Skip to comments.Iraqi Schools Expelling 'Beloved Saddam'
Posted on 10/01/2003 5:08:03 AM PDT by Ex-Dem
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 30 When Iraqi children return to school this Saturday, they will no longer see Saddam Hussein's portrait in the classroom or start the day chanting of his heroic struggle against the snakehead of the devil that is America. But Mr. Hussein has still not quite been expelled.
New Saddam-free textbooks are being printed, but they are not expected to be available until November. So students will open their books and face a variation of that old test question: identify the object that does not belong with the rest. The correct answers will require tearing out full-page pictures of Mr. Hussein and drawing lines through the paragraphs about the Baath Party's Great March.
"We want the exercise to teach students and teachers that the days of fear are finished," said Fuad Hussein, an adviser to the Ministry of Education, who has been supervising the de-Baathication of every textbook, from first-grade readers to high-school physics texts.
The first-grade equivalents of Dick and Jane are Hassan and Amal, shown in one reader happily holding a portrait of Mr. Hussein. Their dialogue begins with Amal saying, "Come, Hassan, let us chant for the homeland and use our pens to write, `Our beloved Saddam.' "
Hassan replies: "I came, Amal. I came in a hurry to chant, `Oh, Saddam, our courageous president, we are all soldiers defending the borders for you, carrying weapons and marching to success.' "
Duly inspired, Amal exclaims, "Let us start our work without delay."
A third-grade reader features a photograph of Mr. Hussein stroking the cheek of an apparently terrified boy at a school that had been hit by a missile during the war with Iran. In the text, a father tells him the school was deliberately attacked by Iran's leader: "My son, Khomeini hates the children of Iraq because they will become men in the future and will defend the homeland."
Saddam Hussein's touch was heaviest in history (students learn that Iraq's wars were all just and ended victoriously) and in a class called Patriotic Education, which has been eliminated.
But nothing escaped his influence. The educator, Dr. Hussein, said the Iraqis who reviewed the 560 textbooks recommended changes in every single one.
The de-Baathicized books, prepared by United Nations agencies using American funds, will include nothing new in substance and simply leave blank pages where material was cut.
In the old books, geography is taught with maps showing an Arab homeland with no trace of Israel. An English textbook includes an essay by an Arab mother whose family is terrorized by "Zionist" soldiers.
Science books include Mr. Hussein's pronouncements mixed among the laws of nature.
Even mathematics had its political side.
Students learned arithmetic by adding 4 + 28 because April 28 is Mr. Hussein's birthday (an occasion once celebrated with cakes and dancing during four-hour-long parties at schools). They learned their multiplication tables by computing the casualty count of shooting down four American planes with three crew members each.
"We had to include him in every lesson plan or we'd be in trouble with the Baath Party," said Nada al- Jalili, an elementaryschool teacher at the Tigris School for Girls in Baghdad. "When we taught about bacteria in biology class, we explained that Saddam brought antibacterial soap and drugs into Iraq. Whenever his name was mentioned, it had be followed with `God protect him and keep him our president.' "
Whenever an adult entered the classroom, the students would stand up and recite in unison, "Long live the leader Saddam Hussein." Then they would sit down while reciting, "Long live the heroic Baath Party."
The typical school day used to begin with chants against America for killing Iraqi children and burning Iraqi trees.
In gym classes, students would exercise while chanting, "Bush, Bush, listen clearly: We all love Saddam."
In music classes, they learned new lyrics for traditional melodies. The beginning of one popular children's song was changed from "The daughter of the merchant has almond eyes" to "We are the Baathists. We have heavy weapons."
During a flag-raising ceremony every Thursday morning, students would chant "Saddam Hussein!", "One Arab nation with an eternal message!" and "Unity! Freedom! Socialism!" Then a teacher or an older student would fire a round of blanks from an AK-47 rifle.
"The rifle terrified the younger girls," recalled Widad al-Atia, headmistress of the Tigris School. "Last year we got lucky because our rifle broke and we waited all year for it to be repaired. The Baath officials came by to ask why there was no shooting at the ceremony, but we had an excuse."
The party officials came by another time, she recalled, when the parents of one student reported a crime by a girl living next door: the drawing of an oversized colored mustache on a photograph of Saddam Hussein at the front of a textbook. After an investigation, Miss Atia said, she concluded that the drawing was the work not of the accused girl but of the snitches, who were feuding with the girl's family.
After Mr. Hussein's fall, some teachers and students celebrated by ripping his pictures from their textbooks. Rand Amir, a fifth grader at a public school in the Zayuna neighborhood in Baghdad, said her classmates threw the pages out a second-story window while yelling, "Bye, bye, Saddam."
"Those lessons about Saddam were so boring and stupid, but we had no choice," she said. "Anybody who laughed would be punished."
Some teachers, though, had a harder time saying farewell. When the educator, Dr. Hussein, and his committee started reviewing the textbooks, he recalled, one teacher balked during the first session.
"She was supposed to draw a line through a photograph of Saddam to show the printer what to remove," Dr. Hussein recalled. "But when she put her pen at the corner of the picture she couldn't bring herself to make the line. I said, `Don't be afraid, bring the line down.' She went halfway and stopped. I ordered her again, and finally she made it all the way. She looked up and said, `I can't believe I was able to do that.' "
Saddam Hussein's touch was heaviest in history (students learn that Iraq's wars were all just and ended victoriously) and in a class called Patriotic Education, which has been eliminated.Patriotism has been eliminated from American history textbook too, by all accounts . . .
If a Dimocratic President rapes or molests three women who make their allegations public, and only 30% of women report such crimes, then how many might we credibly believe he assaulted over his lifetime?
Q: What is the capital of Arkansas? A: Albany
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