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[casi] Provocation, Insensitivity and Re-writing Arab History

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Islan on Line 2nd October 2003
Iraqis Back To School, No Anti-Occupation Books
Iraqi boys look at various models of school bags displayed in a street in
By Sobhi Haddad, IOL Baghdad Correspondent
BAGHDAD, October 2 ( - Some six million Iraqi students went
back to school Wednesday, October 1, testing their first school year under
the U.S.-led occupation, with no geography, national education or history
books, which used to address the struggle of Arab countries against foreign
Fearing the state of lawlessness and anarchy plaguing the country since the
fall of Baghdad on April 9, most of the parents escorted their children to
"The Ministry of Education contracted local, Arab and foreign printing
houses to print more than 70 million books to be distributed among
students," Ismail Yehia Abdullah Al-Elwan, a ministry director general, told
"All books have been printed except for those related to social studies," he
On the changes introduced to the books, the Iraqi official asserted that
with respect to scientific books "the only change was removing pictures of
(ousted president) Saddam Hussein, the so-called the leader commandments and
the Baath slogans."
Replying to a question on social studies (history and geography) books,
Al-Elwan said "ministry officials have assigned this task to both UNICEF and
With respect to Islamic education curriculum, the Iraqi official maintained
that "no changes have been made because this is a very sensitive issue and
no one can interfered."
No Anti-Occupation Books
An Iraqi social studies expert, who declined to put his name, told IOL that
the decision by the American supervisor of the Education Ministry to
postpone the distribution of history books in particular is because such
books includes "anti-occupation ideas."
"For example, the history book of the sixth primary grade includes, in seven
of its sections, a review of western occupation of the Arab world by
Britain, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. It also deals with Arab
liberation movements that led to independence," he averred.
The Iraqi expert expected the U.S.-led occupation authority to include the
name of Israel on maps in the school geography books.
An Israeli center said to be specialized in Mid Eastern studies was opened
in the occupied Iraqi capital Baghdad, in a provocative move seen by Iraqi
academics as the beginning of an Israeli scheme to infiltrate the Iraqi
Printing Cake
Just as Iraqis have previously protested employing foreigners in oil-related
projects since the fall of Baghdad, it seems Iraqi printing houses had a
tiny slice of the books printing cake. learnt that UNESCO and UNICEF had direct supervision on the
printing of some 70 million books for the primary, intermediate and
secondary stages.
Only 17 millions books were printed by Iraqi printing houses, while the
remaining bulk was printed in Britain, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait; a matter
that irked owners of Iraqi printing houses.
Eng. Mowafaq Abu Hamra, owner of a Baghdad print house, told IOL his was one
of 14 Iraqi print houses contracted to print some of the scientific books.
He affirmed that the pictures and sayings of the deposed president have been
completely removed from all scientific books printed in his printing house.
Abu Hamra also added he signed a contract with UNICEF to print history and
geography books within 45 days, but asserted: "I do not know what kind of
changes will be made."
Iraqi education ministry has abolished the national education curriculum,
any mention of Saddam.

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