intelectual life of the pre-war Poland was an extraordinary phenomenon. It concentrated around academic centres in Lvow and Warsaw. That period contributed greatly to the history of Polish science and humanities. The highlights are development of modern logic (both pure and applied), mathematics such as set theory, functional analysis, topology, the philosophy of science, exact approaches to the analysis of natural language. The list scholars belonging to the above mentioned movements and their collaborators is broad. In this entry I wish to focus on three exceptional individuals: Alfred Tarski, Jan Łukasiewicz and Hugo Steinhaus. Alfred Tarski and Jan Łukasiewicz are prominent figures of the second generation of the Lvow-Warsaw School. Whereas Hugo Steinhaus is the founding father of the Lvow School of Mathematics and the post-war Mathematics Centre at the University of Wrocław. Besides being brilliant scientits they had non-standard personalities. Furthermore, their biographies reflect the fate of Europe in XXth century.
The Reality of Children at War
We all known that peace provides necessary conditions for the development, which lead to the prosperity. Fortunately, after the number of conflicts Europe enjoys time of stability and the general public shares pacifist mindset. We are all aware of our luck and work toward strengthening our peaceful values. These values are fragile and need a constant effort in order to uphold them. However, in other parts of the World conflicts tend to continue and there seems to be little prospect for the permanent ceasefire. We all have some general image of how the reality of war looks like. However, certain details seem to be overlooked and there are highly shocking. I reckon that the
most dramatic aspect of wars is a situation of children. Children are especially vulnerable to become the victims of conflicts perpetrated by adults. In this entry I wish to focus on the war from the perspective of children. I take as subject two especially vulnerable areas: (1) Africa (2) The Middle East.
Perhaps, you have already heard about Joseph Konny. Nevertheless, I provide here a brief recapitulation of his disturbing activity. Joseph Kony is the leader of Lord’s Resistance Army operating in Uganda, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. Kony’s aim is to establish a theocracy which will secure and sustain his power in the region. His ideas are grounded in ridiculous interpretation of the Bible and has little to do with Christian compassion and respect for the human life. Konny’s troops abduct and force children to become members of his army. Subsequently, boys are trained to be killing machines. Whereas girls are sexually abused and exploited when it comes to labour. They have to carry supplies and act as a military intelligence. Unfortunately, Konny was quite successful in his actions so far. More than 30.000 of young people
under the age of 18 were recruited to his army. After the heavy process of brainwashing children become his fanatical servants. As soldiers, very often they receive orders to attack their own family members. Those children who disobey Konny are tortured and injured in order to fulfil his sadistic passions. Governments of the Central Africa for a long time where despaired and hopeless. Relevant authorities lacked resources to combat Konny. International military and humanitarian aid was proved to be insufficient. Konny is a ‘famous’ man these days due to the short documentary movie which was released recently. Jacob is one of the main characters of a short documentary movie produced by the charity called nvisible Children. As any boy at his age Jacob has a dream. He desires to be a respectable lawyer. However, there were circumstances which provide incomprehensible obstacles when it comes to realizing his dream. Jacob was forced to directly observe his brother dramatic death. As many other he decided to try to escape an inhumane faith of Konny’s children. He used to hide, stay overnight in public spaces surrounded by huge group of children. He had to refrain from his education and dissociate with his family. His voice speaks for thousands of children in his region and millions around the globe who undergo a similar madness. The movie can be regarded as controversial. Definitely, at some point it is oversimplified and even childish. Furthemore, it does not touch upon complexity of African societies. Difficult situation arises from disadvantaged economical position, which are heritage of colonial era. Despite this somewhat critical tone I have to admit that charity called Invisible Children did a truly fantastic work. Thanks to this brave and righteous people the truth can reach the global audience. However, its basic message is that activism and commitment to the human orientated values pays off. Jacob is far much safer than he used to be. He is a smart and experienced boy, who definitely will be successful in his career path and work for the bright future of this community. Moreover, Konny’s influence gradually decreases and there is a high probability that he will be bring to justice. This movie provoked a discussion both in the West and in Africa. As usual we will have to take some time to see fruits of this work.
