We believed her then, and we believe her now.

19 03 2007

Dear Ubuntu family,
Thanks so much to all of you who came out to Broad Street Cafe on
Saturday night! It was so good to see you, and savor Dasan’s
incredible performance. Check out his hot hot hot album
(www.myspace.com/jimcrowjackson)!
I did an interview with Anne Blythe just before learning my
grandmother had passed away, so I somehow forgot this article was
going to be published. Maybe you already saw it? I’m pasting it in
just in case.
By the way, here is a charming comment posted about anti-racist Desi
women on my favorite right-wing blog, Durham-in-Wonderland, on Feb. 18
by a poster named Cedarford:  “Rekha Basu. The nice thing about her
quoting Wendy Murphy approvingly is that Murphy is finally becoming a
massive liability. And those who associate with her will hang
themselves in future venues much as how members of the Jewish and WASP
intelligensia in pre-WWII America hung themselves with admiring quotes
from Trotsky, Stalin, and Molotov and paid for that lapse in judgement
the rest of their lives….”
“I don’t know what it is with some of these Indian women that are Far
Left and among the biggest anti-American, anti-white male ideologues.
If it wasn’t for white male privelege [sic], they’d still be fretting
whether or not their asses get roasted later in Suttee [Wow.]. Besides
Rekha, you have the British Left licking the hindquarters of Arundhati
Roy as she talks about white male predation on “brown ladies” in the
American South hapening again – when she is not lamenting American
troops murdering innocent brown babies… Samiha Khanna interviewing
the accuser and omitting (with her editors) material that made Mangum
less “sympathetic”. And of course, local firebrand and child of the
Mumbai Elite, Manju Rajendran , who organized the pot-bangers and took
pot banging from Peruvian protests as a great idea….Well, better
than displaying nooses or jugs of suttee kerosene, I guess.. [This is
a reference to the Indian nationalist resistance to the British
colonizers. It’s complicated flattery, because suttee is the ritual
burning of widows, an admittedly abhorrent practice that the British
outlawed. The idea that we should be grateful to the British colonists
for saving us from suttee is absurd, however; there was plenty of
resistance to the practice of suttee outside of the British
colonizers, and British systematic oppression overall encouraged Hindu
fundamentalist Brahminical rule.-MR]”
If anyone was wondering, my lower-middle class family is not and has
never been part of the Mumbai elite. If it was, I would be busy
partying on Bombay’s Malabar Hill with Bollywood stars Rani Mukherjee
and Kajol right now. Where do they come up with this caustic
ill-informed crap?
To underline the point about what kind of dolts we are contending
with, I’ve transcribed the words from an anonymous hate call I
received from a masculine voice at 9am on Sunday, Dec. 31:
“Well you certainly made a fool of yourself with this Duke rape case.
I don’t know if your credibility will ever recover. Of course, the
white man always does it….  The black man never does anything- but
one look at FBI crime statistics might say otherwise. Black men I
guess never raped white women… but white men! Of course! Gotta
believe the black stripper! It’s automatic. Kneejerk. You’re a fool.
You’re a disgrace. And Mike Nifong is going do-o-o-o-own. Thank you.
And thanks also, thanks for rushing to judgment, like you always do:
makes you look like the fools you are. Peace out.”
Right, thanks. Peace out to you, too.
Here is the article from The News & Observer. If I recall correctly,
Anne Blythe and Samiha Khanna were the ones who originally broke the
Duke lacrosse party story last March.
All the best,
Manju Rajendran
———————–


This time, rape case gets muted reaction

Another off-campus party in Durham gives rise to serious allegations,
but no uproar
Anne Blythe, Staff Writer
Published: Feb 21, 2007 12:30 AM

DURHAM – To bloggers and avid followers of the sexual assault case

against former Duke lacrosse players, the protesters are known as “the
potbangers.”

They clanked their kitchenware in protest outside 610 N. Buchanan St.
last March after an escort service dancer alleged being sexually
assaulted at a lacrosse team party there.

Now there are new sexual assault allegations from another off-campus
Duke party, and avid chroniclers of the twists and turns in the
lacrosse case ask: “Where are the potbangers?”

“That’s a good question,” said Manju Rajendran, one of the organizers
of the potbanger protests. “Why is there not a massive reaction every
time a rape occurs? I feel like that should happen any time there’s
rape.”

