Monday, September 15, 2008

Nature or Nurture


I found this image at Something Awful. The photos were taken from a 1980's Farsi Alphabet book for children. The owner of the book received it at age 2 or 3 while visiting Iran toward the end of the Iran-Iraq War. You may remember that was when the US was on Saddam's side.

Anyway, though I've never seen a children's book quite like this, I'm not going to pretend to be shocked. I've seen the Palestinian kid's show with the impostor Mickey Mouse promoting jihad. I've seen the sing-along DVDs glorifying suicide bombing. I'm also aware that the CIA was behind the violent images in Afghani textbooks when the US wanted to indoctrinate Afghan children with their duty to fight the Soviets:
In 1986, under President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. put a rush order on its proxy war in Afghanistan. The CIA gave Mujahideen an overwhelming arsenal of guns and missiles. But a lesser-known fact is that the U.S. also gave the Mujahideen hundreds of millions of dollars in non-lethal aid; $43 million just for the school textbooks. The U.S. Agency for International Development, AID, coordinated its work with the CIA, which ran the weapons program.
"The U.S. government told the AID to let the Afghan war chiefs decide the school curriculum and the content of the textbooks," says CBC'S Carol Off. "What discussions did you have with the Mujahideen leaders? Was it any effort to say maybe this isn't the best for an eight-year-old's mind?"

"No, because we were told that that was not for negotiations and that the content was to be that which they decided," says Goutier.

So children learn to count with bullets, to color in pictures of guns, and to sing about suicide missions. Adults brainwash them to fight their dirty wars. We do it to American children too (for profit even!) with toys like GI Joe.

What better way to keep the continuum of violence except to nurture it?

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