'A Growing Hunt for Heretics'?

"Civility" has always been a convenient pretext for excluding certain people and ideas from the academy, which I imagine is why the national AAUP voiced reservations about it. There is some irony, first of all, that such terms as "civility" and "collegiality" were often used in the postwar years to justify the exclusion of Jewish faculty. That is just one instance when a threat to civility has really meant "too ethnic for our comfort"—though it could also mean "too leftist" or “too feminist.” It is especially troubling, then, that the university has used the term to trump the internal decision-making of an ethnic-studies program—and a program of American Indian studies, no less, as though the natives were not capable of civil conduct if left to their own devices.

Because it is a term without any concrete professional meaning, “civility” can be conveniently deployed by reactionaries who find certain ideas unpleasant or threatening to their worldview. If it were going to be applied in a meaningful way, a college would need to develop specific policies on civility and classroom climate with transparent forums of review. Such a policy would have to take into account a faculty member’s entire record: student evaluations, peer evaluations from colleagues on campus and beyond, cases of departmental or campus censure if they exist. So far as I know, none of those professionally significant records indicate that Steven Salaita is a motiveless malignity. We are left, then, with a case built on speculative conclusions drawn from tweets. I hope that there was outside political pressure involved, because the alternative explanation is a deadly combination of administrative sloppiness and autocracy. It is just plain lazy to confine your evaluation of a scholar’s record to media allowing 140 or fewer characters.

(Source : chronicle.com)

This is how you lose her.

You lose her when you forget to remember the little things that mean the world to her: the sincerity in a stranger’s voice during a trip to the grocery, the delight of finding something lost or forgotten like a sticker from when she was five, the selflessness of a child giving a part of his meal to another, the scent of new books in the store, the surprise short but honest notes she tucks in her journal and others you could only see if you look closely.

You must remember when she forgets.

You lose her when you don’t notice that she notices everything about you: your use of the proper punctuation that tells her continuation rather than finality, your silence when you’re about to ask a question but you think anything you’re about to say to her would be silly, your mindless humming when it is too quiet, your handwriting when you sign your name in blank sheets of paper, your muted laughter when you are trying to be polite, and more and more of what you are, which you don’t even know about yourself, because she pays attention.

She remembers when you forget.

You lose her for every second you make her feel less and less of the beauty that she is. When you make her feel that she is replaceable. She wants to feel cherished. When you make her feel that you are fleeting. She wants you to stay. When you make her feel inadequate. She wants to know that she is enough and she does not need to change for you, nor for anyone else because she is she and she is beautiful, kind and good.

You must learn her.

You must know the reason why she is silent. You must trace her weakest spots. You must write to her. You must remind her that you are there. You must know how long it takes for her to give up. You must be there to hold her when she is about to.

You must love her because many have tried and failed. And she wants to know that she is worthy to be loved, that she is worthy to be kept.

And, this is how you keep her.

– Junot Díaz, This is How You Lose Her

Dangerous possibilities

The Punjabi Taliban are ideologically committed militants who believe in a global jihad complex, which is why their announcement of ending their so-called armed struggle inside Pakistan has left the door open to armed struggle being waged outside Pakistan.

Satisfaction then at the latest development in the world of militancy here can only mean one thing: the policy of good militant/bad militant continues and the security establishment continues to see some kind of a significant role for the religious right and good militants in the national discourse.

That is deeply troubling because it suggests that no lessons have been learned, and it sets the stage for even greater problems down the road.

By seeking to mainstream rabid ideologues wedded to violence and the overthrow of the Pakistani state, the security establishment is creating a pincer in which the state and society will eventually be caught: on the one side the armed militants who refuse to give up violence; on the other the political militant handed a ticket to mainstream society and politics.

Surely, that is a pincer that no state or society can survive for very long.

Everything that Muawiya and his ilk stand for is in direct opposition to what Pakistan ought to be. It is a ruinous strategy that seeks to empower them further.

(Source : dawn.com)

It is useful to bear in mind that the crimes could have been even worse. Suppose, for example, that the attack had gone as far as bombing the White House, killing the president, imposing a brutal military dictatorship that killed thousands and tortured tens of thousands while establishing an international terror center that helped impose similar torture-and-terror states elsewhere and carried out an international assassination campaign; and as an extra fillip, brought in a team of economists — call them “the Kandahar boys” — who quickly drove the economy into one of the worst depressions in its history. That, plainly, would have been a lot worse than 9/11. Unfortunately, it is not a thought experiment. It happened. The only inaccuracy in this brief account is that the numbers should be multiplied by 25 to yield per capita equivalents, the appropriate measure. I am, of course, referring to what in Latin America is often called “the first 9/11”: September 11, 1973, when the U.S. succeeded in its intensive efforts to overthrow the democratic government of Salvador Allende in Chile with a military coup that placed General Pinochet’s brutal regime in office.

– Noam Chomsky

The only special thing about 9/11 is that the victims were White. Otherwise, non-White people die in dozens everyday at the hands of the US and Europe and nobody knows or cares about them.