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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 1, September 2006

Readers write

Troops provide security

I am delighted to read in Teacher the interest in educating to create a culture of peace. My hope is that all teachers will make peace education a high priority in their classrooms.

While traveling in Russia we saw a newspaper photo of a young woman in a nearby border town in Afghanistan who had had her right hand cut off by the Taliban. Her "crime" was reading a book in her own home.

I cannot agree that Canada is "a combatant nation" as Jane Turner has labeled our country. Canada is to be commended for their difficult, delicate role in attempting to maintain law and order in Afghanistan so a just and civil society can eventually establish itself there. Our troops are there to protect the public from the Taliban, who are largely a group of insecure, uneducated thugs who used Islam as an excuse to impose its own arbitrary laws on the people. When in power the Taliban’s chief resource was its ruthlessness. Arbitrary assassinations, arbitrary confiscation of property, and the most heinous treatment of women eventually reduced Afghanistan to a country of fear and squalor. The industrious people and the educated people either left the country or retreated into subjugated silence. Let us all hope with Canada’s help a new Afghanistan will be born with a populace that will be able to freely criticize their government as Jane Turner has criticized hers.

Muriel Walton
Retired teacher and chair of the Community Advisory Committee, Mir Centre for Peace Education, Selkirk College, Castlegar

Teaching peace is vital

As a retired Kindergarten teacher I was impressed by Jane Turner’s article in the recent Teacher, entitled "Teaching peace is more important than ever." I agree with Turner that it is vital for teachers to learn as much as possible about incorporating peace education into their curriculum. Attitudes and values are developed early in life.

When I was teaching, part of the curriculum focused on social responsibility. For me, teaching peace was an essential aspect of that goal. Our classroom became a war-toy-free zone and children and parents responded favourably. One day, in moving around the classroom, I overheard an interesting encounter in the block centre. A child began to use a block as a gun, and another child said, "Don’t you know this is a war-toy-free zone?" The ‘gun’ was replaced by more creative play!

Blessings to all peace advocates in the classroom—both large and small.

Arlene Kropp

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