Taliban At Yale

I’ve been chewing on this one for a few days. A few of my fellow alumni are up in arms and I’ve been reading and trying to decide what I think.

On the one hand, Rahmatullah Hashemi, a former ambassador for the Taliban, does not seem as extreme as his fellows. He also seemed to have started questioning the Taliban very early on during his career.

If he were perhaps a little younger, one could almost excuse him for mistaking the Taliban for the solution to Afghanistan’s problems.

On the other hand, this new Yale students was a young man, not a child. He served in an official capacity for a regime that sponsored a terrorist organization that perpetrated heinous attacks on the United States.

He has also been an apologist for their misogynist and racist views.

Citing the Taliban revocation of ancient tribal practices like honor killing, exchanging women as gifts and arranging marriages without a bride’s permission, he insisted that the Taliban had actually enhanced the lot of women by giving them the right of “self-determination.”

Uh, yeah…and Hitler put the Jews in ghettos for their own safety.

This is how he responded to a woman who protested the Taliban’s views.

“You have imprisoned the women — it’s a horror,” she shouts, tearing off a burka in protest.”I’m really sorry to your husband,”

Hashemi answered. “He might have a very difficult time with you.”

The New York Times article would have it that he has repented, but I’m not quite buying it.

Looking back, sitting in the Commons after his class on terrorism, he said that were he to do the trip over, he would be less antagonistic. “I regret the way I spoke sometimes. Now I would try to be softer. A little bit.”

So, he would have been less antagonistic when putting her in her “place?”

“On the East Coast the questions were much harder, especially about bin Laden and the Buddhist statues,” he recalls. “The statues had just been blown up. I tried to distance myself from it, but inside I was dying. If I said I had nothing to do with it and didn’t support it, I would have been in trouble back home.”

This is easy to say now. We must not forget there have always been brave dissidents who have risked their lives when they could not stand to follow an authoritarian regime. If he was truly dying inside, he would have done something. Otherwise, this is hyperbole at best.

It wasn’t until the fall that one of his new friends, Fahad, a Pakistani, tipped him off to the kosher meat at Slifka, the Jewish dining hall. (The Freshman)

Eating in a Jewish dining hall does not prove his tolerance; though it may prove hypocrisy. According to a Yale Daily News editorial, he has recently written:

“Seemingly, like the poor Taliban, common Americans are ignorant of the fact that their franchise state of Israel in the Middle East is serving as an American al-Qaida against the Arab world.”

…but when you’re hungry, it is okay to partake of Jewish hospitality.

We’ll never quite know for sure, of course, how much his views have changed.

Even if he has changed, does it matter?

While it is true that Yale does not reject qualified applicants on the basis of their beliefs, this man went beyond beliefs. He did not just think or speak these thoughts. True, he does not seem to be guilty of actively perpetrating these horrors, but he served in an official capacity in one of the worst regimes in the world’s history.

Assuming for a minute, that his prior work history should not be a barrier, the question becomes whether or not he really is so exceptional that he merits admission to one of the world’s most selective universities in the world.

Academically, he seems to struggle with his classes in his special program. He does okay, but most work extremely hard to earn satisfactory grades in a class that he really should excel in:

And all the young minds around him were so fresh, it was daunting sometimes, people who looked as if they were hardly paying attention in class blazed through their exams. […] He was happy about his grades after the fall-term finals. He had a 3.33 G.P.A. He had done better than he thought in Managing the Global City and worse than he expected in Terrorism: Past, Present and Future.

Keep in mind this is as a special student in a non-degree program–not as a regular student. Decent, but not Yale’s usual caliber.

Academics isn’t everything, however. Diversity of experience and ideas is an important part of college. However, this student tries to avoid discussing his experiences openly with his classmates. Who could blame him? At the same time, if he wins admission based on the idea that he will share this experience, that does not seem to be the case.

The Yale Daily News columnist suggests that perhaps the Yale experience will liberalize Rahmatullah Hashemi and that he will bring this experience to bear when he returns to participate in a newly democratic Afghanistan.

Perhaps, but aren’t there any future Afghani leaders who are not tainted with a connection to the Taliban?

We may forgive those who were caught up in the spirit of a reprehensible regime, but we must never forget that there were always those who resisted.

Be Sociable, Share!

20 comments

  1. mariro says:

    So he is not in a regular full-time ‘for credit’ program. Must leave him lots of free time … for??? What kind of morons are running Yale (and other Universities catering to TERRORISTS?)???????

  2. mariro says:

    So he is not in a regular full-time ‘for credit’ program. Must leave him lots of free time … for??? What kind of morons are running Yale (and other Universities catering to TERRORISTS?)???????

  3. mariro says:

    So he is not in a regular full-time ‘for credit’ program. Must leave him lots of free time … for??? What kind of morons are running Yale (and other Universities catering to TERRORISTS?)???????

  4. mariro says:

    So he is not in a regular full-time ‘for credit’ program. Must leave him lots of free time … for??? What kind of morons are running Yale (and other Universities catering to TERRORISTS?)???????

  5. mariro says:

    So he is not in a regular full-time ‘for credit’ program. Must leave him lots of free time … for??? What kind of morons are running Yale (and other Universities catering to TERRORISTS?)???????

  6. piperzen says:

    Good for Yale! They’ve admitted someone who is clearly intelligent, curious about the world, capable of doing the work, and eager to learn. If you read the NY Times article about the man, you’ll learn that he never fought against the US – in fact, all he ever had was desk jobs. He became disenchanted with the Taliban long ago, and is now absorbing all the knowledge a great university has to offer. There is no doubt that his experience studying at Yale will change the man, and it is quite likely that he will return to Afghanistan after he finishes his degree and make his country a better place because of his experiences here.

    Lux et veritas = light and truth. Way to go, Yale!

  7. piperzen says:

    Good for Yale! They’ve admitted someone who is clearly intelligent, curious about the world, capable of doing the work, and eager to learn. If you read the NY Times article about the man, you’ll learn that he never fought against the US – in fact, all he ever had was desk jobs. He became disenchanted with the Taliban long ago, and is now absorbing all the knowledge a great university has to offer. There is no doubt that his experience studying at Yale will change the man, and it is quite likely that he will return to Afghanistan after he finishes his degree and make his country a better place because of his experiences here.

    Lux et veritas = light and truth. Way to go, Yale!

  8. piperzen says:

    Good for Yale! They’ve admitted someone who is clearly intelligent, curious about the world, capable of doing the work, and eager to learn. If you read the NY Times article about the man, you’ll learn that he never fought against the US – in fact, all he ever had was desk jobs. He became disenchanted with the Taliban long ago, and is now absorbing all the knowledge a great university has to offer. There is no doubt that his experience studying at Yale will change the man, and it is quite likely that he will return to Afghanistan after he finishes his degree and make his country a better place because of his experiences here.

    Lux et veritas = light and truth. Way to go, Yale!

  9. piperzen says:

    Good for Yale! They’ve admitted someone who is clearly intelligent, curious about the world, capable of doing the work, and eager to learn. If you read the NY Times article about the man, you’ll learn that he never fought against the US – in fact, all he ever had was desk jobs. He became disenchanted with the Taliban long ago, and is now absorbing all the knowledge a great university has to offer. There is no doubt that his experience studying at Yale will change the man, and it is quite likely that he will return to Afghanistan after he finishes his degree and make his country a better place because of his experiences here.

    Lux et veritas = light and truth. Way to go, Yale!

