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Violence trumps free speech… again

Well, we didn’t have to wait long to find evidence that the Concordia debacles have affected free speech elsewhere. A planned speech by Premier Jean Charest at Université de Montréal was cancelled due to protests:

Protesters rushed into a university building where Quebec Premier Jean Charest was scheduled to speak on Wednesday afternoon, forcing organizers to cancel the speech.

The premier had just entered the hall where he was scheduled to address a cultural conference when about 150 students crowded into the area and chanted slogans. The students were angry at recent government cuts to bursaries.

The sad thing is, these students didn’t even have to let their protest turn violent. They just had to mass and threaten violence… and the university decided they couldn’t risk it.

Here is solid evidence that violence – or even the mere threat thereof – works like a charm in shutting down any viewpoints they oppose. This isn’t just about Israel, it’s about any kind of free speech… and the evidence took less than two days to appear.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • jeremy/eragon 10.08.04, 11:12 PM

    I had a discussion with the director of chaplaincy today at Concordia at the religion department.

    She has asked me to ask YOU, what you all would think if Concordia found a site Off campus to host Barak? and if that would even be an issue. You can get back to me or blog this question and see what comes up from your readers.


  • segacs 10.09.04, 2:06 AM

    Why would the director of chaplaincy at Concordia’s religion department care about my opinion?

    For the record, I don’t think that’s an acceptable solution. For all the reasons I’ve already blogged. Because it means that thugs who resort to violence get to dictate what speech is allowed on a university campus – a public space – and it’s granting a victory to violence over free speech.

    But hey, like everything else on this blog, that’s my opinion. If you disagree, that’s what free speech is all about. (As long as you’re not violent about it).

  • DaninVan 10.10.04, 12:43 AM

    Loosing credits and being expelled from the University, are the only effective means the admin has of punishing ‘violent’ behavior on campus. Once it’s off the campus they have little or no power to do anything.
    The problem is the admin’s wussy approach, not where the lectures are being held. That earlier incident where Hillel was almost banned from Concordia was a solid indication of where the University’s sympathies really lay. Wasn’t that the Student Union or elected board that dumped on Hillel in that incident?

  • Hanthala 10.10.04, 2:18 AM

    Oh please Dan. Hillel and its supporters are higly selective about when they support “free speech.” Please remember that it was Hillel and B’nai Brith that tried to cancel the Norman Finkelstein lecture at Concordia, twice. It was also them who urged students to rip out pages of their agendas in 2001 because these offered a Palestinian point of view. It was also Hillel supporters who, and the irnony here is typical, assaulted another student for saying free Palestine at a Hillel BBQ in support of free speech held at Concordia on September 9, 2003. This is a publicity stunt. The issue is not freedom of speech.

  • jeff 10.10.04, 3:06 AM

    I agree with you Hanthala… but weren’t you the person that yelled “free palestine” at the bbq?

  • DaninVan 10.10.04, 6:57 AM

    I don’t have any problem with applying what I said universally. ANYBODY that violates the principles of non-violent protest should be dealt with impartially and VERY firmly.
    I’m sure you’re not far off the mark in your description of past events, Hanthala, but that doesn’t in any way excuse the administrations handling of current events.

  • Malia 10.10.04, 7:07 AM

    Free Palestine? Where the hell is Palestine?!

  • Malia 10.10.04, 7:09 AM

    Free the land of Oz!

  • DaninVan 10.10.04, 5:18 PM

    Remember what DeGaul said in Quebec? And what a shit storm it caused? Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

  • Hanthala 10.14.04, 8:46 PM

    Gotta love ole Charley. Something else: Why should the entire Concordia community be disrupted and have its safety undermined just so that a few students can hear what Barak has to say in person? It would not only be Barak’s safety at risk and, frankly, I am more concerned about the safety of students than his. The idea that he is being denied free speech is absurd. All the man has to do is open his mouth and the media will come running giving him an instant global audience. And Concordia did offer to co-sponsor the event elsewhere, for everyone’s safety. Another question in the media: why won’t Concordia just pay to get the requisite security? I really don’t think students have the means to pay for that. It would also be unfair given that the Muslim Students Association is regularly billed–retroactively and without prior notice–for extra security at their events which they did not ask for.

  • Hanthala 10.14.04, 8:48 PM

    Eeeekh, bad grammar/gramar(?)…in a hurry…ciao

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