Archive | April 12, 2015

U.N. Western Terrorist States Refuse To List ISIS a Terror Group*

U.N. Western Terrorist States Refuse To List ISIS a Terror Group*

Maybe it’s because

  1. They are not a group, but a concept that exploits paid mercenaries, and those with an axe to grind serving knowingly, and unknowingly those self interested powers all of whom have thousands of citizens fighting with what is referred to as ‘ISIS’

Russia says the United States, Britain, France, and Jordan have rejected Syria’s proposal to add ISIL to the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list as a separate terrorist group.

“In the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, the United States, Britain, France, and Jordan have blocked Syria’s request supported by Russia to include ISIL/ISIS terrorist group in the sanctions list as a separate group,” read the statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

According to reports, ISIL Takfiri terrorist group is currently mentioned as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) in the UN’s sanctions list.

Moscow, however, said such naming fails to “reflect the true state of affairs” in Syria and Iraq, adding that the terrorist group did not evolve as a branch of al-Qaeda, but was funded and supported by the US and its allies.

“This position has an obvious political motivation – to disclaim responsibility for the growing scale of ISIL activities and prove that it is not a new entity that has been brought into existence by the implementation of plans to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but the former al-Qaida in Iraq,” the statement added.

The four countries’ decision shows that “the anti-Assad coalition bears no moral or political responsibility” for the creation of ISIL, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Moscow also lashed out at Washington for the emergence of extremist groups in Iraq.

“It won’t hurt to mention that AQI owes its emergence to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003,” the statement added.

The ISIL terrorist group, with members from several Western countries, controls parts of Iraq and Syria, and has been involved in a series of heinous crimes against civilians and government forces in the two Arab countries.


Related Topics:

The Foreign Fighters of Boko Haram, and El Shebaab*

CIA + Contractors = ISIS in Afghanistan*

How the British Empire aka New World Order Sowed Seeds of Destruction towards Islam*

Greater Israel” Requires the Breaking up of Existing Arab States*

Israel Admits Aiding CIA’s al-Qaeda in Syria*

ISIS Preserving Jewish Cultural Heritage in Iraq*

Iraqi Forces Arrest ISIL’s US, Israeli Military Advisors*

Where Kids Learn More Outside Their Classrooms Than in Them*

Where Kids Learn More Outside Their Classrooms Than in Them*

By Emily Richmond

Left to right: Pittsfield Middle High School students Dana Hudgens, Ryan Marquis and Eli Johnson work on a construction project. Marquis, a senior, designed the lesson for his classmates as part of his engineering career internship. (Jim Vaiknoras/The Hechinger Report)

Left to right: Pittsfield Middle High School students Dana Hudgens, Ryan Marquis and Eli Johnson work on a construction project. Marquis, a senior, designed the lesson for his classmates as part of his engineering career internship. (Jim Vaiknoras/The Hechinger Report)

It’s time for the morning meeting at Pittsfield Elementary School, and several kindergartners jostle for a spot on the carpet next to 16-year-old Anitrea Provencher, who is helping out in their classroom this semester.

As the students settle into a circle, their teacher, Lenore Coombs, starts off the day’s discussion with a question:

What’s something you’ve never done before that you would like to try?

That’s something Provencher—a sophomore at the neighbouring Pittsfield Middle High School—is actively trying to answer for herself as part of a program that awards students academic course credit for engaging in learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom setting.

“I’m figuring out where I do fit and where I don’t fit,” said Provencher, who hopes to follow up the kindergarten internship with one in marine biology.

“I haven’t really liked school for a long time. This is better for me than regular high school.”

Amid the growing push to reinvent the nation’s public high schools, initiatives that connect students more directly to their individual interests—and tap into their innate motivations—are gaining popularity. New Hampshire is one of a handful of states at the forefront of efforts to promote flexibility in how students learn and how that knowledge is measured. While initiatives like these are relatively small in scale, educators and policymakers say they provide important testing grounds for innovations in school improvement.