  10. piperzen says:

    Good for Yale! They’ve admitted someone who is clearly intelligent, curious about the world, capable of doing the work, and eager to learn. If you read the NY Times article about the man, you’ll learn that he never fought against the US – in fact, all he ever had was desk jobs. He became disenchanted with the Taliban long ago, and is now absorbing all the knowledge a great university has to offer. There is no doubt that his experience studying at Yale will change the man, and it is quite likely that he will return to Afghanistan after he finishes his degree and make his country a better place because of his experiences here.

    Lux et veritas = light and truth. Way to go, Yale!

  11. A “desk job” with a heinous regime is still a job with a heinous regime. Not only that, but he spoke on behalf of that regime as a diplomat–he was more than just a desk jockey. If you read my whole post (as I did read the entire NYT article), you’ll see that I address this issue.

    Also, he SAYS NOW he became disenchanted early, but we would have to take his word that this is the case–rather than hindsight, wishful thinking, or covering his butt in the post-Taliban era.

    He is also still making remarks that make me doubtful of this transformation.

    As I have stated, I am ambivalent. I am not planning to stop my donations as some of my friends are…but I still think there must have been better choices for admission–perhaps a young Afghani leader who was never a Taliban mouthpiece.

  12. A “desk job” with a heinous regime is still a job with a heinous regime. Not only that, but he spoke on behalf of that regime as a diplomat–he was more than just a desk jockey. If you read my whole post (as I did read the entire NYT article), you’ll see that I address this issue.

    Also, he SAYS NOW he became disenchanted early, but we would have to take his word that this is the case–rather than hindsight, wishful thinking, or covering his butt in the post-Taliban era.

    He is also still making remarks that make me doubtful of this transformation.

    As I have stated, I am ambivalent. I am not planning to stop my donations as some of my friends are…but I still think there must have been better choices for admission–perhaps a young Afghani leader who was never a Taliban mouthpiece.

  13. A “desk job” with a heinous regime is still a job with a heinous regime. Not only that, but he spoke on behalf of that regime as a diplomat–he was more than just a desk jockey. If you read my whole post (as I did read the entire NYT article), you’ll see that I address this issue.

    Also, he SAYS NOW he became disenchanted early, but we would have to take his word that this is the case–rather than hindsight, wishful thinking, or covering his butt in the post-Taliban era.

    He is also still making remarks that make me doubtful of this transformation.

    As I have stated, I am ambivalent. I am not planning to stop my donations as some of my friends are…but I still think there must have been better choices for admission–perhaps a young Afghani leader who was never a Taliban mouthpiece.

  14. A “desk job” with a heinous regime is still a job with a heinous regime. Not only that, but he spoke on behalf of that regime as a diplomat–he was more than just a desk jockey. If you read my whole post (as I did read the entire NYT article), you’ll see that I address this issue.

    Also, he SAYS NOW he became disenchanted early, but we would have to take his word that this is the case–rather than hindsight, wishful thinking, or covering his butt in the post-Taliban era.

    He is also still making remarks that make me doubtful of this transformation.

    As I have stated, I am ambivalent. I am not planning to stop my donations as some of my friends are…but I still think there must have been better choices for admission–perhaps a young Afghani leader who was never a Taliban mouthpiece.

  15. A “desk job” with a heinous regime is still a job with a heinous regime. Not only that, but he spoke on behalf of that regime as a diplomat–he was more than just a desk jockey. If you read my whole post (as I did read the entire NYT article), you’ll see that I address this issue.

    Also, he SAYS NOW he became disenchanted early, but we would have to take his word that this is the case–rather than hindsight, wishful thinking, or covering his butt in the post-Taliban era.

    He is also still making remarks that make me doubtful of this transformation.

    As I have stated, I am ambivalent. I am not planning to stop my donations as some of my friends are…but I still think there must have been better choices for admission–perhaps a young Afghani leader who was never a Taliban mouthpiece.

  16. jo says:

    Yale has made a major mistake, one that will not and should not be forgotten.

    in reply to the pro NYTIMES writer. PLease spare us the liberal NYT setiment. The Times is wrong. You may not understand why, but then again, you probably also believed Clinton when he said all was ok after the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists.

