My name is NaXaL, I take NewYork Times based stories of the day, and flip ‘em into sumthing you can feel.
All the News That’s Fit to Flip is a slogan homegrown, plucked and owned by me.
Today’s post: I peeped this story on Monday, when the Times ran a piece about it, called: “Fracas Erupts Over Book on Mideast by a Barnard Professor Seeking Tenure (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/education/10barnard.html?_r=1&oref=slogin).
Finally simmered down enough to write.
September 13, 2007
Nadia Abu El-Haj, a Palestinian woman of color Professor at an elite U.S. university, published many times over, with bling stints at Harvard and Princeton, is potentially going to be denied tenure or pressured out of pursuing it because of our times, her culture, and her recent book, “Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society.” By most accounts, including according to her current academic host, Barnard University, she is a shoo in for tenure. In fact, Barnard has already approved her tenure, but now the women’s college has to go ask Columbia for his final say.
Professor Abu El-Haj is a Palestinian scholar working on creating and re-creating destroyed and under attack history. Is the right to history one of the sticks in each human being’s bundle of human rights? I guess it depends on which human beings, when.
No matter where you stand on the issue, the facts are clear. Professor Abu El-Haj is the latest in a line of higher learning teachers under attack. Why is this getting my goat? It’s not just that anti-occupation educators are being denied tenure. Hell no, its more than that. Shit, hardly anybody else has secure employment. It’s true that tenure is important because presents a security that offers thinkers the chance to think freely. But it really ain’t the be all and the end all of what matters about anti-occupation Professors under attack.
What matters here is an ever deepening silence. Like a blanket. Like its the Never Ending Sto-oh-rie and The Nothing draws near.
A steady chill under blankets, Trojan Horses, the gifts of neo-liberal capitalism emptied like pinatas in the fray. Patriot Act, Clear Channel, Viacom defunding artists, post-Gonzales don’t you doubt for a minute that the nation’s prosecutors have to prod the party line any less, academics like Norman Finkelstein publicly harangued for an unpopular but on balance neccesary study of Palestinians and the occupation/settlement of Israel. Pictures of Britney Spears with half a teaspoon of fat on her body at the MTV Music Awards plastered all over mainstream online news sites and this is the culture that is responsible for freeing women in other countries? God help us.
So what’s going to happen with Nadia. I can only imagine. Education bent over empire’s knee. One’s getting off, the other is fighting to stay whole, wishing she knew whether it was moaning or silence that would make him nut enough to leave her alone. Chose your own ending suspense. Will education stand victorious, torch of learning still blazing in hand even after all this like the Statutue of Liberty? Or will she stand already melting like Brooklyn blocks into condos?
Will domestic education in the 21st century be a woman tortured past a path home?
Aaaargh! This is an entry that calls for the Serenity Prayer, religiously recited at N/A or A/A meetings around the world.
Here goes my remix: God grant me the courage to face the things I cannot change. The hopefullness it takes to change those things I really can change. And the wisdom and patience I need to know the difference between what’s changeable and what ain’t.
Stay tuned for more of All the News That’s Fit to Flip by political poet, NaXaL.