By Robert Miranda
The neo-conservatives and fear mongering right-wingers are on the war path.
They’re on the offense against a professor who is coming to speak in March
at the University of
Wisconsin-Whitewater about the 9/11
attacks. Some argue that this professor espouses hate speech and that the
“hate speech police” are nowhere to be found condemning Ward Churchill.
First, as a supporter of the “free speech police” let me state for the
record that I disagree with Ward Churchill. I do not agree with the notion
that al-Qaeda acted in self-defense when they murdered innocent people on
9/11. As a former Marine with eight years regular active service I can say
with authority that flying commercial planes loaded with civilians into the
filled with more civilians was an act of murder, end of point.
The 9/11 attacks by bin-Laden [not Saddam Hussein] did nothing to stop the
murder of Palestinian and Israeli children nor did it end hostilities
between the Muslim world and the West.
All bin-Laden achieved was giving “George W. Bush Industries” pretext to
invade Iraq for the purpose of
advancing western corporate imperialism in the Middle East.
Indeed, Churchill would be hard pressed to prove that most in the Muslim
world would have approved of the 9/11 attack by this violent extremist
religious group (al-Qaeda) before it happened.
Any attempt to portray al-Qaeda as a force representing the interest of the
Muslim world will fail. Simply, these groups are hard line conservative
religious fanatics determined to destroy and kill anyone who stands in the
way of their narrow extremist religious beliefs.
In my view, Churchill does miss the mark on 9/11. What is taking place in
post 9/11 is a battle between two men [bin-Laden and Bush] who are advancing
theocratic ideologies that appeal to religious extremists. As a colleague of
mine put it, “Allah will come down and smite the infidels; Jesus Christ and
the host of heaven will return to cast the ungodly into hell.” For these
two, humanity matters not when it comes to religion.
For these two men, unleashing mass murder on humanity is no big deal. This
is why we should get beyond the rhetoric of freedom and condemn the war in
Iraq as George W. Bush’s war and not the war against murderous terrorism.
The Iraq war is a war for Bechtel and Halliburton to profit from. The Iraq
war is a war that is built on lies, misinformation, American jingoism and
religious fanatical idiom.
Mark Belling, Milwaukee's most well known conservative talk-radio host
bigot, says that Ward Churchill is engaging in hate speech when he says that
those killed in the World
were “little Eichmanns.” This argument is elementary and exposes his
simplistic understanding of racism in our society.
In my opinion, hate speech refers to an individual or individuals who have
been dehumanized or stereotyped by their ethnicity, race and gender
preference and denounced publicly. For example, when Adolph Hitler and the
NAZI Party attacked the Jewish people, they attacked the Jewish community in
general because they were not of the Aryan race.
Ward Churchill’s reference of “little Eichmanns”, in my opinion, did not
imply the ethnicity of the people murdered at the
He appears to be referring to the ideals that Eichmann worked hard to
protect—fascism—a nationalist government controlled by national corporations
operating to achieve global economic dominance. What Churchill appears to be
pointing out is that the extermination of market competition and the
introduction of our commercial culture by Western corporations into Middle
Eastern markets [to achieve economic superiority in the region] initiated a
murderous response by the al-Qaeda terrorists. This is thought provoking
To be sure, Belling engages in hate speech when he uses terms such as
“wetback” and “gook.” Indeed, there is no misunderstanding of what these
terms imply. I mean, what ideals does one conjure up when the n-word is
mentioned? These and other like terms are direct, they have one meaning and
one meaning only—to degrade and demean a people’s blood line and heritage.
What kind of critical thought was Belling stimulating when he used the
w-word and then mocked and joked about it? What kind of thinking did Belling
stimulate when he told his listening audience that he has not changed and
his program would not change and that such language might happen again when
he returned to his program after his five days of so-called suspension?
Churchill is engaging in free speech and is doing it in a way that
stimulates critical thinking. Is he actually attacking an ethnic group of
people? I don’t see it.
Indeed, to reduce this serious matter to nothing more than an issue of hate
speech is ridiculous and provides another example of the ignorance Belling
and his neo-conservative following continue to demonstrate when they talk
about this tragic chapter in American history.
-- Miranda is a national award-winning columnist, Latino community
activist and columnist for the
Milwaukee Spanish Journal.