Budreaux The Conqueror

By C. Christine Fair, August 2019

In the summer’s weary end is when

I most miss my brindled, piebald boy

After the sunflowers’ faces, upturned

Reaching towards the sky

Become parched and resigned to die

When he’d uproot and seize

Their crusty stalks like a lance

In his magnificent jaws

And charge across the yard

Like a triumphant conqueror

Vanquishing the last glint of a retreating sun

Originally published in The Bark.

Was US Institute of Peace Harbouring a Pakistani asset? The case of Moeed Yusuf

Moeed Yusuf has now been hired by Pakistan’s National Security Division. American taxpayers need answers.

For several years, under the ostensible leadership of Moeed Yusuf, the Washington DC-based United States Institute of Peace –working on global conflict reduction – has furthered a relentless pro-Pakistan policy. He has been promoting Pakistan’s interests at US taxpayers’ expense.

I have complained about it many times, and have also reported him to the FBI and to every serving member of the US House Oversight Committee. The institute was founded by the US Congress, which continues to pay its bills.

My concerns about Yusuf were vindicated last week when The Dawnannounced that he will assume a newly-created position – the chairperson of the Strategic Policy Planning Cell (SPPC) of Pakistan, which functions under the country’s National Security Division.

USIP’s stance

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP)’s pro-Pakistan stance is evidenced in the editorials and programme documents written by Moeed Yusuf and his colleagues, including Steve Hadley, another well-known pro-Pakistan former official in the George W. Bush administration, as well as in media interviews and congressional testimonies. Persons familiar with USIP employees have told me that they note that “we [USIP] are pro-Pakistan.”

The USIP has been the premier venue for hosting a variety of Pakistani officials. The events are by invitation-only and not open to a general audience. This policy is odd given that the USIP is funded exclusively by the US government. They also explicitly preclude critics of Pakistan or of the USIP’s position such as myself.

During the last event that I was permitted to attend at USIP in 2014, the USIP hosted a Pakistan Defense delegation after which I posted a searing recount of the event. The man behind the event was an oddly well-heeled Pakistani-American Dentist named Nisar Chaudhury who latter confessed to illegally lobbying on behalf of Pakistan. (Pakistan had long ousted me from such events but Chaudhury was keen to broker some kind of a rapprochement with me and the deep state and invited me. That rapprochement did not happen, obviously.)

In what functioning government is it appropriate for a US citizen (perhaps with dual citizenship now), after years of selling Pakistan’s interests while drawing a salary from the US government, to take up such a position in Pakistan government without consequence? The USIP must be asked important questions: Was it harbouring and nurturing a ‘Pakistani asset’? Will it re-employ Yusuf when his tenure in Pakistan ends?

Who is Moeed Yusuf

The South Asia policy community first heard of Moeed Yusuf around 2008 when he was a doctoral student in Boston. Leading male South Asia scholars nurtured him. In 2010, Ambassador William B. Taylor hired Moeed Yusuf as a “South Asia Adviser”. At the time of hire, he was not an American citizen, and as per my conversations with USIP staff, he was hired as a consultant initially. Early in his tenure, I raised issues with Taylor as well as Andrew Wilder.

In 2010, another female scholar of Pakistan told me that she had given Yusuf a sensitive proposal and that she believed Yusuf had conveyed it to “Pakistan’s agencies”. Unfamiliar with Yusuf, I presumed that—if this had occurred at all—it would have been by accident. I suggested to this very anxious scholar that perhaps Yusuf sent it to a reviewer who may have forwarded it. I told her that I would raise the matter with Ambassador Taylor, which I did. To my surprise when Ambassador Taylor raised this issue with the scholar, she recanted her story and bizarrely insinuated that I fabricated this to embarrass her.

To this day, I do not know what motivated her to reach out to me with this account or to recant it. What I do know is that it undermined my credibility when I raised subsequent questions on Yusuf, which I did again, in the spring of 2011.

In May 2011, I received a threatening email indicating that I would be “gang raped” by an entire regiment if and when I returned to Pakistan. These emails are never signed: “Affectionately, the ISI.” I immediately phoned the ISI station chief in the Pakistan embassy in Washington DC, who was defence attaché Brigadier Nazir Butt. He and I had a very heated exchange during which I demanded to know why I have received this threat. Nazir offered two reasons. He said he had seen a document that was the prospectus for my future book Fighting to the End. Only one person had that prospectus who was also in a position to forward it Nazir. That person was political analyst Shuja Nawaz. (The only other possible explanation was that the organisation had hacked my computer or his.) The other piece of information he recounted was reported from a briefing that I did, along with Moeed Yusuf and Marvin Weinbaum, for the outgoing ambassador to Islamabad, Ambassador Cameron Munter.

Nazir and I also had a heated follow-up conversation at the Pakistan embassy. I reported this to Andrew Wilder, who was his supervisor at the time. Wilder raised this with Yusuf who denied saying anything inappropriate and wrote an indignant email to me a few days later. From that point onward, I refused to be in any meeting with him that was “off the record” and warned people that he may be compromised.

Meanwhile, Yusuf continued his ascent within the USIP as did his authority over the organisation’s remit. By the time he took this job, his title was “associate vice president at the Asia Center at the United States Institute of Peace ” He even organised an exclusive, invitation-only “Young Professionals Working Group on Pakistan,” which featured officials from the US and Pakistani government including the ISI station chief, Brig. Butt in 2011.

Fundings

In 2017, I encouraged an Indian journalist, Seema Sirohi, to submit an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request for all emails between Yusuf as well as Hadley and officials at the Pakistani Embassy. Amazingly, the USIP declined this saying these communications constitute “inter-agency or intra-agency communications” and are thus exempt. How can communications with a foreign entity be so-classified by an organisation such as the USIP? Equally appalling, Yusuf, chided Sirohi about the request when they next met at a function.

Source: Christine Fair

My concerns about Yusuf intensified when a foreign agent informed me that they believed Yusuf and/or Hadley, most likely via Hadley’s private firm, had taken funds from the Midwest Fertilizer Co. LLC in Indiana. The operations of this firm were not without controversy because its lead investor was Fatima Fertilizer Group, a Pakistan-based firm that was supplying some 80 per cent of the fertilizer that the Taliban used in its improvised explosive devices (IEDs, or bombs), which were responsible for most of the deaths of Americans soldiers and their Afghan and NATO allies. A British military officer argued that the firm should change its production method because the Fatima Group is the “lone source of the problem in Afghanistan”. The firm refused to be a part of a solution. For this reason, then-governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, suspended state support for the project.

However, Pence reopened talks with Midwest Fertilizer, after which the Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered the company $300,000 in conditional incentives from the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit. The foreign agent refused to provide information about his source.

In December 2017, I reported this to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to a personal contact at the National Security Council as well as to a senior official at the Central Intelligence Agency. I had planned to meet with staffers at the House Oversight Committee to discuss this and other concerns, but the FBI asked me to demur from doing so.

I complained to and about the USIP most recently on 25 July when I sent an unanswered email asking how the USIP justifies excluding persons such as myself when it hosts senior Pakistani officials. That same week, I sent a fax to every member of the US House Oversight Committee and the Subcommittee on Government operations. Not a single member responded to my note.

Source: Christine Fair

Also read: New study predicts impact of India-Pakistan nuclear war — over 100 million dead


Yusuf’s new job

Moeed Yusuf has now accepted a recently-created post in Pakistan under the National Security Division, which was created in January 2014 and its mandate includes:

“provision of secretariat services to the National Security Committee (NSC), drafting of National Security Policy (NSP) and engagement with international partners in a dialogue on issues relevant to national security of Pakistan. The Division is headed by Minister for National Security…. The National Security Committee (NSC) is the principal decision-making body on National Security matters.”

Yusuf will serve in an ex-officio capacity to the NSC.

Pakistan has a decent track record of placing its citizens in sensitive posts. Zain Qureshi, son of Shah Mahmood Qureshi who was then the foreign minister under President Asif Ali Zardari, worked for Senator John Kerry as an intern in 2009. Qureshi returned to Pakistan, where his father is now the foreign minister under Prime Minister Imran Khan. Zain Qureshi is now a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly and is currently serving as the federal parliamentary secretary for finance.

Brigadier Gen. (Retired) Feroz Khan might be the most audacious placement. For more than a decade, he has been a faculty member at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in California. Khan, who was promoted to brigadier without ever commanding a brigade, was related to Pervez Musharraf through marriage. (Khan’s daughter was married to Musharraf’s son.  They have since been divorced.) What makes Khan so controversial is that prior to joining the NPS, he worked for General Khalid Kidwai in Pakistan’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD), which is the premier organisation responsible for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme.

Several persons at the NPS have expressed considerable concern about the procedures involved in hiring Khan, who was not a US citizen. They told this author that he was hired as a consultant. He is now a US citizen.

In what country does a retired general from another hostile nuclear programme join a military-educational institution where he has the ability to not only shape the perceptions of hundreds of personnel each year, but also garner deeply personal insights about personnel being deployed to Pakistan? Khan’s colleagues at the NPS continue to raise doubts with me about his funding for his lifestyle, which seems inconsonant with his NPS salary.

Similarly, Moeed Yusuf’s tenure at USIP may well be another example of a US-taxpayer-funded institution hosting a deep-state asset. One should be very clear about the nature of US-Pakistan relations. Pakistan is single-handedly responsible for not only undermining US interests in Afghanistan, but also having proxies such as the Haqqani Network and the Taliban, who are directly responsible for murders of American personnel as well as their Afghan and NATO allies.

What next?

The USIP must be held to account as must Yusuf. He should at least be compelled to give up his US citizenship as is standard for others who have joined foreign governments. The USIP should not be permitted to hire him back.

Equally, the American taxpayer deserves to know why organisations such as the FBI and the House Oversight Committee never cared about Yusuf and its actions when it actually mattered?

Americans deserve to know the answers. And so do the families of victims of Pakistan-sponsored militant groups.

This originally appeared in The Print on 3 October 2019.

America’s Unrelenting War on Women

As a young feminist studying South Asia in 1990 America, it was de rigueur, for American feminists to decry the “barbaric” abuses from which “third world women” needed to be liberated.  Sati, which became resurgent in Rajasthan briefly, along with female feticide and infanticide and dowry deaths were their cause célèbre as were the Taliban’s use of death by stoning to execute Afghan women for various crimes real and imagined.  The enforced hijab in Iran and Saudi Arabia as well as the latter’s ban on female drivers all drove American feminists over the edge as did—and does—female genital mutilation (FGM) practices by some Muslim communities “in Africa.” (Apparently no one can be bothered with specifying a particular country when it comes to Africa.)

This  hot wash in “white saviorism” never sat well with me because American women have never been as liberated as they imagined.  White feminism was always imbued with the class, race and geographical entitlements of its proponents which prevented them from knowing that even in America, many of the practices they decried as the problems of “over there” were in fact practiced within the United States. Few Americans know today that child marriage is practiced in the United States, that is not criminalized by federal law and is permitted in many states. In fact, according to data from 41 states, between 2000 and 2015, more than 200,000 minors were married.

Coming from a blue-color family in rural and peri-rural Indiana, I was annoyed by the “overthereism” of white feminism. For one thing, two of my cousins (by marriage) were child brides. Lean, one of these cousins, was more or less my age and we spent the summers swimming and doing girl stuff. Then in the summer in 1983, Lean was married, with court permission, to a man well into his twenties. She was from a town called “Mongo,” Indiana which was essentially a village where a high school education was an accomplishment she would not achieve. Her sister followed suit several years later. No one in my family seemed terribly aghast by this, except my mother and me.  Throughout Lean’s wedding, I wanted to vomit. My mom kept jabbing me to stop making faces during the ceremony. In any circumstances this would have been statutory rape. But when legitimized by a pastor, child rape becomes matrimony.

Nor did I have the luxury of presuming that boy preference was a curious practice of exotic countries. Afterall, my stepmonster routinely opined that he had no intention of saving money to send me to college so that I could “find a husband.” He furthered that since we were poor and could only afford to educate one of the kids, “it made sense to educate the boy.” My mother fought long and hard to educate me.  My mother saw that I had no other prospects for a happy life than education. Unlike my brother, I was unattractive, overweight and bespectacled. I preferred books to boys and I revolted against the abusive patriarchy that was firmly rooted in our rural Indiana culture and which claimed the happiness and physical safety of every woman I knew who was married. My grandmother was elated when my abusive grandfather died. My mother used to tell how she fantasized about castrating my first stepmonster and she was constantly in tears over the boorish behavior of my second. Mom stayed married for the reason my grandmother did: economic dependency upon lousy men. And my aunt, after whom I am named, stayed married to her violent and alcoholic husband for the same reason. When she finally left him, he murdered her. I had enough evidence in hand that nothing good would come from matrimony.

