Thursday, January 06, 2005

Academic freedom?

FrontPage magazine.com :: Dissident Arab Gets the Treatment by Ahmad Al-Qloushi "By Ahmad Al-Qloushi FrontPageMagazine.com | January 6, 2005 I am a 17-year-old Kuwaiti Arab Muslim and a college freshman studying in the USA. ... Make Comment View Comments Printable Article Email Article Font 6pt 7pt 8pt 9pt 10pt 11pt 12pt 13pt 14pt 15pt 16pt 17pt 18pt 19pt 20pt Dissident Arab Gets the Treatment By Ahmad Al-Qloushi FrontPageMagazine.com | January 6, 2005 I am a 17-year-old Kuwaiti Arab Muslim and a college freshman studying in the USA. I was three years of age when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. My parents still remember what it was like for us during the invasion. Waiting for long hours in line for a few pieces of bread. We had darkness 24 hours a day from the burning oil wells. My two uncles are still traumatized from being kidnapped and tortured in Iraqi prisons. Most of all we remember our one-week-old baby cousin who died while the Iraqi invaders were stealing incubators from hospitals to sell them for profit. The Americans by contrast came in to liberate us and asked for nothing in return. I love this country for the freedom it provides and for rescuing Kuwait’s liberty in the first Gulf War. 12 Years later, America once again has selflessly protected my country and my people by removing Saddam Hussein. I arrived in the United States for the first time 5 months ago with tremendous enthusiasm to study the political institutions and history of this extraordinary country. I enrolled in Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California and immediately registered for “Introduction to American Government and Politics." I was shocked by my Professor’s singularly one-sided presentation. Week after week, I encountered a lack of intellectual and political diversity that I would have more commonly expected to have heard on the streets of pre-liberation Iraq. In this particular class I heard only one consistent refrain: America is bad. ... The final exam consisted solely of one required essay: “Dye and Zeigler contend that the Constitution of the United States was not ‘ordained and established’ by ‘the people’ as we have so often been led to believe. They contend instead that it was written by a small educated and wealthy elite in America who were representative of powerful economic and political interests. Analyze the US constitution (original document), and show how its formulation excluded the majority of the people living in America at that time, and how it was dominated by America's elite interest.” ... I did not leave my country and my family to come to the United States to receive further brainwashing. I disagreed completely with Dye and Zeigler’s thesis. I wrote an essay defending America’s Founding Fathers and upholding the US constitution as a pioneering document, which has contributed to extraordinary freedoms in America and other corners of the world - including my corner, the Middle East. Professor Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me na├»ve for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world." Then he upped the stakes and said "You need regular psychotherapy." Apparently, if you are an Arab Muslim who loves America you must be deranged. Professor Woolcock went as far as to threaten me by stating that he would visit the Dean of International Admissions (who has the power to take away student visas) to make sure I received regular psychological treatment. This scared me. I didn’t want to be deported for having written a pro-American essay, so as soon as I left his office I made an appointment with the school psychologist. She let me go with a comment that I don’t need regular therapy. As I left her office, I couldn’t help thinking that even my Palestinian high school teachers had never tried to silence me or put me in therapy."

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