Bowdoin alumnus faces prejudice
To the Editors:
I read with sadness, but not surprise, your recent article on several incoming first-year international students facing problems entering this country due to new restrictions ("Foreign first-years face U.S. visa obstacles," September 20). It is not only current Bowdoin students who have been affected by the rule changes, but alumni as well.
Naeem Ahmed '00 worked in New York City after graduating from Bowdoin. He was there the day of September 11, though fortunately not in the vicinity of the World Trade Center. He was interviewed shortly thereafter by the FBI, who wanted to know if he, as a Pakistani national, had had any involvement with the terrorists. He willingly answered their questions, and assumed his name had been cleared. He applied and was accepted to begin graduate studies at Columbia University in the fall.
In March of this year he traveled to London for a new visa, but had to wait two months while the FBI conducted another security check on him, after which he returned to the U.S.. In early August, he received a letter from the State Department telling him the visa was being revoked due to security concerns. His employer then fired him, and he had to return to Pakistan or face deportation.
Anyone who knows Naeem will not be surprised to know that he has refused to become embittered over this. He is currently trying to apply for a new visa and return to this country, but is not putting his life on hold in the meantime. He is getting married in December to a high school classmate of his, a Princeton alumna who is also working in New York City. While in Lahore, he is applying for research assistantships at local colleges, and perhaps securing a part-time position in electronic banking at one of the local financial institutions.
Naeem delivered the Goodwin Commencement address at the graduation ceremonies in May of 2000 entitled "The Debt of our Degrees." He spoke on stereotyping based on origin and religion, and how we must not lie still when there is injustice around us. "We must use out experience and sharpened intellects to affect changes for a world where there is greater tolerance, sharing, and understanding, and less bigotry, prejudice, and violence," he said in his speech. In light of cases like Naeem's, this year's international first-year students', and similar happenings throughout the country, his words have taken on a new meaning. I, for one, am not lying still, and am doing my best to support Naeem in his efforts to return to this country and face down prejudice as he has since the day he entered Brunswick. The debt of my degree calls for no less.
Kim Schneider '00
To the Editors:
But where, where, where is Ludwig Rang? To remind infrequent readers, in the final Orient of last year, Rang signed off with a compelling, blood-quickening account of his fathering a love-child, followed by the renunciation of the dilettante homosexuality he had been engaged in. With an inscrutable flourish, he hinted at the possibility of compiling his experiences in a book, but gave little hint that he would be retreating from the public forum that is the Orient. After all, we had just heard about the end of the 1960s, and Bowdoin's own Zelig would be sure to be at the heart of the social and political issues that wracked the 1970s. Where was he for Watergate? The energy crisis? Television's Marquee Moon?
In short, once engaged in the public compact, Ludwig Rang cannot withdraw; he must continue. Mr. Rang, sir, your admirers await your next installment.
Willing Davidson '99