Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Russian Parents Angry at Teachers Asking Children to Write ‘a Letter to Your Father at the Front’

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 27 – Russian teachers, on the basis of a textbook for fourth graders, have been asking their 10-year-old charges as a homework assignment to write an imaginary “letter to your father at the front.”  Many children have reacted with incomprehension and tears; many parents have reacted with fury and calls for a boycott of what they consider a horrible idea.

            Govorit Moskva reported that many parents have simply refused to have their children compose such letters while some have written the letters themselves so the children won’t get a bad grade but won’t be exposed to the trauma of imagining that they might lose their fathers to war (govoritmoskva.ru/news/181154/).

            In a commentary carried by Ekho Moskvy, Olga Fedorchenko, the mother of one of the children given this assignment expresses the reaction of many when she writes: “What kind of idiot in power would dream up such subjects for homework?! Is it that we are preparing for war?! And we are making drafts for relatives?!” (echo.msk.ru/blog/echomsk/2322534-echo/).

                “This is a new low, although I understand that it is far from the last … Here is the letter of my devastated daughter. She couldn’t accept the imaginary circumstances:

            “Hello, dear Papa! Your daughter Sasha is writing. Not long ago you were at home. I remember how you and I played and walked together. And now you are at the front. We are very worried about you. Most of all I wantt that you return whole and unharmed. Mother and I pray to God that you will return.

            “Papa, why are you in this war?

            “Return to us! Everything with us is fine! Why do you need this? We have food and everything is good, Nikita and I go to school. Mama goes to work and raises us. I hate those people who began the war. I want that everyone will always live in peace and be next to one another and that there won’t be a war.

            “With love, your daughter Sasha, Mama and my older brother Nikita!”

            There are many reasons to be outraged by Vladimir Putin and his system on a daily basis, but perhaps not one is more compelling that frightening children with this kind of war hysteria. As Fedorchenko observes, when one hears about such things, the kind of language no one should utter is the first that comes to mind. 

            This is monstrous, and those behind it are monsters.

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