|FOX Sics its Dogs on "Un-American" Professors||19927 readings|
|Wednesday, 02 February 2005 09:30|
FOX Sics its Dogs on "Un-American" Professors
It appears that Bill O'Reilly is doing a series on 'unAmerican' professors on US campuses. Last night, my wife tells me, he did a piece on Ward Churchill. Tonight will be my turn. - M. Shahid Alam
See: American University Professor set to be fired
O'Reilly's Fatwah on "Un-American" Professors
I published an essay, "America and Islam: Seeking Parallels," in Counterpunch on December 29, 2004. A day later, I began to receive nasty and threatening emails, all at once. These were orchestrated by a www.littlegreenfootballs.com. Shortly thereafter, other right-wing websites got into act, posting excerpts from the essay; these included jihadwatch.org, campuswatch.org, frontpagemag.com, freerepublic.com, etc. The messages posted on these websites were equally vicious, and some of them, containing explicit death threats, were 'kindly' forwarded to me.
What did I say in this essay? I made two points. First, that the 9-11 attacks were an Islamist insurgency: the attackers believe that they are fighting--as the Americans did, in the 1770s--for their freedom and dignity against a foreign occupation/control of their lands. Secondly, I argue that these attacks were the result of a massive political failure of Muslims to resist their tyrannies locally. It was a mistake to attack the US.
I followed the first essay with a second one, "Testing Free Speech In America," where I elaborate on the points I had made earlier. This too was published in Counterpunch.Org on Jan 1/2, 2005.
The emails to me and the University continued for another two weeks, eventually tapering off. In the meanwhile, I was speaking to people at the ACLU, Boston, and the ADC, Boston. On the suggestion of the ACLU, I contacted the campus police and the police in my hometown to let them know about the death threats posted against me.
I had a feeling this was not the end of the matter. So yesterday, February 1, I received an email from Fox News asking for a TV interview; they were producing a program "on me." At this point, I spoke to people at ACLU who advised me against going on the program. I received the same advice from other friends. I wrote back to Fox saying I could not do the interview but would be glad to answer any questions. They did not take me up on my offer. Clearly, this would not help them in their designs against me.
It appears that Bill O'Reilly is doing a series on 'unAmerican' professors on US campuses. Last night, my wife tells me, he did a piece on Ward Churchill. Tonight will be my turn. I expect he will make all kinds of outlandish accusations that will resonate well with the left- and Muslim-hating members of his audience. This will generate calls and emails to Northeastern and to me, containing threats, calls for firing me, and threats to withhold donations. I am not sure how well NU will stand up against this barrage.
If we can generate a matching volume of emails, letters and call to NU supporting my right to free speech, it might be helpful.
What else can we do?
The contact information for President Richard Freeland is available
Contact for Provots and Senior VP for Academic Affairs:
The contacts for the leading people in the President's office are
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
M. Shahid Alam, professor of economics at Northeastern University, is a regular contributor to CounterPunch.org. Some of his CounterPunch essays are now available in a book, Is There An Islamic Problem (Kuala Lumpur: The Other Press, 2004). He may be reached at
Other articles and resources: [Info on the O'Reilly attack and contact info for taking action | Panel Including Ward Churchill Cancelled in New York (indybay) | Another good one from indybay | Interview with Derrick Jensen | Older Churchill audio Q&A | More audio (2004)]
Ward Churchill, generally considered a friend of radical and indigenous communities, is under attack for his views and perhaps his race. He is a Native American, contributor to many publications including Z Magazine, and Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado at Boulder where his job is at risk. Under pressure triggered by local press in Denver, and FOX's Bill O'Reilly (excellent article!), he has has already resigned his department chair position. His recent speaking engagement at Hamilton College was cancelled due to security concerns and death threats in response to an essay he wrote several years ago about 9-1-1.
Denver's Rocky Mountain News is currently running a live poll about whether he should resign his professorship as well. Churchill opponents' on-line poll comments are instructive in their anger and ignorance: "He should resign his citizenship" (he's an Indigenous American), and various comments that free speech is ok until it criticizes the US. If the poll comes out against Churchill, it can be used to exert additional political pressure on his employer.
The attack against Churchill was fomented by two AM talk radio DJs in Denver and FOX's Bill O'Reilly.
These same DJs were recently critical of Denver's court finding Churchill and other organizers of the anti Columbus Day parade protest innocent. They denigrated jurors and "interviewed" Churchill on their talk radio show and were obviously upset that protestors were found innocent, employing typical aggressive host tactics to silence and misrepresent people who disagree. Shortly after their Columbus Day coverage, they went on the attack against Ward Churchill inflaming listeners with passages from an essay he wrote years ago about September 11 which later turned into the book On the Justice of Roosting Chickens : Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality. This timing and common connection through Churchill makes it appear they're attacking those who oppose the Columbus Day parade.
As Churchill explains in a recent press release these DJs and other press are taking him out of context, suggesting he advocates violence against Americans and hates this country (which even if true isn't a crime, and it's worth noting he's a veteran). While his essay's conclusions are stated in ways inflamatory to middle-class white folks, which is nothing new, they are solidly argued, also nothing new. His biggest "crime" seems to be suggesting US foreign policy is sometimes criminal and humanizing people around the world who view that policy from the receiving end.
Professor Churchill's many books on topics from genocide to COINTELPRO to indigenous struggles are invaluable contributions to a radical understanding of our world. He is perhaps best known in the radical community for a pamphlet entitled Pacifism as Pathology Churchill is a long-standing member of the Colorado American Indian Movement and steadfast supporter and organizer of the yearly struggle to stop the state-supported celebration of Columbus.
The talk radio DJs and O'Reilly are still calling for him to be fired. At the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, the live on-line poll is currently running 3:1 against him.
Other articles and resources:
Info on the O'Reilly attack and contact info for taking action
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 February 2005 09:30|