Milan University Shocks Intellectuals by Suspending Dostoevsky Lectures

Milan University Shocks Intellectuals by Suspending Dostoevsky Lectures
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Milan University Shocks Intellectuals by Suspending Dostoevsky Lectures

Milan University Shocks Intellectuals by Suspending Dostoevsky Lectures

Bewilderment and confusion have descended on Italian cultural circles since Wednesday due to a decision taken by a prestigious university in Milan to suspend a series of teaching lectures that were to be given by the well-known writer Paolo Nori about Russian literary giant Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Nori had published “It still bleeds. The Incredible Life of Fyodor Dostoevsky” last year and described the university’s decision as a return to the inquisition system and a revival of the demons of the fascist regime that are still alive in Italian society.

Barely holding back his tears on social media as he publicly read the letter informing him of the suspension of the lectures, Nori said he had received several offers to deliver the material at other universities.

He said his surprise at the decision was doubled when he read the university’s statement justifying the decision by saying that the reason for canceling the lectures was to expand the students’ horizons by adding some Ukrainian writers to their syllabi.

“I do not know Ukrainian writers, and therefore I will carry my lectures to another place,” added Nori.

The university’s decision sparked a wave of criticism and protests among cultural and educational groups, while political parties demanded an urgent parliamentary discussion of the suspension, which they described as a return to a tragic fascist past.

Many professors showed solidarity with Nori and demanded the dismissal of the university’s president.

“I thought it was a joke at first. I wasn’t expecting such a move,” said the head of the political economy department at the university.

“We can understand the cancellation of Russian performances and concerts, but we are talking here about a writer who lived in the 19th century and a writer who loves literature and is known for his studies and works. It reminds me of the war days when it was forbidden to play Beethoven and other German composers,” he added.



Harris Condemns Flag Burning, Hamas Graffiti at Protest in Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)
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Harris Condemns Flag Burning, Hamas Graffiti at Protest in Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the American Federation of Teachers' 88th National Convention on July 25, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Getty Images via AFP)

US Vice President Kamala Harris joined Democratic and Republican leaders in condemning protesters who burned American flags and sprayed pro-Hamas graffiti outside Washington's Union Station on Wednesday, describing the acts as unpatriotic and abhorrent.

The protests coincided with a speech to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Before he spoke, protesters marched near the US Capitol building, condemning US military aid to Israel during its war with Hamas militants in Gaza.

Following Netanyahu's speech, some of the demonstrators gathered in front of Union Station. They hoisted American flags outside the iconic train station, burned American ones and spray painted the words "Hamas is coming" and "Free Gaza" on a large monument.

Harris, the Democrats' presidential candidate, said in a statement on Thursday that she condemns any individuals associating with Hamas.

"I condemn the burning of the American flag. That flag is a symbol of our highest ideals as a nation and represents the promise of America. It should never be desecrated in that way," Harris said.

Harris and Biden were due to hold separate meetings with Netanyahu later on Thursday. More protests were planned for outside the White House.

During the protest on Wednesday, before some of the protesters converged near Union Station, police used pepper spray on some of the thousands of demonstrators present and made some arrests.

The flag burning and graffiti outside Union Station drew strong criticism from Republican US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson and Hakeem Jeffries, the chamber's Democratic leader.