide schooling to some 8.2 million students from poor backgrounds and rural areas in Burma.</p> <p class="western">The World Bank is to fund some $80 million of the programme, via its International Development Association arm, while Canberra has pledged to make up the remaining $20 million through its Myanmar Partnership Multi-Donor Trust Fund.</p> <p class="western">Kyaw Soe Lin, the World Bank’s Myanmar information officer told DVB that the funding is geared towards helping schools most in need. “The programme has two parts – the first is to generate more budget for schools, while the second is to provide grants to students to allow them to continue their education,” he said.</p> <p class="western">“For the first part, all schools under the Ministry of Education will be allocated a higher budget than they currently receive,” he added. “For the second part of the programme, student grants will be implemented in 40 townships, and we intend on selecting those townships with the highest rates of poverty and school drop outs.”</p> <p class="western">Burma’s Education Minister, Dr Khin San Yi, announced during an education workshop at Rangoon University last month that the government is looking to spend over 110 billion kyat (over $100 million) for education reforms in the 2015-16 fiscal year. According to the minister funding will go towards a variety of areas including mandatory kindergarten, pre-school courses in rural areas, the upgrading of school facilities in border regions, and the introduction of e-libraries.</p> <p class="western">During his visit to Burma at the beginning of the year, bank President Jim Yong Kim announced plans for a $2 billion dollar funding package for the country.</p> <p class="western">The World Bank&#8217;s activities in Burma have come under scrutiny from human rights groups who are concerned that the organization is not doing enough to address ongoing abuses in the country and failing to ensure proper oversight of the bank&#8217;s Burma focused development and infrastructure projects.</p> <p class="western">“The World Bank has an important role to play in advancing access to education, health, and electricity in Burma. But for it to really advance development, it needs to have its eyes wide open to Burma’s ongoing rights problems and actively work to address them,” said Human Rights Watch&#8217;s Jessica Evans in a statement released by the rights watchdog last week on the eve of the banks annual meeting.</p> <p class="western"> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://www.dvb.no/news/world-bank-australia-pledge-100m-in-education-for-burma/45014" target="_blank">http://www.dvb.no/news/world-bank-australia-pledge-100m-in-education-for-burma/4...</a> </div> </div> </div> Aid Australia Burma Canberra Citizen Development Education Lead Story NAW NOREEN news Rangoon Washington Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:38:57 +0000 feed 339360 at http://newsmotion.org Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/following-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-china <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 10/13/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_493442" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 640px"><a href="http://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/2014/09/%E7%AB%8B%E4%BA%BA%E5%9B%BE%E4%B9%A6%E9%A6%86-%E4%B8%80%E4%B8%AA%E5%AE%B9%E4%B8%8D%E4%B8%8B%E4%B9%A1%E6%9D%91%E5%9B%BE%E4%B9%A6%E9%A6%86%E7%9A%84%E5%9B%BD%E5%AE%B6/"><img class="size-full wp-image-493442" alt="Citizen-run libraries forced to shut down. Chinese social media image via China Digital Times. " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/liren.jpg" width="640" height="439" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Citizen-run libraries forced to shut down. Chinese social media image via China Digital Times.</p></div> <p>China&#39;s rural areas don&#39;t receive the same education resources that the country&#39;s wealthier urban centers do.&nbsp;This gap is a widely acknowledged problem, and many organizations have been established to improve the facilities in rural China and ensure that the students there aren&#39;t left behind.</p> <p>However, Chinese authorities don&#39;t exactly welcome citizen-led initiatives with open arms, and recently an independent library project called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.xctsg.org/">China Rural Library (CRL)</a>&nbsp;was forced to close due to political pressure.</p> <p>CRL announced the closure of its library project on Sept. 18, 2014, on popular microblogging website Sina Weibo and published an open letter explaining the pressure they faced. The letter went viral on Chinese social media and was later censored by the authorities. Independent news website China Digital Times published a&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/+%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E6%95%B0%E5%AD%97%E6%97%B6%E4%BB%A3/posts/6Tx7FCDUVjq">copy</a>&nbsp;of&nbsp;the letter on Google Plus.