Ursula Le Guin on books

Ursula K. Le Guin accepts the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014

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Kabbalism

Russia has a sprawling edifice of institutions held together by an understanding of the general line that has been laid down by Putin in consultation with the rest of the ruling cabal.

—Robert Service, Kremlin Winter, (London: Picador, 2019), 81.


And Service’s is one of the better volumes on Putin. How are western readers to understand the world when this is the language with which they are spoon-fed?

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Louis Farrakhan on Tal Mitnick

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Unfortunately several recent accounts contain sheer speculation dressed up as certainty, and it is important to recognize that there are many known unknowns in Russian current affairs and, probably, an even greater number of unknown unknowns — and Western analysis, and any policy that is developed from it, needs to be rooted in the ground of what can be duly authenticated. Russia is too important to have its politics exaggerated, over-simplified or turned into a fantasy.

—Robert Service, Kremlin Winter, (London: Picador, 2019), xiv.

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The Fantasy of an Iranian Bomb

Seymour Hersh:

The Biden administration made it plain after taking office, an informed official told me, that it has little interest in NIE[National Intelligence Estimate]s, which are prepared by CIA experts who consult with many of the best scholars in the areas being studied. For example, the final document in the 2012 study of the nuclear capability of Iran was reviewed and evaluated by an esteemed scholar teaching at a major American university who, when he and I spoke privately, vouched for the integrity of the report.

There has been no known NIE dealing with the current war in Ukraine, the on-going Israeli war in Gaza, or the consequences of an oft-threatened Israeli assault on Iran.

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Philosophy for Palestine

November 1, 2023

We are a group of philosophy professors in North America, Latin America, and Europe writing to publicly and unequivocally express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and to denounce the ongoing and rapidly escalating massacre being committed in Gaza by Israel and with the full financial, material, and ideological support of our own governments.

We do not claim any unique authority—moral, intellectual, or otherwise—on the basis of our being philosophers. However, our discipline has made admirable strides recently in confronting philosophy’s historically exclusionary practices and in engaging directly with pressing and urgent injustices. To this end, we call on our colleagues in philosophy to join us in overcoming complicity and silence.

As we write, bombs have killed over 8,500 people in Gaza. By the time you read this, that number will have risen.

Thousands more are trapped under rubble. For over three weeks, a siege of the territory has cut off food, water, medicine, fuel, and electricity. A million inhabitants of northern Gaza have been ordered to flee their homes amid airstrikes and in advance of an ongoing ground invasion with nowhere safe to go. Talk of a second nakba is chilling, yet apt. People of conscience have an obligation to speak out against these atrocities. This is not a difficult step to take; what is far more difficult for us is to turn away in silence and complicity from an unfolding genocide.

To focus, as we do here, on the actions of the Israeli state and the unflagging support it receives from the US and its allies, is neither to celebrate violence, nor to equivocate on the value of innocent lives. Civilian deaths, regardless of nationality, are tragic and unacceptable. Yet to act as though the history of violence began with Hamas’s attacks on October 7, 2023 is to display a reckless indifference to history as well as to both Palestinian and Israeli lives. In order for violence to stop, the conditions that produce violence must stop.

The blockade of Gaza has lasted 16 years; the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has lasted 56 years; the dispossession of Palestinians of their lands and homes across historic Palestine has lasted three-quarters of a century, since the 1948 establishment of Israel as an ethno-supremacist state. It is not without reason that observers—including both international and Israeli human rights groups—now characterize Israel’s control over the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea as a system of apartheid.

Most importantly, we are all too aware that the countries in which we live and work and to which we pay taxes is funding and abetting one party and one party only in this deeply asymmetric conflict. That party is not the oppressed, but the oppressor.

Right now, the people of Gaza have urged allies worldwide to exert pressure on their governments to demand an immediate ceasefire. But this should—this must—be the beginning and not the end of collective action for liberation. If there is to be justice and peace, the siege of Gaza must end, the blockade must end and the occupation must end. Above all, the rights all people currently living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, as well as those of Palestinian refugees in exile must be respected.

