Broken English

The term “haji” is not simply an ethnic slur, like “gook,” “jap,” “jerry” or “nigger.” All ethnic slurs entail hostile stereotypes, but “haji” is a specifically religious stereotype based on hostility toward Muslims. In our 2003 book, Weapons of Mass Deception [15], John Stauber and I described the efforts that the Bush administration has undertaken to rebrand America in the eyes of Arabs and Muslims, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects including Radio Sawa [16], Al Hurra [17], a “Shared Values [18]” campaign, and the Council of American Muslims for Understanding [19]. Through glossy brochures, TV advertisements and websites, the United States has sought to depict America as a nation of religious tolerance that respects and appreciates Islam. These words, however, are constantly being undermined by the actual deeds and attitudes of the Bush administration’s most ardent supporters, including soldiers in the field in Afghanistan and Iraq. While the White House has tried to frame the war in Iraq as a “war on terror,” its own supporters keep reframing it as a war against Islam. This is a serious, if not fatal error. Rather than fighting a few thousand actual terrorists, the United States is positioning itself in opposition to one of the world’s major religions, with more than a billion adherents worldwide.

–Sheldon Rampton, from “Hadji Girl”
http://www.prwatch.org/node/4887/print

This is an excerpt from Rampton’s response to a controversy that begin last summer when a group called The Council on American Islamic Relations complained about a video in which U.S. soldiers were “cheering a song that glorifies the killing of Iraqi citizens.” The video was posted online last March. The council reminds us that “A “Hajji” is a person who has made the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, but the term has often been used as a pejorative by U.S. troops in Iraq.” Perhaps fortunately, the video has been removed from it original spot on YouTube. Continue Reading →

I Wanna Love You Tender!

It’s Wednesday, time for video. This particular bit of art makes no sense at all. OK, it does if I think about that “powder blue” tuxedo I wore to my sister’s wedding in 1976. Maybe I will post that picture one day.

You Can’t Just Say No

I am always hearing someone or the other say that this is the age of irony, that there are no more heroes, etc. Somehow being smart has gotten all mixed up with being cynical or negative. Here are two people that I think are heroic, both recently interviewed on Democracy Now.

First is Augustin Aguayo, a U.S. solider who decided to become a conscientious objector instead of fighting in Iraq. Aguayo will likely go to jail. You can read about him here:

http://www.aguayodefense.org/index.html

His interview on Democracy Now is available on his site (look up at the top-right corner of the page).

No less heroic is Army Specialist Suzanne Swift who also refused to serve in the U.S. military in Iraq. Swift alleges that she was was sexually harassed both here and abroad. Her Democracy Now interview is here:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/18/1351245

These are courageous people we should all admire and support.

More Education Resources Than You Can Shake a Stick At

MIT’s OpenCourseWare: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/index.htm

MIT’s OpenCourseWare is described on the site as “ a free and open educational resource (OER) for educators, students, and self-learners around the world. It is true to MIT’s values of excellence, innovation, and leadership.” And here is a bit of text from the about page:

MIT OCW’s goals are to:

  • Provide free, searchable, access to MIT’s course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world.
  • Extend the reach and impact of MIT OCW and the “opencourseware” concept.

MIT OCW would not be possible without the support and generosity of the MIT faculty who choose to share their research, pedagogy, and knowledge to benefit others. We expect MIT OCW to reach a steady – though never static – state by 2008. Between now and then, we will publish the materials from virtually all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses.

We will be continually evaluating the Access , Use , and Impact of MIT OCW. With 1,400 courses published as of May 1, 2006, we are still in a learning stage of this MIT initiative and we will benefit enormously from your feedback, as we strive to make MIT OCW as rich and useful as possible for our users.

Honestly, there is too much there to list, much less describe, and it is still growing.

And another: Edcuforge http://eduforge.org/

Here’s their spiel:

Eduforge is an open access environment designed for the sharing of ideas, research outcomes, open content and open source software for education. You are welcome to use our community resources or start your own project space.

That should keep you in assignments for a while.