    Lastly, after experience the IVY league screening process when a family member was accepted to an IVY league school (not Yale) I am unconvinced that the selection process is as good as they proclaim. Additionally, many ivy league under and post grad degree students now work directly or indirectly for me. I have noticed a significant difference between our ivy league an non ivy league employee’s willingness to completely solve issues. the IVY kids want to debate the issue ad nauseaum, while the non Ivey leaguers, are the onees that quickly and accurately assess the situation and develop solutions.

    Seems the University liberal philososphies being espoused today is creating 60’s generation v2.

  17. jo says:

    Yale has made a major mistake, one that will not and should not be forgotten.

    in reply to the pro NYTIMES writer. PLease spare us the liberal NYT setiment. The Times is wrong. You may not understand why, but then again, you probably also believed Clinton when he said all was ok after the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists.

    Lastly, after experience the IVY league screening process when a family member was accepted to an IVY league school (not Yale) I am unconvinced that the selection process is as good as they proclaim. Additionally, many ivy league under and post grad degree students now work directly or indirectly for me. I have noticed a significant difference between our ivy league an non ivy league employee’s willingness to completely solve issues. the IVY kids want to debate the issue ad nauseaum, while the non Ivey leaguers, are the onees that quickly and accurately assess the situation and develop solutions.

    Seems the University liberal philososphies being espoused today is creating 60’s generation v2.

  18. jo says:

    Yale has made a major mistake, one that will not and should not be forgotten.

    in reply to the pro NYTIMES writer. PLease spare us the liberal NYT setiment. The Times is wrong. You may not understand why, but then again, you probably also believed Clinton when he said all was ok after the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists.

    Lastly, after experience the IVY league screening process when a family member was accepted to an IVY league school (not Yale) I am unconvinced that the selection process is as good as they proclaim. Additionally, many ivy league under and post grad degree students now work directly or indirectly for me. I have noticed a significant difference between our ivy league an non ivy league employee’s willingness to completely solve issues. the IVY kids want to debate the issue ad nauseaum, while the non Ivey leaguers, are the onees that quickly and accurately assess the situation and develop solutions.

    Seems the University liberal philososphies being espoused today is creating 60’s generation v2.

  19. jo says:

    Yale has made a major mistake, one that will not and should not be forgotten.

    in reply to the pro NYTIMES writer. PLease spare us the liberal NYT setiment. The Times is wrong. You may not understand why, but then again, you probably also believed Clinton when he said all was ok after the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists.

    Lastly, after experience the IVY league screening process when a family member was accepted to an IVY league school (not Yale) I am unconvinced that the selection process is as good as they proclaim. Additionally, many ivy league under and post grad degree students now work directly or indirectly for me. I have noticed a significant difference between our ivy league an non ivy league employee’s willingness to completely solve issues. the IVY kids want to debate the issue ad nauseaum, while the non Ivey leaguers, are the onees that quickly and accurately assess the situation and develop solutions.

    Seems the University liberal philososphies being espoused today is creating 60’s generation v2.

  20. jo says:

    Yale has made a major mistake, one that will not and should not be forgotten.

    in reply to the pro NYTIMES writer. PLease spare us the liberal NYT setiment. The Times is wrong. You may not understand why, but then again, you probably also believed Clinton when he said all was ok after the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists.

    Lastly, after experience the IVY league screening process when a family member was accepted to an IVY league school (not Yale) I am unconvinced that the selection process is as good as they proclaim. Additionally, many ivy league under and post grad degree students now work directly or indirectly for me. I have noticed a significant difference between our ivy league an non ivy league employee’s willingness to completely solve issues. the IVY kids want to debate the issue ad nauseaum, while the non Ivey leaguers, are the onees that quickly and accurately assess the situation and develop solutions.

    Seems the University liberal philososphies being espoused today is creating 60’s generation v2.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *