Dear People of Kuwait and ISR Readers,
I want the ISR Community to know that I have spent much time working in the International Education Community in Kuwait. During that period I met many wonderfully thoughtful, kind and loving people – especially parents who supported their children and the schools they attended without resorting to personal violence or power mongering. I met children who were joyous and special, and teachers who were dedicated and caring, administrators who were positive and thoughtful. The situation as it has unfolded for Katherine Phillips did not personify the general population in Kuwait. It does not describe the caring attitude many Kuwaiti people have for their American partners and for the international teaching population who live and work in that environment.
Unfortunately, we are learning that it takes only a few powerful people, as in any culture and in any business, to destroy the trusting and working-together possibilities that give us hope within a community. When this happens, we tend to respond to injustice with a fight or flight syndrome, one that simulates exactly what we are dealing with from the other party. In this case, ISR responded by asking teachers to ‘fight’ the injustices perpetrated upon a colleague by standing up and being counted. We also asked teachers to take ‘flight’; that is, we asked some of you to reconsider your decision to work in Kuwait until such time as Katherine Phillips is sent home to her family. We did this to place pressure on the Kuwaiti government to lift Katherine’s travel ban and to mobilize the American and other governments to come to her aid.
In closing we should all realize that Katherine was not the author of the policies at Al-Bayan School and that when a parent enrolls a child in a school they are agreeing to abide by the policies of the school. Muslim people are well-known for their forgiveness. We ask that all persons who feel they have been wronged by the Al-Bayan administrative system to work with the school to achieve a positive future for all involved
I do wish to express my sincerest appreciation and thanks to all of you who helped resolve Katherine’s situation, allowing her to return home safety to her loving parents.
It takes a whole village to raise a child
It also takes a whole village to support each member.
We are Katherine’s village today.
Someday in the future you may need your village to support you… And we will be there.
Feel the Love
Dr. Barbara Spilchuk and ISR