When it rains…

Did you know that Arafat is in critical condition? I didn’t. Not till now, anyway.
Truth is, I’ve been trying to deal with the fall-out from the misunderstanding generated by people who did not view the documentary and are claiming that we in any way are intent on the firing of Joseph Massad.
Personally, I think Massad should not be a professor at Columbia University. I’ve said that before publicly. But I do not think he should not be a professor due to his views–I wholeheartedly support Rashid Khalidi’s presence at this University and would argue my case for that with anyone. A vast spectrum of political views are necessary for a healthy academic environment.
The reason Massad is an issue to me–and again, to me, not saying that this is the focus of the documentary–is that Massad plain and simple abused students, intimidating them into silence. And you certainly do not have to take my word for it–it never happened to me, by Massad, that is. The fact is that student after student have come forward with horror stories, and, once the documentary is publicly screened (which means, once the students are comfortable with taking the chance that they will be making their names and faces public, thereby making themselves vulnerable to more intimidation) you will have the chance of seeing it for yourself.
That is why today’s article in the Spectator was close but no cigar. Instead of focusing on the abuse done to students, it dealt with the ramifications of that abuse on the professors. It is as if an article about a sexual harassment case would focus on how the CEO is handling the accusation, totally forgetting to mention that the abuse took place.
Back to Arafat: I hope that the Palestinian people bless themselves with a better leader once Arafat passes. The make-up of Palestinian civil society, and their history of social involvement, certainly bears promise for a future democracy in the region that comes to fruition out of its own accord–and auto-emancipation if you will. Maybe with Arafat out of the way it will finally come happen, and the dream will be realized.

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