In New Hampshire, what are known as “extended learning opportunities” can take the form of workplace internships, volunteer work, individualized study, or one-on-one instruction. Students earn credit in English-language arts provided their plan meets academic standards as outlined by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The learning opportunities must also be aligned to the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, including New Hampshire.

Pittsfield is located about 40 minutes north of Manchester. Its demographics—mostly white and with modest household incomes—are not unlike those in many of the state’s other small towns. But Pittsfield is benefitting from a massive investment in its education system, spurred by a combination of private grants (primarily from the Massachusetts-based Nellie Mae Education Foundation) and a federal “Investing In Innovation” grant awarded to a network of 13 New England schools.

Giving students more of a say over their learning is integral to the larger effort to turn around Pittsfield, which had long been considered one of the state’s weaker public high schools. Its standardized test scores and graduation rates have lagged behind state-wide averages. Pittsfield students have been more likely than many of their peers elsewhere in the state to say they don’t plan to attend college, according to a survey.

To combat those lack-luster results, Pittsfield—which enrolls about 260 students total in grades seven through 12—in 2012 adopted a new model focusing on student-centered learning: Now, teachers function more as coaches than lecturers and the students are active collaborators. Initially limited to the high school, the framework is now being phased in at the middle school, too. And while the extended-learning program, now five years old, predates the student-centred initiative, officials say it has been key to the turnaround. Teachers and students say the new flexibility has contributed to rising graduation and college-enrollment rates.

How students do after graduation is a better measure of the success of a high school than just standardized assessments—tests don’t measure life skills,” said Sheila Ward, who coordinates Pittsfield’s extended learning program.

“Our kids are developing relationships out in the community, they’re seeing connections between what they’re learning and where they want to go. Instead of just adding to their academic transcripts, they’re building resumes.”

Before digging into what extended learning is, it’s important to understand what it is not. Pittsfield’s educators emphasize their program isn’t a shortcut toward earning course credit or a means of removing students from classrooms or a substitute for school teachers. And the learning doesn’t always take place during the regular academic day. Students are expected to fulfill rigorous guidelines to demonstrate what they’ve learned: They must maintain a journal detailing their activities, complete assignments, undergo multiple assessments, and create a final project and presentation.

While the program is voluntary, it’s become an increasingly popular option. To date, 264 students have participated in their own projects over the past five years. Ward estimated that 75% of them are currently working in or pursuing post-secondary studies in related fields. She’s been able to find matches for just about every career field students have requested, from dental hygiene to graphic design, though some students have had to travel to bigger cities or do some of their activities via videoconferencing.

Recently at the Pittsfield campus, few students were waiting more eagerly for the last traces of the winter to melt than four seniors who are collaborating on an extended-learning project in which they will build a greenhouse. The idea is to build something that the school will use long after they graduate, and before they drafted the blueprints, the students read up on agriculture instruction at other schools to determine what type of design would be most useful to future classes. They made an oral presentation—one for which they reportedly rehearsed multiple times—to the school board at a public hearing for permission to carry out the construction and completed all the paperwork for the building permits. All the skills they applied to these tasks fulfill the New Hampshire DOE’s language arts expectations, according to Jenny Wellington, a longtime English teacher who serves as the group’s supervisor. The board approved the project, too.

As for the students’ post-graduation plans, two of them plan to enlist in the military, one will join his father’s construction business, and the fourth is headed to the University of New Hampshire to study dairy farming. Still, Wellington said she can see how this project could benefit them as they pursue their careers:

“This is what it’s really like to work,” she said.

“It’s about contributing to the community, working together, problem solving—all of the real-world scenarios students are going to face when they get out there on their own.”

Jessica Massey, a Pittsfield senior who manages the school store as part of her project, said the experience has helped her to improve her organizational skills and to think creatively. The store’s inventory includes a modest collection of girls’ formalwear for rent in case someone can’t afford to buy a new prom dress. Massey realized potential customers might be put off if they saw someone they knew modelling the dress on the school store’s website, so she had her cousin, who attends another school, pose in the gowns.

