Wednesday 29 June 2011

The Wave

The Wave (2008)
Die Welle (original title)

Director: Dennis Gansel

Writers: Dennis Gansel, Todd Strasser (novel)

Stars: Jürgen Vogel, Frederick Lau and Max Riemelt

The film opens in a rush of energy with charismatic teacher Rainer Wegner beginning a week long class on autocracy. To indifferent students, it’s a hard sell, but Wegner gets an idea for an experiment: as their leader he asks the students to call him Mr Wegner, chooses the motto strength through discipline, creates a logo, decides that everyone wears a white shirt, and names the group, The Wave adding a secret sign reminiscent of a Nazi salute.

Much to their surprise the students find that they like the power of unity and soon this new found discipline spills over to other school activities and newcomers join the group. The Wave gives the kids something to believe in for a change, until they go too far and The Wave spins out of control.

The climax of the film is spine-chilling and there are moments throughout the movie when you can’t help but feeling uncomfortably seduced by the subject of fascism which Gansel wraps up carefully under the autocracy heading. The ending deviates from the original experiences of Ron Jones – the California teacher who was the inspiration the film and earlier book.


Tuesday 28 June 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
Expediency asks the question - is it political?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, popular, or political; but because it is right.

                                                           by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday 27 June 2011



We are all equal, but some seem to be more equal than others. We are all different, but some seem to be more different than others. Why?

Issues addressed
  • The identification of social success with economic success.
  • How social and economic factors diminish or raise the possibilities of personal development.
  • Those who are generally believed to be “socially successful people” do not normally give a life testimony to admire.

Aims of the activity
To identify and analyse: the basis of inequality of opportunities for the impoverished, the concept of success, what personal traits have those people we look up to.

Time: Approx. 2 hours

Group size: A minimum of 10 people, a maximum of 24.

• Large sheets of paper and coloured markers
• Pens and sheets of paper for making notes
• Tape to fix the pictures on the wall.

1. Divide the participants into working groups of a maximum of 6 per group. If possible there should be an even number of groups and not more than four.
2. Tell half the groups that they are to produce an “identikit picture” of someone who they consider to be a “social winner” in their society. Tell the other groups to produce an “identikit picture” of someone who they would consider a “social looser”
3. Tell everyone to start by listing the characteristics of their person, for example, social-economical level, education, profession or occupation, sex, ethnic group, habits, leisure time activities and hobbies, ways of dressing, opinions, ideas and values, family background, life style, type of housing, spending habits, themes or areas of interest, etc.
4. Now tell the groups to draw an identikit picture of their person on a large sheet of paper. This drawing should depict all the characteristics that they listed. It is very important that the pictures are graphic representations and no use is made of words. Allow 40 minutes for this.
5. Then get the groups to exchange their pictures, so that the groups who had to draw a “winner” swap with those who drew a ‘looser', and to interpret them. Allow 15 minutes for this.
6. Now display all the pictures on the wall where everyone can see them.
7. In plenary, ask each group in turn to present their interpretation of the drawing they received. The group who made the original drawing may not make comments at this stage.
8. Once all the groups have presented their interpretations, you may ask the groups who made the drawings to give their comments if they wish to add something. Allow 30 minutes for this.

Debriefing and evaluation:
Allow approximately 30 minutes for the discussion. Ask the groups to identify and discuss the criteria by which society attributes social success and failure; lack of equal opportunities for the impoverished; the characteristics of those people we admire; our responsibility as a global society to ensure equal opportunities for everybody.

The following questions may make the reflection and discussion easier:

  1. What are the main features of social success?
  2. And those of failure?
  3. What are the causes, the “roots” of success and failure? What factors determine the difference?
  4. Are the people represented in the ‘identikit’ picture found more often in some social groups, strata or classes than in others?
  5. Do people in all groups and social sectors of society have the same equality of opportunity to be successful? What social and economic factors determine these opportunities?
  6. Do these successful people usually make a contribution to the welfare of their society or other people in the world? What are the personal traits of these people?
  7. What personal characteristics do you admire in people? Do people need to have these characteristics to be socially successful?
  8. What can we do as a society to ensure everybody can have similar economic, educational, social, and cultural opportunities?
Tips for the facilitator:
Some participants may express difficulties in drawing the “identikit-picture” because they say they are “not good at drawing”. You may encourage them and stress that nobody is searching for a masterpiece but rather to use a form of communication other than speech. You should also be prepared to help by giving hints on how the characteristics on the list may be represented graphically or visually.

In the discussion draw out the point that if we identify social success with economic success we should realise that the person who is successful is not necessarily the one who achieves greater personal development or experience but only that one who manages to accumulate or earn the most riches. There is a saying in English: ‘money isn't everything’.

Social winners may be successful in some terms but do we think of them as life testimonies to follow, people we really look up to and admire? Who are the people you look up to and what qualities do you admire in them?

Suggestions for follow-up:
You could also consider what society could do about the factors which diminish the possibilities of economic, cultural and social development for most of the world, such as educational shortcomings or marginalisation due to issues such as belonging to a minority; economic and social hindrance, being forced into work, being hungry, etc.; which means that from the start some social groups are at a disadvantage compared to others.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Making the News


How good a news reporter would you be? This is a role-play activity

Issues addressed:
• How can the same events be interpreted differently by different people.
• The promotion of a broader vision of the world.

Aims of the activity:
• To experience reporting an event.
• To develop an understanding about how reporting becomes biased.
• To be more aware of how our own perceptions may be distorted.

Time: 90 minutes

Group size: 10 +

• Flip chart and pen.
• Tape for taping up flip charts.

1. Divide the group into two.
2. Ask one group to work together to develop a short 5-minute role-play based on an incident or event. This can be a real event or one made up involving conflict between two groups with different cultures or lifestyles.
3. When they are ready, ask the first group to perform the sketch to the second who play the roles of TV reporters who are covering the event.
4. As soon as the sketch is over ask the reporters to leave the room. Give them five minutes to think about what they have seen and to mentally prepare their report as if for the evening news bulletin. They are not allowed to write notes or to communicate with each other.
5. Then invite the reporters back into the room one at a time. Give each 3 minutes to make their 'report'.
6. Record each report on a separate piece of flip chart.
7. Once they have told their story, tell the reporters they may stay and listen to the other 'reports', but must make no comments.
8. At the end, when all reporters have told their story, tape the flip charts up round the room.
9. Ask the participants to compare the reports and talk about what they have learned.

Debriefing and evaluation:
Start by asking the reporters:
• What did you find easiest to remember and report?
• What was hardest?
• What did you do if you couldn't remember something exactly?

Then ask the actors:
• Were there any significant omissions in the reports?
• Did the reporters give an accurate report of the event?

Then open up the discussion to everybody:
• What do you expect in the news? Just a report of events or also comments and opinion?
• Do reporters generally make it clear what is fact and what is comment?
• How reliable do you think the news we get on the television is?

Tips for the facilitator:
Be prepared to offer information and examples of news, stories which have been shown to be biased.
Optional: Keep the activity alive by using a large frame to represent the TV and something to represent a microphone for the reporters.

The reporters represent journalists from different newspapers e.g. a right wing paper, a left wing paper, a tabloid, a foreign correspondent from another country etc. who report the story accordingly. During discussion talk about how the reports differed and whether the different 'view points' influenced the report.

Ask the questions:
• What influence do the owners, advertisers, links with political parties etc. have on what is    broadcast and on our understanding of the news?
  Is the way we think affected by this influence?

Thursday 23 June 2011

Consuming Kids

The film Consuming Kids is an eye-opening account of the pervasive and pernicious effects of children’s advertising on kids' health and well-being. This is an in-depth look at how children are manipulated and exploited, every moment of every day, to become the best consumers possible.

However, it fails to show the effects this rampant consumerism has on impoverished countries and on people, especially slave children, from these countries.

For this reason, if the film is used with the Study Guide (see below), it is advisable to also do one of the activities of this blog which helps us reflect upon the relationship that there exists between our consumerism and the impoverished.

If English is not your mother-tongue and you find it difficult to follow the dialogues, the Film Tapescript can be read on the following link:


Click on this link to see possible activities to do with students: 

Wednesday 22 June 2011

New Marketing Tactics Targeting Kids

   by Jeff Chester and Kathryn Montgomery

With the proliferation of media in children’s lives, marketing now extends far beyond the confines of television and even the Internet, into an expanding and ubiquitous digital media culture. The new “marketing ecosystem” encompasses cell phones, mobile music devices, instant messaging, videogames and virtual, three-dimensional worlds. New marketing practices in these diverse media environments are fundamentally transforming how corporations — notably including food and beverage companies — sell to young people.

The influx of brands into social networking platforms — where they now have their own “profiles” and networks of “friends” — is emblematic of the many ways in which contemporary marketing has all but obliterated the boundaries between advertising and editorial content. The unprecedented ability of digital technologies to track and profile individuals across the media landscape, and engage in “micro” or “nano” targeting, raises the twin specters of manipulation and invasion of privacy. The growing use of neuropsychological research suggests that digital marketing will increasingly be designed to foster emotional and unconscious choices, rather than reasoned, thoughtful decision making. The prospect of armies of avatars (virtual people), deployed as brand “salespersons” and programmed to react to the subtlest cues from other online inhabitants, suggests a disturbing move into uncharted territory for consumer-business relationships.

A number of these practices may be inherently exploitive and unfair, or even deceptive. For adults, they are problematic enough. For children and teens, they pose even greater risks. When used to promote certain food products, the aggregation of these new marketing tactics could worsen the childhood obesity epidemic, which is already contributing to rising rates of heart and circulatory illnesses, depression and other mental illnesses, respiratory problems, and Type II diabetes, a disease that used to strike only adults.

Mobile Marketing

Saturday 18 June 2011

Participation and Education in the Landless People’s Movement of Brazil (THIRD PART)

by Tristan McCowan

Laboratory of Public Policy, University of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil








Participation within the MST education system

As with all aspects of MST organization, the education system has an elaborate series of structures designed to ensure the participation of all. This occurs at the level of the individual community as well as in terms of the decisions made by the movement at the regional or national level.

The following entities are found in the communities:

The general assembly is composed of all the members of the community, meets once or twice a year and discusses and approves the overall plan for the school as well as other significant or controversial matters.

The education team is composed of a representative number of teachers, pupils and community members and meets monthly. Here the details and implementation of the overall plan are discussed. Like all MST nuclei, the community representatives are chosen by direct vote by the community as a whole and are accountable to the general assembly. The pupils are generally chosen by their classmates, and all the teachers are normally represented.

The teachers’ collective involves all the teachers, and customarily meets once a week to organise the day-to-day running of the school, including lesson-planning, special activities and the ‘generative themes’ (cross-curricular topics of study).

The pupils’ collective organizes those tasks for which the pupils have responsibility, such as the school pharmacy, meals or assemblies. It also provides suggestions on the general plan of the school as it affects the students. The age of the representatives and the selection procedure depend on the individual community.

These bodies are intended to give all those with a stake in education the chance to contribute and have their voice heard. There are efforts to make the national co-ordination equally participative. Teachers from the different regions and states meet periodically to exchange ideas and to train; co-ordinators also meet to discuss progress and problems. The National Education Sector is comprised of representatives from each of the states, and elected by the co-ordinators, who pass on the experiences of the individual schools in their area. In this way decision-making at the national level is intended to emerge form the experiences on the ground.

i) Community

In educational work worldwide there is little argument that the involvement of parents and the local community in the schooling of children is beneficial to the general efficiency of the school and to pupil’s learning (Hawes and Stephens 1990). The MST shares this view, but extends it in significant ways.

