Lux et Taliban?

Yale Daily News columnist James Kirchick confesses:

I was more than a little puzzled to see the self-satisfied mug of Rahmatullah Hashemi ’09 smiling at me from the front of the News on Monday. The last time I saw that Cheshire grin was in Michael Moore’s otherwise manipulative “Fahrenheit 9/11,” which, for all its demagoguery and factual errors, at least captured the Taliban’s odiousness.

Kirchick notes the bulldogs that aren’t barking on the scene at Yale:

The administration believes Yale is lucky to have Hashemi. According to the New York Times, Yale had “another foreigner of Rahmatullah’s caliber apply for special-student status.” Said former Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw, “We lost him to Harvard. I don’t want that to happen again.” Who was the applicant? A member of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath party? A protege of Robert Mugabe’s?
Don’t expect a word of protest from our feminist and gay groups, who now have in their midst a live remnant of one of the most misogynistic and homophobic regimes ever. They’re busy hunting bogeymen like frat parties and single-sex bathrooms. The answer Hashemi gave five years ago when asked about the lack of women’s rights in Afghanistan, “American women don’t have the right not to find images of themselves in swimsuits on the side of a bus,” is the sort of sophistry likely to curry favor among Yale’s feminist activists, who make every effort to paint American society as chauvinistic while refraining from criticizing non-Western cultures. To do so would be “cultural imperialism,” and we cannot have that at an enlightened place like Yale.
I personally want to know whether Hashemi supports the flattening of homosexuals via brick walls, which was one of the ways the Taliban dealt with gay men. Having written a newspaper column for nearly my entire time at Yale, I suspect some of my peers would like to see me flattened by a wall, but I doubt any of them served a regime that carried out such a practice as official policy.

Kirchick’s column also runs in the New York Sun under the heading which I have stolen: “Lux et Taliban?” (subscribers only).


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