As an alumnus I am disturbed by the developments at GW concerning the demonization of Islam on campus by a few ignorant students who appear to expressing a form of bigotry that is both juvenile and uninformed. I am not referring to the students who posted the now-infamous fliers about hating Muslims last week. The fact is that the flier’s disturbing initial message directly reflects, in my view, the troubling theme of the upcoming “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.”
It is necessary to combat this hate-fest masquerading as an “awareness” week in which a few students will work to conflate – through innuendo – the actions of a few members of a faith with the actions of the whole. Their work reminds me of my final year at GW when, as a Hatchet columnist, I commented on the College Republicans decision to invite and endorse Ann Coulter. Coulter told a packed crowd in a Marvin Center ballroom that Islam was a “car-burning cult.” What was the crowd’s response? A raging and raucous applause that ended in a standing ovation.
To me, these were the real fascists: those who would demonize a community at GW and a faith with over a billion adherents. The Young America’s Foundation unconvincingly insists that it is only targeting the “radical” Muslims. Would we tolerate an “African-American Violence Awareness Week?” Or would we insist that this uncalled-for singling out of one community demands condemnation? Would we accept a “Jewish Financiers Awareness Week,” during which the target would be only the rich and powerful Jews of the world? Or would we condemn it for what it clearly is, an anti-Semitic week?
The YAF project suggests that Muslims and Islam are particularly inclined towards fascism. Otherwise, the week should simply be titled “Fascism Awareness Week.” And the YAF, I would suggest, would be an appropriate topic of discussion.
Timothy E. Kaldas, Alumnus
Look beyond the words
I’ve been reading into the issue concerning the infamous posters hung on campus with a mix of gripping interest and utter boredom. On one hand, I’m appalled by the response this issue has caused. First, the response from conservative groups has been simply off the wall and unnecessary. Where is the dignity that Americans should conduct themselves with when “Richard” calls assistant director of the Student Activities Center, Bridgette Behling, a “bimbo leftist nutcase” after she asked for the Young America’s Foundation to clarify its stance?
Furthermore, where is the spirit of healthy debate and dissent when students are called “apologists for jihad and sharia”? September 11, 2001 has hit us all very hard, and caused us to revert to some of our baser, less noble traits but I fear that it has shaken the American character so much that we may not be able to recover. Conservatives and liberals alike are so quick to pounce on a word, a sentence, a phrase without carefully trying to decipher meaning. It is pre-eminent in news today; you see people latching on to one phrase without looking at the message.
When something like this goes as far as Pakistan, deep into the Islamic community, I worry. Coupled with the mere childish response that it has garnered at home, we have an equally ridiculous response abroad. This case was not an incident of “hate speech.” It was a failed attempt at satire – a condensation of Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” into maybe four words. This is what troubles me. Pundits and bloggers writing articles charged with language aimed at dragging the entire enterprise of American politics to the level of low-culture television.
It’s a race to the bottom on all fronts. There are no Lincolns, Henry Clays, John Calhouns, no Great Emancipators or Compromisers – we simply have Dick Cheney saying “Go fuck yourself” on the floor of the Senate. Is that what our America is worth?
Benjamin Litchfield, Junior
Lisner central element of GW for students
In reading last Monday’s article on Lisner Auditorium (Oct. 8, p. 3) , I was very happy to see that The Hatchet was getting the word out about some of the many events happening here this fall. While space is limited, I had hoped that the reporter could identify the many popular events that are presented by GW students themselves, such as the annual Raas Chaos, Step Show, Law Revue, Medical Follies and multiple performances by the GW Band, Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, as well as benefit concerts such as the upcoming concert for Darfur presented by GW STAND.
I believe the writer did not realize that when we speak of community, we include students in that scope. Lisner is committed to presenting the very best in performing arts because we feel that it is an integral part of every well-rounded education. Lisner is recognized as the leading presenter of world music in the Washington area. Given the vast number of GW students who are specifically interested in global affairs and cultural diversity, Lisner offers students a unique wealth of access to the very best artists from around the world.
It is my hope that students will take advantage of the diversity of performances and events available to them right on campus and that they, above all, consider themselves the integral part of Lisner’s community.
Rosanna Ruscetti, Director, Lisner Auditorium