Link to What's New This Week On the Role of Stories in Discovering Multiple Perspectives

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Practice Module

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: September 1, 2002
Latest Update: September 9, 2002

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jeanne's first draft of We Are Scattered Without Our Stories jeanne's first draft of We Are Scattered Without Our Stories

On the Role of Stories
in Discovering Multiple Perspectives

Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.

  1. Preparatory readings for module.

  2. Discussion questions.

    1. Explain how Dorothy Naor's story is an example of transparency in governance.

      Consider that the media in general are owned by international or national corporations and are part of the present corporate world. Consider that the corporate world (US) backs Israel strongly, for it is a major foothold in the Mid East. Consider that access to world energy is involved: oil and oil lines through not uniformly friendly territories. Consider the adversarial position we take in the corporate world. Consider the number of forums available for expressing dissent.

      Then consider cocneptually linking the concept of transparency in governance to refusing to let any one perspective control information in the interest of dominating other interests. Don't forget to take a careful look at who is making this information available, and what the likely distribution power is of those who are doing so. Then take a look at the power of dissemination of the mass media. Now consider social justice in terms of equality of access to having validity claims heard in good faith. (Habermas' explanation for legitimacy.)

    2. Explain the horror evoked in spite of the relatively small figures in terms of what we have grown used to in wars.

      Consider the size of Israel; consider the proximity in which Palestinians and Israelis live. Then consider that this confrontation, like many in recent decades, is killing civilians, often children, not combatants in a declared war. Consider that in recent conflicts children have been forcefully taken into combatant forces and made to fight. These are not soldiers or combatants in the sense that we have understood them in the past. Consider that in African conflicts, children have been maimed, hands chopped off, so they may not be turned into combatants of the opposition when grown. Consider the spread of such inhumanity. Consider our callousness and acceptance of such data presentations as that Dorothy presents here. Can we have a community of social justice in the midst of such killing? Recall our shock over each killing of a child reported by the mass media in the US. Are the numbers in Dorothy's statistics really small?

    3. How would you respond to a justification of the killings if someone suggested that one cannot make such arguments when there is an intifada going on?

      Consider the moral and aesthetic issues of killing innocents. Consider the stories that might make it much more difficult for us to deny the ahrm we are inflicting, all of us, in denying that there is anything wrong here, if you take into consideration that this is in the midst of armed conflict. Does our denial make us complicit? What does it take for complicity? Consider the silver platter doctrine in the law and the courts' conclusion that no court of justice can simply stand by in wilful blindness while wrongdoing is committed in its name.

  3. Experiential activities related to module.

    1. Speak to your families, friends, acquaintances. How are they handling the killing of innocents? the starvation and misery of so many? Are they hearing it in good faith? or are they denying the whole conflict? Can you explain complicity to them? Please carefully. Not a good idea to make them uncomfortable. But point out to them how much harm is done, just be our failing to say "Enough!" even to each other. Point out to them that understanding and letting all of us know the stories, see the harm, is the first step towards changing injustice. Share your findings with us.

    2. Try to imagine yourself as a Palestinian in Israel. How would it feel when Israelis shied away from you out of fear? Do we have anything like this in the US? Consider driving while black. Can you understand in face of this why we have laws against claiming guilt by association alone? Do our own laws prevent driving while black? If not, what effect do they have? Is the law a good means for initiating social change - like forcing people to stop believing guilt by association?

  4. Self-test questions related to module.

    True or False? And explain briefly why it's true or false. (25 words or less)

    1. All national news media report news from an international perspective without bias.
    2. There are many channels of information so that Americans can stay informed on what those who oppose us are saying and thinking.
    3. We have many TV channels so that there will be a balance in news reporting.
    4. The government has the power in the US to make sure that US viewers know the truth.
    5. There is a truth to be known.

  5. Conceptual linking we had in mind as we prepared the module.