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.


My name is Captain Kopekein, I will not go away,
I´ve served in many armies but it is Iraq today--
Civilians have me in their sights and have me in their pay,
But when it comes to benefits,
Then it´s--
"What´s that you say?"

"Cannon" destroyed my ears and scrambled all the brains inside,
But politicians label me a nation´s foremost pride;
Alas the springs of sympathy have all gone up and dried,
For when it comes to benefits
Then it´s
"Good lad, abide."

"Soldier abide" they tell me but I´ve been abiding long,
Can´t get no work; but I am broke that once was manly strong,
Yet though parades call up my name when there´s a motley throng,
When it comes to my benefits
Then it´s
"Is something wrong?"

It´s hard to hobble half a man but I am growing old,
Perhaps I have sweet children to be sheltered from the cold,
And though they might be gratified their father "was so bold"
When it comes down to benefits
Then it´s
Patience to hold.

You sent me to Fallujah when I couldn´t find no job
At home--it´s robbing Peter whereby Paul so as to rob,
But even in Iraq a-firing shots into the mob
Has brought me meager benefits,
When it´s--
Corn on the cob.

God bless you--all so civilized--as I tried to uphold
Your words of truth and beauty; thought your words were good as gold,
In which I was mistaken--that am no more thought-controlled,
For now I know the benefits
Of it´s
Less than extolled.

As Captain Kopeikin I cannot die or go away,
But rest upon your conscience, even while the children play,
For my wounds grieve me less than must your own auto-da-fe,
For when it comes to benefits
Then it´s
Your hell to pay.

--I.M. Small

Thanks to the anonymous poster who left this as a comment on the previous post.

The trailer for Veterans Against the War

The trailer/demo reel for Veterans Against the War (working title): a documentary produced and directed by Katherine Niemczyk about soldiers speaking out about past and present war experiences. Look for the completed documentary at the end of 2008!