Monthly Archives: December 2004

The Future’s Past on Columbia

Combing through the articles having to do with the Columbia University controversty for the press section of the Columbians for Academic Freedom website, I came across this interesting piece in the New York Daily News from May 7, 2004 (below what I personally think is a misguided editorial about Rumsfeld).
In it, the Daily News staff wrote:

Now, prompted by a protest last year at which a teacher said he hoped the U.S. had “a million Mogadishus” in Iraq, Bollinger has a panel studying the limits of free expression and academic freedom. He expresses his views in an interview on the opposite page.
The committee’s charter does not include rooting out propaganda in classrooms. That responsibility resides with Bollinger, and he must pursue the task based on carefully drawn standards. While he does not believe professors are grading based on agreement with political positions, there is at least a perception that some students, and teachers, are being stifled, as witnessed by the concerns voiced by Miron and Khalidi. No one on the campus should feel that way.
Bollinger also admits that Columbia’s Middle Eastern scholarship has not been comprehensive. It’s astonishing, for example, that Columbia does not offer much in the way of courses on 20th-century Israel. Bollinger says he’s working to fill that gap. The sooner the better, because the university must have rigorously academic firepower on all sides of the debate.

May 7, 2004, you might ask? That’s over half-a-year ago! Yes, that blue-ribbon committee did not even have a tenth of the personal and professional ties to the professors and departments in question such as the new-and-improved committee the administration is trying to have us cooperate with today, and yet that did not stop it from completely white-washing the affair, saying that the committee had “not found claims of bias or intimidation.” His words are important: “no claims,” not “upon a thorough investigation of the charges brought up by the film whose transcript we were read and which we were offered to see we have found that the claims…” No, since the film was not yet public he denied that the claims even existed. Did he know otherwise? Could it be that the people who work for him kept this information from him?
That is what I would call the textbook definition of a whitewash.
I found a lot more looking through the archives of the Spectator, such as this exchange of letters between the renowned composer John Corigliano and the chair of MEALAC, Hamid Dabashi–certainly required reading to remind us that this issue has been alive for too long, and the Administration has attempted to cover it up too much. [crossposted]


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Free Kurdistan

At first I thought that Iraq would only have a chance if it would stay united. Now I think that I have no right to tell the Kurds what to do, and neither does the world. So news of the 1.7 Million Kurds that have asked the UN for a vote on autonomy has got me thinking about Kurdish independence, and this piece by the NYTimes has me thinking also about NATO and the UN’s responsibility to pressure Iran and Turkey to not attack a future Kurdish state.
I believe in the need for a free and independent Palestine in peace with its neighbors–how can I reject the idea of a free and independent Kurdistan in peace with its neighbors? Why is the international community so quick to recognize the national aspirations of one people and not another?

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The World’s Loss

I am unable to finish reading any story about the victims of the tsunami–I hardly get to the end of a sentence without having to gasp for air.
The one thing I would like to say about the tsunami is that it reminds us how fragile humanity is–how it takes no more than a flood to wipe us from the face of the earth. The most famous of floods, the biblical flood, came because of humanity was not using the gifts given to it, or so the Bible tells us. I hope that we will be able to come together as a collective actor to help those in need, and to rethink our actions in this coming year to fully utilize our gifts. And I hope that our leadership realizes the fragility of humanity and starts to work to bring us together, instead of to tear us apart.

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Working on the other website

I know, I know, I promised to start updating again. But I want to finish my work on the Columbians for Academic Freedom website.
It’s up and I’m being lazy and using the basic design from this website–so if you have any suggestions for design email me.
Once it is up and running I’ll be able to add a student bloggers and, hopefully, we’ll finally have our own voice on the web.

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Testing, testing New Weblog

Ah, new weblog…Christine from Verve Hosting has been gracious and helped me re-do a weblog…so I’m going to play around with the code and design for a while and hope to have a new site up in the next few days.
Sorry for the wait.

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