This week has been an intensive seminar in issues surrounding the Holocaust. We’ve dealt with issues of fascism, conflict, fear and oppression – all issues that permeate everyday life for most of the students and teachers of Israel. Today is Holocaust Day, Yom haShoah. Today the day is marked worldover.
Our school had a ceremony conducted by Grade 11s who chose to read statements from those who’ve been personally affected by the Holocaust – whether through ancestors, or associations, or music or any number of triggers that exist as a constant reminder that Israel is home to those who were homeless.
I found an interesting article in Ynet, today. Swiss Teacher: I’m ashamed of my country…
“Swiss teacher sends harsh letter to his president, slams meeting with Iran’s Ahmadinejad. ‘I feel ashamed,’ Jean-Francois Bussy writes, tells Ynet he wants Israelis to know they have Swiss supporters “
Swiss protest: The Swiss president’s decision to meet with Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has upset some of his countrymen, prompting a local high school history teacher to send Hans-Rudolf Merz a harsh letter denouncing his actions.
In his letter, history teacher Jean-Francois Bussy expressed his “dismay” over his president’s meeting with Ahmadinejad, noting that the “intentions and convictions of that man were already known.”
“I thus estimate that your meeting with him was a mistake, even an insult to democracy in general, and to Israel, the only true democracy in the Near East,” Bussy wrote.
Click onto the above link to read the rest. I found it interesting that the world votes for or against Durban II, noise and counter-noise, praise and acceptance of the Iranian leader or shock and dismay that the man is being given a platform to preach his diatribe. This Swiss teacher, however, has no problem in stating his opinion that neutrality doesn’t exist where fascism is given free reign.
Bussy continues: “In a conversation with Ynet Tuesday, Bussy further stressed his disappointment.
“How could it be that people in Switzerland are sent to prison for anti-Semitism and Shoah-denial, while our president receives a man known as an anti-Semite, a Nazi, and one who wishes to destroy Israel?” he said. “It’s a shame to host such person on our soil. He came here to spread his poison to the world, and we’re giving him a platform.”
Bussy also dismissed Switzerland’s argument of neutrality, saying that “neutrality has boundaries too.”
“Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and we, as democrats, cannot just stand idly by,” he said. “You can’t be neutral when someone wishes to destroy another country. Neutrality ends at that point.”
He says it well.
This has been a very long day.
In other news, again we had a Seminar concerning students with PDD, pervasive developmental disorder. Shirley Kaplan came again to speak to us, as she did last summer. This time she specifically touched on issues we have with students of jr and sr high school. She spoke of basic lack of social skills in understanding codes both spoken and ephemeral. She spoke of not knowing how to pick up signals or make their own problems clear to others. She then offered us clear instructions as to how to teach models of behaviour, including even hygiene and how to make friends.
She’s coming back and I’ll be back as well.