Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tibet gets us thinking

The Current Events class began working on the Tibet/China issue today. I think the group is interested in what is happening over there; the students have been drawing parallels between China's hegemony over Tibet and the Korean experience of the Japanese occupation: citizens killed, linguistic imperialism, seeding the indigenous population with squatters from the invading country, etc. When I asked for a show of hands as to whether Tibet should be free, all students but two raised their hands for a free Tibet. Of the two holdouts, one said she was neutral while the other, a guy, strongly felt that Tibet belonged to China.

The student who did the presentation today gets high praise for having come a long way since she began taking my classes over a year ago. Her English has definitely improved (though I doubt I can take credit for this; she's been taking other English courses as well), and while she still makes plenty of mistakes, it's obvious that she's trying hard. She'll be doing the second part of her presentation tomorrow, leading a discussion about some of the major Tibet-related issues, especially the upcoming Olympics (you've doubtless seen that Nicolas Sarkozy has expressed a willingness to boycott the opening ceremony).

This evening, I plan to send students a link to this right-leaning opinion piece that compares and contrasts the Tibetan situation with the Palestinian one. The piece forcefully asks why we (ie., the world) don't pay as much attention to the Tibetan situation as we do to the Palestinian one. The first question I plan to ask my students is whether they think the piece has a bias or strives to be objective (coming as it does from Real Clear Politics, you and I know the obvious answer to that question).

PS: For those interested in the French angle (assuming you read French), L'Express has several good articles up right now. Visit their site and type "tibet" in the search window to bring them all up, or trust my judgment and start with this one.


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