IRAQI SCHOLARS FIGHTING FOR AN EDUCATION
Violence, and fear of violence, are corroding educational standards in Iraq. Getting to school or university is a daily struggle. Students and teachers are frequently delayed by bomb attacks, or by traffic jams near checkpoints.
In the English department at Baghdad University, linguistics teacher Shatha al Jeidi sniffs and struggles to hold back tears. "From the moment I get out of my house, I think of inevitable death, at any moment... that I may not see my family again and they fear the same," she said. She says her students have to endure this too - so how, she wonders, can they concentrate on their studies and do well?
On a bookshelf, there are four photographs of colleagues who have been killed. Rafi, an English-language lecturer, received a warning one day not to give low marks. He ignored the warning and continued to apply the usual standards to students' exam papers. Rafi was shot dead getting into his car to go to work at the university.
Two other lecturers have received death threats. One found a bullet on her desk with her name written on it. Another came to work one morning to find a message scrawled on her office wall: "Warning - you risk the same fate as Rafi."
Students have been threatened too. A 19-year-old told me a man approached her near her home, and said women shouldn't study, and that she would be killed if she carried on going to college. She is still going to college.
SYKES, Hugh. Disponível em: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr//2/hi/middle_east/6491443.stm Acesso em: 13 abr. 2007.
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