April 16, 2003
Tecuala, Nayarit, Mexico

2:11pm. Reading email at Julio's house, my head is spinning scrutinizing information. It was the same kinda deal driving down the dirt road toward Novillero after leaving Roblito, I was so wrapped up in processing future prospects and the past month's experiences, I wasn't present to enjoy the scenery and groovy tunes flowing from the stereo. Snapping out of my obcession with visions and memories, I began to play "I Never Noticed." Back in the world again, my view was much brighter, filled with cows in green pastures and birds in blue sky. So many pathes to go down; where do focus my time and energy?; how do I do the work that needs to be done regarding world issues and pay my bills? Reality can be over-whelming.

After arriving in Tecuala, the rest of the day was spent on the computer at the Parra's house writing an email to my mailing list. I met Irvin last week when I stopped to talk with a convertable full of ladies. He was chilling on the sidewalk drinking brews with buds. At first there was a bit of fricton between us, but after inviting me to hang with them longer at another location, the main drag heading into town where there were bunches of other boys kicking around their cars and macking with chicks, Irvin invited me back to his parents place to sleep safely in their fenced off back lot.

"I'd invite you in..." Irvin shrugged, "but it is my parents house and we just met." As I was putting down the blue foamy pad he came back and said, "come get something to eat." His my mom and sister were sweet and after a feast I slept on the couch.

Monday night they invited me to party with family and friends to celibrate Irvin's sister Anitta's graduation from university. Lots of cold drinks, BBQ pig, cool people and an intense game of basketball in the pool made for a fun evening.

In the morning, Irvin and I spent sometime looking at a detailed topographical map of Nayarit that his father, Sergio, gave me. Looking at maps is one of my favorite things to do. There is so much to explore, and you have no idea it even exists unless you go there or see it on a map.

In his second year studing tourism at the university of Tepic, Irvin has had the opportuniy to travel all over the state exporling natural and historical treasures and little villages in the sierra, and he pointed out what's cool to check out. Next week he is going with his class to Chiapis and the Yuccatan. We made a deal and shook hands to stay in touch and work together in the future.

I met Julio at Anitta's party and he is letting me use his computer to burn the past month's images on to disk. He is currently finishing a custom order of silk screen t-shirts here in the house. He usually sells them in his shop, El Negrito, which basically means: the black guy. He also teaches english, loves to surf and has a beautiful wife, Claudia, and two little girls. Tomorrow morning he is taking me surfing at Novillero.

During Roblito's annual party, I displayed this mobile, "Balance with Nature," made with the artifacts from the shell mounds and things I have collected.

(message to mailing list)

SoloMAX here... in Tecuala, Nayarit, Mexico.

The past two years I have been working on returning to Mexico to create a summer camp-like school in Roblito, and for the past month I´ve been there doing that. The "school" is as much for me as it is for them. I´m learning how little humans need to live, and how to be part of a community. These people live very close to the earth... farming and fishing... making mostly everything they need. They use far less power and fresh water, and create much less waste than those who live in more "developed" countries, but the plastic waste they do have is a big problem cuz nobody takes it away for them(as they do for those of us who live in cities in Canada, USA, etc. -- where it is out of site out of mind), so they need to deal with it on their own plot of land. My dream is to help Roblito become a competely sustainable community as it once was-- in balance with nature.

Hundreds of years ago there had been a very developed culture on that same land where Roblito is located, and all that is left to show for it is stone tools and arrowheads, and pottery beads, pipes and statues found in the large mounds of shells that surround the penninsula(which are a wonderful mystery). The people of Roblito do not value the artifacts and sell them cheap to someone who sells them for many times more in the US. The shell mounds will not be around much longer either as they are being sold off by the truck load to oyster farmers.

There are many great lessons to be learned from Roblito. In the coming years after my journey by kayak is finished, I look forward to creating a cultural center there and assisting cultural exchanges. Roblito is a very unique place. The people kindly welcome visitors and are keen to travel. My journal and photos from the past month in Roblito are posted on www.solomax.com ...and check back in a couple days, as I´m still working on the adding journals from the past week. Art is symbolic of cultural development and is important for educating current and future generations. When all is said and done the art that remains is the only way others will know a culture existed and how. Thinking about culture, a petri dish of bacteria comes to mind; a pool of life. We are not seperate from one another. We are part of what we come in connact with. I will never be same having lived in Roblito and they will never be the same having known me and seen my movies, bead work, and mobiles.