</p> <p>The letter revealed that the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Police Security Bureau started imposing pressure on CRL&#39;s library project since June this year. In some cases, the authorities would raid the libraries of books that discuss religion. For example, the sociology classic, &#8220;The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism&#8221; by Max Weber was confiscated. Their online volunteer recruitment platform and souvenir shop were also forced to shut down. By September, 19 libraries across the countries were forced to shut down. CRL <a href="http://t2.qpic.cn/mblogpic/6dd19733c607febdd658/460"> stressed that</a> “none of its libraries are voluntarily closed for mismanagement reasons”.</p> <p>Established in 2007, CRL&#39;s mission is to “help rural teenagers grow into healthy, normal modern citizens ” by providing free access to books. During the past seven years, it has partnered with local schools and government-owned libraries and set up 22 libraries across 11 provinces in China. The project is supported by donations and volunteer support.</p> <p>The founder of CRL, Li Yingqiang, received his master degree in economics from Peking University and wished to boost literacy and education through public libraries after having witnessed a lack of quality education in rural China.</p> <p>There is speculation that foreign donations and Li Yingqiang’s Christian beliefs might have upset authorities. But Li Yingqiang clarified that while the organization received a total of 15,000 euros in small grants from a German foundation, that foundation was founded by a Chinese living overseas, and all the donations are from Chinese citizens and organizations. In 2013, Li left his position as the chief executive of CRL and also resigned as director at the end of 2014.</p> <p>Since CRL is a non-political and non-religious charity group, the nationwide crackdown on its libraries attracted many online comments. A former volunteer from CRL <a href="http://www.letscorp.net/archives/76065">offered</a> an explanation of its closure on Zhihu, a question and answer platform:</p> <blockquote><p>立人的一个问题就是步子走得太快了。原本意义上来说无论是立人乡村图书馆还是大朋友计划还是燃灯者计划还是乡村女生计划都没错,但是在图书馆本身根基并不稳的情况下搞了一个立人大学这本身在我看来就是很作死的行为。立大无论从哪个方面来说右这个字暴露无疑。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>CRL’s real problem is that it developed too fast. While most of its projects, including the public libraries, elderly friends [a mentor project], torch and rural school girl projects are still in their infancy, the bold act of launching the Liren University [a summer camp project which was forced to be cancelled] brought the organization down.</p></blockquote> <p>As education is a major battlefield for the ideological struggle against western universal values like citizens&#8217; rights, any education initiatives which are outside the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party is forbidden.</p> <p>Weibo user and a former supporter of CRL, &#8220;Pursuing empty dream&#8221; (@空空追梦),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.weibo.com/210104914">believed the shutdown</a>&nbsp;was a result of management problems rather than political pressure:</p> <blockquote><p>出了这么大的事。一个本是消极自由的象征的图书馆成了出头鸟,管理层不去反思,自省。一味的用要对NGO动手,是因为“公民”,为了维持愚民政策等大而无当,没有根据的言辞推脱责任、躲避指责,这才是最令我伤心的地方。所以作为知名立人之友,在这个关头,我要泼冷水,敲丧钟,煽风点火。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>Such a big mess. The library project, which was originally a passive symbol of freedom, had become the clamp-down project. Instead of reflecting on what&#39;s gone wrong, the management kept talking about NGO principles and &#8220;citizens&#8221; and blaming the authorities&#8217; policy. It is disheartening to see people not taking responsibility. As a friend of Liren, I have to pour cold water, ring the funeral bell and light up the fire at this critical moment.</p></blockquote> <p>Popular Weibo user, &#8220;the myth of social work&#8221; (@<a href="http://www.weibo.com/xieshoutongxing">社工迷思</a>), believed the problem was rooted in the relationship between government administration and NGOs:</p> <blockquote><p>多家立人图书馆被关一事让人反思和质疑当下“社会组织大发展”的泡沫形式,行政干预公益是当前ngo面临的巨大挑战,它直接影响着公益慈善和社会组织发展是否正常及健康。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>The closure of Liren libraries forced us to reflect upon the bubbles of &#8220;the big development of social organization&#8221;. Administrative intervention is the biggest challenge an NGO faces today. It determines whether the philanthropy and civil organizations can grow healthily in China.</p></blockquote> <p>Taiwanese Professor Shih-Hung Lo, who studied the development of civil society in mainland China, <a href="http://opinion.cw.com.tw/blog/profile/216/article/1866">wrote</a> on his blog:</p> <blockquote><p>在當下的中國大陸,從事民間公益活動已經變成為危險事業,任何自主的民間公益活動,哪怕再怎麼遠離政治,都隨時可能引來當局的粗暴鎮壓。立人鄉村圖書館被關閉的不幸事件,不僅對中國大陸的總體社會發展狀況發出了令人不安的訊號,也將使更多人對漸進改革失去最後一絲希望。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>On China’s mainland, philanthropy and civil society have become dangerous professions. No matter how hard they try to shy away from politics, there could be the target of a crackdown by authorities. The closure of China&#39;s rural libraries is an unsettling signal of current condition of society on the mainland, destroying the last hope of those who want gradual reform in China.