04 April 2007

Yalies Follies

UPDATE: Yale Student’s Lawyer Says Flag Burning Was Just a Prank

[William F. Dow III, who represents all three students] said that Mr. Akbar has sent letters of apology to the residents of the house, which could have caught fire from the burning flag.
Lawyer: Fire was a 'prank'
The attorney, William Dow, said that Hyder Akbar ’07 takes full responsibility for lighting the flag on fire early Tuesday morning....

Contrary to statements Wednesday by the correctional facility where they were being held, the three students had all been released from prison on bail by mid-morning Wednesday, Dow said....

"There was absolutely no political motivation whatsoever," [Dow] said. "It was a stupid college prank."...

Though the current situation has not yet attracted the same amount of media attention as Hashemi, some students said they hope that news coverage will not prevent the three Yale students from receiving fair treatment in the justice system.
I definitely agree with the last part. Media attention is a double-edge sword. I don't think most people realize what an amazing young man Hyder Akbar is. Start with the radio shows on This American Life: Come Back to Afghanistan (2003) and Teenage Embed, Part Two (2005). Read the reviews of his book, Come Back to Afghanistan: A Californian Teenager's Story (2005) - or even better, read the book. Read the brief interview with Hyder in New York Magazine (2005). Read the longer interview on PBS NewsHour (2006).

The same month of Hyder's interview on PBS, the New York Times Magazine published a long article about Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, the "Yale Taliban." In it is this:
When the fall term started, he made a lot of new friends. He spoke Urdu to Fahad Khan, a Pakistani junior, and Pashto with two sophomores, Ahmed Khattak, who grew up in Pakistan, and Hyder Akbar, who was born in Afghanistan but raised in the U.S. Rahmatullah didn't mention his background, but his friends put two and two together....

"Fahad, Hyder, Rahmatullah, me — we fight every day," Ahmed says. "We have lunch together. At 6 o'clock we meet for dinner at the Slifka Center. We sit together and eat food off one plate and talk about things. Sometimes we make fun of the Taliban. Every day we come up with something to fight about. We pretend to be only mocking, but we're genuinely angry. Friendship to a Pashtun means you have exclusive rights to abuse each other. After dinner we go back to my suite in Davenport and play foosball or stay up late playing Civilization. Rahmatullah loves the equality of how people are over here. He's very down to earth. He gets a lot of respect at Yale. If you want to test a man's character, either give him power or take it away — and see how he responds. I'm proud to be his friend."
A year later, Hyder trespasses private property
in order to set fire to the American flag attached to an off-campus home on Chapel street.


One of three students released on bail after arson arrests
According to court records, Hyder Akbar '07, Nikolaos Angelopoulos '10 and Farhad Anklesaria '10 were charged with multiple counts of second degree arson, first degree reckless endangerment, third degree criminal mischief and second degree breach of peace. Angelopoulos was released on $25,000 bail Tuesday according to officials at the Connecticut Correctional Center.
Elis jailed for flag burning: Three Yalies arrested Tuesday for burning an American flag at Chapel Street home
Three Yale students, including the son of a former governor of an Afghan province, were arrested early Tuesday morning after burning an American flag attached to a home on Chapel Street....

Posick said police officers first encountered the students when they passed the trio while driving down Chapel Street into Fair Haven. The students flagged the officers down, she said, asking them how to get back to campus.

The students told the officers they had been visiting a friend and had gotten lost while returning home, she said.

Later, when the officers were driving back down Chapel Street to see if the students had found their way back, they saw that a flag hanging off of 512 Chapel St. was engulfed in flames, Posick said. While one officer removed the burning flag, the other officer stopped the students, who were further down the street.
Three Yale Students Arrested for Burning a Flag
Mr. Akbar is the author of a published memoir, "Come Back to Afghanistan," describing his experiences over three summers spent observing reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and acting as an informal translator for American forces there.
'Deeply ashamed' of Yale
That Yale would sooner embrace an ambassador from one of America's declared and defeated enemies, and in the same breath keep ROTC and military recruiters off campus, shows where Yale's allegiance to America falls. Or should I say fails?
Soldiers Do Us The Honor
Here in academia, my colleagues seem determined to turn American soldiers into an out-of-sight, out-of-mind servant class who are expected to do their duty and keep their mouths shut. Remember the outcry when that uppity Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin announced in late 2003 that he preferred Christianity to the religion preached by Islamic terrorists, for whom the murder of innocents is evidently a holy sacrament? If you think I'm too hard on my fellow professors, explain to me why Army ROTC host colleges do not include Harvard, Yale, Stanford, the University of Chicago, Caltech…. (Princeton and a few other top universities deserve credit for not being on this list.)
Yale faculty's hypocrisy booted ROTC

Advocates for Yale ROTC

The Panther and the Bulldog

ht: Insty

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