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August 04, 2006

A Wee Bit Of History

In lieu of cogent thoughts on current events, here's an interesting little shard of history. My grandfather taught at the American University in Beirut in the late twenties. I recently looked through his AU directory from 1929, and came across the below page listing that year's freshmen.

As you see, one is Khadduri Ya'kub Khadduri from Basra. As it turns out, he was the uncle of Imad Khadduri, the Iraqi nuclear physicist who escaped from Iraq in the nineties and spent 2002-3 fruitlessly telling anyone who'd listen that Iraq had no nuclear program. As you might expect, he is...unhappy...about what's happened since then.

There's another interesting aspect to this, specifically regarding some of the place names. But I leave discerning that as an exercise for the reader.

Posted at August 4, 2006 11:24 AM | TrackBack

Hey, I thought that "Palestine" never existed except in the diseased minds of Israel-haters, or whatever it was Golda Meir said. Thus, I propose that book is a fake! A slanderous forgery written by diseased fingers! How can I tell? Look at all those Arab names!

Posted by: Dennis Perrin at August 4, 2006 11:47 AM

I agree with Dennis. The "kerning" looks wrong to me. Clearly a fake. Which, in turn, is proof that the Palestinians never existed and therefore should be bombed and sniped and starved back into their state of non-existence.

Just restore the status quo ante, I say. See, I'm a "moderate!"

Posted by: Rojo at August 4, 2006 02:51 PM

I have always thought that Danbury, CT, is very suspicious!

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at August 4, 2006 03:14 PM

The point, Dennis, is that even though the Palestinians were, apparently, living and thriving in Palestine before the Israelis came in and created a state, they had no state of their own; just some cities occasionally under Ottoman or British rule. This means anyone is free to come along, form militias and drive them off their land. For an analagous situation consult the United States, where, because the Native Americans did not have the concept of a nation-state, settlers were perfectly justified in their several centuries of genocide and ethnic transfer. What's good enough for the U.S. is obviously good enough for Israel - that's why we send them our bombs!

Posted by: saurabh at August 4, 2006 03:57 PM

Tel-Aviv, Palestine. Awesome.

Posted by: Adam Kotsko at August 4, 2006 04:53 PM

Hey, I used to live in Ridgefield Connecticut not to far from Danbury so I hope that does not make me a target for homeland security.

America is a product of manifest destiny therefore it s our destiny to be manifest which I think really should be clear to everyone at this point.

Or as the smartest man ever to live, Groucho Marx, once said "Who you going to believe, me or your own two eyes."

Posted by: rob payne at August 4, 2006 11:45 PM

It's almost too heartbreaking to contemplate. It always amazes me to consider that Afghanistan once had a university culture so rich that my Jewish physics professor's family could spend multiple years there on exchange, or about the Islamic progressives like Ghaffar Khan who once non-violently fought for freedom where we now support an oppressive dictatorship. I read Guests of the Sheikh in high school, and shudder to think of the transition from that Iraq to this one. We do our best to smother modernity.

Posted by: Saheli at August 5, 2006 11:09 PM