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The War of Civilizations: Back to the Future (A)

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If there is one clear observation when analyzing Islamic onslaught/encroachment to occupy and to rule the world, it is elaborated by the Power Vacuum Theory. Ayn Rand has put it so succinctly: The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise with evil on basic principles.

From its emergence until today Islam works incessantly and relentlessly to impose its socio-political regime and its culture over the Free World, and to make its religion the only legitimate one. The means used were always the same three arms with their many manifestations: Jihad (violence, war, and terrorism); Da’wah (the diplomacy of deceit) and Hijrah (huge immigration to the occupied territories). These were operated in combined processes and according to the circumstances and opportunities.

The Islamic onslaught/encroachment is analyzed on the continuum of Power Vacuum Theory as a recurrent “weakness-containment syndrome.” When the Free world weakens, whether from internal or external reasons, Islam marches on in an offensive onslaught and encroachment to conquer, to occupy, to butcher and to enslave. However, when the Free World is strong enough or when it wakes up and sobers up and fights for its life, it succeeds to contain Islamic aggression and to bring Islam at bay and under control. This was the process of power politics of the War of Civilizations that was conducted for 1400 years, in three rounds or stages.

The first round of the War of Civilizations started in year 630 and ended in year 732. The reason for the emergence of Islam to power was the weakness of the Sassanid Empire in Persia, in the east, and the deterioration of the Byzantines Empire, in the west. During that period of time Muslim armies had occupied vast territories, in the Middle East and North Africa to Andalusia in the West, and from Persia to India and North Western China, in the East. The main motivation of the Muslim armies in these territories were Islamization and Arabization of the occupied territories, while slaughtering, butchering, enslaving and converting its indigenous populations. This imperialist and colonialist onslaught/encroachment has ended at the Battle of Tours, near Paris, in October 732. The Christian Franks headed by Charles Martel were victorious, and the Muslim army of Abd al-Rahman was defeated.

This first War of Civilizations at the Battle of Tours has been a decisive turning point in the struggle against Islam, a landmark battle that signalized the high tide of the Muslim advance into Europe. This was one of the most important epochs in the history of Europe that preserved Christianity as the religion in Europeans, and saved Europe from the miserable situation the occupied territories by the Muslim represent. The Free World used its military power and put the Islamic onslaught/encroachment at bay, as a long process of containment.

The second round of the War of Civilizations started with the rise of the Ottoman Empire, in 1299 and the fall of Constantinople in May 1453. The reason for the re-emergence of Islam by the Ottoman Empire was the political and military weakness, in fact the decline of the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). Until the middle of the 17th century the Ottomans gained control over Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Caucasus, and deepened its control in the Middle East, North Africa, and India.

This period was marked as of political stability and success referred to as Pax Ottomana. The Ottomans main occupation was the Islamization of the occupied territories mainly in the Balkans and Eastern Europe while conducting a second round of black and white mass enslavement. This imperialist and colonialist Islamic onslaught and encroachment has ended with the Battle of Vienna, September 11, 1683, after two months of siege.

The defeat of the Ottoman Empire marked the turning-point of the 300-year struggle in the Ottoman-Habsburg wars, and it was culminated with the Treaty of Karlowitz in 1699, between the Ottoman Empire and Austria, Poland and Venice. Following, was the Treaty of Constantinople in July 1700 that ended the Russo-Turkish war of 1686-1700. These defeats marked a new period in European life: the Ottoman Empire ceased to be a menace to the Christian world. The Free World used its military power and put the Islamic onslaught/encroachment at bay for the second time.

Now the Free World is at the very midst of the third round of War of Civilizations. The Islamic push to dominate all other cultures, religions, and regimes has never stopped, and for the first time it is world-wide. There is not even one state in the world that is not under Islamic encroachment, either by Jihad or Da’wah or Hijrah. The question left is if and when the Free World sobers up and wakes up to understand the menace of this reality and evaluate the prices of fighting back. The last round of appeasement was introduced by the Free world to Nazi Germany. Not only its downfall was alarming, but not surprisingly it was precisely Nazi Germany that opened the war by invading Poland. This is indeed the price of defeatism and appeasement.