Some say the city is fatigued by the lacrosse case and people might be
treading carefully because of the controversy and criticisms lobbed
from near and far.

“Normally with a rape case, police do the investigation, and charges
are filed, and it goes through court,” said Orin Starn, a Duke
professor who has been critical of big-time college sports programs.
“The lacrosse case was something of an anomaly. It became a media
event that was covered and dissected and debated, both locally and
nationally.”

The two cases have similarities: In each, the accuser says she was
sexually assaulted in a bathroom at an off-campus Duke party.

But they are significantly different, too.

The accuser in the lacrosse case alleged gang rape.

That led to 46 players being ordered in to a police lab for DNA
testing, and District Attorney Mike Nifong and other law enforcement
officials alleged that the team was stonewalling the investigation.

“I started out being outraged by the lacrosse players,” said Ned
Kennington, a Durham resident who was one of the protesters. “I’m
pretty outraged with Nifong at this point.

“The district attorney, who we believed was acting in a very
thoughtful and deliberate fashion, told us that a terrible injustice
had been done, and there was this stonewall of silence. We trusted
him, and we were wrong.”

Racial slurs were uttered as the accuser and another escort dancer
left the Buchanan Street house early on March 14, 2006. And many in
the neighborhood were at their wits’ end with rowdy Duke students who
had displayed increasingly recalcitrant and mocking attitudes,
urinating on neighbors’ houses, throwing beer bottles on lawns and
blasting music at all hours.

That was the context in which the allegations of gang rape came
forward nearly 11 months ago. That the accuser was a single mother of
two who said she was trying to work her way through college tugged at
heartstrings.

Disillusionment

As the months wore on, the accuser’s story changed, and so did the
tenor of a city wrapped up in a sexual assault case that had captured
the attention of a nation ready to be judge and jury.

There have been torrents of criticism about the merits of allegations
by the accuser and about a district attorney whose behavior raised
questions about his integrity and about whether he withheld crucial
evidence from the defense.

Bloggers, who have chronicled the details on Web sites, take delight
in blasting “the potbangers” and the so-called “Group of 88” at Duke,
professors who endorsed a student newspaper ad that deplored racism
and sexual assault on campus.

Some of the most dedicated have posted MTV-style videos with captions
and music. One of the more telling accounts captures the protesters
marching down Buchanan Street in a simple video that was posted on
YouTube.

In that video, the protesters call Duke Provost Peter Lange outside
his house across the street from the hip-high stone wall rimming
Duke’s East Campus.

At the time, no charges had been filed, and Lange urged the protesters
not to rush to judgment. The crowd hurled questions, asking why Duke
had not punished the players, why no disciplinary actions had been
taken.

“We don’t know the facts, what happened in the house,” Lange said. “We
are waiting for the police investigation to discover the facts. This
is an extremely serious crime if it happened.”

Fewer words this time

A wait-and-see attitude seems to be prevailing in the more recent case.

Police, who charged a 21-year-old Durham resident on Monday with
second-degree rape, have released few details. Duke administrators
have been quiet about the case, and there hasn’t been a peep out of
the District Attorney’s Office.

Tim Tyson, one of the professors who was at a Buchanan Street vigil,
said recently that his intent was not to attack the lacrosse players
but to draw attention to the larger issues of sexual violence,
classism and racism that the case seemed to embody.

“I wasn’t confident at that time that I knew what happened,” Tyson
said. “It still seems clear to me that something ugly happened in that
house. … I don’t think people should be used as things. If there
only had been an ugly incident and no allegations of rape, I still
would be disappointed with the students.”

One who still believes

Some of the early potbangers say privately now that they feel misled
by media reports and the district attorney’s comments.

But Rajendran said that she did not regret her early stance.

“We decided to have this ceremony saying, ‘We’re banging on pots and
pans to break the silence,’ ” she said. “This was a case of sexism,
racism and classism. …

“The way that women, particularly women of color, are disbelieved
around rape and sexual assault is so different from when the survivors
of any other crime step forward. I believed her then, and I believe
her now.”

Staff writer Anne Blythe can be reached at 932-8741 or
ablythe@newsobserver.com.
Copyright 2007, The News & Observer Publishing Company

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