Campus Watch or self-serving self-policing?
To: Dr. Juan Cole, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Michigan
To: America’s Academe
From: Zahir Ebrahim, Project Humanbeingsfirst.org – The Plebeian Antidote to Hectoring Hegemons
Subject: Inquiry regarding your concerns on academic speech squelch by Campus Watch and the role of the academic
Date: Written April 24, 2005 (through May 15, 2005)*
Dear Professor (s) of Middle Eastern Studies in the United States of America
I would like to begin once again by greeting you with my traditional salutation: Assalaam O Alekum – May Peace be with all of you.
This letter is my second inquiry. It assumes knowledge of the contents of my first inquiry letter “The fine art of academic scholarship for Zion” (PDF) concerning the American and Israeli Academic’s general affirmation of “Israel’s right to exist”, as specifically espoused in your article The new McCarthyism. In this second inquiry letter, I re-explore – evidently the unobvious or it would not need re-exploration – the concerns about academic McCarthyism on the rebound in America in its sacred defense of Zion, that were raised in your aforementioned article, as well as in the article: Can a “Patriot” Mob Take over the Universities by the Israeli academic from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Baruch Kimmerling. This ubiquitous discourse on speech-squelch by America’s Campus Watch, with anemic echoes from its first state, the state of Israel, continues to miss some core presuppositional axioms of empire while berating its effects.
Footnote [*Editor’s Note October 2013 This open letter was perhaps never fully completed and never emailed to Dr. Juan Cole when first composed in April-May 2005; certainly it was never published. Serendipitously rediscovered in the author’s archives in October 2013, and finding the incisive inquiry most pertinent even eight years later, it is finally published, mostly AS IS, for what little its worth before the mighty guns of Zionism. The reader can see that the oppression has only gotten worse for the Palestinians, aided and abetted as the criminal Jewish colonization and resettlement of Palestine is by the brilliant American Academic in all its confabulations. The footnotes, unfortunately intermingled with the main text, are also left as is. The citations in web-links are circa 2005 and may not be accessible today. The author’s subsequent works have penetrated deeper into the rabbit hole of how the world of superman scholarship in the Western academe craftily bows in silent omissions not only before the presuppositions of Zion while playing dissent with it, but before all presuppositions of the establishmentarian system:  see The Dying Songbird by Zahir Ebrahim where the full gamut of respectable Western dissent, from Dr. Juan Cole (light-moderate – the dissent-lite genre) to Dr. Noam Chomsky (left – the radical genre) to Dr. Ron Paul (right – the respectable genre), is situated in the toolkit of “democratic” statecraft that requires illusions in as much necessity as its guns and butter ;  see Dr. Juan Cole in Songbird or Superman – You Decide! ;  see How many Jews does it take to confuse me?, in: Pamphlet: The Invisible House of Rothschild ;  see Vladimir Jabotinsky boldly defining the moral value proposition of Zionism in his seminal 1923 article ‘The Iron Wall’, in: Pamphlet: How to Return to Palestine 2nd Edition ;  witness the ubiquitous scholarly silence on to whom the infamous Balfour Declaration is addressed in the diabolically most brilliant piece of treacherous wording that gave the first ‘legal cover’ by the fiat of British imperial power to the theft of Palestine, in the opening pages of the same pamphlet (Ibid.) ;  understand soft Zionists, those who play dissent with Zion while axiomatically holding on to the core value propositions of Zionism, deconstructed in The endless trail of red herrings ;  see the lofty moral claims to the mantle of Plato by the Western academic who boldly claims responsibility as an intellectual to tell the truth, dismantled in Responsibility of Intellectuals – Redux ;  see the author’s principled defence of Jewish American academic Norm Finkelstein by separating the Zionist chaff from the Christian American wheat in: Letter to President DePaul U. On deconstructing the hullabaloo surrounding Finkelstein’s tenure, April 29, 2007 ;  see the Hegelian Dialectic of Dissent brilliantly choreographed by The Mighty Wurlitzer which most eruditely runs circles around the public mind, scrutinized in: A Note on the Mighty Wurlitzer: Architecture of Modern Propaganda for Psychological Warfare ;  and finally, to glean a perceptive understanding of why the American academe only produces “likkha-parrha-jahils” to willingly “United we stand” with the core axioms and key presuppositions of the establishment no different than the Third Reich’s academe under Nazi Socialism, despite America’s plentiful Ivy Leagues and over 2000 industrious universities and colleges from its brilliant sea to shining sea, see The Fable of the Bees: The Seduction of Science and Technology .]
“The fact is that you will never get agreement on such matters of opinion, and no university teacher I know seeks such agreement. The point of teaching a course is to expose students to ideas and arguments that are new to them and to help them think critically about controversial issues. Nothing pleases teachers more than to see students craft their own, original arguments, based on solid evidence, that dispute the point of view presented in class lectures. That is why the New York Times editorial is so wrong, and so dangerous. University teaching is not about fairness, and there is no body capable of imposing “fair” views on teachers. It is about provoking students to think analytically and synthetically, and to reason on their own. In the assigned texts, in class discussion, and in lectures, the students are exposed to a wide range of views, whether fair or unfair.” — Juan Cole, The New McCarthyism, published April 23, 2005 by Salon.com, http://commondreams.org/views05/0423-20.htm
Before I begin, I must commend the handful of American-Israeli academics’ outspoken defense in the above articles of the beleaguered Middle Eastern studies department faculty at Columbia University, and in defense of academic freedom in principle. Please permit me to make the not so unobvious an observation that the Columbia faculty is only suffering the delayed retribution for the late distinguished scholar, Professor Edward Said. While the Palestinian icon and iconoclast was alive and teaching, and able to out argue any opponent with his uncompromising intellectual honesty, his Zionist antagonists could do little but to wring their hands. Now that a new younger generation has taken over his seasoned mantleship at Columbia, Campus Watch is exercising only its brazen brown-shirting to do what could not be done to Edward Said; the persistent gadfly in their midst bearing testimony to the mendacity of power – which is why the Zionist squelch-attempts are so pronounced at Columbia University today. This bit of contextual history is missing in the above mentioned articles and in most narratives on the subject. It might do well to bear that fact in mind – the inheritors of Edward Said carrying on his distinguished mantle, just as he carried on the mantle of Socrates and Plato, and proudly bearing the brunt of cheap shots that would not so easily stick to their erstwhile mentor while he was among us – as history no more begins in the present than the red herring blowback question of “why they hate us”* begins on September 11, 2001. But both sell books and win accolades.
Footnote [* William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II ; Zoltan Grossman, A Century of US Military Interventions From Wounded Knee to Afghanistan, in the book: Why Do People Hate America by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies. ]
This brazen fact hardly need be pointed out to distinguished academicians of Columbia’s department of Middle Eastern studies, but does need explicit articulation to remind the rest of us onlookers not bearing the brunt of the frontal assault by Campus Watch and its assets. And in this, the young faculty at Columbia University may find some gratification – for, if the mendacious power-brokers and their agents, assets, and sayanims, aren’t attacking hard, the scholar isn’t doing her job well enough. Therein I congratulate the gadflies for an outstanding performance worthy of inheriting the legacy of their distinguished predecessor. In the latter part of this letter is an exploration of what appears to me to be their own tactical failings and unobvious vulnerabilities which trivially lead them to become easy targets of Campus Watch. These shortcomings will continue to pose a dilemma for all honest and refined intellectuals who must ultimately remain lonely and standing-alone while suffering the loss of their so called American Dream, if they are to endeavor to overcome these failings. Upon reaching the pinnacle of their profession, their only reward is the hemlock.
The necessity to pay the daily bills, or to seek tenure and other social benefits, can be as much a co-opter for the honest intellectual as it is the primary raison d’être for a prostitute selling herself. Albeit, with far less hypocrisy than those in the ivory towers of the academe doing the same under pious intellectual garb of “freedom of the academe”. Thus far, lamentably, I may count the number of the lonely truth-tellers just using the fingers on my two hands – on an optimistic day that is – among the thousands and thousands of brilliant academics and scholars in the United States of America. And indeed, in the entire Westerndom. Campus Watch is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg of speech squelch. Much of the crap lies safely buried beneath the surface of self-policing for self-serving narrow interests, while all the learned “moral agents” pretend none of it exists. It is uncovered in this inquiry below awaiting far stellar minds to pick up the gauntlet of erudite examination.
