Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

A War Against Violence | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Whilst the Iraqi interior ministry and ministry of defense have been preoccupied with pursuing violent political and religious extremists, Iraq’s ministry of education had waged its own war upon disobedient teachers who are violent towards pupils. This battle is part of the war in Iraq against the culture of violence that spreads in Iraq that is linked to the claim that it is in the natural disposition of this nation to be violent and confrontational.

Iraq, like the rest of the Arab countries, is in the process of building a society and is not only focused upon the pursuing of criminals and terrorists. Establishing a society holds many challenges, the most prominent of which is that of education. This refers not only to the educating of students, but rather of governmental institutions as well as a society of teachers and parents.

The problem can be summarized through the barbarianism of some groups in society. Our Arab societies are experiencing a chaotic stage as they transform quickly from rural society to one of urbanism, a shift that entails compliance and conformity with rules and regulations. Our societies that have shifted from relying on wood as a source of energy to electricity and from camels to cars in a short space of time seeks to skip centuries of civilization, an act that is not easy to carry out.

As for the war against terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere, this is a matter of time as the country is much stronger and will be able to curb terrorism. However, the first step that the state must take is to educate and train its representatives who legitimately use weapons against deviant citizens of the state. If this fails to take place first, then these forces, through practice, unaccountability and under the allegations of combating terrorism, could become gangsters who seek to administer their society through the misuse of power instead of resorting to the law.

I believe that the missions of both the interior and defense ministries are practically easier than that of the ministry of education. This is because fighting gangsters and terrorists is easier than confronting the inherited appearances of rejection. Similar experiences of getting rid of violence in education in other Arab states have not had much success in changing the prominent image of the despotic teacher and terrified student.

Violence is a deep-rooted culture that features in all aspects of life including the home, the mosque, and school where children spend most of their time. If there is no real dedication to or understanding of the battle against violence then administration and talks will fail. Such means are only successful when rules are adhered to and violators punished. Such means are only efficient when teachers who are violent towards their students are held accountable in the courts of the state and when security forces intervene and punish the fathers who vent their anger out on their children. It is only when teachers can find a more civilized method in dealing with their students that fathers will realize that it is their duty to raise their children without having to beat them.

Through these restraints, society in its entirety will then admit that resorting to violence is a crime for which the violators should be punished. Only when agreement regarding this concept and practice of this agreement is carried out, will urban society be able to purge itself of its worst habit on all levels.