March 30, 2010

'Fearless and Outspoken' President Sarkozy Adressess "World Leaders Forum" at Columbia University!

President Sarkozy's addressed the "World Leaders Forum" at Columbia University on Monday, March 29, 2010.

Here are some points I jotted down from President Sarkozy's speech and from the Q & A session that followed:

"ours is a multipolar strength and power mean dialogue....the US and France must redesign a new idea together...if we don't do that no one else will...(we)have a totally open and a free a spade a spade....(because)the world is interlocked and interdependent.... "

" economic reformation cannot stand still....any Frenchman who comes to the US always a suspect...a socialist trying to regulate Capitalism....but a market economy and unbridled capitalism will no longer be accepted by people for too you think we can defend Capitalism when there is so much is impossible to defend...what happened 18 months ago must never happen again...I don't want it and I will not do it....Europe and US can redesign the rules to a better world economy....a barrel price for oil that is say $80/-....regulate the world economy, the new criteria to gauge our economies grow differently...use education, our people's well being to measure our economy creates value, a productive economy...over last 5 years world economy become a speculation economy....not a system in which I wish to live.... an absence of rules kills off freedom...."

"...a world of balanced rules....UN Security Council...not a single African country has a permanent seat... or a single Arab country....India does not have a permanent seat...Japan does not have a representatives of 2.5 billion people of the that reasonable...not a single country from Latin America that has a permanent seat....does that make any sense to it thinkable to you? governance must be manage the conflicts of tomorrow...everyone has to be on board for world governance..."

"...alliance between US and Europe is of vital essence need us and we need you...when NY was attacked the world democracy was attacked...when faced with terrorism we cannot stand divided...we don't want nuclear weapons to fall in the hands of terrorist...the world needs an open America, a generous America ...that shows the way... is attuned to the sufferings of the world..when you chose Obama the entire world placed its hope in you..."

Q & A session:
"...we admire your university system....equality is not uniformity, it is tailored to the needs of each and everyone...France has to open it's universities to reform in France...change is worries, goes against habit...a statesman must pursue change...we must be judged on what we produce..."

"Health Reform in US...we rub our eyes in disbelief...the poorest of America left out is astonishing...can't simply let people die who don't have the means...I admire Obama for what he did..."

"Economic crisis in Europe...27 countries who at one time at each others throats for years...decided to work collectively....16 countries decided we'd have the same currency...if we'd let Greece fail the crisis would have flared when you walked away from Lehman the crisis flared...solidarity is essential...we are interdependent..."

March 28, 2010


Yonder, no net exists
to capture heart and eye.
Ideas alien appear
pulling minds apart

Moving away?
Not really...
a pushing away,

Who moves,
and who's the pusher?
Differently appear,
depending on the eye.
It could be you,
or maybe I;
a separation
can't deny.

"Disengagement is an inescapable process in which many of the relationships between an aging person and other members of society are severed, and those remaining are altered in quality" [source: ­Cumming and Henry].
Fellow blogger "Smorg" has a very informative post on this subject.

March 27, 2010

Passing of the Health Care Reform Bill - Heralding Winds of Change?

"Wind of Change"

" A woman (Nancy Pelosi) pushed the health care bill through the House. The bill’s most visible and vocal proponents included a gay man (Barney Frank) and a Jew (Anthony Weiner). And the black man in the White House signed the bill into law."
Charles M. Blow, NYT

March 17, 2010

" Entre Le Murs" or "The Class" - Different from Others In Its Genre

Thanks to berenice, one of my blogger friends, I rented Laurent Cantet's "The Class" a French film that had won the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Frankly, I had very little expectations from this film; how different could be from a "Stand and Deliver", or a "To Sir with Love", and several others in that category. What could this French film maker tell the audience about inner city schools that hadn't already been said?

"The Class" apparently had nothing new to address ; Cantet "wanted it to be the story of 25 people - a teacher and his students - who didn't choose to be together, but are between four walls for an entire year." The movie is based on Francois Begaudeau's novel who "wasn't writing in order to get back at adolescents presented as savages or idiots" nor did he see his school "like a sanctuary, sheltered from the world, where children are taught wonderful things." His class comprises of unruly inner city kids that are mouthy, mean, belligerent, and stubborn. They "don't have simple lives. They're all different races, with different backgrounds." As a result there are no simple solutions to this failing inner school, and that is perhaps the message, if any, that one takes away from Cantet's docudrama. He exposes the exclusion that schools can create, and the school in the movie does just that in its portrayal of Suleyman or even an Esmeralda.

All the action in the movie is in the dialogue exchange between the students and the teacher. There is no one life changing event that takes place in the movie, neither is there a hero poised to win your hearts. It's the presentation of life as it unfolds each day in an inner city school in France where the socioeconomic realities and the ethnic tensions of a multi cultural society inhibit any kind of normalcy.

Despite the fact that the movie has no overt message to convey, it does leave the audience pondering over issues such as marginalization in society, education in a multicultural society, and immigration. For an educator or a student viewer, I would suggest you watch this movie at your own risk; it offers no answers, and this is not your usual feel-good-at-the-end-movie either; it is movie that slowly and steadily nudges you out of a comfort zone!