We invite our fellow philosophers to join us in solidarity with Palestine and the struggle against apartheid and occupation.In particular, join us in supporting the academic and cultural boycott of Israeli institutions—distinct from individuals—as outlined by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). We urge all individuals to speak out openly and fearlessly, and work to advance the cause of Palestinian liberation and justice for all.

Signed,

  1. Hosn Abboud (American University of Beirut)
  2. Baher Abdulhai (University of Toronto)
  3. As’ad Abu Libdeh (University of Applied Science, Jordan)
  4. Diana María Acevedo-Zapata (Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Colombia)
  5. María del Rosario Acosta López (University of California, Riverside)
  6. Javier Agüero Aguila (Universidad Católica del Maule, Chile)
  7. Sabeen Ahmed (Swarthmore College)
  8. Rachida Akil (Faculty of Humanities, University of Tunis)
  9. Aziz Al-Azmeh (Central European University)
  10. Dina Al-Kassimi (University of British Columbia)
  11. Hanan Al-Khalaf (Kuwait University)
  12. Aalia Hilal Al-Saadi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
  13. Alia Al-Saji (McGill University)
  14. Saad Al-Tamimi (Al-Mustansiriya University, Iraq)
  15. Mohammad Alameri
  16. Linda Martín Alcoff (City University of New York)
  17. Eric Aldieri (Bridgewater State University)
  18. Asma Alibrahim (Al-Bayt University, Jordan)
  19. Daniel Allen (Villanova University)
  20. Rayid Almansory (University of Sunderland)
  21. Tasneem Alsayyed (University of Waterloo)
  22. Basil Alsoodany
  23. Mauricio Amar (Centro de Estudios Árabes, Universidad de Chile)
  24. Ilana Amaral (Universidade Estadual do Ceará)
  25. Hermann Amaya (Universidad de Guadalajara)
  26. Luvell Anderson (Syracuse University)
  27. Solmu Anttila (VU Amsterdam)
  28. Louise Antony (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  29. Emiliano Aquino (Universidade Estadual do Ceará)
  30. Alfred Archer (Tilburg University)
  31. Sara Aronowitz (University of Toronto)
  32. Cinzia Arruzza (New School for Social Research)
  33. Richard T.W. Arthur (McMaster University)
  34. Ali Asghar
  35. Aref Ashrafian (Mofid University, Iran)
  36. David Auerbach (North Carolina State University)
  37. Estenio Azevedo (Universidade Estadual do Ceará)
  38. Farshid Baghai (Villanova University)
  39. Étienne Balibar (Kingston University)
  40. Anthony Ballas (Northern New Mexico College)
  41. Ralph Bannell (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro)
  42. Jonnefer Francisco Barbosa (PUC-SP, São Paulo)
  43. Óscar Barroso (Universidad de Granada)
  44. Bana Bashour (American University of Beirut)
  45. Stefanie Baumann (New University of Lisbon)
  46. Kenneth Baynes (Syracuse University)
  47. Zachary Behlok (Deinstitutionalized Scholar, USA)
  48. Abdelilah Belkeziz (Université Hassan II, Morocco)
  49. Nora Berenstain (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)
  50. Joseph Bermas-Dawes (DePaul University)
  51. Emanuela Bianchi (New York University)
  52. Shaikha Binjasim (Kuwait University)
  53. Greg Bird (Wilfrid Laurier University)
  54. Liliane Blaser (Comunidad de Trabajo e Investigación COTRAIN)
  55. Jared Bly (Villanova University)
  56. Ashley Bohrer (University of Notre Dame)
  57. Martin Bolaños (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  58. Alcira Beatriz Bonilla (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  59. Kelsey Borrowman (Villanova University)
  60. Dan Boscov-Ellen (Pratt Institute)
  61. Eric Bottorff (Oakton Community College)
  62. Faouzi Boukhriss (University of Ibn Tofail, Morocco)
  63. Erik Bordeleau (Universidade Nova, Lisbon)
  64. Samir Bouslhame (Ibn Zohr University, Agadir)
  65. Raymond Brassier (American University of Beirut)
  66. Bob Brecher (University of Brighton)
  67. Elyasi Eyja M.J. Brynjarsdottir (University of Iceland)
  68. Carmelita Brito de Freitas Felício (Universidade Federal de Goiás)
  69. Larry Alan Busk (Florida Gulf Coast University)
  70. Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley)
  71. Kevin Cabardo (New School for Social Research)
  72. Fortunato Maria Cacciatore (Università della Calabria)
  73. Alex Callinicos (King’s College London)
  74. Antonio Campillo (Universidad de Murcia)
