Gather Little Children

There is surely nowhere in the world, from the open Mongolian steppe to a cramped lane in Gaza City, where people do not know the sound of children in school. It’s a dear sound– half finished sentences and jostling little bodies, high pitched singing and new friendships, uninhibited yelps and cries and teachers’ gentle proddings, a row of chatting parents waiting outside at the end of the learning day.

However undeveloped a place, universal education exists across our globe. So, while we may not be familiar with a college campus or a multiplex cinema we know the place where our children begin to learn. In this tender setting, little ones make their first venture into the world.

Whether our own children have long ago moved on, if we live in a bustling city or on a quiet country lane, our days are somehow marked by children setting out for school. The primary school I know best and whose girls and boys I recall so vividly today happen to live in Nepal.

The school sits on the edge of Kathmandu city near Balaju bridge, off noisy Nayaa Bazaar. A poor neighborhood by some standards perhaps, but it’s the most important place to the 400 children who have begun their learning here.

These Nepali 2nd graders are surely the same height, with the same bright eyes, the same pitched squeals exchanged with playmates, the same shyness, the same small fingers gripping a bright crayon as those little boys and girls at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut.

All across the globe the events in USA last week make those sounds more precious today. As we connect them, maybe grieving Americans can better understand the silence of little Palestinian and Pakistani and Iraqi corpses.

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Dec 18, 9-10pm broadcast: Tahrir reviews Algeria’s erstwhile Rai music tradition in an archival segment produced by Anissa Bouziane, with an update from music aficionado Dawn Elder from Los Angeles. BN Aziz reviews award-winning Arab filmmakers, Ruba Nadda and Yasmina Adi.

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Articles by: Barbara Nimri Aziz

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