EDITOR’S NOTE—Today, the Daily Journal presents a sampling of editorials from around the state.
Give lessons to students on international level
The Journal Gazette. (Fort Wayne)
Fort Wayne-area classrooms have a unique window on the world this month, when Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi comes to town. Area educators shouldn’t miss the opportunity to incorporate her historic visit into lesson plans.
Suu Kyi’s address at Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday represents a teachable moment in the best sense. The city seldom hosts leaders known on the international stage and prominent in today’s headlines. Organizers expect many area schools to send students to hear the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
“We do expect many students to attend at all grade levels,” said Krista Stockman, public information officer for Fort Wayne Community Schools. “We’re still working out the details, but it certainly is an exciting opportunity for students — and not just our Burmese students.”
Even for those too young to attend, the event is a good way to make an international topic relevant to northeast Indiana students.
There’s the simple geography lesson: Where is she from? What part of the world is it? How far is it from Fort Wayne? What is the country like — its climate, its terrain, its people?
There are the obvious history and government questions: What sort of government does Burma have? Why is the country now known as Myanmar? How are her political views different from the ruling party’s? What is the National League for Democracy? Why was she under house arrest for more than 15 years?
Then there’s the piece that makes it so relevant for Fort Wayne-area students: Why is she coming here? Why are there so many Burmese refugees in Fort Wayne? What is the community’s history in welcoming refugees?
Language lessons abound. Suu Kyi’s address comes at the invitation of Fort Wayne’s Burmese community, and so she will speak in her native language, with translation provided. It’s an excellent opportunity to show students that foreign languages aren’t simply a classroom exercise and that a world of other cultures exists beyond Indiana.
Professor Gail Hickey of IPFW’s College of Education and Public Policy sees Suu Kyi’s appearance as an “excellent opportunity for teachers to write women into the curriculum.”
“Women have always been a part of history, but society has not always recognized women’s contributions,” Hickey said in an email.
Signs bring together northern, southern Indiana
Evansville Courier & Press.
The construction of Interstate 69 between Evansville and Indianapolis has never gotten much attention north of Indianapolis, where existing I-69 has long extended north to Michigan.
But that is changing, and no, not because the highway between Evansville and Crane south of Bloomington will be completed later this year. It is because I-69 signs along the northern section are beginning to take into account the construction in the South.
The Indiana Department of Transportation announced in late July that signage on I-69 north of Interstate 465 would be renumbered, to comply with national highway standards. On all of the exits signs along this stretch, the number 200 will be added to the signs. In other words, a sign for Exit 10 will now become Exit 210, reflecting 200 miles on the southern stretch.
Also, mile marker signs will reflect the added miles. Exit signs will display the new designation and the previous one, to minimize confusion by those who already use the highway. The dual signage will be up for a minimum of three years, according to INDOT.
The project started in August and is to be finished this fall. However, a Courier & Press reader who travels north told us this week that he saw some of the new signage and said it is truly exciting to see I-69 signs to the north acknowledging the coming highway from the south.
Indeed, it is.
Mideast eruption from deliberate provocation
The Herald Bulletin. (Anderson)
The eruption in the Mideast this week is directly attributable to an anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims.” Under cover of Mideast protests of that film, some hardline Islamic groups used the opportunity to stoke anti-American flames and, in the case of Libya, kill the U.S. ambassador.
Anti-American rage is spreading through the Mideast, especially the Arab Spring nations of Egypt and Libya, but unrest is also taking place in Yemen.
The Arab response to the movie was predictable. There are many instances in the past of Muslim reaction to what they consider the West’s blasphemy, such as author Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” and the publication of anti-Muhammad cartoons in a Danish newspaper.
In 2010, a Florida pastor named Terry Jones wanted a “burn a Quran day.” At the request of the Army, Jones called off the day, but he has persisted in anti-Muslim vehemence. In fact, Jones has been showing this film to his congregation and praying for the filmmaker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who obviously made the shoddy, amateurish production to inflame Muslims. He seems to be a Coptic (Egyptian) Christian and is closely associated with American evangelicals, like Jones and the film’s adviser Steve Klein, an insurance agent who likens himself to James Bond in ferreting out Muslim terrorists in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Christian backers of the film apparently have no qualms in disrespecting another religion but don’t like it when their own religion is questioned.
The movie comes down to a First Amendment issue, and, in the U.S., making and showing it cannot be stopped for religious or political considerations. At the same time, Islamic countries have never enjoyed freedom of speech and press and anti-Muslim references are prohibited.
With free speech comes accountability. You can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater, and if you get vocal and belligerent with a guy in a bar, you might expect to be greeted with a haymaker across the jaw. The point is, the human qualities of respect and understanding need to be employed with speech. If not, the speaker has to expect repercussions.