</p></blockquote> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/gloria-wang/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Gloria Wong'>Gloria Wong</a></span></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/following-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china/#comments" title="comments">comments (0) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F&#038;text=Following+Political+Pressure%2C+Citizen-Led+Rural+Libraries+Shut+Down+in+China&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F&#038;title=Following+Political+Pressure%2C+Citizen-Led+Rural+Libraries+Shut+Down+in+China' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/following-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/following-political-pressure-citizen-le...</a> </div> </div> </div> China China Citizen East Asia Education English Gloria Wong Weblog Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:31:11 +0000 feed 339551 at http://newsmotion.org Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China http://newsmotion.org/feed-story-en/following-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-china-0 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-title"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Following Political Pressure, Citizen-Led Rural Libraries Shut Down in China </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-datetime field-field-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Mon, 10/13/2014</span> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div id="attachment_493442" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 640px"><a href="http://chinadigitaltimes.net/chinese/2014/09/%E7%AB%8B%E4%BA%BA%E5%9B%BE%E4%B9%A6%E9%A6%86-%E4%B8%80%E4%B8%AA%E5%AE%B9%E4%B8%8D%E4%B8%8B%E4%B9%A1%E6%9D%91%E5%9B%BE%E4%B9%A6%E9%A6%86%E7%9A%84%E5%9B%BD%E5%AE%B6/"><img class="size-full wp-image-493442" alt="Citizen-run libraries forced to shut down. Chinese social media image via China Digital Times. " src="http://globalvoicesonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/liren.jpg" width="640" height="439" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Citizen-run libraries forced to shut down. Chinese social media image via China Digital Times.</p></div> <p>China&#39;s rural areas don&#39;t receive the same education resources that the country&#39;s wealthier urban centers do.&nbsp;This gap is a widely acknowledged problem, and many organizations have been established to improve the facilities in rural China and ensure that the students there aren&#39;t left behind.</p> <p>However, Chinese authorities don&#39;t exactly welcome citizen-led initiatives with open arms, and recently an independent library project called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.xctsg.org/">China Rural Library (CRL)</a>&nbsp;was forced to close due to political pressure.</p> <p>CRL announced the closure of its library project on Sept. 18, 2014, on popular microblogging website Sina Weibo and published an open letter explaining the pressure they faced. The letter went viral on Chinese social media and was later censored by the authorities. Independent news website China Digital Times published a&nbsp;<a href="https://plus.google.com/+%E4%B8%AD%E5%9B%BD%E6%95%B0%E5%AD%97%E6%97%B6%E4%BB%A3/posts/6Tx7FCDUVjq">copy</a>&nbsp;of&nbsp;the letter on Google Plus.</p> <p>The letter revealed that the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education and the Police Security Bureau started imposing pressure on CRL&#39;s library project since June this year. In some cases, the authorities raid the libraries of books that discuss religion. For example, the sociology classic, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, by Max Weber was confiscated. Their online volunteer recruitment platform and souvenir shop were also forced to shut down. By September, 19 libraries across the countries were forced to shut down. CRL <a href="http://t2.qpic.cn/mblogpic/6dd19733c607febdd658/460"> stressed that</a> “none of its libraries are voluntarily closed for mismanagement reasons”.</p> <p>Established in 2007, CRL&#39;s mission is to “help rural teenagers grow into healthy, normal modern citizens ” by providing free access to books. During the past seven years, it has partnered with local schools and government-owned libraries and set up 22 libraries across 11 provinces in China. The project is supported by donations and volunteer support.</p> <p>The founder of CRL, Li Yingqiang, received his master degree in economics from Peking University and wished to boost literacy and education through public libraries after having witnessed a lack of quality education in rural China.</p> <p>There is speculation that foreign donations and Li Yingqiang’s Christian beliefs might have upset authorities. But Li Yingqiang clarified that while the organization received a total of 15,000 euros in small grants from a German foundation, that foundation was founded by a Chinese living overseas, and all the donations are from Chinese citizens and organizations. In 2013, Li left his position as the chief executive of CRL and also resigned as director at the end of 2014.</p> <p>Since CRL is a non-political and non-religious charity group, the nationwide crackdown on its libraries attracted many online comments. A former volunteer from CRL <a href="http://www.letscorp.net/archives/76065">offered</a> an explanation of its closure on Zhihu, a question and answer platform:</p> <blockquote><p>立人的一个问题就是步子走得太快了。原本意义上来说无论是立人乡村图书馆还是大朋友计划还是燃灯者计划还是乡村女生计划都没错,但是在图书馆本身根基并不稳的情况下搞了一个立人大学这本身在我看来就是很作死的行为。立大无论从哪个方面来说右这个字暴露无疑。