The battle at Columbia

The NYT has a story (published yesterday) that more or less brings the deteriorating situation in Columbia's Mealac department to date. The center of the storm is Joseph Massad who has been attacked by certain right-leaning interest groups. If anything, the Times piece erred on the side of being too balanced.

Massad, for his part, has been defending himself in al-Ahram Weekly among other places. His orginal response was published in November.

Taken into consideration the struggle developing at Princeton and its NES department and the Tariq Ramdan saga, all indications are that 9/11 is being used as a pretext to fight destructive intellectual wars as well as military wars. While more people will die in the latter, careers and how the region will be viewed in the future remain at stake.

People interested in ideas must engage as the study of the region continues to get politicized. Some will, no doubt, rightly argue studying the ME has always been highly politicized but it seems that now we are passing through a juncture where increased energy is required.

The right-wing is definitely in a stronger position - they don't need to win arguments - they just have to muddle the argument simplistically to achieve their aims. Not only do analysts need to remain studious with their subjects but now with this unnecessary rubbish.