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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
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Who will speak?

Dear Fred Lawrence, President of Brandeis University

In choosing to revoke the honorary degree that Ms. Hirsi Ali so richly deserves, you have implicitly placed greater value upon the “feelings” of individuals over the lives of hundreds of thousands of women around the world. Those criticizing her here, in America, have the privilege of living in a society where they are able to speak. But who will speak for the others?
Ayaan Hirsi Ali with parts of the Brandeis University seal.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali with parts of the Brandeis University seal.

An Open Letter to the President of Brandeis University

Dear President Lawrence:

I do not want to take up too much of your time. I understand that you are a busy man and that you have been tasked with running a university whose tradition of upholding excellence and moral resoluteness traces back to the days of its founding.  But it is in that same spirit of excellence that I feel compelled–as a simple citizen of this great country–to question your recent decision to rescind the honorary degree you were initially going to bestow upon Ms. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a human rights activist and feminist who has done so much to advance the cause of women’s rights in the world.

I understand that there are students at Brandeis University who take issue with Ms. Hirsi Ali’s views on Islam and the Muslim world. Moreover, many in the muslim community feel offended and insulted by her views on this topic. Indeed, they have pressured you into making this decision.

What a beautiful country we live in, President Lawrence, where students and citizens are able to voice their opinions in a free and open society. Yet here is a stark irony. These students have the temerity to critique someone because of her views, but they do not see fit in affording her the same right to critique views she too deems insulting. In making your decision you have chosen to sanction one topic of criticism while denying the right of individuals to criticize another.

But sir, you must see the moral ramifications of the decision you have made. It is a question of priorities and you have tragically made the mistake of choosing the wrong one. In choosing to revoke the honorary degree that Ms. Hirsi Ali so richly deserves, you have implicitly placed greater value upon the “feelings” of individuals over the lives of hundreds of thousands of women around the world. Those criticizing her here, in America, have the privilege of living in a society where they are able to speak. But who will speak for the others?

Who will speak for Sarah and Amina Said, two teenagers in the prime of their life who were murdered by their father in 2008 in Texas, their bodies left bloodied and mutilated in a Taxi cab because they were considered to be too “Western.” Will you speak for them sir, or is that too going to be found to be too “insulting” to certain individuals to discuss? Will that also be too “offensive” to be grappled with?

Who will speak for Morsal, a German Afghani young woman of 16, stabbed twenty-times in a parking lot by her brother? Who will speak for Rasha Abu Arra killed in the West Bank in a so-called “honor killing.” She was a mother of six children and her body was left hanging on a tree. She could not exercise her right to free speech. She could not exercise her right to disagree. She could not exercise her right to freely express. So who will speak for her? Will you speak for her? Or are the petty hurt feelings of dissenting naysayers worth more than her life?

Who will speak for Leyla Hussein, whose genitals were ripped open and sliced apart with a blade when she was only 7 years old in Somalia? Will you speak for her, Mr. Lawrence? Or will you simply tell her that this issue cannot be discussed and that a woman who takes up her cause and the cause of thousands of other women cannot be heard because people take “offense” to her.

Will you speak for Ayesha, forced into a marriage by her family in Pakistan and repeatedly raped during a four month ordeal? She did not have the luxury of worrying about “offending” people by her speech since her freedom was snatched away from her as her husband forced himself on her routinely.

About the Author: Chloe Valdary is a pro-Israel activist at New Orleans University, where she founded "Allies for Israel."


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31 Responses to “Dear Fred Lawrence, President of Brandeis University”

  1. Gene Strong says:

    Shame on brandeis…very Un American.

  2. As Muslims and Islam are pushing to allow child rape and continue marriage of 6 year old little girls people are going to make an arguement for these perverted people and a young women who went through their evils and sheds light on it she is persecuted. Way to go world. Yahweh says woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Watch out moon god allah and child molester mohammed how people follow this religon and slaughter each other for allah is beyond my pay grade of stupid.

  3. As Muslims and Islam are pushing to allow child rape and continue marriage of 6 year old little girls people are going to make an arguement for these perverted people and a young women who went through their evils and sheds light on it she is persecuted. Way to go world. Yahweh says woe to those who call good evil and evil good. Watch out moon god allah and child molester mohammed how people follow this religon and slaughter each other for allah is beyond my pay grade of stupid.

  4. Alan Saul says:

    The Muslims are trying to cover up what they truly believe.

  5. Alan Saul says:

    The Muslims are trying to cover up what they truly believe.

  6. Yair Lax says:

    I lost all respect for Brandeis !!!

  7. I fully agree with this note and also feel ashamed that a university as Brandis had accepted the position of Muslim fanatics who not only disagree with what this brave woman says, but also actively attempt to destroy Israel and Judaism to have the world under the yoke of a religious system that favors a few and keeps the most in the Dark Ages.

  8. What a brilliant letter, Chloe. Thank you for saying the thoughts that I have been thinking, but could never put them into words as you have done. I too truly hope that President Lawrence does the right thing and he, and Brandeis University reverse their decision and honour this very courageous lady, Ayn Hirsi Ali.

  9. Helen Notwich Vilenski says:

    Brilliant!!!!!

  10. Tom Hough says:

    I stand in agreement.

  11. Donald Obrien says:

    Well said, Miss Valdary. You are either with the party of life or the party of death. The party of liberty or the party of oppression. Ayaan Hirsi Ali stand brvely with life and liberty. The politically correct Pres. Lawrence lacks the courage to do the same. He belongs to the politically correct elite who run our universities and the media.

