Why I was gone for most of June. First I was at the Z Media Institute, which was a really great experience this year, one I was very proud to be part of and which was really rejuvenating. I taught on International Solidarity, Middle East Politics, and Race/Culture Vision (polyculturalism). But I also got to hear Ezequiel Adamovsky on politics and ethics, who I always find to be very original, and Cynthia Peters, who is working on very original and interesting things in the “kinship sphere”, Marie Trigona on video production. Some classes I couldn’t go to because of scheduling classes included Brian Dominick on the media and on youth liberation, Jessica Azulay and Chris Spannos on media and parecon in practice, Mandisi Majavu on Africa, and others. Rosa Clemente on hip hop activism was extraordinary. And there are staples, like Mike Albert and Noam Chomsky, who I never tire of. I was sad to have missed Chip Berlet altogether, as I always look forward to talking to him and getting his opinion on what’s going on in the world and on the Right.
After that was a work-related trip, and then trying to catch up. And catch up. I suppose you know.
Lots to say on the Middle East, but let’s start with what’s going on outside the Middle East about it. Finkelstein denied tenure. Well, I guess he only has four solid books in his field and a stellar teaching record. I am not sure, but I suspect there are people with less achievements that got tenure. Finkelstein does what he does out of courage and integrity, and he knew the risks, and he has a sense of proportion about it all. It’s still preposterous, though. Makes me want to buy extra copies of his books, all of which I have. I’m actually really looking forward to his new memoir, having read excerpts from it on his website.
The other non-Middle East Middle East situation is UNISON, the British union, endorsing the boycott, divestment, sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.