This worried my mother. There was no precedent for a woman existing in our family without a man taking care of her. And the suffering that went with matrimony was part of that price. But to her credit, my mom fought hard for the only future I demanded—one in which I made my own future independent of any man. But mom never shied from telling me the truth: she never wanted a girl.  Raising girls were precarious and risky. Their success in life was too indeterminate unless they were popular and pretty and I was neither. Boys’ futures, she felt, were more predictable. She was not cruel. She was forthright and pragmatic. Just as I am today. There was no place in that horrible archipelago of rural hellholes from which I escaped to be the woman I wanted to be. And this was not India or “Africa.” It was Indiana. The same state from which our current Vice President hails along with five others.

While the United States has long been a terrible place to be a woman for many women, it’s getting worse not better. In contrast, many countries I study –including Pakistan—is making strides to make lives for women better. But in the not in the United States. American legislators refuse to pass laws that make it illegal to pay women less for the same work. And once again our basic right to decide whether and when to have children is being taken away. 

The right to abortion is one that I hold dear because of personal reasons.  My biological father impregnated my mother under false pretenses and unmarried in 1967.  Abortion was illegal and thus the exclusive privilege of wealthy women who could travel abroad or pay someone to provide a safe, but still illegal, abortion in the United States. Poor women who had illegal abortion risked their lives and many died from sepsis or blood loss. So my mother ran away, by bus, to Arizona where she lived with my aunt Carol—after whom I am named. Had abortion been legal, my mother could have imagined a different life than that inscribed for women with “illegitimate” children.  There may have been a future for her that didn’t rely upon being married to a “meal ticket.” She may have been a more capable provider for her future children. In this statement I am reaffirming the value of my mother’s life rather than undervaluing my own.

While Roe V. Wade,the landmark supreme court case from 1973, conferred upon women the right to choose, proponents of traditional while-male-dominant patriarchy fought tooth and nail to squash this  right as soon as we got it. The ability to plan our fertility has been the cornerstone of our ability to pursue higher education, gainful employment, and marriage by choice rather than compulsion. And it is this access to economic justice that has enabled women to walk out from abusive or unhappy marriages or not marry at all.

While the racism of the contemporary Republican party is much appreciated abroad because it is so gobsmackingly obvious, it is also waging a war on women and our bodies. While the white male Republicans fear ethnographic change and the loss of their race privilege, they also fear women and the erosion of their gender privileges despite the facts that women consistently earn less than men for the same work and that white men still occupy the most lucrative and important positions in the public and private sectors.  The fear that white men will one day be unable to run roughshod over everyone else is the same fear that Trump both stoked and exploited to become the president. While it may seem paradoxical that white women have allied with white men to protect their own race privileges and cruel power that conservative orthodoxy bestows upon women who happily police other women and people of color, this has always been the inherently non-intersectional character of white American feminism.

To eviscerate our hard-fought gains, the Republican party has endeavored to roll back access to affordable birth control as well as pharmaceutical and surgical abortion. It has stacked our courts with misogynistic conservatives in hopes that a court dominated by such rubes will over-turn Roe v. Wade. In the meantime, Republicans hollowed out abortion access by terrorizing physicians who perform the procedure. They waged legal cases throughout the country to endow fetuses with rights at the expense of women’s civil liberties. They made every possible effort to restrict how, when, and where abortion is provided. They have imposed waiting periods and, in some states, they force women to pay for expensive trans-vaginal ultrasounds in hopes that after seeing their snowy fetus, they will change their minds. They have sought impose absurd standards upon the clinics themselves and distance to hospitals and have argued that doctors must have surgical rights at hospitals even if here is no hospital nearby that will afford those rights and even though the procedure is safer than many other procedures. (Many hospitals in the United States are Catholic and they do not permit abortion. Thus this requirement is a back door means of eroding access to surgical abortion.) Indiana has passed a law that requires the products of conception to be buried or incinerated separately from other surgical waste, which is merely intended to increase the cost of an increasingly costly procedure.

Due to the concatenating impacts of these varied efforts, today, there are many states in which surgical abortion, for all intents and purposes, is unavailable. In such states, there are so few abortion providers that women must undertake lengthy and expensive journeys—sometimes to other states—and endure the commonly-imposed three-day waiting period and other burdens such as the trans-vaginal ultrasound. This in addition to several hundreds of dollars to pay for the procedure, which cannot be subsidized with federal monies. All of this requires days of missed work and arranging childcare. Such restrictions disproportionately affect America’s most vulnerable women who tend to be poor and/or persons of color.

Recently, some nine states have passed legislation to further restrict access. Several of these have passed so-called “heartbeat” bills that criminalize abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, after most women even know they are pregnant. In most circumstances, these laws cruelly and deliberately exclude exceptions for rape and incest. The penalty for securing an illegal abortion under these laws actually exceeds the penalty for rape and incest or even actual murder of a human being. The laws themselves reflect an asinine lack of scientific understanding of the chemical process that gives the illusion of a “heartbeat” as there is no fetal heart at six weeks.

Despite prosecuting this relentless war on our body agency in the name of “life,” other Republican policies bely any genuine interest in either increasing the quality or quantity of Americans’ lives. They oppose universal and affordable health care for the same fetuses they fetishize and the mothers who care for them as well as their families. Republicans nearly universally oppose education budgets that would provide for quality education at all levels, which is the most effective way of ensuring equal access to opportunities and outcomes. They reject efforts to expand civil liberties and are actively rolling back those already attained. Whereas the Republican party of the past freed American slaves, the party of today is most known for its racism and bigotry. Most cynically, they smother even the most modest restrictions upon the ability purchase military-grade weapons and munitions, even though on a near-weekly basis America’s children are butchered in school shootings. They support the death penalty without any effort to reconcile this with their “pro-life” positions and they do so despite the well-known fact that the use of the death penalty is driven by racism and that many African American men have been framed for crimes they did not commit resulting in the execution of innocent men. Poor people in general are more likely to get the death penalty because they cannot afford competent legal representation.  

In short: once that fetus becomes a child, it is on its own. Its odds are best if it’s a white, Cis-male. While that demographic comprises only 30 percent of the population, it command the best access to opportunities and outcomes.

More galling yet, some protect the parental rights of rapists when their victim becomes impregnated from their criminal conduct.  In other circumstances, sex offenders are not permitted to be around children. Recently, in Alabama—one of the most backwards states in the Union which has passed the most draconian law essentially outlawing abortion—ordered a woman to permit her rapist visitation of the child that resulted from his assault on her. She will be ordered to spend forty-eight hours in jail for every visitation she declines.

Given Republicans’ discernable lack of interest in life-saving or life-improving policies in any other policy domain, it is fairly clear that their interest in denying women the ability to plan our fertility is abjectly not about life rather about denying us the right to live our lives fully and to our potential with dignity.

In 2015, before the “Trumpocalypse,” the United Nations sent a fact-finding team to investigate the state of American women and were horrified by what they found. The “myth-shattering” mission noted that American women are lagging in rights.  More recently, UN  Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore did not mince her words when she declared the onslaught against abortion rights as “extremist hate” and “torture.”

As other countries in the world, like India, continue to make strides in empowering women, perhaps the disempowered American Woman, reduced to fetal incubators, will become the next posterchild of feminist movements that are steaming ahead elsewhere. I look forward to the day when crowds of “third world” women gather outside of American embassies and consulates demanding that that the US government stop its relentless war on women and children.

A shorter, better edited version of this essay appeared in The Print on June 18, 2019.

Hindi Blog Post #1: Discussing My Latest Book on the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba

Here I discuss LeT and my newest book, In Their Own Words: Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba with Pranay Kotasthane, Head, Research The Takshashila Institution.

प्रणय कोटस्थाने के साथ मेरा साक्षात्कार , जिसमें, हम लश्कर-ए-तैयबा पर अपनी नई किताब की चर्चा करते हैं।

प्रतिलिपि:

आपकी नयी किताब  In their Own Words, लश्कर जसै आतंकवादी संगठन  का घरेलू राजनीति में क्या स्थान है, इस पर चर्चा  करती है | तो इस एपिसोड में हम LeT को एक संगठन (organisation) के रूप में गहराई से समझने की कोशिश करते है|

१. हर संगठन  का एक vision, mission statement होता है – LeT का क्या है?

लश्कर-ए-तैयबा का एक पुस्तिका है  जिस में  वह् वर्णन  करता है कि वह् क्या करता है और क्यों।

ईस पुस्तिका  का नाम  है “हम क्यों जिहाद कर रहे हैं।”

इस पुस्तिका में, कई सिद्धांत/ उसूल  प्रस्तुत किए गए हैं, खास तौर  पर, यह दो:

२. हर हाल में, पाकिस्तान के भीतर, किसी भी प्रकार की हिंसा (या आतंक) सख्त़ मना (निषेध) है।

इससे कोई फर्क नहीं पड़ता अगर कोई मुजाहिद समझता है कि कोई  व्यक्ति “खराब मुस्लिम” है , और कुफ़्र और मशरिक (यानी जो शिर्क करता है) और मुनफ़िक़ (यानी जो खिलफ़त करता है) या कलह फैलाता है।

३. जिहाद सभी मुसलमानों के लिए अनिवार्य है, यानी फर्ज़्। यह आवश्यक (जरूरी) है कि हर एक मुसलमान जिहाद में शरक़त (Bhag lena) करने के लिए तैयार हो।

इसका मतलब नहीं है कि कोई बंदूक उठाकर कश्मीर  सीधे चला जाए। शायद एक भाई घर पर रहे पारिवारिक व्यवसाय की देखभाल के लिए ताकि दूसरा भाई कश्मीर जाकर काफिरों से लड़ सके।  लश्कर ए तैयबा के अनुसार दोनों जिहाद में हिस्सा ले रहे हैं।

लश्कर का मानना (तर्क/ख़्याल) है कि जब पाकिस्तानी बाहरी दुश्मन से लड़ना बंद कर देंगे, तो वे एक-दूसरे पर हमला करना शुरू कर देंगे और इसी तरह पाकिस्तान को तबाह करेंगे।

४. इस संगठन  की शुरुआत कब और कैसे हुई?

यह संगठन  १९८० के दशक के अंत में शुरू हुआ,सोवियत संघ के अफ़ग़ानिस्तान   को  छोड़ने से पहले।

लश्कर से पहले, दो अलग-अलग संगठन  थे। एक संगठन , ज़कि-उर्-रेह्मान लखवी  का, दूसरा हाफ़िज़ साईद का। १९८४ (1984) में, लखवी ने  सेनानियों का एक समूह इकट्ठा किया, जो सब अहल-ए-हदीस थे।

तकरीबन  एक साल के बाद्, लाहौर में, लाहौर इंजीनियरिंग विश्वविद्यालय के इस्लामिक अध्ययन विभाग के दो प्रोफेसरों ने जमात उद दावा स्थापित किया।

ये दो प्रोफेसर हाफ़िज़  मुहम्मद साईद और जफ़र इकबाल थे। जमात उद दावा, मूलभूत रूप से, तब्लीघ  और दावाह पर ध्यान करते थे।

लगभग १९८६ (1986) में, लखवी का मिलिशिया और साईद  का JUF विलय हो गया और इस नये तन्ज़ीम का नाम मार्कज़्-उद-दावा-वाल-इरशाद (एम.डी.आई)था।

एम.डी.आई. के तीन कार्य थे: जिहाद , तब्लीघ, दावाह (यानी मुसलमानों को अहल-ए-हदीस पंथ में परिवर्तित करना)।

२००२ में, जैश-ए-मोहम्मद के संसद पर हमला करने के बाद, लश्कर और अन्य आतंकवादी समूहों को “प्रतिबंधित” कर दिया गया था।

मगर , प्रतिबंध प्रभावी होने से पहले, आई. एस. आई. ने (यानी पाकिस्तान की सबसे ख़तरनाक ख़ुफ़िया एजेंसी ने) समूहों को उन्नत चेतावनी दी थी, जिस से वे नए नामों के तहत फिर से अस्तित्व में आये ।  २००२ से, लश्कर को “जमात उद दावाह” कहा जाता है ।

. इसके sponsor/shareholders कौन है?

उस प्रश्न (prashna/ सवाल ) का आसान उत्तर (जवाब) है: पाकिस्तानी  सेना और इस की ख़ुफ़िया एजेंसी आई. एस.आई।

६. इसमें भर्ती (recruitment) कहाँ  से और कैसे होती है? क्यों नौजवान इस कररयर को चुनते  है?

