Monthly Archives: February 2004

We Will Not Be Silent, They Screamed

I must say that I am very confused: while I support demonstrations against racism, those going on at Columbia this past week have been a flurry of contradictions. They screamed “we will not be silenced,” after receiving three days of continuous first page coverage by the Spectator, an article in the NY Times, and the personal attention of both President Bollinger of Columbia and President Shapiro at Barnard. Who is being silenced?
(To answer that, the Conservatives are. They, mere students, have been denounced and decried by practically everyone at this University. So much for a free market place of ideas. It’s one thing to call out a Professor, who is an employee of the University. Quite another to do so to students.)
Then, they screamed that Columbia is a racist institution and insinuated that Bollinger himself was racist and won’t admit it. This after Bollinger has gone to the Supreme court to protect Affirmative Action and Columbia continues to bring in more minority students than ever before.
So yes, Columbia still has a way to go in attracting African-Americans to its campus, but that also has to do with the structural problems with society that no measure of affirmative action will fix–which is why I personally oppose affirmative action. I feel that it glosses over the systematic underinvestment in inner-cities and only ends up helping those African-Americans who would anyway be able to help themselves, leaving the rest in the poverty-stricken ghetto.
Will anyone ask these questions in the open? If I still had my column, I would. Until then, I guess the PC will prevail.

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Racism on Columbia’s Campus and Bollinger

Quite a storm has developed in the Columbia Universe this week, with events following an anti-affirmative action bake sale–which, by the way, was led by an Asian, which I wouldn’t call a representative of normative culture–erupting into a full on war of accusations.
While I do completely condemn racism in all its forms, I find it quite interesting that Columbia’s President Lee Bollinger was willing to comment on this after he very clearly did not speak up when Tom Paulin made racist remarks calling for the death of Jews, or when he said that he would not comment on racism against any single group in the case of the AJC letter against anti-Semitism. [Here in PDF]
Yes, institutionalized racism against African Americans is a problem that needs to be dealt with, but so is the political correct anti-Semitism cropping up all over the place, including left-wing places such as adbusters and certainly Columbia’s own classrooms. When Professors single out an ethnic minority and attack it without balance they should be called to order. President Bollinger has failed to do it before, and it seems he would have done it again if it had not been politically correct to do so.
So here is my pitch, my open sentence to Bollinger: Yes, please condemn racism in all its forms, but in doing so do not forget to protect all groups, even those who it is not politically correct to defend.
Note: Zack Frank, the columnist who was brought in to replace, is quoted in an article as the president of the College Democrats. No disclaimer. I wonder what ideological bent the paper is taking…Also, as I noted before, the Columbia Conservatives are made up of mostly minorities–that is, practically no WASPs or representatives of the normative order. Not with the Dems. It makes me, as a Democrat, wonder why Bush can have a cabinet packed with minorities and we can’t.

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The Waters are Murky

Putting aside the fact that the Columbia University Spectator has become a quasi-high-school paper, with Sex columnists and a lack of journalistic standards which permit editors to write in the paper and presidents of clubs write about their own subject matter in their columns, what is really worrying is the way it turned on its head when it comes to Middle East Studies.
After firing Seth Anziska, Alex Rolfe and myself–the only writers who were willing to challenge the establishment, the Spec ran a number of articles to get on their good side, including Zack Frank’s and the News desk’s attacks on Title VI reform. The did not even think to fact-check Dean Anderson or Prof. Khalidi, although both clearly have a personal stake in the matter, after which they might have come up with interesting conclusions.
Along with this wave of sympathetic articles which do not even try to get to the bottom of what is going on at Columbia–as in why the University broke State and Federal Law withholding the name of a Saudi donor when passions were rising about the anonymously donated Said Chair–are other biased articles as well. Key example: today’s article on the Academic Bill of Rights.
While I could go into the article’s details, I’d rather point out the very obvious flag: David Horowitz is immediately called a “conservative pundit.” Sound like nothing? Check out this article then, where the speaker is never attached an ideological title.
The very fact that the paper felt it needed to preface the title “pundit” with “conservative” shows a lack of respect for diverse opinions, and provides a marker for others before reading the piece to make up their decisions based on ideologically narrow grounds.
Too bad that these are the minds of tomorrow; they are closed for business.

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There and Back Again

Just got back from a five day trip to LA, and will probably take a day or two to regroup, so forgive the lack of posting.
In the meanwhile, this is what I’ve been pondering: For years some have been saying that if you end the occupation, the terrorism will end too. So why is the world so upset that Sharon intends to unilaterally end the occupation of the Gaza Strip?
Where are all the Free Palestine-ers now? Why are they not marching in solidarity with the new Sharon, strengthening his hand to see him through with his pronouncement?

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Gas Chamber in North Korea

The accounts of gas chambers and human experimentation in North Korea are becoming more and more compelling, so that what I once was a rumor spread to justify a possible future invasion has now become in my eyes nearly irrefutable proof that the North Korean tyranny joined the club the Nazi’s opened half a century ago.
This report from the Telegraph documents China’s complicity in the affair as well, which leads me to conclude that two of the worlds most oppressive powers are colluding in more than just the silencing of dissidents.
Where is the UN Human Rights Commission? Amnesty International is pushing the “silent famine” but their website has nothing mentioning human experimentation. Where is the outrage from the human-rights community? The sad thing is that there will probably be none. The only hope is that The United States, which did not act to save the Jews from the gas-chambers half a century ago, learn its lesson and act now.

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The Dream World of Terrorism

Very interesting and intellectually important article today in the Wall Street Journal, entitled Murderous Fantasies.
The short of it is that in many cases we try to analyze acts of terror according to our own terms, ones with, at their basis, a more pragmatic understanding of reality.
Terrorists, on the other hand, use unreality–or fantasy–as their starting point, ignoring what we conceive of reality, saying that it is no more than an illusion.
Read the article. It’s short.

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My Money is with Masri

In a story that clearly highlights the horror the so-called Al-Aqsa Intifada is inflicting on ordinary Palestinians, the Toronto Star features an interview with Palestinian legislator Moa’wah al-Masri, where he makes the ultimate statement:

“Arafat is not concerned with rule of law,” says Masri. “He loves the fact that the leaders of the factions are beholden to him.
“All must beseech him, pay fealty. Because they know, if he truly had the will to do something about it, he could have the situation under control within 24 hours.”

It is time people realize that being against Arafat and the PA is being pro-Palestinian, in that Arafat and the PA have caused more damage to Palestinian rights than any other group. Israel is certainly responsible for a lot of suffering, but with other leadership, the Palestinian people could have been enjoying democracy at this point.
And that is why the claim that “It’s the Occupation, Stupid” is a load of crock. During Oslo, 97% of the Palestinian population was under Palestinian authority, and, if one remembers, the IDF did not have a serious presence in those areas. I remember that clearly because, as a peace-activist, I was in Ramallah and Gaza and did not see one Israeli soldier and certainly no tank.
It was Arafat and his cronies, not the occupation, which led to the current round of violence the second they realized that the Palestinians just might get a State, after which their control would necessarily diminish given Palestinian society’s penchant for democracy. Instead they foment war and bring down destruction on their own people. Masri is right–Arafat is the one benefiting from all this. So it is time for him to go. Forget the Road Map–just show him the road.

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