“The Tree at the End of the World” is at once a brief cultural history, a creation myth and an old couples’ good night story to their grandchild: And Rua?, I asked. – The Redheaded One, answered my grandfather, why, she is still out there, whittling bark boats for a people we have never known to exist, calling the world into existence every day.
In the face of overwhelming global tension it seems time to teach our children that the world is not exclusively defined by nationality, religion and socioeconomic boundaries, but rather that all humans inhabit this earth together, are responsible for it, and that the earth will stay inhabitable only if we recognize each other as human and as entitled to live under dignified conditions. All children have a right to grow up in a safe environment, to be loved and taught about life. “Circus Utopia” emphasizes that our children still understand the universal language of art as a medium to talk about being in the world and the joy to be alive.
I am teaching a class titled “Law as a creative tool” to a group of high school students. The goal is to enable students to navigate the existing body of legal defenses and rights and to articulate the need for legislation where it doesn’t exist but should. Young people have unique abilities. Younger people more often feel a need for just societies, readily feel compassion for others and are absolute experts in creative thinking. The class is an open forum for discussion rather than teacher centered instruction. We use newspapers, new media, daily conflict as well as legal code to understand issues at hand. Participants are drawing and doodling, searching the net – it’s a fantastic work atmosphere. We have our own blog to collect and share lesson content. Here’s a sample of their art work.
Denying the Tibetan people to have their children learn their own language in school translates into despair. Humans are defined through their use of language. Language is the keeper of culture memory as well as the tool to express individual, social and political identity. To deny a people to master their own language means to eradicate their true existence.This is especially true when their identity is based on an ancient religious narrative and practice. Linguistic concepts are corresponding to unique cultural concepts. Erasing the Tibetan language from the official education of Tibetan Children is a conscious act of aggression against the Tibetan people. I support the Dalai Lama’s appeal to grant Tibetans cultural autonomy within the one state solution.