  75. João Cão Duarte (Universidade de Lisboa)
  76. Taylor Carman (Barnard College, Columbia University)
  77. Alejandra Castillo (UMCE, Chile)
  78. Amandine Catala (Université du Québec à Montréal)
  79. Marie Chabbert (Utrecht University)
  80. Eugenio Chahuan (Universidad de Chile)
  81. Robert Chapman (Durham University)
  82. Tim Christiaens (Tilburg University)
  83. Lillian Cicerchia (University of Amsterdam)
  84. Alejandra Ciriza (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, Argentina)
  85. Adriana Clavel-Vazquez (Tilburg University)
  86. Rebecca Comay (University of Toronto)
  87. Elena Comay del Junco (University of Connecticut)
  88. Sascha Miguel Cornejo Puschner
  89. Gustavo Costa (Universidade Estadual do Ceará)
  90. Carmen Liliana Cubillos Sastoque (Universidad Central de Venezuela)
  91. Carla Damião (Universidade Federal de Goiás)
  92. Housamedden Darwish (Leipzig University)
  93. Alexis Davin (University of Bristol)
  94. Angela Y. Davis (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  95. Byron Davies (Tecnólogico de Monterrey)
  96. Camila de Gamboa (Universidad del Rosario)
  97. Dayana de la Rosa (Universidad del Atlántico
  98. Reza Dehghani (University of Tehran)
  99. Stephanie Deig (University of Lucerne)
  100. Donatella Delle Porta (Scuola Normale Superiore)
  101. Finnur Dellsén (University of Iceland)
  102. Maliheh Deyhim (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
  103. Esa Díaz-León (University of Barcelona)
  104. Gonzalo Díaz-Letelier (UMCE)
  105. Rosalyn Diprose (University of NSW
  106. Tarek R. Dika (University of Toronto)
  107. Rosalyn Diprose (UNSW, Sydney)
  108. Federico Donner (Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Argentina)
  109. Marie Draz (San Diego State University)
  110. Todd Dufresne (Lakehead University)
  111. Emily Dupree (Loyola University Chicago)
  112. Fataharrahman Eisa (Alneelain University, Khartoum, Sudan)
  113. Peter Ekegren (Uppsala University)
  114. Latifa El Bouhsini (Université Mohamed V Rabat, Morocco)
  115. Mohammed El Fahem (L’Université Moulay Ismaïl de Meknès, Morocco)
  116. Safae el Khannoussi el Bouidrin (University of Amsterdam)
  117. Fouad El Mazouni
  118. Abdellah El Moutaouakil (Université Hassan II, Morocco)
  119. Zeyad El Nabolsy (York University)
  120. Adham El Shazly (University of Cambridge)
  121. Hind Elkalai (University of Massachussets, Amherst)
  122. Manal Elshwhaby
  123. Nathan Ecktrand (Sam Houston State University)
  124. Jessica Elkayam (Sam Houston State University)
  125. Jessica Ellis (European Graduate School)
  126. Diane Enns (Toronto Metropolitan University)
  127. Sandra Escutia Díaz (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  128. Andrea Fagioli (University of Buenos Aires)
  129. Augie Faller (Bryn Mawr College)
  130. Saba Fatima (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville)
  131. Brandon D.C. Fenton (York University/Conestoga College)
  132. Ann Ferguson (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  133. Estela Fernández Nadal (Universidad Nacional de Cuyo)
  134. Luigi Filieri (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
  135. Owen Flanagan (Duke University)
  136. Anton Ford (University of Chicago)
  137. Carina Fourie (University of Washington)
  138. Nancy Fraser (New School for Social Research)
  139. Layal Ftouni (Utrecht University)
  140. Alessandra Fussi (University of Pisa)
  141. Mercer Gary (Drexel University)
  142. Gabriele Gava (University of Turin)
  143. Kelly Gawel (Governors State University)
  144. Nassire Ghadire (University of Baghdad)
  145. Aya Moustafa Ghareeb (Ain Shams University)
  146. Jonathan Gingerich (Rutgers University)
  147. Marcela Gomez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  148. Gabriela González Ortuño (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  149. Sarah Gorman
  150. Dana Grabelsky (City University of New York)
  151. Peter Graham (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  152. Ramon Grosfoguel (University of California at Berkeley)
  153. Miguel Gualdron Ramirez (University of Oregon)
  154. Hermann Guendel (Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica)
  155. Lisa Guenther (Queen’s University)
  156. María José Guerra Palmero (University of La Laguna)
