Category Archive 'Mike Hoover'

06 Mar 2006

Taliboola, Taliboola!

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Poor little Rahmatullah was mercilessly pursued around the Yale campus by Sean Hannity playing paparazzi last week. And John Fund, in the Journal, also still refuses to bury the Khyber knife, dredging up hostile memories and furnishing them up with all the trimmings:

Last week I described Mr. Rahmatullah’s remarkable visit to The Wall Street Journal’s offices in the spring of 2001. After a meeting in which he defended the Taliban’s treatment of women and said he hadn’t seen any evidence that their “guest” Osama bin Laden was a terrorist, I felt I had looked into the face of evil.

I walked Mr. Rahmatullah out. I will never forget how he stopped at a picture window and stared up at the World Trade Center, which terrorists had failed to destroy in 1993. When I finally pried him away, I couldn’t help but think, He must have been thinking about the one that got away.

Ouch! A bit harsh, perhaps. I’m as much in favor of giving those complacent liberal Yale administrators a dose of mau-mau’ing from the Right from time to time as the next man, but we must not allow ourselves to get carried away into irrationality, as if we were, well… leftist.

We do need to look at the facts. The Taliban regime, though ultimately proving highly objectionable and decidedly ungrateful, did emerge originally from the ranks of allies of the United States against the Soviet Occupation. So Taliban ties were not (originally, at least) ipso facto anti-American. Ramahtullah was kind of an ersatz diplomat, really, not a meaningful official of the noxious government. He was a junior Afghan State Department officer, who was essentially allowed to assume the title of ambassador-at-large, and go abroad on a trip paid for by overseas sponsors (like that nice Mr. Hoover) to act as a spokesman for the regime, which undoubtedly had a serious shortage of English-speaking personnel or PR resources.

Rahmatullah took some barbarous positions during his 2001 visit, but he was (a) young, and (b) a barbarian, after all. I agree with Mr. Fund that Rahmatullah’s views were deplorable, but if Mr. Fund were as well acquainted as I am with the kinds of views which used to be popular among my contemporaries at Yale during our own domestic Taliban’s period of ascendancy during the War in Vietnam era, he wouldn’t think Rahmatullah as bad as he does. Who knows? Perhaps, like so many fiery revolutionaries I used to know, Rahmatullah will, in the end, wind up a dentist in Cleveland, or a stock broker in Houston, and a Republican.

It is, of course, untrue, that Rahmatullah is usurping a seat at some Yale dining hall table, which ought to have gone to a highly qualified American, who was turned down by Yale, and who therefore had to settle for Harvard. Rahmatullah was admitted as a supernumerary special student, and will have to perform academically before Yale will graciously consider allowing him to become a candidate for a degree. They won’t consequently admit one fewer person next year. Nor are they giving him a scholarship. His tuition is being paid by a foundation, so Rahmatullah is really currently a minor profit center for the university.


Clinton W. Taylor, Y’96, mocks the administration’s gesture at ecumenicism, in the American Spectator, with gusto:

Yale’s then-Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Richard Shaw (for whom I worked as an undergraduate, and who at that time seemed like a nice man with no indications of incipient lunacy) told the New York Times Magazine that “another foreigner of Rahmatullah’s caliber” applied to Yale the year before, but “we lost him to Harvard,” and “I didn’t want that to happen again.” So that’s what happened to Baghdad Bob!

He claims that he “was flipping through a copy of the Yale Glee Club’s newest sheet music the other day, and…detected a few changes in the words of the old traditional songs:”

(Formerly “Boola, Boola!”)

Rahmatullah, Rahmatullah,
Mullah Omar’s speaking through ya,
When they blew up
The Bamyan Buddhas
Did you holler Boola Boola?

(Formerly “Bulldog! Bulldog! Eli Yale!”)

Burqa! Burqa! Get your gals
Behind the veil…
Burqa! Burqa! In-fi-dels
Are going to burn in hell…
Oh, when Jews and Christians step o’er the line
We’ll behead those we don’t impale
Burqa! Burqa! Enslave each frau…
Dhimmi Yale!

