Friday, June 29, 2007

Random Brutality

June 15

Left: The checkpoint at the entrance to Fawwar (the road also goes to Yatta and villages sur-rounding it, about 100,000 people depend on it being open)

Ayham and I went to get our hair cut in Fawwar again. When we walked through the checkpoint they didn't stop us. We stood there and waited for two minutes for someone to acknowledge us – either tell us to move on or check our papers – but they just ignored us, so eventually we walked a few feet forward, then stopped and looked back. Then a few more feet, then stopped and looked back. Never knowing if they were planning on calling us back, shooting us as we walked away (“Ran from the checkpoint”, as the IDF press release and New York Times would later say), or anything else. This is the constant random brutality of the occupation that you can't see without being here.

Thankfully Norman Finkelstein's tenure case is still going on; I figured it was a done deal when the president of the university said there was no appeals process. The DePaul faculty (and the civilized world generally) seems pretty upset about the denial of tenure, and apparently some faculty are considering a vote of no confidence in the president’s leadership. I’m sure if they had just denied Finkelstein tenure they would have gotten away with it, but they got greedy and denied tenure for another highly qualified assistant professor, Dr. Larudee, just because she supported Finkelstein’s tenure bid. Both decisions were shameful in the extreme. Finkelstein’s record, even if “controversial” (and it's not even that), is certainly solid enough for tenure at any university, and since Larudee was in line to become the chair of her department it seems obvious that she was only denied tenure to prove who owns the university.

When we got home from Fawwar I watched al-Jazeera International (al-Jazeera’s English language channel) for a while. They have inter-show advertisements for the channel like CNN does. One of them ended with a reporter saying “tensions are rising here after an elderly man was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier.” They were talking about Yehia al-Jabari, and showed a picture of the blood-soaked steps where he was executed.