  157. Rita Guidarelli (Universidad Autónoma Chapingo)
  158. Lauren Guilmette (Elon University)
  159. Daniel Gutiérrez (UBA-UNQ)
  160. Reza Hadisi (University of Toronto)
  161. Joshua M. Hall (University of Alabama, Birmingham)
  162. Kim Q. Hall (Appalachian State University)
  163. Sterling Hall (Villanova University)
  164. Raja Halwani (School of the Art Institute of Chicago)
  165. Naïma Hamrouni (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières)
  166. Siba Harb (Tilburg University)
  167. John Harfouch (University of Alabama, Huntsville)
  168. Rafeeq Hasan (Amherst College)
  169. Sally Haslanger (MIT)
  170. Josh Hayes (Alvernia University)
  171. Tris Hedges (University of Copenhagen)
  172. Andrés Fabián Henao Castro (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
  173. Charles Hermes (University of Texas at Arlington)
  174. Inti Hernández Reyes (Universidad LaSalle Oaxaca)
  175. Tom Hickey (University of Brighton)
  176. Kathleen Higgins (University of Texas at Austin)
  177. Allan Hillani (New School for Social Research)
  178. Sukaina Hirji (University of Pennsylvania)
  179. Shannon Hoff (Memorial University)
  180. Nancy Holmstrom (Rutgers University, Newark)
  181. Hossein Houshmand (Simon Fraser University)
  182. Hengameh Hoveyda
  183. Peter Hudis (Oakton College)
  184. Lynne Huffer (Emory University)
  185. Andrew Hunter (Toronto Metropolitan University)
  186. Jenann Ismael (Johns Hopkins University)
  187. Fatma Ismail (Ain Shams University)
  188. María Antoniets Izaguirre (Universidad Central de Venezuela)
  189. Kamal Jabr
  190. Eneida Jacobsen (Villanova University)
  191. Aaron Jaffe (The Juilliard School)
  192. Alison Jaggar (University of Colorado, Boulder)
  193. Mark Jago (University of Nottingham)
  194. Joy James (Williams College)
  195. Yolande Jansen (University of Amsterdam/ VU Amsterdam)
  196. Michelle Jenkins (Whitman College)
  197. Marta Jiménez (Emory University/Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
  198. Christopher Johns (American University of Beirut)
  199. Andrew Johnson (Loyola Marymount University
  200. Robert N. Johnson (University of Missouri)
  201. Janine Jones (UNC, Greensboro)
  202. Ólafur Páll Jónsson (University of Iceland)
  203. Philip Kain (Santa Clara University)
  204. Gerasimos Kakoliris (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)
  205. Khaled Kammouny (Lebanese University)
  206. Rachana Kamtekar (Cornell University)
  207. Sophia Kanaan (New School for Social Research)
  208. Luciana Kaplan
  209. Najwa Karassi
  210. Pedro Karczmarczyk (Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina)
  211. Rodrigo Karmy (Universidad de Chile)
  212. Lina Kattan (University of Calgary)
  213. Danivir Kent (Universidad de Guadalajara)
  214. Serene Khader (City University of New York)
  215. Muhammad Ali Khalidi (City University of New York)
  216. Akram K. Khan
  217. Sami Khatib (OIB, Beirut)
  218. Irfan Khawaja
  219. Sarah Kizuk (Skidmore College)
  220. Hans-Herbert Kögler (University of North Florida/Alpen-Adria University)
  221. Jennifer Komorowski(Toronto Metropolitan University)
  222. Marie Kortam
  223. Alexi Kukuljevic (Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien/University of Applied Arts Vienna)
  224. Shapel LaBorde (Teachers College, Columbia University)
  225. Souad Lamrani
  226. Mark Lance (Georgetown University)
  227. Emily Lange (Marquette University)
  228. Matthew LaVine (SUNY Potsdam)
  229. Aurora Laybourn (DePaul University)
  230. Mithra Lehn (New School for Social Research)
  231. Jason Lemmon (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
  232. Joop Leo (University of Amsterdam)
  233. Joseph Levine (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  234. Shen-yi Liao (University of Puget Sound)
  235. Matthias Lievens (KU Leuven)
  236. Anthony Löwstedt (Webster University Vienna)
  237. Pilar Lopez-Cantero (Tilburg University)
  238. Jesús Luzardo (Loyola University Chicago)
  239. Heather Lynch (Glasgow Caledonian University)
  240. Sandra Maceri (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  241. Brooke Maddux (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne
  242. Ali Karbalaei Mahdi (York University)
  243. Nelson Maldonado-Torres (University of Connecticut)
