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Discussion Guide: Grades 9-12
Castro and IraqBased on the editorial Castro and Iraq, published in Le Monde (liberal), Paris, France, April 4, 2003 and reprinted in the June 2003 issue of World Press Review (Vol. 50, No. 6)
Ask students to read the article in class and then open a discussion using the following questions and activities:
1. This editorial criticizes the international press and Western governments for paying such close attention to the war in Iraq that they have neglected other conflicts and atrocities going on around the world at the same time. Do you think that the importance of war in Iraq justified the focused press coverage that it received around the world? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think so many people marched to protest a war against Iraq, but do not march to protest the atrocities of dictators and tyrants around the worldlike those of Saddam Hussein against his people, or like Fidel Castro's imprisonment of people just because they oppose his government?
3. Do you think that a person should be sent to prison because they oppose the government?
4. At what point do you think legitimate opposition or resistance to the government becomes treason, or even terrorism? Consider whether the following scenarios are legitimate expressions of dissent, or whether you think people who carry them out should be punished:
5. Wars and human rights abuses are going on around the world every day. How do you think the media decide what should be covered and what should not?
6. Here is a list of some of the conflicts going on right now. Ask students to fill in a table, or create the table as a class, with "Conflicts I have heard of" as one heading and "Conflicts I haven't heard of" as the other heading. Ask students why they think a conflict might be under its particular heading. Are some wars or some people more important than others? What other factors might make one war get a lot of media attention, while another war gets very little?
Current World Conflicts
Côte d'Ivoire vs. rebels
Israel vs. Palestinian Authority, Al-Aqsa Intifada
Nepal vs. Maoist rebels
Colombia vs. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC)
Sudan vs. Sudanese People's Liberation Army
Afghanistan: Kabul government vs. Taliban and regional warlords
India vs. Pakistan and Kashmiri separatist groups
Philippines vs. Abu Sayyaf
Burundi: Hutu vs. Tutsi
China vs. Uighur East Turkestan Independence Movement
Democratic Republic of Congo and allies vs. Rwanda, Uganda, and indigenous rebels
Russia vs. Chechnya
United States and allies vs. "terrorists with global reach"