Douglas MacArthur claimed that the appeasing defeatism breeds more difficult and cruel wars, that there is not even one case in human history that defeatism has brought peace. It was Jan Masaryk, the former Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister once said that a nation with a broken back is doomed, even each and every one of its inhabitants has a tank in his yard and a warplane on his roof. Power ceases when there is no national honor and no commitment to protect the national interests.

It was Sigmund Freud who has stated that when it comes to misconceptions human beings are geniuses. Indeed, as Winston Churchill has noted, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

The Free World does not understand that political culture makes the whole difference; that there are different cultures that shape the behavior and conduct of their followers. In its mirror image misconceptions, it visualizes that we are all the same; that it is the “mac-world,” the Global Village” of Marshall McLuhan, and the English language that determine. We do not understand, we have no clue to comprehend the Arab-Islamic political culture and what motivates it. History teaches us that more appeasement leads to much higher aggressiveness; more tolerance breeds more violence; more disregard, oblivion, and shutting one’s eyes bring more impudence in demands and imposing submissiveness; more financial support and economic aid yield more corruption, poverty and misery.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn has put it correctly: let us not forget that violence does not and cannot flourish by itself; it is inevitably intertwined with LYING. Between them there is the closest, the most profound and natural bond: nothing screens violence except lies, and the only way lies can hold out is by violence. Whoever has once announced violence as his METHOD must inexorably choose lying as his PRINCIPLE. Indeed, as Ayn Rand said: You can ignore reality; but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality. That is why George Orwell referred to the fact that the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.          

Modern Islamic Salafī-Jihādi (Jihad based on the Islamic ancestors’ roots) demands that Muslims must solely live by the Qur’an tenets, and at the same time they renounce popular sovereignty and every other sovereignty besides that of Allah and the Sunnah. However, the winning movement today is the Salafī-Takfīrī (Jihad based on accusing the other with infidelity for deviating from the ancestors’ roots and strictly abiding by the articles of the Sharī’ah) led by ICS.

The Islamic situation is so dynamic that the extremists of yesterday, the Salafi-Jihadī al-Qaeda, are losing the battle to the more extremists of today, the Salafī-Takfīrī Islamic Caliphate State. Its members look at themselves as al-Tā’ifah al-Mansûrah, the saved or the winning sect, and at their predecessors as Ahl al-Tāghût, the people of mistake and deviation. The interesting thing is that those extremists of the past, the Muslim Brotherhood are now considered as ‘moderate’ and ‘conservative,’ Salafī-Taqlīdī.

These contemporary three layers or stages represent in fact the Islamic extremist framework configuration. More important, one has to understand that Salafī-Takfīrī groups are not the last manifestation of Islamic extremism. As long as ICS is considered a winner, it will lead the movement and continues to be the hero model and attracts followers. However, behind the corner there await new groups that will represent a new layer or stage in Islamic millennialism. It is waiting for the right moment and/or opportunity to emerge. They even might renounce ICS as Ahl al-Tāghût and lead the Islamic agenda to a higher extreme stage that will bring humanity to the verge of existence, perhaps with nuclear or chemical-biological terrorism, or by destroying the technological society by employing cyber terrorism.

The emergence of a “more extreme” Islamic movement that marks a higher stage will occur when ICS stops representing the Islamic role hero model and a new ambitious brutal leader emerges. In the past we have seen this process as follows: Sayyid Qutb has challenged his mentor, Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and led the way to the emergence of Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and to a new extreme stage. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi challenges Ayman al-Zawahiri, his mentor, and has led the way to the emergence of ICS from within al-Qaeda, to mark a new more extreme stage. The only question left is who will challenge al-Baghdadi and when, not If.

However, this cyclical process of Islamic extremism was marked and continue to be shaped not by Islamic millennialism, but exactly by the Free World’s reaction or better say ill-reaction. As long as the Free World continues its policy of weakness, appeasement, ignorance and cowardice; as long as the Free World continues with its mirror image and mental blindness misconceptions; as long as the Free World continues with its empty ideologies of multiculturalism and political correctness and such – Islamic millennialism will step more and more forward with higher brutality and devotion to impose its Islamic values on humanity in its entirety.

