Friday, October 3, 2014

My Letter to the NYTimes RE Steven Salaita and the Quagmire of Academic Freedom

Academic Freedom... Illustration credit: Google Images revealing  line drawing by Tim E. Ogline who has "always sought to draw on the Right Brain for the Left Brain."
RE Steven Salaita and the Quagmire of Academic Freedom

Dear Editor,

Quite a quagmire indeed.  Your story Steven Salaita and the Quagmire of Academic Freedom brought up many very interesting points, but missed a few crucially important ones.

Starting with actual beginnings: All people here in America were at one time immigrants, with the earliest arrivals coming from Asia long before written records. Those earliest immigrants did not call this place America, that word is a much more recent arrival. Furthermore the phrase "Native American" takes the word "native" which specifically means born in a particular place, and uses that word to exclude a huge portion of native born American citizens. 

America's written records, combined with our constitution, our Bill of Rights, our free libraries and schools and many other factors give every one both the ability to explore many topics including many horrific tragedies, and the ability to weigh in with facts and opinions, ultimately shaping both domestic and foreign polices.

Times have changed. Today's world has jobless Palestinians braving death to migrate ... Today's world also has The New York Times headlining the editorial  The Fundamental Horror of ISIS , as well as the editorial Mr. Netanyahu’s Strange Course clearly articulating the fact that Americans are questioning Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement to end the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Native Americans/American Indians were uniformly granted U.S. citizenship in 1924, decades before Martin Luther King Jr helped make America a more real democracy, and a full 24 years before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and modern Israel's heavily armed sovereign quest to become demographically Jewish by disenfranchising native non-Jewish Palestinians. Most Palestinian men, women and children have been pushed into poverty and forced exile, creating the largest, longest running refugee crisis in the world today.

Some readers might judge Salaita based on his stance regarding the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, some on his scholarship- others might judge him based on the tone of his tweets, his rage/righteous indignation as well as his exact words and his obvious lack of diplomatic tact in a very public forum.  Various people will find various reasons to agree or to disagree, some will voice what they think, some won't but they'll "vote with their feet"... Here in America parents who are able to send their kids to college invest a huge amount of time and money in their kids, even before college. College itself tends to be punitively expensive.  In researching colleges to consider many resources are used: Parents, potential students, and donors can easily google various professors and read public tweets.   

Here in America good role models help our young people get and keep good jobs. Colleges need to keep that in mind, and so should any one seeking to convince Americans to care about Palestine. 

Anne Selden Annab

The New World (according to wikipedia) was dubbed "America,  a name derived by Martin Waldseemüller from Americus Vespucius, the Latinized version of Amerigo Vespucci, the name of the Italian merchant and cartographer who explored South America's east coast and the Caribbean Sea in the early 16th century."

STAY CONNECTED... Given the U.S. commitment to religious freedom, and to the international covenants that guarantee it as the inalienable right of every human being, the United States seeks to: Promote freedom of religion and conscience throughout the world as a fundamental human right and as a source of stability for all countries

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Palestinian Refugees (1948-NOW) refused their right to return... and their right to live in peace free from religious bigotry and injustice.


Time and time again I have watched the cycle of incitement and spin sabotage support for Palestine

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An Anne Frank Moment ... a poem by Anne Selden Annab

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?

America/Israel/Palestine 1776

America/Israel/Palestine 1948: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The Golden Rule... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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