Prior to the school’s adoption of student-centred learning, “it felt like we had a test every other week,” Massey said, adding that the more individualized approach better suits her learning style.

“I don’t do well on tests. I prefer a project where I can take my time.”

And students and officials say the benefits of the non-traditional-learning option extend beyond the academics. Emily Dunnigan, a freshman at Pittsfield who was homeschooled through eighth grade and once hesitated to speak up in class and make friends, said interning with the local community theatre group has helped boost her confidence. She helped to paint the sets for a local production and served as an assistant to the director during rehearsals, and even plans to try out for one of the roles in the next round of auditions.

In a 2012 report, researchers at George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy compared outcomes for a wide array of school programs intended to boost student motivation and learning. The researchers concluded that when students see a direct connection between what they are learning and their own interests and goals, they are likely to be more motivated—which in turn often means they’re more likely to comprehend the material, have higher self-esteem, and graduate. School organization and teachers’ instructional style also play a role. Though the study cautioned that duplicating a program can be difficult because students’ needs vary so greatly, research suggests that successful ones often incorporate community service, offer project-based learning, and encourage students to be independent thinkers.

Over the past decade there’s been a growing acknowledgement that the traditional U.S. high-school design isn’t working, said Jennifer Davis, the president the National Centre on Time and Learning, a non-profit focused on changing how schools are run. But whether the Pittsfield model can be replicated elsewhere is unclear, she said:

The small-group design is much more difficult to implement in large city high schools that often serve upward of 2,000 students, in part because of the cost. Yet students at large urban campuses would also benefit from learning opportunities that cultivate their interests, as well as access to teachers trained to coach them in skills “that will help them through life,” Davis said.

These opportunities “are critically important to the progress of our education system in the direction we want to go … Without those examples we would be much further behind in bringing those kinds of opportunities to large urban districts that serve the most high-need kids.”

Tapping into student motivation requires demonstrating relevancy, according to Daphna Oyserman, a psychology professor at USC who emphasized the need for teachers to show students that their futures are actually closer than they might think.

“You want kids to see there’s a path from now to the future, that the path involves school, and that current choices to invest effort and keep trying in school matter for future options.”

Conversely, structuring a learning experience too narrowly or rigidly, she added, risks undermining their motivation:

“If I’m a kid who’s worried because I’m not sure what career path is right for me, that could spill over into being unsure about what I want to do in school.”

Ryan Marquis, a Pittsfield senior, has already changed his direction once. He had planned on becoming an engineer and created a project based on that goal, but putting together the curriculum to teach his classmates the basics turned out to be his favourite part.


“I would have wasted my first year of college before I figured out ‘Hey, I don’t really like this,’” said Marquis, who’s now leaning toward majoring in physics and chemistry and is thinking of eventually teaching high school.

“Instead, I’ll be starting out ahead of the curve.”


Related Topics:

Learning and Achieving Outside the Education System

A School for the Whole Child*

Diet and the Sacrifice of Child Potential!

Western Childhood a Curious Turn of Events

Test the Poor until they are Brain Dead, and Educate the Rich!

Globalized Education and One World Government

“Common Core” Education Making our Children Stupid!

A Silent Education Revolution in Brazil*

Egypt’s Creative Talent: Vanishing Within Education? 

British Education System Designed to Polarise People*

Education Beyond Brainwashing*

South Carolina Backs Education Plan to Encourage Scepticism about Evolution*

A Teacher’s Protest

Children Need the Outdoors Like Earth Needs Rain!

Humanity before Religiosity*

Humanity before Religiosity*

”Whoever sees the crimes committed today in the name of religion will realise that the problem is the state of our humanity.”

Habib Ali al-Jifri and Shaykh Usama al-Azhari show that mere outward manifestations of religion are of little benefit if someone’s humanity is deficient.

After all, “the Kharijite who killed our master Ali ibn Abi Talib spent the entire night before the murder standing in worship until his feet were swollen. People like him perform the rituals of religiosity but do not possess the reality or receptacle of religiosity.”