This is the history of Islam from its beginning, and just because we continue to ignore the reality of Islam and make artificial and detached from logic differentiations, it does not mean that the reality of Islam will continue to ignore us. In fact, Islam has never ignored its mission to the world nor the ignorance, submissiveness, cowardice, appeasement and irresponsibility of the Free World leaderships and cultural elites – to spread and flourish. The price, when waken up, will be paid with a huge amount of blood unprecedented in history.

It must be put bluntly and straightforward. The origin of the Arabs is from Arabia, mainly its eastern part called Hijaz. The Arabs were part of tribes and clans, and except of Mecca, their main occupation was raiding (Ghazawat) and taking booty (Ghana’em). When they conquered vast territories under the Islamic religious motivational inspiration they were doing the same. This was their main occupation in history. That is exactly what they are doing today, now under Jihad and Hijrah, with the assistance of Da’wah as a propagation, a diplomacy of deceit, a means to mislead and confuse world public opinion.        

And still the Free World is in a deep state of denial and confusion. Indeed, one of the great wonders is how people translate information into knowledge. History proves that lack of knowledge stems from mental blindness and selective hearing, not from lack of information. Only politicians, intellectuals and the media could ignore, evade, and deny what Islam really is. When a society declares boldly, ‘we have to fight Nazism,’ and ‘Nazism is evil,’ and at the same time afraid to relate these words to Islam, it is no longer a free society. -Enemies can be understood within the context of their declared strategic doctrine. Just as we ignored Mein Kampf prior to World War II, so we now ignore what is clearly written in the Sharī’ah.

Since the 9/11 attack and mid-2015 there have been more than 28,000 terrorist attacks worldwide, all of which were perpetrated by Muslims, in the name of Islam and for the sake of Allah. That is about 5 terrorist attacks every day, in which millions of people have been killed. The tragic fact is that over 95 percent of world terrorism and 70 percent of world violence are Islamic, and these figures are on the rise. Literally, all peoples of the world, in all states were infected and influenced by Islamic aggressive advances, by Jihad, by Da’wah and by Hijrah.

At the same time, the cowardice reaction even beyond politically correctness and ignorance of the attacked leaders is reiterated and replayed as to become a ritual. The narrative never changes: “the terrorist acts are not part of Islam;” “the terrorists are not Muslims but in fact are against Islamic teachings;” “Islam is a religion of peace and compassion,” and such oblivion sickening reactions. It is confusing and embarrassing since the unequivocal assertion of the terrorists themselves they are motivated by the teachings of the Qur’an and the examples of their prophet.

Immediately after the terrorist attack has taken place, the president or the prime minister of the Western country declares that this attack had nothing to do with Islam and that the terrorists are evil, while Islam is good and peaceful. This is followed in agreement by other Western leaders, while condemning the terrorist attack, continue the line of rehabilitating Islam being a religion of peace and compassion.

The media joins this lamented horrific situation by Western political leaders and immediately brings an on duty Muslim spokesperson, who emphasizes that Islam does not condone violence and it is totally and absolutely against killing innocent people. The media also interviews the murderers’ families who grieve in sorrow and declare how great and peaceful their children were, and that they are Shuhadā’ and therefore residing in heaven.

The academic experts are called to declare that we should look at the root cause of the issue, as the terrorists are in fact the poor, the alienated and the wretched, and that we have to understand their motives. They also remind us that the terrorists are a small group of fanatics who actually act against the ordinances of Islam. What the terrorist themselves say we should ignore, as it has nothing to do with the Islamic Sharī’ah. They also explain that the core issues are the injustices done to Muslims by the past Western imperialism and colonialism, so mainly we have to blame ourselves for their desperate acts. The academic experts also emphasize that extremists exist in all religions and the Islamic terrorist acts are part of the pervasive violent situation.

Then comes the psychologist or the social worker who concludes that Christian and Jewish emblems and other religious symbols hurt the religious sentiment of Muslims and they should be removed from public institutions, malls and schools. One cannot insult the religion of Islam and defame its prophet. It is not only not polite but we must be very considerate about the sensibilities of the Muslims. At the same time, Muslims should be given permission to act according to their traditional and religious values and their culture, so that their Sharī’ah must be implemented. If all these are fulfilled, the Muslims will become an integral part of our society.  

