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It's good to see that Ghazwan is ok. http://www1.iraqwar.ru/iraq-read_article.php?articleId=4879&lang=en Baghdad Children in School, Saddam Images Removed 04.05.2003 [09:56] BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Samar clung to her father's side, unsure whether it would be safe to join her friends on the first day back at school in Baghdad after the war filled her head with fears of gunmen and killers. "I am very scared that they might try to shoot me again," eight-year- old Samar said, reliving a time during the war when a gunman shot at the car she was riding in with her father. Samar was one of many Iraqi children who returned to school in Baghdad on Saturday, a move hailed as another step toward restoring some normalcy to life in the volatile country after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Parents stuck closely to their children on the walk to school fearful for their safety. Once there, children kissed their teachers and sat down in classrooms, some still covered in shards of glass from broken windows. "The message we wanted to convey is that we are here to rebuild our country after the devastation and that is the most important thing," said Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar, a parent of a student at a Jesuit school in central Baghdad. "Starting up the education system whether the new government is formed or not is the most important thing." Schools closed down on March 20, when Washington launched a war to oust Saddam. Baghdad fell on April 9 and now, U.S. forces and local officials are desperately trying to restore order in a city where lawlessness is widespread. SADDAM PICTURES TORN OUT Teachers say the resumption of studies was only a small step toward resolving major problems in Iraq's education system. They call for a fundamental review of the curriculum, dominated for decades by courses in nationalism, hailing Saddam and his "achievements" and teaching his Baath Party ideology. At schools on Saturday most books had pictures of the man who ruled them with an iron fist torn out. Many schools, but not all, brought down Saddam's portraits from classroom walls. Teachers are also worried that with the absence of a government they were not being paid their salaries, which might force many to find other jobs. Creative Associates International, the U.S.-based group that won a contract to revitalize the Iraqi education system, has set a goal of getting every Iraqi child back in school by October 1. It said on Thursday its contract included providing materials such as pens, paper, blackboards and furniture, and developing teacher- training courses and learning courses designed to help children whose education has been disrupted. The group would also try to foster a more democratic education system. However, it would not be rewriting Iraqi textbooks. That task would be undertaken by the new Iraqi education ministry once it began operations. An Iraqi provisional government, once formed, would also be in charge of paying teachers. Teachers say they fear that many children will have nightmares and fears that will be hard to ease. "It is the start of trying to make life normal again," said teacher Maha Mohammed. "It could take a long time," she said. Mark Parkinson Bodmin Cornwall _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk