As the deafening silence from the Left continues on the “shaming,” her word, of Ayaan Hirsi Ali by Brandeis University, Ali has provided to the Wall Street Journal an adaptation of the speech she WOULD have given to the graduating seniors at Brandeis University. And is it powerful.
Before I get to that, I have to reiterate how shocked I am that a university of this stature would rescind an invitation to Ali to give this speech as well as their decision to not award her with an honorary doctorate. Honestly, I think they should be embarrassed beyond belief for their childish, immature actions and the sheer cowardice they have evidenced in the face of a temper tantrum by the deplorable organization, CAIR. I continue to struggle with how, and WHY, universities are capitulating to a group like this.
And why women on the Left not only are not standing up for Ali, but as Emily Sussman from Center for American Progress Action Fund, who appeared on “Happening Now” Friday morning did, excuse the inexcusable actions of Brandeis in a discussion with Michael Graham. It was stunning to hear her claims about Ali not being silenced because she is at the Kennedy School and makes speeches. Why, yes she does, Emily – thanks for stating the obvious. She did finally concede that it was not great that Brandeis offered an Honorary Doctorate then yanked it back. I am sure that was hard for her to do.
And now to excerpts of the speech of Ali’s that won’t be heard on that special day for Brandeis University graduates. From the Wall Street Journal:
[...] You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.
Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.
Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house. [...]
But Ali doesn’t leave it there. She does offer hope to these graduates:
[...] Today, however, I am going to predict a better future, because I believe that the pendulum has swung almost as far as it possibly can in the wrong direction.
When I see millions of women in Afghanistan defying threats from the Taliban and lining up to vote; when I see women in Saudi Arabia defying an absurd ban on female driving; and when I see Tunisian women celebrating the conviction of a group of policemen for a heinous gang rape, I feel more optimistic than I did a few years ago. The misnamed Arab Spring has been a revolution full of disappointments. But I believe it has created an opportunity for traditional forms of authority—including patriarchal authority—to be challenged, and even for the religious justifications for the oppression of women to be questioned.
Yet for that opportunity to be fulfilled, we in the West must provide the right kind of encouragement. Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century. When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions. [...]
While Ali offers hope as well as a call to action, she also puts a name to the foundation for much of this violence against women and girls:
[...] The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.
So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform. I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.
Is such an argument inadmissible? It surely should not be at a university that was founded in the wake of the Holocaust, at a time when many American universities still imposed quotas on Jews.
The motto of Brandeis University is “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes. (Click here to read the rest of this very compelling speech.)
How very sad that Brandeis University has chosen to violate its own motto out of what, fear? Political correctness? The cowardice I mentioned above? Perhaps it is ALL of the above. Regardless, the actions of this university in not only silencing this woman, but depriving its students of HEARING this woman, is a new low.
There is more going on in the world, of course:Kathleen Sebellius has finally stepped down from HHS; AG Holder continues to play the race card; and this pesky IRS business is still very much on the forefront. On that, if you haven’t heard Rep. Gowdy’s remarks from the recent hearing on Lois Lerner and the IRS, check it out HERE. He ROCKED it, as usual.
So have at it. This is not only the Weekend Open Thread, but the Week Open Thread. We will be hosting our 9 1/2 year old grandnephew and 3 1/2 year old grandniece (and goddaughter) this week up to Easter Sunday. I will do my best to check in when they are occupied with some fun activity and see what’s going on here. I hope you all have a great weekend and week!