Habib Ali also talks about his latest book, “Humanity before Religiosity,” in which he calls people to look at the state of their humanity and to build their religion on that basis.

English subtitles available – press CC on the above Youtube video.


Related Topics:

The Irreligiosity of IS, ISIS/ISIL*

Mecca: 95 per cent of Holy Sites have been Destroyed*

Zionist-Saudi Onslaught Reveals Civilian Casualities*

Without Shame!

Not in our Name: 225 Jewish Survivors of Nazi Genocide Condemn Israel*

The Zionist Holocaust of 66 Million Russians*

Israel’s President Proclaims Israel is a “Sick Society”*

The Innate Racism of Israel: Ashkenazi Jews Exterminating Arab Jews*

Buddhist Massacre of Rohingya Muslims Continue*

The Truth about Dishonesty

And One Ring to Bind Them All*

The Black Madonnas of Europe: Between Racism and Hidden Adoration*

The Black Madonnas of Europe: Between Racism and Hidden Adoration*

By Runoko Rashidi

Notre Dame Cathedral Knights of Columbus on guard during the Black Madonna visit to Ottawa

Of all the varied aspects of African womanhood, none are more fascinating than the hundreds of representations of Black Madonnas. Indeed, the Black Madonnas of Europe are perhaps the most venerated icons in all of European Christendom. Their shrines have attracted millions of devotees. They are thought to be miracle workers, and their miracle-working powers are derived from their blackness.

In Russia during the 19th century, the celebrated Russian General Kutuzov had his army pray before the Black Madonna of Kazan before the historic battle with the Napoleonic army at Borodino. The same Madonna is said to have inspired Rasputin and may now be in the United States. At least two major paintings of Black Madonnas are on display in the Kremlin, in Moscow.

La Moreneta. Black Madonna and Child statue at Montserrat, Spain

In reference to La Moreneta (the Little Black Lady), the Black Madonna of Montserrat, Spain – more than 1,000 years old and the patroness of the Catalonian region, it is said

“He is not well wed who has not taken his wife to Montserrat.”

She is in charge of sexuality and fertility, and presides over weddings and childbirth. In the mountains north of Barcelona, La Moreneta’s shrine has attracted millions of visitors, including Pope John Paul II. Both Goethe and Schiller attached great importance to Montserrat.

Our Lady of the Pillar. Gothic Cathedral. Chartes, France

Our Lady of the Pillar. Gothic Cathedral. Chartes, France

France probably has more representations of Black Madonnas than any other country. France has more than 300 representations of Black Madonnas, a chief centre of which is Chartres – a small quiet town about 85 km southwest of Paris. The most notable of the Black Madonna images in Chartres is called Notre-Dame du Pilier (Our Lady of the Pillar). This representation, about a meter high, of a Black Madonna statue made of natural wood placed on a pillar holding the infant Jesus. Both the Madonna and Child are coloured a very dark brown and are dressed in white robes embroidered with gold. The images are highly venerated, especially among Catholics, and I confess that even I, out of respect, got down on both knees during my two visits to the cathedral and whispered a prayer.

The cathedral at Chartres is a large and magnificent edifice more than 800 years old and possessing marvellous original blue stained glass windows, at least two of which have Black Madonna figures right in the centre. A copy of an original Black Madonna statue stands in a crypt underneath the main cathedral.

Many believe that the Black Madonnas of Europe represent vestiges of the adoration of the African goddess Ast, better known as Isis. Notre Dame Cathedral, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris, considered a masterpiece of Gothic architecture and at the very centre of Paris, was built directly over an ancient temple of this supreme African deity. Indeed, it has been noted the name of Paris itself is derived from Park of Isis.

