Monday, May 18, 2009
A Letter to UC-Irvine's Newspaper
MSU mock wall (mocking the wall Israel built to keep out suicide bombers)
Below is a letter I penned last week to the New University, UC-Irvine's campus newspaper. It was intended as a response to an article by Ms Nida Chowdhry of the Muslim Student Union urging UCI students to go and listen to (last week's) speakers. As it is, my response was not published by New University, which instead published a fine rebuttal by student Aaron Elias.
With the MSU’s week of anti-Israel events underway, Nida Chowdhry asks her readers to attend the events and listen to the speakers with an open mind. She speaks against violence and bemoans the idea that rhetoric and politics take precedence over coexistence and compassion. That is all well and good, but it is the words of the speakers that will tell the tale. Ms Chowdhry speaks of lofty goals, but as is its wont, the MSU is bringing in speakers this week and May 21 who are controversial to say the least.
On Wednesday, the scheduled speaker is ex-Representative Cynthia McKinney. She will undoubtedly speak of her “humanitarian” mission to Gaza during the recent fighting to deliver emergency supplies to the Gazans (and God only knows what else). Yet, among all her other zany acts over her political career, she has surrounded herself with some pretty questionable company, which brings into question her motives for inserting herself into the Middle East conflict. During her recent election defeats, her father, Billy McKinney, blamed her defeat on the Jews. (“The Jews buy everybody. J.E.W.S.”) In addition, her coterie of bodyguards in the New Black Panther Party, specifically one Hashim Nzinga, reacted in anger upon her election defeat, lashing out at white reporters with anti-Semitic statements. Is this the motivation that drives Ms McKinney?
On Thursday, our old friend Amir Abdel Malik Ali, a community activist as described by Ms Chowdhry, is scheduled. I’ll say. Ali comes to UCI about 3 times a year and sings the same old song. Co-existence, peace, compassion? Not in Ali’s world. He has called suicide bombers heroes and martyrs, right here on this campus. He has, by his own admission, no interest in a negotiated 2-state settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. Malik Ali is an apostle of violence, and he is the MSU‘s favorite speaker.
Then, on May 21, there will be the “distinguished” British Member of Parliament George Galloway, a man who not only detests Israel, but this country as well. This is the character who opposed any sanctions against Saddam Hussein and the dictatorial regime in Iraq as well as the invasion. He traveled to Iraq and hobnobbed with the late dictator and his infamous son, Uday-the man who ran the rape rooms and the torture chambers for his dad. Later, Galloway was accused of having accepted bribes from the Hussein family in the former of oil vouchers, which he denied and sued anyone who leveled the accusation. Had Mr Galloway had his way, Saddam would still be in power, the rape rooms and torture chambers would be in full throttle, and the mass graves would still be filling up. Yet, this is the man the MSU drags in to speak for them.
I have no problem with the MSU making their case for the Palestinian cause. They could do so much more effectively if they didn’t bring in speakers such as the above three. That they continue to do so only discredits their cause, in my view. In addition, using the image of Anne Frank to make their point can only be described as a desecration of her memory. Similarly, wearing t-shirts bearing a quote from H. Rap Brown is not a good idea. H. Rap Brown is a criminal who is in prison for murdering a police officer. Rather difficult to speak of compassion, peace and co-existence when you embrace such people.
So, by all means, come out and hear the speakers, especially some of you student groups who joined the MSU in sponsoring this event. It may give some of you pause.