  12. Two of my children are graduates of Brandeis. I am certain that Past President Yehudah Reinharz would have called this differently. This is outrageous and brazenly racist. Shame on President Lawrece for cavingin to fringe haters of groups other than muslim oppressors.

  13. Well put Daniel….shameful to say the least.

  14. Liliane Levy says:

    What does "politically correct" mean? Does it mean to be a coward and a bastard? This behaviour is a shame!

  15. Indira Hau'ofa-Kiaga says:

    Oh Chloe, you really nailed it!!.. Where one voice is denied the honor, another rises valiantly and delivers a powerful message, that shatters every reason and leaves no doubt.

  16. Dawn Cloyd says:

    I read Ayan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel" several years ago, and it has haunted me since. This woman is a true modern day hero, and what Brandeis has done is nothing short of shameful. I have just left a thoughtful message for Mr. Fred Lawrence, president of Brandeis University, who can be reached at 1-781-736-2003 via voice recognition. I hope others will call or write, as Ms. Valdary has done.

  17. Well Said Excellent Letter

  18. Shi Yuehan says:

    Louis would not be happy today. Please remove his name from this once great institute of higher learning….. Class of "52"

  19. James Hamilton says:

    Hirsi has already earned more recognition for her fight and courage. How long will the civilized society continue to appease violent ideology of Muslims while ignoring the reality.

  20. Wonderful letter, Chloe. How sad that a President of a major liberal university would seek to muffle the voice of a visionary pioneer in women's rights and calls the Muslim world what it is, a hateful society. Shame on Brandeis for promulgating hatred and antisemitism. Shame, shame when free discourse is trampled on in academia.

  21. Tania Szapiro says:

    Thanks, Chloé, wonderful letter.

  22. Michele Locker says:

    And she nails it!

  23. Elaine Black says:

    Thank you Chloe for expressing the opinion of intelligent, thinking and aware men and women around the world. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a modern day hero, who speaks the truth. What a sad reflection that the Moral Compass is so distorted by a University President, tainted by DARWAH who seems unaware of the plot, and brings deep shame to an institute of high learning. Please see this open letter to Fred Lawrence from History Professor Jay Bergman http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/jay-bergman/an-open-letter-to-brandeis-president-frederick-lawrence/

  24. I would like to dedicate this poem of mine to Ayaan Hirsi Ali and to all the women who are fighting for Tikkun Olam.
    http://www.art-gallery-yona.com/slide-show-girl.html
    Pls. read the poem and enter the Att. shown here. At this link appears a brief article on the sources of rage and violence. And a video I made for the poem.

    A little girl of six
    Who learned to read
    Only A and B
    And in Arabic, perhaps, this reads differently,
    A little girl only six years old
    Was murdered,
    Ssssss…
    Murdered by her father and her mother
    In the name of family honor
    Whose spirit
    Had already been murdered
    At the hands of foreign
    Rapists
    A little girl of only six
    Murdered,
    Ssssss…
    Murdered
    Time
    After
    Time
    A little girl of six.
    Little girl
    Of
    Shhhhhsix…

    This poem was originally written in Hebrew.
    In the video I read it in my voice and in my language, Hebrew.

    http://www.art-gallery-yona.com/Section%203-eng-2.html

    The poem was written after a real event.
    Six-year-old girl brutally raped by several boys in an Arab village in Israel.
    After that, the girl's parents murdered her according to the Muslim custom of Family Honor.
    Cases like these, in different variations, are common all the time in such populations who believe that men are allowed to do everything and women are prohibited from everything.

    Half of the population lives in fear of terrorism within the family.
    That is why I would like to raise here a new thought on global social processes that are affected from family customs and traditions.

    Anyone who believes that a person imposes terrorism on his sisters, his daughters or his wife, will ever stop the terror towards his neighbors or other nations, I recommend him to think about that again.
    Anyone who believes that a child that is growing up in a house where his father is allowed to do everything while his mother is allowed only to shut up and serve the will of his father will be trained as a Democrat, I recommend him to think about that again.

    Thanks

    Yona Levy Grosman

  25. Anonymous says:

    Pres. Lawrence: You suck! You have destroyed in a thoughtless, cowardly moment what a fine university has stood for and strived for. For your insensitivity and lack of judgement you should be fired and subject to castration so you might understand and live with what so many countless have endured.

  26. Ralph Rubinek says:

    Perhaps he too has accepted Allah…

  27. Gordon Brice says:

    In the UK, so much consideration is given to the Muslim sector……in schools and everywhere. It makes you wonder if the same applies in Brandeis.

  28. Gordon Brice says:

    In the UK, so much consideration is given to the Muslim sector……in schools and everywhere. It makes you wonder if the same applies in Brandeis.

  29. ליונה לוי גרוסמן ולכל יתר הקוראים: איאן חירסי עלי היא גיבורה אמיתית. אחרי מסע מדהים של תלאות, היא הגיעה מסומליה המוסלמית קיצונית, להולנד שם נבחרה כחברת פרלמנט. בשל האיומים נגדה ורצח מזעזע של חברה לחיים, נאלצה לעבור לארה"ב. כתבה כמה ספרים בגנות האיסלם הקיצוני. אישה מדהימה שלצערי אין רבות כמוה.

  30. Severin Silvapro says:

    Chloey, excellent!!!!!

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