Friday, January 16, 2009

January 15

JANUARY 15, 2009 Well, this day has been interesting at school. I like these kids so much. I find them mostly very respectful and cooperative. They are so handsome and beautiful with their dark hair and dark eyes. Except there are some who are very light skinned and are so very handsome…they look like movie stars…very few unattractive kids. They are full of personality. I like that. I was thinking about their sizes—I honestly don’t think I’ve seen one single overweight student…and not very many overweight people in general. Guess it is the walking and diet—who knows, maybe I’ll come home skinny and healthy! Don’t count on it! I am still sorta shadowing Shane and John…but I am ready to teach when they will agree to it. Tomorrow we have a day off—so this Thursday really is a Friday…no school the next day. Of course, we have school on Sat…so that may not be so much fun. Today Shane came in to do the 11A English class—and he was a bit late, so I was talking to them about what we are going to do. They are so bright and fun. When he came in, he started off by saying he felt sure they had learned about what had happened in Gaza—text messages or elsewise. Israel bombed a hospital in Gaza…and they all were so upset. But with measured anger—not temper tantrums like capricious children. They just sat there at first in stunned silence…Shane talked to them and was very open and honest about what happened. Then he told them they were welcome to respond—to talk, write, yell or do whatever. So they started talking…some more than others of course. They are so angry at the injustice. They feel the Israel has so much more power than the Arabs—and they felt certain that they knew they were bombing a hospital. One young man said they knew all the points of interest—schools, hospitals, etc…just as the Arabs know the places in Israel. They were saying that the rockets that came from Gaza hit land—mostly, not people and certainly not schools and hospitals. One girl was so genuinely passionate—I wish I could have recorded her comments. She said the Arabs have no power—the Israelis have more power and weapons and authority—there is no way the Arabs can win—but there is also no way they are treated fairly. She said, “They don’t want us. They say it over and over again. They don’t want us here. There is nothing we can do. We can’t leave. We have nowhere to go. We have no recourse in the injustices.” Another boy commented that it is all so wrong-he feels they know everything the Arabs are planning and have such superior weapons and means to do whatever they want. I just kept hearing the injustices they suffer—and I kept thinking of the Civil Rights Movement—and all the hangings and mistreatment. And there really was no recourse for the Blacks because they had no one in authority to defend them. Shane interacted with them so well—I honestly have never heard a conversation on TV or anywhere else of such depth and debate that was so well done. He is Jamaican-born Black, and he talked about the injustices done to people in the South. But he grew up in Florida, and is young--he has few specific memories. And he is a masterful communicator—flawless English with absolutely no accent from anywhere. He talked to them about how he came to be here this year—said he feels he is here for such a time as this. Then he asked them if they thought a Jewish student could make it at our school. They all (except one really sweet, very handsome boy) said most emphatically NO! They would not welcome him—then they said besides none of them would come because they have nothing to do with us. One boy related an incident with other young people who were at a gathering of some kind…and repeated derogatory comments made. There is some kind of organization for youth that one of the girls in the classroom is in—it joins Jews, Arabs, and others in it. I just wish others could have heard them…I really can’t repeat it and give it justice. They expressed such heart-felt and extremely mature responses. And the bottom line is the injustices they suffer through no fault of their own. They didn’t make the rules; they didn’t bomb anyone; they just experience the result of years of fighting—and they were saying 60 years, but then some said no, it is longer than that. I just kept hearing the cry of a heart that has been unfairly treated—and I hear that in my own heart and so do you. We all cry out for justice, yet in this world, there is no justice. People react differently to injustice—but often it results in vengeance filled with uncontrollable anger and bitterness and violence. On Monday our school started a collection of goods to send to Gaza. A huge pile of stuff was brought—stuff for people to live with—baby needs, clothing, bedding, paper goods, not junk stuff. The response seems overwhelming to me—and I don’t think these people have a lot of extra. Yesterday was the Armenian Christmas Day—so several teachers and students were out for Christmas. I don’t know much about Armenians, but I want to. So…on a personal note…a very difficult day. Tomorrow is another day—so we’ll see. I surely would like to have been home this evening! Love ya’ll…………….


  1. Hi Mrs. Landry! Melissa gave me your blog address and I plan to be a regular reader. It will be amazing to hear the ongoing perspective of you and your students. I visited Israel while I was teaching in Hungary and was so overwhelmed by the history, both ancient and contemporary. You are going to be so altered by your time there. I'll be praying for you.
    Patti (Pate) Hinze

  2. Can I just say wow... There you are in the middle of this classroom loving these kids. Kids that have heartaches and suffering as a group like we have never come close to experiencing in our classrooms at PNG. Keep shining your light Beth! Love you!