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).]

Thursday, 22 November 2007

"Include me out"

This is how James Russell ends an article whose closing paragraph I felt spoke for me in my condition of being a Boycotted British Academic - he describes walking by campus ivy covering over & masking collegial rot putrefying on the inside - which I read as if he were relating many a trajectory I've had to trace, along the principal artery on campus, literally tripping over Israel-demonizing leaflets & dodging the outspoken boycotters, just for the sake of reaching my office. Is it any wonder that I dread going in to work?!

The author, of course, has the good fortune to be in the position of the outsider looking in; whereas I am still on the inside, in the boycotted way I am trying to catalogue through this blog, trapped in a paralyzing parallel impulse which is captured by Russell's phrase: to be, on the one hand, out - to quit the rot with which I (just like Russell) want no association; and, on the other, a (misguided?) hope that if I stay in, if I continue to be included, I might have some chance to contribute to the important & necessary challenge of clearing up that rot. Russell's phrase captures the impossible oppositionality of living in this state of being a Boycotted British Academic: I am both included & excluded; I am both in & out. Formally, as a staff member at my university I am obviously included; yet substantively & experientially, in terms of how I feel through the filter of the boycotting effect, I am just as clearly excluded.

[Hat tip: Engage]

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