November 22, 2006

 

Iraqcrisis digest, Vol 1 #743 - 4 msgs

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Date: Nov 21, 2006 12:00 PM
Subject: Iraqcrisis digest, Vol 1 #743 - 4 msgs
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Today's Topics:

1. The joint letter of the Middle East Studies
Association and the American Association
of University Professors on the killing of
Iraqi academics (cejo@uchicago.edu)

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Subject: [Iraqcrisis] The joint letter of the Middle East Studies
Association and the American Association
of University Professors on the killing of
Iraqi academics
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The joint letter of the Middle East Studies Association and the
American Association of University
Professors on the killing of Iraqi academics:

http://www.mesa.arizona.edu/about/cafmenaletters.htm#NouriKamalalMaliki

'November 10, 2006

Honorable Nouri Kamal al-Maliki
Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
c/o The Embassy of Iraq
1801 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA
Fax: (202) 462-5066

Dear Prime Minister al-Maliki:

We write to you on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association
(MESA) and the American
Association of University (AAUP) to express our grave concern over the
killing of two of Iraq's
most prominent academics: Isam al-Rawi, a professor in the Department
of Geology at the University
of Baghdad and president of the Union of University Professors, and
Jassim al-Asadi, Dean of the
University of Baghdad's School of Administration and Economics.

Professor al-Rawi was killed by unknown gunmen on October 30, 2006, on
his way to work. Then, on
November 2, 2006, in an act which many observers see as revenge for
the earlier killing, unknown
gunmen murdered Professor al-Asadi, his wife and son as they passed by
car through the
neighborhood of al-Adhamiyya.

Their murder highlights the startling fact that over 180 university
professionals in Iraq have
been killed since the 2003 US-led occupation and thousands of
academics, teachers, clinicians,
writers and artists have fled your country. We note that entire
academic departments at Baghdad
University and on other campuses have been forced to close down and
are no longer able to fulfill
their educational and research missions.

As we have previously noted, the present Government of Iraq has done
little to ensure the safety
of academics since it took office. A significant portion of the
current violence against academics
has been perpetrated by sectarian militias affiliated with the ruling
political coalitions.
Professors have been threatened, harmed, kidnapped and assassinated
because of their actual or
alleged political affiliations, or because they failed to respond
resolutely to demands of
students for special treatment. Communities of students are becoming
politicized in a way that
threatens the institutionalization of tolerance and the protection of
intellectual diversity.

We ask your Excellency to recognize that the destruction of Iraq's
intellectual and academic class
through murder and mass exodus is a profound challenge to the future
of Iraq and that you take
immediate action to:

1) Secure the campuses in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq;
2) Affirm the independence of Iraq's system of higher education,
immunize it against sectarian politics as far as possible and provide
for it a budget that is institutionally protected from partisan or sectarian
pressures; and
3) Identify the murderers of Professors al-Rawi and al-Asadi and bring
them to justice.

Please know that we remain ready to take steps, together and with
sister organizations, to promote
programs and policies in Iraq and on behalf of the international
community of scholars and
researchers that will resolutely address this disturbing situation.

Sincerely,

Juan R.I. Cole
MESA President

Roger W. Bowen
AAUP General Secretary

cc: Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie
The Embassy of Iraq
1801 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036 USA
Fax: (202) 462-5066 '

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