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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Friday, February 11, 2005

column about and interview with Ward Churchill

This column ran in today's edition of the Denver Post.

Can't governor be offensive, too?
By Reggie Rivers

For anyone who truly believes in the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech, it's difficult to urge severe penalties against University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill just because his words are provocative.

There are many debates about whether the freedom of speech should extend to movies, paintings, novels, profanity, pornography, etc., but I've never heard any First Amendment defender argue that dissenting political speech should not be protected.

We may disagree with Churchill's words, but they are profoundly political. That means they represent exactly the type of speech that was supposed to be protected by the First Amendment. full column

The following interview ran in this weeks edition of the Boulder Weekly. This is an excerpt.

The Man in the Maelstrom
by Pamela White

Boulder Weekly: What were you doing on Sept. 11 when you first heard about the terrorist attacks?

Ward Churchill: I was on the word processor working on an extended essay on American Indians in films, which I had been working on for some time... The phone rang. It was Kathleen Cleaver. She said, "Is your TV on?" I said, "No." She said, "Well, turn it on, because a plane just hit the World Trade Center." So probably within five minutes from the time the first plane hit I watched it in real time.

I suppose like everybody else, I was stunned... I knew it was real, but still there was this disbelief thing. And to be fair about it, that was probably affecting everyone, including the people who had set up the cameras and were filming the thing as it occurred—probably more so for them because they were watching it for real.

But it struck me even before the first building came down that this was already being framed. It was proclaimed to be "senseless" before the first building came down, and senseless means "without purpose," and that seemed absolutely absurd to me on its face. How could they possibly know? There are planes being hijacked all over the country. Two of them have hit the World Trade Center. One of them has hit the Pentagon. There's another one loose. But whoever's doing this has no purpose.

And then there's the outrage: How can this happen? Well, there's various ways you could take it, like, "How did they penetrate the air defense?" But I don't think that's the nature of the question. That was not my sense. It was more like, "What could possibly provoke somebody to do this?" OK, that question and, "Why do they hate us?"

All of that [struck me]—both the framing of it as being senseless and the amazingly stupid questions as to what would provoke somebody to do this.Full interview


At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank Ward Churchill and the American Indian Movement for recognizing and voicing the truths that so many choose to ignore or deny. And for once again standing up against the atrocities of the white man. Thank you

At 10:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since when has Ward Churchill ever committed an atrocity ?


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