Before I embark upon my second inquiry which I hope you will also endeavor, as per your noble Socratic claims quoted above, to expose to your students in class discussions, and in lectures, because, as you rightly stated it: “The point of teaching a course is to expose students to ideas and arguments that are new to them and to help them think critically about controversial issues. Nothing pleases teachers more than to see students craft their own, original arguments, based on solid evidence, that dispute the point of view presented in class lectures.”, please first permit me the following thought experiment to set the stage for the inquiry.
Imagine if George W. Bush Jr., the presidential son and incumbent president of the United States, honestly proclaimed to the American peoples in his 2002 State of the Union Address, the first one after 9/11, the following easily observable truths also well documented in the establishment’s own penmanship but seldom broadcast on the seven o clock daily news in America or taught from its high academic podiums in its best universities:
Begin Excerpt from the American president’s hypothetical 2002 State of the Union Speech
My administration, managed by the Neocons, is about to usher in phase-2 of my dad’s vision for the “New World Order”, as our key value proposition has remained the “Extension and Perpetuation of the American Empire” since 1948, when George Kennan* clearly outlined it for us:
“We have about 50% of the world’s wealth, but only 6.3% of its population …. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security … We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction […] unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization … The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts.”
Footnote [*US State Department’s George Kennan in the once-classified Policy Planning Study 23 from 1948, Source: Noam Chomsky]
This primal key value proposition: “Extension and Perpetuation of the American Empire” is axiomatic, and the reality of the demise of the Soviet Union and America’s unchallenged rise as the only global superpower, spells for us the following key value corollaries and new imperatives in the post-Cold War era:
‘Rapidly extending the American Empire across the planet as a Geostrategic Imperative of America’s unhindered Primacy*, to take measures now to mold the geopolitics of developing nations rich in resources in our perpetual favor, to prevent other challenger nations from arising in the foreseeable future by controlling their access to world’s shrinking energy resources, and to set up such global governing structures such that when other civilizations and nations do catch-up in 30-50 years, and we enter a possible Détente once again as during the Cold War, that any such Détente will leave the control of the world’s resources, weather, skies, space and cyberspace, and all trade and commerce, in America’s clear favor well into the twenty first century, the New American Century**. Projecting our military to the four corners of the world today is a prerequisite for maintaining America’s preeminence, and rests on our militarization of space to enable us to apply force both in space and from space. In order to develop these nimble capabilities for projecting our power globally, we need a transformation in our military and need to embark on new defense spendings – we must treat this transformation as an enduring military mission worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces. This is a long process, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor***.’
Footnotes [*Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1997] [**PNAC report: Rebuilding America’s Defenses, 2000 ] [***Ibid., Chapter: Creating Tomorrow’s Dominant Force in PNAC report]
Based on the preceding key value propositions, I will spell out some of the key policy initiatives my administration will be taking, and other future Presidents will continue to take in subsequent administrations regardless of who is in office, as the ruling elite in the military-industrial complex of America is neutral across party lines.
We have today actually realized all the fears of such a hydra taking over the reigns of our nation and undermining its real democracy as expressed by Eisenhower* in his farewell speech.
That too however, is consistent with our prime value objectives of moving from a Republic to an Empire after World War II, in order to fill the power vacuum created by the demise of the other great colonial powers.
Since an “empire” does not elicit much gloating from amongst our peoples as our own nation’s founding, in principle, is based on a rebellion against such an empire that we have now become, it is necessary to leave the American peoples under the fair illusion of democracy by limiting their choices to electing leadership from amongst our very small group of ruling elite from within the vast military-industrial complex**, all sharing in the same common objectives of the empire.
There might be ups and downs, a step forward and two backward, depending on the obsessions, proclivities, and dalliances of each individual President, but the overarching goals of everyone ever elected has remained the same, or else they would not be allowed to become President, or removed from office if they hesitated to serve the interests of the nation’s ruling elite or became too concerned with democracy, as democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization***.
Footnotes [*S. Ambrose: Eisenhower – Soldier and President ] [**Dan Briody: The Iron Triangle: Inside the Secret World of the Carlyle Group, 2003 ] [***Zbigniew Brzezinski: The Grand Chessboard – American Primacy And Its Geostrategic Imperatives, 1997]
Here is my imperial action plan:
1) I plan to militarily extend the American empire along the geostrategic lines laid out by my sharpest geostrategic thinker Zbigniew Brzezinski in his “Grand Chessboard”. He is the architect for the downfall of the Soviet Union by inducing them into invading Afghanistan and thus handing them their own Vietnam war at the expense of the Afghan Muslims who incidentally now hate us more than ever as they did not like us playing the geostrategic chess on their land using their blood, and for pummeling them with Daisy Cutters and Depleted Uranium munitions to smithereens when they refused to tow the line any further.
It’s really cool how we did it*: The Soviet army invaded Afghanistan on December 24, 1979, and according to the official version of events that we conveniently put out at the time for the gullible public, the CIA aid to the mujahideen began during 1980. But we fooled everyone – Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, my chief thinker Brzezinski wrote a note to my illustrious predecessor President Carter in which he explained to the simpleton President that this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. And those suckers fell for the Afghan trap, like all preceding invaders before them. And the day the Soviets officially crossed the border 5 months after we had started interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, my star mentor Brzezinski informed President Carter: “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War”.
Footnote [*Zbigniew Brzezinski’s January 1998 interview to the French magazine: Le Nouvel Observateur]
We will be repeating this successful formula of waging war by way of deception* again in our current planning. I am trying to figure out how to get Brzezinski a Nobel Prize, but I think my dad might be upset if he did not get one first for his broad vision of the ‘grande baille’ of the New World Order that we are now so earnestly pursuing with full vigor. I don’t understand how President Carter could have got his Nobel Peace Prize so far ahead of Brzezinski. Never mind, I’ll issue my own prize – the world for the taking ;
Footnote [*Motto of Israeli secret intelligence agency Mossad]
2) This policy has even been signed into an American imperative by my own Vice President and Defense Secretary in a report pompously titled Project New American Century* “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”. I haven’t read it yet, but I am told by Karl Rove that it’s great, and that I don’t really need to read it since my lieutenants Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Chenney have taken care of everything ;
Footnote [*See PNAC Statement of Principles and Open Letters to Presidents; A list of signatories to these, apart from the well known Neocons, contains two hundred+ names; included is the name of the leading American intellectual and historian Bernard Lewis, author of “Crisis of Islam – Holy war and Unholy terror”, and who, as the guiding light behind the “Clash of Civilizations” since 1990, should soon be completing his two other companion volumes: “Crisis of Christianity – Holy war and Unholy terror”, and “Crisis of Judaism – Holy war and Unholy terror” for the benefit of the other leading institutional intellectual, Samuel P. Huntington at Harvard, who intends to use it to cement his understanding of how these civilizational fault lines will finally actually collide.]