TV kills culture creating consumers. It sucks vast amounts of power from cities and villages all over the globe, turning people into zombies-- pairs of eyes staring silently in the dark. Not all TV programing is "bad" ...just most of it in my opinion... and the messages in the commercials are opposite to what people need to hear--- stating... you need this and that. I was horrified to see a commercial for a bank that suggested a woman should take out a loan to get a nose job. Swimming in a pool on her back and her nose was made to look like a shark fin... sending everyone fleeing. After she picked the nose she wanted, all the men wanted her and she was now prey.

Sit at campfires
With wizards and jokers from afar
Plot revolutions
Sing and ignite wild visions

I´m headed north, homeward, with stops in Mazatlan, Arizona, and Austin, Texas... and likely many other places yet unknown. This summer I intend to work on FAR OUT projects in New Brunswick... leading kayaking and climbing trips with those seeking super powers and good times.

-Solomax Culture Capsule

I have spoken with Jaimes and might be able to make an appointment for you to meet with him! I do require an exact date as to when you will be here so I can communicate with Jaimes and see if he will be available. Jaimes is not an easy person to schedule an appointment with. He "does not" socialize! He is a "White Shaman" and Teacher and schedules his life energy with those people who are a people of ACTION! And mentioned previously, the intent of myself and other men and women of action, is to continue establishing The Mysterious Arizona Retreat... ( this is where the Canadian People will eventually come into all of this, according to the Lightning Shaman Jaimes Whitegle). Already, it is a place "to recall and recover vital recorded memories" that are most Ancient from another life. A place to learn how to stand still within the body and according to the knowledge of Jaimes Whitegle, it is imperative to become the Ancient Bodysilencer... (If it is held within your own memory of accomplishing such a task in another life). SECLUSION in Nature is top priority for people who are brought here to experience the introduction "into" THE TELEPATHIC COMMAND. My greatest surprise with unbearable (interest) is to recover A LOST ANCIENT MEMORY, that would produce the ANTIDOTE'S to "attack" the telepathic hypnotism, which would bring about the cure for (human) "amnesia". It has existed for unknown centuries. This is not just another place but, has been discovered to be one of the original ancient landmarks of VISITATION. (Whitegle has made it clearly known to myself and public Media private sources, that there are a preset number of these ancient visitation sites.)

We are located Southeast of a major Arizona highway in the Mountains. Strong communications are established for those people who are brought into this ancient land site of (VISITATION). I have just spoken with Whitegle and asked if he would type a letter to you through email, since it was through his long distance telepathy the name "MAX" was revealed. Even to this day, he has yet responded to me the value of this name "MAX". It is apparent he keeps this secretly to himself and the world sources he communicates with. I have determined with my own perception, it must be for private ears only. My own experiences have proven, White Lightning Shamans (KAMS), are extremely strange and mysterious human MESSENGERS. On behalf of Jaimes Whitegle, at his request, asked if I would establish communication with you and I respectively agreed to do this with enthusiasm. He makes it well known the Canadian people are a very good people and posses many ancient lineages of the (Original) TIME TRAVELERS. He calls them the renowned Men of Medicine and Women of Medicine. People tend to trust and believe him because he has discovered Ancient pyramids on this planet and much, much more. Cory, I am sure you will appreciate this email letter and feel it is an antidote to any poison you have encountered recently. Choose your destination wisely with precision and repeating the words of a Lightning Shaman, Jaimes Whitegle. May protection come to the Canadian people.


April 16, 2003

U.S. to Remake School System In Postwar Iraq

By Mary Ann Zehr

As American forces were taking control of Baghdad last week, officials in the United States began putting into place the building blocks of a new campaign: restructuring the Iraqi school system.

The U.S. Agency for International Development was poised late last week to award contracts for devising a new curriculum and remaking the leadership of an education system that will serve the estimated one-half of Iraq's 24.5 million people who are under age 18. In addition, contracts were expected to be handed out to groups that will construct or rehabilitate an estimated 6,000 schools.

Experts on the Middle East caution that the job of rebuilding education in postwar Iraq will be a slow and sensitive affair.

The top priority, they say, should be to remove from Iraq's curriculum and school culture the tentacles left by 35 years of rule by President Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party. Even if that is accomplished, they add, education contractors will face the challenge of creating a school curriculum that satisfies the needs of Iraq's diverse groups of people.

