Article 3 – An Editorial by Zulma Prieto (In English and Spanish)

We are planning to carry Zulma Prieto’s editorials in many of our issues. Even though they don’t normally deal with educational issues directly, Zulma continually brings  concerns about those who struggle to maintain well-being both in our country and around the world. She also focuses on some of the major social issues we face in a market driven, globalized economy. Read Zulma’s comments and take some time to reflect. Zulma’s news paper, el Puente, is available online at – ED

Contemporary culture has given us a compartmentalized year that goes around and around in circles, and we go along with it.  Pretty soon we will be saying good-bye to 2005, we will jump into 2006, and start the cycle once more.

We have become so used to that idea that there is a tendency to forget the past tragedies and events and instead concentrate on the next phase of the year, whether is Halloween or Thanksgiving.  Once more we are immersed in frenetic buying according to the times.  Is it time now for candy, brooms and pumpkins, or is it time for turkeys and cranberries?

The people who have suffered the latest tragedies have no special season.  Their season is one of hunger, cold and need.  Nevertheless, they are so far away where we cannot see them. We must try not to forget.  

Do we remember everyday about the people being killed in Iraq or the people dying of AIDS in Africa?  Do we remember the people who have suffered the floods, the hurricanes, the storms, and the earthquakes?

I believe that we have become numb to pain.  The continuous images of disaster everywhere leave us more and more powerless before a reality that is so tragic in many places. Had tragedy happened here to us, what would we expect from others?  

Would we be satisfied with a food drive, collection of money and good wishes?

I think we would be very grateful and accept with joy the presents and good deeds, but what happens after a month or two?  How do people get back to a decent place to live and develop?
Poor people have shown us that they need more than subsistence; they also need an infrastructure that would allow them to establish their lives with dignity and self-growth. But modern culture and the economy have a way of making people dependent.  We have a society with agencies and organizations that have clients.  The poor are the clients and many middle class jobs would disappear if there were no poor.  Therefore, as a society we continue to have workshops, gatherings and outreach programs where they are the object of our thoughts.  We are losing ground in meeting them as real people, listening to them and helping to find ways out of their economic poverty and our spiritual poverty.

In this culture of supremacy of the strong and the powerful, we are approaching the young people, the old people and the disenfranchised people as groups that have to accept what the small powerful minority orders for them, and, if they don’t like it, those in power make laws to make legal their intentions.

Are young people tired of this situation? Yes, and they have decided to ignore it until they can have the power.  How do the elderly feel?  Many of them still have the energy to struggle, others have given up and are disgusted with a world that treats them with contempt. How will the poor respond?  History will tell us how they will react.

When we think of recent migrants and the explosion of newcomers to our country, the normal stereotype goes to those who originated south of the border. However, as this Edutopia article illustrates so well, we cannot segregate recent immigrants into just one or two groups. They come from throughout the world. and with them come the problems of English being THEIR foreign language. This article, and Zulma’s point so well to the concerns this means for all of us, and it links us to Dorinne Davis because of the importance that recognition of sounds plays in our basis for understand and becoming fluent in a new language. — ED

Edutopia, November, 2005 edition

en espanol

La cultura contempor?ea nos ha dado un a? en compartimentos que transcurre en c?culos y nosotros lo aceptamos as? Muy pronto le diremos adi? al 2005 y saltaremos en el 2006 y empezaremos una vez m? el ciclo.

Estamos tan acostumbrados a esa idea que tenemos la tendencia a olvidar las tragedias y eventos pasados y por el contrario nos concentramos en la siguiente fase del a?, ya sea el ?D? de las brujas? o de ?Acci? de Gracias?. Nuevamente estaremos inmersos en las compras fren?icas de acuerdo a la ?oca. Es el tiempo ahora de los caramelos, escobas y calabazas, o es el tiempo de los pavos y las frutillas?

La gente que ha sufrido las ?timas tragedias no tendr?una estaci? especial. Su estaci? es una de hambre, fr? y necesidad. Sin embargo, est? tan lejos, y no los vemos luego debemos procurar no olvidar.

Recodamos cada d? a la gente que muere en Irak, o los que mueren de SIDA en Africa?
Recordamos a los que han sufrido los huracanes, tormentas, inundaciones y terremotos?
Deseo pensar que nos hemos anesteciado al dolor. Las continuas im?enes de los desastres en todo lugar nos dejan m? sin poder ante la realidad que es tan tr?ica en muchos lugares. Si la tragedia nos ocurriera aqu? que esperar?mos de otros?

Estar?mos satisfechos con la comida, las colectas de dinero y los buenos deseos? Creo que estar?mos muy agradecidos y aceptar?mos con gozo los regalos y buenas obras, pero qu?ocurrre despu? de uno o dos meses? C?o vuelve la gente a un lugar decente para vivir y desarrollarse?

La gente pobre nos ha mostrado que necesitan m? que su subsistencia; tambi? necesitan una infraestructura que les permita establecer sus vidas con dignidad y auto desarrollo, pero la cultura y econom? moderna convierten a la gente en dependiente. Tenemos una sociedad en que las agencies y organizaciones tienen clientes. Los pobres son los clientes y muchos empleos de la clase media, si no fuera por los pobres, desaparecer?n. Por lo tanto, como sociedad seguimos teniendo talleres, reuniones y programas para alcanzar a aquellos que son el objeto de nuestros pensamientos. Estamos perdiendo terreno en reunirnos con ellos como gente real, escucharlos y encontrar formas de salir de sus pobreza econ?ica y nuestra pobreza espiritual.

En esta cultura de supremac? del fuerte y poderoso nos aproximamos a los j?enes, los viejos y la gente marginalizada como grupos que tienen que aceptar lo que la minor? poderosa les ordena y si nos les gusta, aquellos en el poder pueden convertir sus intenciones en leyes.

Est? los j?enes cansados de esta situaci?? Si, y han decidido ignorarla hasta que tengan el poder. C?o se siente la gente mayor? Muchos de ellos a? tienen la energ? de luchar, otros est? cansados de un mundo que los trata sin consideraci?. C?o responder? los pobres? La historia contar? su reacci?.

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