3) America’s deep financial support and continued arming of Israel at the substantial expense of the American tax payer is instrumental in this Pax Americana policy because it is mainly the plan of the Neocons who are also Zionists by allegiance. Plus I think Ariel Sharon is indeed a “man of peace” because he is going to help me bring on my favorite philosopher and beloved Messiah sooner by hastening the conquest of all Arab lands and thus helping bring peace on earth by destroying all heathens who aren’t evangelical Christians, and we shall watch their fiery destruction from choice locations up in the sky*. And don’t worry, we shall manage to save the Jews and the Neocons – I have special connection with the lord, I walk with him ;
Footnote [*Beliefs of Christian Zionism]
4) The appointment of my top ranking Neocon Zionist mastermind Paul Wolfowitz to run the neo-liberal ideology of corporate globalization as the head of World Bank is actually the real overarching goal of this Pax Americana ;
5) A key component of this neo-liberal agenda is administered by the World Bank through debt creation* in the third world nations and their consequent perpetual economic enslavement to debt servicing on interest payments that can often exceed the social spending for the benefit of their own native peoples ;
Footnote [*John Perkins: “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man”, 2004; if there is only one book that an American will read in the next 10 years, or even within his entire lifetime, let it be this one; these revelations are no surprise to those who suffer from these machinations on a daily basis in the poor third world nations, however these are a mind blowing expose for the American public. If I possessed all the riches in the world, I would order 300 million copies at its face value of $24.95, and distribute it free as my small contribution to the conscience of every man, woman, and child in America – for the empowerment this book potentially provides can surely fill the streets of America with people woken up by their guilty conscience; it could help abolish all third world debt and all future imperial economic machinations like the WTO; all those instantly rich millionaires on stock options seeking philanthropy out of deep concern for humanity and tax exemptions may read this book for ideas]
6) The often touted WTO treaties and Globalization are really intended to create and perpetuate a global corporate empire that is controlled by America in America’s own best interests*, with shares distributed among the most advanced industrialized nations of the West (the G7/G8) – our allies. Its real purpose is to keep other developing nations rich in the resources we covet, in perpetual check by forcing privatization of their bountiful “public commons” and “public services” into corporate hands using the WB/IMF leverage of horrendous debt, offering them new loans to service the debt only if they privatized and implemented the WTO parameters. Thus not only creating more debt in a vicious cycle, but also compelling these already poor nations into further poverty and economic subjugation as part of our Pax Americana* by depriving them of control over their own nation’s domestic policies and subject to our complete economic control exercised through our corporations in the name of globalization ;
Footnote [*It is instructive to track down who comes up with such formulations, who were the members at the original Bretton Wood where the World Bank was conceived as an economic instrument of American hegemony over the developing world in the name of developing them – no poor country ever helped by the World Bank over the past half century has actually developed, rather has become more worse off than before due to debt repayments, some have even lost many self-sufficiencies and domestic production they had before the WB/IMF got in the act, and now are obedient consumers of the West. Whence do the world’s most powerful finance brokers and bankers come from, and whence do they derive the motivation for such greed and conquest over other lesser beings driving them into abject poverty, is a very interesting study in and of itself.]
7) These globalization polices under the umbrella of WTO are so unequal and designed to give America and the first world such unequal benefits, that it further compounds the cycle of economic slavery: now the poor farmer in a developing nation cannot sow the seed he wants, he has to purchase it from Monsanto USA, cannot use the fertilizer he wants, has to purchase it from Monsanto USA, cannot save the seed for the next year’s planting and must purchase it again from Monsanto USA as these GMO seeds die after a single harvest*, he cannot ask his already poor government for subsidies because the country is already paying more in debt servicing than it can afford, he cannot charge the prices he wants but is obliged to pay whatever prices the WTO treaty dictates, even if his cost of production in a year was three times as before, thus easily putting him out of business and ensuring that the heavily subsidized American farmer will thus be able to take up the supply of essential food stock to the domestic market of the poor nation further increasing American profits as well as American leverage on the destiny of the poor nation. What a brilliant plan, it could only have come from the best minds in the economic departments of our most prestigious universities ;
Footnote [*Interestingly, this economic empowerment policy is also one of the one hundred ad hoc executive orders that Paul Bremmer gifted to the Iraqi nation from America before he returned home, in partial fulfillment of the over zealous drive to bring political and economic Democracy to Iraq – such altruistic orders may not be rescinded so easily by the “terrorist” Iraqi nationalists seeking independence from re-colonization without substantially throwing that “tea” overboard]
8) These globalization trade treaties are crafted so unfairly to favor us that they even prevent the poor nations from forming regional trade alliances and new more equitable trade treaties amongst themselves even for their own mutual benefits; the British could not pull this one over us without having a revolution on their hands, but we are doing it to the rest of the world in our Pax Americana and there is no revolution* anywhere that we cannot put right through our nimble new military and our perpetual war on terrorism ;
Footnote [*Venezuela – one coup attempt against President Chavez was already launched in 2003, but put to naught by the courageous Venezuelans; watch for the South American continent uniting and unilaterally canceling their horrendous debt as their “throwing the tea overboard”, and observe the US Cavalries rush in, just as the British did, to protect their vital interests abroad. But in contrast to the British who had the support of their peoples to colonize the world as ‘la mission civilisatrice’ and rushing in the cavalries posed no problems, the Americans will need to brand Chaves and other South American Left leaning leaders who care more about their peoples welfare then corporate profits, as terrorists, in order to send the cavalry in to fight the “war on terrorism”]
9) These trade treaties oblige the poor nations to move towards liberalization and market economy and to open up their doors to American Corporations, such that even on their own soil, they are unable to draw any legislation even for local air/water/environment control, or put any restraints that might impede the profits of the American Corporations ;
10) And finally. (because George W. Bush Jr., the presidential son, is now getting tired and not because the list is ended) The WB / IMF / WTO trio and a barrage of other American Continental trade treaties (NAFTA, CAFTA, etc.) ensure for us, the successful harvesting of the world, and backed by the world’s strongest military, ours, which due to our brilliant Neocons geostrategic planning of over two decades, will now finally encircle the Earth and entirely control Central Asia, the sky, the weather, and even outer space. No one, not even the emerging economies of China and India, or an alliance of all of Asia including the Pacific Rim, may dare threaten America’s global dominance and preeminence in the new American Century, in a complete and totally fantastic realization of the ‘grande baille’ of the New World Order vision articulated by my dad.
All this chauvinist militarism slyly split* between neoliberalism and neoconservatism because our “McDonald’s cannot flourish without [our] McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15”, will naturally culminate in a one-world government** – the zenith of global primacy upon the entire earth which has eluded all previous empires throughout history. It is finally achievable by the enduring hard work of our superman Western elite, through our scientific progress***, and with singular dedication to primacy by the unchallenged sole superpower on earth, the United States of America.
(standing ovation is heard from the suits and skirts in Congress)
Footnotes [*Thomas L. Friedman, A Manifesto For a Fast World, The New York Times, March 28, 1999, “That is why sustainable globalization still requires a stable, geopolitical power structure, which simply cannot be maintained without the active involvement of the United States. All the technologies that Silicon Valley is designing to carry digital voices, videos and data around the world, all the trade and financial integration it is promoting through its innovations and all the wealth this is generating, are happening in a world stabilized by a benign superpower, with its capital in Washington, D.C. The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist — McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the builder of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.” ] [**Bertrand Russell, Impact of Science on Society, 1952, Chapter 7, Can a Scientific Society be Stable?, “There is, it must be confessed, a psychological difficulty about a single world government … It seems to follow that a world government could only be kept in being by force”. ] [*** Ibid. ; Zbigniew Brzezinski, Between Two Ages – The Role of America in the Technetronic Era, 1970]
It goes without saying that if any of this was openly and truthfully proclaimed to the American peoples by their President George W. Bush, the presidential son, the American peoples could then decide and debate by their own self-interests if they wanted to endorse the imperial vision of their President’s dad; to have their nation behave this way or not behave this way. After all, it is a democracy where people get to choose their national destiny, right? It would certainly be very empowering to all sides regardless of which side chose to pursue what imperative and what the collective national consensus turned out to be.
Some might consciously and willingly accept the aggressive stance espousing the axiomatic key value proposition: “extension and perpetuation of the American empire” and its corollary value proposition: “American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives” in the post-Cold War era. Having accepted the wars of conquest in principle, they would pay the price for it with their blood and their pockets but at least knowing why. Another people might equally recoil in horror and adopt a resistance posture under their own key value proposition of “legitimate rights to self-defense against the new global menace” and vocalize active dissent.
Yet another people might even adopt the more visionary key value proposition of “peaceful and equitable coexistence with all nations as equal peers”.
And some people may perhaps adopt the most enlightened and un hypocritical key value proposition:
“American Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights is an essential element of Globalization and American Geostrategic Initiatives. No obligation may be imposed on a nation or on a people, by any nation or any people, including the United States of America, either overtly or covertly, by any means including military, economic, cultural, and other hitherto unknown ways, that contravenes this new American policy initiatives for a just and fair world. This new policy will be the basis of all foreign relations among all nations, both in spirit and in letter, just as it has been enforced domestically for our own peoples for over two centuries of our existence.”
