Calliope Witherington on Fri, 22 Feb 2002 23:57:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Commander Europa

Dear Mr. Reinprecht,

I am overseeing a committee charged with cataloguing, classifying, and
analyzing the dissemination of information concerning supra- and
transnational political and trade entities to young people around ten
years of age.

We are especially interested in studying any and all texts by Earth's
largest trading blocs that aim to clarify to young children the policies
of those blocs, especially as regards their goodwill and concern for the
citizenry and for children in general.

We have already performed several highly respected comparative and
analytical studies on texts in this category. Such texts include, for
example, the Organization of American States' "Chant to the OAS," which
conveys the OAS's benefits to children everywhere through the use of
rhythm and rhyme ( 

Others include the World Trade Organization's recently commissioned
graphic novel, "Never Better," that cleverly explains to poor African
children, through the use of football metaphors, the benefits of free
world trade and the evils of protectionism; NATO's 1999 "Here's Where They
Fall," a beautiful alphabet picture-book communicating to small Serbian
children the purpose and value of the NATO bombings; and "Color Me
Free"--"Colorame Libro"--the IMF's coloring-book explanation of modern
economic policies for young South Americans.

It is in this spirit that we are very interested in your use of the
Commander Europa item of which I have recently read an account (at, half way down
the page). As head of the European Parliament's Information Office in
Vienna, your choice of this book is very interesting to us, especially in
light of the fact that it is being distributed to all Austrian pupils from
10 to 14.  

The following questions will help us to accomplish our analytical task:

* As representative of the European Parliament you have a great
responsibility to assure that the materials that best and most clearly
convey the spirit and aims of the European Union reach the children of the
member states. You evidently feel that Commander Europa does this quite
well, at least so far as Austria is concerned. Could you cite specific
examples from the book that convinced you to choose it?

* You say, at,
that "For years we have been bringing older pupils to Strasbourg. For
younger ones there is nothing, that can make the EU more understandable.  
Now, with this book, we are doing something for the voters of tomorrow."  
Could you be more specific? What is the effect you would like to see
Commander Europa have on the voters of tomorrow? What elements of the
Commander Europa book might accomplish this? Specific examples would help
us greatly in our evaluation.

* With which of author Thomas Brezina's other books does Commander Europa
have the most in common? Dragonheart? Knickerbocker-Club? Tiger-Team?

* Do you hope/expect to see Commander Europa translated into other
European languages, or is it specifically appealing to Austrians, in your

* What is your opinion of Captain Euro (,
another text product geared to clarifying pan-European economic policy for
young children? Is there any relationship between Commander Europa and
Captain Euro, on any level, in your opinion?

I thank you very much for your attention and help in this matter, and wish
you the best of luck in the complex and gruelling task of conveying the
right information at the right age.

With very best wishes,

Calliope Witherington
Child Information Study Group

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