Brandeis spirit persists

Op-Ed in The Justice

Certainly no one will deny that at Brandeis, Muslims are socially and administratively underrepresented, and minority status comes with its own set of perpetual problems and need for continual outspokenness and activism. But I’ve met more open-minded people at Brandeis than my mosque in Worcester, my high school in Shrewsbury, my home in India and my communities around the world. Am I glorifying nonexistent comforts or being oblivious to political tensions? Am I just inherently a more relaxed person than an indignant one? No. A typical conversation at Brandeis may certainly mean a polarizing disagreement, an angering comment, a hearty debate or an awkward acknowledgment. But somehow, in spite or because of such diversity in our perspectives and the sincerity with which we engage with others, we are a community continually pushing for progress. At Brandeis, I’m home.

Islam and Judaism Through the Arts!

Hillel and the MSA are working together to have a night of awesomeness and art. Come join everyone in the Ridgewood B Lounge Monday from 7:00 pm to 8:30 to marvel at the spoken word, music, photography and awesome food (kosher provided). Artists are exploring their identity and faiths through the arts and sharing it with their fellow Brandeisians. And did I mention the refreshments? For more information, feel free to contact Max Fischlowitz-Roberts ( or Wajida Syed ( It will be fun and informal, everyone show up.

And, on a side note, while it is admirable and necessary for a campus to point out and decry acts of intolerance within the campus, it is also admirable to recognize and appreciate the far more frequent, beautiful and collaborative efforts of students wishing to share and celebrate their similarities and differences. This is the Brandeis norm, not a Brandeis rarity. National newspapers, you should send a reporter to this, it will be awesome.

A Belated Thank You

one third of the homeless men in this country are veterans/ and we have the nerve to Support Our Troops/ with pretty yellow ribbons/ while giving nothing but dirty looks to their outstretched hands… no senators’ sons are being sent out to slaughter/ no presidents’ daughters are licking ashes from their lips… our eyes are closed, america/ there are souls in the boots of soldiers, america/ fuck your yellow ribbon/ you wanna support our troops/ bring them home/ and hold them tight when they get here. -Andrea Gibson

Andrea Gibson’s visit on Friday and VOCAL the Friday before, reminds one, as it reminded Oveous Maximus, that “the power of words is still very much alive.”

The way artful words can inspire the activist out of me is something that I can never quite explain, but always bear witness to. On stage, these poets weren’t being ‘balanced,’ ‘objective,’ or ‘politically correct,’ yet their honesty was enlightening in a way that lectures from important historians can’t quite achieve. The audience was testament to this: their applause and enthusiasm at lighthearted wordplay, their complete silence at heartbreaking revelations, and the sincerity with which they listened. Not everyone agreed with some  of their sentiments, but the earnestness with which they performed resonated with everyone.

It’s easy for activists to get discouraged when they delve into the intricacies of actually creating the change they aspire to create. They run into logistical, political and financial problems.  Clubs with enthusiastic and sincere mission statements end up being swallowed by procedural crap like filling out grant applications, finding enough people to help out, advertising everywhere in order to make the cause/event known and other stuff like that. While those types of things are certainly means to an end, they can be obnoxious and unnecessary obstacles to your awesome activisty envisioned hopes and dreams.

When that happens, watch some spoken word. Getcho powa back on.

A big thank you to VOCAL, Rachel McKibbens, Anis Mojgani, Phil Kaye, Oveous Maximus, Simone Beaubien (Brandeis alum!) , Regie Cabico as well as Jason, Usman, Jordan, Kass and Rachel for sharing such power with our campus.