Based on this new found key value proposition, the Americans could then honestly and un hypocritically claim:
“We the peoples of United States of America welcome all peoples of the world to a century of peace, prosperity, friendship, and justice – let there be no doubt that the American people value the lives of every person on the planet equally with their own, and meeting the basic needs of all humanity is the prime objective of the American nation as its own humble contribution to the world at large comprising civilizations far older and far richer in heritage than their own of only a few centuries.”
As a genuine populist democracy in which the State officials, both elected and appointed, are the employees of the public, and are only empowered by the peoples to act on their behalf and not to rule over them as monarchs, the American peoples might even decide to put the monumental looney tunes they mistakenly elected/selected behind bars before their own sons and daughters are sacrificed for a value proposition they do not support – and indeed find so abhorrent that they have already sacrificed millions of their own peoples in an earlier generation in vanquishing similar ambitions of another mad geostrategist and inhuman empire.
However, with the preceding altruistic value proposition actually having no part in the American empire, or in its national discourse, or even in the consciousness of its peoples, the falsely implanted values of America’s sole “right to preemptive self-defense” to save American lives richly dominates all discourse. It spans the gamut of perception management, from the newsmedia, to Hollywood entertainment, to the academia.
So when the government want’s to increase defense spending for its vision of a nimble fighting force as outlined by George W. Bush the son in a moment of truthfulness in the key value statement: ‘we must treat this transformation as an enduring military mission worthy of a constant allocation of dollars and forces’, they remain aware that they cannot just go ask the people to now spend another trillion dollars on another new military buildup for global dominance and preeminence in the Post-Cold War New American Century. People would rather have better schools, open libraries, cheaper healthcare, better roads, and overall more social spending rather than more missiles to keep the military-industrial complex in perpetual gravy. This is clearly recognized in ‘This is a long process, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor’.
So now, voilà, we have 9/11 as our new Pearl Harbor, and the “war on terrorism” as the compelling reason to increase defense spending.
Not knowing the true value proposition of “Empire and Primacy” and debating “war on terrorism” instead, isn’t just an academic discussion. It is the basis of the 100,000 dead in Iraq, and who knows how many Americans dead and injured, to say the least. The people sold on this value proposition of “war on terrorism”, almost to the point of indoctrination through repeated reinforcement from all their available sources of information, including their teachers and university professors, genuinely come to believe that they are defending themselves against the barbaric Muslims. They accept that they need to have troops deployed overseas in preemptive self-defense – better kill the enemy on their own soil before he strikes rather than despoiling ours! America after all did suffer 911!
Thus when the real President George W. Bush Jr., (as opposed to the hypothetical one momentarily indulged above for mental enrichment of America’s scholarly geniuses) actually states with a straight face on television that “Freedom is on the march”, and no one is there to explain to them the real value propositions, they salute “United We Stand”. Even when they already know that the Iraq is a quagmire, they read it on plenty of blogs including Informed Comment, that Iraqi’s have suffered needless and countless civilian casualties, torture, abuse, and that they themselves have suffered some loss of life (around 10:1 ratio in their favor as it generally has been even in Vietnam, for any narrowing of the difference and the American public will be out in the streets, just as they were during Vietnam), they acquiesce to the situation as a lesser of two evils in this “war on terrorism”.
Who is informing the American public cogently and articulately, connecting all the dots and bringing to bear all the disparate facts, both historical and contemporary, with critical analysis of motivations and authenticated records of deceptions and Machiavellian dispositions even in the writings of the empire builders themselves?
Just as it is obvious how the Government isn’t about to spread its true key value propositions among the American masses, it should now also be equally obvious what amazing and magical empowerment is possible if people can somehow discover what these genuine key value propositions really are. For then, the debate can move from Iraq, Iran, “preemptive self-defense”, threats from WMDs (which actually may or may not exist – but that is largely irrelevant), and “war on terror” against the Islamic fundamentalists and suicide bombers, to the more meaningful: do we want to be an empire, and do we want to pay the cost.
However, almost any American I encounter in the daily course of interaction, believes America is fighting a war on terror. Any university student I meet, unless he is a peace activist, feels the same way. They don’t like what’s going on, often feel sorry for the excesses they have seen done in Iraq, but blame the quagmire on the Iraqi’s themselves for trying to create a civil war – American’s are only there to bring them freedoms and democracies and to save them from themselves. That this is ‘la mission civilisatrice’ as old as colonialism doesn’t occur to them, nor are they aware of the one hundred edicts and executive orders that the Americans have bequeathed the Iraqi nation in the same spirit – that can never be rescinded completely with American military basis on Iraqi soil and American installed puppets in the new corporate client-state eagerly waiting to sign with golden pens the monstrous reconstruction loans from the World Bank perpetually putting their own people in debt that can never be repaid.
So what about the supposed scholars and intellectuals in the universities? What should these brilliant intellectuals training the young minds of America be doing?
When the intellectuals in the society too fail to use their Occam’s Razors to dissect and dismantle the obfuscation around imperial policy initiatives couched in rich propaganda overtones, and don’t uncover the true key value propositions which often are not even hidden, or hidden only in plain sight, then they do the nation a great disservice. Are they paid to educate, or to stay political correct with the times, Campus Watch notwithstanding?
I think all this talk of the New McCarthyism, although a worrisome development for the discussion of Israel, is another magnificent red herring. Even when Campus Watch wasn’t around, what enlightenment did the academic Intellectuals generally bring to their students? With the exception of perhaps a handful of really honest and rebellious intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, the late Edward Said, and a few dozen other well known names that one generally sees in protest meetings making speeches, or sees their books in the Current Affairs or History sections in prominent book stores, what have the thousands of professors and university intellectuals contributed towards eliminating the cluelessness among the student body in American Universities? When were they actually using their academic freedoms?
So lets define academic freedom. Like freedom of the press, and freedom of speech, it is much misunderstood. A quick examination of their underlying motivations and key value propositions actually makes their purpose unambiguously clear without leaving any further room for debate. All three have one common theme of course, going against the grain – for that is when you really need it. There is obviously no issue with freedom unless there is some sense of being constrained – if everyone agrees and not one feels compelled to disagree, again there is no real use that the freedom is being put to, so be free all you want. These are the obvious issues with freedom, that most scholars pedantically tout as freedom of this and that. Beyond that however, most people, including erudite scholars misperceive, either deliberately, or inadvertently – it is only for them to know. Academic freedom is not just freedom to teach anything and think anything, to have a variety of views and present them all as choices – that distinction is just as meaningless to me as freedom of the press to write anything and broadcast anything they wish, or the individual’s right to free speech but no one is allowed to hear them. Free speech for the individual in vacuum can clearly lead to asphyxiation – freedom to speak without the concomitant empowerment to be heard is meaningless.
Thus freedom of speech really means freedom to be heard. One can shout all one wants in Hyde Park in London, just watch how many people take it seriously – but that’s protected free speech in UK. But when are they ever allowed to appear on BBC where most people get their opinions formed, or allowed to write the editorial page of their Newspapers? And we can similarly see how much freedom of speech really is in America – I have never heard or seen my esteemed Professor Noam Chomsky invited on a Sunday talk show circuit on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, or even NPR , not to mention Good Morning America, Today, or Opra – where 90% of America gets its news and information (for the latter its 90% of American house wives). I also never saw Edward Said, although I do believe he was on NPR a few times. But Professor Rashid Khalidi who occupies the distinguished Chair named after his predecessor his often on NPR, but have not seen him yet on mainstream. One can see why he is on NPR – his views are far more temperate, even as radical as they appear to be when he sits across from Professor Fouad Ajami or other institutional scholars, from the outspoken frankness of his predecessor – in my opinion. That’s the only reason Professor Khalidi is on – he is less intimidating to his antagonists. Even his book – Resurrecting Empire is not too radical or anything substantially new, there are far more explicit books already published that lays the empire’s case more revealingly thread bare. But certainly it is the voice of this worthy intellectual’s conscience and it takes substantial courage to even write such books – no one may dare accuse him of being an institutional scholar for that would be an unjust charge. But there was only one Edward Said, just as there is only one Noam Chomsky, and it can be daunting to fill their shoes and the newcomers are forever at a disadvantage for this comparison in one sense. On the other hand, they are worthy inheritors of the mantle of truly distinguished scholars and therein is their value to society – at least the way I see it.
