MIDDLE EAST

Universities are for learning, they’re not for politics and guns

A disturbing event happened in an Iraqi university on Sunday. It could have been avoided - or rather it shouldn’t have happened to begin with.

Members of the armed forces entered the campus of the University of Al-Qadisiyah in Al-Diwaniyah and opened fire injuring two students - causing panic. According to news reports, the military were providing protection for a political leader who was invited to speak during an event in support of the Popular Mobilization.

Regardless of who was wrong and who provoked who, gunfire could have been avoided if the bodyguards respected the campus’ sanctity and left their guns outside. The entire incident could have been avoided if it was taken into consideration that universities are for learning and that political activity inside them is not appropriate.

Social arenas outside universities are wide and they can accommodate all political and non-political activities. Out of all playgrounds, they are politicians’ most feasible playground

Adnan Hussein

The former regime through its totalitarian outlook was what laid the basis for turning universities into arenas for political work and intelligence activity. One of the worst consequences of such an approach is the dangerous deterioration of the standard of education in Iraq’s universities. Degrees from Iraqi universities are not well received at international academic and educational forums. The educational system, at both basic and higher education, has almost collapsed.

The call to keep politics out of universities does not mean completely isolating universities and students from political life. University students are an essential part of society and there’s nothing wrong with their involvement in politics. However, they must do so outside university. If there’s a need to hold a political event inside campus, such as a conference or seminar, then they must make sure that the event does not incite divisions or stir conflict among students. It’s understood that such activities happen through student unions and relevant associations. If politicians, especially leaders, want to participate in these events - and this is a guaranteed right - then they must abide by the campus rules, which include the restriction of weapons inside campus and not instigating violence.

Social arenas outside universities are wide and they can accommodate all political and non-political activities. Out of all playgrounds, they are politicians’ most feasible playground.

This article is also available in Arabic.

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Adnan Hussein is the executive editor-in-chief of Al-Mada newspaper and head of the National Union of Iraqi journalists. Previously, he has held the position of Managing Editor in Asharq al-Awsat newspaper. He tweets under the handle @adnanhussein

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Last Update: Wednesday, 12 April 2017 KSA 14:25 - GMT 11:25
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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