The Black Virgin of Paris

The Black Virgin of Paris

In the quiet Chapel of the Congregation of S. Thomas of Villeneuve in a serene setting in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, stands one of the most important of the Black Madonna statues. She is La Vierge Noire de Paris (the Black Virgin of Paris) and consists of a two meter-high standing statue, carved of a single block of hard limestone, of a smiling Black Madonna holding the Christ child (the infant wears closely cropped nappy blond hair) and wielding a kind of wand or sceptre capped by the fleur de lys – symbol of the French monarchy. Atop her head sits a gold crown embedded with precious stones. The statue is dressed in a gown of rich red, blue, and white colours, the colours of the French flag. The Christ child himself is holding a golden cross and the entire image is believed to be more than 500 years old, and probably replaced a much earlier one.

Our Lady of Le Puy

One of the most important Black Madonnas in France is Our Lady of Le Puy. Located in the southern part of France, the statue may have originally been that of Ast/Isis. At Le Puy Pope Urban II held council to prepare for the First Crusade. Joan of Arc sent the knights that accompanied her from Vaucouleurs to Chinon, along with her mother and two brothers, to Le Puy to pray there.

Our Lady of Rocamadour, a Black Madonna carved of walnut wood, is believed to be more than 1,000 years old. She is said to resuscitate babies, protect sailors, free captives, and promote fertility. To reach her shrine in southwest France one must climb 216 steps. Among her more notable visitors have been St. Louis of France and Henry II of England.

Die Schwarze Madonna at Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Die Schwarze Madonna at Einsiedeln, Switzerland

La Negre, the Black Madonna of Montpellier, is one of the most notable of the Black Madonnas of France. She is said to have been performing miracles since 878 and is believed to have saved Montpellier from drought and plague.

Other famous Black Madonnas are found scattered throughout Europe, with some of the most notable examples in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, and Poland. Of the hundreds of Black Madonnas which presently exist at assorted shrines in Europe, some are especially significant.

Our Lady of Hal, in the Church of St. Martin, just outside of Brussels, Belgium, dating from the early thirteenth century, is made of walnut, is believed to have defended the town on numerous occasions. Her visitors have included Henry VIII of England and Louis XII of France. The Black Madonna is believed to have saved Brussels from attackers in 1580, when she intercepted numerous cannon balls in her lap. The cannon balls can still be seen on display in the church. She is believed to heal sickness and restore the dead and buried to life. Her pilgrimage and procession are on the first Sunday in September.

Our Lady of the Hermits in Einsiedeln, Switzerland ranks as one of the most venerated of all Madonnas. Located in a Benedictine abbey, her titles include Die Schwarze Madonna, Madonna in the Dark Wood, and Our Dear Lady of Einsiedeln. She is a standing statue four feet tall. The Black Saint Maurice is one of the patrons of the Church.

Our Lady of Jasna Gora. Czestochowa, Poland

Our Lady of Jasna Gora. Czestochowa, Poland

And probably the most famous Black Madonna image in the world is Our Lady of Jasna Gora (dubbed the Queen of Poland by King John Casimir in 1656) in the Jasna Gora monastery at Czestochowa, Poland. Painted on three pieces of wood (either lime or cypress or cedar), the Black Madonna at Czestochowa, supposedly discovered in Jerusalem, arrived at the Jasna Gora monastery in the fourteenth century. Since her arrival her offerings have included thousands of diamonds and rubies, hundreds of pearls, and dozens of emeralds and sapphires.

Bruised, slashed, and battered, paraded before victorious armies, the Queen of Poland has gone through many restorations and has always kept her dark complexion. More than 800 copies of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa exist. Millions of visitors a year come to see her.


Related Topics:

Europe’s Human Zoos*

Why is the Book of Enoch Banned from the Bible?

The Oldest Bible to Date Confirms the Qur’an

The 1,500 year-old Bible that Foretold the Coming of Prophet Muhammed (saw)*

Hebrew Bibles from Syria Taken by MOSSAD*

A Glorious Past Before Colonialism and the Oppression of African Women*

Black Women Targeted with Eugenics Drug*

Israel, Ebola and Black Genocide*

Bishop Badejo: U.S. won’t fight Boko Haram because of their Eugenics Agenda in Africa*