Similarly, freedom of the press sole purpose is to monitor the centers of power, both in the government, and in the society at large, as a watchdog for democracy as well as abuse in society, for the overall common good of the people. Being stenographers for those in power is not their purpose, albeit in American press that seems to have unfortunately transpired. Offering different points of view is not their purpose, and neither is their purpose to write whatever they want – all of these things are quite meaningless in the context of them being the fourth pillar of democracy, the precise reason why they are specifically endowed with that freedom, otherwise freedom of speech would be sufficient for what they write today – mostly as worthy and useful as the guy screaming in Hyde Park.
And finally the much wonted academic freedom – it’s real purpose is to teach truth and dispel falsehood – and in order to teach it, to uncover it first as the prime imperative of an academic intellectual. This is the only function of an intellectual, and the only reason he/she accepts an academic position is so that he may follow in the footsteps of the great mentor of Plato, the father of all truth tellers and falsehood dispellers in secular Western scholarship – the mighty Socrates, without having to drink the hemlock, and be the modern day inheritor of the greatest successors of Plato’s mantle, the indomitable and courageous Galileo and Darwin. Cowardice and Hypocrisy in an intellectual is an anathema, and a veritable disgrace to what is actually and arguably the only universally acclaimed key value proposition of Western Civilization today.
So, how many intellectuals today in Universities can claim they were actually following in the footsteps of their legators? If there were so many, then why are most of the students on American campuses so clueless? There are many shareholders in keeping America dumb. The American intellectual must stand up and stake his claim too.
It is instructive to note that all my facts and information in this letter comes from publicly available sources as the few key citations show (in some cases they are from memory but also originally acquired from open public knowledge). I have however never seen any of this information on any American television news program* or the Sunday talk shows featuring imposing experts, or in newspapers. An occasional expose’ or scandal that inevitably does break in the news, such as the fearless reporting by Sy. Hersh on Abu Garib torture, or a surprise disclosure of the White House’s infamous Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that had been given to Congress for review in January 2002, by William Arkin in the Los Angeles Times, generates much random debate around that isolated story without exposing any of the fundamental key value propositions that actually led to them. And the coverage of these stories also almost always fail to draw the proper global linkages between very disparate issues and connect the dots for the benefit of the busy reader who hasn’t the time to go read a ton of stuff on his own. That’s what the press is chartered to do.** But I have rarely if ever seen any coherent linkages drawn between the neo-conservatives and neo-liberals, or globalization and war on terrorism, or military bases in Central Asia and the domestic Patriot Act, or the invasion of Iraq and oil trading in Euros, etc. in any mainstream sources of information.
One does get to hear some of these things on alternate media outlets like the grass-roots KPFA radio station of the Pacifica Network in California, on DemocracyNow with Amy Goodman in New York, and on Flashpoints with Dennis Bernstein in Berkeley. Indeed, I only heard about John Perkins book when Amy Goodman interviewed the author on DemocracyNow earlier this year, and rushed the same day to buy the book. But I understand that he has been having a tough time getting any mainstream coverage. With some good Googling skills too one can also locate amazing amount of information. If anyone deserves Nobel Peace Prize in modernity, it is all of these courageous independent journalists and conscionable amateur sleuths who put to shame the scholarship of the intellectuals often seen receiving their accolades from the high and mighty.
Okay fine, we know mainstream media is a problem. They too may stand up and stake their claim in keeping America clueless.
But I certainly cannot understand the lack of exposure to these issues in schools and colleges in America. There are more universities in this nation than any place else on earth. At least a million high school kids graduate from high school every year I am told, perhaps an equal number study in American universities. But the majority of them are clueless about the issues and problems and even the geography of the real world. Why? Professor Noam Chomsky has been heard remarking more than once: “the most important thing for them is what’s happening down the street”.
Even in a prestigious top school in the nation where I graduated from, MIT, the majority of students remain clueless. This is likely to be the case in most universities in this nation of universities, with the possible exception of UC Berkeley and few others, where not because there are intellectuals and scholars necessarily introducing the students to these “radical” perspectives, but because a large percentage of the students generally being grass-roots activists and socially conscious “radicals”, often learn it themselves and also teach it to their peers.
If such empowerment is brought into the mainstream of America through its rich heritage of universities and high schools, then with such an empowerment to know and subsequently to act exponentially spreading outwards among the larger general public as these youngsters enter the work force, and gradually taking over the national discourse, let me know where all the hatred for the Americans, and the suicide bombers In Iraq and Israel, magically vanish to.
Conclusion 1: The above examples illustrate that without knowing and understanding the true value propositions that underlie any position in a discourse or narrative, one is unable to perceptively comprehend, or parse intelligent people’s arguments, and can often find oneself getting embroiled in emotionally charged specious exchanges, expending fantastic amounts of energy, and still coming away quite clueless, albeit with a higher blood pressure.
Conclusion 2: The above examples also posit that by simply knowing the truthful key value proposition, even an ordinary person becomes empowered to begin thinking critically about matters that might be shrouded in obfuscation. With some help from the guiding hand of the intellectual, who by making known their own value propositions when teaching the new generations of critical thinkers, can easily compel their eager students to examine their own ambiguities and feelings about emotional issues, and by requiring the value proposition statement from each one of them, help them examine how much hypocrisy or honesty they can bring to bear to the discourse. It helps show to everyone, who are the liars, who are the hypocrites, who are criminals, and who are the worthy and honest intellectuals very easily, for an overall improvement in the level of discourse.
Conclusion 3: The above examples further demonstrate that knowing the value proposition empowers even ordinary citizens to act wisely and make smart choices for their future – as few ordinary human beings would like to feel they are a hypocrite or a criminal, almost all of us aspire to be good to varying degrees, and this fact alone ought to make it very easy to reach consensus on controversial and obfuscating issues. This moral clarity properly splits partisans into aggressor criminals, and those fighting them in self defense. It obviously does not eliminate the battle, but it enables it to be fought with empowerment, knowing who is right and who isn’t, based on the acceptance of value propositions by the people. Thus even in cases as emotionally charged as the issue of Israel-Palestine, there really is no obfuscation, rather there is so much moral clarity, if values are put forth as arguments rather than claims.
Footnotes [* This is understandable because the mainstream corporate controlled media also belongs in the vast military-industrial complex, and share in the same overarching goals in their elite policy planning circles. As an example: NBC is owned by GE, which in addition to light bulbs and dishwashers, also makes aircraft engines and is a large defense contractor to the Pentagon. Profits of GE always rise during war. One could cynically, but also quite convincingly argue with plenty of incontrovertible empirical evidence, that all defense contractors make money during war – that they could not survive without large defense expenditures by the Pentagon, and their ownership of mainstream media outlets whose constitutional charter is to actually keep the public genuinely informed, is in conflict with the charter of the parent corporations to make money by waging war. Which charter is the media presidents and management going to follow: those of the parent company that controls their purse strings and their weekly paycheck, or a piece of parchment paper safely ensconced in a library that has no direct bearing on their daily bread, has no enforcement powers, and whose only intent seems to have become giving memorization headaches to junior high students? Thus witness Tom Brokaw of NBC musing as he rode into Iraq with the American Army: “one of the things we don’t want to do is to destroy the infrastructure of Iraq, because in a few days we will own that country”.]