Community members are seen to be able to participate in the following ways:

Friday 17 June 2011

Participation and Education in the Landless People’s Movement of Brazil (SECOND PART)

by Tristan McCowan

Laboratory of Public Policy, University of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil







Understandings of participation in the MST

If it is to be part of the movement, a school must have the involvement of all, in an organised, participative and democratic way.

MST understandings of participation in education go beyond the involvement of parents in the schooling of their child, or pupil choice in curriculum matters (though these elements are also present). Participation in the MST is based on the movement’s ideal of radical democracy.

For us democracy is not just a detail, a word. It is one of the fundamental pillars of our pedagogical framework and our plan of social transformation.
To consider democracy a pedagogical principle means, according to our educational framework, that it is not enough for students to study or discuss it; they need also, and most importantly, to experience an arena of democratic participation, educating themselves for social democracy.
In other words in order to prepare people for democracy and participation through education, the educational system itself must be run on the democratic principles it is trying to promote.

The MST believes that socialism is only possible with grassroots participative bodies, rather than a centralized decision-making structure. For this end, each camp or settlement has elaborate systems of democratic representation, feeding information up to local, state and national levels who are intended to act as co-ordinating and not directing entities.

The relationship between the participative groups is that of ascending and descending democracy. That is to say the issues are discussed in the grassroots nuclei and then approved in the general co-ordinating body. They are then implemented with a distribution of responsibilities.
The co-ordination has a part, but decisions in the MST are really taken by the people.
Participation is seen here to be closely linked to the idea of the collective, a fundamental principle of the movement. Firstly, the educational work itself must be carried out collectively:

The big and even the little activities of day-to-day life in the school must be planned collectively…. Where the planning is concentrated in a few heads (from top to bottom) there is no democracy….
The document is clear to point out that collective planning does not mean the involvement of all people in all decisions: there must be a combination of participation and division of tasks.
Education must then prepare people for living collectively. Effective participation is usually seen as occurring via a group or collective, rather than as isolated individuals. This has implications in terms of the ability of members of the MST to participate in society outside of the movement, an important issue that will be discussed further below. Nevertheless, despite the emphasis on collectivism and rejection of the cultural legacy of individualism, the MST stops short of discarding the individual altogether:

However, this does not mean sidelining the person: on the contrary all the pedagogical principles that we are dealing with here have the person as their central focus; not the isolated individual, but the subject of relationships, with other people, with collectives and with a particular social and historical context.

Participation and Education in the Landless People’s Movement of Brazil (FIRST PART)

by Tristan McCowan

Laboratory of Public Policy, University of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil

The Landless People’s Movement of Brazil (MST) fits uncomfortably into any simplistic categorization of contemporary society. It is a political organization engaged in the struggle for land reform, while at the same time developing radical new forms of grassroots democracy, environmental care and co-operative production. It is a constant foe of the government, implementing an almost unending series of occupations of land and public buildings, and yet runs its settlements and schools in partnership with state bodies. It has a strong hierarchical structure and at the same time a deep involvement of all members in short and long term policy making. While having an atavistic and romantic attachment to the land and traditional agriculture, the movement is committed to a modern progressive education for all in the communities.

Perhaps it is this unusual combination that explains its remarkable success. Starting in the early 1980s from a unification of various landless people’s mobilizations in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, the movement has grown into a vast national enterprise. Through its non-violent land occupations, intended to pressurize the government into fulfilling its constitutional obligations as regards the redistribution of idle farmland, the MST has won 15 million acres for land reform (an area almost the size of the Republic of Ireland), and created 1,500 agricultural communities, settling over 250,000 families.

