My life for the last six weeks has been but a blur of images and words. Sometimes we just get so caught up in things that we actually forget to live; forget to take a step back and just chill out. Today for the first day I am chilling out. But before I chill out I need to have a rant about two things that really got under my skin...
So I was working on an essay for the past couple of days; of course I had left it to the last minute and was up at early hours of the morning frantically trying to get things together, but whatever; students will never change. So I was reading a chapter of a book, it was a feeble defence of capitalism, when I get to a sentence that said this “It is reasonable to give more weight to the life of a British than an Iraqi soldier. But not to give the Iraqi no weight at all”. Of course at first this enraged me and made want to rip out the page but I thought I would leave it in so whoever was to read it after me would see how much of an idiot the author is. It is really disgusting that people still spout these horrendous arguments as if they are justified. You can never put another human life over another, no matter how imperialistic or superior you think you may be; it is unjustified. It’s just barbaric. And not only is the author placing the British over Iraqis but he had audacity to go as far as to assure us that Iraqi lives have some weighting. PA-LEASE, as if we need him to tell us that we are not worthless in order to be accepted. It’s a dirty game he is playing; the same the occupier plays on a daily basis. Sick, sick minded people.
The second ridiculous thing I read was an argument in favour of a socialist/communitarian society, but this was no ordinary socialist community, it was a community in ISRAEL! Fascist, Apartheid Israel. The Zionist was trying to claim that this community was widely admired for taking on important roles and performing functions such as reclaiming the land, aiding Jewish self-defence and ‘normalizing’ the occupational structure of the Jewish people. I seriously could not believe what I was reading; it was absolutely disgusting! This author was muddying the socialist argument by trying to look to Israel as an exemplar and along the way totally ignoring Israel’s Apartheid laws, siege of gaza and just the utter colonisation and destruction of an entire nation! How do these people go to sleep at night?!
This then made me think about academics and academia as a whole. Being the geek I am I usually hold all books in high regard; after all, the author did take his/her time out to write a couple hundred pages so they must have something worthwhile to say. Even if they are known to be on the wacky side I still think they deserve to be given a chance to be read and have their arguments criticised that way rather than being written off from the outset. (Though, I think I am guilty of writing off Ayan Hirsi Ali without reading her books... but COME ON, can anyone blame me?!?). It is a bit worrying however that a whole lot of academics are not really on the side of Justice though; they are not on the side of the people. They represent an elite, an elite that places itself above all others and assumes it has the end all be all conclusions of the world. And when you go against the grain, take Norman Finkelstein for instance, you are then isolated and stripped of your rights. Norman Finkelstein should be a role model for every academic. Academics should be on the side of justice, on the side of the people. We spend a lot of our time reading their work and they have the power to actually change the way people thing, they should use that. But instead, slowly day by day our ‘free’ education system is being eroded with censorship of what they don’t want the people to read and support of academia that furthers Imperial power and its agenda. I really do fear for what things will be like in the future; if the only academics that are able to succeed are those that fill the status quo the world will be a very, very chilling place.