Bahraini torture prince at Oxford university


This video says about itself:

Human Rights Activist Hussain Jawad talks about torture in Bahrain

29 March 2012

Human Rights Activist Hussain Jawad talking to Mahmood AlRabea from JUSTICE FOR BAHRAIN about his father’s (65 years old and sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on military court) stories of torture by the son of the king of Bahrain Naser bin Hamad AlKhalifa and demands the international community to chase him for committing crimes against his father and other detainees like Al Meqdad and Al Mahroos.

From the Oxford Student in England:

Bahraini prince in controversial Oxford visit

By Polina Ivanova on 22/05/2014

A Bahraini Prince who is currently under investigation for torture visited the University last week.

Prince Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa – a member of the Bahraini royal family – took a tour of the University’s Iffley Sports Centre amid reports that he is in the process of applying to the University.

Prince Nasser allegedly met with officials at Wadham College to discuss his application to join the University as a student, although this is unconfirmed.

A keen sportsman and the head of the Bahrain Olympic Committee, Nasser was then given a tour of the sports grounds by the Oxford Sports Federation President and other students, who presented him with a gift.

Prince Nasser has been accused of being involved in the torture of Bahraini athletes who participated in a pro-democracy protest in 2011.

The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) have presented the UK government with a dossier on Nasser’s involvement in these abuses.

Rose Brewin, head of Oxford’s Amnesty International branch, said: “Torture is barbaric, inhuman and never justified. If the allegations of direct involvement in the torture are true, then Prince Nasser should undoubtedly face severe consequences. However, we must uphold the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and allow the legal process to take place, before we make our own judgements.”

An Oxford University spokesperson responded to questions regarding Prince Nasser’s meeting with Oxford officials, stating: “Applications for all Oxford courses are always treated in confidence.”

Amid allegations of human rights abuses, the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that the Bahraini royal had diplomatic immunity. The ruling has been challenged by an anonymous Bahraini citizen, living in the UK.

One third-year Classicist at Univ said: “I’m not at all sure why the University is being so quiet about all of this. It brings a great deal of shame on our institution when we are seen to open our doors to suspected perpetrators of crimes against humanity”.Oxford University did not comment on whether the University will wait on the result of this case before making a decision on Prince Nasser’s alleged application.

Sheikh Mohammed Habib al-Miqdad, our #ChampionForJustice in July, testified that he was tortured by Prince Nasser: here.

Bahrain Interior Minister praises torturer Naser Bin Hamad as “a role model for the Bahraini youth”: here.

Alfred Wallace’s South American butterflies rediscovered by English schoolgirl


This video is called Alfred Russel Wallace Pt1.

From the BBC:

10 September 2013 Last updated at 02:03 GMT

‘Priceless’ butterflies found at Oxford museum

By Sean Coughlan, BBC News education correspondent

An A-level student on work experience at an Oxford museum has found rare examples of butterflies lost since the 19th Century.

Athena Martin with some of the butterflies in the collection

Athena Martin, aged 17, has found butterfly specimens described as “priceless” by the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

They had been brought back from South America by a Victorian naturalist.

Many of the butterflies were thought lost at sea in the 1850s.

Ms Martin’s discoveries came during the summer when she was taking part in a science-related work experience project.

Lost at sea

The school girl, who wants to study zoology at university, found and identified butterflies collected by the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace.

They had been buried away in more than 3,000 separate drawers of butterflies at the museum.

Painstakingly going through the collection turned up more than 300 of Wallace’s butterflies.

The biggest find made by the work experience student was a butterfly called Dismorphia, brought from the Amazon and which had remained undiscovered and unacknowledged within the museum since the end of the 19th Century.

The confusion over Wallace’s collection had been caused by a fire breaking out on his ship when he was bringing back specimens from South America in 1852 – and it had been believed that most of his butterfly collection had been lost.

“The re-discovered Amazonian specimen in particular is a significant find in terms of the history of science and natural history collecting in the 19th Century,” says Dr James Hogan of the Hope Entomological Collections, which are based at the museum.

Dutch book on Wallace: here.

