Category Archive 'Sayed Ramahtullah Hashemi'
06 Apr 2007
The British Telegraph reports that 23 year-old, Afghan-born Hyder Akbar, one of the three Yale students recently arrested for setting on fire an American flag hanging from the porch of a private home in New Haven, was a friend of Sayed Ramahtullah Hashemi, the former Taliban foreign ministry spokesman whose attendance at Yale as a special student led to considerable controversy in the aftermath of an admiring New York Times’ profile.
The Telegraph also quotes the offended home owner.
Marc Suraci, the owner of the house, said: â€œIâ€™ve heard people say it was just an innocent prank but people who go to Yale are smart. Iâ€™d imagine thereâ€™s an agenda behind it.â€ …
â€œMy great-grandfather fought in World War One, my grandfather fought in World War Two and my uncle served in Vietnam. Iâ€™m patriotic. My family has shed blood for our country.
â€œI like to show solidarity with the men and women who are fighting for our freedom. If I was in Afghanistan or Pakistan and I burned one of their flags, I wonder what would happen to me?â€
Read the whole thing.
06 Jul 2006
Dear old Yale was goofy enough to cooperate with a New York Times’ Sunday Mag feature all about how former Taliban roving ambassador Sayed Ramahtullah Hashemi was now studying at Yale, and wasn’t that so cool?
What with world events, the Taliban’s generally negative reputation, and the ready availability of some rather colorful interviews gven just a few years ago by Ramahtullah himself, poor Yale really got clobbered with the proverbial million dollars worth of bad publicity over all this. And it seems that those stout-hearted Yale administrators are getting tired of replying “No comment” to sarcastic questions from the Press.
The Yale Administration reflected long and hard, and came to the inevitable conclusion that fewer and better Ramahtullahs at Yale amounted to less grief for themselves, so (with the characteristic courage of their breed) they denied Ramahtullah’s application for admission as a degree candidate.
H/T to Michelle Malkin.
11 Jun 2006
The indiscreet New York Times Magazine feature last February rejoicing in the presence at Yale (in the capacity of a special student) of former Taliban roving ambassador and international spokesman Sayed Ramahtullah Hashemi led to a heap of controversy and proved a major embarassment to the university administration. But it’s an ill wind, and all that.
All the flak brought down upon liberal heads at Yale during the brouhaha over poor little Ramahtullah’s presence on campus intimidated the rascals. It was the million dollars worth of Ramahtullah-associated bad publicity that persuaded the powers that be at Yale to refrain from a far worse decision: the appointment of an egegrious apologist for Midde Eastern terrorism, the infamous Juan Cole, to a senior position on the faculty at Yale.
The decision is in. Cole is out.
And Juan Cole is now posting on his blog all about just how sour grow the grapes in old New Haven:
I am very happy at the University of Michigan, which has among the largest and oldest Middle East Studies programs in the United States. It is like Disney World for a Middle East specialist. To its credit, the University invested tens of millions of dollars in creating positions and building library and other resources in this field at at time when it was considered marginal by many other universities. Michigan also has a History Department that is among the very best and largest in the country, characterized by diversity of area specialization and innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship. It is a nurturing and congenial intellectual environment. Many fine departments in the US have a North Atlantic focus or bias, but Michigan for decades has had a global emphasis.
The press has some out of date impressions about our major research universities, imagining that the old hierarchy of Ivy League versus the rest is still meaningful. It is not. Research universities, whether state (Berkeley, the University of Michigan) or private, are much more similar than they are different. Were I ever to go to another place, it would likely be as a pioneer in a less well-developed Middle East Studies program, for the purpose of building up something that we already have at Michigan. That is, it would be a personal sacrifice for some purpose, and not a decision easily made.
Ah, yes! Michigan is just as good. We’re all sure you’ll be very happy staying there, Juan, old boy. And a good many Yale men are even happier than you are that you’re staying there.
Just how disgraceful a faculty appointment Juan Cole’s would have been may be discerned from a perusal of this Front Page article.
29 Mar 2006
Flagg Youngblood Y’97, and non-Yalies Jason Mattera and Jedediah Jones, have cooked up a satirical Application for Admission to Yale for the likes of Rahmatullah Hashemi.
Hat tip to Scott Drum Y’70.
20 Mar 2006
John Fund was eager to take his journalistic Jihad against former Taliban spokesman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, now attending Yale as a special student, to young Rahmatullah’s current home ground in a Yale Political Union debate (to be held March 29th), featuring the indignant Mr. Fund and his presumptive ally, former Army Captain Flagg Youngblood, Y’97.
The members of the YPU’s Executive Board had the good taste, however, to decline to hold a debate on the question of whether another student at Yale ought to have been admitted in the first place. Debating such a question would be ungentlemanly, to say the least. And, frankly, if one started debating who really should have been admitted to Yale, and who should not have been, considering some of Yale’s graduates, it would only be too easy to debate nothing else. Good for the Union E-Board. They did the right thing.
13 Mar 2006
Yale and special student Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former Taliban ambassador, have doubtless been hoping the controversy created by that February 26th New York Times Magazine feature article would finally subside, but John Fund of the Wall Street Journal today is continuing his personal jihad, moving on to playing gotcha! with the Yale administration over a heated email.
Beyond a single vague 144-word statement (later expanded to 281 words, including a defense of Yale’s not hosting a ROTC program), Yale won’t let anyone comment officially, citing student privacy issues and hoping they can keep silent and last out the storm. But unofficially, some Yale administrators are privately trashing critics. One even anonymously sent scathing emails to two critics calling them “retarded” and “disgusting.”
That official–Alexis Surovov, assistant director of giving at Yale Law School–did talk to me. Last Wednesday, Mr. Surovov sent an angry email from a Columbia University account to Clinton Taylor and Debbie Bookstaber, two young Yale grads who are so frustrated at their alma mater’s refusal to answer questions about Mr. Rahmatullah that they’ve launched a protest. Called NailYale, it focuses on the Taliban’s barbaric treatment of women, which extended to yanking out the fingernails of those who wore nail polish. In a column on TownHall.com, they urged alumni “not give one red cent this year, but instead send Yale a red press-on fingernail.”
Mr. Surovov, a Yale alumnus who has worked in its development office for three years and is on the board of the Yale Club of New Haven, wrote Mr. Taylor and Ms. Bookstaber at their private email addresses with the subject heading: “Y [sic] do you hate Yale.” Here is his email in its entirety: “What is wrong with you? Are you retarded? This is the most disgraceful alumni article that I have ever read in my life. You failed to mention that you’ve never contributed to the Yale Alumni Fund in your life. But to suggest that others follow your negative example is disgusting.”
Intrigued that someone had looked up his wife’s giving record, David Bookstaber, a Yale computer science graduate, used Columbia’s publicly accessible IT account database to trace the anonymous email. The trail led straight to Mr. Surovov’s Yale office. On Thursday Mr. Taylor phoned Mr. Suvarov, who told him he was angry because the furor over the Taliban official was hurting fund raising and could lower Yale’s rankings in the next U.S. News & World Report college survey. He also accused Mr. Taylor and Ms. Bookstaber of “terrorist tactics,” which when challenged he amended to “terror tactics.”
John mentions, in conclusion, that he also spoke to someone sensible:
A former Yale admissions official told me Mr. Rahmatullah’s acceptance into the special student program normally would give him a clear advantage when he applies for the full-degree program next month. “Now that their stealth admission of a Taliban official is public after eight months, the best thing Yale can do now is suggest he ‘study abroad’ next year,” he told me. “Otherwise, they risk losing all credibility if they keep letting him study there while flatly refusing to explain their decision to anyone.”
Precisely right. Pack young Rahmatullah off to Oxford or Cambridge for a year where he can improve his haberdashery, and acquire a touch of polish, and then let him slink back to New Haven quietly when enough time has gone by for that Times’ article to have been forgotten.
Mr. Justin Cox, one of the contributors to Opinion Work Product, which seems to be a two man blog originating at Yale Law School, posted a comment to a recent Rahmatullah posting here in which he rebuked me, saying that “the debate regarding Hashemi is far more nuanced and complex than you are letting on.” And advising me that, for a fairer treatment of the issue, I should run, not walk, over to Opinion Work Product to get the straight dope.
I looked at them, and thought their contents were less witty, and no more balanced, than my own postings, but I do thank Mr. Cox for bringing them, and his blog, to my attention. Mr. Cox supplied five links, which may very well be of interest to all true Rahmatullah controversy devotees.
08 Mar 2006
Some right-wing angry alumni (who can’t be all that conservative, since I don’t know them), are proposing a new form of protest over the presence at Yale of special student Sayed Rahmatulah Hashemi, former spokesman for the Taliban.
Clint Taylor ’96 and Debbie Bookstabber ’00 report receiving the idea by email:
One email stood out from the rest â€” “I wonâ€™t give Yale one red cent this year, but maybe I will give them a red fingernail instead!”
She was referring to the Talibanâ€™s policy of pulling the fingernails off of Afghani women who dared to wear fingernail polish. Some of these women even had their thumbs sliced off as punishment. To date, Mr. Rahmatullah has not apologized or taken responsibility for his support of this brutal regime, though he told the Times he wished heâ€™d been “a little bit softer” in his advocacy.
If youâ€™d like to show your outrage at Yaleâ€™s decision to admit the Talibanâ€™s spokeman, join us in “giving Yale the finger.” It would be disgustingâ€” not to mention really painful â€” to mail your own fingernails, but you can buy glamorous, decadent, shameless-hussy-scarlet press-on nails (ask for “nail tips”) from any drug store or beauty shop. Theyâ€™re cheap; a box costs about $5.00. (Caution to Harvard-educated readers: do not eat the press-on nails. Sure, they look tasty, but they will make you sick.)
Send them to Yaleâ€™s Office of Development, along with a polite (or not-so-polite) letter explaining what you think of their decision to admit Rahmatullah:
Office of Development
P.O. Box 2038
New Haven, CT 06521-2038
Whatâ€™s more, you can also send a nice red fake nail or ten to Yaleâ€™s President, Richard Levin, at:
President Richard C. Levin
New Haven Connecticut 06520
Well, that will certainly show them.
06 Mar 2006
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!”)
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…
(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…
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…
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!
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