  244. Diana Marañón (Universidad de Guanajuato)
  245. Patricia Marechal (University of California, San Diego)
  246. Ned Markosian (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
  247. Luciana Martínez (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  248. Al Martinich (University of Texas at Austin)
  249. Giovanni Mascaretti (University of Bergamo)
  250. Don Mason
  251. Hassan Massoud (University of Alberta)
  252. Margaret McLaren (Rollins College)
  253. Saladin Meckled-Garcia (University College London)
  254. José Medina (Northwestern University)
  255. Maria Mejia (Elon University)
  256. Eduardo Mendieta (Penn State University)
  257. José Jorge Mendoza (University of Washington)
  258. Torsten Menge (Northwestern University Qatar)
  259. Hichem Messaoudi (University of Carthage, Tunisia)
  260. Daniel Michelow (Universidad Católica del Maule)
  261. Elaine Miller (Miami University, Ohio)
  262. Dana Francisco Miranda (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
  263. Arnold Yasin Mol (Leiden University/Islamic University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam)
  264. Andrés Molina Ochoa (South Texas College)
  265. Beatriz Montenegro
  266. Parisa Moosavi (York University)
  267. Gil Morejon (DePaul University/Loyola University)
  268. J. Moufawad-Paul (York University)
  269. Fahd Mughal
  270. Julia Muñoz (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  271. Tamim Najate
  272. Evando Nascimento (UFJF Brazil)
  273. Jeramy Neefus (Michigan State University)
  274. Stephen Nelson (Northland Community & Technical College)
  275. Frederick Neuhouser (Barnard College, Columbia University)
  276. Christopher Norris (University of Cardiff)
  277. Abderrahim Nour Eddine (Professeur de philosophie à la retraite)
  278. Steve Núñez (University of Connecticut)
  279. Patrick S. O’Donnell (Santa Barbara City College)
  280. Kyle O’Dowd (New School for Social Research)
  281. Samir Okasha (University of Bristol)
  282. Johanna Oksala (Loyola University Chicago
  283. Ian Olasov (City University of New York)
  284. Adi M. Ophir (Brown University)
  285. Romy Opperman (New School for Social Research)
  286. Imge Oranli (Arizona State University)
  287. Mariana Ortega (Penn State University)
  288. Irene Ortiz (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  289. Nadia Oubih
  290. Imranali Panjwani (Anglia Ruskin University)
  291. Emily Parker (Towson University)
  292. Diana Milena Patiño Niño (Deinstitutionalized scholar, Colombia)
  293. Alicia Patterson (Oregon State University)
  294. Astrid Paulsson (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
  295. Laura Pelegrin (Universidad de Buenos Aires)
  296. Jenny Pelletier (University of Gothenburg)
  297. John Pittman (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY)
  298. Josué Piñeiro (Kennesaw State University)
  299. Valeria Pinto (University of Naples „Federico I“)
  300. Andrea Pitts (University of Buffalo)
  301. Giovanni Poggi (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa)
  302. Catarina Pombo Nabais (Universidade de Lisboa)
  303. Eli Portella Perreras (Florida Gulf Coast University)
  304. Kelli Potter (Utah Valley University)
  305. Francisco Quijano Velasco (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  306. Laura Quintana (Universidad de Los Andes)
  307. Silvana Rabinovich (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  308. Najat Rahman (Université de Montréal)
  309. Ahmad Fuad Rahmat (University of Nottingham)
  310. Amy Ramirez (National University of Singapore)
  311. Sandeep Ray (University of Nottingham)
  312. Tully Rector (Radboud University)
  313. David Rey (Universidad del Valle)
  314. Iaan Reynolds (Utah Valley University)
  315. Joel Michael Reynolds (Georgetown University)
  316. Julian Rios (Grinnell College)
  317. María Lucía Rivera-Sanín (Universidad Nacional de Colombia)
  318. Sajjad Rizvi (University of Exeter)
  319. William Clare Roberts (McGill University)
  320. Clelia O. Rodriguez (University of Toronto)
  321. Montserrat Rodríguez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  322. Luke Roelofs (University of Texas at Arlington)
  323. Monique Roelofs (University of Amsterdam)
  324. Taylor Rogers (Governors State University)
