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Get out your bike locks

Christie Blatchford is returning to UWaterloo on December 7


 

Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford is making a second attempt to speak at the University of Waterloo after her first go was thwarted by a few protesters with bike locks around their necks.

Blatchford was scheduled to speak about her new book, Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, when some individuals decided that her “racist propaganda” was not to be given a public forum. The group of five successfully prevented Blatchford from taking the stage.

After the country became privy to the news that bike locks were suddenly sophisticated tools of political negotiation, the university released a statement apologizing for its embarrassing inaction:

The university considers Friday’s events as an attack on its presence as a place where issues are explored, discussed and at times debated. The freedom to speak and to learn is fundamental to the institution.

Protester Dan Kellar nevertheless remained committed to his heroic efforts to silence debate on campus. “[It’s a] sad day when universities are used as a space to allow racists and nazi-apologizers to speak,” Kellar posted on his Twitter feed. “blatchford work is not academic”(sic).

Kellar, a maybe-PhD candidate at UW, appears to have failed to do some academic research of his own before unleashing his anti-Blatchford slander. In a reflective column about the charade, Blatchford responds to Kellar’s accusation that she is a “Nazi-apologist” for supposedly glorifying neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel by pointing out that she has mentioned Zundel’s name a mere five times in 35 years of daily journalism, and “mostly peripherally.” In the one piece she wrote about him, Blatchford simply defended his right to free speech. Maybe someone should send Kellar that column.

The other obvious qualm with Kellar’s position is that Blatchford’s hack-journalism, as he calls it, is inherently anti-native. Blatchford’s book, as anyone who has read just scantly beyond the title can attest, is sharply critical of the way the government has handled the Caledonia occupation. While she doesn’t come off as particularly sympathetic to the aboriginal position, her denunciation of government concessions is a far cry from being anti-native.

Still, even if Blatchford was a racist, ageist, neocolonial capitalist Nazi-sympathizer with misogynistic tendencies, Kellar and his clan shouldn’t be able to stop her from speaking simply by stomping their feet. Believe it or not, being a meanie is not illegal in this country! Nor is holding controversial opinions or expressing prejudice. You’re even allowed to be wrong! Fancy that, huh? These freedoms allow George Galloway, Ann Coulter, and Christie Blatchford to say what they want, even on university campuses, and even if we don’t like it. That is, as long as certain people leave the bike locks outside.


 

Get out your bike locks

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  2. Universities ceased being places “where issues are explored, discussed and at times debated” long ago. As an example specifically concerning Native issues, the Siberian land-bridge theory of human settlement of the Americas was verboten on campuses in the 1990s. Why? Because it denied Natives creation myths. Think about this for a moment: this is the Monkey Trials all over again, except with Native anamists as complaintants instead of Christian fundamentalists. Of course, pro-life groups are persecuted as “mysogenistic” pariahs on campuses, even while truly mysogenistic and antisemitic Muslim Students Associations, some of which hold blatantly seditious talks, are coddled. Campus media, run by Students’ Unions, are also PC-muzzled disasters. And ‘diversity’ propaganda is funded by universities, like Ryerson’s Diversity Institute (headed by Wendy Cukier, who actually obtained an illegal grant from the Chretien government). Much of this is geared toward welcoming foreign students, who provide a large revenue stream for institutions. Instructors have been pressured by deans to pass students with very marginal English skills and academic performance, out of concerns of being called “racist,” or jeopardizing the foreign student client base.

  3. To claim that Blatchford’s freedom of speech is being denied is ludicrous. She has a regular column in a national newspaper. Millions of people can read her words and thoughts whenever they like. No one is trying to take that away from her. The students at WLU stood up to their university bringing a racist xenophobe onto campus and framing it as educational.

    Blatchford, in her own book, admits that she knows very little about Native land claims and doesn’t care to. Her book is about a situation that arose from a disputed land claim. How can she write an entire book about an issue while refusing to learn anything about the context in which it is happening?!? and you think she’s NOT a hack journalist? Give me a break.

  4. JDH said ” and you think she’s NOT a hack journalist? Give me a break.”

    Hack journalists are people too! Does free speech mean that every time you want to get a point across you must present with it a PhD thesis for the opposite view?

  5. @WIZARD

    “Does free speech mean that every time you want to get a point across you must present with it a PhD thesis for the opposite view?”

    No. Of course not. That is a total straw man and not even remotely what I was saying. Please read the whole post before responding.

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  7. UW Welcomes Blatchford’s Colonial Propaganda and Criminalises Dissent.

    first posted at: http://peaceculture.org/drupal/node/710

    Anti-Racists challenge ‘Globe and Mail’ columnist’s colonial propaganda at the University of Waterloo, get Thrown off Campus.

    December 7th 2010 Waterloo – A UW Student and Alumnus were issued trespassing notices, and other anti-racists were forced off the University of Waterloo campus for picketing outside Christie Blatchford’s book tour stop. The picketers were holding signs and distributing informational pamphlets to people entering the talk. After having been denied entrance to the building, the picketers were then ordered by the Waterloo regional police services and campus police to leave the snowy outdoor courtyard in front of the entrance.

    Anti-racists including the KW ARA and AW@L were in front of the faculty of arts endorsed event to challenge the racism generated by Blatchford’s omission of historical context in her newest book. “Blatchford presents a narrative that reinforces a colonialist view of history, through explicitly ignoring land claims and the Canadian government’s history of violence wrought upon Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island – the real lawlessness here. The ‘narrow slice’ of the issue she presents, which she is unwilling to debate, perpetuates misunderstandings of the inherent racism of the Canadian settler state” said one of the anti-racist picketers.

    As the picketers were handing out information flyers and engaging in discussion with talk attendees, police tried to remove the picketers to a “protest pen” away from the entrance. One of the picketers threatened with the frosty hand of injustice, Dan Kellar said: “We attempted to respectfully share some information that Blatchford purposefully omits in her book, but the UW police, the Waterloo regional police, and their administrators chose to yet again criminalise dissent and truth.”

    Tonight marked Blatchford’s returns to UW after her previous attempt was successfully protested on anti-racist grounds. Once again, the University of Waterloo uncritically opened space for Blatchford to talk without addressing concerns over her unacademic writing and distaste for history, and once again, the police targeted and attempted to criminalize UW alumnus and committed community organizer Julian Ichim. As they were pushed off campus the anti-racists declared “Racism will always be challenged at UW or in KW!”

  8. This is odd. After going to great lengths to protect Blatchford’s freedom of speech, the university lets the police interfere with the protesters right to same, and drives them off campus – ie, off public property.
    Very strange indeed!

  9. Reading Dan Kellars comments on this oage alone reveals alot about him.His dismissal of dissenting remarks because they are not
    “academic’ or Dans whole ‘post’ was not read is just the lazy ,reflexive denials of a closed mind.
    His outrage at not being able to shove his unwanted deluded biased opinons down the throats of people arrivng to hear Christie Blatchford speak ,and feel he has a right to do that,says alot about the mindset of this fanatic.Here he isto portray his attempt to shut down the free speech of another,with his own political propaganda, as truth against ‘racism”.a charge he accuses but never seemsto prove.
    This guy is a complete hypocrite,,,and he is trying to control who speaks and who does not in a Univestiy in our country?Wow,,,,,we have to get our countyr back formt these tyeps of fantics,,,and yes Dan,,,you can say your piece to who ever would like to listen to it,,,,but you better not be deciding for me or anyone else who can talk in Caanda,,,,we do not need apointed Robert Mugabes like you here.