[** It is very interesting to observe that all three branches of the American Government including the office of the President, have mechanisms to enforce accountability, such as impeachment, and at least theoretically operate under a system of checks and balances (unless all three branches are dominated by the same political party). The Press on the other hand, envisioned in the Constitution to be the watchdog of democracy, and chartered to monitor the hallways and corridors of power, and deemed as essential to the proper functioning of the American democracy, has no corresponding accountability enforcement measures whatsoever, and no checks and balance mechanisms at all. Who watches over the watchdogs? The erstwhile gentlemen and gentlewomen of the press, the news anchors, their editors and producers, are left at the whims of their own delicate conscience to do the right thing with their freedom of the press mandate. Thus it matters not whether their conscience is owned by vast multinational corporations and held ransom to their paycheck or careers, by non-profit organizations, or small time independent operations with their own ideologies. Since there is nothing to enforce their charter, and no accountability when they don’t willingly police themselves, most just retire as millionaires after serving 40 years of political correctness and servitude to the ruling elite. Now that the problem definition has become clear – it is not just corporate ownership, but lack of enforcement mechanism for their Constitutional charter, and strict accountability thereafter – the solution also jumps out. Create enforcement mechanisms, and tar and feather a few top mainstream anchors and newspaper editorial writers, and the press will become remarkably honest. Eliminating corporate ownership doesn’t entirely solve the problem, although eliminating the control of the military-industrial complex from the media is certainly a very desirable thing. Something for the American public to chew on – for only they can demand and force this outcome.]
Part II: How to respond to Campus Watch and its Zionist plague of New McCarthyism
First of all, may I once again offer my best felicitations and congratulations to all those compatriots in truth who have been honored by Campus Watch’s fascism. You are towering giants in your profession, and may you live long and prosper!
Now onto more practical matters including how to fight back against these new Brown Shirts in America today. I believe that a bold, uncompromising, and in-your-face stance, as opposed to conciliatory, accommodating, and bend-over-asking-for-some-more stance, is the only befitting response to the likes of the Jewish terrorists Daniel Pipes, David Horowitz, and their ilk who span the gamut of organizations from ADL to AIPAC. These are also the people who claim that up to 10% to 15% Muslims in America are terrorists and that all of them should be closely monitored, and all their interactions and dealings closely scrutinized. Since Daniel Pipes refuses to identify which people comprise the 10-15% group, it obviously applies to all of the Muslims of America. Or how about the following gem from Daniel Pipes’ other brethren in arms, His Eminence, Mr. Shawn Steele, the former Chairman of California’s State Republican Party who proclaims that: “The Islamic community has a cancer growing inside of it – which hates Jews, hates freedom, and hates western society. The disease of Islam must be rectified – it’s kill or be killed.” (noted in a pro-war rallying speech at the University of Southern California in 2003, and reported by KPFA).
Look, my response as a Muslim to them is F*** You (sure “good Muslims” don’t curse, they just bend over and plead energetically: “may I have some more sir!” – sorry, I bite back). I don’t go around telling people: hey I am not a terrorist, nor do I go around showing people in how many ways I am not a terrorist. Obviously there is no way to defend against the negative because there is an infinite number of charges one can make without substantiating them in a fair court of law, thus captivating one’s time and energies in fruitless pursuits and distracting from one’s prime mission – and in that is their mission. And neither should the academic go around justifying what they are teaching by saying: hey, we are balanced, look in how many ways we are not anti-Semitic; see we even graciously tolerate them disrupting and taking over our classrooms and letting them determine the teaching agenda in order to show our fairness.
Just look at the voluminous size of the transcript Professor Massad put out in his own (gratuitous in my opinion) self-defense. The late Professor Edward Said, the greatest exponent of truth Columbia University has likely ever seen, even though provided with 24 hour police protection round the clock because of the continuous threats against his life from the fanatic Zionists, was too honest for them to be intimidated by them in this way (as Professor Chomsky noted to me in an email communication), and never did he rise to their bait of generating such long transcripts (to my knowledge) and being distracted from his main passionate mission (of this I am certain), as Massad felt compelled to do in his own self-defense. It is little wonder that this crap has only now hit the fan when a new generation of scholars have come in, to intimidate them before they became too big a name and gained profound credibility in their own right. That is the real reason why this occurred at Columbia at this time, even though the rise of Campus Watch has nothing to do with Columbia University or its professors per se. It is perhaps also a delayed reaction against Edward Said – and those bearing the brunt of it should feel a tremendous sense of pride in their taking the posthumous bullet for their teacher, in whose name and honor at least one of the victims (Rashid Khalidi) holds his academic position.
In my opinion, Massad’s attitude was precisely the wrong strategy to fight the fascist Brown Shirts. Instead of having been considerate to the fanatics who hadn’t even registered for his class and were heckling him in the classroom, and trying to be so understanding to their rude interruptions that he allowed them to continue some more, thus showing them his weakness and his own insecurity in his inability to manage a classroom as a professional teacher, and they dove in for the kill. For they weren’t there to get an education, but to prevent others from getting one. He really should have used his prerogative as the professor in charge of his class, and kicked the b******* out – called campus police if he didn’t have the requisite temperament or body build to do it himself. It is all too easy to take advantage of people who do not stand up for themselves because they are afraid – afraid for their jobs, for getting bad reviews, for being labeled “self-hating Jew”, or “terrorist” or “not balanced enough” etc. It is the fear in the eyes of the victim that the prey sees and attacks. This is the nature of the Zionist enemy. Do you not believe that they themselves know the truth about Israel? They know it far better than the non-Zionist. So what was the point in letting them make long gratuitous speeches in the classroom? Only an American is easily fooled by them, no one else.
Please permit me to quote here for the inspiration of the beleaguered American professors, what the distinguished former college Professor and Ex. US Marine, William W. Baker (a Christian theologian and archeologist who had worked in Jerusalem on major archeological excavations) reported how he managed his Zionist antagonists when his own explosive book “Theft of a Nation” came out in 1982. That was at the time of Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, and the fanatic right-wing Rabbi Meir Kahane was in full bloom in New York. Baker was repeatedly getting threatening phone calls, and one of them was from Kahane himself threatening Baker’s life point blank. Can you guess how Baker responded? The following is almost an exact quote from memory as I heard him speak of it myself a few years ago: “Okay, shall we meet in front of your house or mine”?
According to William Baker, he never heard from Kahane again. FBI called on Baker when they heard of the right-wing Jewish threats against his life and advised him to carry a gun for self-defense. As an Ex. Marine, he certainly knew how to use one quite effectively. Can you guess what he said this time? The following is a very precise and exact quote – for his courage totally blew me away: “InshahAllah”. Say what brother? Yes he said that oft repeated Muslim phrase that we always use to say “God Willing”, or more appropriately in this case “In the hands of God”. He had picked up Arabic while living in Jerusalem and getting to know the Palestinian people.
I think I met Baker in 2003, if not in 2002 – twenty or so years later, he still looked healthy as an ox with not a mark on him! And may he continue to live long and prosper. His autographed book is one of my prized possessions – not because of the veracity of its contents as it relates to Palestine (the material on Biblical History I have no ability to adjudicate, and no a priori reason not to accept), but because of the courage of its expositor. And to Baker’s eternal credit, since they cannot call him a “self-hating Jew” as he is a Christian, they adorn him with “Nazi” (small minds have limited imagination) – you can still see his name come up occasionally in right-wing Zionist blogs. He must have done something right! To see what he did to earn this honor, find a copy of his book in a library (it’s out of print), and compare your own accomplishments in academia in your own “balanced” discourses, with his to see how much more, or how much less, you might deserve your own titles that the fascist Zionists so generously bestow upon you – they seem to be actually giving them away quite freely. Like every other honor in life, these too must also be earned upon execution of only the highest standards in the profession.
Rather than cower to the bully and become defensive as is natural when one first encounters fascism and responding with: hey we are being fair and balanced on both sides of the fence, and getting good to excellent reviews from both sides with a few malcontents on both sides, but overall both sides are satisfied – way too many both sides please, take explicit sides in favor of truth and against falsehoods.
This doctrine of fair and balanced is so misperceived that it is sickening – KPFA host Dennis Bernstein often puts it best when some right-wing caller phones in to complain that this program only presents one side of the story – for Bernstein is always, a hundred and ten percent of the time, bringing forth the plight of the Palestinians from Rafah to Jerusalem to his American listeners, often live from the beleaguered lands, and often one can hear gun-fire or wailing in the background: “Our job is to tell the stories that are not told by mainstream news, to expose the truth that is not exposed by others, to dispel the falsehoods that are not dispelled by others – it is not to keep balance. The other side is amply represented in the mainstream. Balance is achieved overall when you have different people telling their different stories and allowing the audience to make up their own minds”, or something quite elegant to that effect. The proud son (or grandson?) of a Rabbi as he often puts it himself, I have yet to personally meet and hear a conscionable American Jew more passionately dedicated to his long lifetime of cause on behalf of ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine (and this is a pretty competitive field mind you), and salvaging the good name of Judaism from the clutches of the Zionist usurpers, despite almost daily verbal and email assaults on him – try reading his email sometimes if you think your mail box is hot!