ज़्यादातर लश्कर के रंगरूट (या नए  सेनानियों) पंजाब के लगभग १० जिलों से ताल्लुक  रखते हैं।

वे अलग-अलग कारणों से जुड़ते हैं ।  कुछ ऊब चुके हैं और साहसिक कारनामे की तलाश कर रहे हैं।

कुछ बेहद धार्मिक हैं और मानते हैं कि जिहाद जरूरी है।

दूसरे  कश्मीर में मुसलमानों की मदद करना चाहते हैं, क्योंकि  वे विश्वास करते हैं कि वे मज़लूम हैं।

कई मामलों में, उनके माता-पिता उन्हें जिहाद के लिए जाने पर  हौसला बढ़ा देते हैं क्योंकि जब उनका बेटा शहीद हो कर अल्लाह से मिलता है,  वह अल्लाह से अनुरोध कर सकता है कि  मरने के बाद उन्हें स्वर्ग  (या जन्नत) में जाने दे।

इस के अलावा, जब उनका  बेटा शहीद हो जाता है, तो समाज में परिवारों की स्थिति बढ़ जाती है।

७. इस संगठन का समाज में वजूद क्या है?

“जमात उद दावाह” और “फ़िलाह इन्सानियत फाउंडेशन ” के नामों के तहत, वे पाकिस्तान के भीतर बहुत सारे सामाजिक कार्य करते हैं। उदाहरण के लिए,  वे सामान्य स्कूलों का निर्माण करते हैं (मदरसे नहीं,हालांकि मदरसे भी बनवाए), चिकित्सा सेवाएं प्रदान करते हैं, कुओं को खोदते हैं और भूकंप (ज़लज़ला), बाढ़ (सैलाब), चक्रवात (साइक्लोन), सूखा (खुश्क) दौरान और बाद में राहत सेवाएं उपलब्ध करते हैं।

८. इस संगठन  को कैसे निपटाया जाए? क्या पाकिस्तान में ऐसी ताकतें हैं जो इस तरह के संगठनों का ख़ात्मा करना चाहती हैं?

दो कारणों से, इससे निपटाना  असंभव है।

सबसे पहले, पाकिस्तानी सेना को बाहरी और आंतरिक सुरक्षा के लिए इसकी आवश्यकता (सख़त ज़रूरी) है।

दूसरा, अगरपाकिस्तानी सेना इससे प्रयोग में न लाना चाहती हो, तो भी ऐसा करना बहुत मुश्किल होगा और शायद नामुमकिन।

भारत के पास दो विकल्प (चुनाव) हैं। सबसे पहले, इसे सहन करना जारी रखें।  

दूसरा, इसकी क्षमताओं को कम करने के लिए गुप्त संचालन कर सकते हैं, मगर अगर भारत ऐसे करे, तोयह बिल्कुल महत्वपूर्ण है कि यह गुप्त रहे ।यदि सरकार इन कार्यों के बारे में बहुत शोर करती है, तो  पाकिस्तान को जवाब देने पर मजबूर हो जायेगी और भारत एक युद्ध शुरू होने का जोखिम बुलाता है परमाणु युद्ध के जोखिम के साथ।

It’s Out! In Their Own Words Understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba

Here’s an amuse-bouche of  In Their Own Words Understanding Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (Hurst, OUP). As always, I am grateful to Saira Wasim for her exquisite work that graces this cover. Check out her other inspiring paintings here:  http://www.sairawasim.com/.

Please note that I will donate my personal profits to the Government of India’s Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist/Communal/Left Wing Extremist Violence, Cross-Border Firing and Mine/IED blasts on Indian Territory, as well as Save the Children India. Over time, I may adjust the charities to which I donate, although I will remain committed to donating to non-religious/non-proselytizing organizations in India that do relief work. Thank you in advance for supporting these institutions through your purchase of this book.

Copies may be purchased here:

Via Hurst: https://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/in-their-own-words/

Via Oxford University Press: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/in-their-own-words-9780190909482?cc=us&lang=en&

Via Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Their-Words-Understanding-Lashkar-Tayyaba/dp/1849045720/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1542211028&sr=8-1&keywords=In+Their+Own+Words+Understanding+Lashkar-e-Tayyaba

The South Asia and US editions will be coming out shortly.

Potential Reviewers: If you would like to review this volume, please email me at c_christine_fair@yahoo.com with the Subject Header: “I’d like to review In Their Own Words.”

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This project is the culmination of research I unwittingly began in Lahore in 1995 when I was a doctoral student studying Urdu as well as Punjabi through the renowned BULPIP (Berkeley Urdu Language Program in Pakistan, currently known as the Berkeley-AIPS Urdu Language Program in Pakistan). As a student of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, I frequented Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore, where I first encountered booksellers purveying the propaganda of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), which now operates mostly under the name of Jamaat ud Dawah (JuD). I began collecting their materials that year and continued to do so during subsequent visits over the next couple of decades until I was ultimately deemed persona non-grata by the country’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI).

Due to the ISI’s assessment that I am a “nasty woman,” I have been unable to return to Pakistan since August 2013, but astonishingly, I was able to continue gathering materials for this effort through inter-library loan. Since 1962, American libraries have procured books from South Asia through the so-called PL-480 program, named after the eponymous public law which allowed the US Library of Congress to use rupees from Indian purchases of American agricultural products to buy Indian books. In 1965, a field office was opened in Karachi to oversee the acquisition of Pakistani publications. While the PL-480 program was long since discontinued, The Library of Congress continues to use the same institutional infrastructure to purchase these publications under the guise of a new program called the South Asia Cooperative Acquisitions Project.

I am deeply indebted to the Library of Congress and the other libraries across the United States which purchased these publications through this program and made them available to scholars through their institutions’ inter-library loan programs. I am particularly beholden to Georgetown University’s Lauinger Library, which never failed to produce a book I requested. The University of Chicago and the Library of Congress were the primary sources of these books and I am grateful that they continue to obtain and lend terrorist publications. As one US government official wryly noted when I explained my new sources of materials, “there is no better way to keep terrorist literature out of the hands of would-be terrorists than putting it in a library.”

I am also extremely indebted to Georgetown University, which has supported my work unstintingly since I joined the Security Studies Program in the fall of 2009. The University and the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University subsidized the writing of this book through a year-long leave through sabbatical and a senior research leave. Moreover, the School of Foreign Service provided invaluable financial support that enabled me to collaborate with Safina Ustaad, who did most of the translations used in this volume. (Ustaad and I are publishing a subsequent volume that contains these translations via Oxford University Press, entitled A Call to War: The Literature of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba.) The School of Foreign Service also subsidized a related and ongoing project in which I am studying the battle-field motivations of Lashkar-e-Tayyaba fighters. Through that funding, Ali Hamza translated a 10 percent random sample of the over 900 fighter biographies I collected, the analyses of which I present in this book. I am also grateful to the Security Studies Program, my home program within the School of Foreign Service, for generously subsidizing other aspects of this project, such as my work with Abbas Haider and other ongoing collaborations with Ali Hamza. Both Haider and Hamza translated some materials (under my guidance and quality assurance) which I have analyzed herein. Ali Hamza has been a superb colleague and collaborator over numerous years on several quantitative and qualitative projects alike. I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with such a gracious and talented colleague.

I also benefited tremendously from fellowships with the Institute for Defense Studies and Analysis (IDSA) in New Delhi, which hosted me as a senior fellow in the summer of 2016, the Gateway House in Mumbai during the summer of 2015, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in Washington DC, which hosted me as a fellow in the summer of 2017. I remain obliged to Jayant Prasad, Rumel Dahiya, and Ashok Behuria at IDSA, and Sally Blair at the NED. Don Rassler and the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point also provided important resources for the quantitative aspects of this project while I was a fellow at the CTC. It was a privilege to work with Don and the other members of that team including Anirban Ghosh, Nadia Shoeb, and Arif Jamal to whom I am deeply beholden. I would also like to express my gratitude to Oxford University Press which graciously allowed me to compress, update and draw upon significant portions of Fighting to the End: The Pakistani Army’s Way of War (2014) as well as Taylor and Francis which granted me permission to draw heavily from a 2014 article in the The Journal of Strategic Studies (“Insights from a Database of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Militants,” Journal of Strategic Studies, 37, 2 (2014), pp. 259–290.)

As this volume is the culmination of years of research and consultation, it would be remiss were I not to mention the superb community of scholars with whom I have discussed this project and data. Those who have been generous with their time and insights include: Daniel Byman, Bruce Hoffman, Jacob Shapiro, Praveen Swami, Ashley Tellis, Arif Jamal, Maryum Alam, the late Mariam Abou Zahab, Jaideep and his colleagues, and numerous others who met with me over the years in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Seth Oldmixon deserves a special mention. Oldmixon is one of the most under-valued assets in the community of South Asia analysts. He has a hawk’s eye for details as he has scoured social media feeds and publications of militant organizations, reads the South Asian press more diligently than most intelligence analysts I know and has an extraordinary ability to recall events, identify persons and their associations.

I am also profoundly indebted to my husband, Jeffrey Dresser Kelley and our ever-evolving pack of canine associates, who have patiently, and at times, less patiently, abided my months away from home with grace and aplomb. They also endured long periods of my inattention as I sought first to comprehend the huge number of sources I processed for this volume and then drafted this book, which took much longer than I ever anticipated. They have foregone vacations and grown tufts of gray hair wondering when—or if—it would ever conclude.

Michael Dwyer at Hurst has been equally patient and supportive of this project. Without his belief in this project, there would be no project at all. Saira Wasim, one of the most intrepid and dauntless artists I have had the privilege of knowing, deserves extraordinary mention. Wasim has generously lent her courageous art to this cover and to that of my last two books. Wasim, masterfully subverting the tradition of the Mughal miniature painting, valorously confronts and interrogates the perversions and defeasances in Pakistani and international politics alike as well as the culpable dastards. When I have writer’s block, I peruse her body of work for inspiration. Her work is literally worth a million words.

Finally, I am aware that most readers who will buy this book will do so because of the hideous crimes this organization has perpetrated, mostly against Indian citizens. Thousands of Indians have been murdered by LeT, and if not for the group’s lethal effectiveness, no one would care about it. The biographies of the martyrs weighed heavily upon my conscience as I studied their declared intentions to slaughter an enemy about which they knew nothing but lies propagated by the organization and the Pakistani state, leavened with rare fragments of truth. Because my ethical commitments preclude me from profiting from the deaths of thousands, I will donate any personal proceeds from this book to charitable organizations that assist victims of terrorism. Because Lashkar-e-Tayyaba mostly murders Indians, I will donate my personal profits to the Government of India’s Central Scheme for Assistance to Civilian Victims of Terrorist/Communal/Left Wing Extremist Violence, Cross-Border Firing and Mine/IED blasts on Indian Territory, as well as Save the Children India. Over time, I may adjust the charities to which I donate, although I will remain committed to donating to non-religious/non-proselytizing organizations in India that do relief work. Thank you in advance for supporting these institutions through your purchase of this book.

A Series of Self Portraits

C. Christine Fair

This is a triptych of three self-portraits. The first image is a mosaic of a Valkyrie. In Norse mythology, the female Valkyries served Odin, the God of War. The Valkyries went into the battlefields to select those among the slain who are worthy of a place in Valhalla. The mosaic is comprised of photos of a variety of persons whose cruelty,misogyny and even outright assault during my childhood and young adulthood have had enduring impacts well into my middle age. Some of the photos are those who were complicit in these acts by doing nothing. The piece speaks to survivorship but also the ways in which these experiences transform you.

The second composite is Athena, the Greek God of War. Like the first, this composite represents the resilience of survivorship at the expense of a serenity denied us. We become warriors forced to wage a war to protect ourselves that we did not start or want.

The third is a composite in the guise of Kali, a goddess in Hindu Mythology. She slays demons, offers divine protection and bestows moksha, or liberation.

THE ANIMALS BEAR WITNESS TO THEIR CRIMES

Many thanks to @collaterallitjournal for publishing my three recent poems/essays titled “THE ANIMALS BEAR WITNESS TO THEIR CRIMES” available here:
https://www.collateraljournal.com/nonfiction/fair

I. The Old Lagoon Dog Bears Witness to the War’s Atrocities

Whelped behind an old Hindu temple on the road linking the beach of Mullaitivu and the lagoon, she was the lone survivor of her pack, easily recognized by her light brown coat, perky ears, pointed snout and delicate feet.

The others—her children, siblings, sires, foes and friends—had died in the war or in its genocidal aftermath, from bombs, gunfire, mines, starvation, thirst or illness.

She hunted alone, trying to avoid eating those bodies strewn on the beach even though they were as omnipresent as her hunger.

She knew these Tamil humans by their scent, their voice, the colors they wore before becoming this etiolated bloat. Some fed her. Others kicked her. She followed them to school, to temple, to market. They were her familiars.

She watched as the Sinhalese soldiers—The Others—closed in on them. She cowered from the inescapable thunder of the mortars, the hissing of missiles, the shrieking of jets passing overhead, whose bellies were heavy with bombs. Her ears rang with the cries of mothers wailing, clutching their dead children.

She crouched low in the dirt, watching the Tamil Tigers knock on doors, rip the terrified children from their families and foist the guns into their puny arms to fight The Others.

She smelled the offending odors of The Others’ sex whose scent lingered on the female humans she once knew before they became empty. 

