Sunday, March 07, 2010

Syrian School - part 3 - highly recommended

Being Inspired

Watching and typing...

8 mins.
Bet you didn't expect poetry like that - "Tales from a lover's notebook" - etc. Touching.

9 mins.
Of course on to the infants' school and the political brainwashing is absolutely appalling. Fully Stalinist in its scope.

10 mins.
The actual teaching and kids all seem very nice.

18 mins.
A bit like similar programs about schools in China, I think, certainly the primary school section. Perhaps slightly less frenetic competition.

24 mins.
Start of section about war. Amazing the propaganda sort of "expertise". Indoctrination is complete. I say nothing about the facts though I imagine they are totally distorted. They would be distorted by all sides, I'm sure but these are fairly blatant. It's not totally unlike the old history teaching in Ireland. We knew that we were massacred and tortured by the Brits etc - pitch caps, Cromwell's massacres etc. We didn't hear much about home made civil war atrocities and suchlike though.

26 mins.
An odd mixture of very appealing ordinary activities - basketball, happy, smiling etc and a Big Brother society with full brainwashing but all tied into nationalism and identity. Absolutely indelibly dyed in the wool - just like all nations, I suppose. Why should I care which tribe wins? Because our tribe is the best.

30 mins.
What do you call this sort of watching and posting messages? I quite like it. Just watched the disco bit.

35-36 mins
Internet. The girl wants to continue with basketball and play in the N.B.A. (?)

37 mins.
That inspirational teacher again. He does poetry with them as an extra curricular option. Good man. They love him.

39- 43- (and on) mins.
The basketball final. A great game - close finish. "Sarah stop crying." "The girls did their best."

45 mins.
Sweet kid who comes first in the class wants to share it with his friend.

47 mins.
Final preparations for the poetry festival - very touching.

I'll give you some quotes from the girls' poems (they are rehearsing to themselves how to recite them. One girl [Nour] walks back and forth in the schoolyard, while kids mill around, in a world of her own, rehearsing her words and hand gestures).
"Sit beside me and let me tell you a story of love and dreams."
"Oh lord it was my love's favourite, this dress/And this and that, and this and that/And my room became a garden."

49 mins.
A guy does their hair? [Another thing you probably were not expecting.]

50 mins.
One of the girls who wasn't going tol will read after all. The amazing teacher says one girl was crying yesterday because she hadn't been selected to read. "I woke after midinght, worrying, and read some of her poems and decided they had some merit and she should read something after all. And now she's happy and dancing like a butterfly."

58 mins.
Poetry is obviously very important to all. A great turnout of literary figures and parents and kids for the poetry festival. The headmistress reads her own poem by way of introduction. "The only motivation for my work is love" etc. The first girls poem (the one who was rehearsing to herself in the yard) begins "A river streamed through my room/It scared me./It broke my wardrobe/Scattered my clothes/Released my dresses/From yesterday's bonds" (to a musical accompaniment). "It made me wear them" (I can't transcribe it all, she goes on to the section with "Lord this was my love's favourite - this waistband ... etc." Ah - that is where she was saying "this and that, this and that" interesting. And she ends powerfully with a long pause and then repeating the title line, "A river streamed through my room."

Second girl is so sweet. A different type.

55-56 mins.
A poem in English! [An appeal for peace and understanding between people of the world.]

57 mins.
Nour will be published. The judge says her poem was of "international standard" and he wants to publish it.( "A river streamed through my room.")

Broadcast on:

BBC Four, 7:30pm Monday 1st March 2010


60 minutes

Available until:

9:59pm Wednesday 17th March 2010

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