'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, April 02, 2009

My Debate with that guy 

As'ad Abukhalil, a professor at California State University Stanislaus, known over the Internet as the Angry Arab, debates an Israeli diplomat at San Franciso State:

We go to the hall and I notice that there are two chairs and two name signs: for me and for him (the Israeli representative of the usurping entity). I did not like the arrangement. So I tell her: I don't want to sit next to him. I would like you as a moderator to sit between us. She asked me whether I was kidding. I said: do you see me in a joking mode? Do you see me kidding with you? You think that this is a joking matter for me? She realized--let me just say--that Angry Arab was not kidding. She said that she was planning to make her remarks and sit in the audience. I said: that is easy: instead of sitting here, we can move your chair to separate between me and him. I also was told that she (or the university) was planning to host a reception for the two guests before somebody who knew about me told them: I can assure you that As`ad will not agree to a reception with the Israeli diplomat. So the reception was scrapped. I then told the host that I will not be recognizing or talking with the Israeli guest. She looked baffled but nervous. She asked me why do I have these positions? I said you will understand after you hear my remarks. She was getting more nervous, I could tell, by the minute. She then upset me more by saying something about "academic" environment or collegiality and then added something about "us" getting along. I was more angry at that. I got more angry (but that was a good preparation for my debate) and said: this is no joke or a game or schtick for me. This is about killing 400 Palestinian children in Gaza in three weeks. I don't "get along" and I don't want to "get along." The security and the police only got more visible and more extensive. The moderator then remarked that the security was required for "his safety" in reference to the Israeli speaker. I was here more pissed (all that getting angry before the debate was preparation as far as I was concerned). I said: what about my safety? Did that enter into the picture? or do Arabs don't deserve safety?

Of course, there is more, much more, and I recommend that you read his post about the encounter in its entirely. It is also anticipated that video of the debate will soon be posted on YouTube. If it is, I will let you know.

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