  325. Lillian Rojas Paez (Colectivo “Las Amazonas”)
  326. Concha Roldán (Instituto de Filosofía del CSIC, Spain)
  327. Nuria Roldán (Seville University)
  328. Maria Grazia Rossi (Universidade Nova, Lisbon)
  329. Catherine Rowett (University of East Anglia)
  330. Kathryn Russell (SUNY Cortland)
  331. Carl Sachs (Marymount University)
  332. Muhammad Sadiq Kakar (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  333. Abdelhamid Safa (IPU New Zealand)
  334. Gayle Salamon (Princeton University)
  335. Rocío Salcido (Universidad de Guadalajara)
  336. Magdi Abdelhafez Saleh (Professeur émérite aux Universités)
  337. Mohammad Salheen (Al-Azhar University)
  338. Rabab Salih
  339. Freddy Sánchez (Universidad Experimental de las Artes, Venezuela)
  340. Jorge Sanchez-Perez (University of Alberta)
  341. Sahotra Sarkar (University of Texas at Austin)
  342. Martin Savransky (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  343. Lara Scaglia (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
  344. Naomi Scheman (University of Minnesota)
  345. Lisa Schwartzman (Michigan State University)
  346. Henry Schiller (University of Sheffield)
  347. Paula Schwebel (Toronto Metropolitan University)
  348. Laurie Shrage (Florida International University)
  349. Richard Seaford (University of Exeter)
  350. Kris F. Sealey (Penn State University)
  351. Emiliano Sfara (University of Tours)
  352. Amer Shalaby (University of Toronto)
  353. Hasana Sharp (McGill University)
  354. Falguni Sheth (Emory University)
  355. Haiyue Shan (VU Amsterdam)
  356. Amy Shuster (The Ohio State University)
  357. Lotje Siffels (Radboud University)
  358. Sonia Sikka (University of Ottawa)
  359. Laura Silva (Université Laval)
  360. Matthew Noah Smith (Northeastern University)
  361. Nicole Smith (University of Texas at Austin)
  362. Iarle Sousa Ferreira (Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciéncia e Tecnologia de Goiás)
  363. Michael Starling (San Joaquin Delta College)
  364. Michael Stevenson (Brooklyn Institute for Social Research)
  365. Francesco Sticchi (Oxford Brookes University)
  366. Ted Stolze (Cerritos College)
  367. Lucian Stone (University of North Dakota)
  368. J.T. (Thijl) Sunier (VU Amsterdam)
  369. Mairaj Syed (University of California, Davis)
  370. Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò (Georgetown University)
  371. Luz Adriana Tamayo Duque
  372. Chloë Taylor (University of Alberta)
  373. Josias Tembo (Radboud University)
  374. Francisco Luciano Teixeira Filho (Universidade Estadual do Ceará, Brasil)
  375. Sunera Thobani (University of British Columbia)
  376. Peter Thomas (Brunel University London)
  377. Sarra Tlili (University of Florida)
  378. Anya Topolski (Radboud University)
  379. Iván Torres Apablaza (Universidad de Chile)
  380. Alberto Toscano (Goldsmiths, University of London)
  381. Adriel Trott (Wabash College)
  382. Paula Carolina Tur Murillo (Universidad Nacional de La Plata)
  383. Marcela Uchôa (University of Coimbra)
  384. Anwar Uhuru (Wayne State University)
  385. Gregory Vandamme (UCLouvain)
  386. Helga Varden (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  387. Agustina Varela-Manograsso (Universidad de Murcia)
  388. Jorge Vega (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)
  389. Juan José Vélez-Peña (University of Bremen)
  390. J. David Velleman (Johns Hopkins University/New York University)
  391. Elizabeth Victor (William Paterson University)
  392. Raúl Villarrorl (Universidad de Chile)
  393. Rafael Vizcaíno (DePaul University)
  394. Nikolaos Vlahakis (Sofia University)
  395. Steven J. Wagner (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
  396. Catherine Walsh (Deinstitutionalized scholar, Ecuador)
  397. Alistair Welchman (University of Texas at San Antonio)
  398. Cynthia Willett (Emory University)
  399. Vanessa Wills (George Washington University)
  400. Amelia Wirts (University of Washington)
  401. Sophie Withaeckx (Maastricht University)
  402. George Yancy (Emory University)
  403. Zahi Zalloua (Whitman College)
  404. Rocío Zambrana (Universidad de Puerto Rico)
  405. Kashef Zayed (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman)
  406. Eduardo Zazo Jiménez (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  407. Robin Zheng (University of Glasgow)

