Refusing to be silenced by pro-war hawks
April 23, 2004 | Page 4
HATEM BAZIAN is a lecturer at the University of California-Berkeley. After speaking out against the U.S. occupation of Iraq at a rally earlier this month, he became the target of right-wing activists who have begun a campaign of complaints to the university.
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Dear Socialist Worker,
Considering the circumstances, my speech was passionate, but it was in no way a call for or an urging of individuals to engage in violence to bring about political change. As a matter of fact, after the initial introductory part of the speech, I realized that someone might misunderstand or have a malicious intent due to the use of "intifada" terminology. Thus, I made sure to say that I am calling for "a political intifada," and many agreed with the spirit of my call.
I opposed the war and have been an outspoken critic of it from day one. The current developments in occupied Iraq are a vindication of what I and others have said all along--that this was a badly conceived idea.
The attempt to smear my name and attack me as being unpatriotic is shooting the messenger, rather than heeding the message. Also, a true patriot is the one who speaks out to bring the nation's attention when it is committing something fundamentally wrong, which I believe Iraq to be such a case.