Professional Muslim groups and organization that employ Da’wah, the diplomacy of deceit, to mislead the infidels, join this line by declaring their condemnation of the terrorist act, but immediately step forward to blame the infidels as the core cause of the problem. They call the police to take all the needed measures to protect Muslim communities from any backlash reprisal. They also call to hold meetings and debates of political and religious leaders concerned to stop violence and endorse peace in the spirit of integration and community cohesion.

To compensate and to facilitate the dire situation they demand for more money to be given to the Muslim neighbourhoods that will bring more cooperation and good mutual spirit in the name of peace. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second world largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations, immediately resumes its call to the UN to criminalize “blasphemy” against Islam, as “defamation of religions.”

However, as an immediate answer to these flawed declarations, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has once again reiterated in a new audio message: “Islam was never a religion of peace; Islam is a religion of fighting… all Muslims wherever they are, must fight for the Islamic Caliphate.” He has urged all Muslims to take up arms and fight on behalf of the Islamic State as to resurrect the Caliphate.

There is another perspective to analyze the Power Vacuum Theory. In October 2006, Mark Steyn said bluntly: The future belongs to Islam. The Muslim world has youth, numbers and global ambitions. The West is growing old and enfeebled, and lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it. It’s the end of the world as we’ve known it. One might formulate it as follows: Age + Welfare = Disaster for you; Youth + Will = Disaster for whoever gets in your way. Where is the problem? Islam has youth and will, Europe has age and welfare. What’s happening in the undeveloped world is one of the fastest demographic evolutions in history. The median age in the Gaza Strip is 15.8 years. It is UN-supervised European-funded death cult. Demographic decline and the unsustainability of the social democratic state are closely related. The state has gradually annexed all human responsibilities: health care, child care, elderly care, to the point where it effectively severed its citizens from primal survival instincts. The salient feature of Europe, Canada, Japan and Russia is that they’re running out of babies. Greece has a fertility rate hovering just below 1.3 births per couple, which is the “lowest-low” fertility from which no human society has ever recovered. And Greece’s fertility is the healthiest in Mediterranean Europe: Italy has a fertility rate of 1.2, Spain 1.1. By 2050, 60 per cent of Italians will have no brothers, no sisters, no cousins, no aunts, and no uncles.

By “will,” Steyn means the metaphorical spine of a culture. Africa also has plenty of young people, their primary identity is pure tribal without religious political ambitions of global reach as Muslims have. The Western world is too mired in cultural relativism to understand what’s at stake. There is a correlation between the structural weaknesses of the social democratic state and the rise of a globalized Islam. If one thinks the UN and other international organizations are antipathetic to America now, wait a few years and see what kind of support you get from a semi-Islamified Europe.

The Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006: “We’re the ones who will change you. Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children… Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours.” It was Qadhdhafi who said back in 1976: there are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe — without swords, without guns, without conquests. The fifty million Muslims of Europe will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.

The question is, as Ali Sina puts, if international laws would be banning cartoons, does it stop there, or continue to all kind of free speech materials? The grand irony is that banning on the basis that Western free speech defame Islam, than it would also, by logical extension, have to ban the entire religion of Islam itself, being the only religion whose core texts actively and unequivocally defame other religions. Yet, the OIC and other Muslim organization do not seem to bother, as they do believe this is the correct natural situation, Islam being the only legitimate religion.

However, the folly of hedonism and appeasement prevails and hypocrisy combined with ignorance and political correctness, runs rampant: indeed, there are extreme verses as much as there are mild in the Qur’an, and this duality is found in every religion; indeed, there are radicals among the Muslims just as in all societies, but they are just a minority, even weeds. The majority is different.

This is the problem with all of its severity. The relevant questions are accordingly:

If that is the true situation – how do we know this? Are there any corroborating studies and data to substantiate this view? Or we only think this is the reality?

Even if a different peace-loving majority exists, is its voice heard? Does it influence policy and decision-making processes? Or is it only in our mirror imaged personality?

