What's this blog about?

As a result of a combination of factors, culminating in the shameful UCU boycott-in-waiting of Israel, I've grown alienated & silenced, working here in one of the UK's finest universities all the while feeling like a Boycotted British Academic, alone in facing some dilemmas of the moment. In this generally chilling environment, it's hard to speak out and be heard, and hear others...and I find myself writing this blog.

What's it about? At present, it seems to me like a rather tortured articulation of the state of being silenced & mute, beyond words; struggling for the right even to use them, for a voice which can still be heard. When it started, all those successive boycott motions ago, I'd hoped it would function as a blog forum of support & solidarity amongst academics similarly-situated to BBA, to help us break through the boycott movement's silencing strategies. That hope remains notwithstanding this silence... Perhaps it lives in trying to articulate beyond the filter of these coping mechanisms of old (denial, avoidance, withdrawal); by way of this labour of finding the words, this voice...
[A forum of sorts has also arisen in the blog's comments, in which others have adopted the BBA moniker in case of need (e.g.
and here exposing the racist hate speech which masquerades as UCU solidarity activism).]

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Arguing against the boycott - how it often feels...

I sense a need for a virtual forum for (anonymous?)* off-loading on the subject of the boycott movement's damaging effects. I was hoping to write some posts about how horrible all this has been for me but I'm having trouble getting a series of interrelated posts right (given the subject, not so surprising). In the meantime, I want to post something up now, to enable the blog's interactive features, to start what I hope will become this forum. In keeping with good traditions, I'll do so with a joke, which somehow captures the feelings this barmy boycott business has inspired in me, this Boycotted British Academic (BBA), as a result of the silencing and chilling strategies on which the business depends, resulting in BBA invariably sharing the sentiment described in the joke's punch line:

In Jerusalem, an English female journalist heard about an old rabbi who visited the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time.

In an effort to check out the story, she goes to the holy site and there he is!

She watches the bearded old man at prayer--and after about 45 minutes, when he turns to leave, she approaches him for an interview.

"I'm Jane Collins from the BBC, sir, how long have you been coming to the Wailing Wall and praying?" For about 50 years, he informs her.

"50 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace between the Jews and the Arabs. I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up in safety and friendship."

"And how do you feel, sir, after doing this for 50 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a brick wall."

* a post on anonymity to follow shortly


Anonymous said...

That's more of a clunk than a punchline ;-)

Anonymous said...

Not much of a representation of how the typical BBC journo would conduct an interview with a representative member of Jewish Israeli society either.