Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, Back to classes

After a delicious and adventure filled weekend, we are back to classes on this, again cool and wet, Tuesday.  Begoña does not hesitate to throw subjunctive mood at us bright and early.  Most of us have to teach subjunctive, so many of us are engaged as she explains how to accurately use dependent and independent clauses.  We all appreciate this theme on our own terms, and what I take away is her suggestion to incorporate cultural information while having students give an opinion about things like, for example, kissing each other on both cheeks every time you meet up with friends in Spain, or arriving late after agreeing on a time to meet.  We also play a guessing game that sends a person out in the hallway who must come back and guess where s/he is based on our clues that include indicative and subjunctive sentences.  It's fun because we are language geeks.  Example:  It's true that you hear music.  It is sad that the music is too loud. You hope that they play your favorite song.  Answer:  You're at a concert. 

Francisco probably had a lesson plan for today, but all I needed to do was ask one question, and the rest was, well, history.  Kyle Jacobs (Kip's son who studies Spanish at Carleton College) asked me to find out what I could about a case called "el caso Garzon."  It has to do with the very bold, Spanish judge who went after the Chilean Dictator, Augusto Pinochet.  Opinions abound on this current topic, and the future promises more headlines that look back more than 70 years.  The new Historic Memory Law called "la ley de memoria historica" is a touchy topic that attempts to sort out the pain and suffering of the twentieth century in Spain.  Our trip to Guernica this afternoon will surely shed more light on this polemic. 

Ana takes us out for pintxos in the casco viejo neighborhood (the old part of town).  We overeat our way to happiness and stroll through the plaza nueva before we walk a kilometer or so to the train station for our 45 minute ride to Guernica.  The key stops in Guernica include the Peace Museum, the Henry Moore sculpture, the Casa de Juntas and famous Guernica Oak Tree.  Seeing and understanding the Casa de Juntas helps us realize that Guernica played an important politcal and symbolic role in the history of the Basque Country.  This helps explain why Franco had Hitler and Mussollini bomb this otherwise small and militarily insignificant town.  Most believe it was to send a message, by hitting the Basque Country in one of its most popular trading and cultural centers.   Eyewitnesses gave their accounts to journalists while Franco's journalists claimed the "Reds" were actually responsible.  The Peace Museum makes a terrific effort NOT to glorify war, and instead focuses on the value of peace, and what it actually means to live in peace.  This is very thought provoking museum that puts peace front an center in an effort to move us forward as a people so we can avoid the things that caused this tragedy in 1937. 

The building on the right is the Peace Museum in Guernica. It's worth a visit.  Please read the Tools for peace below printed in four languages at the museum:  English, French, Spanish and Euskera. 

Tools for peace
Firm dialogue
Respect for human rights
Looking to the future
Honoring our fellow human beings
Putting ourselves in the other party's position
Listening to different opinions
Searching for common ground
Meditating to unite the wishes of both parties
Inventing and creating
Gearing the situation towards reconciliation
Admitting our mistakes
Thinking positively
Investigating and discovering other realities
Confronting postures in a positive fashion
Reviewing laws and regulations
Not stigmatizing persons and their problems
Standing up to injustice
Making our postures more flexible
Taken from the Peace Museum in Guernica, Spain,

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