Where is public opinion voice, the political parties, the media, which prove there are other tendencies and voices? Or we just assume this is the situation?

How many peace movements, demonstrations marching in the streets rolling for peace and against terrorist perpetrators can be identified? Was any terrorist attack stopped even denounced by the so-called majority? Do the Arab and Muslim states condemn these atrocities and act against? Or is it our imagination alone?

How many pressure and interest groups are there in the Muslim world which actively function against Islamic fanaticism and Jihad terrorism? And if they do, to what extent do they influence? Or we just ignore reality out of ignorance?

How many NGO’s are there acting against the terrorists and preventing aid from their reach? Do they even try to stop terrorism and convince it is act against humanity? Or we just want to believe, we terribly wish that there are such?

If there are moderate peace-loving political leaders, where are they? What influence do they have? Is their voice heard? What do they declare after the horrible acts of terrorism perpetuated, except of blaming the US and Israel? Or is it all our mental blindness and denial?

Indeed, there are Muslim intellectuals and liberals, but unfortunately they are very few. They condemn the atrocious terrorist acts; they plead for openness and democratization; they wish for integration and assimilation. However, not only they have no influence on the events, not only they are persecuted and alienated, but above all, they are a very small minority. The reality is, the questions that should be asked, who controls the Islamic communities and in the streets? Which voice is heard and is written in the communication Media? Who is more influential and admired by the youth; in the Madāris, in mosques and in the media? Who are the heroes of the masses? Who leads the way? And the biggest wonder of all: why do we always supply excuses and explanations to the horrific phenomenon we do not understand culturally and ignorant religiously? Or we just have a death wish?

This is amazing. How can we explain the Free World reactions? Is it appeasement alone? Is it hedonism of living the good life? Is it the Petro-dollar power of Saudi Arabia and Qatar? Is it the guilt remorse of “imperialist-colonialist past?” Or it is just political correctness? Or it is our twisted mirror image? Or it is our ignorance? It is as if we don’t want to wake up. We are in a deep state of denial, in a slumber, as if we are on the Titanic and the orchestra continues to play.

However, the uppermost is surely because we are frightened; we are horrified; we are terrorized; because we are cowardice in front of the ruffians, the villains and the savages, and we want to come back to our sanity out of this madness by running away; by giving in; by clothing our eyes in visual amnesia; by paying “protection money,” and by appeasing and subduing.

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Demand for Investigation of COVID-19 gained momentum

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Human history is full of natural disasters like Earthquakes, Floods, Fires, Vacanos, Drought, Famine, Pandemic, etc. Some of them were really huge and have been damaged a lot. The outbreak of diseases was also very common in the past, like Spanish Flu, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Ebola, SARS, Middle-East-Virus, etc. However, the most damaging in recent history is COVID-19.

According to Worldometer, the latest data reveal that Coronavirus Cases has reached :

193,422,021, and death toll touched: 4,151,655. However, these are the official data provided by each individual country to Worldometer. The actual data is much more, as some countries have limited resources and could not test their population on a bigger scale, whereas few countries hide the actual data to save face, like India. Prime Minister Modi has mishandled the Pandemic and politicized it. His extremist approach toward minorities and political opponents has worsened the situation. He is afraid, if the public comes to know the actual disasters, he may lose political popularity and have to leave the office. Unofficial sources on groud estimate the actual figures are almost ten times higher. He has taken strict measures to hide the actual data and control media on reporting facts.

Whatever the actual data, even the official data shows a big disaster. Almost all nations became the victim of it and suffered heavily. The loss of human lives and the economic loss have made the whole World think seriously.

It is time to investigate the origin of COVID-19. There are many theories, and some are part of the blame game and politics, without proper investigations and reliable evidence. The World is so much polarized that it is very difficult to believe any side of the views and blames. Under this scenario, it is the World Health Organization (WHO) responsibility to conduct a transparent investigation and reach the source of COVID-19. It is believed that the whole World may trust WHO.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian demanded on Wednesday that the United States show transparency and conduct a thorough investigation into its Fort Detrick laboratory and other biological labs overseas over the origins of COVID-19 in response to appeals from people in China and around the World. By Wednesday afternoon, an open letter published on Saturday asking the World Health Organization to probe Fort Detrick had garnered nearly 5 million signatures from Chinese netizens.