She felt the rumbling of the war machines before they could. She barked, whined and pawed at them. 

She tried to tell them to get into the trenches so many had built for such moments. 

In that madness, they had no patience for the noisy bitch. Some threw discarded coconut shells at her or brandished sticks or stones. She slinked away, tail tucked, in sad confusion.

One by one, she watched them die. With the planting seasons abandoned, she could not mark time. 

New humans came, speaking like The Others. They erected new buildings upon the carcasses of old. The town was not familiar now.

Her eyes became marbled clouds. Her hearing diminished. Hips ached. Unable to hunt the chipmunks, they frolicked in front of her with increasing impunity. 

Her body trembled from starvation and illness. Mange sunk deep into her flesh. 

She pondered her loneliness and why she had survived these atrocities. She sought the comfort of sleep and nested in the dirt alone some distance from the Vaddu Vakal Bridge. 

In the early hours of no-morning-in-particular, The Others’ truck sped over her frail body. She took one last look at her beloved Nanthi Kadal lagoon, unable to move and in a pain she could not endure. She closed her tired eyes. 

She had not yet given up her life when the clatter of hungry birds descended upon her soft belly to pick out her pink entrails.

Too weak to move, bark or whimper, the last witness was no more. 

II. The Goat of Ghundi Kala village

She was young with a wobbly head and the uncoordinated gait of a kid. Her youth spared her from this year’s Eid sacrifice. 

During the day she’d root for discarded scraps of vegetables or fruits. Yellow melons, musty and limp in the searing heat, were her favorite.

Water was always scarce. She liked stumbling upon a pile of watermelon rinds which gave up their moisture as she chewed them.

She nuzzled chickens roaming around and played with the old bitch’s young pups who survived the cull.

When she was first separated from her mother, she quivered and shrieked with fear when the Noise happened.

Then the explosions ceased to terrify. The mysterious men, packed into the back of the small pickup trucks that crisscrossed the Waziristan landscape like busy ants, became familiar.

The Truck Men, with their covered sun-drenched faces and guns, and their speeding trucks no longer intrigued her. Now, she rarely looked up from her beloved trash heap as they sped by.

The mangled bodies she would stumble upon as she rooted along the roads for nourishing things the Humans discarded no longer fascinated her either. 

Sometimes she overheard the Humans discussing the Still Mens’ crimes.

At night her Young Human tied her to a tree with an olid rope she loathed. The stench of urine and defecation of so many strange Animals who had come before her disquieted her.

Usually, the Men in Trucks stayed far from her home, which she came to understand was Good. They would come down from the mountains to pick up Things and Animals like her, then retreat, which was sometimes Bad. 

When the Truck Men lingered at Others’ homes, the Sky Beasts swooped down. The animals could hear their unnatural buzzing long before the Truck Men and Others could. 

When the Truck Men stayed, flashes of light and thunderous explosions would follow which tossed dust and the remains of incinerated Humans and Animals into the sky. 

That night, tied to her tree, she watched the Truck Men arrive. They boisterously stepped down and disappeared into her Humans’ compound. 

Her body stiffened. Her hackles stood up. She bleated as loud as she could, her ears back. Her Humans did not come. She kicked the ground, throwing up dirt behind her. She paced. She tried to warn her Humans when she first heard the buzzing.  She yanked at the tree and bucked in hopes of breaking the rope. Maybe then she could warn them.

As the noise became intolerably louder, she crouched low to the ground as something came shrieking towards her. She tried to make herself as small as possible before the Flash came.

The next morning the wary neighborhood men came by to inspect the damage and count the dead. Relatives came by to pick whatever remains they could bury.

She and her tree were smoldering detritus, unnoticed. 

III. The Cat in Haji Nur Mohammad’s Compound

Cat was special with her white coat, large ears and wide, outsized black eyes on her small triangular face. 

She lived with several others in one of the Warlord’s private compounds on the outskirts of Kabul. 

When Haji ate well, they all ate well, feasting off the discarded bones and offal of the animals he routinely slaughtered for his revolving entourages of boisterous guests.

Tonight was such a night. Haji’s men came back with a large, terrified goat. Within minutes, they slit his throat and let his blood run out. The cats watched from a distance in anticipation as the kasab hacked the still-warm animal into chunks that would be variously fried, roasted and stewed.

Haji’s cooks served the meat and morsels of fat over pillows of fragrant rice with sweet carrots and raisins. They rendered the feet and head into a tasty stew their Pakistani mehman savored.

As night began to fall, the guests began to arrive in their Pajeros, Land Rovers and Toyotas.

They assembled in Haji’s great hall, seated upon luxurious carpets and bolsters. The food was brought out on silver platters atop plastic sheets with oddly floral prints. The men began lapping up gravy with fresh naan and foisting chunks of charred flesh and fat into their mouths with their fat, ringed fingers.

Some drank tea or even daru. Others smoked hashish or opium. 

The men were buzzing with excitement.

Cat knew why. Haji was known to have the most beautiful dancing boys in Kabul. Businessmen, warlords and traffickers were honored by Haji’s envied invitations.

Tonight, Haji would bring out the Hazara boy they called Chinoise.

As the musicians began to assemble, the men stretched out. They picked the meat out of their mangled teeth. Restless in anticipation, they stroked their beards.

Chinoise made his appearance in a blur of colors in motion as he spun and twirled to the delight of the assembled men as the musicians behind him played Pashtun folk songs.

His striking grey eyes were outlined in kohl. He dazzled in a red blouse bespeckled with sequins over a dark blue velvet skirt and a silk tasseled scarf he draped coyly about his face and shoulders. His ankles and wrists bedecked with the boisterous bells he famously played with the undulations of his body.

As he danced the plates of abandoned food were taken away and the Cats began to feast. 

Cat no longer payed attention to the Men or Chinoise until, late in the night, the Guests retreated to their vehicles and sped off into the star-strewn night likely to meet their expectant wives.

Cat followed Chinoise to his private room and watched him undress then fill an old, green bucket of tepid water. Cat could smell Those Mens’ musky odors on his body. Chinoise poured water over his frail body from a cup. 

He lathered himself with soap then ladled more water over himself to rinse. He scrubbed his face to remove the makeup. But the scent of Those Men lingered.

Chinoise put on his night dress as Cat cautiously strode up near him. Chinoise slid into bed and motioned Cat to join him. Cat jumped up on the rope bed and situated himself on Chinoise’s pillow and purred deeply.

He drew Cat near and stroked her. Chinoise clutched her close as he cried bitter tears into Cat’s fur. In these moments, the self he had to protect from Those Men, cautiously leered out from the shadows. 

He missed his mother most of all. She wept furiously when his father announced that he had sold him to Haji. She beat her chest when Haji took him away and renamed him like a pet. Only when Haji felt tender did he call the boy by his real name: Zahid.

Zahid longed to be Cat, to leap with her over the compound walls and escape and survive Out There. 

Away from Haji and Those Men who supped upon him like a communal plate. 

Away from the things they did to him, made him do to them. 

Away from their sickening stench, greasy hands, and the shame he could not wash away.

He longed to be innocent again, nestled near his mother as she made tea in the morning. He longed to be Zahid.


Author Photo, C Christine Fair.jpg

C. Christine Fair is a provost’s distinguished associate professor within the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She studies political and military events of South Asia and travels extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East. Her books include In Their Own Words: Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (OUP 2019); Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (OUP, 2014); and Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States (Globe Pequot, 2008). She has published creative pieces in The Bark, The Dime Review, Clementine Unbound, Awakenings, Fifty Word Stories, The Drabble, Sandy River Review, Sonder Midwest, Black Horse Magazine, and Bluntly Magazine among others. Her scholarly website is ChristineFair.net. She blogs at https://shortbustoparadise.wordpress.com/. She tweets at @CChristineFair.

“The Animals Bear Witness to Their Crimes,” is comprised of three accounts from ongoing or recent wars in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan, presented from the vantage point of the animals who bear silent witnesses to the crimes and violence of the conflicts. These are all wars she has studied on the ground. They are all wars that haunt her.

“The Inheritance”

This is maybe the most important writing success I’ve had since Fighting to the End, it’s an essay about my shitbird dad in @furiousgazelle. I’ve been working on this story for a few years now: I’ve played around with the details, the voice (first person vs. third), and struggling with “how honest” I should be given that the details also affect my family. Since my brothers and I have different last names, I went “open kimono.” It was the only way to tell this story that was authentic. One never gets closure…but this is about as close to closure as I will get with my polecat, asshat of a sperm donor. And yes, I will be mailing it to him. Thank you @furiousgazelle! And this story is finally finished. Back to The Hobo Queen. Please do send me critical feedback. You all know I have thick skin…. But seriously. Fuck that dude.

The original appeared here on May 17, 2020: https://thefuriousgazelle.com/2020/05/17/christine-fair/

“The Inheritance” by Christine Fair

MAY 17, 2020 / THE FURIOUS GAZELLE EDITORS / 0 COMMENTS

Sitting across the rotting planks of a water-worn picnic table at a lake dive in Rome City, Indiana, Chris glowered at Bob and strained not to hear him. She studied his ruddy face with his pale, hooded, sky-blue eyes. His face was unmistakably and disappointingly redolent of her own. In anger, her mom would shake her head slowly and deliberately while growling in revulsion, “You look just like him.” She usually managed to render “just” a two-syllable word to make her point. Chris hated this actuality and longed to resemble her mother who always lingered just beyond her reach. But his widow’s peak, unruly hair and godawful teeth were all lamentably hers too. Maintaining her own teeth was a Sisyphean task. They’d crack or break. Dr. Hill would patch them up. They’d break again and Dr. Hill, again, would do the needful. Bob simply let his rot. In fact he seemed proud of these gaping holes as they were yet another signifier of his indifference to the consequences of his decisions.

She wished she could be tender or something like that. But, “This putrid son of a bitch” rolled around in her head like her moist sneakers in the dryer after an early run in the dew-kissed grass of spring. She tried to appear indifferent as he plowed along in his flat, nasal Midwestern voice which also—irritatingly—sounded like a more masculine version of her own hilljack voice.  Episodically her ears grabbed onto his words and she could feel that familiar anger rearing up on its hind legs, begging for permission to lunge at him, sink its teeth into his crepe-skinned neck and suck out whatever life lingered in that wankstain’s body. She forced herself to intermittently grunt or nod, feigning interested disinterest. The task helped to keep his venomous words at bay. 

She instinctively recoiled when he said “his kids,” referring to Dawn and Rick, without a modicum of consideration for her feelings. These conjoined words raked across her nerves each time he uttered them. Not only was she his kid, she was his first accurst kid. She contemplated standing up, pointing at him and then to herself, and howling “I am the abandoned daughter of this fucktangle of assholery” for the enjoyment of the other outdoor diners seated nearby.

To dodge the responsibility of being her father, Bob did two voluntary tours in Viet Nam. He tried to re-up a third time, but the army declined. The army knew only nutcases wanted three servings of that war and it had no interest in redeploying a self-identified lunatic. Admittedly, he signed up for the first tour before he knew she was growing in her mom’s belly, but that didn’t excuse the second and the attempted third. It was crazy-making that this ratfucker preferred to shoot and be shot at in Viet Nam than stay in Indiana and be her father and her mother’s husband. 

Chris deliciously remembered travelling to Viet Nam with her physicist then-boyfriend, Dr. Devil, some twenty years ago. She was in her late 20s, a mere four years after her mom died of Melanoma. While Dr. Devil rubbed shoulders with his colleagues at a local university, Chris visited the War Remnants Museum in which the intimately personal effects of captured soldiers and downed airman were curated and displayed: their dog tags; photos of wives, lovers, kids or dogs; watches; random pocket litter from their last trip to Bangkok. She wondered what would have happened had this raasclaat been captured. What artifacts of his existence would be on display? Did he have her baby picture in his wallet on his second tour? Her mom’s picture? Looking at the assortment, she wondered how she would have felt had she seen his POW picture and an assortment of his pocket trash behind that glass? “Mollified. Probably,” she muttered out loud.

In fact, she often wished that he had died in Viet Nam for the selfish reason that her life and that of her mom would have been vastly easier. Her mother would have had economic assistance and health benefits from the Veterans’ Administration. Re-marriage would have been a choice rather than compulsion. Chris would have had veterans’ educational benefits. Perhaps her mother wouldn’t have told her the repulsive truth about Bob and the bet he made that resulted in Chris’ conception. Chris would have been a slain heroes’ daughter rather than the genetic refuse of a coward who preferred waging war to loving her and protecting her from the war that life would wage against her. 

Her parents divorced after Bob returned the second time from Nam. Chris was three. Soon thereafter, Bob married his high-school sweetheart, tossing her mother into economic and moral ruination, resigned to go from one fuckup’s bed to another just for them to survive. While Rome City Indiana in 1967 was unforgiving of women in these circumstances, it made various excuses for the men who invariably absconded.

