Saturday, October 20, 2007

National Project to Defend Dissent & Critical Thinking in Academia

National Project to Defend Dissent & Critical Thinking in Academia put out an "URGENT call to support students opposing IFAW at GWU"

On Monday October 8, 2007, 7 students from George Washington University took the initiative to counter David Horowitz's "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week". As part of a creative effort to inspire an apathetic study body, they created satirical flyers of a "typical" Muslim terrorist. The bottom of the flyer clearly indicated their satirical intent, highlighting a link to The Power of Nightmares, a powerful BBC documentary exposing the politics of terror and the erroneous equation of Islam with terrorism.

This intervention was meant to raise awareness, reveal the faulty assumptions of Horowitz's divisive campaign, and motivate students to oppose the organized celebration of racism. With fervor that only right-wing interest groups seem able to muster these days, the protest action itself was condemned as "racist" and used as political fodder to suppress criticism of the week.

As a result, the students have been unfairly tried in the court of public opinion and this week face internal disciplinary charges by GWU's Student Judicial Services, while the sponsors of and speakers scheduled for "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week" remain unchallenged.

Please circulate this call to your lists, and e-mail both the GWU President and Student Judicial Services, urging them to drop any punitive actions against the 7 students for their attempts to highlight the dangerous presumptions underlying Horowitz's campaign and asking President Knapp to join the many institutions around the country who have refused to support "Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week".

GWU President Steven Knapp:

Student Judicial Services:

Thank you for joining us in countering yet another attempt at silencing dissent.

And a great poem that appears on the sidebar of that page:

In Praise of Doubt

There are the thoughtless who never doubt.
Their digestion is splendid, their judgement infallible.
They don't believe in the facts, they believe only in
When it comes to the point
The facts must go by the board.
Their patience with themselves
Is boundless. To arguments
They listen with the ear of a police spy.

The thoughtless who never doubt
Meet the thoughtful who never act.
They doubt, not in order to come to a decision but
To avoid a decision. Their heads
They use only for shaking. With anxious faces
They warn the crews of sinking ships that water is
Beneath the murderer's axe
They ask themselves if he isn't human too.
Murmuring something
About the situation not yet being clarified, they go to bed.
Their only action is to vacillate.
Their favorite phrase is: not yet ripe for discussion.

* * *

Therefore, if you praise doubt
Do not praise
The doubt which is a form of despair.

What use is the ability to doubt to a man
Who can't make up his mind?
He who is content with too few reasons
May act wrongly
But he who needs too many
Remains inactive under danger.

– Bertolt Brecht.


Terri said...

The fact that the "National Project to Defend Dissent & Critical Thinking in Academia" even exists is evidence of fascism in America.

PoliShifter said...

I still can't believe that the term "Islamo-Fascists" is in use today.

Fascism is the merging of corporate and state interests, something the U.S. is exceling at.

The militant islamists typically despise capitalism and western ways.

It is my view that the whole coing of the term and its perpetuated use is to try to diminish and deflect away from the U.S.'s move toward fascism.

Nicholas Provenzo said...

"Critical thinking?" How does attempting to prevent your ideological opponent from speaking on campus somehow count as protecting critical thinking?

Furthermore, why does your attempt at parody rate special treatment under GW's policies for campus clubs? As a student, you hijacked the university logo in your propaganda flyer in order to imply a relationship between your opponents and the university that does not exist. You posted your propaganda poster on university property in explicit violation of its policies. How can you turn around and claim that the university has no right to sanction you for your conduct, particularly when those who believed that your poster was the product of your opponents were calling for your opponents to be expelled from the university?

From my view, you are little more than a hypocrite. You attack your opponent's right to speak on campus and then you claim that same right for yourself. Academic freedom means that all peaceable speakers are free to present their opinions without unjust restraint--not just the speakers who you approve.