By The Progressive on October 21, 2005
George Mason Urges No Prosecution of Anti-Recruiter
By Matthew Rothschild

October 21, 2005

On October 20, George Mason University issued a statement concerning the arrest of Tariq Khan on campus last month. (See “George Mason Student Busted for Anti-Recruiting.”)

“The university believes it would be inappropriate for this student to be prosecuted in a criminal court,” the statement says. It acknowledges that “aspects of this matter could have been handled differently.” But it says its internal investigation “has not revealed facts that would corroborate allegations of bias on the part of university officials.”

The university also said it was reviewing “all policies and procedures pertaining to leafleting, demonstrations, and other activities associated with free speech, with a goal of providing a safe and secure campus environment that preserves the rights of all those in the George Mason University community to express their views.” For Khan, this is not sufficient.

“I’m glad that they are recommending that the charges are dropped, but they still have a long way to go,” he says. The police, assisted by student thugs, Khan says, “attacked me not because I was giving out literature, but because they didn’t like the political message I was expressing.” That shows bias, he says. “To me, all their talk about respecting free speech is just hot air. If GMU authorities really respect free speech, then they will . . . take punitive action against the police and rightwing goons who assaulted me, and the police will issue me a public apology for what they did. But it seems that the school is only interested in making statements about respect for free speech, not actually proving it with their actions.”

Rebecca Glenberg, legal director of the ACLU of Virginia, who is representing Khan, says, “Tariq never should have been criminally charged in the first place for exercising his First Amendment right to express his political opinions on campus.” She says she is “very hopeful” the Virginia Commonwealth will drop the charges.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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