This is the price of conscience, and the price of dissent. And it is far far less, I cannot even begin to put it in the correct fractional ballpark, compared to what the real victims of the Zionist murderers experience on a daily basis, or have tragically endured like no other peoples over the past century in Palestine. This isn’t a game my friends – a game of intellectual debate and discourse on the (im)morality of occupation, and how much balance to keep in the classrooms, or how to not offend the delicate sentiments of the Jews, or how to not appear to be anti-Semitic by making too profound a criticism of Israel. It is a matter of existence and survival of a beleaguered people. It is about time the intellectual stood up to his responsibility. There is no balance to keep for an honest intellectual between truth and falsehood. That may be the job of the politicians, and certainly of the demagogue and the hypocrite, but not of an upright and honest scholar wearing the mantle of Socrates and Plato.
While an academic position in a prestigious American University may be a source of earning a good livelihood certainly, there is also a higher more profound imperative at stake than just some careers and job opportunities at the whims of Campus Watch – lives of millions of real beleaguered peoples in Palestine and elsewhere depend on an upright intellectual teaching people the truth in America! And if in this endeavor, one side does not come to positively hate the greater exponent of truth and dispeller of falsehoods, and the latter does not come out bloody and cursed, then someone is falling short. It clearly isn’t Campus Watch, they are obviously doing their job rather well with increasing fascism at any target they perceive as impeding their aims of propagating obfuscation about Israel-Palestine, so that their brethren in Israel may continue to gobble up more lands while others stay busy arguing about it. Before too long, the reality on the ground would be a fait accompli when they finally sit down to make peace in another generation. All those brilliant academics teaching “balanced” Middle East History from text books to the naïve Americans – do you even perceive the reality of Zionism and their remarkable ability to continually deceive? They even wage war by way of deception as a matter of state policy, it has been the motto of their intelligence agency since its inception. Their Jewish State’s charter as mentioned on their Knesset wall (I am told this, I haven’t actually seen it, obviously) is “from the Nile to the Euphrates” all the way up to the edge of the Persian Gulf. There is no balance – except for a hypocrite, or a naïve scholar.
Every scholar in an American University who occupies the mighty pulpit where innocent minds come to learn and count on their teacher to teach the truth and expose the falsehoods, and fails to deliver to the best capacity he is intellectually capable of with courage and determination worthy of Socrates, has the blood of the innocent Palestinian children on their hands. How is that for an imperative of the honest scholar teaching Middle Eastern Studies in America? How can you now sleep keeping a balance and worrying about reviews? How much should you educate yourself to the realities on the ground in Palestine before you mount that pulpit to teach others? It is not just a job. Working in a factory is a job, designing computers is a job (although in my younger days I may have contested that statement).
Please keep that in mind when the Campus Watch Brown Shirts come calling next time – get angry – don’t be polite – and take that anger and channel it directly into your mission, don’t let a perfectly legitimate anger dissipate away so easily.
It is an anger without which you cannot be human, without which you cannot claim to have a conscience, and without which you cannot know your own imperatives as a teacher and scholar. Not that one needs to display this anger in a classroom, but it is an anger that must fuel one’s passion for teaching the truth and uncovering falsehoods.
Otherwise, one will remain forever pleasing one master or another, and never be one’s own master. I know plainly of what I speak, as what has made me persist at this computer typing away for almost 14-16 hours daily over the past several days is precisely such anger. What made me protest in the streets against the war on Iraq was also such anger. And it is also precisely such anger that allowed me to write my first book after the FBI decided to hassle me by an unwarranted intrusion into my home only because I am a Muslim in America – and a Justice activist one at that – a full account of which is given in the first chapter of my manuscript Prisoners of the Cave. (Editor’s note: see http://prisonersofthecave.org ) It remains unpublished after six publishers turned me down, and about two dozen others chose the more diplomatic path of responding by stone silence. Unfortunately with the passage of time I let that original anger dissipate away and lost interest in that work – a mistake, for it is as relevant today with the bombing of Iran approaching as it was in the April of 2003 when the bombing of Iraq was underway.
And as for genuine students seeking balance, they need to update their understanding of what is meant by achieving balance. It is to seek out other Professors with other views to broaden one’s perspectives, and not expect or allow any one individual to inform one’s views, nor expect a teacher, scholar, mullah, ayatollah, rabbi, and priest, to not hold passionate views of their own. Indeed, I would not go to such a teacher – a sheer waste of time – who pretends to be neutral. This is exactly what I did at MIT – I did not complain to Noam Chomsky that he was giving me a one sided leftist view in his dissent with the establishment. To get balance, and this is just one example, I attended a class from Professor Myron Wiener (I hope I now recall his name correctly, his daughter was a friend of mine and I attended her Jewish wedding at MIT, a sweet girl who offered to cook me iftar once and informed me when I asked her what her father thought of Noam Chomsky: “Oh don’t listen to him, he is a linguist, a communist, what does he know about US Foreign Policy”). Prof. Wiener was a reputed expert on South East Asia, and was an advisor to US Administrations and policy makers. I figured since no one asks Chomsky for such service to his nation, I was getting a good balance. My bookshelves are littered with books that overall balance my bookcase (I hope), but each book is a strong protagonist of their own view point. And by the same token, those agent provocateurs heckling their honest Professors for balance may be so directed to others on campus with a clear unequivocal message of the sort that KPFA un-apologetically asserts with conviction each time and hangs up on the callers.
And this was the mistake of Professor Massad, I am sorry to say. He did not hang up on them with a strong message when he had clear control of the phone line.
As for Professor Rashid Khalidi losing his job educating teachers in New York, he might feel honored that he has exposed the hypocrisy of the New York establishment that is under the thumb of the right-wing Jews. Instead of lamenting the loss, which I am not aware that he is doing or not, he should declare victory and move on with his life’s mission, which is what I hope he is doing as a worthy inheritor of the mantle of one of the truly greatest and most resilient of scholars in modern times. It is my great misfortune that I never met Professor Edward Said in person, but when I read of his passing away in a newspaper editorial as I was sitting in a restaurant in Pakistan, I burst into tears to the bewilderment of some onlookers. I am sure at that very moment, fascists were rejoicing. That a guy who never met him, half way across the world, like millions of others, laments his demise with genuine feelings of sadness, is a testimony to this man’s greatness. He did not acquire it by keeping balance.
Keep shouting out the truth and don’t play both sides of the fence. The measure of the courage and integrity of an honest scholar is usually in the number and strength of his antagonists, not his protagonists. Indeed for the most truthful of gadflies, there will be no support from the powerful elite whose exploitive interests he will invariably be against, and all the support from the underdogs whose interests he will invariably be protecting as victims, as history is witness. This has remained true from time immemorial and isn’t going to go away so long as falsehoods and those pursuing it shall exist – and that’s until doomsday. One might as well be happy knowing that Campus Watch is on one’s tail – for one must be doing something right! When one starts getting too much praise from the ruling elite, or Campus Watch tones down their antagonism, that is when one must start worrying that perhaps they aren’t fully meeting the imperatives of their chosen profession.
This is not to say that one must be against the ruling elite in order to be an honest intellectual. That would be silly. Rather, as stated before, an honest intellectual must passionately only be on the side of uncovering the truth and forever dispelling falsehoods, without regards to interests, even one’s very own. That is indeed the key value proposition. And history is witness that propagators of falsehoods usually also tend to be aligned with status quo and among the ruling elite. When that is indeed the case, the honest scholar must oppose the ruling elite (protesting Vietnam war). When such is not the case however, or when the ruling elite do present the truth faithfully, then the honest scholar must equally support them with passion for truth on those matters regardless of any popular opposition from amongst the ordinary peoples (Emancipation Proclamation, Civil war to end slavery).
