The Dangerous kind of Education

By B. R. Gowani
Christiane Amanpour (CNN program on Generation Islam), Eboo Patel, and others in the United States are busy advocating the education of Muslim children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine. The belief underlying this policy was simplistically summed up by Eboo Patel’s concluding statement quoted in the Washington Post: “The safety of a child in Kansas City may depend on who wins the battle of the schools in Kandahar.”

This immature gibberish goes on and on. People wanting to remain in limelight or hold on to their jobs have to write something to maintain their positions.

September 2001 was the only time the Muslim militants attacked the US and caused deaths of innocents. In these Muslim areas, however, the populace continues to be terrorized. Many children in Kandahar, Afghanistan, have lost their limbs and lives because of US bombing.

Presently, the children of Kansas have no fear from the Muslim militants. It is the US corporations who are adding to the terror and whose “downsizing” (firing) is laying off their parents. The US government is increasing the terror by cutting off social programs and the greedy capitalists are bankrupting their country. The dominant media strives to keep the common people confused. It is these harmful elements on which the safety of the children in Kansas (other parts of the US, and around the world) depends.

No one is talking about resolving the existing unfair state of affairs in the Muslim majority conflict areas: whether exploitation in Afghanistan, Palestine, etc. Either they have no insight into the real problems being faced there or they are so accustomed to the unfair and tainted policy view point of the west that they fail to see the true reality of these situations (true problems and possible custom solutions).

No one can deny the importance and benefits of education, especially, the one which can teach students to think critically and question the hypocrisy, consumerism, and indoctrination which are being peddled in the name of democracy, religion, and business. The problem arises, however, with the type of education the US provides to the Muslim children.

And what kind of education the United States is going to impart to the children of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine? It will be:

A for America
B for Bill Gates
C for Coca Cola
D for Disney Land
E for Elections (US style)
F for Free Trade (Capitalist style)
G for Guantanamo Bay
H for Hollywood
I for Israel
J for Jobs (prepare yourself to work for corporations)
K for KFC (add to the global obesity)
L for Lobbies (welfare groups for our Congresspersons)
M for Monsanto (false marketing leading to mass suicides)
N for National security (of the US)
O for Oprah (the power of media)
P for Pentagon (Defender of exploitative capitalism)
Q for Questioning (only US has the right to question)
R for Rendition (CIA sponsored tour)
S for September 11
T for Terrorists (no concern for innocents)
U for Uber power (the one and only that matters)
V for Victim (perceived, i.e., US)
W for Wal-Mart (hoard and greed)
X for Xmas (commercialize God)
Y for “Yes, Master” (you should utter to survive)
Z for Zeal (to privatize all)

This is exactly what the children of Palestine, Afghanistan, and Pakistan do not need. What they need is good applicable education that makes them capable of leading their nations; and places them on a path to make them valued members of the Global Village but with a unique identity that is their own; while contributing to a local based economy not run from white capitals.

The high rate of illiteracy was prevalent even before the 1990s: this is not a new phenomenon. There was no terrorism then, except the PLO’s fight for the liberation of Palestine from the terrorism of the state of Israel. (PLO was a secular organization and had many Christian members too.) However, what is new is the unmindful and fanatical terrorism of a few Muslim militants. Many of these monstrous creatures are the creation of the US itself or its unjust policies. These Muslim militants have proved themselves fanatics on a par with the capitalist fanatics of the United States.

One point to consider is that more essential education of the masses in these areas may mean greater scrutiny of unfair practices of the West and its local puppets. An educated student can now recognize the attitudes of anger and outrage that is raised in the west when one of them dies vs. the deafening silence and indifference when thousands of his/her country men die.

Education and Independent thinking

The 99% literacy rate in the US indicates that most of its people can read simple directions to manage their life. It does not mean people have critical skills or are tolerant of other people or cultures or are devoid of racial and communal tendencies. The recent example of racialism and communalism is the detaining and interrogating of Shah Rukh Khan at New Jersey airport.

Shah Rukh Khan is considered the world’s most famous actor. He has faced similar harassment in England too. The problem is his name, color, and religion. He told the officer that he is an actor and that should have ended his ordeal right then as the officer just had to Google his name or had he gone on Youtube, he would have come across thousands of articles and videos. If the actor had been defiant or uncooperative, than one could understand — though never justify — the officer’s behavior. Khan was out after an hour or so. Many ordinary people meet a different fate.

So this incident reeks of plain and simple racism.

How about educating these kinds of officers?

B. R. Gowani can be reached at

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