As waves of rage washed over her, she stormed out of the museum. She strode up to the first sidewalk hawker she could find to buy a postcard depicting Ho Chi Minh, who oddly resembled an ornery Colonel Sanders. She scribbled on the card hastily, “Dear Bob. In Viet Nam. Wish you were still here. Chris.” 

She had every intention of mailing it even though she didn’t have his address. But she was tenacious in her spite. From a nearby internet café, she opened Alta Vista and searched “Bristol Indiana White Pages.” Finding the shitbird’s whereabouts was surprisingly effortless. She scrawled out the address, headed to the nearest post office, and dispatched it before her better self could advise against it.

Motivated by those memories of 1998 Saigon and that museum, she focused upon Bob, who sat there in front of her in this northern Indiana gastronomical hellhole. She interrupted the story about his brother who tried—but failed—to kill himself with a shotgun. 

“So, Bob, did you ever get that postcard I sent from Viet Nam?” 

For a moment, a look of satisfying hurt drifted across Bob’s face. “Yes. Yes!” he said in a rising voice. “I did. And it was an asshole thing to do.” 

She was relieved—even denervated—that he got it and that it stung. She nodded. “Well, I got the asshole gene from you. Along with your shitty teeth and your goddamned cancer genes.  Oh. I also have a pile of shrink bills too. So, we’re not quite even—are we, Bob?”

Here she was, at some olid Indiana lake dive because Bob called her to proclaim, yet again, that he was dying from an aggressive cancer of his esophagus. He moaned that he was in a lot of pain. He said he wanted to see her. With the cupidity she read into his words, she and her patient husband, Jeff, drove all night from Washington D.C. She cried most of the way. Tears of sadness, guilt, and a life-time of yearning. 

When they reached the hospital in Elkhart, he was hardly dead. And, he was still an unapologetic prick who revelled in the  hurtful antics of his spent youth. She felt she had been made a fool. Played like a kazoo. As he bloviated about the tedious lives led by his unaccomplished, slothful children, she pondered the lifetime that separated them and would always separate them.

She came here, dropping everything, because he was ill, in pain and possibly dying. How many times was she hospitalized, alone and afraid? There was the kidney infection when she was eight. Meningitis when she was fourteen. She nearly died from a sea-food allergy while driving from the Cape to New York City in college with a terrified man who loved her unrequitedly. In shock, they rushed her past gun-shot victims before she drifted out of consciousness. In her travels to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh she had contracted cholera, typhoid, countless bouts of near-lethal dysentery. Each time she wondered whether Bob would care that his firstborn was critically ill and whether he’d learn of her death if she died? Would he mourn her? Memories fell upon her like a stampede of furious animals released from a corral. The deadening sorrow she and Jeff endured when they lost their babies. She remembered Uncle Art’s calloused fingers penetrating her after her infant brother, Johnnie, died. When her stepfathers kicked and beat her. When her mom could not protect her. When an Afghan taxi driver abducted her outside of Ghom in 2001. Where. The. Fuck. Was. He? 

She felt sick and dizzy. Had she ever called him during any of those troubles, would he have driven all night or bought a ticket and boarded a plane to see her? Not likely. He couldn’t be bothered to attend her college graduation from the University of Chicago—a mere ninety minutes from his home. Yet she was here for him. For a second time. And he was still not dying. 

The wretch was immortal. It was possible that this boor would deny her the simple pleasure of pissing on his grave. Yet, despite her unending furor, here they were, sitting at a rickety picnic table, on an August evening in execrable Indiana, when the oppression of the humidity was exceeded only by persistence of the tiger mosquitos biting through her clothes. 

As verbal rubbish spewed from his toothless, twisted mouth, saliva caked on its downward-tilting corner. His face was noticeably asymmetrical. His nose was warped like someone had smashed it right and proper. But in all the photos she had studied of him, that was his nose. 

For a moment, she looked away from him in shame for being there, for being conned into seeing this jackass so incapable of the slightest remorse. If only this prick had died in Viet Nam, she thought. That was a story she could understand and, equally important, could explain to others. He always came up in background investigations and polygraph interrogations for her security clearances. CIA shrinks, who still thought Freud mattered, would impugn her morality and integrity because he abandoned her. How could she explain who this man was to these government bureaucrats? It was too much emotional labor. Yet she had to. Repeatedly.

She looked down at her plate that arrived during one of one of his cloying reveries. She pushed her food around with her fork as if it was that tiny sand pit and miniature rake their couples’ counsellor had on her coffee table. Eating was impossible. If she started, she would eat it all. Then she’d excuse herself to purge.  The desire to devour those fries and barbecue pork ribs perdured. She knew what they would feel like coming up, the comfort of wrapping her arms around her stomach in this practiced exorcism of rancor at others and herself.  The self-flagellation accompanied by the self-induced heaves were a soothing ritual she learned early in childhood.  Later, she could drink some water with baking soda stirred in to neutralize the acid and mitigate any damage she had inflicted upon her genetically compromised esophagus and doomed teeth.  She had been diagnosed a few months earlier with Barret’s esophagus which tended to become Bob’s cancer. Meditating upon this most salient inheritance from Bob, she reminded herself that she could not binge and purge. Drawing her nose and lips into a snarl, she poured water over her meal to make it less appealing.  She sighed, relaxed her shoulders and looked right into his face, resigned to let her resentment sit with her.

Bob would not shut up. 

She glanced towards Jeff, who had tuned out. Mouth watering, she glanced at her plate. Why was she here? What did she think would come from this? An apology for a lifetime of neglect? A feeble recognition of that neglect? The questions stung. Where was he when her stepfathers beat her, or her uncle thrust his trigger finger into her girlish flesh to pluck her innocence like a blackberry from a pie? He had given her nothing worth having.  She felt trapped, smothered, unable to breathe. Needing to bolt, she looked around furtively at her husband, the waitress, the table behind Bob, where a large woman, with voluminous arms draped about her pot belly, sprawled out and wide like the desert she traversed in that Afghan’s taxi speeding away from Ghom. 

The woman’s purple veins bulged out and over her thick legs which strained her polyester shorts. Her friend, sporting a colorful maxi dress, held a yappy chihuahua on her own capacious lap, making the tiny dog appear even more diminutive.  She concentrated on the chihuahua, those veiny legs and flaccid arms, the swirls of hues on the endless muumuu. She saw a milkshake at the chihuahua’s table. Was it vanilla, she wondered? She glanced once more, furtively, at the water-logged food.

Then Bob said the thing she could not unhear. He called his granddaughter a pig. She hadn’t paid attention to how he ended up there in his interminable account. She thought maybe she’d misunderstood. Her voice piqued as she asked him to repeat himself. “What did you just say?” elongating the vowels as they fell out of her mouth. 

He gathered himself defensively, sat upright and looked at her defiantly, square in her eyes and said “She’s a goddamn pig. Ashley is a pig. Her mom is a pig. She’s a fucking pig, like her whore mom.”

Sublimating her wrath, she retorted in her NPR voice, “Bob, just how old is this ostensible pig?” wondering if he knew what “ostensible” meant. “She’s fourteen,” Bob snorted, almost gleefully. “But she’s always been a pig.”

“And just why is she a ‘goddamned pig’?” she asked with contempt-dredged curiosity. She slapped hard at a mosquito biting through her clothes. She glanced down with cathartic satisfaction at the blood spatter on her dress and palm. Again, with increased adamancy, Bob told her, “Her mother is a pig. She’s a pig, too.” 

Inhaling and crossing her arms over her empty stomach, she leaned back and slowly repeated her question in a lowered voice while glowering, “Why, Bob, do you call your teenaged granddaughter a pig, a goddamned pig?” 

He opined that “she’s a little slut, who got kicked out of school for asking boys to show her their dicks.” 

Horrified, she recognized the child’s actions intimately as the behavior of an abused child, overwhelmed by her precocious inclinations and desires. Chris’s wife-murdering uncle had abused her since she was a toddler. Her first memories were of him turning her over the back of the couch in her stepfather’s basement, sliding aside her underwear and thrusting his rough, oil-stained fingers inside her tiny body. And, having been touched like that, her body had desires that were beyond the control of her five-year-old self. Uncle Art told her that he loved her more than anyone else. In a house bereft of affection or attention, her young self welcomed his affection. Later, upon understanding how fucked up it was, the feelings of guilt, filth, shame and self-loathing settled into her bones like a Chicago fog in winter. It was then that she discovered the calm that came after eating an entire box of Raisin Bran with whole milk, then thrusting her face over the toilet, calling herself names as she summoned the contents of her stomach into the commode. With each hurl, she felt the self-hatred leave her along with the contents of her gut. It wasn’t the eating that soothed her: it was the purging. With each expulsion, she felt better, until she collapsed on the cold bathroom floor and felt her sweat evaporate. 

She sat back and looked at him from the side of her eyes. Then at the food. She wanted so badly to do what had comforted her for so long. She meditated upon Bob’s cancer and the extensive surgery that required a reorganization of his upper thorax after they removed most of his cancerous esophagus. The surgeon moved his stomach where his esophagus had been. She cut him from the front and back to rearrange his lungs, upon which his truncated stomach now rested. He could not breathe as easily as before with that stomach upon his lungs. Eating was a chore. For months, a tube sent nutrients directly to his upper bowl. Considering this, she again resolved that he, this useless sonofabastard, would not bring her to her knees, face plunged into a toilet, puking up her loathing for him, herself or anyone else while courting his cancer.

She turned, and returning his defiance in measure, stared right into his face and sneered whether it had occurred to him that perhaps “that the little girl is a pig because someone abused her?” 

Bob replied guilelessly, “Of course she was abused! Her mother is shacking up with a goddamned pedophile!” 

The churn of indignation felt like a typhoon. It was too much. Ashley, the “pig” was his granddaughter. His son’s daughter.

She had to get out of there. She explained that it had been a long drive from DC to Indiana and that she had to go. She asked for the bill and paid it. She didn’t want him paying for their dinner. After he left, she sat there with her husband, grappling with what just happened. She felt wrong inside like someone had pithed her. 

That night, sleep was elusive. In their motel bed, she kept replaying his words and seeing his twisted, saliva-crusted mouth. She sat up beside her snoring husband, and cradled her unease, trying to pin it down. 

In the darkness, cut by a streetlamp, she stroked the velvety ear of her dog, Budreaux. They had brought all three dogs with them, and at this moment, it was Boudreaux who sought comfort, while Vega and Saffy slept at the foot of the bed. Rubbing Budreaux’s soft ear pacified them both.  He nestled his Janus-faced head into her lap, turned over, and stretched his hind legs out and up, revealing his snow-white chest and belly to indicate that he wanted a tummy rub. She leaned over to stroke his strong undercarriage and thought how much she loved him. 

As Budreaux rolled over and fell asleep, the puzzle floated back. At first, it was hazy but slowly came into focus with glaring obviousness. When she was a kid fending off her uncle, step-monsters, and an indifferent mother; she rehearsed the consoling canard that if her father only knew about this shitstorm, he would save her. Maybe he would’ve beaten her uncle or even killed him in a fit to restore his hillbilly honor? When her step-fathers consecutively rained hell upon her, she imagined her father as a kind man who, moved by her pain and his remorse for not rescuing her earlier, would drape himself around her like a warm coat and lead her away from a life that was killing her.

She had come to know Bob somewhat over the intervening decades. The first time she met Bob, she was thirteen. They met at the Walgreen’s restaurant in the Glenbrook Mall, in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Her mother promised her that she could meet him when she turned thirteen, if she could locate him. Her mother worked all day. From their home in Huntertown, the Allen County Library in downtown Ft. Wayne was no more than 12 miles. The bulk of the distance was a the peri-rural highway, Lima Rd. So, one summer day, after her mom left for work, she hopped on her bike and made the journey. It was easy: a friendless loner, she spent most of the Huntertown summers on her bike traveling through farmlands. The library had phone books for the entire state. It took her no time to find Bob. She Xeroxed the page with his name, address, and phone number. When October came, she presented her mother with the finding she had kept secret since July. Her mom was peeved but kept up her end of the bargain. Chris remembered dialing his number, waiting for him to answer and explaining who she was. He didn’t seem terribly enthusiastic. He was about thirty years old then and he seemed mostly uncertain. Nonetheless, he agreed to meet her.

At the mall, her closest friend, Holly waited as they met.  Holly was more reliable than either Heather or Carmel, with whom she had once planned to escape her unbearable life. She’d waited for them both underneath the streetlamp on Apollo Road for an hour before she concluded they had chickened out. But Holly was made of tougher stuff. How many times had she and Holly plotted to hop a boxcar and go wherever it took them? She and Holly had spent hours under the railroad bridge in Huntertown noting train schedules for their getaway. That was why Holly was there that day. 