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Beyond Vietnam

Martin Luther King, April 4, 1967:

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read: Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be — are — are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

Ω Ω Ω

And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond in compassion, my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the ideologies of the Liberation Front, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them, too, because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1954 — in 1945 rather — after a combined French and Japanese occupation and before the communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony. Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not ready for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination and a government that had been established not by China — for whom the Vietnamese have no great love — but by clearly indigenous forces that included some communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam. Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of their reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated, it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva Agreement. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators, our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly rooted out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords, and refused even to discuss reunification with the North. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by United States‘ influence and then by increasing numbers of United States troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was over­thrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictators seemed to offer no real change, especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America, as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept, and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received the regular promises of peace and democracy and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us, not their fellow Vietnamese, the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move on or be destroyed by our bombs.

So they go, primarily women and children and the aged. They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one Vietcong-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them, mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing — in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force, the unified Buddhist Church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men.

Now there is little left to build on, save bitterness. Soon, the only solid — solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call „fortified hamlets.“ The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these. Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These, too, are our brothers.

Perhaps a more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front, that strangely anonymous group we call „VC“ or „communists“? What must they think of the United States of America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem, which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the South? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of „aggression from the North“ as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings, even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent communist, and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam, and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will not have a part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them, the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again, and then shore it up upon the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the North, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French Commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.

Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreement concerning foreign troops. They remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than eight hundred — rather, eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called „enemy,“ I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy, and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak of the — for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home, and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote:

Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom, and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism (unquote).

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy, and deadly game we have decided to play. The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways. In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war.

Ω Ω Ω

The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality…and if we ignore this sobering reality, we will find ourselves organizing „clergy and laymen concerned“ committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala — Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end, unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy.

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This is by Corita Kent, 1967. I grew up with a framed print over the sofa in my family’s living room.

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