Saturday, December 17, 2005

Bush loses poetic tribute in Pakistan schoolbooks

Middle East Times

Bush loses poetic tribute in Pakistan schoolbooks

Middle East Times

Published December 6, 2005

Education officials in Pakistan have dropped a poem from a school textbook after discovering that it secretly contained the name of US President George W. Bush.

At first sight the anonymous 20-line ode entitled The Leader, which was taught to Pakistani students aged between 15 and 18, appears merely to list the qualities of the ideal statesman.

But closer inspection reveals that the first letter of each line spells out the American president's title and name.

Bush's surname appears in the following lines: "Bracing for war, but praying for peace / Using his power so evil will cease. / So much a leader and worthy of trust, / Here stands a man who will do what he must."

"The poem triggered controversy. It has been deleted from the book," senior education ministry official Tariq Qureshi said.

He said that the ministry was investigating how the poem slipped by the officials who monitor textbooks, but added that it had been downloaded from the Internet by a committee of subject specialists while revising the syllabus in 2004.

The decision to cut the poem was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by education minister Javed Ashraf Qazi and curriculum experts here on Monday.

"The matter is over now," Qureshi said.

But the incident has raised eyebrows in this conservative Islamic country, where military ruler President Pervez Musharraf is often accused of slavishly supporting the US-led "war on terror".

Qureshi said that the education minister had warned all those involved against further negligence and said that a new English language textbook will be included in next year's syllabus.

The poem in full:

P atient and steady with all he must bear,
R eady to meet every challenge with care,
E asy in manner, yet solid as steel,
S trong in his faith, refreshingly real.
I sn't afraid to propose what is bold,
D oesn't conform to the usual mould,
E yes that have foresight, for hindsight won't do,
N ever backs down when he sees what is true,
T ells it all straight, and means it all too.
G oing forward and knowing he's right,
E ven when doubted for why he would fight,
O ver and over he makes his case clear,
R eaching to touch the ones who won't hear.
G rowing in strength he won't be unnerved,
E ver assuring he'll stand by his word.
W anting the world to join his firm stand,
B racing for war, but praying for peace,
U sing his power so evil will cease,
S o much a leader and worthy of trust,
H ere stands a man who will do what he must.

Copyright © 2005 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.

I think I'm gonna throw up

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