The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
>world's public can't find it on a maP? Don't think so. >Two and a half million people in Hyde Park, five million >in Rome - Malaysia, [...] And yet there are many in the US who support Bush, or don't care. I live in a small conservative town. On my block, on my left is a man who disapproves, but will not risk disapproval. On my right is a man in the reserves who said we should nuke Iraq because it is responsible for 9/11. Next to him is an ex-marine who justified the war because "Saddam gassed hundreds of thousands of people". Across the street is a woman who complains of the ingratitude of the third world for all the aid the US give them. These people are profoundly ignorant, and not atypical for Americans. There are a lot like this, and many, mostly in the more urban areas, who know better won't get involved. The people in the peace movement are among the smartest, and you in CASI are among the elite. It is the average -- the peasant -- of America who empowers Bush, through ignorance, informed by FOX News (which gets the ratings). >When I or Tom speak anywhere, in any country on the >subject and on Iraq and Iraq's people, (along with many >others) it is not only standing room only, it's >people unable even to get in, but waiting outside the I post an article below from a (maybe the) major paper in this area. We in the local peace groups think this may have been staged somewhat, and that the reporting is likely biased (*speaker* disrupts), but it is significant, and important to understand the meanness, perceptions and attitudes of many people here in the hinterland concerning Iraq and the war. (And Illinois just elected a Democratic governor -- due to Chicago, I suppose.) I don't even want to think about the trash in the local paper here in Dixon -- "the Boyhood Home of Ronald Regan". Don't underestimate the degree of hatred and ignorance in the US: recall that we have one of the worst public education systems of the industrial nations, and a largely monopolized media. """"""""""""""""""""""" LOCAL NEWS: Rockford Speaker disrupts RC graduation A New York Times reporter delivers an antiwar speech that offended many. By CARRIE WATTERS, Rockford Register Star ROCKFORD New York Times reporter Chris Hedges was booed off the stage Saturday at Rockford College's graduation because he gave an antiwar speech. Two days later, graduates and family members, envisioning a "go out and make your mark" send-off, are still reeling. Guests wanting to hear the author and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter are equally appalled. And College President Paul Pribbenow is rethinking the wisdom of such controversial topics at future commencements. This is Pribbenow's first graduation. Hedges began his abbreviated 18-minute speech comparing United States' policy in Iraq to piranhas and a tyranny over the weak. His microphone was unplugged within three minutes. Voices of protest and the sound of foghorns grew. Some graduates and audience members turned their backs to the speaker in silent protest. Others rushed up the aisle to vocally protest the remarks, and one student tossed his cap and gown to the stage before leaving. Mary O'Neill of Capron, who earned a degree in elementary education, sat in her black cap and gown listening. She was stunned. She turned to Pribbenow and asked him why he was letting the speech continue. He said it was freedom of speech. Pribbenow later said when people stop listening to ideas, even controversial ones, it is the death of institutions like 157-year-old Rockford College. In tears, O'Neill left the ceremony. Her husband, Kevin, sat in the audience with their daughter and was as indignant as his wife. "This is a ceremony. ... The day belongs to the students. It doesn't belong to a political view," he said. Hedges, a war correspondent, criticized military heroic ideals that grow during war. The fervor sacrifices individual thought for temporarily belonging to something larger, he said. Hedges sympathized with U.S. soldiers. He characterized them as boys from places such as Mississippi and Arkansas who joined the military because there were no job opportunities. "War in the end is always about betrayal. Betrayal of the young by the old, of soldiers by politicians and idealists by cynics," Hedges said in lecture fashion as jeers and "God Bless Americas" could be heard in the background. After his microphone was again unplugged, Pribbenow told Hedges to wrap it up. Elinor Radlund of Rockford read Hedges' book on war and was horrified at what she said was the audience's rude behavior. She was indignant she couldn't hear the speaker. "They were not behaving as people in an academic setting, where you're supposed to be open to a great many ideas," Radlund said. Pribbenow said Rockford College takes no political stance, but the job is to challenge students. He reminded audience members of the liberal arts college's commitment to listening to other viewpoints. It didn't happen. Spontaneous reaction led 66-year-old Gerald Kehoe of rural Boone County down the aisle in his first time to protest anything. He was hurt to hear a verbal attack on the country. He attended Saturday's commencement to watch his daughter graduate, the fourth from Rockford College. Rockford College political science professor Bob Evans said it's a reminder of the "raw edges of emotion" on the issue. A student who rushed the stage could face reprimand although he still received his diploma. "It's important to go on the record that it's inappropriate behavior," Pribbenow said. Contact: email@example.com; 815-987-1242=20 ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand! Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER! Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today! _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk