Naming names

February 26, 2009

Dr. Peter Kirstein has posted his remarks for the Chicago Gaza Panel, including a “naming names of the courageous victims of the New McCarthyism who refused to be silent”. (And one of the best jabs I’ve ever seen at the always/already useless Stanley Fish.)

Spanish philosopher Miguel Unamuno, during the Spanish Civil War, declared in 1936, “Sometimes to be Silent is to Lie.” He directed this remark on his campus of the University of Salamanca, where he had served twice as rector, to the pro-Franco fascist General Milan-Astray, who forced him off campus at gunpoint and placed Unamuno under house arrest. This was a shocking violation of academic freedom which I am sure Stanley Fish, now op-ed columnist of the New York Times, would heartily defend.

Unamuno died within two months after suffering a heart attack. In this country professors have been denied tenure, denied promotion, subjected to public vilification, experienced censorship of their books, been prohibited from speaking at previously scheduled events, been suspended, denied the right to teach classes in their specialty, pressured to turn down appointments at universities, and have been fired from both tenure and non-tenure track positions for speaking truth to power about the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Naming names was used during the McCarthy Era to blacklist and smear supposed communists and internationalists including many academicians. Well I am naming names of the courageous victims of the New McCarthyism who refused to be silent: Norman Finkelstein, Joel Kovel, Terri Ginsberg, Mehrene Larudee, Douglas Giles, John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Joseph Massad, Ward Churchill and Juan Cole.

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