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Comments

WhitSt

The more I read your blog, David, the less I think anything whatever that the BC does is worth a tuppenny piss.

However, today's news shows up Davidson's remarks as crass beyond belief: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/24/afghan-police-turf-war-commandos . While one should be impressed by the bravery of the teachers involved, and concerned for their safety, I actually feel quite nauseous that someone - a soldier - now has actually echoed Davidson's words and lost his life in support of some crummy, ill-advised and gimmicky BC scheme. Bloody hell.

WhitSt

Oh, OK, he was speaking in response to the Kabul attack, not in advance of it. However, "La Nausée" remains my reaction.

Jane


Yes, I know there are 2 paragraphs (Huffington Post, David's link) between these two statements,
"...we are non-political...
We focus our projects on the next generation of leaders, and so when the 'veil of oppression' is lifted, we are in a strong position to have an even bigger impact in society", but there is no hiding from the ties between our government and the British Council.

This is an excellent blog, David, and highly sensitive to the recent tragedy. Perhaps Martin Davidson should attend one of the BC's cultural relations programmes himself before his next attempt at headline grabbing for his despicable organisation.

David

Thanks to you both. It defies belief, does it not, that someone who evidently thinks he has been "evoking values" for 27 years should write such solipsistic drivel.

John D

Don't always agree 100% with your comments, but on this one I think you've got it right. Perhaps he didn't write the headline himself, but it is astonishing for any organisation to say that its mission in a particular country is worth the lives of 12 people.

David

Thanks John. I think the problem is that MD and his cronies are so full of the idea of making "impact" that even when we should be reading about those who died we are treated to numbers of years of service, numbers of offices, numbers of staff etc and the arrogant and fatheaded idea that the activities of the British Council can be weighed in a balance which has dead bodies on one side. The other side of the balance, we are told, is something to do with evoking values. British Council staff must surely be seriously underwhelmed.

Neil Robertson

As soon as they crossed the line into 'military English' and other pseudo-counterinsurgency 'soft politicking' British Council put the lives of ordinary BC language teachers and others at risk in my view. That was one of the major worries I certainly had when we discovered in Gaza that they were promoting a 'non-existent' project and putting it about that they had sanction from on high for what was in my view "BC DATS" incompetence, corruption and dishonesty - but which risked jeopardising the genuine English language training and cultural work then being done in Gaza by the country office that BC DATS in Manchester held privately in contempt. The local Gaza office was also subsequently blown up by a bomb - happily without casualites - but no lessons were drawn from that incident apart from senior BC managers in UK milking the incident for sympathy and further justification of their Quango. It is just tragic that in Kabul the outcome was fatal. Having crossed the line there is no going back alas.

David

This today from the BC Director, Kabul. http://atwar.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/03/they-heard-the-word-culture-and-they-reached-for-their-gun/

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