Robert Lowth’s unknown letters discovered


From Leiden university in the Netherlands:

Leiden student discovers unknown letters by Robert Lowth

Myrte Wouterse, third-year student at Leiden University, has discovered two previously unknown letters by Robert Lowth in the University Library. Lowth was the leading English grammarian of the 18th century.

Letter signed by R. Oxford, or rather Robert Lowth

Letter signed by R. Oxford, or rather Robert Lowth

The letters give important insight into the lives of Lowth (1710-1787) and his correspondent, Leiden orientalist H.A. Schultens (1749-1793). They are also a source of information on informal networks in the 18th century. The letters were written during Schulten’s stay in England from 1772 to 1773 and were hidden away in an appendix to Schulten’s account of his visit. This probably explains how they remained undiscovered and why they are not to be found in the Library catalogue.

Social networks in the 18th century

Schultens is known to have studied in Oxford, where he obtained an MA, but these newly discovered letters tell the real story behind this qualification. It was an honorary title, that in Schultens’ own words was awarded only in rare cases, and certainly not to foreigners. Schultens made good use of his social network to acquire his MA. He wrote to the father of his friend and fellow student Thomas Henry Lowth (1753-1778), Bishop Lowth in other words, asking Lowth to put in a good word for him. Robert Lowth writes in his letters that he often receives such requests, but that he never accedes to them. He advises Schultens to take the official route and at the same time shows that he is prepared to help by promising to write to a number of his friends in Oxford. Which he duly did, as is witnessed by the fact that Schultens did receive his Oxford MA.

We now know that Schultens has Lowth to thank for his MA, and we can see how contemporary informal networks operated: Schultens was a friend of Lowth’s son, a connection that he made good use of for his career. This was how the system of patronage worked at that time: Lowth himself owes his own career within the Anglican church largely to his social contacts.

Another letter signed by R. Oxford, or rather Robert Lowth

Beginner’s luck

Myrte Wouterse discovered the letters by Robert Lowth in the appendix to a trip report by orientalist H.A. Schultens.

Myrte Wouterse discovered the letters by Robert Lowth in the appendix to a trip report by orientalist H.A. Schultens.

This remarkable find was made by Myrte Wouterse, third-year student of English Language and Culture and a student of the Leiden Honours Academy:

‘It was pure chance, beginner’s luck. I was given a tour of the University Library by Thijs Porck, one of my lecturers, on the subject of the special collections, and how we can use them for our research. At the time I was preparing a presentation as part of Professor Tieken’s ‘Introduction to Late Modern English’ course. Actually, we had requested a different letter (from William Jones to Schultens) and to our surprise we received a whole package of letters, including Schulten’s report of his visit to England. When we leafed through the documents we found the name ‘R. Lowth’ (a very familiar name to students of English Language and Culture), but the letters were signed ‘R. Oxford’. I now know that it was common practice for bishops at the time to use the name of their diocese, and Lowth was then bishop of Oxford.’

Not in the catalogue

To her surprise, Myrte was unable to find the letters in the library catalogue, and it was then that she realised that this could be a very special find: ‘In Schulten’s account of his travels, there was only a reference to the original appendix, nothing more. With such an important name as Lowth, I had expected that the letters would be in the catalogue. When I talked to Professor Tieken about my presentation, that should actually have been about an English diary from the 18th century, she was very enthusiastic. She had not been aware that there were letters by Lowth in Leiden. Luckily, she agreed to my changing my presentation to these letters by Lowth, rather than sticking to the diary idea.’

A pleasant – and valuable – surprise

The Bishop’s Grammar, Robert Lowth and the Rise of Prescriptivism

Last year, Professor Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade published a book about Lowth: The Bishop’s Grammar, Robert Lowth and the Rise of Prescriptivism (Oxford University Press, 2011). This book is largely based on Lowth’s letters, and it was a pleasant surprise for her to discover that there were also letters by Lowth in the University Library.

Tieken-Boon van Ostade explains: ‘The Bishop’s Grammar focuses on Lowth’s grammar, about which there are all kinds of preconceptions. I wanted to use my book to put some of these right. An important part of my research consists of examining Lowth’s letters, because I wanted to show that, contrary to expectations, his grammar rules were not taken directly from his own language use, which in itself is another preconception. I have spent several years collecting Lowth’s letters, and now have a total of 330, 250 of them written by him personally. And now there are another two, so close to home! Eventually, I intend to publish an edition of his letters. Putting together a complete collection of letters is always problematic, as the discovery of these letters confirms. If Myrte hadn’t discovered the new letters, aided by Thijs Porck, I would never have known of their existence.’

Lowth as a person

‘Apart from their importance for our knowledge of the way that Schultens obtained his honorary master’s degree at the University of Oxford, this find is also important for our understanding of Lowth as a person. He is very cautious, but is prepared to assist other people and to approach his network contacts about something that he considers a worthy purpose. Just like Lowth’s son Thomas Henry, Hendrik Albert Schultens was a promising young man.’

‘What is also important is that I have discovered another individual who actually met Lowth, and who was even a friend of his son who had died at much too early an age. In my line of research, all my informants are long dead, but you still want to try to build a picture of what motivated people. These letters, as well as Schultens’ diary, that I have now studied more carefully, will make a valuable contribution to my research.’

Further research on language use and social networks

Myrte is now going to devote her presentation for the Late Modern English course to the newly discovered letters by Lowth. Later, she intends to write an essay on them, focusing on the use of language in the period, but also on how social networks were used. After that, the plan is to write a joint article with Ingrid Tieken for publication.

Special collections

Leiden University Library (UB) has sizeable special collections of national and international standing. The Western manuscripts and private archives contain a total of 500,000 letters. More than 300,000 of these are accessible via the UB’s own catalogue and the national Catalogus Epistularum Neerlandicarum (CEN). Besides letters, the special collections of the UB also contain manuscripts, archives, photos, maps and atlases, oriental collections, old editions, prints and drawings. Holders of the LU-Card can view this material in the Special Collections Reading Room. Many of the items can also be viewed via Digital Special Collections.

Read more

Research profile

Global Interaction of Civilizations and Languages is one of the six themes for research at Leiden University.

British racists expelled from Conservative party


This video about Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News in the USA is called Fox Attacks: Black America.

In Britain, there are the neo-nazis of the British National Party.

There is Prince Harry, killing protected hen harriers, making racist remarks about Pakistanis, dressing up in nazi uniform at a fancy dress party.

And there used to be a Conservative Party election candidate, who turned out to be in fact a BNP nazi. He was expelled, like the Conservative student with the Adolf Hitler moustache at another fancy dress party.

There are more extreme Right fringe Conservative students, according to Wetherby News:

Tories suspend Oxford students over ‘racist jokes’

Published Date: 11 June 2009

Two Conservative members have been suspended from the party following allegations of racism at Oxford University‘s Conservative Association.

A row broke out after electoral candidates were asked to tell “inappropriate” jokes during hustings for junior officer positions.

Nick Gallagher reportedly said: “What do you say when you see a television moving around in the dark? Put it down, you n*****, or I’ll shoot you!”.

Mr Gallagher, who is general editor of the association’s magazine Blueprint, was allegedly asked to tell the most racist joke he knew and name his least favourite minority.

The Tories confirmed that two suspensions from the party had been made.

A spokesman said: “People who behave in this disgusting and reprehensible way have no place in the Conservative Party.”

According to Cherwell, the student newspaper, one Oxford University Conservative Association (OUCA) committee member resigned following the controversy.

Anthony Boutall, the president of the association, said: “A disciplinary committee (DC) has been called for Saturday and, while I do not have the power to prejudge the decision of the DC, I can give a personal pledge that if these individuals are found guilty, I shall use my powers to their fullest capacity, making it my top priority to ensure that they play no further part in the association”.

The association, founded in 1924, is one of the oldest and largest student political organisations in the country.

It has a current membership of almost 700 and past presidents include Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath and shadow foreign secretary William Hague.

When I wrote this blog item, the OUCA web site did not have anything on this issue as yet.

See also here.