"The unanswered question is how long the United States intends to stay, and with how heavy of a footprint," said Rex Brynen, a political science professor at McGill University in Montreal, who specializes in postconflict reconstruction and Middle Eastern politics. "The longer you stay, the more likely you are to be able to change the curriculum.

"But the longer you stay and the heavier the footprint, the more the Iraqis hate you."

A team of civilians appointed by the U.S. Department of Defense and charged with organizing a new government began setting up shop in Iraq last week, according to news reports.

Contracting for Change

A war against the Iraqi regime had been on the horizon long before the start of military action by an American-led coalition last month, and federal officials have been planning for at least a year for the moment when the United States might take control of the country, pending a transition to Iraqi self-rule.

Such control includes responsibility for Iraq's schools‹at least initially. A big chunk of the work involved will fall to U.S. firms.

As of press time last Friday, according to sources involved in the process, Creative Associates International, based in Washington, was expected to win the lead education contract: a one-year contract from the USAID to revitalize and stabilize education in Iraq. News reports estimated that the total of the precollegiate education-related contracts would be about $65 million. RTI International, in Research Triangle, N.C., was a subcontractor in Creative Associates' bid.

In addition, the Washington-based Iraq Foundation, a nonprofit organization set up by Iraqi expatriates to promote democracy and respect for human rights in their homeland, was expected to be a participant, along with other organizations. Other contractors will renovate or build schools.

A spokesman for the USAID, an independent government agency whose policy role is guided by the U.S. Department of State, wouldn't comment on the contracts before they were officially awarded.

The U.S. government's request for proposals to revitalize Iraqi education asks contractors, in part, to increase school enrollment by providing textbooks, training teachers, and implementing accelerated learning programs.

The effort also should "promote child-centered, inquiry-based, participatory teaching methods that lay a foundation for democratic practices and attitudes among children and educators and draw families into the life of the school communities," the USAID document states.

But some observers contend that the bid request reflects little knowledge of the status of Iraq's education system or schooling in the region. Others say simply that the document doesn't provide enough details to predict whether efforts to remake the schools are likely to be successful.

And almost everyone seems to agree that the possible pitfalls are numerous.

Joseph Braude, the American-born son of an Iraqi and the author of The New Iraq, which was published this year, said in an interview last week that the success of the reconstruction of education in Iraq would depend on unpredictable factors, such as the shape of the country's next government.

"There needs to be a way to bring in newcomers‹Iraqi returnees from Iran and Jordan and the West, who have the benefit of research and a knowledge base," said Mr. Braude, who is an international business consultant. "But also to constructively engage people who have never left Iraq, separating the stalwarts of the Baath Party from those who joined the party because that was their only option in order to have a viable career."

Iraqis who attended schools in Iraq but now live in the United States say that the curriculum of their native country became heavily nationalistic and militaristic under Mr. Hussein, who came to power in 1968.

Students in every grade study a subject called "national education," which promotes Arab culture and Baath Party ideology. The party's influence also permeates other academic subjects and the culture of schools, the expatriates say.

'Culture of Fear'

In the 1989 book Republic of Fear, which was updated in 1998, Iraqi native Kanan Makiya writes that pupils from the age of 6 are urged to join school organizations that are affiliated with the Baath Party.

Rubar S. Sandi, a Kurdish Iraqi- American and the president of the U.S.-Iraq Business Council, in Washington, recalls that in 11th grade in the 1970s, he was beaten at school by other students because he refused to join the Baath Party.

Mr. Makiya writes about how teachers became sources under Mr. Hussein for gathering information about dissent: They were charged with reporting offhand remarks by children that might indicate their parents were critical of the regime. He quotes a speech by the Iraqi president, delivered in the 1970s to the country's Ministry of Education, that urged educators to teach children to be loyal to the state rather than to their parents.

"You must surround adults through their sons, in addition to other means," Mr. Hussein was quoted as saying in the speech. "Teach the student to object to his parents if he hears them discussing state secrets and to alert them that this is not correct. ...You must place in every corner a son of the revolution, with a trustworthy eye and a firm mind that receives its instructions from the responsible center of the revolution. ..."

Tara Aziz, a 37-year-old Kurdish Iraqi who attended school in Baghdad from the primary through university levels, remembers when Baath Party ideology started to affect her schooling.

Ms. Aziz, who is the program officer of the Washington-based Kurdish Institute, attended private secular schools through 2nd grade, but in 1974 started attending public schools because all private schools were nationalized that year.