Its achievements have been no less remarkable in the area of education. Recognizing the needs of the many children in the new settlements, a series of makeshift ‘itinerant’ schools were established, led by the few qualified teachers from among the landless and by committed educators from the nearby towns. As the settlements became permanent communities, these were gradually converted into officially recognised public schools. In light of the specific needs of the rural world and those of a radical social movement a new pedagogy and philosophy of school organization emerged, based on the movement’s principles of social justice, radical democracy and humanist and socialist values. The movement now runs over 1,200 schools, educating approximately 150,000 children, as well as 25,000 young people and adults in literacy courses.

An area in which the work of the MST is of particular significance to social movements worldwide, and to public policy in general, is that of participation. Almost all the landless joining the movement come from a state of acute exclusion: the task of the movement is to enable them to participate in the different spheres of society - political, economic and cultural - and to exercise their full rights as citizens. However, in addition to this, the movement aims to enable a still deeper form of participation, one in which the individual and the community have a real influence on the formation of those societal structures in which they are participating.

Frameworks of participation

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Two Wolves

Indian folklore: Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all."

One is EVIL: It is anger, envy, jealously, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, and ego.

The other is GOOD: It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, generosity, truth and faith.

The grandson thought for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Possible questions to discuss with students: 
  1. Which wolf do you feed? Discuss.
  2. In what ways are you feeding it? Discuss.
  3. Why do we sometimes want to feed one wolf but end up feeding the other one?
  4. What steps can we take to be consistent in feeding the right one?
  5. Is it easier to be consistent if the right wolf becomes stronger?
  6. Think of some consequences for other people and for yourself of feeding one wolf and some of feeding the other? 

The Grammar of Fantasy: An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories

The Grammar of Fantasy:
An Introduction to the Art of Inventing Stories,
by Gianni Rodari

One of the most elusive characteristics in Reggio Emilia is the relationship between fantasy and reality in the daily doings. In The Grammar of Fantasy, written in beautiful, accessible and poetic language, a teacher who wants to learn how to help children make stories has here all the tools she or he needs. 

Playing with language is something that comes easily to some of us. It feels like a gift, like perfect pitch. But Gianni Rodari shows us how to invite others into the games we play with language. He tried this out at Diana School in Reggio Emilia and gave a series of lectures there in 1972. This book tells us some of the stories he made up, but far more important shows us the process of making up stories, by oneself, in a group, and giving the tools to the children so they can do it also. Their stories are quite perfect, and, like children's drawing and painting, have a quality which charms both adults and children in the audience. 

Schools have traditionally relegated imagination to a very small place, valuing memory and attention much more highly. This book leads us into imagination. It shows us how we can help children use their images — pictures in their minds which have importance and meaning to them — and make wonderful creations from them. 

So Rodari talks about "The Fantastic Binomial" that is, the ability of the mind, given two words that normally are not related, say, streetcar and refrigerator, to make a connection, a story, that is satisfying. Children can do this too, as is illustrated in the book with stories about "light and shoes" and "dog and closet". What would the children in your class do, if presented with such word-pairs? 

And he talks about hypotheses: What if a lion walked into the police station? And "fairytale salad" What if Cinderella bumped into Tom Thumb on the way to meeting the wolf, what then?

Monday 13 June 2011

Alvin Toffler on Education

Alvin Toffler (born October 4, 1928 in New York City) is an American writer known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity.

A former associate editor of Fortune magazine, his early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). Then he moved to examining the reaction of and changes in society. His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

How to Buy a Child in 10 Hours

Laying blame on Haiti to end its own problem with trafficking of children and child sexual slavery ignores the root causes of trafficking of children worldwide. Child trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. UNICEF values the global market of child trafficking at over $12 billion a year with over 2 million child victims. Men, women and children are all victims but, the most vulnerable groups, those with limited rights or protections, have been the hardest hit… especially children.

Trafficking children into the sex industry is done because of the extreme poverty reigning in Haitian society and because there is a demand. Predators seek out vulnerable victims and lure them under false pretenses into situations they cannot escape from. Children have become sexual commodities to be bought and sold for the pleasure of exploiters. 

