Friday, January 26, 2007

The world (that's Dar-al-Islam, children) is round (as the Arabs knew in the Middle Ages)

Damn, blast, and bugger. Thought I was doing everything possible to avoid becoming a retinopath. All that lutein and zeaxanthin I've ingested to preserve my peepers, and they're still taking me for a chump. Want a good laugh? I opened up the on-line edition of the Daily Mail from London, and my optic nerves did the shimmy. I imagined I saw a headline that said: "New curriculum will 'make every lesson politically correct.'"

Now, get this: I imagined I read —

Children will be taught race relations and multiculturalism with every subject they study - from Spanish to science - under controversial changes to the school curriculum announced by the Government. In music and art, they could have to learn Indian and Chinese songs and instruments, and West African drumming. In maths and science, key Muslim contributions such algebra and the number zero will be emphasised to counter Islamophobia.

And in English, pupils will study literature on the experiences of migration - such as Zadie Smith's novel White Teeth, or Brick Lane, by Monica Ali.

Okay, I know it's just my eyes playing tricks, but what if it were true? Imagine Dickens's Professor Gradgrind in one of today's British schools.

"Facts. Facts. That's what's what and never you forget it, lads — and I assure you, my colleage, Mrs Snapdragon, is telling her students in the young women's class the same. All human civilisation came from Africa. The Arab Muslims invented numbers. Facts! Back in the third century after Muhammed (pbuh), or what we used to call the 10th century, Arabian astronomers were launching space shuttles while Europeans were walking on all fours and digging for nuts and roots. All of you, barring the multicultural among you — hmm, I guess that leaves Rodney and Charles — are descended from British people who painted their faces blue and enslaved all the world's non-blue peoples. A thousand years of diversity won't be enough to wash away that stain. Facts, I tell you!"

Doctor, my eyes need looking at. And that's a fact.

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