She remembers going from drawing mountains and trees in school to drawing military airplanes, tanks, and soldiers. She and her classmates were also often asked to draw oil wells, as the oil industry in Iraq had been nationalized.

The Baath Party introduced a "culture of fear" into the society, Ms. Aziz said.

"We had to sing the national anthem at school on Thursdays before we started the classes," she recalled. "Even if you don't believe in it, your lips have to move. Someone might see you not moving your lips, and then you would be in trouble.

"Someone might report to the Baath headquarters, and they might harm your family. You never know."

With the rebuilding of schools after the U.S.-Iraqi war, she said, textbooks will need to be replaced with books free of photos of Saddam Hussein and of Baath doctrine that teaches students to resist "imperialism."

System in Decline

Mohamed Ali Bile, who worked to improve primary schools in Iraq for the past two years as a project officer for UNICEF, agrees that the Iraq curriculum is highly politicized and needs to be changed.

Speaking by telephone from Amman, Jordan, Mr. Bile said the curriculum and textbooks in Iraq schools haven't been revised for 20 years. In addition, teachers use old-fashioned "chalk and talk" methods and should be retrained, he said.

Despite the politicized curriculum, Iraq had one of the best education systems in the Middle East in the 1980s in terms of student enrollment and literacy rates, according to Mr. Bile.

It achieved universal enrollment in primary school and had greatly reduced illiteracy among women under Mr. Hussein's rule, he said. However, by 2000, 24 percent of children weren't attending primary school, with nearly twice as many girls as boys not enrolled in school. The school system has deteriorated in the wake of wars and the U.N. sanctions against the country, Mr. Bile said. Because of inflation, he said, the value of teachers' salaries has decreased so that they can barely cover their basic needs.

Mr. Bile, who left Iraq about two months ago, but plans to return, said that 5,000 of the country's 6,000 primary schools are very dilapidated, and that 5,000 new schools are needed to accommodate the country's growing youth population. Many schools now have double shifts of students.

"Because of the two wars [the Iran-Iraq War and the 1991 Gulf War] and the sanctions, there is almost nothing," Mr. Bile said.

Because of the current war, he said, many schools are closed, and in some places have been looted.

"The reports are that children are out in the streets," Mr. Bile noted. "There's an urgent need for the children to be back in the schools."

Wrong Assumptions?

Some observers say the USAID request for plans for overhauling the school system doesn't seem to reflect the realities of Iraq, and could be a recipe for failure.

"It's definitely out of touch," said Andrea B. Rugh, an independent international education consultant who lived in Arab countries for 25 years.

The Texas House passed a measure to tap the rainy day fund to pay for business development, but not to purchase new textbooks or supplement human services spending. http://www.statesman.com/metrostate/content/auto/epaper/ editions/today/metro_state_3.html

********************* EMAILS FROM THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT* From the Texas Eagle Forum (analysis originally prepared by the Heritage Alliance PAC). HB 1172 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Public Education Committee today:

House Bill 1172 Texas Eagle Forum Recommendation: Support
Category: Education
Bill analysis submitted April 14, 2003
Teaching Patriotism and Free Enterprise
Author: Jerry Madden, R-67
Caption: Relating to public school curriculum and textbooks.

PRINCIPLES THIS BILL SUPPORTS: L-4 avoids legalized coercion to protect the other fellow from his own ignorance, L-8 encourages the individual to be self-responsible and V-3 reinforces parental rights over and responsibility for their children. (Complete checklist for conservative principles guiding legislation at www.heritagealliance.com.)

SUMMARY: This bill would amend the Education Code to direct the State Board of Education and each school district to adopt curriculum and textbooks that reflect the importance of patriotism and promote free enterprise.

REASONS: Some of the history textbooks presented to the State Board of Education for approval last year did not consistently reflect the values of patriotism and free enterprise; rather many were critical of these values. If Texas schoolchildren are taught mixed messages regarding patriotism and free enterprise in the classroom, then that message is inconsistent with what the majority of children are taught in their homes by their parents. Because America is the freest nation in the world, our form of government should be held up as an example for the entire world, rather than as a negative model as presented in some of the textbooks."

* Text is taken directly from emails sent by Religious Right groups. The Texas Freedom Network does not edit the content for accuracy.

********************* The Texas Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties to counter the radical right.

To subscribe or unsubscribe, send an email to tfn@tfn.org.

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US forces deny shooting at crowd

Baghdad archeological museum looted