The documentary below was released about 19 months before the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in January, 2010. The situation of child trafficking in Haiti has become considerably worse since then.



Click here to Read the Script of the Documentary

Trafficking of Haitian Children

31 January 2011
Jesuit Refugee Service's report

Santo Domingo, 24 January 2011 – A large number of Haitian street children in the Dominican capital are not, as previously presumed, displaced victims of last year's earthquake, but rather victims of child trafficking.

According to the preliminary findings of a report by the Jesuit Refugee Service in the Dominican Republic, many children brought to the country are child slaves.

The despair and trauma created by the 12-January earthquake in Haiti has contributed to the already existing vulnerability of the population, thus benefiting human trafficking networks on both sides of the border, the report said.

Both Haitian and Dominican authorities were accused of complicity in many cases of smuggling and human trafficking. JRS called for action to end this practice and urged that those responsible be held accountable for these crimes. 

The report highlights that among the many causes of trafficking, is the tendency of Haitian parents living in the Dominican Republic to mistakenly trust traffickers to bring their children into the country. Moreover, the report encouraged human rights organisations to establish strategic alliances with the authorities in order to monitor trafficking-related activities.

The children, the report continues, are brought into the country to work as beggars, street vendors, prostitutes, drug dealers, shoeshine boys, domestic servants in Haitian and Dominican families, and as cheap labour on building sites and farms. According to another study carried out by JRS in Wanament in 2009, the owners of the discos and bars in question pay the traffickers a fixed amount for young Haitians.

More troubling is the fact that many of the minors reported being sexually abused on the journey from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. The preliminary findings state that trafficking has increased since the 12-January 2010 earthquake.

According to the report, since February 2010, the Juanistas Sisters in Wanament have assisted in 67 cases of trafficked persons: 55 children, eight women and four men. The Haitian police estimate that infants sell for approximately 400 euro for adoption and 40,000 euro for organs.

Preliminary findings suggest that this is the alarming situation for many young Haitians brought to tourist zones, such as Puerto Plata, and used as escorts in bars and discos.

Northern border areas

Based on information collected from NGOs in border areas in northern Haiti like Cap-Haitian and Wanament, it is presumed that high percentages of these street children are in fact victims of trafficking.

For more information about the same topic,
CLICK HERE to see the documentary HOW TO BUY A CHILD IN 10 HOURS

Innocent Voices

(2004, Mexico) A young boy, in an effort to have a normal childhood in 1980's El Salvador, is caught up in a dramatic fight for his life as he desperately tries to avoid the war which is raging all around him.

Director: Luis Mandoki

Writers: Luis Mandoki (screenplay), Oscar Orlando Torres (screenplay)

Stars:Carlos Padilla, Leonor Varela and Xuna Primus

Innocent Voices has already been screened at a number of Human Rights Film Festivals and it has also received many awards.

Its subject is the civil war in El Salvador in the 1980s and the critique of the aid, military and financial, which the US government had given to the El Salvador regime and to the training of Latin American forces at the School of America.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Changing Education Paradigms

This animation was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert.

Why don't we get the best out of children? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it's because we've been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies -- far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity -- are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. "We are educating people out of their creativity," Robinson says.

Monday 6 June 2011

Master of Puppets, by Metallica

D'u wanna be a puppet or take charge of your life?

Lyrics (about drugs)

End of passion play, crumbling away
I'm your source of self-destruction
Veins that pump with fear, sucking darkest clear
Leading on your deaths construction
Taste me you will see
More is all you need
Dedicated to
How I'm killing you

Come crawling faster
Obey your Master
Your life burns faster
Obey your Master. Master

Nails in the Fence

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.  The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.  Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.  He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.  The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.  He said, "You  have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife in a man and draw it out.  It won't matter how  many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there."

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.  Friends are very rare jewels, indeed!  They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.  They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts  to us."