Holly watched from a distance in the magazine aisle in the adjacent drug store, while she and Bob sat at a table visible to mall shoppers. Bob brought his wife, who sported expensive Jordache jeans. She longed for Bob to ask whether she was okay, was she loved, did her stepfather treat her well? He asked her little other than unimaginative queries about school and questions, riddled with aversion, about why she kept pet rats, a snake and a ferret as pets. She didn’t bother explaining the intelligence of rats or that her ferret had a more noticeable sense of curiosity than he had or that the snake was more affectionate than he seemed.

The next time they met, she was 23. She had just buried her mother, who died at 45. He callously told her, while she still stood on the concrete steps outside his house, “You weren’t born out of love. You were born out of a bet.” 

Her stomach twisted and roiled, not because of the cruelty of it, but because of the confirmation of a truth. Her mother had told her, from the time she was six, that Bob and two other men made a bet to get her into bed. She hadn’t known what it meant until she grew older. But as she came to understand the words and implications of the posited scenario, the more unbelievable it was. By the time her mother was dying, she was in full revolt. She had outright called her mother a liar and, in a fit of anger over her mother’s failure to protect her from the men in their lives, yelled at her to never repeat that nonsense again. When her mother died, she had come to fully reject this foundational truth, which more than anything, explained her mother’s own pain and animus towards Chris who had committed the crime of being born alive. Now, Bob stated this truism with cavalier flair as if he were explaining some unfortunate turn of events at the Kendallville racetrack. 

She returned to her rented car and drove back to Chicago, in silence, with her stupefied boyfriend, without speaking during the drive back to safety. She never felt less worthy of living than she did then.

By now, she was a grown woman approaching middle-age. She had met him about a dozen times over the past decade and had made infrequent efforts at small talk on the phone. She had come to terms with the fact that he was about seventeen when he knocked up her mom. And watching her own brothers grow up and become men gave her some degree of insight about the time it takes for a man’s brain to mature. Even though he was only thirty when she first came back to his life, he was now an old man. It was clear who and what he was: a selfish, unrepentant churl who reveled in his own youthful fuckery. Still, she could not find it within herself to write him off, delete his information from her phone, and block his number as her brother, whose own father was another participant in that ignominious bet, and her husband repeatedly advised. 

On this trip, she realized that she still hoped—just as she always had—that there would be some point at which he would understand just how callous he had been to her and her mother and do something to make it right. While she didn’t know what that would take, she still harbored some sliver of hope that he wasn’t just an unreconstructed cunt of no redemptive potential.

But back at the hotel, it was clear that she had seen the bottom of his soul and there was no reason to look further. Hearing him call his first granddaughter a pig, she understood for the first time that he never would have saved her.  Had he observed her antipathy and truculence, he would have bellowed that her suffering was her own fault or that of her mother. Maybe he would’ve seen her precocious sexual interests and described her as a pig; inherited from her mother, whom he would have denounced as a pig as well, without an iota of irony. He would have embraced no obligation to intervene in the smallest of ways to protect her. He would accept no responsibility for any of it. 

She and Ashley, in Bob’s universe, were pigs by birth rather than by survival. He could give no fewer fucks about either of them if he had to at gunpoint.

In the morning, she and Jeff left for home. Boudreaux wailed while Vega slunk off to the back of the minivan and fell asleep, snuggled up against Saffy. Jeff, sensing her silence, knew she was marinating something. As they reached West Virginia, she said, “Jeff, I’m going to report this to child protective services. No one called them when I needed them. I’m not going to let this girl hang out to dry. What do you think?” Having said the words aloud, a strange calm settled about her. 

Jeff told her that he thought she should, but she should understand that any chances of a rapprochement with Bob would be impossible. “But,” Jeff said wryly “that would be a positive externality of doing the right thing.”

She smiled at him and said, “Two nerd flares for that one.”

For much of the drive back home, her cellphone had no reception. It irked her that Afghanistan has a better cellular network than the United States.  She kept looking at her phone and counting bars. Finally, having reached Maryland, she phoned Bob.

“Bob, I’m sorry for scramming last night. I was in Bangladesh last month visiting refugees from Myanmar and I have to give a talk on the situation at the Atlantic Council tomorrow. I didn’t want to get home too late.” There was silence. She almost wondered if the call dropped. 

 Trying to sound nonchalant, she continued “Anyway I was thinking about your granddaughter. What’s her name again? Ashley, right? But what’s her mom’s name?” Writing down their names, she furthered, “And um…where do they live? Near you and Rick, right?” 

In exasperation, he blurted out, “Rome City.” Then he paused. “Hey! Why you asking this stuff?” Bob asked suspiciously, omitting the stative verb, which annoyed her.

She remained silent. She didn’t want to lie, but she didn’t want to tell him either. He was nervous. He knew her because he knew himself. Though he didn’t raise her, she was like him in some ways: stubborn, resolved and once she took a decision, she acted.

“Chris, what the hell are you doing?” he hollered.

The silence bugged him, which pleased her. The power to hurt was now in her hands. As he grew anxious, she told him flatly, “I’m calling CPS to report the situation with Ashley. No one called CPS when I was abused. That girl deserves a chance. And frankly, you or your son should’ve done this. Ages ago. What the actual fuck is wrong with you people?”

Desperately, he warned her “Don’t you dare. If you do…”

She hung up before he could complete the threat. She Googled Child Protective Services for Rome City, Indiana.  She told the operator all that she knew and hung up. She had no idea what, if anything, would come of this. But at least she tried to give that little girl the chance which no one tried to give her.  Bob kept calling. She declined to answer. For another day he called her mobile and then their home phone. And then he stopped calling.  

She understood that she had been chasing a chimera all along. Bob would never have saved her. It wasn’t, to his mind, his responsibility. And with that cruel epiphany, she neither needed nor wanted to see him again. She deleted and then blocked his number on her phone. 

A year passed, then two. She wondered if Bob had died. But she was at peace.  Even if he was dead, she didn’t care. For all intents and purposes, he died that day when he called that little, broken girl a pig. 

She never learned what came of Ashley and she was too timorous to speculate. Indiana was death row for women and girls like them. It’s why Chris bolted as soon as possible. College, graduate school, and then all of Asia were destinations on her escape route. Would Ashley get away? What life would she make for herself and would she one day seethe at her father’s and grandfather’s indifference to her suffering as Chris did for so long? 

***

Sitting on the porch enjoying the still warm sun of early October, she sipped an Old Fashioned. Budreaux, now older and calmer, foisted his snout into her armpit as she scratched his ears. With an easy smile. she gazed down at Saffy and Vega who slept with an angelic, senescent calm beneath her feet.

Bob’s cruelty and callousness, which once felt like quicksand around her legs, had finally set her free. She hoped that Ashley too would seek such freedom and somehow, against the odds, find it.


C. Christine Fair is a provost’s distinguished associate professor within the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.  She studies political and military events of South Asia and travels extensively throughout Asia and the Middle East. Her books include In Their Own Words: Understanding the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (OUP 2019); Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (OUP, 2014); and Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States (Globe Pequot, 2008).  She has published creative pieces in The Bark, The Dime Show Review, Clementine Unbound, Awakenings, Fifty Word Stories, The Drabble, Sandy River Review, Sonder Midwest, Black Horse Magazine, and Bluntly Magazine among others. Her scholarly website is www.ChristineFair.net. She blogs at https://shortbustoparadise.wordpress.com/. She tweets at @CChristineFair.

The University of Chicago is a Predator Protection Racket

December 1, 2017


Briget Collier
Associate Provost & Director, Office for Equal Opportunity Programs
Title IX Coordinator for the University
Office of the Provost
The University of Chicago
5801 S. Ellis Ave
Levi Hall 427
Chicago, IL 60637


Dear Ms. Collier:
Thank you for the frank discussion on Tuesday November 28, 2017. As discussed, here is my official letter describing Professor Dipesh Chakrabarty’s inappropriate behavior with me at the end of Winter quarter 1994, the long-term impact of that misconduct personally and professionally, my specific request for an investigation into that event and an apology from Chakrabarty, as well as contacts of persons who can corroborate my experiences as well as discuss his behavior in general. Per our discussion on November 28, I have learned that he continues this predatory behavior and that his wife, Rochona Majumdar, has a regrettable track-record of abusing her students as well.


As discussed, herein I also provide you with information that others have shared with me about the ongoing predatory behavior of professor Chakrabarty and Majumdar as well contacts of persons who have agreed to speak with you. (See the Table of Contacts at the end of this missive.) I want you to understand that many persons with whom I have corresponded are afraid of them and their vindictiveness. They are abusing their power over current and former students to shield themselves from consequences that would otherwise arise from their maltreatment of current and former students.


Tenure was invented to protect freedom of speech and academic freedom rather than to provide immunity and impunity to faculty who exploit the power differential that exists between them and their students. Surely, there must be some way of securing justice for the past and present victims of Professor Chakrabarty and Majumdar and preventing future victimization from occurring in the first instance.


The Event in Question: Winter Quarter 1994


As noted in my October 25, 2017 piece titled #HimToo, which was republished by Buzzfeed after Huffington Post removed it, I left the sciences in part due to the pervasive hostile environment that I confronted at the University of Chicago as an undergraduate. In AY1993-94, I began my PhD at the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilization (SALC) at the University of Chicago. (I chose to stay at the University of Chicago despite being unhappy due to full funding and proximity to my mother who was dying. She passed the week before I began my PhD in SALC.) The transition was difficult. I was not accustomed to the vernacular of post-modernism and other specialized jargon. I excelled at Hindi, but the theory classes were difficult. I struggled to understand the copious volumes of readings. The transition was rendered more difficult by the opprobrious behavior of Dipesh Chakrabarty in the second quarter of my first academic year in the program.


I was enrolled in his HIST 377 course (described as “Pol/Ident Colonial South Asia” on my transcript) in the winter quarter of 1994. (See the below photos of my transcript and the course guide for that quarter.) At the end of that semester, I roller-bladed to campus to drop off my final paper at his office, which was in the Social Sciences Building. I did not expect to find him there. As I handed in that paper, he asked me (with a repellent grin on his face) “are you looking for sexual pleasure.” Ostensibly his proposition was precipitated by a sticker on one of my roller blades which read “Sexual Pleasure Is No Crime.” The other sticker stated “Rape is a War Crime.” The stickers referred to the politics of the early 1990s. I was a pro-choice activist and I agitated against the use of rape as a tool of war in the Balkans.
I backed out of his office. As I did so, I felt my face turn red in shame. I fought back tears as I made it down the stairs and to the quads. I had given up a career in chemistry precisely because of this behavior. Yet, here I was enduring the very contumely nonsense from which I bolted. I was stunned. I felt dizzy. Then I felt angry. I gave up a predictable career trajectory because of this kind of rank misogyny. Yet barely within a year of my new scholarly life, had sexism reared its ugly head.


Before I reached the circle in the middle of the quadrangle (which used to be accessible to cars), I forced myself march back to his office with the intention of telling him off, irrespective of the lousy grade I expected to receive after doing so. (It turns out he gave me an A. I viewed it as
“hush” payment.) But Chakrabarty had left his office. Because Chakrabarty’s office was in the Social Science building, I found an office of a “dean” (see picture below). Desperate for help, I went to that dean’s office in hopes of finding an ally and asked the administrative assistant if I could speak with him. I must confess to not knowing much about the structure of deans’ affairs in those days and students had no guidance about how to report such incidents.

After some research this past week, I believe that dean was John Boyer who would have been the academic dean or acting academic dean of the Social Sciences at the time. (It was not Tom Theurer because I knew Theurer well and would have remembered him. Moreover, Chakrabarty was a visiting history professor and I did not think Theurer was appropriate.)
I was literally wandering the halls of the Social Science Building in search of help. I told that dean (whom I am fairly, but not completely, certain was Boyer) what happened. To my revulsion, the individual asked me whether or not I had told Chakrabarty that the advance was unwanted. I also learned from that conversation that unless I told Chakrabarty this explicitly, he could proposition me again. The dean explained that his conduct did not violate university policy and, unless I told him unambiguously that I did not want sexual pleasure with him, how could he possibly know that I do not?

Photograph of My Transcript, Clearly Showing HIST 377

I then went to the chairman of my department who was Sheldon Pollock, a renowned scholar of Sanskrit who is now is at Columbia University. Pollock tried to reassure me that Chakrabarty meant nothing by this comment. I asked him if he would tell his daughters the same if they narrated this tale? He assured me that he would have.


My efforts to confront Chakrabarty proved difficult. Ultimately, I had to ambush Chakrabarty at the International House where he was residing. It turns out coincidentally that Chakrabarty shared a suite with a former lab mate (Thomas Steinbrecher) who had extensive unpleasant experiences with him. Steinbrecher facilitated my confrontation with Chakrabarty who retorted “You have to understand that I come from a conservative school.” I had no idea what that meant nor cared. The deed was done. (Steinbrecher, who long ago returned to Germany stands by to corroborate my experiences. See his contacts below.)


