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Beware of Intellectual Fascism at Harvard



By all accounts, fairminded tolerance, that rare species of liberalism, has taken flight from this eminent institution. This is clearly discernable in a recent letter by William A. Graham, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES), which criticizes The Crimson's repeated coverage of my case as "irresponsible and misleading" ("Afrasiabi News Article Irresponsible and Misleading," Letters, May 22).

This is an unfounded criticism that overlooks the fact that The Crimson loyally reported the facts (surrounding my impending trial and the subsequent exoneration), including my charges of conspiracy and character defamation laid at the door of the Center for Middle East Studies. Perhaps The Crimson should have compromised its principles and sheepishly appeased these gentlemen--at that center of deceit and falsification--by censoring my point of view.

According to Mr. Graham, "there is not, nor has there ever been, any attempt by any one at the CMES to do anything to Mr. Afrasiabi except to deny him continuing affiliation after he misrepresented his Harvard affiliation in print." This statement is so hypocritically false as to be a perfect subject for the Harvard Lampoon.

First, I challenge Mr. Graham to submit to the media any evidence of my published writings where I have allegedly misrepresented my institutional affiliation. I submit to the readers that there is not one iota of truth about this allegation, and that Mr. Graham is a pathetic liar.

Second, consider the fact that recently I was the subject of a Gestapo-type arrest at five in the morning by scores of Harvard police charging me with multiple counts of threat and extortion brought by two members of CMES. I endured the hardship of nine days in jail, where I toiled in the kitchen from 5:30 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon every day, my name was defamed in the local and national media as an "extortionist" and it took me a taxing three months of legal and media battles until the D.A. dropped those charges.

The judge presiding at my pretrial stated that "after two investigations, there is no evidence connecting Afrasiabi to these charges."

How dare Mr. Graham accuse me of "ongoing harassment" of Reza Alavi when it is this gentleman, i.e., the editor of the Journal of Islamic and Middle East Review, who, along with his work-study student, attached to me their fabricated, phantasmagorical plot of a petty extortionist with the worst Middle East stereotypes. It sounds like the intellectual fascists at CMES are planning their second conspiracy against me with more false accusations.

In fact, as I have stated in my published report about this inhumane conspiracy, whose aim was to destroy me in the academic world and beyond, I consider Alavi and his co-plotter no more than errant characters who did dirty work for others, principally the former director of CMES, Roy Mottahedeh. Mottahedeh and I have had a public dispute ever since he sabotaged my efforts some time ago to gain the freedom of Salman Rushdie when I was a consultant for CBS' "Sixty Minutes."

Mr. Graham writes about the "baselessness" of my charges. I challenge him to state publicly that the CMES and/or Roy Mottahedeh have never had any dealings/ties with the Disinherited Foundation. Also, I invite him to contact professor John Gurney at Oxford University and professor Ervand Abramian at City University in New York to learn that Mr. Roy Mottahedeh has done his best to defame me with other Middle East scholars.

No matter how diligently Mr. Graham works to defend his ill-reputed center, the fact of the matter is that it is a hopeless conspiracy against me, let along their amoral cohort with Rushdie's opponents, and, optimistically speaking, it is only a matter of time before the mighty hand of American justice reaches them.

Meanwhile, the people at The Crimson and its readers should be on guard about the unthinkable, the specter of an intolerant fascism at Harvard. --Kaveh L. Afrasiabi   Former post-doctoral fellow

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