The Middle East
It is hard to believe but the war in Iraq started almost ten years ago. Just for a comparison recall that the Second World War lasted only for more than five years. Every time we hear about the instability, people being killed in bomb attacks, impossibility of coming to an agreement between Western powers and Iraqian people. It is not my aim here to judge and accuse the Western World of starting this madness. Nevertheless, the brute fact is that after all that years Iraq is devastated and prospects for the fast recovery are slim. It will take two forthcoming generations to put Iraq on the right track. At the moment, Iraq is devastated in all possible dimensions: (1) culturally (2) economically (3) morally. Its human potential is heavily reduced. Children grow up in mayhem and statistics are worrying. Literacy rate is considerably lower than the literacy rates of neighboring countries. Children are orphanaged and forced to beg and/or perform simple manual jobs like selling petrol, fruits, vegetables etc. Those children who that are in a certain sense lucky. They avoided serious injuries and being handicapped for the rest of their life. Those children who are victims of war are doomed to live in extreme poverty for the rest of their lives. What is less known
is the fact that Iraqi medical system is inefficient. First of all, there is an overwhelming number of people requiring medical attention and prolonged hospitalization. This requires substantial financial resources to sustain a decent quality of medical service. However, the necessary condition is not met. Trained medical staff is very sparse. During all that years doctors and nurses, following Iraqi intellectuals and academicians either left the country or were killed. We hardly hear about that in the news.
Furthermore, there is a concern about a procedure of trafficking of children from Iraq to Europe or neighbouring countries. At least the dozen of missing children are reported each week to the local authorities. The real number might be even much higher. Children are very often kidnapped or even sell by their own parents in order to gain financial benefits necessary to survive. War dehumanize affected population. A human being very often becomes an item of consumption. Nevertheless, a recent initiative of Unicef, the European Union and the government of Iraq gives a hope. The above mentioned bodies decided to launch a quality education programme designed to fit the needs of Iraqi Children. The programme has started in 2011 and will lost 2014. Its overall budget amounts to 15 milion Euros. The special focus on the young girls, who are significantly disadvantaged when it comes to education. Wisely, it was recognized that this young girls are are the future mothers of Iraqi population and they need to be sufficiently trained to face difficult task of undertaking basic medical attention of children and taking care of elementary education such as capacity to read, write and count. Furthermore, a significant number of children will be selected to handle more advanced task necessary for efficient organization of the country.
Perhaps, it is difficult to read that and experience of a feeling of impotency. What we can do in these circumstances? Unfortunately, the change does not come fast. At the personal level each of us can raise his own awareness and inform his relatives and friends. The social awareness is always the first and by far most important factor when it comes to altering the present course of events. There is a possibility of donating number of charities. You might also consider to talk to your local politicians and speak out loudly about these disturbing situations. We have the power of democratic tools in our hands. Our voice and vote counts. Please do not forget that despite the geographical distance these nightmare affect all of us. It affects us economically, psychologically and morally. I do hope that none of your relatives died in any conflict. The underlying idea is that of world which sustainably develops. Only sustainable development is a solution to Africa and the Middle East. The outcome will be the world of deprived of traumas and resentments triggering ideological, economical and religious tensions. The forthcoming generations have an innate right to live where
basic standards are met. It is so hard to see a smiling face of Iraqi child. I truly believe that such pictures will soon appear on the front covers of major newspapers and magazines, which will indicate that peace and stability is on its way.
Activity of our foundation is driven by a persistent and challenging question: how to uncover natural born talents and inner potential of every single human being? We strongly believe that each person is unique and definitely talented regardless of the social background, economic status and geographical location. The Project is called
‘The Fishing Rod’ which means giving a fishing rod instead of a fish. As the name itself suggests we do not aim at delivering solutions deprived of dynamism, creativity and heavy personal commitment. Instead, we wish to provide opportunities which will activate children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Our goal in mind is to help the above mentioned group of people to facilitate professional start. We begin in December 2011. Further information are given below.
It seems that a project with such ambitious aims has not been undertaken so far. We wish to direct our charitable activity toward children and youth (aged 4-25) who share dysfunctional family background. An ultimate goal of our project is to provide an opportunity for young people to discover their natural talents and passions. Due to our assistance we hope to convert their inner gifts into a full-blown professional skills.
Our program will be based on a long-standing practical experience of our trainers. Our team comprises of pedagogues and psychologists, who posses a vast theoretical knowledge, which on many occasions was successfully implemented in practice.
The very first action of our Foundation is to properly take care of children and youth, who reside in orphanages in the Western Pomeranian Voivodeship in Poland. We have already established a contact with a management of majority of orphanages in the above mentioned area. We are delighted to inform You that our ideas were received with an enthusiasm and acceptance. For a good (although somewhat modest start) we wish to gather children and decorate a Christmas Tree on Bialogard Market Square.
A rationale for doing that is to develop positive social relations and overcome a spirit of alienation. We believe that a mind of an adult starts to form at the early age. We need to create an atmosphere of cooperation and congeniality. We hope that this event will be significant enough in order to bring hope and the energy to face challenges in the New Year. In December 2011 we plan to be busy with the indoor and outdoor activities with emphasis on the artwork. Our aim is to discover natural talents of our children. Detailed plan of our Christmas initiative You will find on the website. Furthermore, we wish to establish a contact with academics of good will, who would be keen on to give lectures and presentations related to various fields of science and philosophy (including ethics).