“The soaring number reflects the Chinese people’s demands and anger at some people in the US who manipulate the origin-tracing issue for political reasons,” Zhao said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a “cease and desist order” in July 2019 to halt research at Fort Detrick that involved dangerous organisms like the Ebola virus. The same month, a “respiratory outbreak” of unknown cause saw more than 60 residents in a Northern Virginia retirement community become ill. Later that year, Maryland, where Fort Detrick is based, witnessed a doubling of the number of residents who developed a respiratory illness related to vaping.

But the CDC never released information about the shutdown of the lab’s deadly germ research operations, citing “national security reasons”. “An investigation into Fort Detrick is long-overdue, but the US has not done it yet, so the mystery remains unsolved,” Zhao said, adding that was a question the US must answer regarding the tracing of the origins of COVID-19.

There are 630,000 of its citizens lost to the Pandemic. The US should take concrete measures to investigate the origins of the virus at home thoroughly, discover the reason for its inadequate response to the Pandemic, and punish those who should be held accountable. Especially in the initial days, the mishandling of the Pandemic by then-President Trump was a significant cause of the rapidly spreading of the virus, which must be addressed adequately. Washington remains silent whenever Fort Detrick is mentioned. It seeks to stigmatize and demonize China under the pretext of origin-tracing.

It appealed that the WHO may come forward and conduct through research and investigation in a professional, scientific, and transparent manner to satisfy the whole World.

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How to eliminate Learning Poverty

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Children learn more and are more likely to stay in school if they are first taught in a language that they speak and understand. Yet, an estimated 37 percent of students in low- and middle-income countries are required to learn in a different language, putting them at a significant disadvantage throughout their school life and limiting their learning potential. According to a new World Bank report Loud and Clear: Effective Language of Instruction Policies for Learning, effective language of instruction (LoI) policies are central to reducing Learning Poverty and improving other learning outcomes, equity, and inclusion.

Instruction unfolds through language – written and spoken – and children learning to read and write is foundational to learning all other academic subjects.  The Loud and Clear report puts it simply: too many children are taught in a language they don’t understand, which is one of the most important reasons why many countries have very low learning levels.

Children most impacted by such policies and choices are often disadvantaged in other ways – they are in the bottom 40 percent of the socioeconomic scale and live in more remote areas.  They also lack the family resources to address the effects of ineffective language policies on their learning. This contributes to higher dropout rates, repetition rates, higher Learning Poverty, and lower learning overall.

“The devastating impacts of COVID-19 on learning is placing an entire generation at risk,” says Mamta Murthi, World Bank Vice President for Human Development. “Even before the pandemic, many education systems put their students at a disadvantage by requiring children to learn in languages they do not know well – and, in far too many cases, in languages they do not know at all. Teaching children in a language they understand is essential to recover and accelerate learning, improve human capital outcomes, and build back more effective and equitable education systems.”

The new LoI report notes that when children are first taught in a language that they speak and understand, they learn more, are better placed to learn other languages, are able to learn other subjects such as math and science, are more likely to stay in school, and enjoy a school experience appropriate to their culture and local circumstances. Moreover, this lays the strongest foundation for learning in a second language later on in school. As effective LoI policies improve learning and school progression, they reduce country costs per student and, thus, enables more efficient use of public funds to enhance more access and quality of education for all children.

“The language diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa is one of its main features – while the region has 5 official languages, there are 940 minority languages spoken in Western and Central Africa and more than 1,500 in Sub-Saharan Africa, which makes education challenges even more pronounced,” says Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Regional Vice President for Western and Central Africa. “By adopting better language-of-instruction policies, countries will enable children to have a much better start in school and get on the right path to build the human capital they need to sustain long-term productivity and growth of their economies.” 