(Formerly “Bright College Years”)

Bright sci-mi-tars, both swift and sharp
Keep women cow’ring ‘neath a tarp
We’ll stone the sluts in Woolsey Hall,
Then crush the gays beneath a wall…
(Student Chorus)
The Taliban is here, you see
And primitive barbarity
Is peachy kee-e-een at Yale today
Jihad’s apologists are here to stay.
The skulls and bones of those we’ve killed,
The seas of guiltless blood we’ve spilled,
Those Buddhas that we bombed to scrap,
Are excused by multicultural crap…
(Student Chorus)
So let us strive that ever we
More tolerant of Jihad be
For, just like all of us, the Taliban
Has suffered uh-uh-under Dubya’s hand!

27 Feb 2006

Life at Yale Sure Beats Guantanamo

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The Sunday Times Magazine did a feature yesterday on Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, now attending Yale. “I’m the luckiest person in the world.” Rahmatullah told the Times, “I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale,” where (not surprisingly) one of his recent courses was:”Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.”

Yale was equally delighted. Yale’s admissions office had once had another foreigner of Rahmatullah’s caliber apply for special-student status, Richard Shaw, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Times. “We lost him to Harvard. I didn’t want that to happen again.” The allegedly 27 year-old (who has a history of changing his reported age) former Taliban had visited Yale once before, speaking in March of 2001 as diplomatic representative of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. His diplomatic assignment came about as the idea of Mike Hoover, American adventurer, mountain-climber, and film-maker. In 1998, Rahmatullah was assigned by the Taliban government to guide Hoover and serve as his translator. Hoover became the young Afghan’s friend and benefactor, first suggesting the role of representing the Islamic regime abroad, then personally funding travel expenses and arranging speaking appearances and interviews.

The Rahmatullah of 2001 was turbaned, more hirsute, and a lot more combative than today’s Yale student. He vigorously criticized UN sanctions on the Afghan regime, and casuistically defended the dynamiting of the ancient buddhas and the segregated place of women in Taliban-ruled Afghan society.Rahmatullah was married and living in exile in Pakistan, after the fall of the Taliban regime, when in 2004 Hoover, his perennial benefactor, proposed sending him to college in the United States. Hoover consulted with an attorney friend from Jackson Hole, Bob Schuster Y’67, who helped him arrange for Rahmatullah to be interviewed for admission as a special student, a temporary status, reflecting his 4th grade education and high school equivalency diploma, convertable after a year of satisfactory academic performance to regular baccalaureate study.

Waiting to hear from Yale, Rahmatullah spent the holidays in Jackson Hole with Hoover. He met Bob Schuster and spoke to students at several local schools. The talks reprised the form if not the content of his lectures in America in 2001. After a talk to the young teenagers at the Jackson Hole Middle School, two boys approached Rahmatullah.

“Can we ask you a question? Have you ever been in a war?”


“Can you tell us about it? We want to be Army Rangers.”

He thought for a second. “Do you guys play video games?”

“Yeah,” they said, looking at him as if he had rocks for brains.

“I thought so,” he said. “Let me ask you, have either of you ever killed a chicken?”

They shook their heads. They didn’t know anyone who even had chickens.

“When was the last time you had to kill anything to eat?”

They were confused.

“I killed a goat before I came here,” Rahmatullah said. “I hated doing it. Go kill a chicken, and pluck it, and eat it,” he said softly. “And then maybe you will know a little bit about war.”

One suspects Ramatullah has killed other things besides goats in his day. And you can just watch the frissons of combined terror and sexual excitement travel down the spinal columns of the liberal American intelligentsia at this kind of talk from the visiting, hopefully now safely domesticated, barbarian.

John Fund waxes pretty sarcastic about all this in the Wall Street Journal.  But it is true that there is a long-standing tradition of Ivy League schools reaching out to provide educational opportunities to promising representatives of non-traditional constituencies, and the appetite of such schools for candidates with good stories or colorful backgrounds could be predicted to assure a warm welcome for any plausible Pashtun.

2001 Interview

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