Later, Chakrabarty would commence an affair with a woman, Rochona Majumdar, whose committee he chaired. Eventually, he secured a divorce from his wife and mother of his child, to marry this student. He then exploited his position to secure a tenure-track position for her. Her tenure was a foregone conclusion and she actually boasted about this to one of the students with whom I spoke. She said that she “danced around” her tenure. That is certainly an interesting way of describing her unorthodox career trajectory. (I have contacts who can explain the extraordinarily unethical way by which he hired his wife, if you are interested in pursuing this. Let me know if you would like those sources.)


Nonetheless, SALC specifically and the university generally remained indifferent to his various demonstrations of incomprehensible moral turpitude. Professor Steve Collins was one of my professors in SALC. He had become the ally of me and other victims of Chakrabarty’s misconduct.


My battles with Chakrabarty did not conclude however. Unable to tolerate the University of Chicago, I left and took up full-time employment with the RAND Corporation and made slow but steady progress towards completing my PhD while in California. I had to take additional courses (such as the year-long study of Persian) at UCLA. However, I had to fight to keep him off of my orals’ committee and even tenure committee when Norman Cutler who chaired SALC died, and Chakrabarty replaced him as the head of SALC. Collins tried to get him removed as the Chair of our department to no avail. I also hady made arrangements to transfer to the University of Texas Austin to study under Sumit Ganguly had Collins’ efforts fail. I also began securing legal counsel as well. Nonetheless, Collins managed these various issues for me and protected me from Chakrabarty.


I know I am not alone. He has harassed women for the last twenty-three years. To this day, Dipesh Chakrabarty has never experienced any adverse consequences for his actions. Some women chose to leave the program. I considered doing the same. I knew that I could never get a job in this discipline with Dipesh Chakrabarty as an enemy. So, I plotted yet another alternate professional course which began with my employment at the RAND Corporation.


The Consequences and Professional and Personal Impacts for Me

As I detailed in #HimToo, the medical costs from managing my depression from years of sexual harassment and assault has been staggering. If I had invested those many thousands of dollars required to pay for therapy and medications since I was 18, my retirement income would be approximately $100,000 greater than it is today (assuming the same average 10% return to those investments as my other investment instruments.) While I have no interest in seeking financial redress, Chakrabarty’s repulsive behavior and the University of Chicago’s indifference to the same has certainly contributed to these expenditures.


Because I finished my PhD remotely in part to escape him, I did not enjoy the same faculty mentorship as others in my program. As noted, I finished up coursework at UCLA. I did not have the same excellence of doctoral education as others who stayed on campus and the sub-optimal quality of my (lousy but done) dissertation attests to this. Even as a tenured faculty member, I still take classes and workshops in the summer to buttress my lousy training in my doctoral program. Some may say this was my choice. But was it? What real options were available apart from tolerating the retribution of a professor whose advances I spurned and even reported to no avail?


I have switched careers twice: I first left chemistry because of the noxious and brutish misogyny of the Chemistry Department and then I left the formal study of South Asian Languages and Civilizations and employment in the same because I knew that I would never be able to get a job in that field with my unusual pedigree and likely hostile whispers from Chakrabarty had I tried. Now, most people who are unaware that my PhD was in the humanities and who see my work mistake me for a poorly trained political scientist. I have landed on my feet and I have had an amazing career. But this was not the career I wanted when I applied for admission to doctoral programs in South Asian Languages and Civilizations in the fall of 1992. I wanted to study Sikh texts and teach South Asian languages. Instead, I study terrorism and political violence, which has required me to put myself in danger on more than one occasion in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan among other places.


Because of Chakrabarty and my more general Chicago experiences, I eschewed working in academia believing all universities to be sanctoriums for predatory male privilege. I returned to academia only in 2009, some twelve years after I left the Chicago campus for good. Since coming to Georgetown, I have learned that Chicago is an outlier in the depth, breadth and robustness of the hostile environment it nurtures for a variety of students based upon their

gender, race, sexuality, and caste(!). I’ve also learned that I love teaching and mentoring. One of my favorite things is seeing my students become my colleagues. I am their fiercest advocate. Having experienced a barrage of biliousness at the University Chicago, I vowed I would not be “that professor” who was indifferent to the other events in their lives and who believed that her course was the most important obligation. I strive to be that faculty member whom I wished I had when I was in college and later in graduate school. This is what and who I was meant to be. Yet I came to this realization relatively late in life due to my experiences with Chakrabarty and others at the University of Chicago.


Seeing Chakrabarty provokes visceral feelings of anger. Some ten years ago, when the annual meeting of the International Studies Association was held in Chicago, I saw Chakrabarty cavorting with some of our mutual colleagues. I was shocked to see him there. This was not the kind of conference that I expected him to attend due to his discipline, and I thought I was safe in my professional space of international and security studies. Now, I avoid attending a conference in Chicago. I am not afraid of him. He does not have that power over me. I am repulsed by him. I never attend the annual conference on South Asian Studies at Madison, WI for fear of running into him or one of his toadies.


Later in 2013, he again came across my radar screen when a student wrote a lengthy account of the sexual harassment and assault she endured during her studies in India for a CNN blog, under the pseudonym Rose Chasm. (Her real name was revealed to be Michaela Stone Cross.) She complained that she had been utterly ill-prepared for what she experienced and returned to campus, disabled by her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was shocked to see that Chakrabarty was minimizing her experiences and casting aspersions upon her account. I was furious.


His comments about her experiences were redolent of my own experiences when I reported his impropriety. Just as demeaning as Chakrabarty’s proposition was the response that I received from the dean and faculty chair to whom I reported the event. Research on PTSD has shown that this kind of response and that received by Ms. Cross actually makes PTSD more likely. Not all victims of trauma will manifest clinical signs of PTSD. One factor associated with an increased likelihood is being maltreated or betrayed by leadership when this trauma occurs. This is exactly what happened to me and Ms. Cross: our leadership at the University not only failed to protect us but privately, in my case, and publicly, in her case, but also discounted the legitimacy of our complaints.
Incidentally, one of the more vexing things I have learned recently from the community in which they and I both travel is that both Chakrabarty and Majumdar are telling their students that I was not in his class because my time-line was incorrect. He knows I was in his class. (In the past, this would have been re-traumatizing to have this fundamentally earth-shattering event dismissed as a fiction.) It is true that my own error enabled their mendacity. In my account #HimToo, I incorrectly asserted that this happened at the end of the first quarter in Fall 1993. (I also did not recall accurately the random dean whom I approached.) The event took place in the Academic Year 1993-1994 but the course I took with him was in the Winter of 1994 when he was a visiting professor from Australia, before he located permanently to Chicago. The course was History 377. (Here is link to my transcript which shows this course clearly as well as the course catalogue for that quarter showing that Chakrabarty was the instructor:


https://drive.google.com/open?id=1TFFobD4eYzGnntIP6WnlfwlcsfioAf-i. (Also see the smaller photo of the same which I have imbedded in this note.) In the scheme of things, these are small details given that some twenty-three years have passed.


What Others Have Told Me


Since the publication of my account #HimToo in Buzzfeed, other past and current students have reached out to me to tell me their tales of sexist, homophobic, anti-Muslim and caste-based harassment not only by Dipesh Chakrabarty but his wife, Rochna Mujumdar, who is now an

Associate Professor in the Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and South Asian Languages and Civilizations). Students have reported taking leaves of absence for depression and even leaving the university all together because of the hostile environment they faced. This is not normal. It does not happen at other universities, as I have subsequently learned.
More than one student told me that Majumdar herself has made homophobic, caste-based, and other forms of disparaging remarks to and about her students. Others wrote to tell me that female students are still fending off Chakrabarty twenty-three years after I complained about him doing so as a visiting professor. This is shocking and disgusting. It bespeaks of how little regard the university holds for the students provided that their faculty do “ground breaking” research.

In an email a student wrote:

““A few of my female friends in SALC as well as in other departments such as history and anthropology have repeatedly mentioned to me that Dipesh has made sexist comments and jokes around them, demeaning their intellectual and academic capabilities. One very close friend called in me in tears after an offensive remark from him just earlier this year….[He] is a well-known misogynist in SALC and that some of the older or former tudents recall some of his sexual advances towards other at parties.”

Another former student wrote:

““I despise the man. And the woman. However Dipesh never went further than leering with me, which while gross, is simply not something I’d report. He was a sweaty twitchy stammering freak, but that was with everyone.”

Another noted:

“Dipesh didn’t make any moves on me. I had been warned about him, before I joined UofC, by two wonderful senior students and so I stayed away from him as far as possible…I cannot reveal the names because I don’t want any fallout for the two lovelies.”

A former SALC student wrote of Mujumdar, for whom s/he worked as an RA, that:

“but I experienced the abusive and terrifying reign of Rochona when I was her grad assistant (deleted to protect identity). I agree that she’s an enabler, though having lived at he pleasure of her violent mood swings I honestly wonder if there’s not more to the story…

kept a list of all the shaming and belittling (and sexist) things she said to me and or the undergrads who dared challenge her. Honestly I’m far more afraid of the wrath of “feminists” like her than I am of Dipesh. They’re so busy competing with each other and heir female mentees for Dipesh’s attn after all.”

One member of this community expressed fears about coming forward with knowledge of their abuse and the persons who warned her because of potential repercussions for his/her partner:

““Chris, what you are doing is brave, in fact beyond brave, it is heroic. I really mean that. And I want to be of as much help as is possible. There is one concern, however. It is about [name deleted]. Dipesh, [deleted] the chair of [name deleted] committee, [deleted] and I’m worried that if I say anything it will hurt [deleted] professionally. This is because Dipesh and Rochona are very vindictive and they will take it out on [deleted]. As for UofC maintaining confidentiality, I don’t trust them. One time when some student had complained anonymously about Dipesh, the university made its business to investigate who had complainaned[sic] rather than investigate whether Dipesh had actually done what he was accused of (I don’t know what claims had been made in the complaint, I just know that there was one). I don’t want any harmful consequences for [deleted]. I am not chickening out, I am trying not to hurt [deleted].””

Another student, who is gay, wrote me to say:

“Once when I went to offer hours, on a cold and snowy day, Dipesh remarked as we peeled off our wooly layers that “the great thing about Chicago” or some such was that people began undressing as soon as they got into a room together. I was discomfited but it just seemed like a joke about the weather, to me. Another time as we had coffee on campus, and he talked about how Ranajit Guha was so lucky to have a wife dedicated solely to making him comfortable and happy. This seemed sexist, but also within the realm of a truthful admission (there’s plenty of times I wish I had a “wife” too!). Finally there was the time I drove him home from a party and it was snowing so hard we could barely see through the windows of my crappy little [deleted identifying detail]. I remember feeling kind of flattered that he would ask for a ride home from me but also wondering if it was improper. All of these incidents, save possibly the first, seem not to rise to the level of harassment, but they could be seen as the kind of “testing” behavior that harassers use to feel out whether their mark is going to be open, resistant, or indifferent to their advances. I’d experienced the same kind of stuff before, in college, and I guess was kind of numb to it, plus just plain flattered to have one of the Subaltern Studies school rising stars take an interest in me outside of class. One things that’s been intense about the #metoo/#himtoo movement is the way that it’s made us all reassess these micro-moments with the powerful men in our lives. I’d be glad to talk to the Title IX officer if that seems helpful. Thank you for getting this conversation going, Chris and I agree with all the calls for reuniting!”

Another student wrote:

“Prof. Majumdar was my advisor and I served as her course assistant on three different ccasions. Over the past few years, a white male student, from the rural South, repeatedly made racists comments towards me, boasting about his affiliations with neo-Nazi rganizations, and telling me that “inferior races” needed to be “murdered.” When I brought these comments to Professor Majumdar’s attention the very first time (she was he only faculty member of color in my department at the time – now she is one of two) nd asked for her advice, I was told to stop whining, to keep my mouth shut and “to stop eing weak.” I was told that I was sounding like some of the “low-caste” students in her

department (SALC) who “never make you forget their grievances,” and that she found
these people – all women – insufferable. When the same student kept making these
abusive and disturbing remarks to me for another two years, and I reached out to her
again, only the second time in five years, she contacted the Dean’s office and told the
Dean I was “interfering” with her and her colleagues’ work and maybe I should
transfer elsewhere.
She has now been telling people across the University that Dipesh joined the University
in 1994, “after” you left it, and asking colleagues and students not to believe
you, thoug every student who has discussed this matter with me actually does, regardless
of the year (1993) mentioned in your article, which we believe may have just been a
mistake. In the Chicago Maroon, Professor Chakrabarty was quick to point out that he
joined the University in 1994, attempting to absolve himself hence of an wrongdoing.
A few of my female friends in SALC as well as in other departments such as history and
anthropology have repeatedly mentioned to me that Dipesh has made sexist comments
and jokes around them, demeaning their intellectual and academic capabilities. One very
close friend called in me in tears after an offensive remark from him just earlier this year.
Though he is an advisor on her dissertation committee, she is extremely cautious about
keeping an appropriate distance from him, and he has told them me that he is a wellknown misogynist in SALC and that some of the older or former students recall some of
his sexual advances towards other at parties.”
I would be remiss if I didn’t share this experience from a student who is not from SALC, but useful to your role nonetheless:


“I’ve had to stop and restart reading your story about harassment at Chicago several times now. I was a graduate student who overlapped with you there. I was over in English where I experienced intense harassment based on race and sexual orientation from people in English and Anthropology. My years were 1998 to 2004, when I couldn’t take it any
more and left for a year….That meant one year turned to five and I didn’t come back to Chicago until 2009, and worked full time on the north side while dissertating. I’d use weekends, holidays, vacation and sick days to visit the reg and finished after two years. I had t start seeing a therapist about how I’d have panic attacks when I’d step on to campus to do research. It was like an elephant was standing on my chest. …I’m not in a position where I could come forward and tell stories about how the admin
dealt with the harassment and sexual assault of my best friend in the graduate program (she had a nervous breakdown and also left for years), homophobic slurs thrown at me, bizarre attempts to retaliate and gaslight students, and so on. I’m still vainly trying on the job market. So it means a great deal that you told your story.”

