The Ignorance and Stupidity of a Manhattan Mom


Here we go again, folks. The hate mongers are out there front and
center, making sure no American child learns anything about the rest of
the world. Moms are rallying to the barricades in this earnest stand
against kids educations (even if it’s not their kids).

Khalilgibranprotest
Here we go again, folks. The hate mongers are out there front and
center, making sure no American child learns anything about the rest of
the world. Moms are rallying to the barricades in this earnest stand
against kids educations (even if it’s not their kids).

“Intifada
is a war. Isn’t that what Arafat had?” said Pamela Hall, a Manhattan
mom opposed to the academy on the grounds that it violates separation
of church and state.

The academy in question is the Khalil Gibran International Academy, New York City’s new Arabic-language public school. Arabic language school, Pamela. Language, although it may come as a shock to you, is not associated
with religion. As an example, English is also a language, just as
Arabic is and those who speak English are—amazingly—not all Englishmen
submissive to the Church of England.
“Isn’t that what Arafat had?” sounds as if intifada might be a head-cold. But I can understand your concern, there’s just so much pressure to momming in Manhattan these days. It’s not always enough to select an appropriate school for your own children, the defeat of educational options for other people’s kids are important too. That’s what modern momming is all about.
Khalilgibran
Kalil Gibran, by the way, for whom the school is named, was raised in a
Christian community in Lebanon over 100 years ago and his grandfather
was a Catholic priest. A pacifist, if you will. A man whose life,
writings and art might serve a mentoring role
for those interested in the Arabic languages and (dare I say it?)
history. It’s possible, Pamela, that you may have read—or at least
heard of—his popular book of poetic essays, The Prophet. Big player in the evil sixties.
It’s difficult to learn language in an historic vacuum, but one need
not be a terrorist to study Arabic or a communist to enjoy the
knowledge of Russian.
The down side of activist Manhattan momming is the damage that intellectual incuriosity always does to those who have been mommed. This from Bradley Burston, senior editorBradleyburston
of the newspaper, Haaretz-Israel;

Debbie
Almontaser was to have been principal of the Khalil Gibran
International Academy, New York City’s new Arabic-language public
school when it opened its doors in Brooklyn next month. But a series of
articles in the New York Post earlier this month drew a tenuous link
between Almontaser and an organization which was, in the Post’s words,
“hawking T- shirts that glorify Palestinian terror”

“The inflammatory tees boldly declare “Intifada NYC” – apparently a call for a Gaza-style uprising in the Big Apple.”

Almontaser’s
response was measured. “The word [intifada] basically means ‘shaking
off.’ That is the root word if you look it up in Arabic,” she said, in
remarks quoted by the Post.

“I understand it is developing a
negative connotation due to the uprising in the Palestinian-Israeli
areas. I don’t believe the intention is to have any of that kind of
[violence] in New York City. “I think it’s pretty much an opportunity
for girls to express that they are part of New York City society . . .
and shaking off oppression.”

Almontaser was right. So was Jarrar
(the subject of an earlier injustice in the article). They were telling
the truth. It was their truth, to be sure, but the First Amendment to
the United States Constitution was written “and placed before all 26
other amendments” specifically to protect each individual’s personal
truth.

Personal truths raised up against tenuous links. Placed before all 26 other amendments.
Personal truths are the core beliefs essential to teaching of any kind,
even language, the first requirement of learning. Personal truths are
Almontaser’s specialty.
Debbiealmontaser
Drawing tenuous links is a specialty of the New York Post, so jaded an activity that even an Israeli newspaper commenting on an Arabic injustice finds it unpalatable. The Post is
the 13th oldest newspaper continuously published in the United States,
a veneration only slightly offset by the fact that, for the past 30
years it has been owned and dictated by Rupert Murdoch. Well, perhaps more than slightly. The Post
thrives on character assassination and its recent victim is Debbie
Almontaser, expected principal and founder of the Khalil Gibran School.
Unable to resist so challenging a test of impartiality, the New York Sun got into the act in the form of its radical columnist (Haaretz again);

New
York Sun columnist Daniel Pipes, who has strongly backed efforts to
fire Almontaser and shut the school’s doors before they ever open,
called her remarks on the t-shirts’ message “a gratuitous apology for
suicide terrorism.”

Danielpipes
Well, certainly Pipes should know gratuitous when he sees it. Christopher Hitchens has said that Pipes “confuses scholarship with propaganda” and pursues “petty vendettas with scant regard for objectivity.” The paper for which Pipes writes, the New York Sun, ran an editorial that proposed “protestors against the Iraq war should be prosecuted for treason.”
So much for the support of political pluralism in the fourth estate.
Pipes is himself a ‘gratuitous apologist’ for the internment of
Japanese-Americans during WWII, which he thought was just dandy.
And those are the major players, against which Debbie Almontaser
hadn’t much representative equality, even though her motives were far
less tainted than the editorial board of the New York Post or
Daniel Pipes. When newspapers take a stand they seem capable of
everything but ridding us of demagoguery in the White House. Belatedly,
the Sun reports,

But at a rally in front
of the Department of Education on Chambers Street last night,
supporters of Ms. Almontaser urged Messrs. Klein and Bloomberg to
reinstate her. Chanting “Bring Debbie Back!” speakers representing
Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups argued that city leaders could
have prevented Ms. Almontaser’s resignation by defending her more
strongly.

“If this is a DOE school, why aren’t they standing
behind it? Where is the mayor? Where is Joel Klein?” a Brooklyn mother
who served on the school’s curriculum design team, Deborah Howard,
asked. “Where is the support of standing behind this fabulous educator
and shielding her from racist attacks that have no basis in truth
whatsoever?”

Trust a Brooklyn mother over a Manhattan mother every time.

Another
speaker, Rabbi Michael Feinberg, blamed Ms. Almontaser’s departure on
the Stop the Madrassa Coalition, a group that has been campaigning to
close Khalil Gibran. Rabbi Feinberg called the coalition “extremist”
and pointed out that it receives support from a group in favor of
“Minutemen”-style tactics against illegal immigration, New Yorkers for
Immigration Control and Enforcement, and a group that describes itself
as a watchdog against domestic terrorism, the United American
Committee, that focuses almost exclusively on Muslims.

Thus we have the strange coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups, including a major Israeli  newspaper and a prominent rabbi,
calling for an important New York experiment in Arab-language education
to support its founding principle, as well as its principal, Debbie
Almontaser.
Georgewallace
One wonders how far we have actually come from those days of Governor
George Wallace on Alabama schoolhouse steps. The rabidity of attacks
against Almontaser and her school are directed, as they were 35 years
ago in the South, by a coalition of the ignorant.
What never seems to change, is our tolerance of ignorance and race-hatred.
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