Thursday, October 18, 2007

Academic Proof: No Gays in the Middle East

Thank you JTA for pointing out this unbelievable but worse yet truly believable piece in the New Republic. Titled "The Columbia Professor Who Doesn't Think Gay People Exist in the Middle East" TNR doesn't even need to give any editorial commentary. It is just ridiculous!

Here is just a taste of it:
According to [Joseph Massad, Associate Professor of Modern Arab Politics and Intellectual History], a Palestinian Christian and disciple of the late Columbia professor Edward Said, the case for gay rights in the Middle East is an elaborate scheme hatched by activists in the West. Massad posited this thesis in a 2002 article, "Re-Orienting Desire: The Gay International and the Arab World," for the academic journal Public Culture, and he has expanded it into a book, Desiring Arabs, published this year by the University of Chicago Press. In it, he writes that such activists constitute the "Gay International" whose "discourse ... produces homosexuals as well as gays and lesbians, where they do not exist." The "missionary tasks" of this worldwide conspiracy are part of a broader attempt to legitimize American and Israeli global conquest by undermining the very moral basis of Muslim societies, as the "Orientalist impulse ... continues to guide all branches of the human rights community." Massad's intellectual project is a not-so-tacit apology for the oppression of people who identify openly as homosexual. In so doing, he sides with Islamist regimes over Islamic liberals.

That really is the core of the argument that is outlined in the article, but he goes on and on about how people who are fighting against different injustices against GLBT individuals in the Middle East are "anti-Arab" or "anti-Islam" and other such stupidity. He even calls Arab gays "so-called 'gays.'"

Academic freedom aside, this is plain and simple homophobia. I have not read the entire Massad article, but I can't imagine it is much better than the long excerpts from TRN. While Massad does call upon the theory that gayness is a social construct and if a particular society does not utilize a certain set of values, this construct will not exist. Outside of that theory being dismissed years and years ago, we currently live in a global world where our societies are exposed to more than ever before, including different social constructs from different cultures.

This guy is up for tenure and if he is turned down, articles like these will be the cause. However he will blame the Israelis and Jew lobby for his rejection.

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