The report explains that while pre-COVID-19, the world had made tremendous progress in getting children to school, the near-universal enrollment in primary education did not lead to near-universal learning. In fact, before the outbreak of the pandemic, 53 percent of children in low- and middle-income countries were living in Learning Poverty, that is, were unable to read and understand an age-appropriate text by age 10. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the figure was closer to 90 percent. Today, the unprecedented twin shocks of extended school closures and deep economic recession associated with the pandemic are threatening to make the crisis even more dire, with early estimates suggesting that Learning Poverty could rise to a record 63 percent. These poor learning outcomes are, in many cases, a reflection of inadequate language of instruction policies.

“The message is loud and clear.  Children learn best when taught in a language they understand, and this offers the best foundation for learning in a second language,” stressed Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education. “This deep and unjust learning crisis requires action. Investments in education systems around the world will not yield significant learning improvements if students do not understand the language in which they are taught. Substantial improvements in Learning Poverty are possible by teaching children in the language they speak at home.”

The new World Bank policy approach to language of instruction is guided by 5 principles:

1. Teach children in their first language starting with Early Childhood Education and Care services through at least the first six years of primary schooling.

2. Use a student’s first language for instruction in academic subjects beyond reading and writing.

3.  If students are to learn a second language in primary school, introduce it as a foreign language with an initial focus on oral language skills.

4. Continue first language instruction even after a second language becomes the principal language of instruction.

5. Continuously plan, develop, adapt, and improve the implementation of language of instruction policies, in line with country contexts and educational goals.

Of course, these language of instruction policies need to be well integrated within a larger package of policies to ensure alignment with the political commitment and the instructional coherence of the system.

This approach will guide the World Bank’s financing and advisory support for countries to provide high-quality early childhood and basic education to all their students. The World Bank is the largest source of external financing for education in developing countries – in fiscal year 2021, it broke another record and committed $5.5 billion of IBRD and IDA resources in new operations and, in addition, committed $0.8 billion of new grants with GPE financing, across a total of 60 new education projects in 45 countries.

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World leaders must fully fund education in emergencies and protracted crises

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Many schools in Afghanistan have suffered the effects of long-term conflict. ©UNICEF/Marko Kokic

During June’s UN Security Council High-Level Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict, leaders from across the world stood up to call for expanded support for education in emergencies to protect vulnerable children and youth enduring armed conflicts, climate change-related disasters, forced displacement and protracted crises.

In our collective race to leave no child behind and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in just nine short years, now is the time to translate these universal values and human rights into action.

The will is there. Nations across the globe, UN leaders and other key stakeholders stood up to address the horrific attacks on education happening on a daily basis and called for increased funding for organizations working to ensure crisis-affected children have access to safe, quality education.

Irish President Michael Higgins focused on education, protection and accountability in his address.

“I am sure that we can all agree that it is morally reprehensible that 1 in every 3 children living in countries affected by conflict or disaster is out of school. Schools should be protected, be a safe shelter and space for learning and development,” said Higgins. “Ireland prioritizes access to education in emergencies. We have committed to spend €250 million on global education by 2024. That is why we are launching the Girls Fund to support grassroots groups led by girls, advancing gender equality in their own communities.”

Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, highlighted support from France to Education Cannot Wait, as well as the importance of protection for children caught in emergencies.

“The socio-economic consequences of the pandemic and school closures put children at greater risk: inequalities are increasing in all regions of the world. Acts of domestic violence, rape and other forms of sexual violence, and school dropout have increased,” said de Rivière. “School closures increase recruitment by armed groups as well as child labor. Here, as everywhere, girls also have specific vulnerabilities. I am thinking in particular of the risk of early and forced marriage. For its part, France will continue to play an active role and promote the universal endorsement of the Paris Principles and Commitments. In the field, we support projects that guarantee access to education in emergency situations, notably the Education Cannot Wait Fund.”

Children under attack

The number of grave violations against children rose to 19,000 in 2020 according to the UN Secretary-General’s Report on Children in Armed Conflict, released in May 2021. To put this number in context, that’s over 50 girls and boys every day that are killed or maimed, recruited and used as soldiers, abducted, sexually violated, attacked in a school or hospitals, or denied their humanitarian access to things like food and water. 

The numbers are staggering. Last year, more than 8,400 children and youth were killed or maimed in ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Another 7,000 were recruited and used as fighters, mainly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Somalia and Syria. With COVID-19 straining budgets and humanitarian support for child protection, abductions rose by 90 per cent last year, while rape and other forms of sexual violence shot up 70 per cent.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres underscored the need to support the Safe Schools Declaration and the Children in Armed Conflict mandate in his address to the UN Security Council.

“We are also seeing schools and hospitals constantly attacked, looted, destroyed, or used for military purposes, with girls’ education and health facilities targeted disproportionately. As we mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Children in Armed Conflict mandate, its continued relevance is sadly clear and it remains a proven tool for protecting the world’s children,” said Guterres. 

This is a vast human tragedy playing out across the globe. And despite efforts to support the Safe Schools Declaration, to re-imagine education during the COVID-19 pandemic and to align forces to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we seem to be backsliding on our commitments.

Just imagine being a mother and learning that your daughter will not be coming home from school today. That she was abducted, along with 150 other students at their school in Nigeria. Imagine seeing your son, Sabir, lose his leg after being shot by armed gunmen in South Sudan. Imagine being a Rohingya girl like Janet Ara, who hid in forests, forged rivers and is now seeking a better life and opportunity through an education in the refugee camps of Bangladesh.

Imagine the trauma and terror … now imagine the opportunity.

A wake-up call

If we can come together to give every girl and boy on the planet access to a quality education, we can build a more peaceful, secure, humane and prosperous world.

Before COVID-19 hit, we calculated that at least 75 million children and youth caught in crisis and emergencies were being denied their right to an education. But with schools closed and many children at risk of never returning to the classroom, that number has jumped to around 128 million. That’s more than the total population of the United Kingdom. That’s more than the total populations of Canada, Denmark and Norway combined.

Denying these children their right to a quality education perpetuates cycles of poverty, violence, displacement and chaos.

As the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) offers a new approach to break these negative cycles for good.

This means embracing a New Way of Working that brings in actors from across all sectors – national governments, donors, development, humanitarian response and education actors, national and local civil society, the private sector and more – to break down silos and work together to deliver whole-of-child solutions for whole-of-society problems.

In doing so we are bridging the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Through ground-breaking collective action with partners across the globe, ECW has already launched multi-year resilience programmes and first emergency responses across more than 30 countries and crisis contexts and is on track to do more.

By doing so we can replace the cycle of poverty, violence, displacement and chaos with a cycle of education, empowerment, economic development, peace and new opportunities for future generations.

Delivering on our promise for universal, equitable education

The ECW model has proven to work. 

In just a few short years of operation, ECW has already provided 4.6 million crisis-affected girls and boys with access to a quality education. We’ve worked with national governments, donors, UN agencies and NGOs to reach 29.2 million girls and boys with our education in emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Bangladesh, girls like Janet Ara are returning to school, children with disabilities like Yasmina are accessing the support they need to learn, grow and thrive, and organizations like BRAC are receiving the support they need to build back better from the fires.

In Afghanistan, girls like Bibi Nahida are attending school for the first time, remote learning is helping children to continue their education during the pandemic, and female teachers are being recruited to teach biology, science and empower an entire generation of girls.

In Colombia and Ecuador, refugee children fleeing violence, hunger and poverty in Venezuela are being brought into schools, provided with laptops and cellular plans, and the psychosocial support they need to recover from the anxiety and stress of displacement.

Our call to action

An investment in education is an investment in the present and the future.

Recent analysis indicates that the likelihood of violence and conflict drops by 37% when girls and boys have equal access to education. Incomes go up by as much as 10% for each year of additional learning, while an estimated $15 to $30 trillion could be generated if every girl everywhere were able to complete 12 years of education.

We are making important headway with partners across the globe. The amount of humanitarian funding for education increased five times between 2015 and 2019 – and accounted for 5.1% of humanitarian funding in 2019.

Nevertheless, just 43.5% of humanitarian appeals for education were mobilized that same year.

That means girls like Bibi and Janet Ara may be pushed out of school, boys like Sabir might be recruited into armed groups. And children with disabilities like Yasmina will be pushed to the sidelines.

We have the will. Now it’s time to turn that will into action.

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