Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘children’

Above all, make sure the children suffer.

Posted by sanityinjection on March 31, 2009

The latest idiocy to come out of the Middle East reaches us from ABC News. It’s the story of Wafa Younis. Ms. Younis is an Israeli Arab who three years ago established a youth orchestra called “Strings of Freedom” in a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin. So far, so good.

Then last week, Ms. Younis brought her orchestra of Palestinian youths to Israel to perform before an audience of Holocaust survivors. Also good, right?

Apparently not. Certain Palestinians, including residents of the refugee camp,┬áhave a problem with this because they refuse to acknowledge the Holocaust as long as Israel continues to oppress their own people, and it seems that some of the youths’ parents complained they were not fully informed of the nature of the performance.

So for starters, Ms. Younis is not being allowed back into the camp to lead her orchestra – allegedly for her own safety. That lie is exposed by the fact the orchestra’s rehearsal studio has been boarded up and the instruments confiscated by camp authorities.

Only in the Middle East would an orchestra performance be considered a crime. Of course the ones who suffer are the children, who had no idea they were doing anything “wrong” and now will no longer get to play their instruments. Orchestral conductors are not exactly floating around the West Bank so it will be hard to find a replacement for Ms. Younis, and that is bad news for kids who don’t have many opportunities available to them.

I fail to understand any ideology that forces its own people, and particularly its children, to suffer for what it considers to be the crimes of others. Leadership of that sort is a curse on the Palestinian people that goes far beyond anything the Israelis are doing to them.

As far as I am concerned, Wafa Younis is a humanitarian and a hero who should be honored by both Israelis and Palestinians. But that would be a different world than the one we, and the children of the Jenin refugee camp, live in.

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Posted in Foreign Affairs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Let’s use children to fight our political battles for us…not.

Posted by sanityinjection on July 29, 2008

I can’t say I’m surprised that somebody is calling for students in Chicago to skip the first day of school as part of an ill-conceived protest. It’s a little disappointing, though, that the call is coming from a state legislator (Sen. James Meeks):

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080729/ap_on_re_us/school_funding_protest

Briefly, the protest centers on the fact that per-pupil spending in wealthy suburban school districts is much higher than in the Chicago public schools. (This is true in pretty much every major metro area in America.) The protesters see this as discrimination against poor communities, but particularly against ethnic minorities.

So on the first day of school, these numb-nuts want to bus thousands of Chicago kids to affluent, lily-white Winnetka where they will attempt to enroll in the New Trier School District, on the basis of a dubious interpretation of a provision in state law allowing transfers if a student’s “safety” is at risk.

New Trier is something of a legend in education circles. It consistently ranks among the top public school districts in the country. People come from foreign countries to tour the schools there and see how they do things. I don’t blame any inner-city family for wanting to send their kid there, which is why I support school vouchers and school choice.

However, asking schoolchildren to skip school as part of a political protest is a very bad idea. Granted, kids never learn anything important on the first day of school anyway. But you set your habits for the academic year, you learn where you’re going and who your teachers are and what time the buses pick you up. Kids who miss the first day of school have a much higher truancy rate, which is a real issue in urban schools.

Children do not, for the most part, understand issues of school funding, nor do they get a vote. It is irresponsible to ask or expect them to engage in political protest on behalf of adults who don’t seem to be able to act effectively themselves. You shouldn’t put your kid on a picket line and you shouldn’t make them hold a sign for Obama or McCain. Let them do what kids are supposed to do: Go to school, and enjoy themselves when they’re not in school. If your political cause requires the manipulation and exploitation of children in order to succeed, that’s a good reason why it doesn’t deserve to.

Posted in Domestic News, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »