Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

A glass half full: small but significant victories

Celebrating two significant recent victories for justice.

1. Anthropologist Professor Abu El-Haj Granted Tenure At Columbia

facts-on-the-ground.jpgCongratulations to Barnard’s Nadia Abu El-Haj for duly being awarded academic tenure. For this Beirut, Tehren and US-educated Palestinian-American and author of Facts on the Ground: Archaeological Practice and Territorial Self-Fashioning in Israeli Society, this is also a win against the desperate, McCarthyist and ideologically-driven attacks and smears of the Likudnik-Zios in the US of the kind that saw Norman Finkelstein denied tenure a few months ago. See:

2. LA8 Victory

A favourable closure on one of the US’s longest-running and most controversial deportation cases, one that tested whether immigrants have the same First Amendment rights as citizens. Phyllis Bennis, investigator with the National Lawyers’ Guild describes the victory in this now twenty-year-old Los Angeles Eight case:

This deportation effort by the U.S. government, starting in the Reagan administration and continuing through Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, tried to deport eight activists for Palestinian rights — 7 Palestinians and a Kenyan woman married to one of them — for First Amendment-protected activities. First they were tried under the old McCarthy-era McCarran-Walter Act, for being “members or supporters of an organization supporting world communism” and when that was overturned by congress, they were charged with supporting a terrorist organization. Their “deportable” activities were distributing a newspaper and raising money for hospitals, clinics and schools in the West Bank and Lebanon’s refugee camps, linked to one of the factions of the PLO. They were never accused of ANY illegal or violent activities, never accused of committing, supporting, aiding, talking or even dreaming about terrorist acts. (During a two-year FBI investigation, an FBI agent moved into an apartment adjoining that of two of the LA 8 and kept listening devices against their bedroom wall for six months… he heard nothing.)

Judge William Webster, former head of the FBI, said explicitly that if the Eight were citizens, there would have been no basis even to arrest them.

So twenty years later, vindication. I’ve been part of the legal team for 20 years, and it’s been a huge privilege.

See also:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"