Reared on paeans to Saddam Hussein and forced to chant "Long live Saddam" whenever a teacher strode into the room, Iraq's kids will never learn quite the same way again. The Coalition Provisional Authority governing Iraq has ordered that the country's textbooks be stripped of pro-Saddam propaganda. Iraqi Education Ministry officials can't rewrite everything before school starts in September, but they're fixing what they can. Some items slated for pruning:
--Exercises like this, from a sixth-grade Arabic textbook: "Add not to the following sentence: 'The Iranians are brave.'"
--Questions like this, from a second-grade textbook: "Who leads our great revolution?" Answer: "The person we are ready to sacrifice our lives for: Saddam Hussein, may God protect Him."
--Math exercises that use S and H, not X and Y, as variables.
--Geography books that say, "Before the Baath Revolution landowners were dictators controlling the land and the people, and that's why we produced so little. After the revolution, everything went perfectly."
--Diatribes like this from a sixth-grade history text: "Our Great President is ordering us to stand against the Iranian, American and Zionist forces that have occupied our religious cities."
--Maps depicting Kuwait as a territory of Iraq.
"Fixing education is as important as repairing the physical infrastructure," says Joanne Giordano of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is coordinating the purge. "Stuff that's offensive to ethnic and religious groups has got to go." --By Simon Robinson