Debbie Almontaser and Ward Churchill

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Ward Churchill was a University Professor in Colorado, fired for his writing actions taken when he wrote an essay about September 11th. Debbie Almontaser, a public school teacher in New York City who because of the actions of other Muslims on September 11th found herself being the talked about subject for all the wrong reasons.

Debbie Almontaser due to her long 15 years working in the education system was set to be the head of the Khalil Gibran International Academy, a public school which would help Arab-American students new to the country.  Many individuals were against this, including Daniel Pipes who consistently wrote anti-Muslim articles and blatantly stated that the school was a bad idea.  Debbie went through a nightmare of first trying to find a suitable building with the Department of Education. Several buildings would first accept the offer, and then reject it. In Park Slope parents protested it, the protest being called the ‘Holy War’, other school buildings would give them a fourth floor or minimal space, but went back on their deal, forcing them to choose a low quality building which had to convert a cafeteria into three classrooms.

Debbie’s nightmare of trying to put the school together did not stop there.  Debbie helped start Arab American Heritage Week, the last event involved AWAAM (Arab Women in the Arts and Media).  At the festival there was a shirt that said Intifada, which meant shaking off but as Debbie said, through evolution and over time has become to mean uprising, linking to the uprisings in the Middle East.  Members of the Stop the Madrassa Coalition found the shirts at the event and held Debbie responsible since she is on the board of one of the companies that helps with the event, Saba.  They used to this to try and say she was unfit to be principal of a school, saying that she was supporting violence.

Debbie and Ward are similar because of the situations they have both gone through where people find other arguments against them to make them appear to be unfit to teach or to appear negatively in the public eye.  For Ward the excuse to fire him was academic misconduct including plagiarism and falsification.  Meanwhile for Debbie they tried to remove her from being a principal because of the meaning behind the Intifada shirts, and saying she was the one responsible for them.  In both cases, they were held responsible for such occasions that really would not have affected them had the issue of 9-11 never happened.

Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViMYROBmoG4&feature=player_embedded

Nightmares about school:

http://monthlyreview.org/2011/07/01/khalil-gibran-international-academy

Shouting Fire

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Ward Churchill is described as a public intellectual, and he doesn’t censor himself.  On 9-11, he posted what he believed the motive to be for such terroristic attacks, but rather than releasing it the day after as told to, he released it the day of. He gave his reasons, and supported them, fine, okay, nothing wrong with letting people be informed.

One of the first things I noticed about the segment involving Ward Churchill, was his hearing.  He was holding hands with what I assume were beloved students of his and also had students behind him backing his opinion.  He freely spoke over one of the committee members, even though he was told not to, saying “Let the students speak.”  That was just something that caught my attention, the way the students were there to defend their professor and show support.

When it was announced that he was fired from the University, students were in an uproar shouting profanities.  They knew their professor was wrongfully fired. The point that is brought up about the academic misconduct is a very valid point.  It closely resembles what law enforcement does when they have a seasoned killer and they just can’t catch them. Or rather, what happened in the Son of Sam case (or David Berkowitz). They didn’t catch him in the middle of a vicious murder, oh no, they caught him on a parking ticket. This instantly struck me as incredibly similar to what happened to Ward Churchill.

Could they get him on his 9-11 essay? No, like his lawyer said, it would be seen as an attack on freedom of speech, which would only lead to what I assume would be a massive uproar of people.  So they go for something that the public can’t really argue against, academic misconduct including: misrepresentation, fabrication, plagiarism, and failing to comply with established standards of research.  Well, I’m very sure that he is not the only professor in the world to not exactly comply with the rules to “t”, but they had to catch him, they had to show some sort of punishment for what he said. If it involved going into his past, digging up useless petty mistakes, then that’s what they had to do.

Down With Witches!

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Or sorcerers, that’s at least what some people seem to think.  The banning of books has always been a topic that I find rather bothersome.  People should be able to read what they want to read, and think about the book however they so choose to.  What gives any individual the right to prevent someone from reading?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUwbaNO6Z18&list=FLYWkmcvfO4VNW1Juc_jNqwg&index=254&feature=plpp_video

Banning of the books might as well lead to banning of all of their movies as well.  I mean hey, if your child can’t exactly imagine what’s going on in the book, they’ll turn to the movie, and I’m sure that would somehow invite Satan in, right  Father?

I get it, a Catholic school feels that the books are spiritually dangerous and will make the children vulnerable to cult practices.  My opinion, if a child at the age of ten is already in some sort of cult, those are issues that came way before Harry Potter.  The books open a whole new door to the imagination, and they influence kids to read, which with modern technology, is a troublesome task to do.  no one should take that away from them.

Another helpful hint, just explain to them that the story is fiction, so you don’t wake up one morning and your kid is pointing a stick from the backyard at you trying to give you a lightning bolt scar.  Children are too sheltered, stop taking everything away and let them have some experiences.