Note that this transpires not because of any intent to keep balance, but because of the imperatives of the key value proposition. And that equally applies to the situation in the occupation of Palestine by the Zionists. If there is indeed a truth that favors Israel in its conquest of Palestine, and for which the Jews derive legitimacy over that land in the twentieth century, and for which an honest scholar can justify all the subterfuge, war, and the horrendous and systematic century long “ethnic cleansing” and “transfer” of the indigenous Palestinian populations already living there that has occurred at the hands of the Jews – facts which are incontrovertible and empirical and therefore cannot be set aside when postulating one’s comprehension of truth and falsehoods, facts which are even recorded by the Jews themselves and not just by their antagonists, then by all means, let such truth alone be known as the reason for the support of Israel’s right to exist. And proclaim such truth boldly – as the Zionists do. But as a high scholar and academic commanding a respectable pulpit in a University, and not just an ordinary person, also present the key value propositions upon which you base your proclamation of truth, and let the peoples of the world see them and adjudicate on it. It is only upon such a conviction of truth and falsehoods that one may base one’s support of Israel, or of the Palestinians, and not some arbitrary and misperceived academic prerogative of “having a balance in perspective” (kind of elementary, but better to state it explicitly again at the expense of repetition, for the sake of completeness).
In my own case, I will confess that I often pray that I acquire enough courage to stand up and be counted among the top ten on every fascist’s list in the world. What restrains me is not that I do not have a moral clarity on their fascism, or that I do not possess the critical reasoning skills necessary to disambiguate their obfuscation, or that I do not understand the plight of their poor victims. For getting on such a list should indeed be an honor that I would take to my grave, and perhaps find salvation through it in the hereafter – which is why perhaps, at least in Islam, finding salvation is not that easy, it requires a lot more courage to wage a jihad (a struggle for “Haq”), and a lot more “Sabr” to withstand the concomitant adversity (please see Surah Asr in the Quran; in the multicultural milieu that is America today, getting to learn the real kernel of the most feared of religions today from this exquisite short chapter in the Quran, than from entertaining works like “Crisis of Islam – Holy War and Unholy Terror”, may prove somewhat more useful – please try it). This is why I so admire the man who so courageously stated: “I know not what course others may take, as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!” Oh courage! why hast thou forsaken me! Greed for the good life hast made such a coward of me!
And just as I wrote the above lament, I recalled the following consolation in Baruch Kimmerling’s essay of March 29, 2005: “Can a “Patriotic” Mob Take Over the Universities?”, about Campus Watch not just being an American phenomenon and largely funded by ultra-right wing American Jews, but also an Israeli phenomena, likely also being funded by the same (emphasis is mine):
“… In fact every faculty member who appears in the public sphere and doesn’t adopt an ultra-nationalist stance has an excellent chance of having his or her words taken out of context or reinterpreted and of being labeled a “self-hating Jew” or a “traitor.” There is an even more vulgar American Jewish list that includes about 7,000 names (in addition to email addresses and even photos) of many Jewish-American and Israeli academics and Reform Rabbis who are described as “traitors” and “non-Jewish”. The list’s preferred technique is to tar dissenters with labels like Communist, leftist or to equate them with Jewish collaborators of the Nazis (like Judenrats or kapos). Some of my good friends who are not listed there consider their omission to be a grave insult. I encourage them to bear this slight with patience. They still may be honored by inclusion on this list because its managers encourage the general public to add more names, promising the contributors full anonymity. …”
I guess instead of me seeking it, courage will be seeking me out shortly!
In final summation, I do not believe that there is going to be any institutional support from the universities at all for many beleaguered professors unless they are towering giants in their space, in the most optimistic of cases. For the majority of Activist Professors teaching their conscience, they are in good company with Socrates. It is gloves off sparring my friends, and the only way for you to spar back effectively is to continue your good works without distracting yourselves, even from a jail cell if necessary, as the imperatives of your high profession demands. Let them sue you and take you to court, and until that happens, ignore them when they are outside your four walls, and show them the one finger salute if they dare approach closer. At worst, people will think you are abrasive and uncouth, at best, they will be scared of you and leave you alone. Somewhere in the middle they might try to kill you, or threaten you with what is precious to you, but as William Baker exclaimed, “InshahAllah” – we all have to go at one time or another, might as well go while yelling truth out at the top of our lungs. Don’t waste time seeking help where there isn’t help, and defending yourself where there isn’t a defense possible – seek it by boldly teaching your students with intellectual honesty and outspoken courage of your true convictions – your students will in turn battle for you by following in your footsteps.
The conclusion therefore, can only be the obvious caveat: following in that aforementioned footsteps of unvarnished intellectual courage can be inimical to the pursuit of the “American Dream” for the brave academic despite the “freedom of the academe” – a well manicured box with definite boundaries – to keep the democratic public mind busy pursuing red herrings while the superman shepherds carry on with the business of herding the masses through conformist presuppositions under the illusion of vigorous debate. In the mixed classrooms of America where one may have a “fair numbers of Arab-Americans, Muslim-Americans and Jewish-Americans” in attendance, it may also preclude being able to make the banal make-everyone-happy statement: “My class evaluations have overall been good to excellent”.
In the age of universal deceit, embarking on the intellectual journey of truth discovery with proper intellectual tools and accurate problem formulations at the root levels of abstraction, can be quite hazardous to one’s career path.
Although, George Orwell, the famous essayist, would like his readers to believe that ultimately, for the most honest intellectual as the “moral agent”, “in the age of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. But unfortunately, Winston Churchill captured the reality of the trafficker in any product, intellectual or carnal, far more aptly than George Orwell’s platitudinous call to moral courage in the following anecdote attributed to him:
While puffing on a cigar in a bar, Churchill approached a pretty woman and made the following offer: “Will you sleep with me tonite for a thousand pounds?”. She looked at the pudgy short guy standing before her and coyly replied: “Sure honey, why not!” Churchill hastened without delay: “Oops, I meant five pounds”. The pretty face retorted: “Who do you think I am, a prostitute?”. The grand statesman of great Britain replied without missing a pious beat: “We have already settled that; merely haggling over the price my dear!”
This second inquiry into the matter is hastily completed, although, to do the subject justice, several books need to be written on the role of the academic in our Machiavellian modernity in the context of Platonic academies that are architected, ab initio, to pragmatically checkmate the establishmentarian controllers outside the cave* who not only control all narratives, but as the “history’s actors”**, also all writing of history***. That takes more than just the syntactic sugaring of “freedom of the academe” sold in the West today to unravel, let alone alter.
I now eagerly await your bold affirmation, or lucid disaffirmation, as a humble student of all truth-tellers and falsehood repellers.
I remain, once again,
Founder: Project Human Beings First – a work in progress
Truth and Justice activist by Imperative
Computer Architect by Profession
Footnote [*Simile of the Cave in Plato’s The Republic] [**Ron Suskind, New York Times, Oct. 17, 2004, quoting an anonymous senior White House advisor for George W. Bush jr., probably Karl Rove: ‘ “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” ‘ ] [***George Orwell noted the perpetual impact of the control of the narrative most perceptively in his allegorical novel 1984: “those who control the present control the past, those who control the past control the future” ]
The author, a justice activist, formerly a Silicon Valley systems architect (see engineering patents at http://tinyurl.com/zahir-patents ), founded Project Humanbeingsfirst.org in the aftermath of 9/11. He was, mercifully, most imperfectly educated in the United States of America, which might explain how he escaped the fate of “likkha-parrha-jahils” mass produced from its vast manufacturing consent complex with all his neurons still intact, and still firing on all cylinders. Bio at http://zahirebrahim.org ; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Verbatim reproduction license at http://humanbeingsfirst.org#Copyright .
Source URL (First Inquiry Letter: The fine art of academic scholarship for Zion): http://print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/10/zion-and-fine-art-of-academiology.html
Source URL (Second Inquiry Letter: Zion and the poor American Academic): http://print-humanbeingsfirst.blogspot.com/2013/10/zion-and-poor-american-academic.html
First written April 24 to May 15, 2005 | Published on Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:01 pm 14403 32
Zion and the poor American Academic – Second Inqiury Open Letter by Zahir Ebrahim