Arnon Grunberg



On obligations and education – Kristof in NYT:

‘Education is an imperfect weapon against extremism, but it helps. It works through some combination of opening minds, building a middle class, giving women a greater voice in society and reducing population growth and thus a destabilizing “youth bulge” in the population.

So I hope that as we, chastened, pull military forces from Afghanistan, we will learn something from extremists and their victims alike: Promoting girls’ education isn’t about mushy idealism, but about employing an inexpensive tool that is frustratingly slow — but sometimes the best tool we’ve got.
“There is no other way to build a nation,” Yacoobi told me. “Maybe someday we will melt down some of these guns and trade them in for medicines and new Homeric epics. If we wish to get there, we must always start with education.”’

Read the article here.

Education is a poor weapon against extremism indeed, as history tells us.
A university degree nor love for Beethoven or Chopin are a magical cure against extremism, immoral opportunism, sadism, totalitarianism.
But whether education is a poor weapon against extremism or not children are entitled to education.
And in a civilized country not only elementary and high schools but also universities should be free of charge.
Kristof also wrote:

‘Yet while America’s longest war is unsustainable, we must remember our obligations. We should greatly accelerate visas for the roughly 17,000 Afghan translators, aides and others who have worked with the United States and will be in danger when our forces are gone. Otherwise, their blood will be on our hands.’

To leave your friends alone after they helped you for many years is a common crime, perpetuated by many countries. Remember Saigon? Remember the SLA in Lebanon.

Kristof is right. The US should provide the Afghan interpreters with visas, and the Netherlands should welcome their Afghan interpreters.

Certain crimes and missteps, such as these kinds of betrayal, common as they are, should not be repeated and should not be easily forgiven.

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