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>CRL’s real problem is that it developed too fast. While most of its projects, including the public libraries, elderly friends [a mentor project], torch and rural school girl projects are still in their infancy, the bold act of launching the Liren University [a summer camp project which was forced to be cancelled] brought the organization down.</p></blockquote> <p>As education is a major battlefield for the ideological struggle against western universal values like &#8220;citizen right&#8221;, any education initiatives which are outside the direct control of the Chinese Communist Party is forbidden.</p> <p>Weibo user and a former supporter of CRL, &#8220;Pursuing empty dream&#8221; (@空空追梦),&nbsp;<a href="http://www.weibo.com/210104914">believed the shutdown</a>&nbsp;was a result of management problems rather than political pressure:</p> <blockquote><p>出了这么大的事。一个本是消极自由的象征的图书馆成了出头鸟,管理层不去反思,自省。一味的用要对NGO动手,是因为“公民”,为了维持愚民政策等大而无当,没有根据的言辞推脱责任、躲避指责,这才是最令我伤心的地方。所以作为知名立人之友,在这个关头,我要泼冷水,敲丧钟,煽风点火。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>Such a big mess. The library project, which was originally a passive symbol of freedom, had become the clamp-down project. Instead of reflecting on what&#39;s gone wrong, the management kept talking about NGO principles and &#8220;citizens&#8221; and blaming the authorities&#8217; policy. It is disheartening to see people not taking responsibility. As a friend of Liren, I have to pour cold water, ring the funeral bell and light up the fire at this critical moment.</p></blockquote> <p>Popular Weibo user, &#8220;the myth of social work&#8221; (@<a href="http://www.weibo.com/xieshoutongxing">社工迷思</a>), believed the problem was rooted in the relationship between government administration and NGOs:</p> <blockquote><p>多家立人图书馆被关一事让人反思和质疑当下“社会组织大发展”的泡沫形式,行政干预公益是当前ngo面临的巨大挑战,它直接影响着公益慈善和社会组织发展是否正常及健康。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>The closure of Liren libraries forced us to reflect upon the bubbles of &#8220;the big development of social organization&#8221;. Administrative intervention is the biggest challenge an NGO faces today. It determines whether the philanthropy and civil organizations can grow healthily in China.</p></blockquote> <p>Taiwanese Professor Shih-Hung Lo, who studied the development of civil society in mainland China, <a href="http://opinion.cw.com.tw/blog/profile/216/article/1866">wrote</a> on his blog:</p> <blockquote><p>在當下的中國大陸,從事民間公益活動已經變成為危險事業,任何自主的民間公益活動,哪怕再怎麼遠離政治,都隨時可能引來當局的粗暴鎮壓。立人鄉村圖書館被關閉的不幸事件,不僅對中國大陸的總體社會發展狀況發出了令人不安的訊號,也將使更多人對漸進改革失去最後一絲希望。</p></blockquote> <blockquote class="translation"><p>On China’s mainland, philanthropy and civil society have become dangerous professions. No matter how hard they try to shy away from politics, there could be the target of a crackdown by authorities. The closure of China&#39;s rural libraries is an unsettling signal of current condition of society on the mainland, destroying the last hope of those who want gradual reform in China.</p></blockquote> <p class='gv-rss-footer'><span class='credit-text'><span class="contributor">Written by <a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/author/gloria-wang/' class='user-link' title='View all posts by Gloria Wong'>Gloria Wong</a></span></span> &middot; <span class="commentcount"><a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/following-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china/#comments" title="comments">comments (0) </a></span><br /><a href='http://globalvoicesonline.org/donate/' title='read Donate' >Donate</a> &middot; <span class='share-links-text'><span class='share-links-label'>Share this: </span> <a class='share-link' href='http://twitter.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F&#038;text=Following+Political+Pressure%2C+Citizen-Led+Rural+Libraries+Shut+Down+in+China&#038;via=globalvoices' id='gv-st_twitter' title='twitter' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>twitter</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://www.facebook.com/share.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F' id='gv-st_facebook' title='facebook' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>facebook</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='http://reddit.com/submit?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F&#038;title=Following+Political+Pressure%2C+Citizen-Led+Rural+Libraries+Shut+Down+in+China' id='gv-st_reddit' title='reddit' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>reddit</span></a> <a class='share-link' href='https://plus.google.com/share?url=http%3A%2F%2Fglobalvoicesonline.org%2F2014%2F10%2F14%2Ffollowing-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china%2F' id='gv-st_googleplus' title='googleplus' target="new" ><span class='share-icon-label'>googleplus</span></a></span> </p> <div style="display: block !important; margin:0 !important; padding: 0 !important" id="wpp_popup_post_end_element"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Story URL:&nbsp;</div> <a href="http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/following-political-pressure-citizen-led-rural-libraries-shut-down-in-china/" target="_blank">http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/10/14/following-political-pressure-citizen-le...</a> </div> </div> </div> China China Citizen East Asia Education English Feature Gloria Wong Weblog Tue, 14 Oct 2014 00:31:11 +0000 feed 339686 at http://newsmotion.org