Letters to the Editor

BY

In your most recent edition, Kelly Brown wrote an excellent article entitled ‘HLS Classrooms Purgatory For the Claustrophobic’, in which the poor conditions of the Harvard Law School classrooms were discussed. The article pointed out that the classrooms are often too small, are poorly designed, poorly equipped, with bad furniture, inadequate climate control, and lousy acoustics and visibility. Furthermore, this well researched article pointed out that these problems continue to exist after the most recent renovations in Pound Hall!

What a shame that the Dean of the Law School, and her minions have spent so much time and effort to try to provide good publicity around the recent renovations, only to hear that in reality, they have failed once again. There is simply no valid reason for our Harvard Law School students to live and study in squalor, while the faculty earns millions of dollars during their guaranteed tenure at the University. The students, who are paying for the riches of the Dean and the faculty, are yet again treated like second class citizens, in second rate class-rooms. They borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars and work like dogs to pay for an educational environment which consists of hundreds of millions of dollars in the HLS bank accounts, millions of dollars in the Dean and faculty bank accounts, and old dorm rooms, small classrooms, parking for students at high cost, and debt loads that will crush so many of these poor souls when they graduate.

Enough is enough! Students have the right to expect better treatment from these so-called leaders. Classrooms that are disgraceful should have been fixed long ago at Harvard Law School. While they were worse during my years at HLS from 1987 to 1990, they appear to be little improved according to the article by Kelly Brown.

How we long for the day when the Dean and faculty will put the interests of students ahead of themselves! How we hope for the day when students will look at their campus with pride, instead of viewing it as the epicenter of social depression. How long must we wait for the Dean and the faculty to finally take action to remedy these wrongs? Why do they move so slowly while they have hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank?

Too much time has gone by, with too little action from the HLS leadership! It is time for new leadership…

Sincerely, Charles Facktor, HLS Class of 1990

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In response to the Letter of Mr. Elliott Marc Davis ’07 to the Editor, The Record, 10/13/2005:

If only Palestine were a free state, I would be the first to engage with Mr. Davis in a thorough comparative analysis of the status of human rights in Israel versus Palestine. Until then, I agree with Mr. Davis that the situation of human rights in occupied Palestine is shameful. I also agree that LGBT rights are far from flourishing in the Arab world. That is why I wrote the piece. But it is unclear why an article on sexual orientation as a human right at the United Nations would be incomplete without a mention of a purported link between the views of a non-state actor (Hamas) on homosexuality and the removal by the state of Israel of illegal settlements in the occupied Gaza strip, as ordered by a pile of decades-old UN Security Council resolutions.

To be sure, Israel’s overall human rights record is not far better than that of its Arab neighbors. Scores of documents of the UN and reports of major human rights organizations like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch confirm this. But that is not the point of the article. The point is that the experience of oppression felt by minorities transcends borders. My mention of queer Jews protesting against the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory illustrates this. The status quo Mr. Davis refers to is in fact an occupied land and population. Not only are “a number of gay Palestinian men risking their lives to cross the border into Israel,” (as Mr. Davis quotes from a BBC report from 2003) but Palestinian men, women and children are risking their lives by having to exist in miserable conditions aggravated daily by the Israeli occupation.

It is absurd to equate Occupier with Occupied and pretend that one must (or can) hold the Occupied Palestinian Territory (which is not a state and whose people live in dire conditions) to the same human rights standard as Israel (a state and an “Occupying Power” in international law terms). In comparing human rights situations, it is often difficult to avoid oversimplification. Take a look at the following two pieces, both on LGBTs in the public sphere, the first in Israel during the Gaza disengagement and the other in Lebanon a few months before:

#1: Stabbings at Jerusalem gay march: Religious groups opposed the march going ahead. (BBC – 30 June 2005) – A religious protester has stabbed three people taking part in an annual gay pride parade in Jerusalem… A Jerusalem court lifted a ban on the parade by the city council, which warned the event would be “provocative” and set off unrest. Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders in the city had protested against the march. At the entrance to the city, protesters erected a banner that read”Welcome to Sodom”, while opponents set off a stink bomb at the parade’s starting point.

#2: Lebanese group comes out with public battle for gay rights (Agence France Presse AFP – 19 October 2004) – Marching under a rainbow flag, a small group of men and women had taken part in a demonstration in Beirut to denounce the U.S.-led military offensive against Iraq in 2003.

To draw any conclusion from a selective juxtaposition of two “facts” would be grossly flawed. Is Mr. Davis suggesting that Palestinians “love-thy-invader” because the Israeli state, an Occupying Power allows gay pride parades whereas the Occupied Palestinian Territory does not?

Sami Zeidan, LL.M. ’06

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Thank you, thank you for running Anonymous 2L’s poem in your last issue. The poet’s identity was clear to me, as was the welcome news that I was the object of his attraction. His feelings have been reciprocated, and the two of us are currently dating and looking forward to a romantic fly-out week!

Sincerely,2L with RavenDark Hair

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