Why are students forced to countenance his vile behavior some twenty-three years after my own hideous experience with this predator? This is a testament to the fear that students have in reporting this rube and to the university’s own indifference. How is it possible that this could go
on for so long without someone telling someone in a place that matter? It isn’t possible. It’s dereliction of duty of care.


My Request


I want the university to properly investigate my account because it failed to do when it happened in the winter of 1994. I also want an apology from Chakrabarty and a modest donation to RAINN (the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization), which will be tax deductible.


Incidentally, I emailed him requesting such an apology on November 10, 2017 and I placed professor Collins on the bcc line. I requested read receipts. Collins indicated that he read it.


Chakrabarty never responded. Steve Collins is still on the faculty and is aware of what happened then and what happened since. Below are the names and contacts of several contemporaries who were students, faculty or post-docs at the University of Chicago who can discuss their knowledge
of my experience and the experiences of others. They all request that their confidentiality be respected as many rightly fear the ability of this devious duo to retaliate. I hope you understand that we are all reposing our trust in you that you will do right by their victims and respect the confidentiality of those who speak with you. You should by this point in this letter understand the vindictive nature of these culprits.


List of Contacts

I provided an annotated list of ten persons, a description of who they were and what they knew and how they could be reached. Ms. Colier claimed to have reached out to “two” who were familiar with my situation. She made no effort to reach out to the student who contacted me today.

A Sadistic Couple that “Preys Together Stays Together”?

This morning I received an email from a doctoral student at the University of Chicago which brought me to tears of sadness and rage. The student wrote me to say that, after three years, he formally complained about sexual assault by a faculty member at the University of Chicago: Rochona Majumdar. I cried because I personally raised several issue about this faculty member harassing this specific student with the University of Chicago in November 2017, at his request. At that time, he complained that she harassed him for being gay, Muslim and low-caste as well as his national origin. The University did nothing. The student has also accuses her of plagiarizing his insights made while being coerced to serve as the TA for a class she taught on cinema and South Asia. The article she wrote, “Art Cinema: The Indian Career of a Global Category,” was published in an article edited by her husband,  Dipesh Chakrabarty, and garnered her an award. The student claims that during that class Majumdar instructed him to “sit next to her” and always [kept] her hand around [his] inner thigh.”

For how long will the University of Chicago perdure as a predator sanctuary? The University of Chicago needs to get with the twentieth century…even if it can’t be bothered to step into the twenty-first. This ossified and necrotic culture at the University of Chicago won’t evolve without a sustained, prolonged campaign to bring this to the country’s attention and that of the world. And there needs to be law suits to get justice for the University’s myriad victims.

A Conversation with the Title IX Director in November 2017

Dipesh Chakrabarty in the second trimester of my first year of graduate school in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, asked me whether I was “looking for sexual pleasure” as I handed in my final paper. I did not wait twenty years or twenty hours to complain: I complained that day to two deans (of the humanities and social sciences) and to my department chair (Sheldon Pollock). No one seemed bothered because this behavior did not violate the University of Chicago’s policies at the time.

In fact, I was told that I had to explicitly tell him such overtures were unwanted otherwise he could continue to make such propositions. After all, how could he possibly know that I did not want to have sex with him if I didn’t tell him so explicitly? [That I backed out of his office, red faced with tears welling up in my eyes was not considered an adequate signal by the three men to whom I complained that day.] No one cared as Dipesh engaged in vindictiveness as I tried to finish my PhD in the subsequent years. I eventually left campus and finished while working at the RAND Corporation. Had I stayed on that campus, I don’t think I would have survived the depression and anger.

However, I never remained silent. Over the years, I have spoken about it in blog posts, radio interviews and podcasts. I have dared the University of Chicago or him to take me on. In fact, I have long hoped they would such that these shenanigans would–at long last–be exposed to sanitation of daylight.

Amidst the so-called #MeToo movement, in November 2017, I once again raised the issue of the harassment I endured from Dipesh Chakrabarty after I published a very detailed account of sexual harassment at the University of Chicago on 25 October 2017 on Buzzfeed. After that piece ran, numerous others who experienced abuse by Dipesh wrote to me, entrusting me with their stories in hopes that I could help them get justice. [I failed them of course.] What I did not expect is that students would write to me detailing that they were also harassed by his wife, Rochona Majumdar. Thus when I approached Ms. Bridget Collier, the Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs, I also sought justice for current victims as well as recent victims of both Chakrabarty and Majumdar.

Ms. Collier and I first spoke on Tuesday, 28 November 2017. At that time, I told her of my experiences and my understanding that it did not violate the University of Chicago’s policies. I wanted her to understand the vast impacts my experiences at the University of Chicago had upon my life professionally, socially, emotionally and financially. But I also told her of the numerous current students and those from the recent past who had such experiences with one or both of these wretched faculty members. I then followed up with a detailed letter on 1 December 2017. That letter provided the names and contacts of all those who were willing to speak on record, including the young man who wrote me today.

Today’s email was jarring. This young man revealed that Majumdar allegedly taunted him for being gay, Muslim, and his national origins. She also taunted him for being low-caste. Majumdar is a high-caste Hindu. She forced him to let her fondle him. While demanding that he TA a course with her, she also instructed him to sit next to her while she put her hands on the insides of his thighs. With his visa status dependent upon his student status, he has been terrified of retaliation or even being removed from the program. His fear is well-founded. Numerous persons with whom I spoke detailed their own fears of retaliation. When he sought to remove Majumdar from his committee, other faculty members allegedly warned him of the trouble she and her husband can make for him.

In furor at the University of Chicago’s persistent insouciance about this sadistic couple on its renowned rosters, I again wrote to the University of Chicago, specifically Ms. Collier and her associate Ms. DeSautel. This is the letter I sent. I have removed the name of the student to protect his anonymity until he gets the chance to speak with the relevant journalists whose help we need to get the university to take his claims seriously.

Ms. Collier: YOU are on the Hook for This Travesty

Christine Fair <c_christine_fair@redacted>To:Bridget Collier,desautel@uchicago.edu, [REDACTED], Christine FairSat, Mar 14 at 2:34 PM

Dear Ms. Collier and Ms. DeSautel


It have learned that Mr. [REDACTED] has reported being sexually abused by Professor Majumdar to his committee members. Previously, he asked that she be removed from his doctoral committee despite warnings from colleagues that she could ruin his career.  I am writing you both, cc’ing Mr. [REDACTED], to make you both aware that he and I are aware of the negligence perpetrated with knowledge and forethought by Ms. Collier on behalf of the University of Chicago, which has long been a sanctuary for any number of harassers spanning decades. For a regrettable account of the university serving as a predator protection racket, see this article in the Maroon: https://www.chicagomaroon.com/article/2017/5/1/special-problem-university-chicagos-troubled-histo/


As we discussed on the phone on Tuesday, 28 November 2017 and as I elaborated in my 1 December 2017 letter to Ms. Collier (attached), I specifically told Ms. Collier about the abuse [REDACTED] was enduring from Majumdar.  At that time, [REDACTED] did not tell me he was being sexually accosted by Professor Majumdar, perhaps for reasons that are obvious as I was a complete stranger. But he did tell me about her harassment on the basis of his low-caste status (a phenomenon that eluded Ms. Collier despite the fact that Chicago has one of the finest South Asia programs in the country who could educate her on this subject)  and her taunting him because he is gay.  As I told Ms. Collier on 28 November, Majumdar had a history of chiding him for being gay, low caste and a Pakistani Muslim.


That [REDACTED] shared any of his experiences with me is remarkable. He–and others–trusted me with their stories and believed that Ms. Collier would do the right thing. [REDACTED] is vulnerable for so many reasons, but he also worried about his visa status.  His visa status precluded him from taking action on her sexual misconduct until it was no longer endurable.


It is unforgivable and detestable that Ms. Collier did not reach out to the other students, including [REDACTED], detailed in my letter, despite their request that she do so.

I will support [REDACTED] in any and every legal option he will pursue.  
For how long will the University of Chicago continue to harbor these harassers?  How many more students must suffer their appalling behavior? How many students must endure their abuse because this diabolical duo threatens their careers should they complain about one or both? You should note that many others spoke with me who are not included in my letter because they fear that his duo of repugnant humans masquerading as progressive scholars will ruin their careers.


On this Ms. Collier, you are on the hook.  You knew about his situation in considerable detail. Yet, you chose to do nothing. I will never understand how the parade of persons who have covered up for these individuals live with themselves. You literally wash their hands of their abuse instead of protecting students. 


You are also on the hook, Mc. Collier, because I explained to you the ethical malfeasance with which Dipesh oversaw her committee while having sexual relations with her while still married to his wife in Australia. He also tanked a Hindi job search after short-listed candidates were flown out to give job talks and, after doing so, argued that she should have the job. I know one of the candidates. It is impossible to argue that Rochona was more qualified by any empirical standard. That she would get tenure was a foregone conclusion given her relationship with Dipesh. 


All of this is discoverable in a court of law, and I hope it will be because I am tired of hearing from students who have been devastated by these wretched excuses for educators.


I am reaching out to my journalist colleagues to ensure that this issue gets maximum publicity.  I hope these vulgarians are finally held to account for tormenting myriad students whose who have been blackmailed into tolerating their sadism for the sake of their careers.


I hope you will take this letter as seriously as my journalist colleagues are right now. (Yes. I tweeted about this before emailing you because I learned that treating you like professionals is a mistake. You’re basically a “cleaner” for this protection racket.)  I have one regret–apart from attending the University of Chicago at all–and that is that I did not follow-through in suing the hell out of you for what I endured. The suffering of your students needs to end and it needs to end now.

Warmest Regards,

C. Christine Fair

WE SEE YOU.

Sita of Suburbia

​That afternoon, the sky turned black,
Split open like a fish belly slit.
Poured hail like hapless spawn 
That smashed lifeless upon our roof.

Even though I walked through fire for you
Unscathed, your rage was not appeased.
Your hands fluttered about me
                              Like feeding Coragyps.

Your serrated words
                                  chopped me down, cut me up
Into pieces you could manage
Into voiceless pieces you need not hear
                    Into impotent slabs you need not fear.

As I surrendered, you turned soft 
Immured me with your lanky arms.
Brushed back my tears with your fickle palms,
Pulled back my hair and kissed my scared-frozen neck.

Hissing that you loved me, you 
hoisted up my skirt, slammed in and up into my belly.
With a grunt collapsed atop me 
                  with your full dead weight.
Repulsed you withdrew, 
                        stood up 
                                  and glowered down
                                                                        in disgust.
Your face became a familiar map of contempt. 
Your neck strained as you kicked me furiously.
Torrid tears traced my cheek, then neck, 
                       pooled on the cool floor,
                                           As your fluid slid out.

Weary and wary I begged Mother Earth 
to open up and swallow her defeated daughter and bring her home. 

Published in https://www.scarletleafreview.com/anniversary/category/c-christine-fair on January 22, 2020.

Daffodils for Armand

C. Christine Fair

We met when the daffodils first bloomed.

Along 55th St, I walked that first morning

flush and smelling of you and

knowing you could not be had.

When the blooms turned brown and stems wilted

and as your calls stopped,

I threw myself full force upon this love

like a wild animal wrestling for its freedom.

Ashamed when it, at last, fled angry and frightened.

My doting husband offers to plant those flowers that I adore.

I can’t bare the thought of them in our own garden.

Enjoying the blooms of others, I sometime recall our failed affair.

My husband wonders what I see in their buttery perfection.

This was published in December 2019 in The Sandy Review Review, which is available at: https://sandyriverreview.com/2019/12/24/daffodils-for-armand/