Last summer, the Kirkland Project for the Study of Gender, Society, and Culture, an on-campus organization at Hamilton College (where Aram is studying) invited Ward Churchill to give a lecture to around 150 students tomorrow (3 Feb). Mr. Churchill had previously offended many an American by sharing his views about the 9/11 disaster in an article he wrote, comparing the United States’ 10 year offensive against Iraq to Hitler’s invasion of Russia and neighbouring countries. When Fox News (“Fair and balanced” my arse, they’re owned by Rupert Murdoch) got wind of this invitation and, of course, made a great fuss about it, the college was deluged by protests and eventually had to cancel the appearance of this controversial character because of credible death threats directed at Ward and Hamilton officials. Ward was even planning on donning a bullet-proof jacket and was to have two body guards!
I find it incredible how the US moulds itself as the keeper of world democracy, a “free country”, and all sorts of other things and, simultaneously, manages to harbour such truly hateful citizens angry about someone simply trying to exercise their right to free speech (even if the whole nation feels so strongly about the subject and the article was very provocative). Hamilton has a very interesting news page about the subject, which has generated an extraordinary amount of hate mail and such remarkable fliers as this one.
So instead of offering the chance to 150 interested students to listen to Ward’s views, if they wanted to, the university was forced to cancel the speech because of the immense threat of violence.