Brandeis, words, and extinction


Humanity is doomed. Everyone knows it. We cockroaches have been around for 350 million years and have watched millions of species come and go, and we know a goner when we see one. Though this blog has sometimes strayed when there is a news item too juicy to pass up, its mission is to chart the extinction of mankind via the vehicle in which it takes the greatest pride: language.

Today's chapter is about Brandeis University, which planned to offer an honorary doctorate to Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ms Ali was born in Somalia and grew up Muslim. Fleeing an arranged marriage, she went to the Netherlands, where she earned a master's degree, and eventually became a member of the Dutch parliament. Deeply disturbed by the repression of women in immigrant Muslim communities, she collaborated on a movie about it entitled Submission. 

Rather than give the movie a Thumbs Down, a Muslim man shot the director of the movie on the street, decapitated him, and thrust a knife into his body securing a note saying that the same was in store for Ms Ali. 

Ms Ali continues to campaign for rights of women around the world, focusing attention on issues such as violence and ritual genital mutilation, of which she was a victim as a child. It is no surprise that she has developed some very powerful antipathies toward Islam and how the world should react to it, and has been forthcoming about them in many interviews and publications.

This is the good part: When informed about Brandeis's intentions, much of its faculty signed a petition insisting that the offer of the honorary degree be rescinded, and it was. The reason? She is an "Islamophobe."  Her attitudes are not consistent with the university's "core values."

It is not for us to guess what core values are violated by the voice of this woman. But why is her courage not celebrated, her knowledge not respected? Listen to what she has to say, then decide. Dismissing her as an "Islamophobe" is like calling a leper a "bacteria-ophobe." 

Another example of how you humans twist words into a rope that will eventually hang you. 

(Courtesy of Numbers the roach.)

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