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Nous Sommes Ukraine  

Strathclyde’s School of Education

Unites Against Russian Invasion of Ukraine 

Europe woke up at war on Thursday 24th February with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Overnight, ‘history is repeating itself as a farce,’ and our generation forcibly goes back to the bloody world war that butchered millions of human beings in Europe. The people of Ukraine have the not-negotiable right to autonomously decide their own future. The geography of Europe cannot be crafted through the spilled blood of helpless victims, including children and the elderly.

The educators, pedagogues, and teachers of the School of Education at the University of Strathclyde hereby repudiate vehemently such an attack on freedom and democracy and express their solidarity to the sovereign nation of Ukraine, and in particular to the Ukrainian pedagogues, educators, and teachers.

We address our voice to our fellow Russian educators, pedagogues, and teachers to raise their indignation and help to put an end to such a barbaric act. We reach out to our fellow academics in Russia to help dismantle such a despotic act, and to the Russian soldiers to drop their weapons.

To educators, pedagogues and teachers everywhere, we call on you to advance critical thinking with the children and young people with whom you work. As Coles (2006, p.35) reminds us,

Education has failed if it simply produces a great uncritical mass of people who will be uncritical at the ballot box, uncritical consumers and uncritical when it comes to raising their own children.  If children were encouraged from an early age to be powerful critical thinkers they would be less likely to be the dupe of advertising, politics, professionals and other assorted groups who have a vested interest in putting conviction before truth.  Teaching [critical thinking] is one way to start ensuring ordinary people can call the Emperor’s bluff.

It is not enough, however, to expect our children and young people to stand alone with only their reason to support them. Action, too, is required, and critical thinking shows us the way to action.

Therefore, we also call all academia in Scotland and around the world to join in a collective effort to support the Ukrainian nation and diaspora in the UK and to build a common voice to help stop this war. As Martin Niemöller alerted us,

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist; then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist; then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew; then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

History demands us as educators, pedagogues and teachers – as fellow humans – to act now. In solidarity.


Image - Pixabay